Mamunur Rashid\'s Akhtari Banu

It seems that slowly but surely Bangladeshi cultural activists are finally turning their gaze on the long festering “bihari” issue. A couple of month’s ago Mamunur Rashid produced a docu-drama on the issue and it was premiered in the Liberation War Museum. Interestingly holding a premiere of one’s film at such an institution has some obligations and Mr Rashid had to utter the Liberation War Museum mantra ” I demand the trial of war criminals who collaborated with the Pakistani army. ” Prefacing one’s film with this statement only serves to tarr this entire community with that useless, mouldy and oppressive brush beloved of those who unthinkingly think of themselves as “pro-liberation.”

The war-criminal issue is not one sided Mr Rashid. And you should know this. Your film has plagiarised wantonly from the documentary I co-produced and researched - Swapnabhumi, The Promised Land. And given your manifest approval of our film I would have thought you would have understood the message of that film. You were only too happy, it seems, to steal our footage, our songs and even copyright footage I paid for but you seem not to understand that demanding a trial should be a bit more than a mantra, a message that is implicit in our documentary. I too am in favour of a trial. However I have thought about the terms of reference of such a putative trial. Have you?