The agonies of Bangladesh come to London

Nick Cohen in The Observer:

ScreenHunter_112 Feb. 19 14.12The Shahbag junction in Dhaka has become Bangladesh's Tahrir Square. Hundreds of thousands of young protesters are occupying it and raging against radical Islamists. Even sympathetic politicians cannot control the movement. The protesters damn them as appeasers, who have compromised with unconscionable men.

Theirs is a grassroots uprising for the most essential and neglected values of our age: secularism, the protection of minorities from persecution and the removal of theocratic thugs from the private lives and public arguments of 21st-century citizens

Naturally, the western media show little interest in covering the protest. The indifference is all the more telling because the Shahbag movement is a response to a crime westerners once deplored, but have almost forgotten.

The young in Dhaka have revolted over the war crimes trials of members of Jamaat-e-Islami. That useful leftwing term “clerical fascist” might have been invented to describe what they did. In 1971, the oppressed “eastern wing” of Pakistan rose against its masters to form Bangladesh. The Pakistani army responded with a campaign of mass murder and mass rape, which shocked a 20th century that thought it had seen it all.

More here.

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