TRULY YOURS MONTH OF AUGUST: It means so much to so many
Mohammad Ali Sattar
The month of August has turned out to be a time of huge task of remembrance. This month means everything to this nation.
The loss of the founding leader on the 15th of this month along with his family members and other kin is an event that not only shook the very edifice of the nation it has sent out far reaching impacts world over.
Bangladesh history took a new turn which saw the birth of politics of vengeance and killing. It continues till this day.
Sheikh Hasina and Rehana escaped death as they were out of the country at that time. The Almighty thought to keep them alive and planned their future accordingly.
As mentioned by the Prime Minister recently that she came to know about the death of their family members a long time after the incident. Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi broke the news to her when she and Rehana met her at New Delhi.
Let us not try and guess what went through their minds when they learned about the tragedy.
Years on, when Sheikh Hasina was in thick of Bangladeshi politics.A serious attempt to kill her was undertaken by a group that always envied her and the family and was up against the very spirit of the liberation of the country.
It was 21st of August, 2004. Awami League was the main opposition party in motion. It was up with anti government and anti BNP programs.
Sheikh Hasina was fighting for a ‘real democratic system’ which she found wanting during that time under BNP. According to senior AL leaders, the party first planned to hold the rally at Muktangon but they were denied permission by the authorities.
Then they moved to the Bangobondhu Avenue near the Awami League party office. The makeshift dais was a truck where senior leaders had to squeeze in for the rally.
There was a huge crowd of people and the space there was not big enough to accommodate the number of people for that kind of a meeting, especially with Sheikh Hasina other senior leaders as speakers.
It was a quiet afternoon otherwise. The heat was only that of political agitation. Nobody in any quarters imagined the occurrence that took place just after Hasina’s address at the rally.
As she was about to end her speech all hell broke loose. It was the first ‘grenade attack’ of its kind in Bangladesh – an attack on a rally of major opposition party with stalwarts present in the meet. It was a grand design of an elimination plot.
Then I worked with an English daily. At that point of time I was at Paltan crossing on way home. Suddenly the deafening sound of the blasts saw the whole place in plunged in chaos. Confused people were running helter-skelter.
As I reached Press Club for cover I saw a few wounded and splintered people .It was getting nastier each moment. More bloodied people came in sight.
One told me that that Sk.Hasina was killed. There was the other guy who, profusely panting, announced that there has been a bomb attack and many were killed including the leader. More than one person confirmed the death news of Sheikh Hasina
Now I know they were not wrong in their assumptions. The way grenades landed in and around the dais it was incredible. It was a war like situation. The entire place wore a look of a battle field.
Later images on the TV gave a mind-boggling illustration. Scores of footwear of the victims, dead and wounded souls, torn flesh and blood, smoke and dust and over all the ‘fear’ made the place a harrowing sight.
So it was another experience for Sheikh Hasina. She escaped death one more time.
Month of August means so much. The nation suffered a great deal by the loss of the great leader, it also saw another attempt of annihilation of Sheikh Hasina and death of so many people in the grenade attack of Aug 21 – this much for Bangladesh. The month of August saw birth and death of so many enlightened souls and not so popular individuals. This month saw conflicts and
killings and mass political events.
In this month in 1838 slavery was abolished in Jamaica after 300 years. In 1944 – Anne Frank penned her last entry into her diary, Moby Dick author Herman Melville (1819-1891) was born in New York. In Philadelphia, most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1939 Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt concerning the possibility of atomic weapons. “A single bomb of this type carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.”
Six years later, on August 6, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb, developed by the U.S., was dropped on the Japanese port of Hiroshima. In 1990 the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait. In 1962, apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in South Africa. Barrack Obama the 44th U.S. President was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. Film star Marilyn Monroe died at age 36, John Eliot (1604-1690) was born in Hertfordshire, England. Known as the “Apostle to the Indians,” his translation of the Bible into an Indian tongue was the first Bible to be printed in America.
British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was born in Lochfield. Roots author Alex Haley (1921-1992) was born in Ithaca, New York.
The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin. Elvis Presley was pronounced dead at the Memphis Baptist Hospital at 3:30 p.m., at age 42.
Bill Clinton became the first sitting President to give testimony before a grand jury in which he, the President, was the focus of the investigation. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was born (as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in Skopje, Yugoslavia.
The March on Washington occurred as over 250,000 persons attended a Civil Rights rally in Washington, D.C., at which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his now-famous I Have a Dream speech. Following the unsuccessful coup of August 19-21, the Soviet Communist Party was suspended, thus ending the institution that ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 75 years. Solidarity, the Polish trade union, was formed at Gdansk, Poland. Britain’s Princess Diana died at age 36 from massive internal injuries suffered in a high-speed car crash,
And for me, this is the month when I lost my father, who died at 53, leaving us very young. He died of heart attack on August 11, 1977. This is the month when my brother (immediate older than me) passed away at a very early age in 1974, was born on August 29th. Years later, in 2014 my youngest brother (the youngest member of the family) died in Dallas and was buried there.
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