The Journey

Essay by moniraJunior High, 9th gradeA+, February 2007

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My village of Ibrahim Pur had already been attacked four times by the Panjabi - we call the Pakistani military Panjabi, because their origin is the district of Panjabi in West Pakistan. I lost my family in the first attack and miraculously, I escaped and found refuge in the Mukthi Bahini camps. There I trained and learned battle plans of the Mukthi Bahini (Freedom Fighters), in order to participate in battle even though I was only 14. There were other boys like me who had been forced to separate from their families to survive. They, like me, had no choice.

We had been training for a month ever since the genocide killing occurred on the night of black, as we called it. This occurred the same night Sheikh Mujib was arrested for the last time and taken to West Pakistan. Local collaborators humiliated us cheerfully by telling the Panjabi which villages to attack.

In the name of suppressing a rebellion, the Panjabi let loose hell on the public and started killing men, women and children, raping women in hundreds of thousands and destroying property worth billions of taka.

Our village of Ibrahim Pur had had countless attacks in the last week, mainly because it was the main camp of the Mukthi Bahini. I have had the opportunity to hear of the grisly killings in Dhaka from an eyewitness who was an instructor of our camp. At that time he was in Dhaka University on the 25th of March 1971. He described,

"Dhaka, bore the looks of a city occupied by Nazi Germany. The Panjabi were on orders to "clean" up the university quarters on that night of 25th March. The army rounded up the campus and a Bengali speaking soldier was ordering the residents of the staff quarters to come...