Bangabandhu a towering figure of 20th century

Says US diplomat

Diplomatic Correspondent

9 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangabandhu a towering figure of 20th century

A senior diplomat of the US government said that Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a ‘towering figure of the twentieth century’ who shaped modern Bangladesh.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Department of State Dean Thompson stated this while speaking at a webinar on Sunday to commemorate the historic March 7 speech delivered by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Thompson in his speech said that the historic speech inspired the people of Bangladesh to fight for independence and continues to inspire the people of Bangladesh to develop their country even further.

The Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC with the support of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Department of State Department organised the event.

"One of the areas we are most excited to work on is expanding our economic partnership. Bangladesh offers so many opportunities in diverse areas, from renewable energy, port infrastructure to artificial intelligence," said the US Assistant Secretary.

He expressed confidence that the US-Bangladesh relations will continue to strengthen under the Biden Administration.

Thompson applauded the generosity of Bangladesh in protecting the forcibly displaced Rohingyas and said that the USA is a steadfast partner of Bangladesh in finding a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis.

The webinar was participated by high government leadership, academia, diplomats, think tanks, media, and government officials from Bangladesh and the US. Due to public health restrictions, the discussion was held virtually over the 'Zoom' platform.

After the welcome remarks by Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States M Shahidul Islam, Prof. Dr. Syed Anwar Husain delivered the keynote address on Bangabandhu's life and ideals attaching a particular focus to the 7th March speech.

Ambassador Tariq A. Karim, South Asia Analyst Seth Oldmixon, and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller were among the panel speakers in the webinar. Assistant Secretary Thompson attended the webinar as the special guest and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam was the Chief guest.

In his keynote address, Syed Anwar Husain said that the 7th March speech was delivered impromptu as it was an unwritten one. He added that this was the shortest and at the same time the best speech, delivered in a colloquial language to reach across everyone. “The 7th March speech constituted a roadmap for independence of Bangladesh," he said.

Tariq A. Karim said that Bangabandhu was an extraordinary orator, unparalleled in our living memories. He added that Bangabandhu's 7 March 1971 speech was an impassioned appeal for seeking his people's backing.

Renowned South Asia Analyst Seth Oldmixon said that the history of Bangladesh has parallels with American history as both the countries fought anti-colonial independence movements, and the 7th March speech is a culmination of incredible historical events that led to the independence of Bangladesh.

Ambassador Earl Miller recalled Senator Edward Kennedy's speech on February 14, 1972, at the University of Dhaka, attended by eight thousand jubilant students of Dhaka University.

Miller quoted Edward Kennedy that the United States’ people were with the people of Bangladesh during the War of Liberation, although the government was not. State Minister Shahriar Alam paid deep reverence to Bangabandhu for his clarion call to the Bengali nation for waging the decisive struggle against the Pakistan occupation force and declaring the Independence of Bangladesh on March 7, 1971, that ultimately led to an independent and sovereign Bangladesh.

He recalled with thanks the role of Ambassador M Shahidul Islam at the UNESCO in attaining the recognition to and listing of the historic 7th March speech in the Memory of the World Register.

Shahriar said, “7 March will ever remain a treasured part of Bangladesh's history. It will always remind us of an inspiring, powerful, and glorious tale of the fight of an unarmed nation for its sovereign existence for generations to come."

The webinar ended with the concluding remarks by Bangladesh envoy Shahidul Islam. Deputy Chief of Mission, Ferdousi Shahriar, moderated the webinar.

Earlier in the morning, Ambassador Shahidul Islam formally hoisted the national flag of Bangladesh in the Chancery premises and placed a floral wreath at the bust of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.