Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that late US Senator Edward M Ted Kennedy was Bangladesh’s voice abroad during the Liberation War, even as the then-administration in Washington was supporting the Pakistani military government to perpetrate a genocide in the then East Pakistan, reports UNB.
“Your father stood against this. He was the largest voice. He became a friend of Bangladesh. We have a lot of respect for him. We are very much thankful to him,” said Momen, while welcoming the late Kennedy's son, Ted Jr, and his family members at the Foreign Service Academy for a reception on Tuesday evening.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter D Haas, editors, among others, joined the dinner.
Sharing his experiences working with Senator Kennedy, the foreign minister said he learned two things from him.
“He (the late Kennedy) always said democracy is never perfect and it is an evolving process. I really liked that,” Momen recalled. Yet democracy is the best form of governance till today, Momen said, quoting late US Senator Kennedy.
The foreign minister said another thing he learned from Kennedy was to help and work for the deprived people of the world. “These two things I keep in my heart.”
Momen said he was truly a friend of Bangladesh and Bangladeshis.
He said Kennedy was a spirit of hope and conscience. “Let his legacy live forever. He was very dear to me and I volunteered for his campaigns throughout my life.”
Welcoming the son of the great man and his family members, Momen said people like Kennedy were the icons of American politics and for years they were the spirit of America and the conscience of the world.
“I am deeply grateful to him. Here in Bangladesh, he is an icon,” said the foreign minister.
Speaking at the function, Ted Kennedy Jr. said, “My father loved Bangladesh. He had many friends in Bangladesh.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conferred Friends of Liberation War Honour on US Senator Edward M Kennedy Sr for his great contribution to Bangladesh's Liberation War.
“This is something that I will never forget. I thank you – Sheikh Hasina,” his son said.
Kennedy presented a token of appreciation from him and his family members to Momen and Selina Momen for their generosity and hospitality and said, “We are deeply grateful. We are so honored. We are all overwhelmed by the hospitality and outpouring of affection that we have received from the citizens of Bangladesh.”
He said they had tremendous experience here in Bangladesh, met incredible people, visited and spoke with students at Dhaka University, and toured the new Liberation War Museum, which was such a “powerful experience.”
“We look forward to continued friendship in the years, decades and centuries to come,” he said.
Ted Kennedy and his family members are visiting Bangladesh from October 29- November 5 to mark a milestone of the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-US relations.