David Bergman’s Facebook Status on Shahbag


There is one interesting and ironic positive about Shahbag (amongst many positives, I hasten to add, of course!) which has so far not been mentioned. For people like me who are writing a lot about the tribunal, surely there is nothing more in ‘in contempt of court’ that we can say which is more in contempt than the Shahbag demands themselves! Demanding hanging for people not yet convicted, kind of beats anything I could ever think about saying about the tribunal I think. It is difficult to see now how the tribunal can really use its contempt powers any more in the future when so much has been shouted from the stage and published in papers that would normally be deemed highly contemptuous of the process. (Of course, the tribunal will no doubt prove me wrong, on that). Unfortunately, any liberation one might feel from this is countered by the fact that the level of tolerance for independent assessment of the tribunal and for consideration of arguments about fairness and due process is wafer thin. Since the tribunal was established, it has of course always been thin – and even someone like me with a history of making the Channel 4 War Crimes File many years ago now, found myself way before Shahbagh of being described as a ‘pro-Jamaati’ or worse simply for writing about what would normally be seen as quite legitimate issues on matters of due process, rights and fairness. The 1971 war, the issue of accountability the end of impunity is very close to peoples hearts in Bangladesh for very obvious reasons, but it is unfortunate that the Shahbag process has made discussion about the tribunal process itself almost impossible.

Source: Progress Bangladesh Facebook Group