A Quick Summary of the Bangladesh Genocide

Before the 1970s, Bangladesh and Pakistan were one nation. Bangladesh at the time was called East Pakistan and Pakistan was West Pakistan. Although East Pakistan had a different culture, different language, and has a larger population, most of the power was in the hands of West Pakistan.

Independence movements began to arise in East Pakistan as the divide grew deeper. Eventually, this culminated in the Bangladesh Liberation War between March 26 to December 16, 1971. Under the guidance of Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon stood by West Pakistan in the war, sending support their way.

In the beginning of the war, West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight, and effort to take control of Bengali cities and eliminate all human obstacles. But with this would come the massacre of millions of civilians.

Operation Searchlight marked the beginning of the Bangladesh Genocide, which would end up slaughtering as many as 3,000,000 Bengali citizens. 10,000,000 Bengalis refugees to India to escape the violence, and 30,000,000 more were internally displaced. Islamic militias with West-Pakistani support raped between 200,000–400,000 women in Bangladesh in a genocidal rape.

At the time, average US citizens were unaware of the genocide, but the Nixon administration was. Richard Nixon saw Pakistan as an ally against the Soviet Union, and condoned their actions even after the war. The US government continued to send economic and military aid to Pakistan as the war went on. Nixon was even advised by his aides, most notably Kissinger, to try to suppress reports of the genocide taking place.

Although the Bangladesh Genocide was not directly committed by the United States, I believe this qualifies since much of it could have been prevented. Because of the Nixon’s refusal to acknowledge Pakistan’s actions towards the Bengali people, thousands, if not millions of lives were lost.

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