A Session With Subha Das Mollick

Last year during the lockdown a few friends approached me about joining them in founding an online group devoted primarily to Indian independent cinema outside of Bollywood, and the Independent Film Circle was born. We quickly amassed members in the US, India and Bangladesh and had an incredible year, starting with a 12-week Film Appreciation course led by film director Debashish Sen Sharma. 

I’m thrilled to share that a week from today we’ll host a talk by our newest member, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker and educator Subha Das Mollick. 

One of her docs, Crosswinds Over Ichhamati, about the impact that the Partition of 1947 had on rural border communities in what are now the nation of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) and the Indian state of West Bengal, is available for free on youtube and quite engrossing.

https://youtu.be/CL1HYNW89KU

Better Late Than Never? Let’s Hope So

Once again the New York Times is better late than never on reporting human rights abuses.  It took them nearly a decade to start reporting on rogue US soldiers killing civilians for sport in Iraq and Afghanistan. I call your attention to the Winter Soldier testimonies of 2008 which were ignored by the mainstream media — New York Times, LA Times, et al; even the Washington Post only

Once again the New York Times is better late than never on reporting human rights abuses.  It took them nearly a decade to start reporting on rogue US soldiers killing civilians for sport in Iraq and Afghanistan. I call your attention to the Winter Soldier testimonies of 2008 which were ignored by the mainstream media — New York Times, LA Times, et al; even the Washington Post only covered it briefly in their local edition — apparently because to report on civilian atrocities during Bush made you a traitor. You had to go to a noncorporate show like Democracy Now to even be aware of such crimes.  We’ve also got paramilitaries there operating freely above the law, which only got acknowledged in the New York Times this year due to Wikileaks forcing the Times‘ hand. Thankfully, now that Obama’s in power the mainstream media seems to feel freer to at least tentatively discuss such matters as they relate to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m not sure what their excuse is for waiting 39 years to let us in on this 1971 nightmare that wasn’t deemed particularly newsworthy at the time it was happening, when something could perhaps have been done to stop it.  I know, I know, there are many such horrors during wars around the world all the time, I get it.  Welp, here’s one more.  Maybe it’s not too late to bring some of the war criminals responsible for it to justice. It’s the least these women and their families deserve.

Bangladesh War’s Toll on Women Still Undiscussed

By NILANJANA S. ROY
Published: August 24, 2010

NEW DELHI — The numbers are in dispute, but the story they tell has remained the same for four decades: 200,000 women (or 300,000, or 400,000, depending on the source) raped during the 1971 war in which East Pakistan broke with West Pakistan to become Bangladesh.

The American feminist Susan Brownmiller, quoting all three sets of statistics in her 1975 book “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape,” compared the rapes of Bangladesh with the rapes of Chinese women by Japanese soldiers at Nanjing in 1937-38.

Accepting even the lowest set of figures for Bangladesh forces a horrifying comparison — the 1992-95 Bosnian war saw one-tenth the number of rapes as did the Bangladesh war. The rapes of Bosnian women forced the world to recognize rape as “an instrument of terror,” as a crime against humanity. But so far no one has been held to account for the sexual violence against Bangladeshi women in 1971.

As the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war approaches, the Bangladeshi government has set up an International Crimes Tribunal to investigate the atrocities of that era. But human rights advocates and lawyers fear CONT’D AT NEW YORK TIMES>>