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Bangladeshi activists warn of global threat posed by Israel’s onslaught on Gaza

DHAKA: More than 2,000 people gathered at a rally in Bangladesh on Friday to show solidarity with Palestine and warn of the danger that Israel’s deadly onslaught on Gaza poses to the world.

The protest was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Bangladesh, a group that was formed by educators, writers and activists at Dhaka University earlier this month.

The committee is led by Prof. Serajul Islam Choudhury, a prominent Bangladeshi public intellectual and literary critic, who said the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza, which have killed more than 21,300 people since early October, were comparable to the Holocaust.

“The ancestors of today’s Israeli people have witnessed the Holocaust,” he said in his speech at the rally. “The Israelis are now conducting the same Holocaust on the Palestinian people.”

The protesters, holding banners reading “Free Palestine” and “Stop Genocide,” gathered at Shabang Circle — the Dhaka neighborhood that hosts Bangladesh’s most prominent educational institutions.

Prof. Anu Muhammad, committee member and economist, told Arab News that “a genocide has been taking place every day in Gaza” that disregards the UN and international law.

“One single country that is patronized by the US and other colonial powers is committing this day after day. It’s a danger and threat to the whole world and human civilization. If a country or a group of nations (carries out) this sort of indiscriminate action, there should be protests against it everywhere in the world,” he said. “We are holding today’s protest to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people … This sort of (display of) public opinion and solidarity has some significance.”

Bangladeshis gather at Shabang Circle in Dhaka to take part in a rally organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee on Dec. 29, 2023. (AN Photo)

Mohammad Salman, a schoolteacher, joined the protest believing that people around the world should unite against the Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza.

“Raise your voices against this genocide. The killing of innocent people can’t be justified by any means,” he said. “It’s a shame that we have seen some superpowers applying veto power against any (UN) resolution over the Israeli atrocities in Gaza. How many lives do Palestinians need to sacrifice to establish their rights to their own land?”

Tamanna Rahman, a homemaker who joined the protest with her daughters, said that, in situations like this, people had to stand up for others, as it could also potentially affect their own future safety.

“I am a mother of two children. Seeing the blood of children in Gaza shed every day on TV, I can’t hold my tears. If the systematic killing in Gaza goes unpunished, then I can’t feel safe. It might be that tomorrow I will face the same fate as the Gazans,” she told Arab News.

“None of us will be safe in a world of revenge. This genocide will only increase hatred and cause more destruction.”

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