Sweden's friends in the liberation war

Sweden is far from Bangladesh. In 1971, some Swedes kept the news of Bangladesh. Still some Swedish journalists and social/human rights activists organized public opinion for Bangladesh not only in Sweden but also in many Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway, Finland.
One of them is politician and human rights activist Lars Lijnborg. Seeing the plight of the refugees during the liberation war, he decided to help.

Saeja left for Calcutta. Visited liberated areas and refugee camps. Then went back to Sweden and joined the public opinion organization for Bangladesh. At the same time, he appealed for help to the refugees and campaigned for the liberation war.

He demanded that Sweden stop providing all kinds of aid to Pakistan and withdraw the Swedish ambassador from Pakistan. Not only that, he visited Denmark, Norway and Finland for the same purpose. He sent the funds he raised for the refugees to the Bangladesh government.

Van Stromberg is a journalist. He was the coordinator of Parikrama Aktuellet, a popular news program on Swedish television. His reports on the Liberation War helped organize public opinion. Then he visited the open areas of Jasher and Khulna. He used to send regular reports about the success of the Liberation Army.

He was present when Pakistani forces surrendered to the coalition forces at Sehrawardy Udyan on 16 December. He then visited Ray's Bazar slaughterhouse and became perplexed. His pictorial reports captivated Western readers. He was in Dhaka on the day of Bangabandhu's homecoming.

Not only that, he was one of the few journalists who were able to interview Bangabandhu that day. He adopted an orphaned child of the liberation war and returned to the country. The baby was named Nicholas Majestic Joy.

Who does not know the name Gunnar Myrdal? His full name was Carl Gunnar Myrdal [Swedish pronunciation My Dal] born in 1894 in Sweden. Originally an economist, he was a long-time member of the Swedish Parliament as a Social Democrat from 1933. He was a minister from 1945 to 1947. Myrdal has always tried to be on the side of the oppressed. He has written many books on economics and won the Nobel Prize. However, his best known book to us is 'Asian Drama'.

When the liberation war started, Myrdal saw the story of Bengali oppression and the plight of refugees through newspapers. Earlier, some Swedish journalists also portrayed the Bengalis. Myrdal then formed the Bangladesh Solidarity Committee in Sweden. He is its president. In the months that followed, the committee worked diligently to provide support to public opinion organizations and refugees. Myrdal came to the world in 1987.

The Prime Minister of Sweden in 1971 was Sven Wolf Joachim Palme (1927-1986). Joachim Lae, the football coach of the German national team, is not a rare name in European countries. Like Myrdal, he was also a social democrat. He was the Prime Minister of Sweden twice. He did not hesitate to go to Cuba and give speeches in praise of Castro. Similarly, US policy in Vietnam was against Soviet aggressive policy.

Naturally, in 1971, he was in favor of the Bengalis. And as Prime Minister, he was opposed to providing all kinds of assistance to Pakistanis. He took a direct stand on this issue. He was killed by an assassin in 1986.

Another person from Sweden has to be named. He is Syed Asif Shahkar. In 1971, he was the joint secretary of Pakistan Punjab Students Union. He also wrote poetry. He wrote leaflets against genocide in Bangladesh and distributed them secretly. He also wrote poems against genocide. The police arrested him and sent him to jail.

Not only that, the government of Pakistan called him a traitor. After the liberation war, he moved to Sweden and took Swedish citizenship. He was working as a judge in a court there.
Van Lamziel served in the Swedish Air Force. Joined Red Cross after retirement from service. He was working as a Red Cross official in Dhaka.

He was in contact with the Mukti Bahini and helped them. Government appointed by Pakistan Dr. AM Malek submitted his resignation letter to Lamzil. After the war he adopted a war child.

Apart from Olaf Pam, these few people from Sweden were awarded the Liberation War Friendship Award 2012-13 by the Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Liberation War Award to Pam.

Reference – Foreign Liberation War – Muntasir Mamun, Page – 46-49

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