Monday 7.12.1970

You have of course heard, seen and read about the cyclone which recently struck the area…….The deaths have run into hundreds of thousands. No one will ever know the numbers as there are no accurate figures for population and many of the people were in the area only to harvest crops on islands that are normally uninhabited.

The first tragedy was of course the cyclone itself. The second has been that of the relief effort……The President took a cursory glance at the area after returning from China and then went back to the West…..One helicopter is all that the army has here in East Pakistan, in working condition at least, and it was 2 weeks before the army loaded 2 more into transport planes and brought them over here. No emergency was declared and so no emergency powers could be imposed.

The future of the country as a whole is in no small extent dependant on what happens today – election day….. This election is not for a parliament but for an assembly to draw up a constitution…..While it is expected that the Awami League party is the one that will get most seats they are not expected to get an overall majority and so they will need to form a coalition with a party based in the West – something verging on the impossible by all indications. We wait and see.

One of the things I have become quite convinced of – things will get a lot worse before they get better. I also feel certain that sooner or later there has to be a major upheaval in this society if it is to move forward and that upheaval will almost certainly be bloody and violent. Not a thing to be wished for but perhaps necessary nonetheless.

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