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Good bye to our time-tested friend Simon Dring

Alaul Alam, Guest Writer |
Update: 2021-07-25 14:54:42
Good bye to our time-tested friend Simon Dring Alaul Alam

Certainly, very few people in the world do not survive for themselves, rather spend the whole span of life for the betterment of the humanity. Simon Dring is the glaring example among those. He was a famous British foreign correspondent, television producer and presenter. He had witnessed many wars and revolutions across the globe. 

He had enormous contribution to uphold the sufferings of the deprived to the world community through his news covering as a foreign correspondent. In his life he covered major stories and events throughout many parts of the world. While working in Vietnam in 1971 as a foreign correspondent he was told to travel to Dhaka as the political context was heating gradually. The world community thought that something big incident was going to happen but it was inconceivable that happened on the night of 25th, 1971. It was a pre-planned mass killing of the Bengalis. 

On the eve of mass killing by the Pakistan army around 50 foreign journalists were kept confined in the hotel intercontinental in Dhaka so that the most gruesome news of killing with the name of ‘Operation Search Light’ was not reported to the world community. In the name of security’s sake the army authorities were compelled them to remain in the hotel the whole night of 25th March and the next early morning they were taken to the airport and put on a plane. 

Simon Dring

But Simon Dring hid himself at the hotel lobby and the Pakistan army could not find him. On 27th March when the curfew was lifted, he came out of the hotel. Taking a risk he travelled the whole city street riding on a bakers’ van and collected the evidences of genocide at University of Dhaka, Rajarbagh Police Line and various parts of old Dhaka. 

Then he wrote the report titled “Tanks crush revolt in Pakistan” narrating a firsthand account of the first round of genocide and destruction by the Pakistan army in Dhaka. The Daily Telegraph published the report on 30 March and that was the first time the world knew about the barbarity of the Pakistan forces. Not only that, the report earned international support for Bangladesh’s liberation war. 

Simon Dring was born in 1945 in England. He began work as a journalist in newspapers and television at the age of 18. In his journalistic career from 1963 to 1990 he made many remarkable achievements to stand by the countries undergoing wars and revolutions through his reporting. He continued his career as a staff correspondent for Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC TV News and a freelance reporter and producer for The Sunday Times, Newsweek, and BBC Radio News. More than 30 years he covered major stories and events, including 22 wars and revolutions, around the world. 

Throughout his journalistic career he was filled with numerous prestigious awards and honors. Among the many accolades the mentionable are to be the UK Reporter of the Year for his eyewitness accounts in The Daily Telegraph of the massacres in Dhaka during the Liberation War, the UK Television News Reporter of the Year for his reports for BBC Television News from Eritrea, Zaire, and Iran.

Apart from this, Dring obtained Golden Nymph Award at Monte Carlo Television Festival for his reporting on the Iranian Revolution for BBC Television News and the   International Valiant For Truth award for his reports from behind the lines with the EPLF guerrilla forces in Eritrea for BBC Television. 

Also he received the Sony Radio Awards for his reporting for BBC Radio 4 on the same incident and the New York Festival Grand Prize for his BBC Radio 4 documentary on the US Invasion of Haiti. On top of that, the government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed the gratitude to his valiant works during the liberation war for Bangladesh. Again he was conferred "Friends of Liberation War Honor" in 2012 by the present government. 

It is obvious that his affinity with Bangladesh has not been over as long as the country sees its freedom, rather the contribution Simon did to awake the international communities of the barbarity and mass killing by the Pakistan army will be remembered for ever. Simon made Bangladesh as his second home falling in love to the hospitality of the people in Bangladesh. 

He was the pioneer of bringing a new trend of news telecasting. In 1997 he joined with partners in Bangladesh and established Ekushey Television (ETV), the first satellite TV channel in Bangladesh. This channel became an example with huge popularity home and abroad for presenting unique style in the arena of televised news, entertainment and education. Truly, many satellite channels have been established over the years but the trend they have followed in regard to presenting news and other programs was the brainchild of   the ETV.

Undoubtedly, the demise of the valiant journalist Simon Dring is an irreparable loss for the world. The people of Bangladesh are really shocked at the demise of their true friend who has passed away at the age of 76 while undergoing surgery in his abdomen at a London hospital on July 16, 2021.Oviously, the people of Bangladesh will remember the contribution of Simon Dring throughout the ages. Good bye to our time-tested friend Simon Dring. 

Writer: Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

BDST: 1454 HRS, JUL 25, 2021

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