Acceptance Statement by Dr. Richard Benkin

Mount Prospect Proclamation on the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh

October 1, 2013


Thank you, Madam Mayor, and thank you trustees of my home town, Mount Prospect.


For the most part, people get away with doing bad things because they believe no one will notice, or even care.  Eight hundred thousand people were brutally murdered in Rwanda before the world woke up.  How many were murdered in Darfur before it did?  And as we commemorate annually, ten million people were murdered by the Nazis before the world recognized the horror that was the Holocaust.


For decades, Hindus have been subject to random and organized attacks in Bangladesh; and for years, I have been fighting to stop them; going to South Asia regularly, comforting the victims, confronting the victimizers, and seeing those “bad things” close up.  My greatest obstacle has not been terrorist bombs or official inertia; rather it has been that most people are simply not aware the horror that is the fate of Hindus in Bangladesh.


Today, Mount Prospect has not only recognized a great Hindu festival, Durga Puja, one of many I have had the privilege to be part of.  It has also helped change that deadly dynamic and start breaking down those barriers that are keeping 15 million Hindus at risk.


Today, because of these good people, I am more confident than ever that we will prevail.


Thank you.