Approximately 16 Notre Dame students from Bangladesh are standing in solidarity with their nation from more than 8,000 miles away. Protests broke out across Bangladesh on Feb. 5 after Abdul Kader Mullah, the leader of the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, received a sentence of life in prison for crimes committed during the war for liberation from Pakistan in 1971, according to Time Magazine. Jamaat-e-Islami members collaborated with Pakistan to perpetrate widespread rape, mass killings and a push against intellectuals, also according to Time. Graduate student Tahsin Ahmed said many Bangladeshis thought the life sentence was not sufficiently severe. “People thought that if somebody is given [a] life sentence for doing this sort of crime, then other crimes, like normal murders and other rapes, they don’t have justification for giving … capital punishment,” Ahmed said. “Their goal was to protest against that.” Ahmed said Mullah should receive the death penalty because not only did he help plan Jamaat-e-Islami’s crimes, but he also participated in them. “If someone who is actually involved in a crime is not given the capital punishment, what will happen to the other people [who only planned the crimes]?” Ahmed said. Graduate student Rumana Reaz Arifin agreed a life sentence was inadequate. “It has been preplanned, it has been organized, it has been cold-blooded and it has been executed,” Arifin said. “It’s not just a murder. It’s a genocide.” Ashraf Khan, also a graduate student, said although Mullah’s sentencing instigated the nationwide protests, the focus has expanded to calling for justice for all people accused of war crimes in 1971. Ahmed said the movement is “very nonpolitical and nonviolent.” Forms of protest have included a candle vigil on Valentine’s Day, flying the national flag, singing the national anthem in schools and observing silence for three minutes nationwide, Arifin said. She said many protests occur in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, but they are taking place in cities across the South Asian nation. “If you think about [the fact that] the whole country is raising their voice or showing their protest for one single thing, then it’s really a mass upheaval,” Arifin said. To express support for the activists, the Notre Dame students from Bangladesh held a symbolic protest Feb. 8 in front of Main Building. Ahmed said the group arranged candles in the shape of the Bengali numerals for “71” to express respect for the people murdered in 1971. “It shows we are with them,” Ahmed said. “We gathered in front of the Dome. We all get together and show our protest with posters, both in our own language and English to show that we want … capital punishment [for the war criminals].” Bangladeshi students at other American universities are also expressing protest, Ahmed said. Arifin said the Notre Dame students from Bangladesh wanted the University community to know about the situation in their country, especially because the Congregation of Holy Cross runs Notre Dame College in Dhaka. She said the group could create an informational exhibition if community members were interested in learning more. “If somebody wants to know more, then we can show more,” Arifin said. “We can tell them about the history.”
FIFTEEN-year-old American qualifier Cori Gauff caused a stunning upset by defeating five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round.World number 313 Gauff beat Williams – 24 years her senior at 39 – 6-4 6-4.Fellow American Williams had won four Grand Slam titles – including two at Wimbledon – before Gauff was born.“It’s the first time I have ever cried after winning a match,” said Gauff, who previously said Venus and sister Serena were her “idols”.“I don’t know how to explain how I feel.“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm, I had to remind myself that the lines are the same lines, the courts are the same size and after every point I told myself ‘stay calm’.”Gauff will play Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova – 15 years her senior – in the second round.Williams turned professional 10 years before her opponent was born, with Gauff being the youngest player to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw since the Open era began in 1968.She previously said the Williams sisters inspired her to first pick up a tennis racquet.“Venus told me congratulations and keep going, she said good luck and I told her thanks for everything she did,” Gauff added.“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her – I told her she was so inspiring and I’ve always wanted to tell her that but I’ve never had the guts to before.“My parents will be super happy, my dad was jumping up every time I won a point. I’m so happy they spent all their time on me and my brothers and making sure we’re successful.“I never thought this would happen. I’m literally living my dream right now.“I’m really happy Wimbledon gave me the chance to play, I never thought I would get this far.”(BBC Sport).
The NCAA tournament came to a close for the No. 10 men’s tennis team after falling short to No. 7 Georgia in the round of 16, 4-3.Despite holding a 3-1 lead, The Trojans weren’t able to close the match. The loss marked the end of the team’s season and left it with a 17-7 record this year.“I think with matches like that you have this overwhelming sense of being a part of something that is bigger than you. It’s such a great rivalry between Georgia and us,” head coach Peter Smith said. “To play that quality of a match for three and a half hours, you really feel like it’s a honor and privilege to be a part of it. It hurts to lose, but it was just a great match.”The Trojans began the match with a win on Court 1 in doubles, where the No. 46-ranked pair of junior Nick Crystal and freshman Laurens Verboven were able to beat Georgia’s Austin Smith and Ben Wagland 6-1. On Court 3, freshman Jack Jaede and sophomore Tanner Smith closed it out with a 6-4 win over sophomore Wayne Montgomery and freshman Emil Reinberg, giving USC the doubles point and the lead in the dual match.Jaede kept the momentum going at the fifth singles spot with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Georgia freshman Jan Zielinski, giving the Men of Troy a 2-0 lead. No. 32 Montgomery put the Bulldogs on the board with a 6-1, 6-4 over No. 41 Crystal at the second singles spot. No. 121 sophomore Thibault Forget was able to close his match in two sets over No. 123 freshman Walker Duncan with a score of 6-2, 7-6 (6) bringing the Trojans to one match and one point away from the upset and reaching the quarterfinals.However, at the sixth singles spot, junior Rob Bellamy wasn’t able to finish off the match after winning his first set and suffered a comeback against Georgia senior Nick Wood, who ended the match with the score of 6-4, 2-6, 1-6, tightening the gap at 3-2 in the dual. At third singles, No. 69 freshman Logan Smith fell to No. 64 sophomore Paul Oosterbaan 4-6, 6-7 (7), making it 3-3 and leaving the odds to Court 1, where No. 23 senior Max de Vroome was facing No. 17 Smith.After a slow start, de Vroome was able to bring the first set to a tie-break before eventually losing the tiebreaker 2-5. In the second set, de Vroome bounced back and was able to pull a 6-1 win and take the match to the final set.With the score tied at 3-3, de Vroome was able to break and hold serve, making it 5-3. Smith held serve and the Trojan had a chance to close the match and the dual on serve at 5-4, but was unable to convert it. At 5-5, Smith kept his momentum going and grabbed the lead at 6-5, securing the tie break. De Vroome, who was serving to stay in the match, didn’t hold serve and the Bulldogs finished their comeback and punched their ticket to the quarterfinals.The Trojans began the tournament by defeating UNLV 4-0 and No. 32 Georgia Tech 4-2 in the first and second rounds respectively in order to advance to the Round of 16.De Vroome and Crystal will keep playing in the singles draw starting on Wednesday.De Vroome will play against Dominik Koepfer of Tulane. Crystal will face off against Joao Monteiro of Virginia Tech.