Serendipitously–just after I posted Arundhati Roy’s comments about the Amarnath pilgrimage to a Hindu shrine in the Kashmiri Himalayas–I checked out the blog of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society & came across their recent report titled “Amarnath Yatra: A Militarized Pilgrimage.”
It will surely resonate with how Israel manufactures religious traditions on the sites of Muslim holy places & how Israeli & Christian Zionists use pilgrimages to Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem to establish claims to Israel as the homeland of Jews. Not unlike how Americans of Irish ancestry can lay claim to the Rhineland from whence their ancestors came 3,000 years ago.
Review of JKCCS report in Wande Magazine: http://www.wandemag.com/amarnath-yatra-is-used-as-a-right-wing-nationalist-battle-cry-by-the-state/
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at India’s announcement that “bedroom jihadis” in Kashmir are sitting on beds & sofas pounding out propaganda on their computers & smart phones. “Armed with access to platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook & Twitter, there are fears that the new band of jihadis could instigate communal riots in the Valley.”
One Indian police official said social media in Kashmir has become a “virtual battleground.” In many ways that’s true because Kashmiri activists took advantage of social media to hammer & break the media blackout that prevailed for decades. The Indian occupation of Kashmir has become an issue only because of their work which is why India has repeatedly attempted to shut down the internet & access to social media.
Islamophobic propaganda is pernicious & hateful, as we know full well from US war-mongering & Assadist ideologues. But this bedroom jihadi stuff is a reduction to the absurd. What India calls bedroom jihadi is what has been called freedom of speech since the democratic revolutions against feudalism. Absurdity & exaggerations unfortunately do not reduce the impact of propaganda on the willing mind of nationalists & Islamophobes. Indian officials linked this new form of jihadi terrorism (free speech) to the upcoming Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath shrine in the Kashmiri Himalayas.
Arundhati Roy once suggested that the growth of the Amarnath pilgrimage from 20,000 Hindus prior to 1989 to over half a million pilgrims now is due to the growth of Hindutva nationalism. Not unlike Protestants marching through Catholic neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. Indian officials are suggesting that the pilgrims will be attacked by armed guerrilla fighters but were unable to present a coherent view of the relationship of armed fighters to bedroom jihadis sitting on their beds & sofas pounding out fatwas on their smart phones. Or in truth, Kashmiris using social media to educate the world about their struggle against occupation.
There was one reported incident of an attack on the pilgrimage in 2000 but the majority of pilgrims who die are from climbing a mountain at an altitude of 3,888 m (12,756 ft) to get to the Amarnath cave. If there is an attack on the pilgrimage this year, look to agents provocateurs who are trying to discredit the struggle against the occupation.
Photo is image of bedroom jihadist which accompanied one of the many articles in Indian media. Try to distinguish farce from propaganda in this image.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
How much do you think it costs India every day to sustain the occupation of Kashmir? Several military bases, 700,000 troops must take billions better spent on social security which India does not provide the elderly & disabled. It could also be spent on schools, eliminating homelessness & child labor. Or it could be spent on cleaning up the numerous mountains of waste which are an environmental blight, a human health hazard, & where roaming cows feed on plastic.
No one mocks that Hindus hold cows as sacred. Because of the cow’s importance to human civilization, the cow is held sacred in many religious traditions. But if an animal is considered sacred in India–even more so than Muslim or Dalit lives–then one would think Hindutva nationalists would assure the highest standards of care for cows. Instead, the city of Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh reports that 1,000 cows die extremely painful deaths every year due to plastic consumption. The chief veterinary officer said 20 to 25 cows are found dead on the streets every month from multiple organ failures caused by the clusters of rock solid plastic removed from their stomachs. Lucknow has a plastic ban which is apparently not enforced. Even if cows were not held sacred, this is an abomination.
There is a political economy to India’s occupation of Kashmir, a price paid by the working people & oppressed in India. Not the least of which is having their sons warped by serving as the agents of repression against Kashmiris.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
(Photo of cows grazing on plastic from Times of India)
“The Indian military occupation of Kashmir makes monsters of us all. It allows Hindu chauvinists to target & victimize Muslims in India by holding them hostage to the freedom struggle being waged by Muslims in Kashmir. It’s all being stirred into a poisonous brew & administered intravenously, straight into our bloodstream.
At the heart of it all is a moral question. Does any government have the right to take away people’s liberty with military force?
India needs azadi from Kashmir just as much–if not more–than Kashmir needs azadi from India.”
–Arundhati Roy from “Azadi: The Only Thing Kashmiris Want.”
(Photo of student protests in Srinagar, May 2017 by Basit Zargar)
You can call it intolerant but I say the block button is ‘a girl’s best friend.’ If only we had such a zapper for the whole of our lives.
“Let’s be clear, when you see people on boats like this in the #Mediterranean you have only two options: you rescue them or you rescue them.”
–tweeted by MSF Sea @MSF_Sea
If we’re talking Wonder Woman, it isn’t a woman battling evil in a bustier & high heels. It’s Palestinian & Kashmiri women standing with their kids against occupation; Rohingya women sheltering their kids from ethnic cleansing; women of the Arab Spring who led social revolutions, many in niqab; the women revolutionists in Syria.
That comic book parody of women’s power doesn’t come close to reality where women fighting injustice have wrinkles, frown lines, & sun-baked skin, sometimes extra pounds, even cellulite, God forbid. That idiotic parody is actually used to deny the leading role millions of women have always played in resisting oppression & making this world suitable for human beings to live & love in.
Thank heavens for social media because now we watch history unfold before our eyes & won’t let it be rewritten excluding the role of women.
I talk to a Kashmiri teenager, I feel like I just fell off the turnip truck politically.
US-led coalition forces bombing civilians in Mosul, Iraq & Raqqa, Syria are being accused of using white phosphorous. It wouldn’t be the first time despite international law banning its use against civilians.
It has been used by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria; by Israel in Lebanon & Gaza; by Russia in Syria & the Ukraine; by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The only principled demand for the antiwar movement is the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US, Russian, & foreign military forces from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya. Out now! No to war!
Photo is affects of white phosphorous on human skin.
Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who plays Wonder Woman, with now dead Israeli president Shimon Peres in 2015.
“Western feminists” are being criticized for honoring Gadot but that would be to confuse individual feminists with rotten politics for a social movement that does not exist & thus cannot endorse her. However, the UN has made Gadot an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women & Girls. Sends shivers down your spine when you know she accused Palestinians of using women & children as human shields.
As for any questions about whether the Wonder Woman movie should be boycotted as part of the cultural boycott of Israel (BDS)? It should be boycotted & picketed by BDS activists with signs saying “Don’t try to hide Israeli apartheid behind the banner of feminism.” Feminism is an emancipatory program, no matter that some have tried to hijack it to the service of Islamophobia & Zionism.
Honor the cultural & economic boycott of Israel. Buy nothing with barcode beginning 729.
(Photo of Gadot & Peres from Gadot’s FB wall)