Suicide rates among veterans and soldiers in India & the US

Suicide is the leading cause of death, surpassing combat deaths, in the US & Indian armies which are of comparable size (1.1 million India; 1.3 million US). The US has 22 veteran suicides every day. That’s roughly 8,000 a year which is considered underreported. There are also about 200 to 250 suicides a year among active duty soldiers.

The Indian army has an average of 100 suicides every year among soldiers deployed in Kashmir with no report about suicides after discharge from duty.

You can’t draw any conclusions with insufficient data but it’s likely that suicide rates among Indian army veterans are substantial, given the human rights crimes they commit in Kashmir. Maybe they aren’t 8,000 a year but it’s almost certain they are sky high.

One Indian military publication suggested the liberal leave benefits, high standards of discipline, esprit-de-corps,”good & caring officers” were the secret of low suicide rates in the Indian army. But if they actually bothered to do the math, they would find that committing human rights atrocities is just as hard on Indian soldiers as it is on Americans.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the suffering those soldiers leave behind.

An Indian nationalist named Vijeta Sharma came out of nowhere to support her fellow who suggested I be tied to the front of an Indian jeep as a human shield.

Using the cogent debating style nationalists around the world are known for, our Vijeta called me old & stupid. Omer Mehraj Raja gallantly came to my defense packing a stronger arsenal intellectually & epithetically.

I just want our Vijeta to know before I kick her ass to the curb that I’ve been called much worse than old & stupid; I’ve been called ISIS & Al Qaeda for heaven’s sake. But after a young hunky Kashmiri called me hot, I just take it all in stride. I’ve been riding that flattery for several months & anticipate riding it quite a while longer.


On caste oppression:

“When I was in 8th standard, in ‘History of India’ lesson, we were taught one day about the ‘ancient’ practice of caste system along with its mythological explanation, about the various parts of Brahma’s body from where each caste was born. During lunch break, that became the topic of discussion amongst us students. A friend started asking others about the castes they belonged to. Some proudly said ‘we are Brahmins,’ with utmost gratification, some said ‘we are Kshatriyas’ and some said ‘we are Vaishya’. When my turn came, I was stunned and speechless. I did not know how and what to reply. Before I could gather my strength to say I am a Dalit, my good friend said, “Oh you cannot be a Shudra, Shudras are untouchables, so you must be a Vaishya?” I was scared to death with the thought of revealing my identity. If I revealed my caste, what would they think of me and how will they treat me from then onwards? Will they accept me as their friend? Will they continue to share their lunch boxes with me? Will they give me their notes? Will I be the butt of their jokes? I just nodded my head.”

~ Suravee Naik, in What Babasaheb Ambedkar Means to Me

Rollie Mukherjee’s art of Kashmiri solidarity

Rollie's art May 24 2017

A wonderful article about the solidarity art of Rollie Mukherjee which is a very different thing than propaganda art because it moves & inspires justice & does not dictate an agenda.

So much political art is leaden with machismo more suitable for body building posters. Rollie’s images of women in Kashmir have a strength that don’t rely on such stereotypes although war & occupation take very gendered forms of oppression. It’s what renders her art magnificent.

Are stone pelters in Kashmir hooligans or freedom fighters?

The Kashmir crime bureau reported last March that in 2016 there were 2,690 stone pelting incidents. Wouldn’t you like to know how they calculate that? Do they actually pay wages for functionaries to go through hours of surveillance tapes & count the number of rocks thrown?

They didn’t specify how many of the stone pelters were arrested but it could be the 516 arrested in 2016 for “assault on public servants” because we know hundreds are arrested.

Two “chronic stone pelters” were arrested last Saturday in the Budgam district based on video surveillance: Tahir Nasrullah was picked up outside his college. He was carrying a mask, school uniform, & mobile phone in his back pack. How incriminating can it get!? Samir Bhat was also arrested. They nailed him dead to rights with a Pakistani flag in his back back. But is carrying a flag a misdemeanor or felony under Indian law?

It’s important to answer the question about the political role stone pelters play in the Kashmiri struggle. Are they just out-of-control hooligans or do they positively influence the course of events & the struggle against occupation? That is the subject of an upcoming article I am writing for Kashmir Mirage.

This extraordinary video shows the fearless spirit of the stone pelters who are obstructing the occupation & are now the focus of vilification in the same way as White Helmet rescue workers in Syria.

Duterte threatens to “decapitate” human rights activists who oppose death squad campaign against the poor

Caricature of Duterte from Imgrum

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte threatened to “decapitate” human rights advocates who criticize his death squad campaign against the poor.

Speaking in Manila last Friday, he said human rights activists claimed over 7,000 people have died in the so-called war on drugs since he came to power July 1st, 2016 but that he would kill them along with the “drug addicts,” which is what he calls the poor. “Make that 50,000,” he said, “I will really finish them off.” He repeated his promise to finish off every drug user & small time peddler in the Philippines within the next three years.

He cut short his 4-day visit to Russia which began Monday to return home & declare martial law in the south of the country. He said yesterday in a televised speech that he is considering expanding martial law to the entire country because of the presence of ISIS.

Duterte’s allies on the world stage? Suu Kyi, Putin, Netanyahu, Trump. But of course.

(Caricature from Imgrum)

These claims about genocides against Christians are embarrassing. Not unlike the deep state nonsense but more repugnant.

The grieving over Europeans killed by bombing isn’t excessive because it’s a monstrous crime. It only looks that way in contrast to the gloating over carpet bombing of civilians in the Middle East & Africa as “Wahhabi/Salafi head-choppers” & “jihadi terrorists.”

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