It’s common to be glib in profiling social behaviors, especially of youth. There’s an entire industry of such analyses. But it’s striking that in the past few years, Parkour has taken Kashmiri youth by storm–as it has also taken youth in Gaza by storm. What’s notable is that many Kashmiri youth, not social theorists, attribute their interest in the sport/discipline to its prominence among Palestinian youth in Gaza.
Such extreme violence & repression as Kashmiris & Palestinians endure must have a wrenching affect on human psychology, making people feel demeaned & powerless even when they are defiant–especially in the absence of international solidarity. Anyone who suffers discrimination or persecution knows exactly what that phenomenon is all about. Under occupation, you have to walk a fine line to maintain some sense of dignity & not get killed when youth are being targeted.
Without wishing to give glib analysis, Parkour must help young men acquire psychological equilibrium necessary to function under humiliating conditions of oppression. During the November 2012 Israeli bombing siege of Gaza, the Gaza Parkour Team released a video showing them doing Parkour with bombs exploding in the background. Actually, it seems a discipline ideally suited to Intifada–which is the other thing Kashmiri youth attribute to Palestinian inspiration.
Photo is Kashmiri youth doing Parkour in Koh-e-Maraan (Hari Parbhat) hillock in downtown Srinagar (misidentified by the Guardian-UK as in India).
Long live Kashmiri & Palestinian Intifada.
(Photo by Rarooq Khan/EPA)