No matter how long or how brutal the occupation, Kashmiris will never abandon their struggle for self-determination

Kashmiri protesters go after Indian army vehicle (REUTERS:Danish Ismail) Aug 30 2016

These protesters are going after an Indian armored vehicle during a protest today in Srinagar. It’s one thing to respect the political tenacity of these young activists after 52 days of curfew & extreme violence. It’s quite another to realize that military occupation is their youth, their lives & takes an immense toll on their sense of safety & well-being.

Like Israel in Gaza & the West Bank or like the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, & elsewhere, India hopes to exhaust the political energies of Kashmiris who resist occupation & colonialism. There are periods of demoralization during long occupations. But occupation & oppression are a constant call to arms & the truth is Kashmiris will never end their struggle for self-determination. That is exactly why children & youth are targeted.

End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo by Danish Ismail/Reuters)

International Day of the Disappeared commemorated at New Delhi event about Kashmir

Campaign Against Fascist Attack on University (panel)audience at Campaign Against Fascist Attack on University event Aug 30 2016

Today is the International Day of the Disappeared. Hundreds of thousands of people have been disappeared in nearly 50 countries that employ such criminality to destroy dissent. Most victims face torture, unspeakable deaths too gruesome to describe, & mass graves. It is a human rights crime of incalculable proportion.

Students in India from the Campaign Against Fascist Attack on University organized this event today in New Delhi called “State repression in Kashmir & movement for self-determination” about the estimated 10,000 who have been disappeared in Kashmir.

We should take a moment to honor the disappeared in Kashmir & around the world for their contributions to the cause of democracy & freedom. There is no justice for such monstrous crimes except to end the regimes that commit them against our brothers & sisters.

Our fullest solidarity with the activists who organized & attended this event & for all who campaign against this crime.

(The top photo is the panel of speakers & the bottom photo is part of the audience thanks to Swati Gupta & Shahid Jeelani)

Press Release from Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Srinagar

Kashmiri disappeared montage Aug 30 2016

Dated 30.8.2016

” APDP announces Equal Opportunity Facility for Justice, Assistance and Relief for People Blinded by Pellets (EOFJAR)”

Since the armed uprising of 1989 against the Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, around 10,000 cases of enforced disappearance at the hands of Indian soldiers have been reported. The State is not only denying truth and justice to the victims but also assures impunity through draconian laws to the perpetrators. Flesh, bones and souls reduced to mere statistics.

Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) by the very act of its being is resisting the state oppression and is also playing an important role in keeping alive the memory of loss that is being erased systematically from the public domain. Every year 30th August is commemorated as the International Day of Disappeared.

This year as we enter the 52nd day of siege in Kashmir, more than seventy people have been killed, thousands have been tortured, blinded and maimed. As the valley of Kashmir continues to real under military siege we have not been able to hold the annual sit-in protest on the occasion of International Day of Disappeared.

However, on this occasion many friends across the globe have expressed their solidarity with APDP by organizing campaigns against enforced disappearances in Kashmir. Friends of APDP in Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Sweden and United Kingdom are organizing sit-in to express solidarity with our struggle. In Srinagar many friends have started series of online campaigns in support of our struggle. We are extremely grateful to Kashmir’s exclusive creative communications agency, BlackSheep.Works for developing a solidarity campaign comprising 7 posters and a video for us. They have working tirelessly for weeks to make our online campaign a success.

To commemorate the struggle against Enforced disappearances in Kashmir, APDP appeals to the international community to put pressure on the Indian state to immediately stop all forms of violence against the people of Kashmir. APDP strongly believes that while documentation of torture and human rights violations that APDP undertakes is very critical to its fight for justice, it is also conscious of the fact that without sustained relief and assistance to families suffering violence, seeking justice will be a meaningless exercise. APDP is aware of the struggles of women in negotiating everyday life in the context of ongoing political crisis in Kashmir.

With hundreds of young boys being blinded in pellet firings such victims and their families will become further vulnerable to range of exclusions and deprivations. School going children who have suddenly lost eyesight in pellet firings will be excluded from the whole education system, similarly young victims of pellet firings who may have been in employment may not be able to continue their jobs. The families of such victims may not even have material and non-material resources to cope up with such crisis. As a collective of families of the victims of enforced disappearances APDP has first-hand experience of such deprivations and exclusions.

APDP announces Equal Opportunity Facility for Justice, Assistance and Relief for People Blinded by Pellets (EOFJAR). Through this facility APDP aims to create a support network for the victims of pellet injuries including injuries leading to blindness. As parents and relatives of the victims of enforced disappearances we are not unfamiliar with the Indian state’s architecture of oppression. Last twenty years of our struggle for justice and liberty is witness to the fact that in Kashmir elaborate oppressive apparatus of Indian State ensures control over every aspect of our lives. The fair and impartial trials, which have historically been the cornerstone of civilized regimes across the globe, are impossible in case of Kashmir.

In these trying times we express our solidarity with the family members of the victims of pellet injuries and with the family members of the seventy Kashmiris killed in last one and a half month. We appeal to the world community to support us in exposing Indian State’s crime in Kashmir.

Use paragraphs in writing

Not to be a know-it-all, but I have a suggestion for those who have lengthy posts, comments, etc. If you don’t use paragraphs in your writing, it is visually daunting & confusing for readers to face several inches of print without a break. What you write, no matter how insightful & compelling, will more often be skimmed than thoroughly read. It’s the way our minds work & why paragraphs were invented.

I only say this because I learned the hard way & was asked by someone several years ago to start using paragraphs.

Azadi: Go India. Go back.

Srinagar [Aarabu Ahmad Sultan:Al Jazeera] Aug 30 2016

In an article on the current siege in Kashmir, Al Jazeera quoted a commander of Indian paramilitary forces who said Kashmiris don’t understand that the Indian military came to Kashmir “to protect them & today we are standing here to protect them” against Pakistan.

When asked about this graffiti which is written all over Kashmir, often by elderly men & women, the commander said in what Al Jazeera described as “a softly spoken manner” that “This may be another country’s propaganda to misguide people,” referring again to Pakistan.

Not content with that idiocy, our military man continued: “Local politicians are imparting bad ideas to the children.” Pointing to a nearby group of protesters, he said, “Like in this group, a five-year-old is throwing stones, a three-year-old! What you are taught as a child, you can never forget, & yet, we think of these people as our own.”

Al Jazeeera doesn’t like to ask the hard questions. Like why are you shooting pellet guns & live ammo at people, including three-year-olds, that you think of as your own?

End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo of graffiti by Aarabu Ahmad Sultan/AJ)

Indian use of pellet guns makes front page of New York Times

NY Times front page on Kashmir pellet guns

Kashmiri activists worked tirelessly on social media for a long time to get information about their struggle against occupation & for self-determination past the media news blackout that prevailed for years. That is certainly one of the reasons the Indian government locked down the internet & cell phone communication when their brutal siege began 52 days ago on July 9th.

Yesterday, the Indian army’s use of pellet munitions made front page news in the New York Times. On social media, Kashmiris living outside the country & others educated by Kashmiris before they were locked out are posting daily about the Kashmiri political movement & about the violence of India in Kashmir. In other words, the groundwork laid by indefatigable, if not also badgering, Kashmiri activists is proving invaluable in getting more media attention & in international solidarity from human rights activists.

Stripping away the niceties & interpreting his diplomacy in straightforward language, Ram Madhav, the leading Indian politician for Kashmir told Indian media yesterday that the Modi regime was “taken by surprise” by the scale of resistance in Kashmir & rejected the idea that massive daily protests were incited by the death squad execution of Burhan Wani, the man whose name cannot be mentioned on FB without adding a treatise denouncing terrorism. That denunciation of Indian terrorism is forthcoming.

What surprised our man Madhav is that with the exception of pellet guns, the Indian army & death squads routinely subject Kashmiris to extreme violence–not just summary execution but mass disappearances, torture, mass rapes, incarceration, mass graves. So why the international outrage over pellet guns? Thus are the confusions of a mind warped & stunted by nationalism.

Madhav dragged out the usual shibboleth blaming the current siege of violence by the Indian occupying army on “Pakistan-backed forces” & agents provocateurs. He didn’t address why Kashmiris are so confused about who it is that is shooting at them, blinding, disabling, & killing their children.

What matters are not the diplomatic obfuscations of the Indian government but the fact that Kashmiri activists have educated so many & broadened support for their struggle & that at long last they have broken the news blackout.

Long live Kashmiri Intifada. End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo is front page of yesterday’s NYTimes)
Link to article:…/pellet-guns-used-in-kashmir-protes…

Women & children are the face of refugees branded as terrorists & jihadists

Nigerian women refugees off Libya (Emilio Morenatti:AP) Aug 29 2016

This is the face of refugees from Africa. It is also the face of refugees from Syria to Europe, from Central America & Mexico to the US, from South Asia to Australia, & on every one of the well-traveled routes around this globe. Women & children make up over half of refugees, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors.

These women & infant from Nigeria were rescued about 17 miles off the coast of Libya trying to get to the island of Lampedusa where there is a refugee processing center. We are not informed who rescued them nor where they were taken since Lampedusa is still at least 200 kilometers away. Our hopes are they were rescued by humanitarian groups that will do the right thing & deliver them safely to Lampedusa.

Throughout the refugee crises of the past several years, the mayor & residents of Lampedusa have distinguished themselves from the Italian government by their hospitality & welcome to refugees. They witnessed & reported that the Italian Coast Guard allowed refugees to drown off their coast & excoriated the Italian government for its barbaric immigration policies, including dumping drowned refugees in unmarked graves in Sicily & not allowing family members to be part of funeral services.

Immigration is a human right. Open the borders.

(Photo by Emilio Morenatti/AP)

African refugees attempting to flee Libya by thousands

African refugees off Libya (REUTERS:Giorgos Moutafis) Aug 29 2016

This is how badly refugees from African countries want to get the hell out of Libya, now a war zone between US special forces & ISIS–the poisoned fruit of the 2011 US-NATO war. It began with a No Fly Zone & turned the country into a killing field.

The rescue boat here off the coast of Libya is not from one of the several European navies patrolling against refugees but is from the Spanish NGO Proactiva. The refugees are from Eritrea fleeing a dictatorship with a horrific human rights record.

It is not reported whether they were returned to the hellhole that is Libya or taken to Lampedusa.

Immigration is a human right. Open the borders.

(Photo by Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters)

African refugees in Libyan prisons

Refugees in Misrati, Libya detention center (ADEM DEMIR:ANADOLU AGENCY:GETTY IMAGES) Aug 29 2016

There has been a prolonged news blackout on the refugee crises in the Mediterranean & elsewhere. But for some reason, there has been some, albeit paltry, coverage of refugee flight on the Libya to Italy route. It may have to do with the renewed military deployment of US forces in Libya to fight ISIS forces. Such is the emancipatory character of the 2011 US-NATO devastation of Libya, complete with No Fly Zone. Libya is now a failed state with two regimes & with warring armed militias who are a serious threat to refugees.

A UN agency estimates at least a million refugees from several African countries are in Libya attempting to make the crossing to Lampedusa, an Italian island where there is a refugee processing camp (roughly 209km/130mi) from the nearest Libyan coast.
Frontex, the EU operation against refugees, has been running a military occupation of the Mediterranean for over a year, including navies from several European countries. There is no reason in the world why refugees continue to drown in dinghies. The UN no longer reports the numbers of those drowned on each route but reports that so far in 2016, at least 3,167 have drowned on all three major routes. You can be sure the majority of them drowned on the route from Libya to Lampedusa because the distance is considerably further & such is the character of EU racism.

Those refugees “rescued” from overturned dinghies are often returned to Libya & incarcerated in the living hell of refugee-cum-concentration camps which are overcrowded; filthy & stink of urine & poop because of lack of sanitation & showers; rampant with disease; swarming with bedbugs & other critters; with insufficient & inedible food; & where refugees are subjected to violence, including beatings & rape.

The head of one refugee-cum-concentration camp said the refugee inmates are becoming increasingly violent & constantly try to escape. Of course they are. Squalid, stinking, overcrowded detention is not suitable for human beings nor animals. What is the UN refugee agency doing about all this other than counting bodies? The UN is too involved with one of the competing regimes & US special forces to pay heed to the humanitarian crises. Sanctioning war & plunder is anyway its real mandate.

When the epitaphs for neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, are finally written it will be an era commemorated with unbearable grief. But humanity will be dancing & pissing on its grave. At no time in human history have so many millions of people sustained such thoroughgoing plunder & high-tech militarism & been forced to flee with no place to go.

Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Adem Demir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images is one of the refugee prisons in Misrati, Libya.)