Media portrays Palestinian & Kashmiri struggles as lone male terrorists when they are massive social movements against colonialism

Lone Kashmiri protester (REUTERS:Danish Ismail) Sept 9 2016

Not to take away from the commitment & fearlessness of this protester who stands half-dressed before tear gas & pellet guns, but the lone male protester typifies all media coverage of the Palestinian struggle & now models coverage of the Kashmiri struggle.

According to several reports & photos on social media from Kashmiri sources, there are massive protests all over Kashmir every day. Some are funeral cortege/protests for the many who’ve been killed but all are defying the curfew to protest against the occupation.

The media representation of lone male protesters, often hurling rocks, is a tendentious & insidious way to buttress Israeli & Indian government claims that resistance to military occupation is by a minority of violent, nihilistic, antisocial terrorist youth & not political resistance of tectonic social dimensions.

The popular character of resistance is seldom portrayed outside of social media. Try to remember the last time you ever saw a photo or read a story in any major media of massive protests in either Palestine or Kashmir.

After Indian forces put up a cordon today around the house of 86-year-old Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani to prevent journalists from attending his press conference, he emailed a statement to media. It is worth reading in full but these two passages are particularly relevant to this post:

“…between us & our freedom stand half a million Indian guns only. Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now. We have reached this stage because the people of Jammu & Kashmir have not only resisted the brute military occupation of India with exemplary courage & sacrifices but also repeatedly shown that the people would not be defeated.”

“The greatest sign of our victory is that the mighty army of our occupier has to shoot dead middle-aged women, a 21-year-old girl & beat to death a teacher. If after 70 years of military control, a soldier has to kill an unarmed woman & a schoolboy with a stone in his hand to forcibly keep Kashmir under Indian control, what bigger proof do we need of who has been defeated & who is victorious? The bullets of Indian soldiers are merely the symbols of their cowardice.”

(Photo by Danish Ismail/Reuters)

This is the full text of Geelani’s speech:…/090918582-geelani-issues-written-…

On the folly of objections to reading mainstream media

A lot of people sniff at mainstream media & even claim they won’t read or watch it. I don’t know how you understand what’s going on in the world if you don’t. Osmosis? The local fortune teller?

To my mind, alternative media is just as problematic, if not more. And it is certainly more long-winded. Some of them must get paid by poundage of words. The chief problem is that they are trusted less critically than mainstream media when they are often just as unreliable.

Truth of the matter is, if you want to unravel complex issues, you have to use the library. You have to read books because media is not sufficient. If I had one suggestion on how to read media, it would be to study history. Of course scholarship is also tendentious & on many issues, at least in US libraries, completely shoddy. I have several experiences with that, including in the past few years trying to find good scholarship on Kashmir.

In the late 80s & early 90s when the US conflict in Somalia first broke out, I scoured the libraries & book stores in Boston–including the Harvard University library which outsiders could use–& was unable to find a single book about that country or the conflict.

That paucity of scholarship would be true for almost every African country–when understanding Africa is becoming very important for several reasons: the flight & refugee crises from African countries; the environmental destruction by multinationals; the neoliberal capitalist policies destroying the infrastructures & very matrices of entire societies; the outrageous plunder; the military buildup there by US & other military forces. The scholarship situation may not be so dire in other parts of the world but it certainly is in the US.

As we know from the Syria disputes, the question isn’t just information about what is happening but interpretation of what is happening, what political viewpoints writers represent–& you have to read a lot to evaluate how reliable the sources, the methods of analyses, the political connections & loyalties. There’s no shortcut to understanding except leaving out media that you know is full of baloney all or most of the time.

I’ll be 72 next month & it took me most of that time to understand this so you’re getting a bargain on my insights. Use them wisely. Or you can just tell me to shove off.

During the Commander-in-Chief forum on MSNBC, Trump said the US should have just taken possession of Iraq’s oil because “to the victors go the spoils.”

Later in response on CNN, a retired US general said “It is not the American way of war to go & occupy land, steal its resources, rape its women & do the kind of things that Mr. Trump is saying.”

But isn’t that what they’re doing in North Dakota?