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.”

Can’t help wondering why Pope Francis is letting himself be played by Trump. What’s in it for the Vatican?

Sweden ends rape investigation of Assange because of inability to prosecute

Assange by Simon Ellinas

The chief prosecutor in Sweden announced that the rape investigation of Julian Assange has been dropped though she insisted that based on evidence there remains probable cause for prosecution. They are not declaring Assange innocent but felt they could not pursue the investigation because the government of Ecuador, which gave Assange asylum in its embassy, refuses to cooperate. Sweden has exhausted all possibilities for prosecuting him but if he returns to Sweden before 2020 the investigation can be reopened.

There is an international chorus of those who insist Assange was framed for rape charges in Sweden, that they were simply a ploy for the US to apprehend Assange for Wikileaks revelations. How they know that has nothing to do with evidence they possess but with conspiracy thinking combined with political naiveté or more likely misogynist conviction that the women accusers must have been lying. That’s a contemptible cliché in rape cases, especially in accusations against famous people. But he & his supporters also deftly manipulated the situation to conflate the political campaign against Wikileaks with the rape accusations.

One over-exuberant Assange defender tweeted: “The dropping of rape charges against Assange is a great triumph for anti-imperialism.” It’s something of a non sequitur to leap from rape charges to anti-imperialism–though not in some people’s minds. We’ve seen worse. It isn’t “a triumph for anti-imperialism” that Assange will walk on the charges. On the contrary, it is a defeat for women’s rights. Women have a right to have their accusations taken seriously rather than denounced as a frame-up or be accused as operatives for the US.

Despite his sleazy libertarian politics on Syria & Russia, Assange should be defended against US prosecution for Wikileaks revelations. You don’t have to like the guy or consider him a hero to recognize the importance of his case which is an entirely different issue than the rape charges.

The Swedish courts could have given Assange a chance to confront his accusers & quite frankly if he is innocent he should do everything in his power to prove so. Now he will proceed through life surrounded with suspicions & if women are wise they will take precaution around him.

PS: In the interests of full disclosure, Assange makes my skin crawl, politically & personally.

(Caricature of Assange by Simon Ellinas)