Why do Kashmiris have red cheeks
Why do Kashmiris protest
Why do Kashmiris call themselves Kashmiris not Indians.
Why why why!

(Retweeted faysal (@_Faysal) via Irfan Hassan)

A tribute to Tank Man in Tiananmen Square

Tank Man (Jeff Widener) June 5th 1989

On the 28th anniversary of Tiananmen Square: the unknown Chinese democracy protestor known only as “Tank Man” (whose fate remains unknown) stands as testimony to the power of resistance & to opposing the falsification of history by those who deny a massacre ever took place.

Today, thousands will protest in Hong Kong, as they do every year, to commemorate those who fought & died in Tiananmen or later in Chinese prisons. Icons of democracy like Tank Man & Li Wangyang will be honored.

We honor not only our Chinese brothers & sisters but the thousands of men, women, & children from China to Syria, Kashmir, Palestine, Venezuela, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Morocco, India, Afghanistan, Myanmar, & everywhere tyranny is opposed who carry on the highest tradition of humanity to resist oppression & fight for human freedom.

Tribute to Chinese dissident Li Wangyang

Li Wangyang

Reposted & updated tribute to Li Wangyang, a democracy activist in China:
Today we commemorate the 28th anniversary of Tiananmen Square when the Chinese government violently cracked down on the democracy movement with the imposition of martial law.

Student protests for democratic reforms that began in Beijing in April 1989 spread rapidly to include millions of people in over 400 Chinese cities. After the military crackdown on June 4th, the regime used traffic control systems in Tiananmen Square as a surveillance system to track down participants & then unleashed a nation-wide crackdown, hauling in thousands of activists for interrogation & arrest in order to strangle the movement.

This is a day to honor those activists, many of whom were tortured & likely died in prison. Li Wangyang represents the best in that generation of fighters & reportedly served one of the longest jail terms. He was a 39-year-old factory worker & labor rights activist in Shaoyang (Hunan Province) about 920 miles (1481 km) south of Beijing, who advocated & organized labor unions independent of Chinese government control. Mr. Li was arrested as a result of his participation in the democracy movement, including publicly posting a call for a general strike in support & organizing a memorial for the victims.

He served 21 years in prison on charges of counterrevolutionary propaganda, incitement, & subversion. During that time, he was subjected to hard labor, torture, beatings which caused blindness & loss of hearing, solitary confinement. In May 2011, he was released for reasons of poor health & checked into a hospital for treatment of diabetes & heart disease. On June 6th, 2012, he was found hanged in his hospital room. Officials immediately declared it a suicide & pressured his family (who visited him daily) for cremation, warning them not to make trouble.

Mr. Li was frail & broken physically by his incarceration but his mind & spirit remained undaunted & fearless. A media interview only days before his death documents that along with the testimony of his sister & family members. He was too weakened by torture & abuse to even stand alone, let alone hang himself.

Thousands march every year in Hong Kong to mourn the death of this champion of democracy & human freedom & to demand a formal criminal investigation into his death. The results of such a forensic investigation have not been forthcoming while the regime hopes time will nullify the demand.

We should all take a moment to honor this remarkable man. May he RIP & may his life & commitment to democracy inspire a whole new generation of freedom fighters not just in China but throughout the world.

(Photo is Li Wangyang)

My neighbor chained his dog day & night without shelter as a guard dog. I just saw he got loose & took off. I think this is the second one that got away. It’s monstrous to tether a dog like that without exercise, affection, any interaction. Godspeed to the dog. May he find a better life than the hell he had.

On Wahhabism & scare-mongering about jihad

For an article for Pakistan Today, I’ve read several books on Wahhabism & scare-mongering about Jihad. I’m guessing that makes me an authority among most non-Muslims. And believe me, I know nothing because unfortunately most of the scholarship available to me was written by US State Department types. The same situation I found studying Kashmir.

Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th century Islamic scholar, founder, & ideologue of Wahhabism, wrote 14 volumes which I have no intention of reading despite accusations his theological writings are the ideology of modern “jihadi terrorism.” I’m interested first, in the relationship of Wahhabism to the Saudi state, which wasn’t formed until 140 years after his death; & second, if Wahhabism has any actual significant influence on extremist militias like ISIS or political currents like the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s an extremely complex history which I’ve only scratched the surface of thus far & just in Saudi Arabia. But one thing I know for sure: understanding the politics of the Middle East lies more in colonialism, war, occupation than in Islamic theology. If you understand how Christianity functioned within the European colonial system, it’s easier to conceptualize the situation with Islam in the Middle East.

Like the US civil rights movement increased scholarship among Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans that made chopped liver out of the racist histories we were taught in college, more & combative Muslim scholars will have to emerge to take on the rubbish that fills the shelves as scholarship.

“Atrocities of the Palestinians”. That’s a good one! Much like atrocities of Dalits, Adivasis, Kashmiris and Muslims.”

–by a Palestinian supporter in a discussion on Bobby Kunhu’s wall answering a man who claimed Palestinians use their children as suicide bombers & whose primary source of information was Wikipedia, owned by a Zionist feted by Israel for services rendered to propaganda.