So I went nuts with the posting today. You get to be my age, you take liberties. Becoming a windbag is one of them. At least I don’t belch or make other unseemly noises. Believe me that’s worse.

“Suu Kyi is not guilty, if by that we mean she does NOT pull the trigger. But again Hitler didn’t kill a single Jew.”

–Maung Zarni, Burmese dissident

Burmese Buddhist & dissident Maung Zarni speaking in his usual blunt-spoken way:

“Lord Buddha was right. His followers will degenerate into suicidal shit-heads.

“The so-called Buddhist majorities in these places themselves succumb to the cancer of “Buddhist” nationalism, which is an oxymoron because in textual & philosophical Buddhism there is no such thing as “essentialized & real” Me, or You, let alone “my country” “my state” “my government”. It was Gotama himself who is believed to have prophesised that Buddhism will be destroyed by its own adherents. I think he is right: these Theraveda Buddhist societies are destroying themselves as they attempt to subjugate, colonialise or otherwise destroy their scapegoats–be they Eelam Tamils, Southern Thais of Malay ancestry or Myanmar Rohingyas.””

Almost all prominent Assadist forces have registered their support for the fascist Burmese military & for the Rohingya genocide. Mint Press is the only one not (yet) endorsing the genocide. It’s all of a piece with their support for Assad’s dictatorship & opposition to the popular revolution against him. Can they be so wrong on genocide in Burma but right on Syria? Only in Assad LaLa Land.

On braid-chopping: not mental illness but psyops by Indian army

There’s no doubt many conclude that the braid-chopping incidents in Kashmir are just an episode of mass hysteria. That’s what reports say about similar incidents in India. This has led to discussions about mental health issues among Kashmiris as a result of the occupation. Derangement is what you call mental health issues in the oppressor engaged in executions, forcible disappearances, mass rapes, torture, the use of pellet guns, grenades, tear gas, live ammo, fear-mongering to cause dissension. Now we’re talking psycho.

Mental health issues among the oppressed are another matter altogether. Those involve loss, grief, terror, fear for your children. There should be no stigma attached to these mental health issues since they are human responses to extreme duress. Many of us know something, maybe even a lot, about that & can approximate it from our own experiences. Though war, occupation, genocide are not episodes in life but unrelenting barbarisms.

Kashmiris will get to the bottom of what is real & what is fear in these braid-chopping incidents. We can be sure it isn’t ghosts or evil spirits behind it or fevered imaginations but the Indian army whipping up distrust. The wonder isn’t that Kashmiris suffer trauma from occupation but that they continue to resist despite it.

Kashmiri photojournalist assaulted by CRPF soldiers

Aasif Shafi at work (Muneeb Ul Islam) Oct 9 2017

Photojournalism is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world with a very high death rate–not only from getting caught in crossfire but from being targeted by the aggressor combatants like the Indian army in Kashmir. This is a photo of Kashmiri Aasif Shafi from last Friday, obviously in the midst of a confrontation. Today, he was driving to cover a braid-chopping incident when CRPF (Indian counterinsurgency troops) stopped his car, asked for his papers, & then assaulted him.

Kashmiris & their human rights supporters around the world are absolutely dependent on these fearless activists/photojournalists to present the reality of the brutal occupation to the world. We have to take their safety very seriously & raise hell when they are threatened, assaulted, arrested. The only way to do that is to maximize political pressure on the Indian government by internationally exposing every instance when they attempt to harm photojournalists. Already this year, one photojournalist has been arrested. A few years ago, one returned from work to find his house surrounded by CRPF troops, his wife & child terrorized, & his house vandalized. Now Aasif has been assaulted. We can’t let these instances pass by without an international uproar.

Stand with Kashmiri photojournalists. End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo by Muneeb Ul Islam)

The importance of braid-chopping has not escaped me but I don’t fully understand what’s going on so I’m reading what Kashmiris have to say about it & trying to learn. It isn’t my place to speculate. Meanwhile, we stand committed to the Kashmiri freedom struggle with no ifs, ands, or buts.

Sexualized crimes, including everything from sexual harassment to mass rape, are central to war, occupation, genocide–as essential as summary executions, forcible disappearances, torture, mass incarceration, & vilification of the victims. As Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez puts it:

“Gendered & sexualized crimes in a conflict are not only produced due to the criminality of the individual perpetrators but also institutionalized understanding of how violating women shatters the confidence of those resisting against it.”

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
You did not think
I suffer after
I’ve held my pain
So long.

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
You do not hear
My inner cry:
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing,
You do not know
I die.

~ Langston Hughes