It’s such a moving tribute that so many are posting photos of those killed at Christchurch so that we know who it is we’ve lost. People around the world display collages of their beloved who were forcibly disappeared for decades after they were disappeared as an act of protest to demand justice. When Palestinians or Kashmiris post photos of their beloved disappeared or killed by occupation forces, it makes what they are going through very personal & meaningful to all of us. When my younger brother took his own life, all of us in the Samaritan support group used photo collages to help process our grief & still today I surround myself with photos of Paul because it helps to keep him near my heart. We all created a quilt for suicide prevention events with photos of our beloved.

Photographs play a role in grieving & in the fight for justice so thank you to those posting photos of those who have died in Palestine, Kashmir, Christchurch, & elsewhere. It’s a tribute to the role they have played in the struggle against war, occupation, persecution, genocide.

(Photo is protest of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons January 2019, from Alamy website)

Because we all need a good laugh right now. Or better yet a good cry. This is the movie poster for the Bollywood biopic of Modi’s life which will undoubtedly leave out the genocide parts. The movie is of course intended to sway the upcoming elections but the sniveling film producer said it’s being released early “on public demand” because “There is a lot of love & anticipation among the people & we don’t want them to wait longer.” We thought cult of personality was bad with Stalin, Putin, & some of the goofballs who’ve been US president. But this takes the cake.

Not to be a downer, but the New Zealand government is very much a part of the so-called “war on terror.” The prime minister’s gestures of condolence are undoubtedly sincere & they’re very powerful indeed. But it would be far more powerful if New Zealand withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, & elsewhere & did not deploy them in the future in the Islamophobic “war on terror.”

This is Zulkarnain Banday’s comment on the issue:
“Don’t get swayed by the Hijab or Duppata on New Zealand PM’s head. New Zealand is part of the military machinery that has killed roughly around 4 million Muslims in the ongoing so-called ‘war on terror’. From the boots on the ground to the logistics, the country has assisted the United States in every way possible to perpetuate the endless bloodshed across the Muslim lands.”

The news about these Hamas gangs attacking people in Gaza should not dissuade us from supporting the Palestinian freedom struggle by one iota. Palestinians aren’t the only ones with a leadership problem. Forging an uncompromising leadership is one of the most difficult tasks in politics. More importantly, under the conditions & pressures of genocide it’s not surprising that some political forces will snap & become unhinged. Zionists & their fellow travelers have long used the politics of Hamas to discredit the Palestinian struggle as a whole. We keep our attention on building solidarity with Palestinians. If they are courageous enough to take on Israeli colonialism & apartheid, they are more than capable of forging a new leadership & stopping the Hamas violence.

This is an impassioned appeal for human solidarity against all the wars, occupations, & genocides of our times by Kashmiri Zachriah Sulayman. It resonates with Behrouz Boochani’s resistance manifesto from Manus Island:

“When guns are not accessible, they’ll take to blades. If they can’t incite for the sake of religions, they’ll use identities and ethnicities. These maniacal people , may differ in their identities and foundations however they are conceived from a similar hatred and this is the thing that they want to see. To see the world burn. Firearms don’t kill people, individuals slaughter individuals. They should be halted at any expense. Their reproducing grounds, their flunkies in predominant press, their companions and sympathizers in politics. They should be called out for what they are; sad excuses. This isn’t possible alone. We should create solidarities around the globe, celebrate one another and prevent racists and bigots from hijacking our identities, ethnicities and religions. We should regain ourselves from them and stand united. An unhinged person would have you trust that this is the conflict of civilizations. No. This isn’t. This is the ideal opportunity for comprehension, resilience, love and empathy. It’s time to come closer. As Mother Teresa puts it ” If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other..’ Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said ” Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. “.We must commit ourselves to a future that has a place with everybody for the way to god leads through love. Ali Ibn Talib once said “be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it’. Utilize your abilities to uplift others for hatred is too much of a burden to bear. Asalamu Alaikum (May peace be upon you).”

Students at the school of Rizwan Pandit protest against his murder by Indian occupying forces.

(Photos by Waseem Dar)

“-occupation means an arrest, a torture, an intimidation, a humiliation, a cold calculated murder, a cooked up truth and a proscriptive denial.

–Zafar Iqbal

Zachriah Sulayman on the torture centers maintained by Indian occupying forces in Kashmir:

“Mehbooba Mufti , Mufti Sayeed and Omar Abdullah, lived and slept in Papa 2, the infamous torture cum slaughter centre , where thousands of Kashmiris were tortured and killed in 90’s by establishment troops. So many humans were brutalized , tortured and killed there that they brought priests from all religions in 1998 to bless the place before opening it up for the politicians. The shrieks will never leave that place, even if they, wash it with the holy water. That place belongs to the survivors, to Kashmiris, to those who died and to those who lived to recount the story. It was one among thousands of our Auschwitz-Birkenau. It has a place within our memory. The names eliminated there should be written on its walls, so that, future generations know, this was Papa 2 but who knows how many died there or are buried underneath it.Only God knows how many have buried Papa 2 in their hearts. Basharat Peer , an Author and currently opinion editor at New York times writes about Papa 2 in his memoir Curfewed night “Hundreds who were taken to Papa-2 did not return. Those who did return were wrecks”. Don’t expect justice from those who slept through our holocaust. Shahid’s Rizwan continues to die while we try to find him in the shoes mourners left behind, victims of the firing. Papa 2 belongs to us. It’s our bloody shrine, a memory of our struggle.”

A dear Facebook friend sent me a copy of “A Letter From Manus Island” by Behrouz Boochani, the Kurdish Iranian writer denied asylum & locked up by the Australian government on Manus Island in Papua, New Guinea for almost six years. He is the recent winner of the Australian Victorian literary award for his book “No Friend But the Mountains” which was written one text message at a time.He was unable to be present to receive the award because he is not allowed into Australia & remains incarcerated for being a refugee.

Boochani calls it a “resistance manifesto.” It’s only ten pages long but it is a powerful, magnificent assertion of the humanity of immigrants & refugees. This is just one excerpt: “The refugees have been able to refashion the image of themselves as the “Other.” We have reshaped the understanding of us as politically inept & have been successful in projecting an image of who we are. We now present the real face of refugees for Australia to discern.” After Christchurch & after the hateful manifesto by the white supremacist politician, Boochani’s letter is a breath of fresh air which affirms the humanity of refugees & appeals to the humanity of all of us to fight with them for asylum rights as human rights. Anyone who has read his resistance manifesto for refugees awaits with anticipation getting our hands on “No Friend But the Mountains.”

(Photo of Behrouz Boochani by Jonas Gratzer for the Guardian)