Another account of the Kashmiri men returning home after 23 years of wrongful incarceration in an Indian prison.

“Many of the people are asking to compensate these gentlemen for wrongfully incarcerating them for 23 years. I wonder what money would suffice for the loss of two decades, will it turn the sands of time? There are hundreds of Kashmiris being tortured as we speak, little kids, people who are humans. Bruised and wrecked. Their only crime; being and identifying as what no one can deny. Kashmiris. Jailed for being Kashmiris. Shouldn’t they be released? But no. Let Kashmiris hit the bucket. No riches on the gods beautiful earth can compensate them. Welcome back home my friends. Viva la Cashmere.”

–Zachriah Sulayman

A scene from Syrian & Russian bombing of Ariha, Idlib: there are those who turn their faces from this reality or say, as Madeleine Albright did of 500,000 Iraqi children killed by US sanctions, that it was “worth it” to achieve US policy goals–or in the case of Syria, to achieve self-determination for the Assad dictatorship & prevent a “US regime-change operation.” To those so corrupted we say where, when, & how did you lose your humanity? What bizarre ideology swept you off your feet & rotted your brain so that the deranged accusations of Assad propagandists hold sway rather than the voices & documentation of the Syrian Arab Spring uprising against dictatorship?

Stop the bombing of Idlib! Demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all Russian, Iranian, US-coalition (including Israel), & Hezbollah forces & mercenaries from Syria.

(Photo by Muhammad Said/Anadolu Agency)

A view of El Paso del Norte concentration camp for refugees near El Paso, Texas across the river from Juárez, Mexico: if these are not concentration camps, why are the fences topped with razor wire? Do immigration authorities consider razor wire safe for small children to be around, let alone appropriate for housing human beings? But of course when you dump & hold human beings in such conditions, their humanity counts as nothing, zip, nada.

Open the damn borders. No human being is alien to us.

(Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters, June 2019)

China has recruited 13 more countries to join the 37 others who signed a letter endorsing the genocide of Uyghur Muslims by claiming China is a bastion of human rights & the concentration camps where Uyghur are incarcerated, tortured, killed, or led to commit suicide are in fact vocational schools. The fifty signatory countries are called the “Axis of Shame.” Of the 13 new signers, only Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, & Palestine have been identified by China. That would suggest either that China is lying or that some of the new signers are shy about publicly supporting genocide of Muslims. Because of China’s hush-hush around the new signers, it isn’t reported who signed for Palestine but if in fact a Palestinian official did sign it, we can take a guess that his name would be Mahmoud Abbas.

(Meme from Bitter Winter)

The day after the US blocked a UN attempt to shake the naughty finger at Israel for massive demolitions of Palestinian homes, unelected & unpopular Palestinian president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas issued another one of his empty threats to Israel saying the Palestinian Authority (PA) will stop implementing all its agreements with Israel. The PA was established & solely functions to implement & enforce the provisions of the Oslo Accords which legitimize Israeli occupation & expropriation, including the demolition of homes & entire towns in the West Bank. All other agreements are dwarfed in comparison.

It could change everything for Palestinians if this octogenarian traitor actually pulled his nose out of Netanyahu’s ass & untangled himself from subservience to Israel. But he won’t because if funding to the PA is reduced any more or eliminated altogether, who would pay for the upkeep of his lavish lifestyle? How could he keep Israel from blowing the whistle on the shady financial dealings of him & his corrupt sons as revealed in the Panama Papers?

The Palestinian struggle is one of the most important anti-colonial struggles of our times. This guy was installed to sit on that struggle & impede it, not to advance self-determination for Palestinians. A new visionary leadership is emerging from Intifada that will replace him with uncompromising fighters & consign him to the dust bin of history.

(Photo of Abbas by Mohamed Torokman/Reuters)

Mehbooba Mufti served as chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir from April 2016 to June 2018 in a coalition government with the BJP, the Modi party of Hindutva nationalists. She just tweeted “We the people of Kashmir need to stand up as one.” But in December 2016, after nearly six months of a brutal crackdown by the Indian occupying army, including months of curfews & thousands of pellet munitions against unarmed protesters, Mufti justified the extreme violence. In a public speech she asked Indian forces to start to ‘differentiate between offenders like militants & stone pelters & their families.” She had no problem shooting stone pelters with pellet guns & live ammo or setting up hunt to kill operations against militants, but she had scruples about the Indian army shooting at civilians?

That isn’t what the statistics say from that period in Kashmir called “the world’s first mass blinding” by pellet munitions. In just four months of that uprising & crackdown, 17,000 Kashmiris, including children, were injured; nearly 5,000 were arrested; hundreds of Kashmiri civilians were blinded, disfigured, disabled by pellet guns. Mufti didn’t & wouldn’t speak out against that because she was in a coalition with the Indian government engaged in the slaughter.

When Mufti calls for unity, she means something entirely different than what Kashmiri freedom fighters, including the stone pelters, mean. She does not speak for Azadi but for Modi.

(Photo of Mufti from PTI, 2016)

Suu Kyi & the generals are trying to pull a fast one on Rohingya refugees by making an offer of ‘naturalized citizenship’ rather than full human, democratic, & civil rights. The Rohingya are responding as a chorus with the same contempt as Rohingya activist Ro Nay San Lwin who tweeted: “I’m not going to waste my time by talking about “Naturalized Citizenship” offered by Myanmar. Here you got two options: either give us full citizenship OR we form our own state in our homeland in Northern Arakan state. NO negotiation!”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s father Aung San negotiated the 1947 Burmese constitution which defined citizenship after decolonization from Britain. Burma is in many ways a prison house of nations with many different indigenous ethnic groups who have purposely not been fully integrated & who the state has been at war with on a nearly continuous basis. Aung Sun was influenced by Stalin’s view of the ‘national question’ which included discrimination & repression against them. But when the 1947 constitution was formulated, Aung San, as a pragmatic politician, accepted all of the many indigenous ethnic groups, including specifically the Rohingya, into full citizenship. Aung San was assassinated in July 1947.

In 1982, the military dictatorship which took over Burma in 1962 reformulated citizenship law, creating a three-tiered system which deprived the Rohingya of citizenship. It is of interest that Suu Kyi’s mother Khin Kyi served as Burma’s ambassador to India (1960-67), including for five years under the military dictatorship. Under the 1982 law, the Rohingya are defined as ‘illegal immigrants’ from Bangladesh & can apply for the third, lowest tier of citizenship called naturalized citizenship if they can provide conclusive documentation of residence in Burma prior to 1948 when Burma became a state after British colonization. What that means is that Suu Kyi & the generals are mocking Rohingya justice & citizenship rights with their contemptible offer. The generals have no hopes of fooling any Rohingya but are playing to the peanut gallery that makes up the UN & to investors in Burma’s neoliberal economic bonanza.

The Rohingya have been an integral part of the region for hundreds of years, long before Burma become a nation. They have a long history & a rich culture & every human right to return to their homeland to live as a free people. It is Suu Kyi & the generals who usurped democracy in Burma & are the illegal interlopers who must be thrown out on their asses. We only see photos of Rohingya refugees, photos that can dehumanize & turn them into objects of pity. If we commit to solidarity with their struggle, we will some day see photos of the richness of their lives & culture as a free people in Arakan state.

(Photo is painted portrait of Rohingya refugee by Hannah Rose Thomas, 2018)

On July 24th, the US blocked an attempt by Kuwait, Indonesia, & South Africa to get the UN Security Council to condemn Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem where Israeli bulldozers are engaged in major demolition projects. Is that what the Trump regime calls Jared Kushner’s ‘deal of the century’ for Palestinians?

This is another account about the Kashmiri men arrested by Indian officials, framed for a crime they did not commit, & incarcerated for 23 years before being acquitted last week. The world has changed considerably–even the occupation has become more brutal–& they are having a wrenching time adjusting to what they have missed & lost. They went into prison as young men & are coming out middle-aged, their youth stolen from them.

Their experience resonates so strongly with the many Black prisoners in the US who were framed & sentenced to life, even the death penalty, on insufficient evidence or no evidence & uncommitted defense attorneys but are now being released after DNA evidence has proven them completely innocent.

In courts of law, there is precious little justice for the oppressed, especially for those who speak out against injustice.

“It’s well-known that all the feminists are standing for islamists and hijab.”

–This comment by Assadist SMM Syria on Twitter would be hilarious were it not that most well-known feminists of the older & younger generations support the Islamophobic ‘war on terror’–if they ever mention it at all as a concern for millions of Muslim women.