Arshia Malik: another Muslim feminist shilling for Islamophobia

Kashmiri women : Dar Yasin:AP Dec 29 2015

It may come as a surprise to many but Islamic feminism is a vast field of study. At the University of Texas library where I do research, there is a considerable section of books on the subject–far more by several shelves than on the subject of Kashmir. One doesn’t even know if Islamic feminism should be a distinct subject since there is no field of study identified as Christian feminism–though Zionists have made Jewish feminism quite a preoccupation. Of course it’s true that culture, & religion as part of that, gives women’s oppression a particular cast requiring analyses sensitive & cognizant of differences.

There is no theoretical matrix that feminism must adhere to. It’s not an authoritarian creed. But the problems women face in every culture are all expressions of the same phenomenon–the violent, hateful, & insidious disrespect of women in private, social, & political life.

Women’s attire has always been a subject of scrutiny by feminists–from the scanty outfits worn by women athletes relative to males; to the misogynist promotion of naked protesting; to the Islamophobic fetish with the veil Muslim women wear. There are many clothing issues but when the veil takes priority over sexualized attire in political discourse to represent male dominance, we ought to smell a stinking rat.

Ironically, feminism & the social movements of oppressed nationalities have made society sensitive to that thing called “multiculturalism.” Even the white supremacist David Duke tips his hat to it to peddle his rancid message. So it’s obvious they can’t drag non-Muslim feminists out to attack the veil. Instead they beat the bushes for unsavory characters like Asra Nomani who calls herself a Muslim while excoriating Islam & denouncing the veil & doing so in a way non-Muslims could not pull off & principled people would not whilst Muslims are under international attack. Now the Nation magazine has published an article titled “Is hijab really a symbol of liberation when millions are oppressed into wearing it?” by a Kashmiri Muslim woman named Arshia Malik.

Her argumentation, such as it is, is absolutely banal & directed at feminists like me who defend women’s right to wear whatever the hell they want without damnation. In her contorted logic, our solidarity places us in league with the Taliban & Wahabbist/Salafist forces in Muslim societies. Is she for real? She cannot, or will not, distinguish between societies like Iran & Saudi Arabia that impose the veil & women who choose to wear it.

Malik doesn’t have to like wearing the veil; I didn’t like the veil when I was a nun because it was too hot in the summer & I don’t like things on my head even in winter. But that’s all personal. Why can’t Malik see what’s going on politically? She lives in Srinagar where women in veils are leading protests against the Indian occupation. She knows damn well Islamophobia is the ideology of war-mongering. Is she more in accord with that so that she can turn her back on Muslims under attack to join the pack of wolves attacking them?

Most non-Muslims don’t know much about Islam; most Christians, at least Catholics, are hard-pressed to explain their own catechism. Catholics don’t even read the Bible. We don’t know if the Quran requires the veil or not. Who cares? The Bible doesn’t say you can’t smoke, drink, dance, or play poker but many Christians still ban all of them like interdiction came from the mouth of God.

Women in veils are leading popular uprisings in several countries, including Kashmir where Malik lives. If at any time they decide the veil is oppressive, they will remove it & they don’t need polemical discourses from anyone to decide if they want to or not–including the likes of Malik. If Malik wants to serve the cause of feminist justice, she ought to write about the affects of the Indian occupation on Muslim women in Kashmir instead of pandering to Islamophobia among the liberal readers of the Nation with banal arguments indistinguishable from right-wing Zionist Phyllis Chesler.

And for the record: how come no one goes after Mother Teresa for wearing the veil? Is it because she was so in tune with the power elite?

Photo is Kashmiri Muslim workers demonstrating against the government in a one-day general strike, 2012. Do they look like they need remedial intervention about their veils?

(Photo by Dar Yasin/AP)

Texas to become open carry state in January 2016

It’s so not comforting to enter January 2016 knowing open carry of pistols becomes legal in Texas. Guns have to be holstered but I’ve watched shootouts in old westerns. You can can probably still win a gunfight by tipping the holsters up & blasting away. It’s scary as hell that women & children especially become more vulnerable to any number of crimes–robbery being the least of them.

Turds of a feather: David Duke expresses affinity with Donald Trump

David Duke, the prominent US white supremacist & former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan has produced many videos ostensibly to support Palestinian justice which frequently circulate on social media.

No Palestinian supporter or progressive of any kind should touch this pasty-faced creep with a ten-foot pole. He identifies as a “European American” & his only interest in Palestinians is as a way to have a go at & do harm to Jews. But when people object to his videos we are often told he is a changed man who acknowledges what a steaming pile of manure he once was.

Do a google or YouTube search of David Duke on Donald Trump to see the recent video interview where he expresses admiration for Trump as a ‘defender of the traditional values of European Americans’, thinks there is massive racism in the US against whites, opposes immigration because it threatens the “demographic annihilation” of European Americans.

His affinity to Trump is evident & should suffice to cleave all connections between him & us.

PS: I’d post the video here but he tends to stink up the place & it can easily be found on YouTube.

Ayotzinapa 43 protest in Mexico City on Christmas Day

Ayotzinapa protest Mx City ( Marco Ugarte:AP) Dec 27 2015

It was nearly one year & a half ago the Mexican military–which functions as an occupying force in its own country–disappeared 43 student teachers from the Ayotzinapa teachers college near Iguala, Mexico. After a phony investigation, the government of smooth-talking president Enrique Peña Nieto tried to declare the case closed. Only one of the students was found buried but in the search by family & volunteers, the bodies of 100 other unidentified disappeared Mexicans were found in the area.

The families of the Ayotzinapa 43 believe their sons may be held in secret prisons enduring torture & eventual murder & they have not ceased protests demanding the regime come clean about the fate of their sons & return them home alive.

Kidnapping & disappearing activists is one of the most monstrous methods used under neoliberal capitalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people have been disappeared, tortured, & dumped in mass graves like rubbish. Somewhere near fifty regimes employ or have employed this method in the past several decades.

During the “Dirty War” in Argentina between 1976 & 1983, human rights groups estimate 30,000 were disappeared–including by taking them over the ocean & shoving them out of planes. In the Sri Lankan civil war of the 1980s, estimates are from 12,000 to 20,000 disappeared by the military. In Guatemala, over 45,000 were disappeared by the military between 1960 & 1996. In Kashmir, Indian military & paramilitary forces have disappeared over 8,000 (as of 2009). In Mexico, the estimates of disappeared since 2006 are between 26,000 & 30,000. (It doesn’t appear that Central American immigrants disappeared as they travel through Mexico to the US border are included in the estimates of the Mexican government.) Disappearing is also used as a weapon of war by the US in Afghanistan & elsewhere & appears to be the modus operandi of special forces like the Green Beret, who are nothing more than psychotic death squads valorized as heroes.

Disappearing people is a particularly heinous crime because it allows families no resolution to grief. Since the grief cannot be resolved until families have their loved ones back to bury & honor–& thus becomes more wrenching–the disappeared remain an active part of social struggle. They will haunt justice until it is addressed. Decades after the crimes, families display photo montages of those lost. They’re still showing such montages from the thousands disappeared by Franco forces in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s & still demanding justice. It should also be considered a remarkably stupid crime because it forever indicts the regimes that use it.

As governments try to skirt & trash civil liberties in the so-called war on terror, they will employ more of this method since it short-circuits due process & prosecution for an actual crime rather than just protesting for justice. Educating ourselves & others about this vile crime is part of the struggle against it.

Our fullest respect & solidarity with the families of the Ayotzinapa 43 & with the Mexican people in their struggle to end military occupation which has also taken over 100,000 civilian lives, made Mexico an extremely dangerous country for journalists & Central American immigrants–but a paradise for drug traffickers.

Photo is protesters, including family members of the Ayotzinapa 43, at a Christmas Day rally in Mexico City.

(Photo by Marco Ugarte/AP)

Retrospective on Vietnam War

VC woman

Re-posting this from two years ago because it explains the power of the anti-Vietnam War movement in conjunction with Vietnamese resistance to US military aggression. It was a transformative political era that broke the chokehold of the McCarthy Era in US politics.

It isn’t a matter of reliving old glories in politics but of drawing on the immensely important things activists learned about international solidarity, movement building, the role of veterans & soldiers.

Despite disagreement on when the Vietnam War began, 50 year retrospectives have begun–certainly several years too late since US “military advisers” (including CIA, air force, & naval assistance) were already present in 1950 in what was then called French Indochina, as a long-established colony of France. It goes without saying, the US was on the side of French colonialism. Though it is ancient history to many activists today, the Vietnam War was a political event of the greatest importance. Though touted by the US government as a war to contain the expansion of communism, the new activism broke the choke-hold of anti-communist hysteria & ended the McCarthy witch-hunt in the US. It was a continuation of the struggle against colonialism set back by both World Wars & by the Korean War. Millions of people around the world were propelled into political activism despite Cold War repression from the 1950s.

It was the only war in modern times (including WWII, the Korean War, & every war & occupation since) that was not censored. In an experiment that clearly went sour, the US “embedded” reporters–not as they do now to sanitize the wars–but to assist reporters in getting around the country. (The Pentagon official who devised that innovation probably died in ignominy, a lean & hungry fellow.) This short-lived innovation gave the media a way to claim their coverage of the war was instrumental in ending the war while they ignored (& sometimes red-baited) the millions around the world protesting the war. In fact, what many of us remember about media coverage is racist descriptions of the Vietnamese as “the enemy,” as communists trying to take over the world, & for the steadfast refusal to honestly report antiwar protests–if they bothered to report them at all.

The official narratives of the war are filled with uncertainties, more accurately called lies. Some accounts claim that between 1963 & 1964 up to 23,000 “military advisers” began pouring into the country & that US combat troops (eventually numbering up to 550,000) were not deployed until early 1965. In fact, the first of my three brothers to serve in that war was deployed as a US Marine in 1963. He was a working class grunt, not a “military adviser.”

The partition of Vietnam into two zones in 1954 was considered provisional & was an agreement reached in negotiations between the Viet Minh, representing the independence movement in Vietnam, & the French colonizers. The agreement came after several years of war; it is when French forces faced opposition to colonialism & the war at home & defeats on the battlefield by the Vietnamese that the US intervened with its so-called military advisers (though some would rightly call 23,000 military advisers a small army).

North Vietnam had a regular army experienced from 40 years of fighting the French. The Viet Cong were guerilla & regular forces in South Vietnam, both under the command structure of the North Vietnamese army. While the US used advanced weaponry, aerial bombardment including chemical warfare like Napalm & Agent Orange, search & destroy missions wiping out entire villages, & unspeakable violence against prisoners of war, the Viet Cong fought with crossbows, spears, booby traps, bamboo spikes, & mortars & automatic weapons captured from the French & US armies. Most importantly, they fought with the popular support of the Vietnamese.

One of the most remarkable features of the Vietnam War was the antiwar character of many US soldiers. Many US soldiers deployed in Vietnam openly opposed the war; hundreds of active duty GIs & veterans in the US actively organized against the war. Thus began the antiwar tradition still prevailing where veterans lead off antiwar protests–because of their unrivaled moral authority in exposing the atrocities of war. They do not seek to defend the indefensible but to expose it & build opposition to other wars.

Antiwar activists should join the retrospectives on the Vietnam War in the spirit of antiwar veterans & to rebuild the antiwar movement. And we should first of all make tribute to the Vietnamese who fought so valiantly against the mightiest military machine in world history, defeated the US militarily & kicked its ass out of Vietnam in 1975. We should tip our hats to the millions of activists around the world who marched & chanted against the war; some are still marching against other wars.

This woman is a Viet Cong suspect being questioned (in the spirit of Abu Ghraib) in 1967 with an M-16 rifle held to her head by a US soldier. Such interrogations were standard operating procedure in Vietnam.

(AP photo from book entitled “Vietnam: The Real War)

Christmas Day Gaza 2015

Gaza Christmas Day (Mohammed Asad) Dec 27 2015

Do you think the news services actually have reporters on the ground covering the military occupation of Palestinian territory? If they do, it’s sure a colossal waste of money since their reports are usually verbatim quotes from Israeli military officials. The reports all have a scripted, press release quality & if editors had an ounce of journalistic integrity or investigative rigor, those handing in these kind of reports would be canned. Or maybe the Associated Press (AP) just calls up the public relations department at the IDF to get a statement. The AP actually copyrights their crap but they need never fear an intelligent reader would want to ‘publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute’ it except for purposes of ridicule.

Let us brave the copyright laws & cite the Israeli press release/AP report about the military murder of Hani Wahdan, a 22-year-old man in the Gaza Strip on Christmas Day: “Israeli troops shot at Palestinians attempting to breach the Gaza Strip’s border fence with Israel….Since mid-September, a wave of Palestinian shooting, stabbing & vehicular attacks have killed 20 Israelis. At least 126 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in the same period, of whom 86 Israel says were attacking or attempting to attack Israelis.”

That’s quite an indictment of Palestinians & any reputable news service would want to verify every accusation in that litany of crimes instead of repeating them ad nauseam & risking mockery as parrots for Israeli propaganda.

This is a photo from an album of that incident in Gaza where young Wahdan was killed. It was published with a story in the Middle East Monitor (MEMO). Raises some questions about the veracity of the AP report, doesn’t it? These are clearly unarmed young men running from a tear gas assault. Some photos show them with slingshots against one of the most sophisticated military arsenals in the world. None were close enough for Israeli soldiers to plant a knife on. So why exactly did Israeli troops open fire on them, especially since there was an apartheid fence between them?

According to the MEMO report–& since they had a photojournalist on the ground they are more credible than Israeli military officials sitting on their asses in Jerusalem–two Palestinians were killed on Christmas Day by Israeli troops & more than 30 others were injured in both the Gaza Strip & West Bank. Nine other Palestinians were wounded in the incident where Wahdan was killed; four more, including a child, were wounded in another incident near the refugee camp of Al-Burij in Gaza; six others were wounded near the town of Khan Younis, also in Gaza. Many suffered respiratory problems from tear gas assaults.

So now let’s ask the questions the AP didn’t ask the IDF. Why did the Israeli military shoot live ammo at unarmed protesters? Did they shoot them for chanting anti-occupation slogans? Did they shoot them as they ran away like here or because they got too close to the apartheid fence? How exactly did they ‘attempt to breach the border fence’? Were the soldiers afraid the guy on the motorbike would challenge their tanks & bulldozers in a vehicular attack? Just how much stupid are we being asked to swallow?

May young Wahdan Rest in Peace; our condolences to his grieving family & friends.

Honoring & building the boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729) is the strongest expression of solidarity with Palestinian justice.

(Photo by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad)

Still no accounting for thousands of Rohingya deaths at sea last May

Rohingya boy in camp Dec 27 2015

This little guy is a Rohingya Muslim, one of the estimated 150,000 forced into concentration camps in Myanmar. Prior to the elections this year the military-backed regime forcibly entered the camps & took back the temporary identity cards issued Rohingya when they were stripped of citizenship in the 1980s. They are persecuted as pariah & treated as undocumented immigrants though they have lived in the country for generations.

There still has been no accounting of the thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution last May. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimated 25,000 fled persecution in rickety boats across the Andaman Sea. Boat crews abandoned the ships after a crackdown by the Thai military regime. Although there were dozens of large boatloads of Rohingya without food & water, only five boats were allowed to land in Indonesia & Malaysia.

There was some big talk from countries like Turkey & Ecuador about sending naval ships to rescue the refugees, but no reports they actually deployed anything more than grandstanding rhetoric. Big talking Obama of the toothy grin never even raised the possibility of US ships in the area deploying on a rescue mission. The US navy is for war, not mercy. To anyone paying attention, it was absolutely certain many boatloads of Rohingya had been abandoned at sea to die–except for the five & a few intercepted by the Myanmar regime & brought back for incarceration in concentration camps.

That was in May. So why did it take the UNHCR & Amnesty International (AI) so damn long to report the loss of perhaps thousands of refugees at sea? AI issued its report in October. They needed time to interview Rohingya survivors but shouldn’t they have been screaming bloody murder back in May when the entire world knew of the treachery Rohingya were facing at the hands of the Myanmar & Thai regimes? When the entire world stood witness to the callous indifference toward Rohingya lives?

Indonesia & Malaysia are allowing the refugees to stay only until May 2016. Then what? Then they deport them back to concentration camps in Myanmar?

Enough with the unspeakable crimes against Rohingya Muslims. Sanctions should be imposed on the Myanmar regime until they end the barbaric persecution. But as the US, China, India, & other Myanmar business partners see it, genocide should not be allowed to interfere with making profits. Neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism has no time for mercy.

AI’s October report called for “coordinated action against human trafficking in a way that does not put people’s lives or human rights at risk.” Shouldn’t they be calling for an end to genocide & demanding refugee rights instead of putting all the blame on traffickers? What about blasting those regimes who couldn’t send even one navy ship to pick up the refugees or that wouldn’t allow them to land?

Solidarity begins with educating ourselves & others about the role our own governments play in the persecution of Rohingya. It proceeds from education to action demanding justice.

This little boy is at the Gong Dokka concentration camp near Sittwe in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

(Photo by NYUNT/EPA)

{Thank you to Jannatun Nayeem Nayeema for this photo}

Christmas Day in Palestine: no end of Israeli military brutality

Christmas Day Palestine  (REUTERS:Mohamad Torokman) Dec 26 2015

Christmas Day 2015, Ramallah, West Bank: Palestinian protesters here defend themselves with burning tires against Israeli military aggression outside Ofer Prison, notorious for the incarceration of Palestinian children & for human rights abuses. The psychological stress of the occupation on Palestinians must be overwhelming, especially on holidays with the international mantra “peace on earth, good will to men.” Four Palestinian protesters were shot dead just on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is high season for pilgrimage tourism with tens of thousands of Christians from around the world traveling to the West Bank sites where Jesus lived. Jewish tourism is part of this industry to sites reinvented & claimed as meaningful in the Old Testament from 3,000 years ago. This year the season was preceded by three months of an Israeli settler & military pogrom against Palestinians & fallacious reports of a stabbing binge by Palestinians. This apparently dampened religious ardor, even among Christian evangelicals who help bankroll the Israeli settlements & feel they have a vested interest in promoting Israeli colonialism.

Pilgrimage tourists were down by tens of thousands this year. Media reported the catastrophic effects the current conflict had on the local Palestinian economy. What they didn’t report was the long-term economic problems caused by the apartheid wall, economic encumbrances caused by restrictions like special roads for Israelis to the settlements separate from Palestinian roads with numerous checkpoints & barriers, & most of all that Israel long ago hijacked the tourist industry in the West Bank. Israel’s control of the tourist industry in the West Bank, along with the settlements, expose how thoroughgoing & massive the military occupation–& make chopped liver out of pretensions to a bantustate solution. Israeli’s intentions are ethnic cleansing, not neighboring Palestinian bantustates.

The Israeli military controls access & entry to the West Bank, including by tourists. Preference is given to Israeli tour companies over Palestinian firms. Most of the income from multi-million dollar pilgrimage tourism in the West Bank is accrued by Israeli businesses who book tours, provide necessary travel permits, book hotels within Jerusalem, & earn millions in annual income simply ripped off by the occupation of the West Bank.

Bethlehem, about 22 km/13 miles from Ramallah (8 km/6 mi from Jerusalem), has also been a center of military aggression against Palestinians–to protect the 22 Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land surrounding the city. Reportedly the streets stink from the skunk bombs used by Israeli troops to disperse Palestinian protesters.

In Manger Square, usually the center of Christmas caroling by Christian tourists, Palestinian activists set up a “resistance Christmas tree”–now for the third year. An olive tree uprooted by an Israeli bulldozer was decorated with barbed wire & teargas canisters & surrounded by barriers taken from protests against Israeli plans to extend the apartheid wall through monastery grounds at a nearby town.

The smell of skunk bombs & sight of a resistance tree do not serve the purpose of Israeli propaganda. Their travel companies are not going to usher thousands of pilgrimage tourists to get a load of apartheid or resistance to it.

Another question of course is how Christians reconcile apartheid with the New Testament. As Zionists do with the Old Testament? Some day a social psychologist will unravel the mysteries of such consciousness.

Stand with Palestinians as they fight for peace on earth by honoring the boycott of Israel (BDS)–barcode beginning 729.

(Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

“Identity politics” & the struggle against oppression

santa claus

“Identity politics” have come under an avalanche of attacks in the past few decades. The primary criticism is that they are divisive of some supposed unity. There could not be a more banal criticism or one more rooted in LaLa Land. The ruptures in society are not caused by women or oppressed peoples standing up to oppose persecution but by the persecution which is always violent & includes psychological warfare to demean or efface identity.

A unity that can only be achieved by pretending everything is hunky-dory is a false one. Political power to end these monstrous persecutions is the goal of identity politics–& political power is what is being opposed under the guise of solidarity & phony-assed unity.

Is it possible to remove women, Blacks, Muslims, & others from the vicious campaigns against them & make oppression a generic thing? How does that work? Was it possible under fascism to remove Jews, Roma, & others from being targeted for holocaust? Would the pogroms against Rohingya Muslim in Myanmar cease if they change their identity to Buddhist? Will Israel cease ethnic cleansing of Palestinians if they reconcile themselves to colonialism & accept Israel’s insistence that they never existed as a people?

This AP photo is captioned “An Israeli Arab Christian boy dressed up as Santa Claus waits for the start of the annual Christmas parade in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth, Israel, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015.” That would be the mother of all identity thefts. “Israeli Arabs” call themselves Palestinians & they do so as an assertion of their political & cultural identity.The switch in terminology is nothing more than a political construct by Israel to efface the political identity of the Palestinian people & their historic connection & claims to Palestine.

When media uses “Israeli Arab” instead of Palestinian, they are making a political stand with Israeli colonialism & one that should be rejected. A phenomenon which social psychologists should try to explain is why the oppressed have to fight the oppressors about what they are called. There are hundreds of abusive epithets used for the simple identity of woman. People struggle over what to call Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans in the US, the oppressed castes in India, & numerous ethnic & indigenous groups around the world.

Well the deal is that the oppressor doesn’t get to rename the oppressed to efface our identities. Part of the struggle for freedom & justice demands we reclaim our own names & our unique identities & demand we be treated with respect.

Build & honor the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel (BDS) to stand with Palestinians within Israel & the occupied territories.

(Photo by Ariel Schalit/AP)

News blackout about Indian occupation of Kashmir continues

Srinagar, Kashmir ( Tauseef Mustafa:AFP:Getty Images) Dec 24 2015

Women protest a rape in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir in 2009. (Bilal Bahadur)

This is a holiday season & not just for Christians–so it makes sense photojournalism would showcase religious practices & Santa Claus stunts from around the world. But it does make you wonder when media ignores news in a region most of the time & then crops up with holiday shots–like this one from Srinagar, Kashmir.

The top photo is Kashmiri Muslim women piously reacting at a religious ritual surrounding the birthday celebration of Muhammed. No offense to piety but when it comes to Kashmiri women, their religious practices are the least newsworthy events they’re engaged in–& they’re engaged in plenty.

Just a few weeks ago, massive protests erupted in the Bandipora district of Kashmir over the torture of four people, including a mother & her son, by Indian army personnel. That’s a really important story which received no media coverage outside Kashmir.

It’s been a few decades now that Kashmiri women have litigated, demanded investigations by the Indian government, & repeatedly protested sexual violence institutional & systemic to the Indian occupation of Kashmir. That sexual violence includes individual & gang rape, harassment, & torture. Several human rights groups including a UN agency, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Médecins Sans Frontières, Physicians for Human Rights, & Asia Watch (separately before it became part of HRW) have issued detailed reports describing thousands of cases of sexual violence used as collective punishment & as a weapon of war & occupation by Indian military & paramilitary forces.

Kashmiri protesters have been stonewalled every inch of the way for decades–& that makes the story all the more important to report rather than ignore. Indian authorities hold pseudo-investigations concluding the women accusers (from teenage girls to elderly women) are perpetrating a “massive hoax” orchestrated by militants & international allies (presumably the human rights groups) to make the Indian occupation of Kashmir a human rights issue. And of course there is still the issue for women of the disappearance, torture, murder of their family members.

An Indian law called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows Indian military & paramilitary forces what Kashmiri women call “unbridled impunity” in committing all manner of human rights violations. Because Indian troops cannot be prosecuted for their crimes, not a single one has been prosecuted for rape, murder, or destruction of property. It’s a very similar legal arrangement to what the US imposes in Iraq & Afghanistan allowing soldiers to commit war crimes & walk away scot-free from prosecution.

International solidarity with the people of Kashmir should be incorporated into antiwar activities. The news blackout does not signify its lack of importance but highlights the necessity of demanding India end the occupation of Kashmir.

(Top photo of religious ceremony by Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Image; bottom photo of women protesting rape in Shopian district 2009 by Bilal Bahadur)