Tag Archives: Kashmir

‘Not Crushed, Merely Ignored’ – Tariq Ali on Kashmir for the LRB

‘Not Crushed, Merely Ignored’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books, July 22, 2010

A Kashmiri lawyer rang me last week in an agitated state. Had I heard about the latest tragedies in Kashmir? I had not. He was stunned. So was I when he told me in detail what had been taking place there over the last three weeks. As far as I could see, none of the British daily papers or TV news bulletins had covered the story; after I met him I rescued two emails from Kashmir informing me of the horrors from my spam box. I was truly shamed. The next day I scoured the press again. Nothing. The only story in the Guardian from the paper’s Delhi correspondent—a full half-page—was headlined: ‘Model’s death brings new claims of dark side to India’s fashion industry’. Accompanying the story was a fetching photograph of the ill-fated woman. The deaths of (at that point) 11 young men between the ages of 15 and 27, shot by Indian security forces in Kashmir, weren’t mentioned. Later I discovered that a short report had appeared in the New York Times on 28 June and one the day after in the Guardian; there has been no substantial follow-up. When it comes to reporting crimes committed by states considered friendly to the West, atrocity fatigue rapidly kicks in. A few facts have begun to percolate through, but they are likely to be read in Europe and the US as just another example of Muslims causing trouble, with the Indian security forces merely doing their duty, if in a high-handed fashion. The failure to report on the deaths in Kashmir contrasts strangely with the overheated coverage of even the most minor unrest in Tibet, leave alone Tehran.

On 11 June this year, the Indian paramilitaries known as the Central Reserve Police Force fired tear-gas canisters at demonstrators, who were themselves protesting about earlier killings. One of the canisters hit 17-year-old Tufail Ahmad Mattoo on the head. It blew out his brains. After a photograph was published in the Kashmiri press, thousands defied the police and joined his funeral procession the next day, chanting angry slogans and pledging revenge. The photograph was ignored by the mainstream Indian press and the country’s celebrity-trivia-obsessed TV channels. As I write, the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar, and several other towns are under strict military curfew. Whenever it is lifted, however briefly, young men pour out onto the streets to protest and are greeted with tear gas. In most of the province there has been an effective general strike for more than three weeks. All shops are closed. (read more)

From the archive

  • Tariq Ali on the state of UK politics

    February 3, 2010

    An interview with Tariq Ali on the state of UK politics by Julie Mollins for Reuters, February 3, 2010

    Where is the burning debate on domestic and foreign policy observers might expect from the major political parties ahead of the next general election in Britain?

    It’s just not going to happen, says political commentator and writer Tariq Ali, whose new novel Night of the Golden Butterfly concludes a fictional series titled Islam Quintet he began writing 20 years ago.

    “The whole thing is on a farcical level,” he said in an interview with Reuters, suggesting that the election campaign has so far centred on quibbles about how and when it is best to make spending cuts.

    No matter who wins the election, which is due by June 2010, “the result will be more of  …

  • ‘A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy’

    December 28, 2007

    ‘A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, December 28, 2007

    The assassination of Benazir Bhutto heaps despair upon Pakistan. Now her party must be democratically rebuilt

    Even those of us sharply critical of Benazir Bhutto’s behaviour and policies – both while she was in office and more recently – are stunned and angered by her death. Indignation and fear stalk the country once again.

    An odd coexistence of military despotism and anarchy created the conditions leading to her assassination in Rawalpindi yesterday. In the past, military rule was designed to preserve order—and did so for a few years. No longer. Today it creates disorder and promotes lawlessness. How else can one explain the sacking of the chief justice and eight other judges of the country’s supreme court for attempting to hold  …