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

  • ‘Lynched by the mob’

    December 30, 2006

    ‘Lynched by the mob’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, December 30, 2006

    You couldn’t call Saddam’s death even crude victor’s justice. It was an old-fashioned colonial hanging, as brutal as it was cynical

    It was symbolic that 2006 ended with a colonial hanging – most of it (bar the last moments) shown on state television in occupied Iraq. It has been that sort of year in the Arab world. After a trial so blatantly rigged that even Human Rights Watch—the largest single unit of the US human rights industry—had to condemn it as a total travesty. Judges were changed on Washington’s orders; defence lawyers were killed and the whole procedure resembled a well-orchestrated lynch mob.

    Where Nuremberg was a more dignified application of victor’s justice, Saddam’s trial has, till now, been the crudest and most grotesque. The  …

  • ‘New Clashes in Islamabad’

    July 10, 2007

    ‘New Clashes in Islamabad’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, July 10, 2007

    Yet another crisis erupts in Pakistan. The first was dominated by civil society with lawyers and judges demanding a separation of powers and an independent judiciary. Simultaneously a group of preachers in an Islamabad mosque began to take direct action of a violent sort and demand the full implementation of the sharia (religious laws to further increase the social control of women) and a special religious police to ensure their implementation. A mosque under extremist control in the heart of Islamabad has been the spearhead of these demands. It is situated not too far from government buildings.

    How could they have got the valuable urban land and built the mosque and madrassahs over two blocks without government support at some stage? They didn’t. The father of  …

  • ‘Axis of Hope: Venezuela and the Bolivarian Dream’

    November 30, 2006

    ‘Axis of Hope: Venezuela and the Bolivarian Dream’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, November 30, 2006

    In the Muslim world religious groups that are militarily effective, but politically limited dominate resistance to the American Empire. Asia is infatuated with capital. Europe lies buried deep in neo-liberal torpor, and the Left and social movements in the EU (Italy is the most recent example) are in an advanced state of decomposition. But in South America an axis of hope has emerged that challenges imperial domination on every level. Democracy, hollowed-out and offering no alternatives in the North, is being used to revive hope in the South.

    The likely re-election of Hugo Chavez this weekend in Venezuela will mark a new stage in the process. His opponent, Manuel Rosales, described in the Financial Times (November 30) as a “centre-left” candidate was  …