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

  • ‘Notoriety and popularity’

    September 20, 2007

    ‘Notoriety and popularity’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, September 20, 2007

    The journalist Herbert Matthews’ decision to find and interview the rebel guerrilla leader Fidel Castro in his mountain hideout, at a time when the US-backed military dictator Fulgencio Batista was denying there was serious unrest in Cuba, was courageous and farsighted. Matthews’ 1957 scoop showed up Batista’s spin for what it was. It also alerted Washington to the reality that he could not keep power for long.

    Cuba had a turbulent past. La isla siempre fiel (the ever-faithful island) of Spanish imperial folklore had, under the leadership of its landed gentry, united against Spanish rule in the 1860s. The revolt was crushed after a decade of savage repression, but a decline in sugar prices sparked a new uprising in 1895 and plantation owners once again rallied  …

  • A Review of The Stone Woman

    October 1, 2000

    A Stone Woman reviewed by  Hugh S. Galford for Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 1, 2000

    “There are always two histories” may be a well-known saying, but how many of us actually take the time to look at an issue from both sides, to learn both stories? In each of the first three books of a planned quartet, English historian, screenwriter and activist Tariq Ali saves us the work involved in such an endeavor. Taking as his subject matter the intersection of Islamic and Western history, Ali presents three familiar episodes—the Reconquista, the Crusades and the final years of the Ottoman Empire—in a distinctly unfamiliar fashion: from the viewpoint of the Muslims.

    Written over the last six years, the first three books of Ali’s “Islam quartet” provide not only great reading, but an extremely useful corrective  …

  • ‘Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali: Brothers in Arms’ – Guardian

    July 26, 2010

    Tariq Ali on ‘South of the Border‘ and how he came to work with Oliver Stone, for the Guardian, July 26, 2010

    Eighteen months ago, Tariq Ali got a call from Oliver Stone: could he help with his new film? The result was a powerful documentary about Latin America – and a new friendship …

    Almost a year and a half ago I received a phone call from Paraguay. It was Oliver Stone. He had been reading Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope, my collection of essays on the changing politics of Latin America, and asked if I was familiar with his work. I was, especially the political films in which he challenged the fraudulent accounts of the Vietnam war that had gained currency during the B-movie years of Reagan’s presidency.

    Stone had actually fought in that war as a US  …