Legitimizing A Military Occupation With Music: Zubin Mehta in Kashmir

August 26, 2013 § 6 Comments

"Facing the Music!" by Suhail Hassan Naqshbandi

“Facing the Music!”

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY! Thanks!

26 August 2013

To
Ambassador Michael Steiner,
German Embassy,
New Delhi, India.

Subject: URGENT Protest Letter to German Embassy on scheduled Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on 7 September 2013

1. On 22 August 2013, a press release was issued by the German Embassy that Zubin Mehta would be conducting an orchestra on 7 September 2013 at Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

2. The press release quoted you as stating that the concert was for the people of Jammu and Kashmir by way of a cultural tribute. The press release also reads that the concert was intended to give a message of hope and encouragement to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The concert, said to be a part of a “broader engagement” is being organized by the German Embassy and supported by the “competent authorities both at Central as well as at Union State level.” The costs of the concert are covered by “benevolent sponsors mainly from the business world in India and Germany, as well as “Incredible India” and the German Foreign Office”.

3. The people of Jammu and Kashmir take immense pride in our rich history of resisting oppression. We also have historically cultivated a sublime tradition in, and love for, music. Music – which appeals to the higher truths of love, justice, dignity, and peace; which genuinely acknowledges the long suffering, and yet bravely resisting, Kashmiris; and which is performed for the actual public – is wholeheartedly welcomed. However, legitimizing an occupation via a musical concert is completely unacceptable. Art as propaganda, as abundantly documented, was put to horrific use in Nazi Germany. We are sure you will understand that we cannot welcome anything even remotely analogous in Jammu and Kashmir. Sadly, the occupation will be amply reflected in the demographics of the audience of the proposed concert – the list of “invitees only” is bound to be restricted to the members of the apparatuses of the Occupying State: from perpetrators of crimes, as heinous as murder, rape, and torture, to the local collaborators of the State and perhaps some powerless, vulnerable and compliant few. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hagen Rether on Islamophobia

December 17, 2011 § 4 Comments

Hagen Rether, the German political cabaret artist, takes on casual Islam-bashing in this stellar monologue from one of his shows. It is sharp, intelligent and full of wry irony.

The blood of Dresden

June 25, 2011 § 15 Comments

Following is an extract from Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut in which he describes the scenes  of ‘obscene brutality’ he witnessed as a prisoner of war in Dresden which inspired his classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

Dresden before the allied bombing

It was a routine speech we got during our first day of basic training, delivered by a wiry little lieutenant: “Men, up to now you’ve been good, clean, American boys with an American’s love for sportsmanship and fair play. We’re here to change that.

“Our job is to make you the meanest, dirtiest bunch of scrappers in the history of the world. From now on, you can forget the Marquess of Queensberry rules and every other set of rules. Anything and everything goes.

“Never hit a man above the belt when you can kick him below it. Make the bastard scream. Kill him any way you can. Kill, kill, kill – do you understand?”

His talk was greeted with nervous laughter and general agreement that he was right. “Didn’t Hitler and Tojo say the Americans were a bunch of softies? Ha! They’ll find out.”

And of course, Germany and Japan did find out: a toughened-up democracy poured forth a scalding fury that could not be stopped. It was a war of reason against barbarism, supposedly, with the issues at stake on such a high plane that most of our feverish fighters had no idea why they were fighting – other than that the enemy was a bunch of bastards. A new kind of war, with all destruction, all killing approved.

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“Only the mood music has changed”: Tariq Ali on Obama’s presidency

October 7, 2010 § 4 Comments

OK… here’s the PULSE exclusive I’ve been working on. Hope you enjoy.

Is president Barack Obama the change America has been waiting for or is he another corporate Democrat representing elite interests?  According to Tariq Ali, very little has chanced between Obama and former president George W. Bush.  In his latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad,” Ali argues that Obama is carrying on the reckless policies of the Bush regime.  If Obama continues down this path, the Democratic Party not only face the prospect of the House & Senate in 2010 but also the presidency in 2012.  This should be a cause for concern.

I caught up with Ali during his American book tour and here’s what he had to say about the Obama presidency.

Where did the idea for this book emanate from? Why did you want to write a book about “The Obama Syndrome” and what does that refer to?

The idea occurred because I speak a lot on the United States. People ask me questions after each talk and increasingly in the past two to three years, the talk has been about Obama.  I thought a short book which essentially provided a balance sheet from the left on the mid-term would be a useful exercise. Given that he’s being attacked nonstop for being a socialist, a leftist, being a Muslim and all this nonsense that comes from the Tea Party-Fox Television alliance, I thought it was better to have a hard-headed realistic account about who the guy really is.  So my book is a critique of him, but it’s also by implication a very sharp critique of people who claim that everything Obama is doing is so radical that they can’t take it anymore.

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Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?

February 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

by Raymond Deane

Norman Finkelstein

A European country that scapegoats a Semitic people, persecutes defenders of human rights by stripping them of employment, and denies freedom of speech to Jews: surely a description of Germany during the Third Reich?

Yes, but unfortunately also a description of Germany at the outset of the 21st century.

In the wake of German Chancellor Merkel’s craven speech to the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) two years ago, I wrote: “a penance is being paid for Germany’s past crimes… by the Palestinians to whose plight Merkel is so indifferent…. By scapegoating the victims of its former victims, Germany is compounding its past crimes.”  (Scapegoat upon Scapegoat, Electronic Intifada, 20 March 2008).

Just one year later I described the case of Hermann Dierkes,  forced to resign his position as representative of Die Linke (The Left Party) on Duisburg city council after tentatively advocating a boycott of Israeli goods. I commented: “It appears that freedom of speech, supposedly one of the proudest acquisitions of post-Fascist Germany, is readily suppressed when exercised to advocate positive action against the racist, politicidal institutions and actions of the Zionist state.” (A public stoning in Germany, Electronic Intifada, March 2009).

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Germany: why did Marwa al-Sherbini die?

July 8, 2009 § 5 Comments

On 1 July, Marwa al-Sherbini, an Egyptian woman who wore the headscarf and was three months pregnant, was brutally murdered in a Dresden courtroom by a German man of Russian descent who declared ‘you have no right to live’. Liz Fekete of the Institute of Race Relations investigates the climate of tacitly sanctioned bigotry within which this murder happened.

Marwa al-Sherbini and husband Elwi Ali Okaz

Marwa al-Sherbini was stabbed eighteen times in the space of thirty seconds. It was a frenzied attack, clearly motivated by racism and Islamophobia. Yet the German state and media, have been in a state of denial. The press reported it as a neighbourhood dispute, with headlines such as ‘Murder over quarrel over swing’. Amidst widespread anger in Egypt, the press officer at the German embassy in Cairo declared the murder an isolated case and a ‘criminal act. It has nothing to do with persecution against Muslims’.

As the funeral of Marwa al-Sherbini took place in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria and attracted huge attention in the Middle East, the German public and media have woken up to the anger that the murder, and its apparent denial, was causing in the Muslim world.

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Ausländer

May 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

Before Rage Against the Machine there was Living Colour, an all black comprising of four virtuoso musicians who recorded some of the most politically charged music of the late 80s and early 90s. The vocalist Corey Glover appeared in Oliver Stone’s Platoon (and contrary to what I wrote earlier based on an old Circus magazine article, has no relation to Danny Glover) and the guitarist Vernon Reid I’m told has divine relations. The bassist Doug Wimbish went on to play with guitar legend Joe Satriani and the drummer Will Calhoun was likewise an honored graduate of the Berkeley School of Music.

This anti-Fascist classic was inspired by the rampant anti-immigrant violence against Turks in Germany.

Holocaust in Palestine

March 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

H/t to Mohammed Omer for posting this on Facebook.

The following YouTube from France is a powerful depiction contrasting life in Palestine and for Jews during the European Holocaust. When will ordinary Americans and American politicians understand these similarities? Who knows. But we will do whatever it takes to change American views toward Palestine and the Mideast… one step at a time.  

More Zionist Than Israel? German Policy and Media on Gaza

February 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

Indeed that is the impression one would get if one were to look at German policy and media on Gaza. Here Ali Fathollah-Nejad presents an excellent analysis of both. (thanks Tariq and Paulo)

The Gaza massacre, at least for the moment, is over — ended just before Barack Obama’s inauguration, so as not to cast an unwelcome cloud over his first hours as U.S. President.  The initial Palestinian death toll is 1,300 . . . and expected to rise.  (Four times that number were injured, and more wounded may be discovered).  The number of the Israeli dead — 13 Israelis, ten of whom were soldiers, lost their lives — was one hundredth of the Palestinian dead.  Such are the revealing casualty statistics of this so-called war — onslaught or even slaughter would be a more accurate term to describe the world’s fifth largest army using the high-tech weaponry of the world’s No. 1 military power against the civilian population as well as a scant number of armed combatants.

Only two and a half years after the last Israeli onslaught in which a comparable number of people were killed — with the difference that the Lebanese, unlike the imprisoned Gazans, had a better chance of fleeing from the murderous bombs dropped on them — much of the world found themselves in a state of shock again as they witnessed the reemergence of barbarity at its worst.  Israel did not allow any Western journalists to cover the bloodbath of its “Operation Cast Lead,” though the non-Western world, watching Al Jazeera, Press TV, or TeleSur, could witness the carnage inflicted upon Gaza.

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