Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir [The Reality of Kashmir]: A Journey of Counter-Memory

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir
Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir: The Reality of Kashmir

A Cultural Aesthetic Tribute to the Resilience and Struggle of the People of Jammu & Kashmir

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
~ Bertolt Brecht

On Sept 7, we invite EVERYONE — and not just a handpicked 1500 — to come join us at noon, at the Municipal Park (near GPO), Srinagar, as we mark the “dark times” of the military occupation, and commemorate the luminosity of AZADI: the light of faith, of freedom, of our blood-soaked struggle for justice, dignity, and true peace. Luminosity that cuts through the deep darkness of the “dark times” and reflects the resilience of human spirit in all its grace.

We invite EVERYONE to send in cultural aesthetic texts: poetry, paintings, photographs, multimedia, performance art, songs, et cetera on the ABOVE THEME to haqeeqatekashmir@gmail.com

Continue reading “Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir [The Reality of Kashmir]: A Journey of Counter-Memory”

1984: A Sikh Story

Sonia Deol retails the 1984 Golden Temple massacre.

Just over 25 years ago, the storming of The Golden Temple, the most sacred of Sikh shrines, by the Indian Army led to protests around the world.

Sonia Deol embarks on a personal journey to unravel the events of 1984, an iconic year for Sikhs. It culminated in thousands of deaths including the assassination of the Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi.

The bloody aftermath that followed so shocks Sonia that she is forced to reappraise the depth of her commitment to her faith.


by Arif Ayaz Parrey

This piece first appeared in the Honour newsmagazine.

Srinagar.  photo credit: Huma Dar, 2006
Khanyar, Srinagar. photo credit: Huma Dar, 2006

Every night, when she drops the slightly bluish liquid into a glass of water, Nisaare feels pride more than embarrassment, or even disgrace. The liquid is a sedative drug. The glass of water is meant for her husband. She feels reassured that she has dealt with the loss of their son much better than he has.

Nine years have passed since the death of their only child in an ‘encounter’ with the Rashtriya Rifles. He had been a bashful young man; not the kind you would easily associate with militant revolution. He had gone ‘across’ for ‘training’ simply because everybody in his peer group had, and he did not want to be the only one left behind. Any other motives he had are buried with him and will surely be summoned back to life one day. On his return, he was of little help to the group because he would not shoot to kill. He had been barely audible when he had expressed his ideological opposition to ambush. He had stated that he would much rather fight the soldiers openly. The commanders assigned him the role of a donation collector during the day and a patrol at night.

Continue reading “Panacea”

From Liberation to Assassination

Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army Colonel, Boston University professor, author of Washington Rules, and editor most recently of The Short American Century, talks about the changing face of the so-called global war on terror. Also check his scorecard for the war formerly known as the global war on terrorism.

10 Years After: Welcome to the Failed State of Americastan.

by Johnny Barber

Kabul–As we step off the Turkish Air flight and walk across the dusty tarmac to the terminal, we are greeted by a large billboard. In big bold English it proclaims, “Welcome to the Home of the Brave.” It stops me in my tracks. I shake my head, thinking, “damn weird” and continue in to passport control. After waiting in a short line, I present my American passport to the guard in the booth. He doesn’t acknowledge me. He flips through the shiny new pages until he gets to the visa. He stamps it. He turns to the picture. He gives me a precursory glance and hands the passport back to me. I turn and enter Afghanistan.

I have come here with two friends from Voices for Creative Non-Violence, forming a small delegation interested in developing relationships with ordinary Afghans and gathering stories of everyday life since the American invasion in 2001. After collecting our luggage and taking a short bus ride to the parking area, Hakim, Mohammed Jan, and his brother Noor greet us warmly. Hakim and Mohammed Jan are our hosts and the organizing force of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.

Continue reading “10 Years After: Welcome to the Failed State of Americastan.”

Between a Rock and a Hard Country

My review of Anatol Lieven’s must-read book, originally published at IPS.

It is almost obligatory these days to subtitle books on Pakistan with some conjunction of ‘failed’, ‘dangerous’, ‘lawless’, ‘deadly’, ‘frightening’ or ‘tumultuous’. Pakistan is a ‘tinderbox’, forever on the brink, in the eye of the storm, or descending into chaos. It is an ‘Insh’allah nation’ where people passively wait for Allah. In the narrow space ‘between the mosque and the military’, there is much ‘crisis’, ‘terrorism’, ‘militancy’ and ‘global jihad.’

British author and policy analyst Anatol Lieven’s refreshingly understated title Pakistan: A Hard Country eschews emotion for description, which is fitting because the book is a 519-page myth- busting exercise.

Lieven, currently a fellow at the New America Foundation, argues that some of the alarmist claims about Pakistan are indeed true – it is a corrupt, chaotic, violent, oppressive and unjust country. But it is also a remarkably resilient one. It is not nearly as unequal as India or Nigeria, or for that matter the United States. Its security is beset by multiple insurgencies but they affect a smaller proportion of its territory than the ones India faces. Its cities are violent, but no more so than those of comparable size in Latin or even North America. It has an abysmally low rate of tax collection, but, at five percent of the GDP, it also has one of the world’s highest rates of charitable donations. It is no doubt corrupt, but this is due less to the absence of values than to the enduring grip of the old ones of loyalty to family and clan.

Continue reading “Between a Rock and a Hard Country”

Pakistan- A Hard Challenge for International Governance

Anatol Lieven discusses Pakistan’s surprising degree of stability; International governance challenges; the role of the army and ISI; the drug trade; and Pakistan’s relationship with the U.S., Afghanistan, and other countries, including India, China, and Russia.

Anatol Lieven is chair of International Relations and Terrorism Studies at King’s College London, and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. His next book, “Pakistan: A Hard Country,” will appear in April 2011.

Continue reading “Pakistan- A Hard Challenge for International Governance”

Conversations with History: Anatol Lieven on Pakistan

Anatol Lieven is the author of the excellent America Right or Wrong. In the following interview he discusses his new book Paksitan: A Hard Country, which I shall review here shortly.

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Anatol Lieven for a discussion of his new book Pakistan: A Hard Country. Lieven emphasizes the important role of kinship in understanding society and the state in Pakistan. Discussing the military’s unique position as the preeminent national institution, he explains the sources of its power and prestige. Focusing on Pakistani national security thinking, he traces the perceived strategic threat posed by India, the role of Afghanistan in Pakistani strategy, the distinction between the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, and the importance of Kashmir. He then proceeds to an analysis of the complex relationship between the United States and Pakistan. Lieven concludes with a discussion of the threat posed by Pakistan’s geographical location in the Indus valley and the long term implications of climate change for its future.

Fight for Ajdabiya continues

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are said to have taken up key positions around the opposition-held city of Ajdabiya.

The eastern city has been fought over now for more than two weeks.

Many people have fled and others are hiding indoors.

Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports on the desperate conditions for people who have chosen to stay.

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