Kashmir, of dreams and nightmares

by Burhan Qureshi

Blurred Memories.  photo credit: Huma Dar, 2006
Blurred Memories. photo credit: Huma Dar, 2006

My mother comes from a sleepy village in north Kashmir.  It is, indeed, picturesque.  At times when she sits me down and tells me the stories of her childhood, she takes me into a dreamland.  Her house there is on a hillock, a gushing clear stream runs at its foothills.  There are vast fields on either side of the road.  She tells me of the orchard where the finest apples grow, of the walnut trees in her garden that she used to climb (in fact, she taught me how to eat the raw, green colored walnuts, which if you know the trick, taste even better).  And when she tells me that she used to swim in that stream, my heart skips a beat.  I fall in love with her all over again.

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Israeli ‘Justice’ for Cameraman James Miller

180px-james_miller_bbcThe family of James Miller, a UK journalist murdered by the IDF, have accepted damages of £1.5 million saying it was as close to an admission of guilt from Israel as they were ever likely to get.  The military said the officer involved would be disciplined for breaking the rules of engagement and also for changing his account of the incident but he was exonerated.

Another British family had a similarly unpleasant experience of Israeli “justice” when their son, Tom Hurndall,  was murdered by the IDF in Gaza.   Mr Hurndall’s father described a “culture of impunity” saying “they just lied continuously … it was a case of them shooting civilians and then making up a story. And they were not used to being challenged.”

It is within this culture of impunity that an Israel officer murdered in cold blood a Palestinian girl, Iman al-Hams, aged 13, shooting her 17 times, and afterwards commented that he was right to kill her and would have killed her even if she was three years old. A military investigation by the officer responsible for the Gaza strip subsequently concluded that the captain had “not acted unethically”.

After complaints of a cover up, the military police did get involved and the killer was  charged with illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and other relatively minor infractions.  He was later found not guilty.

Needless to say Iman’s family and other Palestinian families like them will never see justice or £1.5 million in compensation.

Israel has paid £1.5m in damages to the family of James Miller, the British cameraman shot by an Israeli soldier while filming a documentary in Gaza in 2003.

Continue reading “Israeli ‘Justice’ for Cameraman James Miller”

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