Kashmir: challenge to the World Conscience: Dr. Fai

ghulamnabifai_thumb.jpgTwo days ago, India called off forthcoming foreign secretary-level talks with neighboring Pakistan after Pakistani Ambassador to India Abdul Basit met with Kashmiri pro-independence leaders in New Delhi.  Perhaps it is somewhat fortuitous, given the fact that the current Pakistani government is now being viewed as being too conciliatory toward India and is a key factor in the revolution now taking place in Pakistan, where 30,000 demonstrators yesterday marched peacefully against the government, demanding the resignation of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been accused of rigging the elections and other corruption.  In the context of these events, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of World Kashmir Awareness, addressed a forum yesterday in Peoria, Illinois, on Muslim global affairs.


Peoria, Illinois. August 19, 2014. “India cannot disentangle from her responsibility by calling off the foreign secretary level talks because Pakistani Ambassador met with the leadership of the Kashmiri resistance in New Delhi. Both India and Pakistan must realize that the people of Kashmir must be the integral component of ongoing peace process as they are the primary stakeholders. The Kashmiri leadership should be included as it will facilitate permanent, durable and honorable settlement of Kashmir dispute. Both countries should understand that they cannot and must not try to resolve the Kashmir dispute by themselves. If they try without the the involvement of Kashmiri leadership, they will be performing Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark,” said Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of ‘World Kashmir Awareness’ while addressing a forum at Peoria Convention Center, Illinois entitled “Muslims Around the World Series” subtitle, “Kashmir: Challenge to the World Conscience.” The event was a part of the ICNA Midwest Convention.

The leadership of both India and Pakistan must recognize that there can be no settlement, negotiated or otherwise, without the active and full participation of the people of Jammu & Kashmir living on both sides of the Ceasefire Line, Fai added.

“There are certain characteristics of the situation in Kashmir, which distinguish it from all other deplorable human rights situations around the world. It prevails in what is recognized – under international law and by the U.N. – as a disputed territory. According to the international agreements between India and Pakistan, negotiated by the United Nations and endorsed by the Security Council, the territory’s status is to be determined by the free vote of its people under U.N. supervision,” he stressed.

He added that it represents a Government’s repression not of a secessionist or separatist movement but of an uprising against foreign occupation, an occupation that was expected to end under determinations made by the United Nations. The Kashmiris are not and cannot be called separatists because they cannot secede from a country to which they have never acceded to in the first place,”

Fai ruled out one thing about the resolution of Kashmir and that is doing nothing.  Because time, he said is not on the side of people of Kashmir.  Time has made the things worst.  It will never heal this problem of Kashmir.

He suggested the following agenda to help resolve the Kashmir problem:

(1). The conflict over Kashmir cannot be resolved through military means. Kashmir issue is a political issue and has to be resolved through political means;

(2). There has to be a cease-fire from all sides during negotiations.  Negotiations cannot be carried out at a time when parties are killing each other;

(3). Talks must be tripartite between India, Pakistan and genuine leadership of the people of Kashmir;

(4). There cannot be and should not be any condition from any party, other than commitment to non-violence and to negotiations;

(v). Negotiations should be initiated simultaneously at four different levels, including:

(a). an intra-Kashmir dialogue between the leadership of the Kashmiri political resistance, and the leadership of Azad Kashmir, Gilgat-Baltistan and the leadership of Pandits, Sikhs and Buddhists;

(b). talks between the government of India and Pakistan;

(c). talks between the Governments of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership;

(d). talks between India, Pakistan, Kashmir, China and the United States.

(vi). There should be third party facilitation to make sure that the talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiri leadership remain focused.  Third party facilitator could be a person of an international standing, like Nobel Laureate, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa or Dr. Kofi Annan of Ghana.

The other panelists were Dr. Zahid Bukhari, former President of ICNA and Executive Director, Center for Islam and Public Policy (CIPP) who spoke on, ‘Burma & Sri Lanka: Muslim’s hot spots and our responsibilities’ and Professor (Dr.) Mohammed Nazrul Islam, whose focus was on, ‘Islamic Movement of Bangladesh: Challenges & Opportunities.’ The session was moderated by Mr. Saleem Akhtar, National Director, American Muslim Task Force.


Shlepping the Revolution

I don’t know if any of you have been beaten, but I have, more than once, many times with leather belts from my dad, by kids I grew up around as a minority living among the Inuit, and as a rowdy young man too cool for his own good by the cops in LA.  My response when getting overpowered by bigger and stronger men has been something more instinctive than intelligent, to shut up and simply stay silent until the threat subsided.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but my impulse has been that crying or screaming out would simply provoke my attackers more. 

When Israel began its bestial and subhuman attack upon the people of Gaza, I began posting all kinds of rude remarks, and feeling a deep hatred for Jews in general.  I knew that my feelings toward Jews were missing the mark, and I explained that my own reaction was an indication of how the world would feel as well, and that Israel’s conduct would fuel anti-semitism around the world. Obviously, it did, and it will continue to do so. But as the onslaught continued, I realized that I was a real danger to myself by the remarks I wanted to post. I told one person in our group United Progressives that if I were into bombing and killing, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop a nuke on Tel Aviv. It was at that point that I realized that I needed to back away emotionally because I was simply helpless in the face of such brutality.  

I say that because the general effect of Israel’s behavior has since been like a beating to me.  I have had almost nothing to say, and have not written since. I have continued to follow the news, and have posted the columns of others, but I have been completely empty of any platitudes about human rights or the value of life.

This numbing effect is clearly what the rest of the world goes through in shutting out the misery of others, and simply going about their business as though it isn’t a part of their life.  I don’t believe that the world actually comprehends, or even wants to comprehend, the misery of the Palestinians, and it’s interesting that the slaughter in Ukraine has almost completely disappeared not only from the pages of the mainstream press but even from progressive alternative news. It’s like pop music. Today’s hit quickly drops off the charts as soon as another rises to the top.  Now those involved in the resistance movements are totally preoccupied with Michael Brown and the militarized police. For the left, it becomes a financial opportunity.  I see ads from Amnesty International trying to raise donations so that they can bring you the truth about Ferguson. This is what professional activists do.  Create a website, talk about the crimes and injustice, and ask for more money. I hate the bastards. They switch from issue to issue like they’re selling records.  These are people surviving on the misery of others and doing nothing substantial to change the course of events.

There are real things we can do to bring about change.  I’ve tended to be poo poo about street activism, because in general, with most issues where the threat has to be explained in 20 pages of statistics and gobbdegook, it’s mostly ineffective. However, the global response to both the Gaza genocide and Ferguson has been remarkable, and I have to admit that Ive been deeply impressed.  Sometimes street activism does work.  But the pain and suffering has to be obvious to even a retarded person for it to work.  

Beyond all that, however — way beyond street activism– we have a revolution to contemplate. The revolution has to be a mechanism for changing who controls our government.  Who is working on that?  We can’t just elect the right people.  The electoral system simply produces more bots who learn when they get to Washington who is really in control and simply fall in line.  It is the most banal and idiotic thing to say at this point that elections are bought and paid for, and I’m tired of this being repeated over and over again while we sit and do nothing more about it.  It’s time for real change, my friends. The solution is a people’s movement that literally co-opts legislative power, and it can be done. Direct democracy cannot be instituted by the people; the power for that change rests with the enemy.  So it has to be done along side the legislature, despite the legislature, of we learning to govern ourselves in a parallel universe, a means by which our power can become a force that overrides any will directed by those in power.  It has to be incremental, a step at a time, first creating the movement, second, creating the technology capable of uniting the people in a single voice, and then exercising that voice through sitdowns, through a refusal to pay taxes, through boycotts, and a wide assortment of mechanisms which will work if all of us are united.  It’s not just a progressive thing.  It’s a people thing.  We have to learn to put aside our special minority interests and learn to live in a real democracy where popular will decides what this country will do, whether we like it or not.  Popular will may not always choose best, but it can be corrected through a learning process of trial and error.  The will of those in power, as long as they are in power, can never be changed.