The Mumbai terror and the Kashmir question.
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied-East Jerusalem 29 November, 2008.
Like most people, I condemn in the strongest terms the latest acts of terror in India which killed many innocent people from several nationalities. Taking the life of the innocent can’t be justified under any circumstances. The Quran for example states in Sura No. 5, al-Maeda, that “ We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one killed a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” Other religious scriptures make similar admonitions against the killing of the innocent.
However, the issue of terror in India or elsewhere, is very complicated, and stopping at condemning the terror and terrorists will not take us anywhere. In Israel-Palestine, for example, the issue of “terror” is rooted in the huge Crime Against Humanity, otherwise known as Israel, which through mass terror and mass murder stole Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants in 1949, destroyed their homes, villages, and farms, murdered thousands and dispersed the rest to the four winds.
I am not an authority on India. But I know that India has its own “Palestinian question,” namely the Kashmiri plight. India occupied Kashmir and Jammu more than sixty years ago against the will of its people and despite explicit UN resolutions that would have allowed the native Kashmiris to determine their own destiny through a public referendum, that is to choose either to join India, join Pakistan or be an independent nation-state. Since then, However, the Indian army has been systematically repressing Kashmiris in ways similar to what Israel has been doing to the equally helpless Palestinians. As a result, tens of thousands of mostly innocent Kashmiris have been killed and horrendous crimes as well as grave human rights violations are routinely committed against the largely Muslim inhabitants of the region. This unmitigated state terror, coupled with a real sense of being oppressed, eventually boomeranged, pushing many young Kashmiris to join resistance groups such as the “Mujahideen.” As I said, no cause, however legitimate it may be, justifies the killing of innocent people. But, unfortunately, it does make terror, with all its ugly manifestations, inevitable. The American-English poet W.H. Auden once wrote: I and the public know, What all school children learn, Those to whom evil is done, Do evil in return. One should also recall the perfectly true adage that “war is rich man’ terror against the poor and terror is the poor man’s war against the rich.” This is certainly true in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is likely that it is also true in Kashmir as well. India is too powerful to be defeated by terror.
However, India, or any other country, big or small, strong or weak, can be weakened, demoralized and destabilized by internal factors such as the rampancy of injustice, tyranny and racist discrimination against a given religious or ethnic community. I understand that the Indian government is probably in no mood now to hear words of advice and wisdom. Moreover, the hot heads of the security establishment, along with jingoistic-minded politicians want to spill blood, now, because otherwise the virility and dignity of the Indian nation would be questioned.!!! But this is not the wise man’s approach. India should be too confident of itself to walk in the path of insolence and impetuousness, since violence will breed even more violence and terror (even if called counter-terror) will lead to a greater terror. India is a very large country, with over a billion inhabitants. It can’t possibly post a policeman in every corner all over the country. Likewise, a police state apparatus won’t work. India must not try to emulate Israel, an evil state run by murderers, thieves and liars. My advice to India is to be level-headed and analyze the outrageous36in Bombai comprehensively and objectively and not give in to the temptation of revenge. Revenge might quench the thirst for blood for the time being, but eventually it would only deepen the crisis and cause more bloodshed. I suggest that India should try to sincerely review its policies in Kashmir and reconsider some of its manifestly criminal behaviors against innocent Kashmiris on the mere suspicion of them harboring sympathy with the militants. Indeed, I don’t see any legitimate reason preventing the Indian authorities from sitting down with militants in an effort to foster peace all over the subcontinent. Talking to enemies who are willing to talk for the purpose of solving problems is always better than killing. And meeting the legitimate aspirations and needs of embittered enemies (whether insiders or outsiders) always leads to a win-win situation for everyone. More to the point, India should understand that military force has its own limits and that there are certain problems that cannot be overcome with guns alone.
Following the 9/11 events, in which elements within the Bush administration were probably involved, the US invaded, occupied and virtually destroyed two sovereign Muslim countries at the pretext of fighting terror. Now, seven years later, one is prompted to ask if terror has really been defeated despite the death of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Does terror now pose a lesser or greater threat to world peace and security than it did before 9/11? Well, we all know the answer. Also, it is clear that Zionist circles in Israel and North America are trying to pull India toward the circle of Islamophobia. Don’t heed Zionism’s evil advice. They want India to hate Islam and Muslims on Israel’s behalf. Turning against Islam will harm India in ways unpredictable. Instead, the huge Muslim minority in India should be utilized to fight terror which distorts their faith. It is in their best collective interests to do so. But don’t you ever fall into the trap of the clash of civilizations. The terrorists who carried out the carnage didn’t do what they did because “they hated our freedom.” They did it because of well-known grievances that can’t be easily dismissed as unreal. India must have the moral courage to face these problems, the sooner the better. In short, India shouldn’t not walk in the path of the fools like the Bush administration has been doing. A wise man should learn from the mistakes of others. If he doesn’t, then he is no better than them. Finally, it has been reported that the terrorists in Bombai were particularly targeting American and British nationals. That is really lamentable because numerous Britons and Americans strongly condemned the criminal behaviors of their respective governments. Innocent people must never be made to pay, especially in their lives, for the misconduct of their governments. Otherwise, millions of Muslims should likewise be held liable for the scandalous acts of their respective governments. (end)
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