Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Squabbling Over the Spoils

The Misinterpreters of Kashmir’s Maladies

by FARZANA VERSEY

Kashmir has gone. It has gone out of the hands of those affected – the ones who are killed, who have suffered for two decades, who are unemployed, and those who are victims of the state and of militancy. Today, it is a hothouse plant being nursed by activists and interlocutors. A state under siege has been taken over by ‘well-wishers’ that span the whole yard between talking the language of the government to talking the tongue of separatists, and there is no uniform separatist stand, a moot factor they completely ignore in their enthusiasm to be anti-establishment proponents.

They are mimicking the positions taken thus far with not a single new insight or solution. The theory of accession and dialogue with Pakistan have been mentioned by the local population and voiced by extremist groups for long. Why, even the Indian government has talked with Pakistan and brings separatist organisations to the table. Almost overnight the Valley has begun resonating with ‘packages’, sedition charges and cries of censorship. Instead of being a mirror to people’s aspirations, these moves are alienating the movement at the bottom and becoming a case for a Kashmir caretaker manoeuvre. Did you hear of sedition charges and hate-mongering when stone-pelters came out in the streets? People are indeed put behind bars, often for no reason other than suspicion. Did anyone take up their cause? Were fears expressed over their freedom of expression being curtailed?

Headlines like ‘Kashmir on the boil’ should be about the genuine dissent among the local population. Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s calendar of protest days is not the cause of Kashmiri angst; it is the result of it. It is Geelani who is capitalising on the movement. The holed-up seminar lobbies cannot incite those who have already suffered and been victims of gunfire. They are merely riding on the wave, as they often do, and the result is that the media creates pedestals for their verbal bravery, spreading rumours about their possible incarceration, sometimes prompting the state to act against them. They become the visible visage of a movement, a five-star concern industry that has no hands-on experience.

The urban media treats them as the legitimate voice, ignoring that they are merely employing smarter words, obfuscating them carefully with a general tone of being against injustice anywhere. No one is interested in the state of their conscience; this is a nuts and bolts issue and merely standing before ‘Azaadi’ banners means nothing. What is the freedom from and what is the freedom for?

The government appoints a team of interlocutors – journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M. M. Ansari. What is their understanding of the Kashmir issue? I do not mean skiing down the Gulmarg slopes or even visiting Lal Chowk in a bullet-proof vehicle and then returning to write about ‘disaffection’. Yet, surprisingly, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah pronounces, “In a small period that they have spent in the Valley, the views of interlocutors are attracting more attention than those expressed by the people who are staying away from them.” In a curfew-ridden place even loud bird sounds would draw attention. This reveals glaringly the government’s lack of confidence and acts as a diversionary tactic.

Then there is the Kashmir Committee headed by BJP’s Ram Jethmalani who is back in the TV studios issuing statements like, “We had a written agreement with the Hurriyat on five key issues. The main points are — violence and terror were to be totally outlawed; the solution must be acceptable to all parties and sections, which means it included people of Ladakh and Jammu. Extremist positions like scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution and the demand for secession were to be abandoned, displaced Pandits have to be rehabilitated with full dignity; and that the new dispensation will be a democracy of equal rights.”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the Hurriyat Conference immediately declared there was no such agreement. Besides, these five points do not offer anything concrete. How can terror be outlawed when on paper it is a crime? Does he expect that the people will just give up their demands? And who has stopped the Pandits from returning to the Valley? If equal rights are of such great import, then he might like to take a look at the displaced Pandits and the Muslims in the Valley and see the difference in their levels of rehabilitation. Only because he agreed with the viewpoint regarding dialogue with Pakistan, his party is reportedly gunning for him.

The problem is that there are many martyrs-in-the-making in the Tower of Babel that the Kashmir issue has become. Activist groups are squabbling over the spoils but they cannot decide Kashmir’s fate. The shoe-throwers are different from the stone-pelters, although the victims of the former get more mileage. Each group will claim that it is speaking on behalf of the people, conveniently forgetting that the ground-level protestors remain faceless and small media sections in the Valley are constantly under threat. It makes all blabbering about freedom of speech hollow and ironical. But, for the urban angels on their tourism with a purpose agenda, these real voices do not count. It is all about their democracy, a most dictatorial position to take.

FARZANA VERSEY is a Mumbai-based author and columnist. She can be reached at kaaghaz.kalam@gmail.com