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Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?

In August of this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India suspended Article 370 of the constitution, the provision that granted some level of autonomy to Kashmir. Already heavily policed by Indian soldiers, nearly 40,000 additional troops were deployed to ‘calm’ (read: further oppress) the population following Modi’s repressive and illegal decision. Travel in and out of the country was banned, with even news reporters forbidden from entering, and all communication was disrupted, leaving people around the world with no word on the status of their friends and family members in Kashmir.

With India’s increased oppression of the people of Kashmir, one cannot help but see similarities to Israel’s decades-long, brutal oppression of the Palestinians. And that comparison was not lost on the government of India. On November 16, Sandeep Chakravorty, who is India’s consul-general to New York City, was in New York attending a private event. He told Kashmiri Hindus and Indian nationals that India will build settlements modelled after Israel for the return of the Hindu population to Kashmir. He did not mince words; said he: “I believe the security situation will improve, it will allow the refugees to go back, and in your lifetime, you will be able to go back … and you will be able to find security, because we already have a model in the world. I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it.”

Although Modi’s increased repression of the Kashmiri people has been condemned by much of the international community, most nations only objected with a whimper, and news of this unspeakable, ongoing oppression quickly took a back seat to other events. But for the Kashmiri people, the suffering continues.

Chakravorty was right in one thing: Israel has successfully, to date, divided Palestine and oppressed its people, using illegal settlements, land confiscation, racism, terrorism in all imaginable forms, kidnapping, murder and an endless array of cruel and savage methods to destroy the nation and its people. These violations of international law and crimes against humanity have been financed and fully supported by the United States, with most other countries of the world simply looking the other way, occasionally issuing a few words of criticism, but seldom, if ever, doing anything constructive for the Palestinian people. As long as Israel has gotten away with murder, why not India?

In Canada, a Zionist organization has arranged a presentation with two speakers, a Hindu priest and a conservative commentator, to prove to Canadians that George Orwell’s ‘black is white’ and ‘up is down’ forecasts have certainly come to fruition. The presentation purports to present Israel as on the front lines against extremism! This is more than laughable, when one considers that Zionism, on which Israel is built, is an extremist, racist philosophy, and Israel this year officially declared itself the nation-state of the Jewish people and only the Jewish people, marginalizing the 25% of the population that is not Israeli. Some of those marginalized people have lived on that land since before Israel even existed.

But now Zionists in Canada are going to enlighten us all with tales of how land that belongs to one group of people should really belong to another, and how it is completely acceptable to steal it and kill those who currently live on it. Is there not something in all this that violates the most basic tenets of common decency?

It is beyond mind-boggling to think that anyone would have the nerve to even suggest this, let alone present it as a reasonable idea. Yet Zionists, and now, apparently, those who would model their actions on Zionism, seem to find it all perfectly acceptable.

During Israel’s brutal and deadly bombing of the Gaza Strip in 2014, one Israel publication editorialized that genocide, in some circumstances, can be acceptable, remarking that where Israelis and Palestinians are concerned, genocide of the Palestinians is one such case. Although quickly removed due to backlash, the fact that an Israeli editor could think that publishing support for the genocide of the Palestinians would be acceptable shows a common mindset among Zionists.

And now this disease seems to be spreading to India, at least among government officials, and one wonders in horror if the general populace might agree. Israelis in general all seem to be on the same, genocidal page; is India now so afflicted?

The president of the United States, whoever he might be at any given time, is often referred to as the leader of the free world. This image is often accepted around the globe, to the severe detriment of much of the world’s population. While every president since the bloody founding of Israel has supported it, Donald Trump has taken that support to the extreme, defunding United Nations organizations that support Palestine, moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (in violation of international law), and providing the current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with all the weaponry and international support he could possibly dream of. Trump likes dictators; will he now throw his support behind Modi’s oppression of Kashmir?

The words of German Pastor Martin Niemoller, spoken in 1934, hauntingly come to mind:

“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Today, one might say that the infamous ‘they’ came for the Palestinians, and no one spoke for them; they came for the Muslims, and no one spoke for them; they are coming now for the Kashmiris, and no one is speaking for them. Who will be next? Journalists? Authors? University professors?

This writer is not Muslim; he is not of Palestinian or Kashmiri descent. But he has spoken for years for the Palestinians; additionally, he opposes all anti-Muslim attitudes and legislation. And now, perhaps coming a little late to the table, he is speaking for the people of Kashmir. It is his duty, as it is the duty of everyone who believes in the freedom and dignity of all people, and who supports international law. human rights and basic, common decency.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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