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Of Gazans, Kashmiris & Human Rights

Yes, International community condemns Israel for the brutal attack on Gaza-bound aide convoy Flotilla. Our very own Talat Hussein, a much respected and known to a have neutral-view point-journalist was on board and all of Pakistan came out on streets to support the brave effort. Israel’s act of aggression needed condemnation and it finds itself cornered in the world, for except USA and India – every country and its foreign office issued strong statements against Israel. Gaza is burning and Gazans don’t have access to basic facilities of life — they needed this attention.

Attention, a word often weighed in relative terms as priorities vary with perceptions. Talking about Gaza is necessary and is a must to unveil Israel’s true face but talking about Gaza alone does not suffice. Talking about injustice, disputed territories, declining conditions of human rights, rapes, illegal tortures and disappearances in one part of the world and ignoring the other might mean we have biased way of looking at things – of looking at human beings and humanity, irrespective of color, creed and faith.

I write to draw YOUR ‘attention’ towards Kashmir for a second, you can press the X button and close the window, as what I am writing here is not making headlines in world media. Human rights activists, who cry for Gaza, all of a sudden become quiet when it comes to protesting for Kashmir – Relief workers cannot access Kashmir and the idea of Freedom Kashmir-tilla, an aide convoy to Kashmir does not attract them as much as Gaza does

From 1990 to 1999 some organizations report that Indian Armed Forces have been responsible for the deaths 4,501 of Kashmiri civilians. Also from 1990 to 1999, there are records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7-70 that have been raped.

A 2005 study conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières found that Kashmiri women are among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world, with 11.6% of respondents reporting that they had been victims of sexual abuse. Some surveys have found that in the Kashmir region itself (where the bulk of separatist and Indian military activity is concentrated), popular perception holds that the Indian Armed Forces are more to blame for human rights violations than the separatist groups. According to the MORI survey of 2002, in Kashmir only 2% of respondents believed that the militant groups were guilty of widespread human rights abuses, while 64% believed that Indian troops were guilty of the same. This trend was reversed however in other parts of the state. Off late Amnesty International has called on India to “unequivocally condemn enforced disappearances” and to ensure that impartial investigation is conducted on reality of mass graves in its controlled Kashmir region. As the Indian state police confirms as many as 331 deaths while in custody and 111 enforced disappearances since 1989

A 1996 Human Rights Watch report accuses the Indian military and Indian-government backed paramilitaries of “committ[ing] serious and widespread human rights violations in Kashmir. Moreover, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned human rights abuses in Kashmir by Indians such as “extra-judicial executions”, “disappearances”, and torture.

And Gaza’s statistics reiterate the following figures with slight variation.

 

Apart from Kashmir, areas of Parachinar, Waziristan, Swat and Baluchistan have been witnessing greater number of deaths than in Gaza. Aide workers have been found butchered trying to access Parachinar many a times without enticing the same reaction over the years.

I do not write to undermine Gaza, please understand that. I write to compare Gaza with many other Gaza’s that have witnessed far more atrocities, and have not still been able to win an international citizens heart. Maybe, we Pakistanis need to focus more on our home before trying to solve world’s problems and maybe the ‘corporate’ human rights activists need to address declining human rights conditions everywhere in the world alongside Gaza.

Interestingly, in a ‘Letter to American People’ written by Osama bin Laden in 2002 he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of her support to India on the Kashmir issue – but the most-wanted man on this earth too had a different approach when it came to dealing with Kashmir issue, because we haven’t heard him calling out to wage Jihad on ‘Muslims’ being oppressed in Kashmir for a long time now, ever since our Intelligentsia changed its position on Kashmir during Musharrafs regime.

You see – humanitarians, aide workers, peace activists and militant organizations all go with the wind!

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

P.SL Y’all remember MCC? Music Channel Charts? The pioneers of Pop-Music in Pakistan in early 90’s? You must remember this song about Kashmir issue then: JAAAAGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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Casualties of war
Casualties of war

Ever since God sent us for this test, we have faced numerous trials and tribulations. Human history is full of wars and acts disgraceful to humanity itself.  

No group/nation claims to be wrong, none ever confessed erring and no human being ever disrupted the world peace, maybe angels from heavens were descending down and making humans kill each other, sometimes in the name of God, sometimes in lust of power and sometimes for a single woman!  

Animal like characteristics overwhelm our lower selves; ego and we commit the most hideous crimes in revenge or to expect revenge. Every religion underlines the importance of “forgiving” and what splendors can this attribute of “forgiving” can infest in us. I shall go into the sapiens/Neanderthals, the crusades, the 20th century’s WWI and WWII. But reality remains that man has swum oceans like fishes and discovered secrets that one did not know existed; flown skies like birds and reached heights one’s ancestors could not even imagine, but as we enter the 21st century, a new global world where information and education is just a click away, we fail to respect each others right to live.  

World scenario changed after 911. Islamic militants, who vow to defeat the “forces of evil” triggered one of the most successful terrorist attacks in the recent history and like said above, an even bigger and more inhumane “revenge”. Uncle Sam, the holy “Saudi Arabia” and the land of pure, after instigating (read: giving birth to) Islamic militants and using them as a shield against USSR, left them alone, only to progress with automatic rifles and what progress could automatic rifles bring?  

Taliban and Al Qaeda rose to fame. The same Taliban who had Iftar dinners with Saudi kings, who were invited to USA and glorified as heroes, the same Islamic militant’s Pakistani intelligence (military) trained and were considered a strategic depth had now become enemies. Mysterious was the turn of time for them, as those who were once called valiant Mujahideen were now the worlds most wanted men. Again, like said above, no one was “wrong”. Every one party to using violence and teaching little kids the war of guerilla warfare backed out. Many international events led to Jihadi movements and its splinter groups, who believed in using terrorism as a weapon in their holy Jihad against the force of evil. They had forgotten the basic rules of how a Muslim fights, with what grace he never stoops to a level that is disgraceful to his own prestige.  

How could a super power, with a military might unparalleled in history, stand an attack on its heart? The revenge was the call. Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, aerial bombings, killings of hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims, incorporated with rapes, torture and crimes humanity could not own became the order of the day. Again, no one was wrong!
 
War has long figured as a theme in poetry–after all, some of the world’s oldest surviving poems are about great armies and heroic battles. But while Homer may have idealized his combatants and revered their triumphant, incessant fighting, the treatment of war in poetry has grown increasingly more complex since then.  

The numerous conflicts of the twentieth century produced poets who sometimes chose to concentrate their writing on the horrifying effects of war on civilians. In Pablo Neruda’s famous poem about the Spanish Civil War, “I Explain a Few Things,” he discards metaphor entirely to say: “in the streets the blood of the children / ran simply, like the blood of children.” At the end of the poem he implores the reader to look at the devastating results of war:  

Come and see the blood in the streets,
come and see
the blood in the streets,
come and see the blood
in the streets!
  

It’s shocking how humanity has progressed in science, philosophy and other fields but still yearns to learn the art of respecting each others right to live! Some people in the land of pure, on the lines of General Zia’s radicalization policies still propagate war and racism. Some even use it as a tool to define “patriotism”, forgetting “an eye for an eye will make everyone blind”. Forgetting that a war between two nuclear armed rivals, Pakistan and India could mean humanity may cease to exist in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. (Read potential consequences of an India-Pakistan war)  

Go to war. Fight. Kill!  

– Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi : Plastic Tearz and Fake Smiles  

    

Nuclear War

  

Blood, Pain and suffering

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