Friday, June 30, 2017

UN's Zeid: Call to shut Al Jazeera unacceptable attack

High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says Saudi-led campaign to close the network is 'extraordinary, unprecedented'.
UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein "is extremely concerned by the demand that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera network, as well as other affiliated media outlets", Hussein's spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday.
"Whether or not you watch it, like it, or agree with its editorial standpoints, Al Jazeera's Arabic and English channels are legitimate, and have many millions of viewers," Colville added.
Colville said that "if states have an issue with items broadcast on other countries' television channels, they are at liberty to publicly debate and dispute them", adding that "to insist that such channels be shut down is extraordinary, unprecedented and clearly unreasonable."
He also said that if a closure were to happen, "it would open a Pandora's Box of powerful individual states or groups of states seriously undermining the right to freedom of expression and opinion in other states, as well as in their own".
Al Jazeera has described the Saudi-led campaign as "nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people's right to information and the right to be heard".
Giles Trendle, the acting managing director of Al Jazeera's English-language service, also denounced the demands by the Arab states as an attempt to suppress free expression.
"We are stunned by the demand to close Al Jazeera," Trendle said. "Of course, there has been talk about it in the past, but it is still a great shock and surprise to actually see it in writing. It's as absurd as it would be for Germany to demand Britain to close the BBC."
He added that Al Jazeera is going to continue its "editorial mission of covering the world news in a fair and balanced way".
To read the entire news, click here.

Terrorist dead in NY City Hospital

A former employee of a New York City hospital opened fire with an assault rifle inside the building, killing one doctor and wounding six other people before fatally shooting himself, officials said.
The gunfire broke out at 2:50 pm local time on Friday (18:50 GMT) inside the Bronx Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx.
The assailant, wearing a white lab coat and armed with an assault rifle, stalked the 16th and 17th floors of the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.
Police who swarmed the building found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a search, they said.
One physician was shot to death in the course of the bloodshed, and six other people were injured, five seriously, including one who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at a news conference.
"The body of a woman who was shot was found near his body," O'Neill said before adding that five of the wounded were in serious condition and "fighting for their lives".
"The hospital's fire alarm system went off during the siege, apparently because the shooter tried to set himself on fire," he said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio mayor characterised the shooting as an "isolated incident" that appeared to be "workplace-related".
An NYPD official also confirmed on Twitter that the attacker died in hospital.
Television images showed the hospital surrounded by police cars and fire trucks. Police could be seen on the roof of the building, at one point, with their guns drawn.
Bronx Lebanon Hospital describes itself as the largest voluntary, not-for-profit health care system in the south and central Bronx.
The 120-year-old hospital claims nearly 1,000 beds spread across multiple units.
It is fair to state that simply because of the non-Muslim identity of the attacker, again the media failed to qualify his crime as terrorism, once again underscoring the double standards that run so deep here in the USA and many western countries!

They Kill Children, Massacre Civilians, Use Slave Labour And Human Shields, And Are Trained By Britain

They Kill Children, Massacre Civilians, Use Slave Labour And Human Shields, And Are Trained By Britain
Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK

A shocking new report by Amnesty International into ongoing human rights violations in Kachin State and northern Shan State in Burma has prompted Burma Campaign UK to raise further questions about the decision of the British government to provide free training to the Burmese Army.
The report, “All the civilians suffer”, describes many of the human rights violations as war crimes. The vast majority of them are committed by the Burmese Army.
They include 25 instances of the Burmese Army executing civilians, including one case where 18 men were executed and left in a mass grave. Another example cited was the death of an eight or nine-year-old child, killed when the Burmese Army fired mortar bombs at a village. Villagers are used as slave labour to carry equipment for soldiers, and face regular beatings. In one example they had their faces slashed with a shaving blade.
The 51 page report, based on 140 interviews, details numerous case studies of how the Burmese Army has been either deliberately targeting civilians, or taken no effort to ensure the safety of civilians in conflict areas, in violation of international law.
The cases documented have largely taken place in the past year, three years after the British government first announced it would provide free training to the Burmese Army. Facing criticism for its decision, the British government initially claimed the training related to human rights, but was later forced to admit that only one hour in the sixty hour training course covered human rights, and no reference to human rights violations by the Burmese Army are made in the training. The government now says the training is to ‘professionalise’ the Burmese Army and that no direct combat training is involved. The last thing ethnic civilians need is a more professional Burmese Army attacking their villages.
The new evidence of human rights violations by the Burmese Army comes just three months after the United Nations decided to launch an investigation into human rights violations by the Burmese Army in Rakhine State and Kachin and Shan States.
The United Nations has already documented human rights violations against the Rohingya ethnic group which could amount to crimes against humanity. These include soldiers arbitrarily executing civilians, stamping on a baby as it was born, the mass use of rape, and slitting the throat of a baby as it cried out to be fed while Burmese Army soldiers gang-raped its mother.
The British government is spending £305,499 a year training the Burmese Army. No specific goals exist for what the training is supposed to achieve, and no evaluation of the spending has been carried out. No questions are asked about the past records of the soldiers Britain trains, and no follow up done to see if soldiers trained by Britain were involved in recent military offensives against the Shan, Kachin, Rohingya and other ethnic groups.
If the original false claims by the British government that the training was about human rights were genuine, then training the Burmese Army has been a spectacular failure. Human rights violations by the Burmese Army have increased significantly in the past year.
Perhaps because they are reluctant to admit they made a mistake, the British government are doggedly sticking to the training programme. Worse, other European countries are joining them, with Germany and Austria also recently offering to train the Burmese Army. It is possible that the real reason for the training is commercial. On his now regular trips to Europe, the head of the Burmese Army, Min Aung Hlaing, has been given factory tours of arms manufacturers and military suppliers, and presented with gifts and lavish dinners. Although there is officially an arms embargo in place, some European companies are already supplying the Burmese military with equipment.
The decision to train and trade with the Burmese military is a spectacular failure of morality, but also much more than that. It sends a signal to Min Aung Hlaing and his military that they can continue to act with impunity. No matter what they do, no matter how horrific the human rights violations they commit, instead of facing consequences, they are embraced even more warmly. With the things Min Aung Hlaing has been responsible for, he should be a pariah, not a dinner guest.
Perhaps when the UN Fact Finding Mission issues its report next March, the British government and others will be shamed into action. Ending the free training programmes should be just one small part of a wide range of measures that pressure the military to end its violations of international law. In the meantime, it seems that British taxpayers’ money will keep being spent on training war criminals.

Myanmar Military Implant Fake Monks

Click the  link here to see how Myanmar military implants their kind amongst the Buddhist monks to incite violence and acts of genocide against Muslims.

Oppression of the Rohingya in Burma Continues

Oppression of the Rohingya in Burma Continues

byJason Rhode
The Rohingya are still being persecuted by their country. Although the government of Myanmar has taken a step back from most blatant and flagrant public persecutions, the unjust oppression of these people continues apace. Their schools are destroyed, they are slandered and denied from every corner. Now the far-right Hindu nationalists of India threaten them with death.
Three days ago, an alleged Rohingya paramilitary group attacked two Burmese villagers on two separate occasions. The government of Myanmar is on high alert. There is a chance that the national authorities will use this occasion to injure or kill many Rohingya under the cover of “crackdown” and “reprisal.” The government has a long history of using the actions of a few Rohingya to devastate the rest. As Reuters reminds us,
Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar border guard posts in October, provoking a military crackdown in which hundreds were killed, more than 1,000 houses burned down and some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims forced to flee to Bangladesh.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in the country of Myanmar, formerly Burma. The country is liberalizing, but slowly. And the same authoritarian prejudices obtain. The hateful strain is still there. Bit by bit, the state has been stripping away rights from the Muslims of Myanmar. Until the rest of the world intervened, the Rohingya were well on their way to becoming entirely stateless in every sense—as in, their right to live would be questioned too.
The Rohingya are considered illegal immigrants by the authorities of Myanmar—the offshoot of migrants who came into the nation in 1948 and 1971. Scholars and the Rohingya disagree, of course. There are 1.3 million of these people, mostly in the Rakhine state. 100,000 of them live in camps where they are kept by the authorities. Slave labor and execution are used under Burmese rule. In 2009, a UN spokeswoman described the Rohingya as “probably the most friendless people in the world.”
It is odd, that the government of Myanmar is so sure that the Rohingya are newcomers. After all, there have been Muslims in Rakhine since the 15th century. Which is more likely: that all the Rohingya lie, or that the government finds some explanations more convenient? Governments have even been known to dissemble, from time to time.
About that October attack on the police forts. What most commentators miss about the Rohingya is this was not an even contest. The officials say that Arsa, an armed Rohingya resistance movement, is a terrorist cell. Violence is never the answer, and it is not excused on behalf of the Rohingya, but what did the Burmese expect? Grind people down into the dirt, and some of them will act out unjustly. The Rohingya are mercilessly hassled under the sanction of law. Desperation is their lot. Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority country, and the monks and other leaders of that country—including the State Counselor herself, the much-celebrated Aung San Suu Kyi—seem to delight in marginalizing them.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has spoken of their plight:
“I am not an expert in politics or international law,” said Cardinal Bo. “I am moved by human suffering… The enormous suffering of the population of Rakhine is one of my great concerns.” Cardinal Bo said that the government of Myanmar to “move away from position that do not favor peace” and to “work with the international community to investigate the crimes reported by the UN in a truly independent manner that leads to justice.

Pick any week, and there’s some new incident displaying the indifference of Myanmar to its Muslim citizens. On the second of June, Myanmar charged three Muslim men for holding Ramadan prayers in the street. Forget for a moment the oddity of arresting people for practicing their religion. This happened because a larger crowd of about fifty Muslims were worshiping on a road in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). Why were they praying in the street? Why, because ultra-nationalist Buddhist mob shut down the local madrassah.
Two officers tried to stop AFP journalists from filming when they visited one of the madrasas on Friday. “It’s our mosque as well as our school. We don’t know when it will be reopened,” Khin Soe, a local resident in his 50s, said as he set off to pray in another part of town.
And these bigotries are not limited to Myanmar alone. India supports its share of nastiness. Thanks to Myanmar’s crimes, tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled abroad, citizens of nowhere. Many of them end in Bangladesh. Quite a few of them live India now. Some of these Rohingya took sanctuary in Jammu City five years ago. Most of them work as unskilled laborers. But the ruling government of India does not want them there. According to TRT World,
... circumstances turned unpleasant soon after the Hindu far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won India’s national elections in 2014 and formed the government in India, replacing a secular Congress Party. ... The city’s trade union has echoed [a conservative politician’s] demand and allegedly threatened to kill Rohingyas if they don’t clear the area soon. Several billboards have sprung up across the city. Some of them read: “Wake up Jammu. Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. Quit Jammu.” And the others carry a rallying cry to “unite and save the history, culture and identity of [the] Dogras.”
Muhammad Younis, a Rohingya, is forty-one. He lives in a hut, and works as a construction worker in the city.
Witnessing this growing hostility, Younis is unable to sleep at night. There are 1,200 Rohingya families living in the city and they are feeling equally vulnerable. “We are not living illegally here,” Younis says. “We have the UNHCR cards. How can these parties threaten us when we have gone through all the legal formalities?”
The UN, according to Al-Jazeera, has “appointed a three-member team to investigate alleged abuses by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.” This is not enough. The UN acknowledges this:
“Minorities all over the world are facing persecution. The situation of the Rohingya community in Myanmar is especially deplorable because they face the risk of a genocide,” Indira Jaising, heading the UN mission, told Al Jazeera by telephone.
Awareness of their lot must be made public, and these facts must repeated over and over again. World Refugee Day was on June 20th. We must do better than merely recognizing their pain. The Rohingya are suffering, and their fate stands on the edge of a knife. A moment, a volatile impulse by the government, and they could be wiped away. We must do more, do better, and do it soon.


Lynchings: Is Prime Minister's Silence A Tacit Symbol Of A Community’s Derecognition?
Lynching seems like an epidemic that has gripped the body politic. But, so far, no such statement has come forth, either from the PMO or even the Home MinistryWhen citizens gather at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and venues in at least 10 other cities on Wednesday to protest against the lynching of a 16-year-old boy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, in all likelihood, be on his way back from his whirlwind three-country tour.
As is the norm, expect a flurry of announcements—from defence deals to shared strategy on terrorism. But one wonders, should it not be the norm for the prime minister to also issue a statement condemning acts of mob violence? Lynching seems like an epidemic that has gripped the body politic. But at the time of writing this article, no such statement has come forth, either from the PMO or even the Home Ministry.
Silence can sometimes contain as much meaning as words. In the present instance, it would imply a tacit kind of endorsement of the argument put forward by those who would rationalise or attach no special significance to the current spate of lynchings.
Those who say all this is much ado about nothing. It’s not a very pretty argument—its essence is that mob lynchings have always been there and law will take its own course whenever an incident occurs.
There is a reason why the argument does not hold. Expressed simply, the present spurt in lynchings relates directly—in a cause-and-effect way—to the politics of the ruling BJP, and to its policy while in government.
Human Rights Watch wrote in an editorial published in April this year that since May 2015, violent beef campaigns have led to the death of at least ten people. The cases have clearly spiked from the latter part of 2014 and early 2015, when the ruling party began its campaigns around beef. In March 2015, the Maharashtra government banned beef and this was followed by a similar law in Haryana in the same month.
In May 2015, a 60-year-old man named Abdul Ghaffar Qureishi was killed in Birloka, in Rajhasthan’s Nagaur district, over suspicion that he had killed cows for a feast. In August ’15, at a village called Chilla, near Mayur Vihar in Delhi, residents clashed with four truck drivers who were transporting buffaloes.
Things reached a crescendo in September that year when a mob, in the thick of night, entered the house of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri, near Delhi, and beat him to death. On the mere suspicion that the family had slaughtered a calf and stored the meat in the fridge. Since then, horrid tales of cow vigilantes beating and killing Muslims and Dalits (as happened in Una in Gujarat last year) have been making it to the headlines all too frequently.
Yes, mob lynchings did take place earlier, but the pattern now is impossible to ignore: the selective targeting of members of two communities who are associated in the popular imagination with beef.
Individuals are picked off to generate a certain shock and awe. It’s all very orchestrated too: deliberately carried out in full public glare, accompanied by photographs that circulate through Whatsapp groups. A new kind of specific violence that falls far short of a full-scale riot, which has been the bane of our republic since its very inception.
A riot is a costly affair: it draws too much attention to itself, and questions can be raised about the administration’s inability in handling it. Low intensity vigilante violence, on the other hand, is far more decentralised and diffused, somewhat akin to isolated individuals in the West acting in the name of terror groups.
The lynch mob is by nature faceless too (despite the existence of videos) and cannot be traced back in any demonstrable way to any formal political group. Junaid, the 16-year-old who was lynched just a few days back, fell afoul of his co-passengers for a mundane reason, like a squabble over a train seat. There obviously is a breakdown of law and order here. But treating instances such as these as simply a law and order issue, which is a state subject, not only does disservice to the victim, but smirks of callousness.
One of the great philosophers of our times, Giorgio Agamben, uses an ambivalent Latin phrase in one of his famous works: homo sacer. The homo sacer can be translated as both ‘the sacred man’ and ‘the accursed man.’ In Roman law, from where Agamben borrows the phrase, homo sacer was someone who was banned from social life, a persona non grata, a man who may, therefore, be killed with impunity by anybody without the weight of law falling on his shoulders.
In a curious variation on this, our cow vigilantes seem to have no fear of the law hanging over their heads, and Muslims and Dalits have become the proverbial homo sacer. Not only is this borne out by the impunity with which acts of public lynching are taking place, but also the silence of the Prime Minister.
This is not the silence of a leader who is trying to temper the climate and soothe nerves; rather, his silence stands as a tacit symbol of the changing rules of citizenship and belonging.
Citizenship, as any basic text of political philosophy will bear out, is about recognition. My ‘Indianness’ is not born out of my looks but by the way I am recognised as a fellow Indian by others who choose to identify themselves as Indians. The state does the same thing too, through documents.
What the present tilt towards hyper-nationalism has done is that it has tacitly changed the rules of belonging. Anyone who does not fit in, anyone who can be suspected of being ‘different’ in thought, attire or looks, can now be termed as a ‘Pakistani’ or an ‘anti-national.’
So far, these words were confined to heated debates in social media. But the rules of the game have changed. Now the charge of anti-nationalism is no longer confined to the virtual world of social media, it has hit the streets. And anyone who doesn’t fit into the new markers of belonging—a Hindi-speaking savarna Hindu who upholds the sacrality of the cow—can become the homo sacer, the accursed one.
The Prime Minister’s silence, in all its ambiguity, is a tacit symbol of a community’s derecognition. And that’s a tragedy no law can rectify.

Why Are Political Parties Scared Of Speaking Out Loud On Violence Against Muslims?

The article below by Apoorvanand is a few days old.
Muslims in many parts of India are marking Eid today with black band to register their anguish and protest over the unabated assaults on Muslims which have also resulted in killings. Muslims are being attacked on the excuse of stealing of cattle, committing a crime or carrying beef or raising slogans for Pakistan or bursting crackers to celebrate their victory over India in a cricket match, or for simply looking Muslim.
While these attacks and their increasing frequency have created disquiet insensitive Indians, they seem to have left the political class cold. There have been tweets and statements here and there but it is clear that more than a genuine expression of grief or protest they are an attempt to put on record that they had also spoken.
The opposition has been criticising the head of the government for remaining silent in the wake of attack on a large section of Indian population. It shows again either their naivety or cleverness. Do they not know the platform on which the BJP has fought the last Parliamentary election and the subsequent assembly elections? Did not all major political leaders give vital signal through their statement and exhortations calling upon their electorate to make a choice between pink revolution and white revolution or to vote for the safety and dignity of their mothers and sisters or to save land for rhinos and drive away the infiltrators who have encroached upon their habitat or to pack and throw the Bangladeshis out of India once the party was elected to power? These statements, which also called for defeating those who patronise cow-eaters, were, to put it mildly, communal and patently anti-minority.
How do we expect a political party to go against its very raison d'etre? And even if it speaks what is being demanded from it, its constituents would know that it has been done only for the sake of form. The compulsion of the chair! They know that it has no substance.
This much we know about the present ruling party. The minorities have no expectation from it. But what about the rest? Why are political parties so scared of speaking out loudly about the criminality of the acts? Or, more than criminality, the inhumanity of it?
Once, after the burning and destruction of the Muslim locality in Atali , a village in Haryana and very close to Delhi, some teachers went to the chief of the Delhi Congress Party and asked him why had the party not reached out to the victims and come out boldly in public against the atrocity! He candidly said that the Congress Party in Delhi was struggling to become the party number two and it could not be done without a major shift in the Hindu voters towards the party. The Congress was already defamed through a systematic propaganda as a pro-Muslim party which made Hindus detest it. So he argued helplessly, the party cannot afford to do anything to make it look sympathetic to Muslims! 
Interestingly, this is the argument you hear from other parties as well. It explains the inaction on part of the AAP when violence broke out in Trilokpuri in Delhi. Here Valmikis were faced with Muslims. AAP was wary of going public with its sympathy for Muslims. Their leaders said that they would help Muslims more if elected to power and it would be foolish to sacrifice Hindu votes by being perceived as taking the side of Muslims.
Political parties seldom mobilise their members or other resources in the situation of massive uprooting of Muslims as in Gujarat in 2002 or Muzaffarnagar in 2013 , leave alone Assam and other places with an aim to provide relief to them. The work of rehabilitation is also left to the religious organisations or civil society organisations.
While there are customary Iftar Parties and Eid Milans where male political leaders display their skull capped heads, they shy away from visiting and being with them when they are attacked or killed in a hate-crime. We are told that the visit of Rahul Gandhi to the kin of Akhlaq in Dadri created a mild stir in his party, some thought it was not wise to rush in such situations! We also need to remember that no leader of consequence in the Congress Party has yet met publically with Zakia Jafri, wife of Ahsan Jafri, the Congress leader of Ahmedabad butchered in the violence of 2002.
It betrays a faulty understanding within these parties who cannot, however hard they might try, wash the stain of secularism on them, that Hindus cannot be talked to about what is happening in the country. It is the absolute lack of confidence in the capacity of Hindus to empathise with others. But in reality, it shows a loss of confidence in themselves, a debilitating feeling of inability to converse with Hindus in a human language. It seems all political parties are convinced that the BJP has won the battle for the minds of Hindus and there is little that can be done about it.
India has been through worse or more perverse forms of violence if we look back at 1946 and 1947. Hindus and Sikhs had genuine reasons to justify their hate and anger against Muslims then. They had been through unimaginable savageries at the hands of Muslims in what was now Pakistan. And yet, there were leaders who faced their anger but did not lose their nerve. Most of these leaders were themselves devout Hindus, Gandhi being only one of them even if the foremost. They stood against the current of hate with firm feet and argued with their fellow people. And there was listening.
It was about the faith and confidence of the leaders of yesteryears in themselves, in their own conviction. When we see our modern leaders wavering and hiding behind the argument of waiting to let the tide of hate subside, one can only pity their self-deception. It is high time they come out of their state of stupor and relearn to speak sense. 

What's wrong these days with Hindu India?

What's wrong these days with Hindu India?
As many as four people were lynched in Bihar and Jharkhand in three separate incidents on Thursday, according to reports.
Just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned killing of people in the name of "Gau bhakti" on Thursday, a meat trader, identified as Alimuddin Ansari, succumbed to his injuries after he was assaulted by at least 10 people who stopped his van allegedly carrying “cattle meat” in Ramgarh district near Ranchi. The police said the victim was from the Giddi area in Ramgarh.
In another incident from Jharkhand, a man accused of raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl, was allegedly lynched by mob in Dumka's Ramgarh. The incident took place on Thursday when a man raped and then murdered the girl, who hailed from Kusumdih, came to Ramgarh to attend a wedding at her uncle's place. According to reports, the 30-year old man identified, as Mithun Hansada, abducted the victim while she was playing at the bank of a river in the village and took her in the forest where she was raped and later killed.
In Bihar’s Basdiha village under Rohtas district, two siblings were beaten to death by around 20 people late on Wednesday night.
The two men were brothers and mahadalits - Musahars, who are classified as the most depressed among the dalits and so poor that they were traditionally known to subsist on a diet of mice which they used to hunt for a living.
The dead men identified as Baban Musahar, 40, and Murahu Musahar, 35, were accused of entering a house after burrowing through a wall to conduct theft, the police said.
According to an IndiaSpend content analysis of the English media,  Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centred on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) and comprised 86% of 28 Indians killed in 63 incidents.
 As many of 97% of these attacks were reported after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power in May 2014, and about half the cow-related violence – 32 of 63 cases – were from states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party when the attacks were reported, revealed their analysis of violence recorded until June 25, 2017.

The Supreme Court’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Decision is Terrifying by Maha Hilal

I’m a U.S. citizen. I’m also Muslim. And the Supreme Court decision on the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban scares me.
In a June 26 ruling, the court decided to leave in place parts of the Muslim ban while the merits of the case are debated, effectively barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries without a “bona fide” relationship in the U.S. — say, with family members, an employer, or an educational institution — into the country. This decision may also prevent entry for all refugees for 120 days.
The ruling has been hailed as a victory for the Trump administration — not just on the legal end, but also in the degree to which it instills fear in Muslims. The fear is real, and not just for those who may be directly impacted, but for the larger community, too. After all, what the travel ban is ultimately meant to do is to hold all Muslims collectively responsible for the actions of a (miniscule) few.
As a Muslim American of Egyptian descent, will I be legally impacted by the decision? In theory, no. But will I think twice about leaving the country, knowing that I could return to the possibility of being harassed, interrogated, and/or denied entry back into the U.S.? Absolutely. Because after almost 16 years of the war on terror, you come to learn — or become conditioned to fear — that one day you could be next.
The distinction between citizen and non-citizen becomes ever more perilous when you “look Muslim,” have a Muslim sounding name, or work on issues relating to Muslims. This doesn’t mean I’ll experience the same consequences as Muslim non-citizens, but neither does my citizenship reassure me that my fellow Muslim Americans and I will be protected, especially in light of this administration’s history over the last few months alone.
And that’s exactly the intent of policies like these — they target some while causing others to reel back in fear that they too will be impacted. They generate enough fear to make anyone with any relationship with a targeted group censor themselves and modify their behavior. The government wins not only because of whom it targets directly, but because of who else becomes an indirect target.
These are precarious times for Muslims. And while we’re told to trust in our democracy and our judicial system, decisions like these — which come on the heels of a long history of discriminatory, racist, and Islamophobic policies under several administrations — magnify the legitimate fear that one will either be targeted by state violence or become a target of societal violence.
Worryingly, not a single judge dissented from the unsigned Supreme Court ruling — and in fact, three conservative judges, including the newly seated Neil Gorsuch, concurred that they would’ve gone even further and implemented the ban in full. So we know to expect that yet again, the highest law of the land is in favor of institutionalizing Islamophobia. Where then do Muslims turn for reprieve?
As a Muslim American, I’m tired of explaining my fear. I’m tired of pointing out how negatively the war on terror has impacted by community, and I’m tired of being treated as a means to a security end.
I’m tired of explaining the legacy of the war on terror and the fact that under the Bush administration, security policies that began by targeting non-citizens ended up, through a long and thoroughly calculated process, targeting citizens as well — something that also continued under Obama, who spied broadly on ordinary people’s communications and even ordered lethal drone strikes on U.S. citizens.
I’m tired because I know this isn’t the end, but the beginning of a new war on terror — one whose thinly veiled racist manifestations have become explicit.
The Muslim ban means that Muslims will be in the spotlight even more and viewed almost exclusively as national security pawns. Non-citizens, of course, stand to lose the most. But let’s remember what the war on terror has always been designed to do: demonize all Muslims — citizens or not — to justify the most egregious, abusive, and racist laws and policies.
I don’t know what’s yet to come, and I’m afraid to find out.
Maha Hilal, Ph.D., is the Michael Ratner Middle East fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She’s also a steering committee member of DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, an organizer with Witness Against Torture and a board member of the DC chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Culturecide in Mosul by Robert Fisk

To read the veteran journalist Robert Fisk's article on Mosul, click here.

Pushing Gaza to Suicide: the Politics of Humiliation

Pushing Gaza to Suicide: the Politics of Humiliation
Ramzy Baroud

Mohammed Abed is a 28-year-old taxi driver from the village of Qarara, near the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. He has no teeth.
Lack of medical care and proper dentistry work cost him all of his teeth, which rotted and decayed at a very young age. Yet, his dire financial needs prevented him from acquiring dentures. His community eventually pitched in, collecting the few hundred dollars needed for Mohammed to finally being able to eat.
Mohammed is not unemployed. He works ten hours, sometimes more, every single day. The old taxi he drives between Khan Younis and Gaza City is owned by someone else. Mohammed’s entire daily salary ranges from 20 to 25 shekels, about 6 dollars.
Raising a family with four children with such a meagre income made it impossible for Mohammed to think of such seemingly extraneous expenses, such as fixing his teeth or acquiring dentures.
Strange as it may seem, Mohammed is somewhat lucky.
Unemployment in Gaza is among the highest in the world, presently estimated at 44 percent. Those who are ’employed’, like Mohammed, still struggle to survive. 80 percent of all Gazans are dependent on humanitarian assistance.
In 2015, the UN had warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. At the time, all aspects of life had testified to that fact: lack of reliable electricity supply, polluted water, Israel’s military seizure of much of the Gaza Strip’s arable land, restricting the movement of fishermen and so on.
An Israeli military siege on Gaza has extended for over 10 years, and the situation continues to deteriorate.
A Red Cross report last May warned of another ‘looming crisis’ in the public health sector, due to the lack of electricity.
The energy crisis has extended from electricity supplies to even cooking gas.
Last February Israel cut cooking gas supplies to the Strip to a half.
“The cooking gas stations stopped accepting empty gas cylinders because their tanks are empty,” according to the Chairman of the Petroleum and Gas Owners Association of the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Shawa. He described the situation as “very critical.”
Three months ago, the Mahmoud Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah decided to reduce the salaries of tens of thousands of its employees in the Gaza Strip.
The money provided by the PA had played an essential role in keeping the struggling economy afloat. With most employees receiving half – or less – of their salaries, the barely functioning Gaza economy is dying.
‘H’ is a university professor and his wife, ‘S’, is a doctor. The middle-class couple with five children has lived a fairly comfortable life in the Strip, even during the early years of the siege. Now, they tell me they are counting their money very carefully so as to avoid the fate of most Gazans.
‘S’s salary comes from Ramallah. She is now only able to claim $350 dollars from what was once a significantly higher pay.  ‘H’ does not receive his money from the West Bank’s authority, but his salary was slashed by half, anyway, since most of the students are now too poor to pay for their tuitions.
Mu’in, who lives in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, is worse off. A retired teacher, with a pension that barely reaches 200 dollars a month, Mu’in is struggling to put food on the table. An educated father of four unemployed adult sons and a wife recovering from a stroke and can barely walk, Mu’in lives mostly on hand-outs.
With no access to the West Bank due to the Israeli siege, and with severe restrictions on movement via the Rafah-Egypt border, Gaza is living through its darkest days. Literally. Starting June 11, Israel began reducing the electricity supply to the impoverished Strip, as per the request of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
The results are devastating. Gaza households now receive 2 to 3 hours of electricity per day, and not even at fixed hours.
‘S’ told me that her family is constantly on alert. “When electricity arrives at any time of the day or night, we all spring into action,” she said. “All batteries must be charged as quickly as possible and the laundry must be done, even at 3 in the morning.”
But Gazans are survivors. They have endured such hardships for years and, somehow, they have subsisted. But cancer patients cannot survive on mere strength of character.
Rania, who lives in Gaza City, is a mother of three. She has been struggling with breast cancer for a year. With no chemotherapy available in Gaza’s barely-functioning hospitals, she has taken the arduous journey from Gaza to Jerusalem every time she has needed to carry out the life-saving procedure.
That, until Israel decided not to issue new permits to Gaza’s terminally ill patients, some of whom have died waiting for permits and, others –  like Rania –  who are still hoping for a miracle before cancer spreads through the rest of their bodies.
But Israel and Egypt are not the only culprits. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is using the siege as a bargaining chip to put pressure on its rivals, Hamas, who have controlled the besieged Strip for ten years.
Hamas, on the other hand, is reportedly seeking a partnership with its old foe, Mohammed Dahlan, to ease the Gaza siege through Egypt in exchange for making him the head of a committee that is in charge of Gaza’s external affairs.
Dahlan is also a foe of Abbas, both fighting over the leadership of the Fatah party for years.
Abbas’ requests to Israel to pressure on Gaza via electricity reduction, together with his earlier salary cuts, are meant to push Hamas out of its the proposed alliance with Dahlan.
Palestinians in Gaza are suffering; in fact, dying.
To think that Palestinian ‘leaders’ are actually involved in tightening or manipulating the siege to exact political concessions from one another, is dismaying.
While Israel is invested in maintaining the Palestinian rift, so that it continues with its own illegal settlement policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem unhindered, Palestinians are blinded by pitiful personal interests and worthless ‘control’ over occupied land.
In this political struggle, the likes of Mohammed, ‘H’, ‘S’ and cancer-ridden Rania – together with two million others – seem to be of no significance.
Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, sounded the alarm on June 14 when she warned that “the latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe.”
“For 10 years, the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely,” she said.
Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch director for the region, rejected the notion that the Israelis cut of electricity supplies to Gaza are made as per the Palestinian Authority’s request.
“Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the waters of Gaza, so Israel has an obligation that goes beyond merely responding to a request from Palestinian authorities,” Shakir said.
Between Israel’s dismissal of international calls to end the siege and Palestinians’ pathetic power game, Gazans are left alone, unable to move freely or live even according to the lowest acceptable living standards.
Fatima, a 52-old mother from Rafah, told me that she tried to kill herself a few days ago, if it were not for her children wrestling the knife away.
When I told Fatima that she has so much to live for, she chuckled and said nothing.
The suicide rate in the Strip is at all-time high, and despair is believed to be the main factor behind the alarming phenomena.
More articles by:
Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is:

Israel apologizes after Turkish journalists humiliated

Israeli officials apologized to a trio of Turkish journalists Wednesday after the group complained of being subjected to humiliating treatment by Israeli security personnel at a conference in Tel Aviv this week.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara issued an apology to the group, hailing the importance of recently re-established ties between Jerusalem and Ankara, and an Israeli diplomat in Istanbul also issued an apology over the incident, officials said.
The three journalists were invited by the Israeli embassy in Istanbul to attend the annual cybersecurity conference held at Tel Aviv University, as special guests of the Foreign Ministry.
But when they arrived at Cyber Week in Tel Aviv on Sunday, Daily Sabah editor Şeyma Eraz said she and Fox Turkey reporters Emre İzkübarlas and Kenan Özcan were pulled from the group of other journalists and made to go through a separate security check.
Eraz told the paper that Israeli security officials demanded she remove her headscarf during the security check, while her two male colleagues were taken into a separate room and asked to remove their pants.
She said the security officials also broke some camera equipment while searching their belongings.
“I have been to many countries, attending many meetings attended by prime ministers and presidents, but I have never been humiliated like this [in] my entire life,” Eraz said of the incident.
“I asked him [the security director] how do they decide to check people in detail, and how possibly can they ask a man to take his pants off, and he simply responded by saying that he cannot share the details of their security policy with me.”
Israel consul general in Istanbul Shai Cohen “apologized to the journalists for the feeling of humiliation while explaining Israel’s special security requirements,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told the Times of Israel Thursday.
According to the Daily Sabah, Ron Gerstenfeld from the foreign ministry and an official from the Prime Minister’s Office apologized to the three.
“I told him that we are only journalists, not terrorists and that we cannot stand being humiliated in such a degrading manner,” Eraz said she told Gerstenfeld.
Kara, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, hosted Eraz, İzkübarlas and Özcan at his office in the Knesset where he apologized for the incident and highlighted the importance of Israel’s warming ties with Turkey.
“Relations with Turkey are only getting better and closer, and they are important to the government of Israel, the State of Israel and the Israeli economy,” Kara told the journalists according to a video he posted on his Facebook page. “It’s important that these ties don’t suffer, and I hope that cases like the one that this delegation of journalists from Turkey described to me will not happen again.”
In his post, Kara went on to say that his “positive meeting” with the three journalists “prevented an unnecessary diplomatic incident between Israel and Turkey.”
Nahshon told The Times of Israel that Kara did not coordinate his statement with the Foreign Ministry.
After exchanging ambassadors in December as part of a reconciliation agreement signed last July, Israel and Turkey have sought to improve cooperation which reached a nadir following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
Relations between the former allies were nearly severed in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board, left 10 Turks dead and several soldiers wounded.
Last week, Turkey’s Finance Minister Naci Agbal said that Israel paid out $20 million to the families of the victims of the flotilla raid, one of Ankara’s conditions for rapprochement with the Jewish State.
Israel has been criticized in the past for strip-searches of Arab and Muslim journalists. Earlier this month, Israel’s Channel 2 complained after a photographer from a village straddling the Israel-Lebanon border was detained by security while trying to cover a visit to a hospital in Safed by Netanyahu and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
For original posting, click here.

Terrorist attack against a French mosque

Paris police say a driver has been arrested after unsuccessfully trying to drive a car into barriers around a suburban mosque.
The police department said in a statement that no one was hurt in the Thursday incident in Creteil south of Paris.
The reason for the driver's actions is unclear.
The incident happened as French religious sites and other public places remain under high security after a string of Islamic extremist attacks.
As we have seen such hate crimes, which are nothing but terrorizing Muslim community, are whitewashed to appear as petty crimes of less importance. I am sure if the same crime were committed by a Muslim against a Church, it would become the news headline and dubbed as nothing but terrorist activity.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ludicrous charges against Myanmar's minister

Tonight my attention was drawn to a protest march of some 200 fascist Buddhist monks demanding the ouster of Myanmar's religious affairs minister.
The news report says: "Hundreds of Buddhist nationalists staged a protest in Naypyidaw last month, where they accused the minister of favoring Muslims over Buddhists. They also demanded the lifting of a preaching ban from anti-Muslim monk Wirathu, the enactment of a plan to protect Buddhism, and an apology from the minister.
The minister’s critics staged similar protests in Yangon and Mandalay on June 25 to demand his resignation."
What a joke Buddhism is becoming in the hands of these fascist Buddhists! I am simply amazed at their ludicrous charges of favoritism for Muslims against the religious affairs minister. Did not he refer to the Myanmar’s Muslims as “visitor citizens”?
The fascist monks seem to have hijacked Buddhism in Myanmar, and need to be reined in before the situation inside implodes.

Myanmar Says it Will Not Grant Visas for UN Fact-finding Mission

Myanmar doubled down Thursday on its refusal to cooperate with United Nations' efforts to investigate reported army atrocities in the strife-ridden western state of Rakhine, with the foreign ministry saying it has ordered the country's embassies not to issue visas to UN investigators.
The United Nation Human Rights Council issued a resolution in March calling for the dispatch of an independent, international fact-finding mission to investigate the alleged recent human rights violations by security forces in Rohingya Muslim communities in the northern part of the state.
In May, the council appointed three legal experts and rights advocates as members of a fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights situation in Myanmar, especially in Rakhine state. The mission was tasked with producing a draft report by September.
On Thursday, however, Kyaw Tin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair, told parliament Myanmar's embassies were ordered not to grant visas to UN fact finding mission members.
"Daw [honorific] Aung San Suu Kyi said we would not coordinate with UN fact-finding mission as we have disassociated ourselves from the resolution because we do not think that the resolution is in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground," he said during questioning in parliament.
"We will order Myanmar embassies not to grant any visa to UN fact finding mission members. But this mission will travel to Myanmar’s neighboring countries and will ask in these countries what they want to know and submit its report to UN," Kyaw Tin added.
Myanmar soldiers carried out a four-month crackdown in parts of Rakhine state following a deadly raid on border guard posts in October 2016, which officials blamed on Rohingya militants in the country’s impoverished and religiously and ethnically divided westernmost area.
The U.N. previously said that reports of atrocities committed during the crackdown that killed an estimated 1,000 people and displaced about 90,000 Rohingya, most of whom fled to neighboring Bangladesh where they are living in refugee camps, may amount to genocide or ethnic cleansing.
On April 11, a top-level Myanmar government official briefing foreign diplomats, U.N. agency personnel, and reporters called the U.N. resolution "less than helpful," saying that Myanmar has made progress in dealing with the situation in Rakhine.
He noted that the government is complying with most of the 30 recommendations made by a Rakhine advisory committee headed by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan by opening restricted areas to news media, allowing increased humanitarian access, and agreeing to close down three internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in three Rakhine towns.
Two weeks later, an open letter sent by 23 rights groups and other international organizations is calling on world governments to urge Myanmar’s cooperation with the U.N. fact-finding mission saying the country would be better off allowing reports of sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, torture, and the destruction of homes by security forces in Rakhine state to be openly and honestly addressed.
The foreign ministry's stance was supported by members of parliament at the hearing.
"This issue can harm our country’s sovereignty. I was thinking that the government must do something effective to protect it," said lawmaker Hla Htay Win.

How a lynching in India becomes a non-event

Why Two Hundred Ordinary Hindus Did Not See A Dead Muslim Child On A Railway Station In North India

On 22 June 2017 fifteen-year old Hafiz Junaid was stabbed to death on a Mathura-bound train from New Delhi. He was traveling home for Eid with his brothers and two friends. A dispute over seats resulted in a group of men repeatedly assaulting and stabbing Junaid and his companions. The assailants flung their bodies onto the Asoti railway platform. A crowd gathered. At some point an ambulance was called and two bodies were taken away. Junaid is dead. His companions are in critical condition. While one person has been arrested the police investigations are running into a wall of social opacity since they have been unable to find a single eye-witness to the incident. Of the 200 hundred strong crowd that assembled on Asoti railway platform on Thursday evening, the police cannot find one person who can say what they saw. The police cannot find a witness because something very peculiar seems to have happened to those present at Junaid’s death. A report by Kaunain Sherrif M in the Indian Express provides specific details. When asked if he had seen anything that evening, Ram Sharan a corn-vendor whose daily shift coincides with the killing, Sharan said he was not present at the time of the incident. Two staffers who were sent to investigate by the station master were unavailable for comment. Neither the station-master, the post-master or the railway guards saw the event they were present at.
In this startling piece the journalist reports how the public lynching of a Muslim child becomes a social non-event in contemporary India. He shows the reconfiguring, and splitting, of a social field of vision. He reports all the ways in which people – Hindus- did not see the body of a dead – Muslim – child that lay in front of them. The Hindus on the Asoti railway platform managed to collectively not see a 15 year old Muslim boy being stabbed to death. Then they collectively, and without prior agreement, continued to not see what they had seen after the event. This is the uniquely terrifying aspect of this incident on which this report reflects: the totalising force of an unspoken, but collectively binding, agreement between Hindus to not see the dead body of a Muslim child. Hindus on this railway platform in a small station in north India instantly produced a stranger sociality, a common social bond between people who do not otherwise know each other. By mutual recognition between strangers, Hindus at this platform agreed to abide by a code of silence by which the death of a Muslim child can not be seen by 200 people in full public view on a railway platform in today’s India.
If this has happened we are far beyond the Gujarat pogroms, perhaps because the logics unleashed at that time have reached their final denouement. In 2002 we saw the clasped hands of a Muslim man pleading for his life from armed Hindu mobs. In 2017 there is nothing to see and no one to see it. One way to read this public blindness is as the breakdown of a social contract in purely descriptive terms- that of recognizing the body before you as being one to whom fundamental social obligations (such as the protection undertaken by adults towards children) are owed as a result of membership within the social body. The Hindus on this railway platform did not believe that any fundamental obligations, indeed even the most basic as an acknowledgment of his (dead)existence, were owed to Junaid. I stress this one social relation -that between adults and children -because its public disregard usually occurs in those situations (such as warfare, pogroms, genocides, lynchings) when social bonds have come asunder. When some adults refuse to see some dead bodies as dead children (the Holocaust, slavery) it means that the persons these children would have grown up to be are not deemed worthy of living on into membership in the socio-political order. The affective alienation by which a gathered crowd of Hindus can lynch, break, stab, tear into pieces a Muslim boy, and then not see what is left, is because these Hindus do not think Muslims belong in the social body.
Yet this analysis goes only so far because something much more terrifying seems to have occurred: not the breakdown of a social contract but the production of a new contract in today’s India, one from which all Muslims, even children, are now affectively felt to be outside. In this case it is not simply that those present did not intervene to save Junaid and his friends from harm. This is common in India. Most people do not stop to intervene or help in a violent situation because they are scared. We should cease lamenting the indifference of “the Indian public” and ask instead what forms of obligation to strangers can exist in a society as radically unequal as ours. In this case then it is not that those present were indifferent to the public lynching of a 15 year old Muslim boy. They were not indifferent at all. Rather they made a collective agentive decision to abide by a common sense to not see the public savaging of a Muslim boy. The blind wall behind which Junaid’s body lies reflects a positive action on the part of the Hindus present to collectively agree to refuse him the most basic recognitions humanity (that is the force by which humans recognize each other as sharing a common being and bond) demands.
What are the social logics revealed on Asoti platform? What is the nature of these principles of willed unseeing to which the ordinary Hindus on Asoti platform seem to hold?
Anthropologists identify a fundamental organizational logic of human society, that of mutual exchange. Humans living in society, i.e. in a social order, i.e. in a rule-governed order, enter into relations of exchange with other humans also living in society. Thus persons are those with whom one trades, barters, goes to war, enters into ties of mutual obligation and marries. Sometimes under extreme social torsion the principle of inter-social and inter-subjective mutuality breaks apart and certain groups are ejected out of the socio-political order. The force of the social as mutual exchange is withdrawn and they become humans with whom one does not marry, trade, go to war (since even warfare assumes negotiations) or exchange food, even what they eat ejected from the category of the edible. One does not respect their dead, revere their gods, nor recognize their marriages. In such circumstances these persons occupy a frightening new location in the social order. Towards such persons (prisoners captured in warfare, slaves, pacified populations) the forms of mutual exchange that undergird full membership in the social order are no longer operative. Instead another principle of social differentiation and interaction takes over- that of the hunter and the hunted. Social forms descend into bloody spirals of violence as former exchange partners withdraw social relations of mutuality and obligation. There is no more talking (the exchange of words), no more selling (the exchange of goods) and no more love (the exchange of kinship).
Such a notion may seem archaic, out of the pages of a yellowed structuralist text which once excelled in tracing the social logic of hunting and warfare in “non-state” (acephalic) societies. But we can discern the operations of this logic in modern polities. The hunting of black bodies that accompanied the conquest of Africa, the genocides that accompanied the founding of modern America and Australia. And a brief look at the bloody political history of the twentieth century shows us what happens when a hyper-nationalist militarized majority (as Pritam Singh points out below the anti-Sikh pogroms, Nazi Germany, Kosovo) begins hunting minorities. We saw the intimations of this logic – this experiment with open violence as a means of terrorizing Indian Muslims and Hindus into expelling Muslims from the national socio-political body in the Gujarat pogroms in 2002. At that time what struck and horrified a watching Indian public in this hyper-mediatized pogrom was the intimate and perverse nature of the violence directed at Muslim bodies. The rioting Hindus in Gujarat did not simply kill Muslims: they dismembered them with swords and knives. Pregnant women were ripped open, unborn fetuses thrown on fires. Mass rape accompanied by mutilation. The organic desecration of Muslim places of worship. North India is today Gujarat, except now the ruling dispensation does not need to incur the expense of a full blown pogrom since its organizing logics are abroad in the social body. Its operations can be discerned in the myriad ways in which vigilante Hindu meṅ are spreading across towns and villages in north India hunting Muslims for sport.
To return, we can and should locate this blindness of ordinary Hindus in the historical narrative we now know of the ascendancy of the Hindu Right as a social and political force in modern India. Yet the historical arc is what social scientists would call a necessary but insufficient explanation. Necessary because it is from out of this that what is coming will come. But it cannot explain the form it is taking- the peculiar horrifying quality by which non-pathological sane people cannot see the dead body of a child. Something more fundamental seems to have broken in today’s India.
As we have come to expect with the Narendra Modi regime and the national blindness it is imposing on the country, the central government has also refused to see Junaid’s body. The eyes of the state which see almost everything else did not see Junaid’s body as it lay on the platform and once it had been removed. The statements by functionaries of the state on what they did not see are instructive. Om Prakash, the Station Manager, managed to not see what was by his own admission a “huge crowd” gathered 200 ms away from his office. The two guards he sent to investigate this crowd which he himself could not see also did not see anything since by the time they had arrived 200 people had vanished. Bhagwat Dayal, the Post-Master, managed to be in two places at once and at none of them did he see anything: from his office he asked a railway officer to call an ambulance, while at the same time he was at home “relaxing”. And indeed the CCTV camera – that technology of unmediated sight normalized in public consciousness by the security state through the long decade of the 2000s- has by dint of being damaged no vision to offer. A field of invisibility in which it is impossible for Junaid’s body to be present is thus constructed through public agreement between the ordinary Hindus on this railway station and a state apparatus that has earned the necrotic distinction of blinding 1200 people in Kashmir within the past year. The ordinary Hindus at this station eschewed the use of their own eyes and turned them towards the purposes of the blind state.
From a purely social scientific viewpoint if we do not today as a society attend to the symptoms that reveal the ascendance of a logic of war against our own people incarnated within the social body, we are heading to mass slaughter. The public messaging by the current regime, and the silence of ordinary Hindus, has been well diagnosed by journalists. The BJP regime currently holding state power in the Sovereign Socialist Republic of India has declared through acquiescence, commission and omission that it is open hunting season on Muslims and Dalits. Two conclusions follow: 1) We are in a radical breakdown of the rule of law in BJP ruled India and in these regions mob rule now obtains. We are in the terror days of state supported goondaraj. From which flows the second conclusion: 2) On the 22nd of June 2017, the Republic effectively ended. India is no longer a secular constitutional republic but on the precipice of being transformed into a majoritarian state ruled by an ethnic and religious majority. The hunting of Muslims and Dalits in today’s India should concern every right thinking Indian because it demonstrates a prowling consuming violence aided and abetted by the Narendra Modi regime leaking through the social body. As all our public institutions erode under increasing assault, as the space of public discourse and exchange is vitiated through threat, coercion and open violence, we are teetering on the edge of becoming a country in which children are not safe on the trains. A country in which people run scared of what their neighbours think they are eating, and armed thugs patrol small town streets hunting young lovers. 15 year old Junaid’s body, the broken body of a young Muslim boy that ordinary Hindus chose to un-see, shows India the shape of things to come. We are 1.3 billion people spread over one of the largest contiguous landmasses in the world. Imagine the scale of social violence, what it will consume, what will be left, what can escape, once it begins. We should prepare for the future being put in place for us.