Whether we want to accept it or not the truth remains that our world is witnessing some positive changes; all our troubles notwithstanding. Yes, there are problems galore. There are lots of wrongs. Our very basic rights are being violated, day in and day out. There are excesses and there is violence too, but there is also a ray of hope.
Some changes have taken place and some changes are taking place now. Future too holds a hope for more changes take place. We can hope that these positive developments bring about a real change in the status quo.
This year on January 20, Barack Hussein Obama took oath as America’s first black president. ‘Change we need,’ was Obama’s slogan during the presidential campaign. From Obama’s election as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review to winning the nomination for a seat as the US senator from American state of Illinois, and then his successful race to the White House as first African-American. Isn’t this a good change? We bid goodbye to Mr. George W Bush. Wasn’t that a good change?
Obama promises change. He promises to bring US troops back from war-ravaged Iraq. He promises to shut down Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba by next January. He promises to use diplomatic means to resolve the issue of Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There is a hope that Obama may also focus on Kashmir. His advisors are of the opinion that situation in Afghanistan can be resolved only when Pakistan focuses all attention on Pak-Afghan border. For that, troops have to be removed from its eastern border. Unless the sensitive issue of Kashmir is resolved, Pakistan can not do that. So Kashmir issue is likely to come under focus.
Our strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir also witnessed a change.
This January, 38-year-old Omar Abdullah took oath as Kashmir’s youngest-ever chief minister. Abdullah promises a different approach toward solving different issues at different levels. Unlike his father, Omar Abdullah acknowledges the significant role of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in the final resolution of Kashmir conundrum. “What else do you want to see? Kashmiri students of 10 th and 12 th classes from missionary schools on the rooftops of buses are shouting pro-freedom slogans,” said Omar Abdullah once during an interview with Karan Thapar in the programme Devil’s Advocate on CNN-IBN. In yet another television debate on NDTV, Abdullah admitted the fact that he or any other leader from the mainstream political parties cannot pull even one-tenth of the crowd the Hurriyat leaders managed to during the last year’s unprecedented wave of pro-freedom rallies in Kashmir.Abdullah has made such candid admissions on more than one occasion. Isn’t this a good change? We have almost, I repeat, almost; got rid of theatre of Farooq Abdullah. Isn’t that a change?
(Gowhar Geelani is a Bonn based broadcaster with Radio Duetche Welle (Voice of Germany)