From Palestine to Kashmir

Arshid Malik

Kashmir-soliditary-with-PalestinePalestine. Oh! Palestine.

Blood, tears and sweat mixed into one intangible mix drips down the face of the earth accumulating in a blotch at the imagined centre. It is the blood of murdered Palestinian men, women and children, the tears of the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who have lost their dear ones to the attacks of the incorrigible beast of a rogue “nation” Israel and the sweat of people running for the lives, to escape the inescapable Israeli missiles that hit everywhere, be it schools, mosques, hospitals, rehab centres or residential houses. It is a scourge. The bloodshed pushed the total Palestinian toll to over 600 since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July in what Israel calls a bid to stamp out “rocket fire” from Gaza. The United Nations in one of its latest statements has said that Palestinian civilians in densely-populated Gaza have no place to hide from Israel’s military offensive and children are paying the heaviest price and nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency, where they are in dire need of food, water and bedding, all of which are scarce as relief routes stand choked.

Meanwhile the Chief of the UN Ban Ki-moon has been “charitable” enough to say that he has seen photographic and video evidence of Palestinian rocket fire on Israel, describing it as “quite shocking” and saying all countries had an “international obligation to protect” their citizens. Everyone knows the rocket fire of desperate Palestinian militant groups hardly scathes the surface of Israel with the Iron Dome in place. It is a massive joke. And then the Chief of UN justifying the killing of innocent Palestinians by saying that “all countries have an international obligation to protect their citizens which is only half a statement coming from the Chief. He forgot to mouth the rest of the sentence which is “by brutally killing everyone that does not even remotely pose any threat to them and going on doing that again and again”. This means the Israeli forces have the sanction of the UN to do what they are doing right now, killing innocent civilians just as they please.

And what is the rest of the world doing? Well the civil population of almost every country is showing its anger one way or the other but it hardly puts a dent in the resolve of the Israelis who mean to wipe out a whole nation, lest they subdue and surrender like slaves. Well, what else can one do? I am talking of the common man. The ostentatious did have a say in the matter world over but they do not want to call a spade a spade as business is a priority for them. Some of the leading brands across the world are owned and run by the very same people who are wreaking havoc on Gaza right now. It is a capitalistic order against a vehemently oppressed proletariat and an under attack petit bourgeoisie. I know the terms I used in the previous sentence sound very quirky and antiquated but I have come to believe that we need to stick to the basics to get to the top. It is a war of the rich against the poor; a war of the powerful attempting to silence the weak. The age old tradition of preposterous posterity was in fact never abandoned. We, as people of the world, were only blinded by the glitz and glamour of the economic ultra fascist new world order. We still stand blinded, here in India and elsewhere. The bright lights of the West are still too dazing us to points where our own attitudes and mannerisms turn irreproachable towards the children of the world, the generation which will have to face the threat of extinction at the hands of the economic fascists. We are too happy with our jeans, sweatshirts, tattoos, burgers, pizzas and sodas while the writing on the wall is incorrigible to us, of our destined doom.

Are Muslims across the world bothered about the plight of the Palestinians, is a question which is haunting my mind right now. We brag about brotherhood and Islamic states, but are we really doing anything for the Palestinians. Are we even aggrieved, or are we just content with occasional sighs over pictures of children killed in Israeli attacks that jump up on our social networking “walls” every now and then. I figure that non-Muslims are far too disturbed than us Muslims over what is happening in Palestine. We are bound by a common thread of faith and so we have turned apologists. Actually it doesn’t even get under our skin otherwise “all hell would have broken loose” across Muslim countries over the outrage that symbolizes Palestine right now. By writing “all hell would have broken loose” I am not suggesting or instigating violence but trying to put across to the Muslims of the world that mere Facebook likes won’t get us anywhere. We can do better than that.

In Kashmir violence has been the story of the day but I believe that Kashmir’s story is that of half-a-conflict only. This half-a-conflict is a term which I have coined with respect to Kashmir and I will need more space and time to explain it some other time. For now, we know we have seen violence, brutalization, victimization and all other non-surrealistic synonyms of armed subjugation. We know how it feels to suddenly learn that younger brother, innocent as a butterfly, who had gone to the market got hit by a bullet fired by security forces at wanton. We know the plight of losing sons, daughters, fathers, husbands. We know first-hand how desecration of your identity occurs at the hands of the subjugators. And we did rise to the occasion for Palestine. We marched in the tipsy heat of July in Kashmir and yelled at the top of our voices against Israel. We did our job and then we returned to our routines. We got busy shopping for Eid. We are switching shoe sizes half a day and the other we are window shopping. We are what we are, ugly, treacherous, double-meaning lies of a people. All this while the holy month of Ramadan teaches us self-restraint and the basic principles of frugality… Are we Muslims for real? Our acts don’t justify our claims.

My tribute to a child (every child) killed in Palestine

Did they love you back, dear child,

Those brute projectiles of hate,

When you opened your arms wide to embrace them, dear child

Did you flutter your lashes,

When the dogmas laced in lead cracked your chest,

I somehow know you saw a flash of light

When life began to wane from your weakened limbs

While they believed they smothered you forever

You breathe through my soul,

Forever and ever till the guns die.


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