Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crude journalism

[snipped from an editorial "Yet more protests in Kashmir" published on 27 Aug 08 in Dawn;]

> Most immediately the Indian security forces
> need to show restraint.

But perhaps the journalist would do better to ask the government to show restraint, for the security forces take their brief from the Executive, which entity is deemed responsible. Or is it possible that the journalist stretches the example of Pakistan's autonomous military to other countries?

> The enormous crowds that have gathered in
> the Kashmir valley on several occasions in
> recent weeks have for the most part been
> peaceful and non-violent.

This is interesting, but does appear to contradict an assertion made in the preceding paragraph, namely: "THE wave of protests and violence in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir continues unabated." Indeed, this is the opening statement of the journalist.

> The Kashmiris have a right to protest peacefully.

It would have been hard to come up with a more inane statement. What about the Keralites? And the Thais? And the Americans? May they also protest peacefully? Or, is it the case, even in the freedom-loving lands, that the right to protest has caveats: i.e. no trespass on private property, no rallies on public highways without prior permission, no marches during wartime, terrorism or other extreme situations?

> Muslims in the Kashmir valley feel their
> homeland is occupied by foreign, Hindu elements.....

Yes, of course. Muslims had been living in the valley since time immemorial. A few centuries ago, a bunch of foreigners, in a foreign land, came up with a new religion called Hinduism, and invaded other countries. No, no, no, I seem to have my facts mixed up. Can it be that India is where the Indians come from, and that Muslims are derived from Arabia, hundreds of miles to the West. It is scary to see distortions of history in print.

> With cross border violence having subsided
> for the moment, the unrest in the Valley
> is of a purely indigenous character.

One wonders if the writer is not aware of the terrorist training camps that the Indians and the Americans allege exist on Pakistani soil (incidentally, the highest elements of the Pakistani establishment, the previous military dictator included, have admitted this). That the Taleban has bases in Pakistan, that hate is preached in Madarassas? Any student of terrorism in Kashmir knows that terrorism there is anything but indigenous.

But perhaps we are debating the finer points of epistemology. What is truth? Whose ancestors lived in which land, which religions are Arabic and which are not etc. etc..

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