IRSHAD SALIM — Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s insightful take in mid-October that “PM Modi by his recent actions had actually scored a goal against himself and against India” found a lede this week in British politician George Galloway’s narratives on human rights abuses in Kashmir.
That the maverick and outspoken British politician did not equate (even non-sulfurously) the valley with Palestine and Gaza should be a welcome sign inside the Beltway and on the Hill. Still the absence of it in Washington is disturbing;y loud enough.
Galloway believes nations around the world will eventually reconfigure their ties with India as a result of PM Modi’s OMG (Oh My God) gambit. And I wonder if the U.S. will do so notwithstanding dollars and cents.
“When a nation loses love, it loses soft power in the world,” Galloway warned. “This alone is the biggest damage Modi has caused to India,” he added.
Pardon the turkey Mr. President as tradition demands, and remember 8 million Kashmiris are holed up in the pristine Himalayan valley
According to Galloway, internationally a whole manner of things of which the events in Kashmir are only one, “have caused reputational damage to Modi, and therefore, by extension India.”
The former member of the British parliament went on to say that Modi is a threat to India’s secular identity and perhaps to its existence in the long run– a view which has found traction among South Asia observers and thought-leaders across the Atlantic. The observation also dovetail’s Kasuri’s and German Chancellor Merkel’s one-liner during the latter’s Delhi visit a few weeks back.
Galloway’s and Kasuri’s less-than-140-character-styled-views (social media jargon) makes “bold/strong” Merkel’s ‘not sustainable, not good’ one-liner stand out as a broadside on Modi’s Kashmir move. A similar ‘unacceptble’ tweet (using Twitter jargon) was done by Nagaland’s leader. The state of Manipur is up in arms too on Modi’s 370 swashbuckling.
The White House is silent though.
That the German Chancellor made the terse Kashmir statement while in Delhi, where she signed a billion dollar euro investment, makes things worse, as she said ahead of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall– a poignant reminder that days of practicing ‘iron curtain’ politics and geopolitics is a square peg in a round hole.
The U.S. made the Berlin fall following the Soviet’s ‘Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall” — Pakistan helped.
Germany’s neighbor at that time was led by Mikhail Gorbackev, who recently told BBC, the “world is in ‘colossal danger’. Indeed.
German Chancellor’s timely statement is a “salt and pepper on Modi’s moves, says one observer
That a similar is amiss from the Oval office remains a brain-twister though.
Galloway articulated his take though (not his as usual– which is not taken seriously by many on the Hill) and resonates in the valley: The maverick politician known globally for non-institutional views on institutionalized narratives, was in Pakistan’s commercial capital Karachi –to attend a seminar on human rights abuses in the occupied territory. He believes nations around the world will eventually reconfigure their ties with India.
Could be speculative for the predictable many, but his view is in my opinion is akin to a PEW and GALLUP poll in the region where ‘partnership for durable peace in South Asia’ narrative was sent by President Trump to PM Khan in Islamabad in July.
Ironically, streets in Pakistan and the occupied valley are somewhat polluted with a groupthink that something is not kosher.
“They are not moving towards Modi’s India out of love but out of interest. And when a nation loses love, it loses soft power in the world,” says Galloway.
There’s silence though— and that’s the ‘loudest sound’ renowned Indian writer and human rights activist Arundhati Roy recently wrote.
Silence as we all know is God’s first language. And dignity I consider as a human being’s server. That’s at stake in Kashmir this Thanksgiving week in my opinion.
The region is highly militarized; it is a nuclear flashpoint, and to top it all it is a Climate Change hot spot too — all these southeast of Washington which espouses connectivity, diversity, inclusiveness, and pursuit of happiness as French Fries in the region. Nothing wrong with that.
But Modi has tinkered with all “with a 10-foot pole” in the Gentlemen’s Club.
That the South Asian Diaspora will be reminded of on the Thanksgiving Day.
With frowns on their foreheads, they’ll sit around the table for turkey dinner.
Pardon the turkey as tradition demands Mr. President, and remember 8 million Kashmiris are holed up in the pristine Himalayan valley.
Stuffed in a black hole for lack of honor and dignity since August 5.
That’s more than 100 days as the world turns.
The writer, a business consultant and analyst is Editor/Publisher of despardes.com and PKonweb.com. He is also a member of the NY-based South Asia Journalists Association (SAJA), and presently based in Islamabad.