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Non-violent movement infused respect, dignity among Kashmiris: David Barsamian

Srinagar Feb 15: The world renowned Armenian-American radio broadcaster and writer, David Barsamian, who is currently in the valley on Wednesday said the non-violent movement undertaken by Kashmiris has been extremely beneficial as it  has infused consciousness, respect and dignity among the common Kashmiris.

In an exclusive interview to Greater Kashmir Barsamian said the consciousness of Kashmiris had shifted after 2008.

“I observe that people especially the youth of Kashmir are more confident and politically conscious as compared to my past visits in 1996 and 2007. They are now using the non-violent means to press for their political demands. It’s the most effective form to fight for your rights,” Barsamian, who is also director of Alternative Radio, the Boulder, Colorado-based syndicated weekly talk program heard on some 125 radio stations in various countries.

He said the gains in 2010 should be sustained by concerted efforts in the future. “There has to be historical understanding, sustained process, dedication and organization among people who are at work,” Barsamian said. “There have been instances where struggles have been defused by weakening the different sections of the society. Like the infighting among the groups. This ultimately benefits the power”.

Asked that people were impatient since they felt they achieved nothing in during 2010 unrest, the noted broadcaster disagreed and said “Action has to be build slowly”.

“Only then the dam breaks at some time,” Barsamian said. “People need to be patient. The impatience has to be thought out intellectually”.
 Barsamian, who has authored several books is best known for his series of interviews with Noam Chomsky. Besides, he has also penned interviewed worlds famous intellectuals and writers like Edward Said, Howard Zinn, Eqbal Ahmad,and Arundhati Roy. All of the interviews have been published in the book forms.

He said the people in the America were not aware about the realties in Kashmir, and neither about the unrest of 2010.

“The US elites have followed largely the line from New Delhi. Indian is a strategic partner of the US now. They US army conducts joint exercises with Indian army. Delhi has been successful in assuring that its Muslim fundamentalist struggle and not a political one”.

However, he was quick to add that the non violent means followed by Kashmir apart from denting the opinion makers in New Delhi, could effectively change the perception of the world towards their struggle.

Asked why millions of Kashmiris who took to roads before Egypt, Tunisia and other middle east countries could not attract a response from the West, particularly from America, Barsamian said, “The political considerations from America are different. They consider Delhi as a strategic partner”.

He said there is a need for Kashmiris to produce counter narrative and means and ways to break what he described as “information monoply”.

“Even in India people are unaware about the happenings. I was in Jharkhand. There people have no information about what is happening in Kashmir,” Barsamian said. “Hence this information blockade has to be broken. People should use alternate media, cameras and other aids to disseminate the happenings here to the outside world. They need to create their own media”.

Source: Greater Kashmir

OP:
I wouldn't say I agree to everything he has said in this interview, but it's still food for thought. The Kashmiri people have been oppressed for 50+ years and have been abused by both Pakistan and India. It's not easy to stay non-violent against those who have no qualms about being violent towards you, especially when children are being killed. I always feel it's easy to say it's important to have a peaceful revolt when you yourself are not actually immersed in the situation and can leave for a better place at anytime. From what I know, the uprising is not taking a violent turn as of yet, but given the circumstances and the lives that Kashmiris have been leading for years - being maltreated by both terrorists and the army, having to follow crufew and hartal, being forced to stop your childrens education and business because of protests - they need to be heard and tended to, without being dismissed as simply being another proponent of "Radical Islam", otherwise the people might feel like they have no other choice.
Tags: india, media, oppression, pakistan
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