Sunday, July 24, 2016

Kashmir, Palestine and My Facebook Friends

 Nasir Khan, July 24, 2016

At present, I have about three thousand Facebok friends who come from different parts of the world. This list also includes a few hundred friends from Pakistan or who are of Pakistani origin. Over the last few weeks, when Indian army unleashed its brutal crackdown in Kashmir, killing, blinding and maiming the Kashmiri people, most of my Pakistani Facebook friends have shown no interest in the plight of the Kashmiri people. The number of such friends who have actively published and posted on their Facebook walls remains very small.

However, many people around the world have shown their solidarity with Kashmiris, including many people from India and Pakistan who have held public demonstrations in many cities and places against the frightening atrocities of the Indian army in Kashmir. But our Pakistani Facebook friends have remained largely indifferent to the ongoing brutal killings and the blinding of the youth in Kashmir. In fact, their indifference is not limited to Kashmir but also extends to the people of Palestine who, like the Kashmiris, have been under Zionist colonial oppression and subject to systematic ethnic cleansing since 1948.

Some Pakistanis even say that the Kashmir conflict is only for the Kashmiris to resolve themselves. Pakistan and Pakistanis should not bother about Kashmir and its people. In the same way, when it comes to the question of occupied Palestinians, they remain indifferent. Some even support what the Zionists stand for and argue that Israel is defending itself against the Palestinian terrorists!

According to such a perverted logic, it is the Palestinians who are the cause of trouble, not Israel. It is not any secret that some Pakistani leaders and politicians have supported the idea of normalising relations with Israel by recognising it. But what about the Palestinians whose lands has been taken from them by a colonial power? That problem can be ignored. In fact, some Pakistani politicians had other considerations to gain the favours of the Zionists than to take time to think about the captive population of the apartheid state of Israel. But what are the great motives of my Pakistani Facebook friends in their indifference to or even hostility towards the national struggle of the Palestinians? I have no clue.

For decades, I have been a supporter of the right of the people of Palestine and have opposed the policies of Israel towards a captive people. This I have done purely as a Humanist and a Socialist peace activist. I respect the religious or ethnic identities of all people but find no justification for the ideas that any person becomes better than others merely because of his/her religion or ethnicity. I have also some friends who are famous Jewish academics and political activists; they oppose Zionism, Israeli policies towards the occupied or besieged people of Palestine and are firm supporters of the national rights of the Palestinians. Luckily, there are many people in the world who support the cause of the people of Palestine. In this, I also acknowledge the positive role of some Pakistani Facebook friends play in the difficult struggles of national emancipation both in Kashmir and Palestine.

Among all my friends, no matter where they are from or what their ethnic identities may be, if they support the Indian military occupation of Kashmir and the Israeli occupation of Palestine can unfriend me on Facebook.

That also means many Pakistanis may have to unfriend me. I thank all such people for bearing with me but now we should part company.

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