Guest post by YASMIN QURESHI
Yasmin Qureshi grew up as a member of India’s Muslim minority before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a social justice activist who traveled to Palestine in 2007 and to Kashmir last year. This article is a reflection on her trip to Kashmir.
I wanted to go to Kashmir ever since I visited Palestine in 2007. There are many similarities in the nature of the occupation as well as the struggles, both being nearly 63 years old.
One difference is that while Israel is seen as an external occupying force in Palestine, the Kashmir issue is considered an “internal” matter or a conflict between Pakistan and India, and the voice of Kashmiris is often lost. As a result, there are fewer international organizations monitoring the region, and little information about the extent and impact of the occupation gets out.
A layoff from my company in August 2009 gave me the opportunity to visit the region, called “a paradise on earth” by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The unanimous message I heard as I traveled and spoke to journalists, taxi drivers, pony riders, waiters, students and teachers was that they want “azadi,” independence from the occupation by India. Continue reading Kashmir: The Hidden Occupation