Soon after this brutal killing of the Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger, protests have begun across Dhaka. We extend our support to the struggle against the dangerous forces of religion-inspired extremism. See more detailed report in Al Jazeerahere and The Guardianhere.
“If conservative elements can capture our public spaces and impose their diktat on us, we will do the same in retaliation. Our university spaces, parks and roads are not free any more. We are reclaiming them now. We live in an age where a Dalit man is hacked to 40 pieces because he fell in love with a woman from a higher caste. This Kiss of Love campaign is a defiance of moral policing and a struggle to uphold the spirit of love in all its forms and for everyone,” said Zareen, a campaigner.
In June 2013, a series of large demonstrations throughout Brazil have shaken up its main cities and political landscape. They have also perplexed politicians and analysts alike, many of whom found themselves without solid references to interpret the novelty and oscillated between silence and old discourses. It is always risky to interpret emerging processes. Minimally, we risk following secondary paths or, even worst, framing new events with the vocabulary made available by old interpretative models, exactly the ones that the new events are trying to displace. However, in order to reveal what is emerging it is necessary to risk, search for new hints, and follow signs already available. Several references that can guide us to interpret the June events have been around for quite a while; others are new, but we can trace their lineage and contextualize them.
Maybe it is silly to think that the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy will listen to the sorrows of a young Kashmiri woman-you have a billion more people to worry about. Maybe your interest in this letter would be piqued if I began by telling you that we have something in common-an education from two of the world’s best universities, yours from Oxford, mine from Harvard. Maybe it shouldn’t take a reference to where one went to school to get attention on a serious ethical issue at the center of democratic governance in India but nothing else has worked so far. I hope jaan pehchaan will work its wonders this once too. Continue reading Kindly Deliver My Letter to the PM of India: Mahum Shabir→
Guest post by SAMEER BHAT: The completeness of night’s silence is absolute in Kashmir. Earlier today another boy was put six feet under. Killed in cold blood in Baramulla by the Indian army. Apparently a small crowd was protesting against the hanging of Afzal Guru and driven by pure emotion, pelted a passing army truck with stones. Since Kashmiri blood costs next to nothing, the armymen quickly got down, cocked their machine guns and sprayed the protesting kids with bullets, instantly killing a kid – Tahir — in his 20s. Nothing much. His friends, too shocked to react, smeared his blood on their faces. Grown-ups wept. The army later issued a statement that they didn’t shoot the boy. Period. Continue reading Mayhem in March: Sameer Bhat→
The United People’s Freedom Alliance government’s inability to put forward economic policies that address the grievances of the downtrodden sections of the Sri Lankan polity, outside the frameworks of neo-liberalism, has led to chaos in the country. The government’s move to privatize the higher education sector created a major uproar in the country last year. The academic staff attached to Sri Lanka’s universities began a trade union action demanding higher wages in 2011. In the Katunayake Free Trade Zone, garment sector workers took to the streets against a pension scheme introduced by the government much against the interest of the workers. These protests have brought to light the government’s ill-conceived economic policies, and its indifference to the concerns of the working people. Financial mismanagement, corruption at the various levels of the state, the escalating expenditure on the militarization of the North and East provinces, and the government’s sheer disregard for the fundamental needs of the people have created an atmosphere of economic instability. This situation might lead to political unrest in the future, if the Sri Lankan government continues to lack the will to salvage the economy from neo-liberalism and mismanagement. The government’s move to increase the prices of fuels has aggravated this situation.
As governments across the world prostrate themselves before corporations and corporate greed takes over the daily business of governing, mass struggles are breaking out all over the world. What started as the much propagated ‘Arab Spring’ – apparently the Arab world’s yearning for American and Western values represented by ‘democracy’, has now, after spreading through Europe (France, Greece, Spain, Portugal…) engulfed the heart of Empire – the United States of America. The Occupy Wall Street movement that started almost three weeks ago, with thousands of people assembling in Zucotti Park in Lower Manhattan, New York, has now spread amdist media blackout and police repression, to other parts across the United States. A glimpse of the situation about a week ago: