Friday, July 22, 2011

“O’ Muslims! What have you done?” long as we keep blaming others for our woes, so long we will not realize that the fault is ours for allowing others to take advantage of us. Pakistan pompously professes to be an Islamic Republic but doesn’t know what that means. Which Islam? The Islam of God or one of the 72 versions of the cleric? That is our core problem from which all other problems arise. We don’t know who we are and why we are. This leads to an erosion of self-confidence and self-esteem (except in rhetoric), the lack of which make us in thrall of alien ideologies and their political, economic and social constructs.

This poem on the Holy Quran written some 35 years ago by the ninth President of India, Dr. Pandit Shanker Dayal Sharma, says it beautifully. It’s very good because it’s very true. I have translated it myself.

Amal ki kitab thi.

Dua ki kitab bana dia

(English)It was a Command for action.

(English)You turned it into a book of prayer.

Samajhne ki kitab thi.

Parhne ki kitab bana dia.

(English)It was a Book to understand.

(English)You read it without understanding.

Zindaon ka dastoor tha.

Murdon ka manshoor bana dia.

(English)It was a code for the living.

(English)You turned it into a manifesto of the dead.

Jo ilm ki kitab thi.

Usay la ilmon ke hath thama dia.

(English)That which was a book of knowledge;

(English)You abdicated to the ignoramus.

Taskheer-e-kayenaat ka dars denay aayi thi.

Sirf madrason ka nisaab bana dia.

(English)It came to give knowledge of Creation.

(English)You abandoned it to the madrasa.

Murda qaumon ko zinda karne aayi thi.

Murdon ko bakhshwane per laga dia.

(English)It came to give life to dead nations.

(English)You used it for seeking mercy for the dead.

Aye Musalmano ye tum nay kia kiya?

(English)O’ Muslims! What have you done?

Please don’t take kneejerk offense. Righteous rage before thinking is a hallmark of the ignoramus. Don’t focus on who says something but on what he says.

Look at the Muslim condition. They remain on the lowest rung of the ladder. The Jews, numbering less than the people who live in Karachi, are on the top rung. Why? Because they educated themselves, used their minds, recognized and understood the real levers of power, bought stakes in them and became the most powerful people in the world. The Muslims, on the other hand, remain mired in ignorance, waiting for Divine deliverance without bothering to lift a finger, fooling only themselves by wallowing in their undoubtedly glorious past, deluded in their present illusions. They live on homilies and humbug.

The total GDP of all 57 Muslim majority countries put together is less than the GDP of California. The turnover of some top multi-nationals is more. Muslims have the highest illiteracy rate in the world, the lowest educational levels, lower still in subjects that matter like science, the highest birth rate, the highest female and child mortality rates, not a single world class school, university or hospital, no state institutions worth a dime, no nothing. All we have is a bomb and one good friend that some ‘heavenly’ Muslims regard as ‘godless’. If they only knew their religion properly they would be shocked to realize that China is closer to the ideal Islamic state than any Muslim country is.

Muslims were enjoined to become the “central community” that others could emulate – ummatun wusuta. Instead, we’ve become a model of what not to emulate. Of 57 Muslim majority states, only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran call themselves ‘Islamic’. That’s a big claim, so big that it makes one’s heart quake. However, it’s most incumbent upon Pakistan to deliver for it claims it was made in the name of Islam in order to create that model Islamic state that God wanted. To what extent has Pakistan discharged that responsibility? Zero.

Riba is usury and exploitation of all and any sort. It is rampant. When they call usury by another name it doesn’t change its exploitative and un-Islamic nature. Calling riba ‘interest’ is the mark of hypocrisy. Calling it ‘mark up’ is the mark of the devil. There is no such thing as ‘interest’ distinct from usury. It is only a slight of tongue, a play of words devised by the rapacious. Pakistan’s is an economy based on usury upon usury, something that has brought the western economic system to the brink. Our banks charge inordinate amounts in usury on the ignorant excuse that it will lower inflation when it actually raises it. We pay inordinate amounts in usury for our unconscionable debt addiction to live an illusory life of luxury having collateralizing our sovereignty and our soul. Living beyond one’s means is stupidity in the extreme. It is defiance of the Divine. We belong to Dr. Faustus. Luckily, Dr. Faustus is terminally ill with a disease called usury.

Pakistan has all but lost its sovereignty. You know what that means for a state that calls itself Islamic? All sovereignty belongs to the Almighty. He has conditionally devolved some of it on humanity because He has appointed Man his khalifa or vicegerent – a sovereign’s administrative deputy – since humankind is His greatest creation (ashraful makhlooqat). Thus what we have trashed is the sovereignty God devolved on us. Great going!

Pakistan has all but lost its nationhood. You know what that means? The best translation of the Arabic world ummah that I have seen is ‘nation’ – nation of believers in One God within which is the Muslim ummah. That is the first pillar of Islam – Tauheed – belief in One God. So by losing our Pakistani nationhood, are we perhaps not in danger of losing our place in the ummah as a whole? Big talk comes easy for it comes cheap – “Pakistan is an Islamic Republic” – but it’s very difficult to live up to. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Certainly don’t bite if you have no intention of chewing. Most certainly don’t bite if you don’t even know how to chew, not if you have borrowed dentures for which you are paying usury.

Like apes we mimic our master’s systems. God tells us to ‘choose’ from amongst ourselves and from amongst the best. ‘Choose’ implies democracy. Our British system ensures that we choose from amongst the worst. Our parliament-cum-legislature is not only supposed to be an advisory body but also a law making one. Yet it comprises people who know little about jurisprudence, Islamic or Anglo Saxon. The adjudicature includes lawyers many of whom are on a rampage of illegality. Judges are more concerned with matters facetious than with issues requiring immediate justice. We have no institutions with expert jurists to make laws. When law, advice, governance are missing it means Amr bil ma’roof wan nahi ‘an Al Munkar – those who command good and forbid evil – are missing.

Hijab and Contemporary Muslim Women who support the French State 's decision to ban hijab from its schools argue that the law is a necessary step to protect young Muslim girls, as French citizens, from fundamentalist pressure to wear hijab. Such a law, thus, penalizes innocent girls who wish to cover in order to protect those who do not wish to cover. The French see hijab as more than just a piece of cloth.

The girls who wear it are not innocent; they are, in fact, seen as signs of a cancer in the French body politic - "Islamic fundamentalism". That the French see the hijab in this way is due to an old and resilient Orientalist stereotype of the hijab as a symbol of Muslim women's oppression. This idea was introduced into Western discourse in the early eighteenth century and was given "teeth" during the colonial era. During the British and French occupations of the Middle East , the colonialists went to great lengths to unveil Muslim women.

The Europeans' campaigns against the veil were eventually successful, as a new generation of Muslims internalized the Western colonial view of the veil as a symbol of backwardness. A society that wished to modernize had to follow the secular, Western path or else be condemned to the backwater of history. In 1936, the Shah of Iran initiated a policy of forced unveiling of women, decreeing that they wear Western women's dress. Taxi drivers could be fined if they accepted veiled passengers; policemen would pull scarves off women's heads in the streets and were actually instructed to shred a woman's veil with scissors if she was caught wearing it in public. (This is the secular equivalent of the "religious police" in Iran , Saudi Arabia and Taliban Afghanistan , who enforce the wearing of hijab. The French State 's decision to ban hijab in its schools, while not being enforced with police violence, is nevertheless part of the same phenomenon of state coercion in the name of modernity.)

By the 1960s, the colonial and Muslim modernizing elites' attacks on the veil had been largely successful. Only rural, peasant or lower-class urban women continued to cover. The urban, modern woman who wanted to "get ahead" did not cover and scorned those who did as illiterate, backward peasants. Thus, the movement for re-veiling, which has swept the Muslim world since the early 1970s, has surprised many observers. Social science research into the phenomena has revealed that the "re-veiling movement", as it is called (though it is not really re-veiling, since most of the women are adopting hijab for the first time), is a women-driven movement. That is, contrary to media reports and the opinions of intellectuals who aim to foster fear of and hatred towards Muslims, the re-veiling movement is not the result of fundamentalist violence or coercion, but the result of women choosing to cover.

Academic research has, also, highlighted the fact that the motivations and meanings behind covering are extremely diverse; though the women may look similar in their dress, they are not thinking similarly, nor experiencing hijab similarly. This is an important point to make because those who would claim that the hijab is a sign of oppression ignore the multiple sociological meanings that hijab carries. According to some analysts, the first impetus of the re-veiling movement was the 1967 Arab defeat by Israel . This event made many Muslims reconsider the paths of Westernization and modernization that their countries were pursuing. Many felt that their heritage and religion had been sidelined in the process, and they turned to Islam for solace during those difficult times. Many women adopted hijab as a part of this new mental state. (Many men grew beards and began wearing the traditional jalabiyya.) It is important to note that the style of hijab adopted by these women was new and quite different from traditional forms of covering worn by their ancestors.

Instead of a large piece of material wrapped around the body and, often, a face veil, these women adopted long coats and head-scarves pinned under the chin. For these women, the hijab was a combination of piety and political protest. One Egyptian woman told Williams , during his 1978 study into why Egyptian women embraced the veil, "Until 1967, I accepted the way our country was going. I thought Gamal Abd al-Nasser would lead us all to progress. Then, the war showed that we had been lied to; nothing was the way it had been represented. I started to question everything we were told. I wanted to do something and to find my own way. I prayed more and more, and I tried to see what was expected of me as a Muslim woman. Then, I put on shar'i dress…" Hessini found similar sentiments of political protest in her 1989 study of urban and professional Moroccan women who had adopted hijab. One woman, Hadija, stated, "the hijab is a way for me to retreat from a world that has disappointed me. It's my own little sanctuary."

Some women felt that, in adopting this dress, they were proactively working to improve their societies and promoting social justice. Nadia told Hessini, "My religion saved me. In a world where there is no justice, I now believe in something that is just. I now have something I can count on." Many women, however, have prioritized religious belief as the main motivation behind their decision to cover. Their adopting the new style of hijab is meant to express their adherence to "true Islam." Sou'al told Hessini, "My mother has always worn the veil, but she knows nothing about Islam. She wore the veil out of tradition, whereas I wear it out of conviction." My own research amongst Toronto Muslim women in 1994, also, found similar motivations. Yasmeen, an immigrant to Canada from the Middle East , who is in her early thirties, told me, "I feel in peace [wearing hijab], and ah…I feel I respect myself more. I am not concentrated about my beauty and ah… the fashion and this stuff ah...I think it's a peace of mind…I feel comfortable because this is what God want from the human being, ah…I am obeying."

But the hijab carries a multitude of meanings. Researchers in Egypt , for instance, have found that not all those who adopt hijab do so out of religious sentiments. Many of these women do not pray regularly, nor do they discuss hijab as a religious form of dress. Rather, they have found in hijab an empowering dress that facilitates their access to education and work. Often coming from urban lower class families and being the first woman in the family to achieve formal education, hijab has, for them, served the purpose of declaring their modesty to a conservative milieu, in spite of the fact that they are outside the family home for extended periods a day. They also find economic advantages of hijab; by wearing hijab, they do not have to spend huge amounts of money on work clothing. Sommayya told Hoodfar (1991) that she was having trouble with her fiancé and his family who did not want her to work after marriage; she solved the problem by wearing hijab; "if I have only two sets of clothes, I can look smart at all times because nobody expects muhaggabat (the veiled ones) to wear new clothes every day. This will save me a lot of money. It will, also, prevent people from talking about me or questioning my honor or my husband's. In this way, I have solved all the problems, and my husband's family is very happy that he is marrying a muhaggabat."

Muslim women in the West find other compelling reasons to wear hijab, one of which is to assert their Muslim identity publicly and with pride, something which is especially important to them as citizens of Western, multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious polities. Nadia, a second generation British Asian woman, who began to cover when she was sixteen, told Watson (1994), "My cultural background and my family's roots are in another part of the world. These things are very important to me and make me feel special. It is important to me not to lose these parts of my life. My decision to wear the veil also ties into my feeling of coming from this different kind of background. We are a British family but because of Islam and our links with Pakistan we have different values and traditions from the families of my non- Muslim friends…[So] wearing the veil makes me feel special, it's a kind of badge of identity and a sign that my religion is important to me."

Even in Saudi Arabia , where there is no obvious choice about veiling, some women feel they are wearing hijab as a symbol of identity and pride. As a 35 year old teacher, married with two children and holding a BA in education from the United States , told AlMunajjed (1997), "'Yes, I wear the veil out of conviction'. 'On what do you base your conviction?' [AlMunajjed] asked. 'I am attached to my traditions. Wearing a veil is part of one's identity of being a Saudi woman. It is a definite proof of one's identification with the norms and values of the Saudi culture.'"

Thus, sociologically, the hijab carries many meanings, and it is wrong for the West to argue that the hijab is a symbol of male domination over women or a sign of fundamentalist threat or coercion. I say "wrong" purposefully, even though empirically it may sometimes be true. There are Muslim women who are forced to cover against their will, either due to state policy, Islamist violence or family coercion. I condemn coercion and violence perpetrated against Muslim women by those who seek to impose hijab. However, just because there are some women who experience hijab in this unfortunately negative way, it does not turn the hijab into a symbol of coercion. To be a symbol, the thing being represented must have a constant meaning. Quite simply, hijab signifies a variety of things, depending on the historical and social context. We have seen a wide range of meanings that arise out of the contemporary Muslim women's re-veiling movement.

There are other meanings too. Prior to the European intervention into the Middle East , the face veil was a symbol of wealth and status. In the 1950s during the Algerian war of Independence , secularized, urban women don ned headscarves to show their support of the war; the hijab was a symbol of resistance to French colonial rule. In the 1979 Iranian Revolution a similar process took place, with secular women joining religious women to wear chador as a sign that they supported the movement against the Shah. These women grew up not covering, but the chador became a symbol of the anti-Shah revolution.

Thus, hijab expresses many meanings, and commentators should be wary of attempting to impose one single meaning on it. In addition, the West should take notice that many Muslim women wear hijab with pride, conviction and happiness. I do not mean to downplay the tragedy of a Muslim woman who is forced to wear hijab out of coercion, but the prevalent image of the veil in the West, as a symbol of oppression, ignores the real expression women find in hijab. Furthermore, this is not simply an academic matter because public policy is being founded on the misconception of hijab as a symbol of oppression; state policies are being made to 'save' the Muslim women. The French decision to ban the veil is based on this kind of logic. It is a dangerous precedent because it will encourage and inflame both Islamophobia in the West and extremism in the Muslim world. The only reasonable way forward is for people to understand the multiple and positive meanings of hijab; allow people to freely practice their religious convictions; and to work together to eradicate coercion and violence in ways that do not denigrate religious convictions.

Hijab and My Story

In 1991 I saw a news report on the television that showed Turkish women who were returning to the veil. I felt shocked and saddened for them. "Poor things," I thought, “they are being brainwashed by their culture." Like many Westerners, I believed that Islam oppressed women and that the veil was a symbol of their oppression. Imagine my surprise then, four years later, at seeing my own reflection in a store window, dressed exactly like those oppressed women. I had embarked on a spiritual journey during my Master's degree that culminated four years later in my conversion to Islam. The journey included moving from hatred of Islam, to respect, to interest, to acceptance. Naturally, being a woman, the issue of the veil was central. Despite my attraction to the theological foundations of Islam, I was deeply troubled by what I believed to be practices oppressive to women. I felt that the veil was a cultural tradition that Muslim women could surely work to eliminate. I was shown the verses in the Qur'an that, many Muslims believe, enjoin covering on men and women, and it seemed quite clear to me then that, indeed, the verses did impose covering. I wandered home, feeling quite depressed and sorry for Muslim women. If the verses were clear, they had no recourse: covering would be required for a believing Muslim woman. I had to put these issues aside in order to decide whether or not to accept Islam. What counted, in the final analysis, was the fundamental theological message of the religion- - that there is a single God, and that Muhammad (SAAS) was His Last Servant and Messenger. After several years of study, I had no doubt about that …..if only it were not for the issue of women and Islam. When I finally made my decision to convert, now one and a half years into my doctorate (July 1994), I decided that whether I liked it or not, I should cover. It was a commandment, and I would obey. I warned some people in my department that I had become a Muslim, and that the next time they saw me I would be covered.

Needless to say, people were quite shocked, and as word spread (and as people saw me in my new dress), I found myself subject to some hostile treatment. How could I have embraced an oppressive practice, especially when I was known as a strong and committed feminist? How could I embrace Islam? Had I not heard what Hamas had just done? Had I not heard what some Muslim men had just done to a woman? I was not quite prepared for this hostility, nor was I prepared for the different way I was being treated by secretaries, bureaucrats, medical personnel, or general strangers on the subway. I felt the same, but I was often being treated with contempt. I was not treated as I had been as a white, middle-class woman. It was my first personal experience of discrimination and racism, and made me see my previous privileged position in a way that I had never before properly understood.

Written By :
Dr. Katherine Bullock is the editor of American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences and author of “Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil” ( London : IIIT, 2002).

Source :

What about Kashmir?

Last week, the UN welcomed South Sudan as its latest member. For nearly half a century the Christian missionaries have championed the cause of the south Sudanese, mostly animist and Christian, to break into pieces the largest African republic. Their efforts paid off when President George W. Bush elevated Sudan to the top of his foreign policy agenda after coming to office in 2000.

In 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede. An American-backed treaty set the stage for a referendum in January in which more than 98 percent of southerners voted for independence. Last Saturday the southerners officially proclaimed their independence.

For the last 63 years, the Palestinians have also been seeking independence – much like the south Sudanese. So have the Kashmiri people for the last 64 years. And their plight continues, in spite of the repeated promises made by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to hold a plebiscite on the question of Kashmir’s accession to either India or Pakistan!

Jammu and Kashmir, the northwestern region of the Indian sub-continent, has a population that is predominantly Muslim. For nearly five hundred years since 1349, Kashmir was ruled by Muslim rulers. In 1819, however, the region came under the oppressive rule of a Sikh ruler who imposed unbearable taxes and many anti-Islamic laws, including banning of cow slaughter, closing down of mosques and stopping the call to prayer (adhan).

With the collapse of the Mughal and Afghan rule, and after the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845, Kashmir was first ceded by the Treaty of Lahore to the East India Company, and shortly after sold by the Treaty of Amritsar to Gulab Singh (a Dogra Hindu), Raja of Jammu, who thereafter was given the title Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. The Dogras administered the region under the British tutelage, a process that was to continue until 1947 when India and Pakistan were partitioned off from British India.

In the British census of India of 1941, Kashmir registered a Muslim majority population of 77%, a Hindu population of 20% and a sparse population of Buddhists and Sikhs comprising the remaining 3%. In the 1901 Census of the British India the population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was 2,905,578. Of these 2,154,695 were Muslims (74.16%), 689,073 Hindus (23.72%), 25,828 Sikhs, and 35,047 Buddhists.

For almost a century a small Hindu elite had ruled over a vast and impoverished Muslim peasantry, who were abused like slaves. Much like East Bengal (today’s Bangladesh), these Hindu absentee landowners (of Jammu and Kashmir) extracted unbearable taxes and revenues from the local Muslim peasantry. Driven into docility by chronic indebtedness to Hindu landlords and loan-sharks or moneylenders, the Muslim peasants had no political rights. Prem Nath Bazaz, a Kashmiri Hindu journalist, wrote in 1941: “The poverty of the Muslim masses is appalling. ... Most are landless laborers, working as serfs for absentee [Hindu] landlords ... Almost the whole brunt of official corruption is borne by the Muslim masses.” [Kashmir: roots of conflict, paths to peace by Sumantra Bose]

When the British Raj decided on partitioning its crown jewel into Pakistan and India it left the status of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (similar to the Muslim ruled Hyderabad) unresolved in spite of its overwhelming Muslim population. After rumors spread that the Maharaja supported the annexation of Kashmir by India, in October 1947 Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir, intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on 25 October 1947 that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947.

According to Burton Stein, a scholar on India, "Kashmir was neither as large nor as old an independent state as Hyderabad; it had been created rather off-handedly by the British after the first defeat of the Sikhs in 1846, as a reward to a former official who had sided with the British. The Himalayan kingdom was connected to India through a district of the Punjab, but its population was 77 per cent Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. Hence, it was anticipated that the maharaja would accede to Pakistan when the British paramountcy ended on 14–15 August [1947]. When he hesitated to do this, Pakistan launched a guerrilla onslaught meant to frighten its ruler into submission. Instead the Maharaja appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the governor-general agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The United Nations was then invited to mediate the quarrel. The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained, while India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars." [History of India]

In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices, but since the plebiscite demanded by the UN was never carried out by India, relations between India and Pakistan soured. The rest is history!

In a broadcast to the nation on 3 November 1947, Nehru said, "We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Kashmir and to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it." That statement was later collaborated by his letter No. 368, dated 21 November 1947, addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, in which Nehru said, "I have repeatedly stated that as soon as peace and order have been established, Kashmir should decide of accession by Plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of United Nations."

In his statement in the Indian Constituent Assembly on 25 November 1947, Nehru said, "In order to establish our bonafide, we have suggested that when the people are given the chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as the United Nations Organisation. The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people."

In his many letters and declarations, Nehru often cited the “request” of Kashmir’s Hindu Maharaja’s government towards “Kashmir’s accession to India,” which was accepted by his government. However, later, Nehru did send Indian army to occupy princely states of Hyderabad and Junagarh against the wishes of their Muslim rulers who had decided to join Pakistan. So much for the empty promises and wishes or requests of the ruled and rulers! As we all know by now, none of those promises made by Nehru or those who came to power after him honored the international obligations promised to the Kashmiri people and the rest of the world.

Over time the Indian government has increasingly relied on military presence and a curtailment of civil liberties to achieve its aims in Indian Occupied Kashmir, which is to prolong its illegitimate occupation of the territory by hook or crook. People there have no political rights. Sham and rigged elections are held to support the ongoing occupation by the Indian government. It is not difficult to understand, how people’s agony and frustration have given rise to armed insurgency movements against India, which has stationed nearly 700,000 of its troops in the disputed territory. These troops have engaged in widespread humanitarian abuses and have engaged in extra-judicial killings - often for entertainment against boredom. The "Armed Forces Special Powers Act" grants the military, wide powers of arrest, the right to shoot to kill, and to occupy or destroy property in counterinsurgency operations. Published reports suggest that at least 40,000 Kashmiri Muslims were murdered by the Indian occupation forces. A 2005 study conducted by Médecins Sans Frontières also found that Kashmiri women are among the worst sufferers of sexual violence in the world, with 11.6% of respondents reporting that they had been victims of sexual abuse by Indian forces.

Since 2000 the ‘insurgency’ has become far less violent and has instead taken on the form of peaceful protests and marches. Certain groups have also chosen to lay down their arms and look for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. And yet such Gandhian non-violence movement has not generated any kind of change of heart from the Indian government. Even peaceful activists like Arundhati Roy are harassed by the government on sedition charges for so-called anti-Indian speeches and writings. In her speech, Roy rightfully claimed that Jammu & Kashmir valley had never been integral part of India and that it is a historical fact. She pleaded with Indian government to abide by the wishes of Kashmiri people.

There is no alternative to resolving this most agonizing of conflicts of our time without allowing the people of the disputed territory to decide their fate in conformity with the original pledges made by the Indian government, under the UN supervision, much like what has happened with South Sudan. Unfortunately, like the other ‘democracy’ - Israel, after 64 years the Indian government is much stronger today both economically and militarily, thanks to the billions of dollars poured from outside. And with the support it enjoys within the ‘Amen Corner’ of the Capitol House, the Pentagon and the White House, it is in no hurry to do what is right. Like Israel, with America’s foreign and defense policy so much skewed in its favor, it fancies that time is on its side and it can use every trick to delay holding the plebiscite in the occupied territories.

The poor Kashmiris, unfortunately, don’t have a powerful partner that the south Sudanese had to redress their grievances and must learn the ugly truth that there is too much hypocrisy in our world and the difference between a democracy and an autocracy is often an elusive one. It is easy to get rid of an undemocratic monster than a ‘democratic’ demon that uses the veneer of democracy to oppress a minority and confuse others.