Friday, August 22, 2014

Column that appeared on 1.8.2014 Destruction in the name of Faith

Destruction in the name of Faith

Teesta Setalvad
Eid Mubarak at a sombre moment in history, domestically and internationally.
Imagine over one lakh people walking the streets of Delhi, Parliament House, Race Course Road, not tucked away at Janpath or Azad Maidan, the earmarked “protest” spots expressing decent, dignified  outrage at the US-Israel outrages in the iny Gaza strip, Palestine where home and hearth have been destroyed, one hundred were massacred on Eid day alone. How does America stomach it? How does Israel get away with it? And how has Indian opinion so drastically shifted/changed?  We are all Palestinians the protesters said.

The funny think about India is that it was with the onset of neo-liberalism in 1991 – and with it the attraction of an arms industry probably that first saw in the shift of our policy in West Asia inching close to Israel. But it was LK Advani in Rajnath’s Singh’s shoes in the first NDA government that actually explored a community ghetto division of J & K with Israel’s leadership. Today officialdom in India is confused even though the ideological spine of New Delhi has had not just an Israeli but a Zionist slant.  While the government was adamant against a resolution on the disgusting conflict that has left over 1,200 dead and hospitals, homes, drainage systems permamnently destroyed by Isareli brand of terror, at the UN, India, along with BRICS countries voted in support of Israel’s offensive on Gaza.India joined Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa to vote for a Palestinian-drafted resolution on “Ensuring Respect for international law in The Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jersusalem”. In the 47-member council, 29 countries voted in support of the resolution while 17 nations abstained.The U.S. was the only nation to vote against the resolution. European countries abstained.

Meanwhile the heartening thing about the protests at London and elsewhere is that there are Jews, non-Muslims, athetists and agnostics at the forefront. Slogans in London were  “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”; “One to three four, occupation no more, five six seven eight Israel is a terrorists state”; “In a thousand in a million we are all Palestinians”; “Shame on Cameron, shame on Netanyahu”; “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry we will not let you die”.
They held placards with messages, “Stop bombing Palestine”; “Stop the massacre”; “BBC stop whitewashing Israel’s crimes”; “Cameron, change your friends or we will change the Prime Minister”, “ BBC Stop Whitewashing Isarel’s Crimes”. The march started from Downing Street and ended at Israeli Embassy. It was addressed by several key figures. Expressing her disgust at Israeli atrocities Baroness Jenny Tonge, who, in 2012, was forced to resign from the Liberal Party for her support for the rights of Palestinians said, “What on earth is Israel doing? It has lost its legitimacy. It is no longer a democratic state. It breaks international law, Geneva conventions, it has no respect for human rights. Israel must leave the international family of nations.”  Labor’s black MP from north London Diane Abbott who happens to have a large number of Jewish voters in her constituency said, “Today’s national demonstration will give people from across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel’s siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now. People want justice and freedom for the Palestinians, and they will be voicing this in their thousands.”In his usually passionate speech the leader of Respect Party and a world renowned human rights activist George Galloway lambasted the British media for ignoring Israeli atrocities on Palestinians.  “The 300 Patestinians are completely ignored by the same newspapers, by the same television stations and by the same political leaders who are threatening sanctions and war against Russia but who are supporting, with weapons and money and diplomatic political and media support, the Israeli killers” Respect Party leader George Galloway said. I received a powerful video on WHAT’s App in which he makes a passionate apepal to Arabs against their hypocritic disunity that is allowing the Us and Israel to get away with this barbarism.  “In fact, if whoever fired that missile in Ukraine had fired it instead at the beach in Gaza, the media could have knocked off for an early lunch and saved themselves all of this work. “Why the double standard? Why is the blood in Ukraine so much more noteworthy than the blood in Gaza?”In an another demonstration a week ago Galloway had urged the protesters not to pay their TV licenses announcing that he will himself not pay to the BBC. Maintaining it support to Israeli aggression BBC has given very little coverage to the demonstration so much so that except its online it has completely ignored such a successful and massive march.
It should be remembered that BBC’s director of news James Harding is an unabashed supporter of the Zionist state. Mr Harding, also former editor of ‘The Times,’ is on record to have told ‘Jewish Chronicle’, “I am pro-Israel,” he said. “I believe in the state of Israel. I would have had a real problem if I had been coming to a paper with a history of being anti-Israel. And, of course, Rupert Murdoch is pro-Israel. “We report the news and we leave opinion to the opinion pages, where we try to do a mix. We wrote an editorial called ‘In defense of Israel’ during the Gaza offensive, but we also reported on the use of white phosphorus, which was the Israelis breaking their own rules” he said.
Interestingly in 2004 succumbing to the immense Zionist pressure Guardian newspaper had to get rid of its trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam for his association with Hizb-ut-Tahrir. One is not supporting and should not those British Muslim youths answering the call of so-called from anywhere in the world.

Then in Sydney there were marches in protest from the Town Hall to the US Consulate. Meanwhile the intolerant and barbaric ISIS in Iraq, again perpetuating atrocities in the name of faith has destroyed an 1800 year old church and forever damaged the oldest living intra-faith community of Christians and Muslims at Mosul. A shame and a disgrace to a living, dignified and peaceful faith, evidence iof any is needed against the politicisation and militarisation of religion. Among the shrines that ISIS has destroyed,  apart from churches are a dozen other places of worship, the the al-Qubba Husseiniya, a Shia shrine, being blown up in the city of Mosul, a shrine known as the "Girl's Tomb" also in Mosul, the rigid interpretation of Islam that ISIS represents has destroyed shrines precious to the people saying that special veneration to graves and relics is against the teachings of Islam. There are images on the social media of the Ahmed al-Rifai shrine and tomb in the Mahlabiya district near Tal Afar being attacked with a bulldozer and the Saad bin Aqeel Husseiniya shrine in Tal Afar, approximately 50 km (35 miles) west of Mosul. Chrisches, Shia and Sunni shrines have drawn the ISIS’ ire as the world sees one more manifestation of bigotry, hatred and violence.
December 6, 1992, Faizabad-Ayodhya, India.  Bamiyan Buddhas 2001. The looting of the Iraqui and Mesopotamian National Museum of History and Art during the Sexcond Gulf War 2003.
Destruction is a crude means of domination and intimidation. When will the world learn to shun it? Hindutva, Miliutaristic US driven Christianity, Political Islam ?


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