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''Three crocodiles and a fish''

by YellowTimes.ORG Saturday, Jan. 12, 2002 at 11:59 AM
YellowTimes@YellowTimes.ORG

(YellowTimes.ORG) I am not very good at drawing cartoons. Still, I have an image in my mind that I would like to share with you. Imagine a big crocodile with a fish in its mouth. The big crocodile is almost ready to swallow the fish, but a slightly smaller crocodile is pestering the big crocodile. Obviously, the smaller crocodile..

error"Three crocodiles and a fish"
on Friday, January 11 @ 05:03:44 EST

By A.H. Cemendtaur
YellowTimes.ORG Columnist (United States)

(YellowTimes.ORG) I am not very good at drawing cartoons. Still, I have an image in my mind that I would like to share with you. Imagine a big crocodile with a fish in its mouth. The big crocodile is almost ready to swallow the fish, but a slightly smaller crocodile is pestering the big crocodile. Obviously, the smaller crocodile wants to steal the catch. The bigger crocodile wants to get rid of the smaller crocodile so that it can have the whole fish to itself. The fish knows that as long as the two crocodiles are fighting, it won't get eaten; and there is a chance, albeit small, that in the scuffle between the crocodiles, the fish might manage to wriggle out of the big crocodile's jaws and go free. But then along comes an even bigger crocodile. This bigger crocodile is not interested in stealing the catch; for its own reasons, it just tries to pull the smaller crocodile out so that the big crocodile can easily swallow the fish. This is what the Kashmir situation is in a nutshell. The big crocodile with the fish in its mouth is India, the fish is Kashmir, and the smaller crocodile is Pakistan. The bigger crocodile that has just arrived on the scene is the United States.

People have been speaking in favor of this or that crocodile, but nobody seems to care about the fish.

Besides doing a lot of physical and emotional damage, September 11th brought out a few damaging definition changes. In the heat of the burning jet fuel, the distinction between a terrorist and a freedom fighter got blurred. Now oppressive regimes all over the world are conveniently describing members of separatist movements operating in their lands as terrorists; these regimes want to act against the "terrorists" in the same fashion the United States acted against people responsible for the September 11th attacks. Israelis are finding it a good time to teach the Palestinians a lesson; India is doing the same with the Kashmiris.

The civilized people of this world must not let legitimate independence movements be thrashed in these extreme circumstances. Labeling freedom fighters as terrorists is criminal; such bundling facilitates the denial of the basic right of self-determination.

Using the logic of equating freedom fighters with terrorists, if September 11th had happened before the Second World War, then the colonial era would have never ended. And if the change in definition had taken place around the middle of the 18th century, then the USA would not have come into being.

The logic cannot be that since Osama bin Laden spoke in favor of Palestinians and bin Laden is classified a terrorist, then Palestinians' struggle must also be unlawful.

Bin Laden or no bin Laden, there is a legitimate Palestinian movement. The Palestinians have been fighting for their ancestral land; land that has been forcefully taken from them. Similarly, foreign fighters or no foreign fighters, there is a legitimate Kashmiri separatist movement that should not be strangled by categorizing it as cross-border terrorism.

The attack on Kashmir by Pakistanis in 1947, under the pretense of helping the people of Kashmir throw out their Maharaja, was wrong. The accession of Kashmir to India in 1947 carried out by the Maharaja of Kashmir was also wrong because the Maharaja acted against the will of his people. Including Indian-held Kashmir in the Union of India, in 1953, was once again unlawful because that decision was taken unilaterally by India, ignoring the aspirations of the Kashmiris.

Both India and Pakistan have acted against the will of the Kashmiris, though India has really outperformed Pakistan in this regard.

Even after 50 years of harsh rule, during which handpicked rulers were described as patriots one day and traitors the next, India has been unable to bring peace to Kashmir.

Pakistan has, of course, exploited the situation, but the underlying cause is simple: India is in a state of denial. It just won't accept the fact that the only thing Kashmiris are asking for is the right to decide their own destiny. The world must understand that it has only been a few years that foreign militants started helping the Kashmiri insurgents. The Kashmiri separatist movement was born much earlier: as soon as Kashmiris realized that India had no intention of giving them their right of self-determination.

As late as two years ago, the Jammu and Kashmir legislative body, individuals who the Kashmiri freedom fighters consider not too loyal to the Kashmiri cause, asked India to withdraw all central laws extended to the state after Aug 4, 1953 under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution (i.e., give Jammu and Kashmiri the kind of autonomy the region enjoyed before 1953).

What better indication does India need of its unpopularity with the Kashmiris? What better proof does the civilized world need to realize that the recent military stand-off between India and Pakistan may be a tiny bit about terrorism, but it is a whole lot more about the fundamental human rights of around 15 million Kashmiris?

A.H. Cemendtaur encourages your comments: acemendtaur@YellowTimes.ORG

YellowTimes.ORG urges its material to be reproduced, broadcasted, or rewritten as long as a link to YellowTimes.ORG is included.
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