[Reader-list] anti-war campaign

Suchita Vemuri suchita at del6.vsnl.net.in
Thu Oct 4 19:54:12 IST 2001

excellent commentary (jeebesh's) on the present. taking his comment
forward -- what thoughts on methods to take solidarity forward? i've been
listening to people "ask" for this, but together, the overwhelming majority
refuse to accept a minimum common platform, instead want all their "pure"
messages incorporated so that only a handful of the "pure" can possibly be
part of the solidarity. -- recently some people had a peace vigil at the raj
ghat in delhi -- 200 attended and they were all very pleased with themselves
that "so many" had come and what a "good" demonstration it was!! 200 in a
city of 13 million !!

what shocks me is how blind the "pure" are -- so, once again, any thoughts
on how to get a solidarity move going? -- the danger (and, fear) of communal
strife in india is more awful / fearful today than it has been in a long
time -- maybe as bad or worse han it was at the time of the ayodhya
demolition and the bbay riots after -- s

----- Original Message -----
From: Jeebesh Bagchi <jeebesh at sarai.net>
To: <reader-list at sarai.net>
Cc: <naga at giasdl01.vsnl.net.in>
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] anti-war campaign

> Thank you Naga for the postings. Felt confused by the text.
> Some comments:
> October 1984  was listening to a radio commentary of a cricket match
> between India and Pakistan. I remember Sandeep Patil playing very well.
> Suddenly the commentary stopped and one realized that the then prime
> minister had been shot by two of her bodyguards. Over a period of 6 hours
> the city was gripped by an unfathomable terror. The next few days the city
> burnt and thousands of people belonging to a specific community (4000?)
> were butchered. The then ruling dispensation rationalized it as `when a
> tree falls the earth shakes`. The suffering of those few days continues
> few understand the trajectories of those wounds and scars.
> 1991  A friend came home shaking in terror. "Bombing has started in the
> deserts. It's being telecast live on CNN`. Those days the streets around
> college had large numbers of Saddam Hussein being sold. Slowly, with time,
> images disappeared from the TV and the streets. No new images of the dead,
> the dying or would-be dying appeared.
> Few years later another friend suffered a nervous breakdown. He was trying
> to help riot victims in camps in (the then) Bombay. The suffering
> then continues today.
> Three films made after the events: Machis; Fiza; Mission Kashmir. What do
> these films tell us about the making of young men with hardened souls,
> seething anger, and a monocular vision? They are transformed by events
> occur in their vicinity, it happens to them, to their near and dear ones.
> These were all victims of local events but linked to a larger play of
> power's cynical manipulation of `past suffering` and `present hardship`.
> Convulsions and hardship are an everyday occurrence. They have their
> victims and perpetrators. New victims and new perpetrators. And endless
> permutations and combinations in which sometimes it is difficult to figure
> out who is what. An endless loop. But in the process we have stronger and
> lengthier barded wire fences, more earnest patrolling and waving of
> insignias of supposed identification. Balance barabar kabhi nahin hota hai
> (perfect balance will never be achieved). One death is never revenged by
> another death. It needs a higher quantum to compensate for the time of
> suffering and thus the spiral is upward and fiercer.
> In difficult times it becomes important to ask questions that can cut into
> this endless loop of destruction and death.
> States are fairly cold-blooded `organisms-machines-rationalities` with
> little respect for hospitality. Their `outward look` is motivated by
> self-interest, ambition and suspicion. Their inner gaze is equally
> suspicious and obsessed with control and monitoring. Sometimes the `looks`
> collide and, at times, get interlocked. Depending on the military power of
> the states the `human cost` is factored in. Cynical times. Saddam Hussein
> uses dying children to justify his power and Bush and his global allies
> using the 6000 dead as a rationale for his military action.
> An impoverished man in a poster all around Delhi stares at us and the
> byline reads `no actors, all victims` (it's an ad for a television
> programme). The line keeps returning to my mind. Every power today wants
> portray themselves as victims. No actors, and thus no question of
> responsibility and no ethical questioning of action or utterance.
> Two words or phrases seem to have become common to explain the present
> juncture: - `international terrorism` and `US foreign policy`. Both are
> gathering an emotional shell and are capable of unleashing a reign of
> terror. These are political categories and do not help us to understand
> complexity, contradictions and confusion of the present time. Amidst
> present `moral fuzziness` these concepts will create an emotional universe
> where any or every thing or people can be targets of assault either by
> states or by proto-state organizations with a stake in state power.
> The global configuration of  `Empire` is layered, contradictory and
> complicatedly mediated through states and institutions, and the histories
> of its formation are bathed in blood. We need to address this
> with concepts that cut through the fog and the eternal loop of
> `action-reaction`, 'victim-perpetrator".
> This is the time to build solidarities and accelerate resistance. Time to
> think about suffering and imagine possible ways of living and thinking
> speaks a different vocabulary.
> Let us think about the everyday suspicions and brutalities that people
> with. Otherwise a time will come when all of us will go so against each
> other that we will sing our way to our graves. Someone commented a century
> ago that the fall of capital would be a thousand times more barbaric than
> the fall of Rome. Maybe he was correct!
> best
> Jeebesh
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