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Monday, January 28, 2008

Listening To Grasshoppers - Arundhati Roy

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Gujarat 2002: Can goofy secularism combat organised hatred?
Listening To Grasshoppers
Genocide, Denial And Celebration
It's an old human habit, genocide is. It's a search for lebensraum, project of Union and Progress.
Arundhati Roy

The day I arrived in Istanbul, I walked the streets for many hours, and as I looked around, envying the people of Istanbul their beautiful, mysterious, thrilling city, a friend pointed out to me young boys in white caps who seemed to have suddenly appeared like a rash in the city. He explained that they were expressing their solidarity with the child-assassin who was wearing a white cap when he killed Hrant.

The battle with the cap-wearers of Istanbul, of Turkey, is not my battle, it's yours. I have my own battles to fight against other kinds of cap-wearers and torchbearers in my country. In a way, the battles are not all that different. There is one crucial difference, though. While in Turkey there is silence, in India there's celebration, and I really don't know which is worse.

In the state of Gujarat, there was a genocide against the Muslim community in 2002.


Blogger The War still continues said...

Dear Arundhati,
1. Please do be careful when you use generic terms,
interchangeably such as, Naxals...Maoists.
Naxals are not Maoists. There is a critical
differences on the issues of the current understanding
of the Indian state and the path to revolution.
2. Where did you get the figures that Mao killed 7
million Chinese?
3. There are two kinds of political assertions; either
one can stress on the problems of the people because
of the ruling classes stranglehold on their lives,
which is the "affirmative" method. Here the
concentrates on a descriptive reading off the
historical and current ills of human lives. This is
easy, we read, collate and speak. The other path is
"transformative" where the grounding is definitely
with a historical perspective, but the stress is on
changing society, in transforming people through
showing a path of struggle and carrying with in the
form of organisation and resistance...the less
glamourous, more responsible and much more difficult
4. In our current society the middle classes (largely
the section you are writing and talking to) have a
surfeit of information and if they dont have it, they
can always get it, through books, journals, internet
etc...but this decades, megabytes and copious reams of
informative paper have not sparked off a single mass
based radical movement within the middle class. So
forget mas based, not even a small fraction of the
middle class has put their united weight behind any
radical political struggle.
And then we have 1857, Birsa Munda, The Naval Ratings
Mutiny, Bhagat Singh, Chandershekar Azad,
Kalinganagar, Telangana, Naxalbari, Tebhaga,
Srikakulam and the list is endless- myrids of
struggles organised with no internet, no phones and
even no snail mail, carried through only with an
indominatable spirit to resist and fight for what they
considered to be their right. In all these struggles
the critical point was always the PATH to resistance
and not just the forms of oppression. We all well
recognise the tyranny of Turks, of Hitler, of Advani,
Franco, Bush, Reagan, Taliban, Oil barons, TATA, and
once again the list is what? What? Or do
you absolve your self of all responsibilities and say,
" I have thus informed you, now find your own
path."... I dont think real life offers such escapist
options. From what I know, an intellectual cannot be a
"free floating free thinker" but instead has to be
openly committed to at least one specific path of
resistance or must have courage to find a new path and
lead the people towards liberation. Anarchism cannot
be the solution to any of the problems of imperialism
and neo colonialism, even though the ruling classes
would love resistance to be carried out by anarchists.

January 30, 2008 1:43 PM  

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