India & Pakistan: Time To Bid Farewell To Arms
Kashmir has a long history of struggle; its demand for self-determination is neither religious nor racial.
‘Uneasy lies the head’ Shakespeare says, ‘which wears the crown, one wonders if wearing a crown’ makes the head uneasy how hard it would be to run a state, which requires a cool, calm and collected head over one’s shoulders. That probably could be one reason that the modern era does not see many heads adorned with crowns. The western democracy, a magic wand in the hands of an otherwise totalitarian capitalistic system, has decapitated most of such self-indulgent heads or replaced it with benign ersatz figures. However, the modern minimally autonomous rulers of the exchange society replacing the lifetime former gods lack metaphysical characters. They are far more concerned about their self-preservation than the eclipsed or eclipsing monarchs were.
‘The new rulers have simply taken off the bright garb of the nobility and donned civilian clothing. Work is no disgrace, they said-the more rationally to take possession of that of others. Aligning themselves with the productive elements they remained the parasites of old’ (Adorno, Minima Moralia), more rational parasites but less secure than their predecessors. The sword of Damocles keeps hanging on the necks, they have to obey the laws of capital or to face Kennedy’s fate and once they outlive their utility, scandals such as that of Watergate await them.
The world in the absence of revolutionary upsurge is gliding to the extreme right pole, towards the Nietzsche’s abyss. ‘A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic un-freedom prevailing in the advanced industrial civilizations’ once stated by Herbert Marcuse is metamorphosing into its opposite, the un-freedom persists since the process of election refuses to change the master -slave relations, but the civilization has become tempestuous, anarchic, unreasonable, and fascistic in their essence.
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From the pulpit of American imperialism, when George Bush aired the slogan of with us and against us, he did nothing new barring the repetition of the pronouncement of the New Testament stating, ‘whoever is not with me is against me’. The world saw a new era of jingoistic domination, the target was Asia especially the Middle East. It was neither the ‘clash of civilization’ nor the ‘end of history’ as Huntington and Fukuyama predicted, on the contrary, it was the continuation of the same war of expropriation, which took its time to create a new enemy once the Soviet Union committed the hara-kiri. History cannot end unless it begins, humanity is still fettered by the pre-history; the era of savagery and barbarism are aberrations hence cannot be the actual human history but the closing chapters of the prehistoric stage labeled as history.
It is interesting to note how— what we call —history repeats itself both as tragedy and as farce. With a limited vocabulary and collective Alzheimer as stated by Studs Terkel the representatives of the US ruling class continue to harp on the same tune. For instance, throughout his tenure ‘Axis of evil’ was the oft-repeated favorite expression of Bush administration. Was it intentional or a symptom of Alzheimer is hard to discern but the borrowed expression came from the lexicon of the Second World War? The forces of Allies, including the US and the other imperialist powers of that era named their archrivals, the German and Italians as forces of Axis; the later became evil because of German’s blitzkrieg against France and England, sparing the Soviet Union initially, which earlier offered the Allies to form an alliance against fascism but was rebuked.
Prior to the war west had close association with Nazis, in reality the capitalistic organization of fascism proved far superior in controlling its anarchy while suppressing the Marxist current, which according to Herbert Marcuse was a household culture in Germany ( Marcuse; Negation).
It will not be out of place to mention that Prescott Bush the grandfather of former US president George Bush Jr. was a director of the firm, which was involved with the financial architects of Nazism (The Guardian, 2004). “The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.” “Bush” was associated “with Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC)…the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz” (Ibid). For Prescott Bush Nazis were not the Axis of evil because they were the source of his profit- making, the relation only changed after one generation again under economic necessity.
The Nazis enforced their domination by political integration and unification of the people, fear played the key role, and constant propaganda kept the masses under control. In western democracies, the technological rationality or lack of it and media have played an identical role through repressive unification. People identify their interests with the rulers and express themselves, in the same language, their masters want them to speak; Nazis have prevailed yet again. The tone of Bush, Obama and Trump do not differ from that of Hitler and Mussolini.
In all wars, the language of the crusade, of faith and God’s will, played the key role. ‘You were the guards that followed me with believing heart’ Hitler said ‘ it was not the hair- splitting intelligentsia that led Germany out of distress but your faith…why are we here… not because your heart ordered it, because an inner voice directed it because you believe in our movement and its leadership. Only a force of idealism can accomplish this. Reason would have advised you against coming to me and only faith commanded you to do so’….’ I want today to be a prophet again’ if there will be a war ‘it will not lead to Bolshevism…. With Russia smashed, Britain’s last hope would be shattered. God the Almighty has made our nation. By defending its existence, we are defending his work (Hitler’s speeches 30 June 1939 to 30 January, 1945). ‘This crusade, this war of terrorism is going to take a while’ (George Bush September 11, 2001). Like he is the King of Israel, they love him like he is the second coming of God’ (Donald Trump August 21, 2019).
Unreason, faith, the force of idealism and the enemy, an unseen, unknown enemy are the creations of necessity, of a charismatic leader of neoliberal tidings, who could lead his people to the orgy of war, in the name of faith to increase his rating. People of the planet may not be familiar with the words stated by Hitler but the totalitarian message disguised in spiritual language uttered on a daily basis by different figureheads of the world continue to reverberate in their collective unconscious. The man can be Trump, Modi, Bolsonaro and/or Imran selling the poisons of religion and nationalism to divert the attention of the people from their real problems. The leaders, the consummate supermen, the projections of the oppressed masses, in reality, are nothing more than King Kongs, they know that ‘poor people are very fond of their annihilation from a lofty standard’ (Brecht) and they exploit the weakness.
In the process of self-preservation, every human being has developed a caveman’ mentality, everyone who does not behave or act in the manner of a particular group becomes the other, an enemy. The other who is constantly created and can be held accountable and lynched before CIA/ GESTAPO/ RAW/ISI could intervene and take him to Guantanamo Bay. A Hindu, a Christian, an Ahmedi or a Communist in Pakistan, a Muslim, Kashmiri, a Naxalite, a Maoist in India all face the same fate of terroristic annihilation; the world has become a concentration camp and faith a guard with a weapon of an irrational ideology stands outside the gate. The language has become a commodity, it sells; faith, religion, nation, ideology, everything is for sale. One cannot trust such a language, which sells peace in the morning, guns in the afternoon and hate messages in the evening.
Israel is fighting in its self- defense, Kashmir is an integral part of India or Pakistan, Muhammad bin Qasim laid the foundation of Muslim’s state in India, Hindus alone can save India, Iran has destroyed the oil- field in Saudi, Iraq has the weapons of mass destruction are the jargons having little or no authenticity yet are accepted without evidence. Those who play with the jargons do not have to explain why they are spreading the disinformation, they are powerful hence the jargon does the task itself. It carries the message of intimidation and power.
History is witness to all those jargons, but it fully knows what is integral, false or true. It has seen the balkanization of the countries, the negation of dynasties, and the revolutions devouring their children. It is familiar with the fact that if the Soviet forces defeating fascism had not entered Berlin in 1945, neither Pakistan would have emerged from Indian’s womb nor did the question of Kashmir come up in that manner. Kashmir has a long history of struggle; its demand for self-determination is neither religious nor racial. It is a political movement whose roots are embedded in socio-economic injustice.
India and Pakistan both are using the struggle for their political ends. Either of the states is immersed in economic crisis, which is a hallmark of capitalistic anarchy. With Pakistan, a huge army has sold Islam and Kashmir to coerce its people in subjugation, like any other trade it is a business for the former, a mean of survival while proving its legitimacy at the same time. Barring a small middle class, the majority in Pakistan is alienated from this bizarre unproductive slogan of war and jihad.
To highlight the Kashmir’s issue Imran is running from the pillar to the post, the pillar is the US and post is Saudi. As Pakistan dooms to an economic meltdown and economic sufferings of the masses mount, Modi—who has the Pandora’s Box of his serious economic woes— has provided him an excuse to salvage some of his lost pride by making Kashmiri struggle a just cause. In either case, it is a mean of diversion from economic deprivation to political gimmickry; both are selling the plight of people of Kashmir for their nefarious designs.
One cannot expect mercy from the ruling class, the expropriators, of either country. It is time for the people to think about their interests, which are common on either side of the divide. They have nothing to lose but their chains. Lessing once suggested that men should learn to recognize the stage when patriotism ceases to be a virtue. The moment of recognition has arrived to face the truth. “Make it plain” Wilhelm Reich says, “That you have no time for war, that you have more important things to do…let the diplomats and marshals of the earth shoot each other”.
Writer is an Australian-Pakistani based in Sydney. He has authored several books on Marxism (Gramscian & Frankfurt School) and History and regularly contributes to leading Pakistani Dailies. His Twitter handle is @SaulatNagi