Yaka and the Pukka Sahibs

Once upon a time we believed the sky was only blue. Then came sunrises and sunsets, clouds and rainbows, silver rain and clear phosphates, science and prisms, bars on windows, b52s and tinted glasses.

Once upon a time we believed the sky was only blue. Then came sunrises and sunsets, clouds and rainbows, silver rain and clear phosphates, science and prisms, bars on windows, b52s and tinted glasses.

Once upon an illusion we believed in the UN, in an English free press, in a white Jesus and Moses (who resembled Charlton Heston); that paler was more beautiful, Israel was the promised land, and India a land of Himalayan holy men.

Then the real sky crashed over us, flipping us over, back onto our feet! The English Free Press turns out to be the Macbethian fief of macabre Maxwells and malevolent Murdochs, let alone a constipated BBC as the orifice of their Foreign Office. Jesus turns out to have been black Ethiopian, thank goddess! – and not as Michaelangelo mispainted him. And pale, turns out, to be just that: sun starved. As for Charlton Heston and Israel (may their gods save their gun-running souls), all these wander-lusting Zionists shall soon retreat quickly from Palestine to their real homeland: in Poland!

Regarding the so-called ‘international community’: they are mostly white supremacist organisations. The UN the best example, NATO the most obvious. The UN clearly needs rescue from being a broad-based fig leaf for NATO, even as many foreign-service hands see the UN as a wayside ambalama in their pilgrimage to becoming pensionable stipendiaries of the US state department’s many international fronts (APEC, ASEAN, OAS, etc).

The proliferation of INGOs is dated from the late 1960s, to counter the combination of non-NATO countries over the white countries. INGOs accredited by white-dominated UN/IMF/WB, etc. became ‘astro turf’ variants of slaughtered grassroots socialist groups, transformed into fronts for multinationals to undermine a country.

Smother India
India meanwhile is not just a land of sanyasis, fakirs and pandits. There are merchants whose worldviews venerate the sahib, operate as remora below the white shark’s mouth, and represent themselves as ‘Indian’ throughout the world. But India, with its peasants and workers, is a billion times more complex than anyone can wrap in a stereotype. On the other hand, Lanka has always been a more cohesive entity than India, throughout history. Buddhism gathered together the first true all-encompassing belief system in India, which inspired a cultural spread to China to Turkey and beyond! On yet another hand (this argument is as multi-limbed as any deity) there is no term for ‘Hindu’ in Sinhala or Tamil – the term used is ‘Saiva’ – ‘Hinduism,’ after all, being an agglomeration of the 19th century white man. And India, beyond any Gandhian dream of unity, is now a daily shifting quicksand of competing regional bourgeoisies. So it’s hard not to see that the continuing attack on Lanka will splinter India as well! For if they can dismember Lanka, then India will surely smithereen!

We’ve always advocated more equitable ties with our immediate neighbours in India, and not just to break off from the isolation wrought by 500 years of invasion: The Portuguese attempted to control our maritime provinces. The Dutch attempted to cut us off from the seas and great ‘country trade’ between India and China. The English then tried to take over our links to the world.

It is long past time to take back our sense of ourselves and the world. We can even reserve the right to hate ourselves or our neighbours rightly or wrongly. Independence is the right to make our own decisions. To make our own mistakes, and learn from them (though making the same mistakes over and over, and expecting different results, is the very definition of insanity). So, we live and hopefully learn.

English as a Foreign Policy
Do Manhattan Jews determine US policy in West Asia, or is it Exxon? Is it Miami gusanos (white Cubans) who determine US sanctions against Cuba, and not the US Sugar Corporation? Is it Boston Irish who fabricate US policy on England? Is it Mississippi Africans who called in the NATO bombardment of Libya? Puhlease! Why don’t we ask London-based Unilever, CIC, CTC, or New York’s Caltex, etc, who make phat profits in SL: who really makes NATO policy?

We reject the view that Tamils or Indians, Chinese or Africans are our enemies. Our people, Sinhalas and Tamils, have lived within each other for millennia. There are more Sinhala Buddhists in this country than anywhere else, though our export of labour burgeons. There are more Tamils in India, and around the world – thanks or no thanks to the European slave trade, that first subjugated their own white serfs, then the red Americans, and Africans, then the Asians (particularly the Tamils and Malays), and the Pacificans.

Now can people who wrought that slavery over Tamils in India, still be spokesmen for Tamils? Apparently. The Tamilnadu bourgeoisie hold a special place, alongside the other Indian merchant classes who supported English rule for the last 200 years – linked to the merchantry that enslaved, transported and exploited Tamil plantation workers worldwide. Their link to the English occupation of Lanka when the English East India Co. ruled us, first from Madras, strengthened their induction into the Colombo mercantile set controlling imports and exports. These merchants too have no interest in sustaining the independence of our country.

It is one thing to speak English, it’s another thing to think white! There’s mucho hype about learning English, when it’s really Whiteness as a Second Language that’s being promoted. Instead, we should learn first to glean how the English built their capitalist system, how they burgeoned through African chattel slavery, then opium trading in China, then Asian indentured slavery; how they imposed the plantation system, and how they destroyed industry to underdevelop our country. Their diction and grammar will become even clearer! This is the English, Yaka thinks we should learn – to discern who are our real friends in this world: they who understand the real English that fogs this sky of many colours.



‘Eid and International Day of Missing Persons’ by Amina Masood Janjua

Year 2011 has turned into a doubly sorrowful symbol for the families of Missing persons of Pakistan as International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance and Eid fall on consecutive days. This year has another significance because from today United Nations has also officially marked it as the International day of the victims of enforced disappearance.

For some of us it is the first Eid without one of our family member, for some it is fifth and for some of us it is tenth. But we are not talking about deceased family members whom one burries with own hands instead these are the missing loved ones subjected to enforced disappearance. Here one must remember that ‘Enforced Disappearance’ is a legal term of international law coined by United Nation’s legal instruments. It denotes a disappeared or missing person who has been kidnapped and detained illegally by state run institutions, placing them outside the protection of law; the very institutions which are created and constituted to prevent citizens from all atrocities including kidnapping. It is like being robbed by your own watchman.

There are abundant and overwhelming evidences, affidavits and eyewitnesses which have already confirmed the presence of loved ones in the custody of local agencies, many of whom have been handed over to foreign agencies. The irony of the situation is that ex president Gen Perwaiz Musharraf and ex minister of interior Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao have authenticated, with a criminal pride, in their books and media statements that they have been enforce disappearing Pakistani citizens in exchange for American dollars. Even more distressing is the fact that the crime of enforced disappearance has accelerated in the present democratic government. We assert that if Gillani government denies this fact than it means that they have no control on agencies who are still in pursuit of American money.

The perpetrators of this crime not only kidnap people but harass their families so much that most of them don’t dare to launch a complaint. More than 1200 families have contacted and registered their cases with Defence of Human Rights. Due to different hurdles and lack of enough funds Defence of Human Rights is representing only 322 cases in Supreme Court. Punjab stands at number one with 174 cases whereas KPK, Balochistan, Sindh, Azad Jammu Kashmir, Islamabad Capital Territory follow with 96, 19, 25, 7, 11 cases respectively.

In a Statement by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or involuntary Disappearances to mark the first UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances it asserts, ‘Unfortunately, enforced disappearances continue to be used by some States as a tool to deal with situations of conflict or internal unrest. We have also witnessed the use of the so-called ‘short term disappearances,’ where victims are placed in secret detention or unknown locations, outside the protection of the law, before being released weeks or months later, sometimes after having been tortured and without having been brought in front of a judge or other civil authority.

This very worrisome practice, whether it is used to counter terrorism, to fight organized crime or suppress legitimate civil strife demanding democracy, freedom of expression or religion, should be considered as an enforced disappearance and as such adequately investigated, prosecuted and punished.”

On this day Defence of Human Rights Pakistan wants to draw your attention to the thousands of Pakistani families which are aggrieved for years whose loved ones, brothers, fathers, husbands, sons, daughters and even children are abducted by local and foreign intelligence agencies.

Our contentions as the voice for the Missing Person’s families are that in all laws of the world keeping anybody ‘Missing’ is Illegal. United Nations’ convention has declared it as ‘crime against humanity’. According to the same convention, families of the missing persons have been established as equal victims of Enforced Disappeared. This reality makes the total victims of enforced disappearance in Pakistan ten times more than registered number.

When a loved one is kept in secret confinement without any knowledge and contact to the family for years, it is the worst torture on earth.

Defence of Human Rights enjoys a unique status in the fight against Enforced Disappearance as this is an organization which has been created and is being run by the victim families of this heinous crime. We have been making efforts and struggling day and night for years to trace our loved ones. The sufferings and agonies involved in illegal abductions are enormous and must be dealt on priority.

Defence of Human Rights is lucky in this regard that our cause is being supported by all factions of the society. But the one who is unmoved is the Government of Pakistan. The need of the hour is to intensify the pressure on the Government of Pakistan demanding immediate release of loved ones and to put an end to Enforced Disappearance forever and to ratify ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance’ passed by UN. Eighty eight countries with clean conscience have already signed it. We also demand to stop all sorts of brutal, inhumane treatments and tortures going on in jails and secret detentions.

We want to convey the desperation and grief of the families who are waiting every second for any information regarding their missing relatives and for their release. The gravity and alarming nature of the issue and the threat it poses to the advancing world because of the rapid growth in number of people Enforced disappeared, demands for immediate action.

We plead to the parliamentarians of all political parties to raise this issue in Parliament and take measures to ratify United Nation’s ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance’ and legislate proper laws to end this shameful practice from Pakistan. We also demand that Enforced Disappeared persons and their families should be rehabilitated, compensated and should be given all the medical and psychological treatment required, by the government.

It is apt on this occaison to thank the civil society, lawyers’ community, political parties, groups of civil society, students etc for sharing our grief and taking part in our struggle. We also thank international human rights associations like Cage Prisoners of UK, Amnesty International, Pakistan USA freedom forum, International Action Centre, Human Rights Watch, and others, for the extraordinary support extended by them.

Amina Masood Janjua
Chairperson And team of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan
(Campaign for the Release of Missing Persons in Pakistan)
3rd floor Majeed PlazaBank Road Rawalpindi Cantt

Date: 30th Aug 2011