Robert Mackey

From New York Times: “Phone Cameras Fuel Kashmir’s Intifada

“As my colleague Lydia Polgreen reports, in Kashmir, India faces “an intifada-like popular revolt against the Indian military presence,” in which images of stone-throwing youth are celebrated on Facebook pages and in YouTube videos.

As was the case in Iran, short video clips of protests by Kashmir’s mainly Muslim population and clashes with Indian security forces, often shot on cellphones and passed from device to device or posted on the Web, have been used by activists to document their own struggle and to inspire more resistance.

In a documentary for the BBC World Service last year on the role of new media in Kashmir’s revolt, Suvojit Bagchi explained that in 2008 Kashmiris were galvanized by video showing the final agony of a cellphone salesman named Shaheed Tanveer who was shot and killed during a protest that summer, a year before Neda Agha Soltan became an icon of Iran’s protests.”

Ms. Polgreen points out in her report that Kashmir’s Web-savvy protesters do not seem to conform to the stereotype of uneducated youth described by Indian officials:

Indian officials have tried to portray Kashmir’s stone-throwing youths as illiterate pawns of jihadist forces across the Pakistan border and have suggested that economic development and jobs are the key to getting young people off the streets. But many of the stone throwers are hardly illiterate. They organize on Facebook, creating groups with names like “I’m a Kashmiri Stone Pelter.”

Ms. Wax reported similar findings in her article for the Post. One video editor, she explained, is a 21-year-old who “wears all black, chain-smokes and looks like a Kashmiri James Dean.” She noted, “He has a girlfriend and a $500 cellphone that is also a high-tech video camera and says he has been accepted for a master’s program in London. He, too, is being sought by police.”


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