Paul Barrow

From United Progressive: “Beauty and the Wounds of Kashmir

“Georges Bataille, the French novelist, has also said, “beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled, not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it.”

As of its beauty, of its anguish and it’s befouling, in Kashmir, there isn’t any shortage of evidence. There’s been a little brouhaha in India recently over the release of videotape on YouTube of what appear to be Kashmiri men being paraded nude in front of women and chldren by Indian soldiers. Obviously, authorities have protested, called the tape a fraud, and said that it was released merely to embarrass the army. Copies have been removed from Facebook and YouTube. The tape, however, is still available online, and doesn’t lie. Fraud, not likely. Embarrassment, yes. Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the incident. It is inconclusive as to how recent it is or exactly where the video was shot, but it has in all likelihood been videotaped by a cellphone, which dates it as fairly recent, and there is language that is used in the tape that is uniquely Kashmiri. It is also clear that it is an operation conducted by an armed force of some kind, and probably CRPF troops.

This is a huge crime, not just an embarrassment. This was in fact a sharp-pointed attack upon religious beliefs and sensitivities that has been compared widely among Kashmiris to Abu Ghraib.

Another video that is in wide distribution is of a man who has been beaten, is nude from the waist down, and is being carried on the back of another man while he is taunted and threatened with sodomy as another attempts to poke a stick up his anus.

The tyranny of one religious culture over another is obviously different from intellectual disagreements within a culture between liberals and conservatives such as in the abortion issue where there are nitpicky debates about which trimester life begins. The question of a victim hasn’t left the debate, even if liberals, for the moment, have the upper hand. People have just agreed to shut up about it.

This is a war upon a people by a people. This is oppression by its very name. This is a war of dominion. This is a war against popular will. This is a war against religious sentiment. This is a war not only against democracy and against self-rule; this is a war against common decency and consideration, against the right to even be human. This is a war against every possible difference that could be imagined between people. And it is being committed by India against Kashmir. Even more incomprehensible is that its not even really about them. They are but grist in a global mill that churns pure evil.”


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