Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What would Geronimo have thought of Laden

Possibly the most significant event of the modern era is what has come to be termed the "Columbian Encounter" - the colonisation of the Americas by the Europeans beginning with Christopher Columbus' first landing in the Bahamas in 1492. This conquest was achieved by the spreading of diseases like cholera against which the indigenous Americans had no immunity resulting in their being decimated in large numbers and by the practice of deceit arising from uncontrolled greed which too were foreign to the culture of the indigenous Americans. Subsequently Europeans in large numbers migrated to the Americas and marginalised the indigenous people there, setting humanity on the road of capitalist development that is exploitative of both people and nature.
Throughout history scientific and technological development, while improving the life chances of human beings,  has also simultaneously vastly increased their greed and murderous capacities. Capitalist development just raised the rate of growth of avarice and militarism by exponential proportions. And nowhere has this been more demonstrated than in the United States of America. The greed of the white settlers and their military power was used to wipe out the indigenous Americans and their saner, egalitarian and nature friendly culture. This greed and militarism then spread to other areas and has now become the dominant culture throughout the world thanks to the mesmerising power of television. It has become accepted practice to kill in pursuit of greed either directly through war or indirectly through poverty and disease. However, if anyone else other than the Americans or the Europeans do this and target them then they are branded as criminals and attacked. That is, the Europeans and Americans can kill for greed but others who suffer as a consequence cannot retaliate and if they do then they are considered to be criminals. The Arab Middle East and West and Central Asia have been at the receiving end of US and European imperialism from the nineteenth century onwards primarily because of the vast reserves of crude oil and natural gas in the region which is a crucial ingredient for the satisfaction of modern greed and militarism. Injustice upon injustice have been heaped on the people of this region by the imperialists culminating in the invasion of Iraq by the USA. Consequently there is tremendous anger among the people of the region against the Americans which is manifested in various ways the most dramatic of which was the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York killing thousands of Americans. While the Americans may see this as a criminal act those who committed it saw it as revenge for all the miseries that the Americans and the Europeans had piled on the Arabs for over a century.
Predictably the response of the Americans was not to introspect on their own criminality which had bred similar criminality among those oppressed by it across the world but to embark on an even more criminal military operation in Afghanistan similar to the one launched earlier in Iraq to further secure their greediness. In the process a special offshore prison was opened in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where the Americans have a naval base where suspects, euphemistically labelled as enemy combatants, were incarcerated and tortured without access to the American judicial process. The latest high profile action has been the killing of Osama bin Laden suspected to be the brain and financier behind the 9/11 attack in a secret operation in his hideout in the military garrison town of Abbottabad just 70 kms from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. 
As opposed to the very strong stress on due process of law in the criminal justice system of the United States which gives prime importance to the freedom of individuals and their right to life, the actions of the USA in its campaign against those who attack it have eschewed these principles and have relied on incarceration without charge, torture and summary executions without giving the accused a fair trial or the chance to defend themselves. Primarily because the evidence against these accused, including Laden, is insufficient to get conviction in a fair trial. This injustice added to the earlier injustices is bound to worsen the situation rather than improve it. The new Al Qaeda leader has already made announcements of increased strikes against the Americans and the British.
The story dished out for public consumption about the Abbottabad killing of Laden itself is full of problems. Even if it is assumed that the stealth helicopters could have successfully reached the house in which Laden was hiding without being detected by the Pakistani radars, the sound of the fighting that immediately began must have reached the army units stationed less than half a kilometer away. Especially the blowing up of one of the helicopters that was damaged during the landing. That these army units did not interfere with the USA commando operation which went on for over half an hour could only be because the Pakistani establishment knew beforehand where Laden was hiding and had guessed what was going on even if they were not warned by the CIA to keep off once the operation commenced, which latter is more likely. This means that the Pakistani establishment was aware of the fact that the USA is a mighly imperialist predator whose power it cannot  counter and also that there is tremendous anger throughout the world against this continual criminality of the Americans which has resulted in Laden being worshipped as a hero by many and so they had also provided a safe shelter for him. A typical example of the resistance of the weak arising from a moral economy that perceives the Americans to be criminals who cannot be countered in straightforward combat.
That the Americans have learnt little about behaving in a democratic and just way with those it considers to be aliens even after so many wars, some of which have gone awry for them,  is evident from the fact that they named this commando strike as "Operation Geronimo". Geronimo is the name the white Americans gave to the great  Chiricahua Apache Indian leader Goyaale who fought against them in the later part of the nineteenth century to try and safeguard the Apache homelands from encroachment. These homelands were rich in crude oil deposits and also provided pastures for raising of beef cattle. He was finally forced to surrender in 1886 after a three decade long unsuccessful battle against the white Americans. The Americans are still proud of what they did to the Apaches and so they thought nothing of visualising Laden as the new Geronimo. One can't help wondering what Geronimo would have thought of Laden given that they have both fought unsuccessfully a mighty criminal power.
The power of the modern American state is very scaring. The huge resources it has deployed to carry out an intelligence cum commando operation like the one on Laden is a sobering thought for people who are trying to fight for justice in small pockets around the world. This power extends to the control of media as the overwhelming response to the action has been a laudatory one with even the United Nations Secretary General welcoming it unequivocally despite its obvious violation of human rights and international law.
The common person in the USA seems to view the killing of Laden as a welcome development because an opinion poll conducted immediately after showed that rising above partisan affiliations 57% of those polled approved of President Obama's overall job performance though 60% still felt that this would not raise their level of safety against terrorist attacks. When there is such a tremendous lack of self introspection among Americans even after the 2008 meltdown, regarding the model of development that has been adopted by them and following them the rest of the world, then it is difficult to conceive of a more just world order emerging in the near future.  Thus, there seems to be no possibility at the present moment of challenging the criminality of the Americans and so the struggle for justice continues on the fringes of mainstream society throughout the world. Even if these struggles sometimes manage to hold centre stage as in the case of Egypt or Tunisia, they are very soon defused using various stratagems. The culture of deceit and mass murder let loose by the Columbian Encounter still holds supreme after more than 500 years stifling the voices calling for a saner, non-accumulative and so non-violent mode of development.

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