History is riddled with world leaders preoccupied with their own fame, omnipotence and genius. And crises manufacturing is nothing new, particularly when it’s related to political posturing. The depths to which many candidates will stoop to is nothing short of sub-human behaviour. From the West to the East, human behaviour is the same. Some machinations are just a bit more sophisticated, in all their glitzy, glamorous glory.
But all that glitters is not gold.
Brigadier Samson Sharif (R) recently described ‘Modi’s Rukma Vimana’ in Gods of Fire, “…blazing missiles flashed, and tremendous roars, like the noise of a thousand drums beaten at once. And from [the sky] fell many weapons winged with gold and thousands of thunderbolts, with loud explosions, and many hundreds of fiery wheel Vaimanika Sastra…
Narendra Modi… believes that such an Indian Kingdom existed in antiquity and that he is the reincarnation of Arjuna in Baghavad Gita, flying a massive Vimana with thousands of airborne chariots. He is convinced he is the chosen one by gods to lead the charge. The land he must hail fire on is Pakistan.”
On a superficial level, therse are the makings of yet another Indian film production to distract, defer and deflect. Historically, India has enjoyed better production value in the media and policy levels than Pakistan has. But at stake is more than just a seat at the political roundtable.
In Avoiding Armageddon, Martin Schram quoted George Perkovich: For India’s Nuclear Programme, “Canada provided the reactor. The U.S. provided ‘heavy water’ designs for the plant to separate the plutonium; and trained more than a thousand Indian nuclear scientists and engineers… we now know India took the plutonium from that reactor and used it for its first nuclear explosive and said, ‘Hey, it’s still peaceful purposes.’ But in reality, it was a prototype bomb… I chose to be diplomatic and not call this ‘cheating’ – but others could interpret this differently.”
The Indus Waters Treaty, the chronic conflict in Kashmir. The historical timing and methods of operations are strikingly similar to the Palestine-Israel conflict. From turf wars over metallurgical assets and natural resources which could result in enormous commercial value, to social media turf wars – we are living in some of the most intriguing times in South Asia’s recent history. Some identify the era we are living in as a ‘post-conflict’; perhaps it’s ‘post-conflict’ on land – but not online.
India drastically increased its presence in Afghanistan politics after 9/11, more overtly laying claim to its own strategic interests in Afghanistan. Modi possesses an extreme rightist lineage. Efforts to assuage bilateral disagreements have been avoided by the premier. And now we see him scrambling to connect to a more ‘common man’ mentality by changing his twitter handle. Superficial tactics such as these will not blind the thinking person.
The mere fact that the upcoming FATA elections are taking place in the spring of 2019 alongside India’s elections, reminds us that this region is changing drastically. And not everyone likes change.
Is it a coincidence that the balance of power is shifting as Pakistan and China continue to forge a long-term, multi-generational alliance – something Western powers have yet to fully learn from or implement in their own multi-pronged strategic plans? Is it a coincidence that certain movements with political agendas within Pakistan have enjoyed rather obvious support from Afghanistan and India?
I have never been one to judge based on race, faith, culture, etc. But in the interest of objectivity and as an American living in Pakistan, I ask these questions: How many Indian policy writers and influencers work for the US Department of State; how many Indian influencers work in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and how many have unfairly suspended accounts of Pakistanis – and friends of Pakistan – voicing their concerns over India’s increasingly aggressive and abusive human rights violations?
One might say that experiential learning is the best form of education. Since my time in Pakistan I, too, have experienced social media discrimination – with updates and certain statuses receiving ‘limited visibility’. Frustrating as it might be, I see it for what it is. Yet many do not.
How much longer will the global community tolerate blatant discrimination and repress/censor speech via social media – the primary form of communications for so many today. Isn’t the right to freedom of expression and opinion – through any media and regardless of frontiers, backed by the United Nations? And why is unmistakably volatile media, such as the New Zealand shooting, allowed to blossom?
It is said that one’s perception is one’s reality. However, I also ask: are the modern, self-appointed ‘voices’ who are complaining about historical and regional challenges, the ones who are trying to shape reality (online versus on the ground), the right stakeholders? How much longer will this triangulation, this political nexus, adversely impact innocent lives? And how much longer will those who are in a position to do something, look away? Casually sipping their coffees and teas as if nothing’s amiss. (By Cynthia D. Ritchie) (Please send your news, article, pictorial on our email address <email@example.com & WhatsApp +923132434567)