Follow Us  

   

Frequent Writer Archives  

   

Source: Tehelka

I have always avoided physical fights. In college, even though I was part of some gang, my friends always criticised me for being weak. They said I couldn’t even beat people they had already cornered. I wasn’t weak. It was just that before the crucial moment when one is drawn into a fight, I’d realise the futility of it. I hate the word pacifist, but I am one. There must be better ways than violence — negotiations or debates, perhaps — to resolve conflicts, I thought.

But today, if I weren’t a journalist and if writing was not an act of defiance, I know I’d be throwing stones in the streets of Srinagar, just like my friends.

EVER SINCE I remember, I have been bearing witness to the repression and massacres in Kashmir. Everything has seemed grey forever but in the past two months, Kashmir looks like a black-and-white postcard. The world, it seems, has conspired into silence, almost with a finger on its lips. It is on the altar of that finger and closed lips that pacifism is sacrificed every day. It is from this silence that all violence begins.

With every phone call from home announcing heartbreak, I could feel violence build up inside me, stone by stone. I was in Delhi when my mother called to say the vegetable seller near our house had been shot. When I left home for Delhi, he was the last person from my neighbourhood I’d seen. We had exchanged smiles and shook hands. I felt a murderous rage.

I have always avoided physical fights. In college, even though I was part of some gang, my friends always criticised me for being weak. They said I couldn’t even beat people they had already cornered. I wasn’t weak. It was just that before the crucial moment when one is drawn into a fight, I’d realise the futility of it. I hate the word pacifist, but I am one. There must be better ways than violence — negotiations or debates, perhaps — to resolve conflicts, I thought.

But today, if I weren’t a journalist and if writing was not an act of defiance, I know I’d be throwing stones in the streets of Srinagar, just like my friends.

EVER SINCE I remember, I have been bearing witness to the repression and massacres in Kashmir. Everything has seemed grey forever but in the past two months, Kashmir looks like a black-and-white postcard. The world, it seems, has conspired into silence, almost with a finger on its lips. It is on the altar of that finger and closed lips that pacifism is sacrificed every day. It is from this silence that all violence begins.

With every phone call from home announcing heartbreak, I could feel violence build up inside me, stone by stone. I was in Delhi when my mother called to say the vegetable seller near our house had been shot. When I left home for Delhi, he was the last person from my neighbourhood I’d seen. We had exchanged smiles and shook hands. I felt a murderous rage.

Continue reading

   

Youth

John Holt: Homeschooling Pioneer and Visionary Progressive

One of the homeschooling movement’s foremost pioneers, John Holt, was an egalitarian atheist who explicitly opposed patriarchy, corresponded with progressive thinkers and helped initiate the still emerging children’s rights movement.

Read more ...
   

Activism

Anarchism's Mid-Century Turn

No matter how one feels about it, the current state of anarchism has represented something of a mystery:  What was once a mass movement based mainly in working class immigrant communities is now an archipelago of subcultural scenes inhabited largely by disaffected young people from the white middle class. Andrew Cornell's Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century supplies the first convincing account of that transition.

Read more ...
   

Environment

Big Oil Uses Toxic Chemicals to Clean Up Spills. Will the Feds Finally Make Them Stop?

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and setting off the worst oil spill in US history. The images are unforgettable: The Gulf of Mexico on fire. Pelicans emerging from the water entirely covered in thick, black oil. Planes flying overhead, spraying more than a million gallons of an oil-dispersing chemical called Corexit in an attempt to control the spill.

Read more ...
   
© Toward Freedom