Episode 7: Tensions In and About Kashmir

Serena Blaiz interviews Nyla Ali Khan about Kashmir’s ongoing troubles. Excerpts from Nicole Sandler’s interview with Medea Benjamin about her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US – Saudi Connection


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Partial Transcript:

Welcome to the Peace Buzz for August 26, 2016. This is your host, Serena Blaiz, coming to you from Oklahoma City, where our sponsoring organization, the Center for Conscience in Action is located. For many, this may sound like a remote outpost in the peace community, but in fact we have a lot of activity and resources here to draw from, and one of those is Nyla Ali Khan, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Khan comes from Kashmir, which is a region under the control of India, which has a very interesting recent history, and currently a good bit of turmoil, that needs to better understood and addressed by the rest of the world. Having Professor Khan nearby gives us an opportunity to try to remedy that, and we spoke with her at length back in April. Sadly, things have not improved for Kashmir, and today we check in again with Nyla to see what is happening, and what we might be able to do to help the pro-democracy movement there find peaceful solutions to decades of mistrust and resentment.

You’re listening to Peace Buzz. We’re speaking to Nyla Ali Khan about unrest in Kashmir and surrounding areas, where people are releasing years of pent up frustration about lack of democratic government and accountability. The region, controlled primarily by India, is being impacted negatively by the political situation in India itself, and at this point in the interview, I asked about how the regional Amnesty International network was dealing with things. It was a timely question, because just a day or two before, ultra right protests in Banglore, or Bengaluru, India had forced the local Amnesty to close for the safety of its staff. The protests were directly related to the relationship between India and Kashmir. We paused to look up breaking news on the incident and Nyla read from a news report, while providing some context about the various players.

Since our interview, Amnesty’s main office in London released a statement, which included this:

No staff of Amnesty International India were involved in the alleged ‘anti-national’ sloganeering at an event on human rights violations in Kashmir. We are an independent human rights organization that campaigns all over the world for states to comply with international human rights law and, accordingly, do not take a side on questions such as self-determination in a given context. But if others were involved in the alleged sloganeering, their human right to do so must be protected, as is made clear in India’s own constitution.

We hope other American progressive news organizations will take up this important developing story.

Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink, is one of the best known peace activists in the US – to the peace community as well as C-Span viewers. Peace Buzz shared some of her research on Saudi Arabia earlier this year just prior to a national conference on the Saudi Arabia and US relationship that was organized by Code Pink and other concerned groups. Now Medea has a book out on that same subject, entitled Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. On August 19th, she was interviewed on the Nicole Sandler Show as she toured Florida promoting the book. Nicole was kind enough to permit us to excerpt part of that interview here on Peace Buzz. You can find their entire wide-ranging conversation on NicoleSandler.com or on Nicole’s Youtube channel.

That’s it for this episode of Peace Buzz. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed it, please share via social media or email. If you would like to comment about the show, listen to past episodes, or suggest future topics, please visit peacebuzz.org.

Thanks to Nyla Ali Khan for giving so generously of her time and insights. Find her books and other writings listed at nylaalikhan.org. She also is frequently published on Counterpunch.com. Thanks also to Nicole Sandler for the clips from her show, which can be found on Nicolesandler.com. Finally, thanks to Susan McCann for her hospitality.

Peace Buzz is a production of Upwave Media, which is a project of the Center for Conscience in Action. Learn more at centerforconscience.org.

About Rena

A long time activist on many peace and justice issues, Rena is the founder and Director of Just Future. She lives in Oklahoma City with her two dogs.

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