Dear Facebook, stop censoring Kashmir

Published: July 21, 2016
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But it’s an embarrassment on Facebook’s part, that his post sympathising with the separatist movement, and the recently executed Kashmiri militant – Burhan Wani.

As a Pakistani writer of Kashmiri descent, it may not be entirely possible for me to speak without prejudice; but what’s one humble blogger’s bias against an iron curtain drawn over Kashmir by powers barely within my comprehension?

If you’re outside Pakistan, and not politically motivated to draw your attention towards the gruesome events unfolding in Indian-administered Kashmir, it’s likely that you’re unaware of the gravity of this matter. And you’re not entirely to blame for your ignorance.

You could be a hearing-impaired, computer-illiterate villager in Irkutsk, Russia, and you haven’t managed to keep yourself from finding out about a deadly rampage in Paris. But to find out about Indian forces open-firing at protesters in Qazigund, South Kashmir, you’ve had to actively burrow your way into sparingly-tweeted sites of the social media with the air of Gandalf digging through a mountain of dusty tomes to find the account of Isildur.

With no papers, no mobile services, and two barely-functional TV news channels, social media giants like Facebook have re-confirmed their allegiance to the highest corridors of power, rather than the grassroots. Many Kashmiri bloggers and news analysts have complained about their posts disappearing without warning.

Hamza Ali Abbasi – self-righteous, jingoist-extraordinaire – is a man I take no pleasure standing up for. But it’s an embarrassment on Facebook’s part, that his post sympathising with the separatist movement, and the recently executed Kashmiri militant – Burhan Wani – was also removed.

Photo: Screenshot

Abbasi has often criticised Western establishments, and media powerhouses based in the West, for censoring Muslim voices and betraying their own sacrosanct ‘free speech’ principles. People like Abbasi may redress this matter as a global conspiracy against the flag-bearers of Islam; but the truth, I suspect, is less colourful and a lot more boring.

Photo: Screenshot

The present chaos and media prejudice cannot be summed up within a West versus Islam, or Hinduism versus Islam, paradigm. It is a simple case of the powerful displaying their apathy for the less powerful, unless caring is politically profitable. It’s a matter of the colonialist’s obvious antipathy for the colonised – and the latter’s dehumanisation as “laaton ke bhoot” who wouldn’t understand a language other than organised violence.

And Abbasi’s right.

We’ve seen this cyclical pattern in Palestine: of oppression generating insurgence; and insurgence held up as an excuse to validate oppression.

Secular liberals who are wary of the Pakistani establishment’s exuberance in highlighting the political and military struggles of the Kashmiri people, and petrified of the resistance movement in Kashmir being spearheaded by Islamist outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen, must allow themselves a macro view of the on-going atrocities. I empathise with their concern for Islamo-nationalism inspired distortion of ground realities, but this is bigger than the sum of its grotesque constituents visible in a cross-sectional frame of present.

The present resistance is not a tentacle of a global jihadist uprising. Burhan Wani’s own radicalisation can be traced back to the violent death of his brother, Khalid, at the hands of the Indian forces. Islamist resistance movements are often bolstered by dangerous religious rhetoric, but are forged by personal losses and politico-economic despair.

The Indian establishment now struggles to explain how foreign interference alone could have conjured hundreds of thousands of protesters, when the actions of their own forces and the strokes of their own pens in the last half a century, have been nothing short of ‘noble’.

And right-leaning social liberals, with little cognisance of the state of terror Kashmiris have lived under for so long, spring forth to magnanimously offer the oppressed free courses on anger management. They usually have little comprehension of the anxieties of people who are unable to contact their families and friends in Kashmir; or the despair of people blinded by pellet guns; or the countless Kashmiri curfewed families whose homes are raided and ransacked without warning from time to time.

“Do not glorify militants like Wani!”

They sing self-assuredly, in defence of Facebook’s censorship. It’s an outstanding recommendation, except for the lack of follow-up advice on using non-violent alternatives that haven’t yet been sealed by an unyielding military establishment.

Nationalists like Mr Abbasi may be politically motivated to make a plea for Kashmiris’ right of self-determination, and it’s unlikely that he’d make a tall claim of representing the Kashmiri people (neither would I).

But Kashmir needs to be heard, however it can be, and we all need to pay a bit more attention. You too, Zuckerberg.

Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ds sarma

    If face book becomes a part of the terror campaign of Pakistan, then face book will disappear from India.
    Mr Zukerberg knows this well.Recommend

  • wb

    So, you approve of eulogizing and lionizing a terrorist? Would you have similarly approved of facebook posts eulogizing the Red Mosque Mullah or Mullah Fazlullah?

    Maybe you don’t mind. But the rest of the world does not approve of turning terrorists into heroes, be it Osama, Burhan Wani, Hitler, Chengez Khan or Mohammed of Ghaznavi or Aurangazeb or Tipu Sultan.

    By the way, how naive of you that you think Kashmir is a political issue. Kashmir is a deeply religious issue, where Wahabi/Salafi/Deobandi Muslims are one side and Shia/Sufi/Hindus/Sikhs/Christians/Buddhists are on another side.

    Believe it or not, there are Christians in the valley too.Recommend

  • Parvez

    If I am not wrong India has about 100 million Facebook users, making it the largest or second largest user…….. and bottom line is that Facebook is a commercial venture in which the customer has to be pandered too…..Facebook is but human and it has failings. Right from day one I have stayed away from Facebook….what ever cat, dog or baby pictures / videos worth seeing are shown to me by my wife.Recommend

  • UR

    Well written Faraz. One thing I would like to add that is also frustrating the Kashmiris is the rape and humiliation of muslim women by Indian militaryRecommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    Brilliant article Faraz.Recommend

  • ravi

    FB is not a pakistani propaganda tool but a commercial venture. He was popular but militant and was bound to be eliminated.Recommend

  • vinsin

    What about Kashmiri Pandits?Recommend

  • Thomas

    India will kill all terrorists, pakistani and kashmiri. Take that to the bank.!!!!!!Recommend

  • Naveen Mishra

    Dear Pakistanis, the passion with which you root for the so-called Kashmir cause has no parallel. No where in the world does one nation support the cessation of a state of another country. Kashmir doesn’t belong to you. It never did, by any yard stick. What you did possess, legally was what is now Bangladesh. What did you do with it while it was your territory? Needs no mention. What did India do to it – let it be, not try to integrate it with India. There never has been a referendum. There will not be one, ever – unless you set the ball rolling by vacating what you call Azad Kashmir. So please hold your horses till the plebiscite is held. And remember, you need to take the first step for the plebiscite to take place.Recommend

  • Aks

    we will kill terrorists. we will not harm kashmiris. they’re humans.Recommend

  • aks

    all of you are so biased. there is a clear right and wrong. millitants should die. kashmiri people should not die. AFSPA should be repealed. The army doesnt deserve stones. All kashmiris are not terrorists. anybody who says kill all armymen or kill all kashmiris/muslims is a bigger threat than burhan or osama, although they didnt deserve to live.Recommend

  • wb

    Well said. Do you approve of Pakistani National Army raping 200,000 Bengalis in Bangladesh in 1971 resulting in 100,000 war babies?!!

    Do you approve of that? Yes or No?Recommend

  • wb

    True. Facebook is basically Sh*t. I don’t like it either.

    But, for once, can you think that Burhan wani was a terrorist and he should not be turned into a hero?Recommend

  • wb

    Dear Faraz Talat,

    Here is Thomas, mostly (my intelligent guess) a Marthoma Christian from Kerala defending Indian army like any of us Indians would defend it. You know why? Because, he knows as much as I do that only secular India will survive.

    Those who want to divide the world on the basis of Muslim and non Muslim have no future. They will be killed and culled.

    Thomases of India and Tarun Sharmas/Vermas of India and Takhat Singhs of India and Tejal Jains of India are united against the evils of Islamists.

    And let me predict the result…you lose, we win.Recommend

  • Zak

    The self-rightheous and deluded liberals have woken up to Kashmir? They hate “Islamo-nationalism” but live in Pakistan. They hate “Islamists” but have no recollection of secular liberal terrorism. They call Hamza Ali Abbasi “self-righteous, jingoist-extraordinaire” without recognizing their own “self-righteous, liberal-extraordinaire” traits.

    KASHMIRIS DO NOT NEED SECULAR LIBERALS TO DEFEND THEM. Don’t you have gay walima to concentrate on? Qandeel Baloch hastag to create?Recommend

  • Dinkan, the true god

    facebook is not pakistanis’ mother’s private propertyRecommend

  • Rohan

    The writer and hamza Ali Abbasi should condemn Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism Recommend

  • DJ Srrma

    what`s wrong with Pak people ? Its OK if you support so called “freedom movement” by some misguided Kashmiri natives , but supporting a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist is just plain crime against Pak’s own citizens . The banned terrorist outfit has connection with AQ network and Talibans , the same people who carried out crime against Pak. It seems PAK people have incredibly short memory or just too blinded by hate against India to forget incidents like APS massacre and other. Don’t cry when Talibans carry out next massacre .Recommend

  • There are too many Indian bigots on news sites in Pakistan. Who’s to kick them out?Recommend

  • Narsingh

    Technically this may come under the preview of privileges granted under the Right Hand Possession doctrine. Please check with the islamic scholars like these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id0QYhlbInwRecommend

  • PatelPara

    yucckk…who would rape a kashmiri pandit?Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Dear Pakistani blogger, please stop patronizing a terrorist.Recommend

  • wb

    Why not? Recommend

  • wb

    The best comment so far on this. And I fully endorse your views.

    But let me also add that except for Wahabi/Salafi even Deobandi Muslims of Kashmir, no one wants separation. Not Shia, nor Barelvi, Soofi, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist population.Recommend

  • http://www.familyfinance.in familyfinance.in

    If it is not burhan vani but is Nawaz Sheriff playing militant role in Kashmir. You pakistanis supporting militants and it is our Army’s duty to eliminate them and stop your support. Kashmir is just a state in India. people from other part is feeling why army is not directly firing and killing those bloody anti-national people who throw stones at them instead of charging them with sticks. Recommend

  • Deepa

    I think it has more to do with general world ignorance or denial. Not many know about, or seem to care or even recognize the oppression of Kashmir. Kashmir is politically a sensitive issue because of the governments of India, Pakistan and China, disputing the territory. More has to be done to help and support the people there and civilian welfare should not be less of a priority to politics. The issue always becomes political when it turns to a fight between nations for the land of Kashmir. Now, regarding the international media, maybe they just don’t know what is a terrorist? A ‘separatist’ is made out to be an enemy of India (somewhat understandably), yet Kashmiri’s have a right to live without the brutality of Indian armed forces attacking civilians. The gov of India need not fight a war against Kashmir. Kashmiris’ needs should be listened to and peacefully resolved, but that hasn’t happened for decades. And since the death toll is mounting, the fact of the matter is that Kashmir has become a giant and bloodied graveyard through the times. Their voices cannot just suddenly be extinguished. Forget facebook, even in much of India, it is not recognised that the ‘terrorist’ is simply an innocent fighting against the abuses of power and atrocities that the Indian army has committed. That is the sad truth. This needs to be brought to the Indian govt’s attention that they have committed gross crimes against humanity towards the people of Kashmir for decades and it needs to stop. The politics of the land should be discussed later and not be used to inflame the issue or put Indian govt on the defensive. Whether Indian army has a right to be there or not, they have been operating unchecked for ages and an inquiry needs to be conducted into their methods. It’s probably better for the Indian army to leave the region (provided that Pakistan does not try anything when they turn their backs) and leave Kashmir alone for a long time to heal. India-Pak violence largely ended in 1947 but for the people of IoK, they have been paying the high price since the 90s for some unresolved political/border dispute or tension.Recommend

  • http://www.familyfinance.in familyfinance.in

    What is not wrong with pakis? Recommend

  • http://www.familyfinance.in familyfinance.in

    Who says there are good terrorists and bad terrorists…. But what Indians saying is, A terrorist is a terrorists… kill them without checking religion, nation, color or anything….. Recommend

  • http://www.familyfinance.in familyfinance.in

    What is Hamza ali Abbasi saying….? freedom struggle is not happening with AK47 in hand. If you don’t know go and learn Indian independance struggle. Your notorious Pakistan nation was not their at that time… it was not a struggle with weapon OK…. grow up….. have some sense before telling something…. whoever it is, Kashmir is an integral part of India and anybody taking weapon against us, will get killed mercilessly…..Recommend

  • UR

    @wb You forgot to mention names of terrorists like Modi, Bal Thakrey, Bush, Blair. How naive you are???Recommend

  • UR

    Aka we will respect the rights and wills of Kashmiris, if they want a separate country, worlds biggest democracy will honor it one dayRecommend

  • UR

    Good to know that you support Kashmiri freedom fighters Recommend

  • UR

    I disapprove of that equally as I disapprove Indian army raping Kashmiri women. And I also want for Kashmiris to have there will respected like the will of Bengalis was respected by world in 1971 by creation of Bangladesh, there should be no double standardsRecommend

  • Soul Speek

    These authors and people like them have no shame in eulogizing terrorists.

    Make no mistake. India is a secular nation Recommend

  • Soul Speek

    Look at the mirror. Your own bigotry will ashame you!Recommend

  • Ash Kumar

    Dear wb,

    People like you make me proud as a peacock. I want to hug you and tell you what a fine person you are. The rest of the world will never understand what it means to be an Indian and to live in this vast sea of diversity. Your post gave me goose bumps. The kind I get when I hear the national anthem. And yes, anyone who stands against India will be wiped out. I don’t care who that person is, where he/she is from. India first. Above everything else. People like Faraz Talat can’t even begin to comprehend it. No matter how hard they try to divide us between Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc, secular India will survive. As it has for thousands of years.Recommend

  • wb

    Kashmiri needs? Could you elaborate on which Kashmiri are you talking about? Kashmiri Christian? Kashmiri Pandit? Kashmiri Shia Muslim? Kashmiri Sunni Sufi Muslim? Kashmiri Wahabi Muslim?

    let me explain.

    The Wahabi Muslims want nothing less than freedom. And we cannot give them our land. There’s a clear conflict of interest there and the more powerful will win.

    The rest of them want to live peacefully with India.

    So, what’s stopping them? Wahabi Muslims are stopping them by creating nuisance on an hourly basis and creating trouble for others.Recommend

  • Milind A

    How true!! And the same confused Pakistanis shed tears on the APS massacre ….Recommend

  • wb

    The world did give Bangladesh their freedom while your military was conducting a systemic genocide.

    However, that is not the case in Kashmir.

    I understand that you’ve been brainwashed into believing that Kashmiri women are raped systematically by Indian army on a daily basis.

    There have been a few rapes. A couple of dozens far separated in time and never systemic.

    Also, instead of wasting time on Kashmir, fight for the innocent people of Waziristan and FAta who are being bombarded by your army.

    Firhgt for Balochi people where a genocide is going on?Recommend

  • wb

    Shame on ET for distorting my commentRecommend

  • Hameed

    You forgot to mention Khamt e Nabuwat and how many people have been killed and persecuted under it.Recommend

  • Hameed

    Those who have fully censored peaceful Ahmadis in Pakistan can hardly complain of censoring of terrorists elsewhere.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Secularism needs to be correctly defined. Xianity and Islam are not organic and native to any people, even of middle east. They are darbari construct to divide natives, make natives rootless parasites so these natives can be used as cannon fodder against other non converted natives and evenRecommend

  • salman ahmed

    commercially it will support obviously commercial voices of India…..please don’t use the word freedom of expression in india any moreRecommend

  • salman ahmed

    India would have warned to block facebook.. Zukerberg wants money :)Recommend

  • salman ahmed

    As you are not among those who have banned Ahmadis.. Why dont you raise voice????Recommend

  • salman ahmed

    Easy to write on internet … why dont you have census there and take nod on “your” point of view???Recommend

  • salman ahmed

    Mind you.. freedom fighters not terrorist.. even Gandhi would have been blocked on facebook during british independence days!!!!!! terrorists are not classified on your biased opnionsRecommend

  • Hameed

    Do you approve of Baluchi mutilated bodies by you know who?Recommend

  • salman ahmed

    Who has given you the authority of “right” & “wrong” judgment… who is against India is wrong only !!!!! huh…. kill all kashmiri muslim??? who is killing them? Brutual occupiersRecommend

  • salman ahmed

    & yes remember your inlaws “RSS”Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    finally a blog by pakistani liberals that is actually LOGICALRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    There are many people I don’t want eulogized or lionized. Christopher Columbus. George W. Bush. Modi, quite a few Pakistani officials on the list too. All of them responsible for more deaths than Wani can cause in seven lifetimes.

    Yet, Facebook has few moral concerns about people using this platform to exalt their name.

    Pick your poison, I guess..Recommend

  • wb

    Those who take gun against the government in a free state on the name of religion are terrorists.Recommend

  • wb

    No. Kill only Kashmiri Wahabi separatist Muslims.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    these Darbari constructs are now fighting with each other. The enslavers ie ruling elite (52 families) in the west have become adept at using Islam as WMD, just as all kinds barbarians (Mongols, Turks, Afghans, Persians) in medieval times were. Hope Anglos don’t direct Islamic anger at India and its culture. They are making Muslims fight natives such as Hindu and Boudh of Asia. Islamic wolf is at their door step. No longer they can be safe from this wolf. India, China and Russia need to be smart and make sure that they together protect themselves from this Anglo’s WMD. Yesterday it was Russia fought alone, Today India is fighting alone against Islam. Tomorrow it will be definitely China’s turn.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Hopefully Bedouin natives will start back to their diversity celebrating PreIslamic culture which could produce Khadija, a widowed biz tycoon and had 89 deities mostly female in Macca around Kaba.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Secularism is also a deadly tool in hands of Anglos to beat India just as Islam. Recommend

  • wb

    What has Modi done? You clearly do not want to blame the mob of Muslims (some of them convicted) for burning down a trainful of Hindu Karsevaks at Godhra that started the riots.

    If it was a massacre of Muslims as liars and propagandists say, then how did 700 Hindus die in the riots? Both Muslims and Hindus attacked each other. More Muslims died for obvious reasons.

    But why blame Modi?

    By the way Wani has already caused 40 deaths.

    But you know which man has caused more deaths than any other human being in the history of universe through his ideology? That man lived in 7th century AD in Arabian peninsula.

    Yes, he’s the one that should be prevented from being eulogized.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Secularism the way it is defined is yet another enslaving tool to recolonize Indians and make them forget native roots- ancestral history, culture, language and spirituality. Recommend

  • rationalist

    “The Wahabi Muslims want nothing less than freedom.”

    No. These Wahabi Muslims such as Geelani, Andrabi, Malik, Mirwaiz are paid Pakistani agents who want to merge the Valley with Pakistan. They are just using Islam and freedom as false pretense.Recommend

  • rationalist

    Kashmir has been Hindu/Buddhist land for over 5000 years. It doesn’t belong to the hardcore Wahabis who occupied it in the last two centuries. They can all pack up and move to their promised Islamic paradise called Pakistan, or move to Arabia, Persia or CAR- where they came from.Recommend

  • LS

    Terrorists don’t deserve freedom. Maybe in pakistani law books they are allowed to roam free because they only hurt others… Allowing terrorist to roam free in the country amounts to supporting terrorism. So first get a clue on what is freedom and who world is trying to protect freedom from..

    FYI: Here is the freedom Index of the world (The genuine freedom)
    There is NO FREEDOM in AJK, GB and Pakistan (41 Points) is worse than Kashmir with 51 Points

    https://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2016Recommend

  • LS

    There is no need for census… when the accession was ratified by Kashmiri parliament in 1954. According to UN resolutions that pakistanis so love to quote it identified pakistan as an agressor nation and asks it to vacate GB and AJK as first step (Though this dispute no longer figures in UN as disputed territory list) There were TWO surveys done in Kashmir.. One by EGYPT and one by BBC.. less than 5% supported pakistan.Recommend

  • LS

    Why do you forget AJK and GB.. that you have occupied and have kept them in stone age? Why is that pakistan is fomenting terrorism in Kashmir?Recommend

  • LS

    Wow so support the fact that Muslims in India and world over as soon as they are in majority (even in a single town) start acting like goons, threaten local population, beat them and kick them out of locality, hoard arms, bombs, ask for sharia law (Only those parts that favor them, they don’t want Sharia based punishments, they love democracy based punishments like jail time, not chopping their heads off or arms off or 100;s of lashes)

    There are towns in Kerala, Tamil nadu, Bihar, UP that are Muslim majority, leaders keep quiet because of vote bank politics and police don’t do much because leaders prevent them from doing much.. Same happened in Georgia, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Currently happening in Bangladesh, Belgium, France… and Kashmir…

    These are the same Kashmiri who butchered Hindu Pandit and raped their women in hundreds. Shouted Slogans that “Kashmir Banega Pakistan without Hindu men but with Hindu women”

    They killed dozens of Sikhs, Stone the security offiers when they are trying to kill terrorists who crossed the borders and it does not take much to know where they came from… Your Musharraf and ex ISI chief admitted to arming, training, terrorists and continue to do so..

    so this rant of yours is just a rant.. Not a freedom struggle as you portray it. These are terrorists… Lastly,, in your list of names add Niazi, Jinnah, Haq and Musharraf too.. .all in all they killed more than 4.5 Million people.Recommend

  • LS

    “yet Kashmiri’s have a right to live without the brutality of Indian armed forces attacking civilians”

    remind me who started terrorism there first at the behest of someone else that army had to enter? Who starting the killing and butchering spree that the army had to enter there?

    Stop pretending and fix your own backyard AJK and GB are still in 1950’s, why is that pakistan demands that they surrender their Freedom as soon as they want any facilities? Why is that there are kidnappings and killings as soon as someone asks for freedom?Recommend

  • Deepa

    I didn’t mean a plebiscite or Kashmir becoming an independent state but simply how can Kashmir be improved, or at least not considered to be a “disturbed area” any longer. It would be good for any Kashmiri’s interests. They are not recognised or treated as a normal state of India. There are special laws in place for Kashmir. Even the AFSPA is a legacy of British rule, it was a law created by the British against Indian uprisings.
    There were real terrorists probably in the early 90s but the terrorists today are of a different generation and they are created to retaliate against the army for their excesses.
    So basically, if Kashmir was demilitarised, it would be a step in the right direction. Times have changed since the 90s so why don’t the government try a new tactic to approach the Kashmir issue. After all, a vicious endless cycle of violence on both the army and ‘terrorists” sides is not going to solve anything.Recommend

  • Maverick

    The tweet and your article are lies – Burhan did not become a militant because his brother was killed – his brother was killed when he was going to meet Burhan and join him when Burhan was already a terrorist. This shows how you guys manipulated the truth and spread lies to propagate your own agenda. The remaining world doesn’t sympathise with terrorists like you Pakistanis. They care about innocent lives saved by killing such elements.Recommend

  • Derek

    Against the plight of Ahmedis in Pakistan?
    Yes sure!Recommend

  • salman ahmed

    The indian version of oxford dictionary defines Terrorist as “any one who is our enemy”… then your above lecture holds true based on this definitionRecommend