Triumph to Egypt! Triumph to the Truth!

It started on January 25, the National Police Day in 2011, only days after the rioting Tunisian people had forced their dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country after his oppressive reign, millions took to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and all major cities of Egypt with a single demand:

Step Down Hosni Mobarak.


Hosni Mobarak became the President of Egypt only eight days after President Anwer El Sadat was assassinated by a fundamentalist soldier, most probably due to the Camp David Peace Accords with Israel. Mobarak had been ruling as a dictator for about 30 years when these protests began, and had also enforced emergency in the country for several years, strangling freedom of speech in the country.

On February 11, 2011, this historic day on which this post is being published, Hosni Mobarak has succumbed to the pressure of the masses and has stepped down after just a struggle of 18 days. The world has just witnessed the fall of tyranny spanning over 3 decades, crumbling to dust in less than 3 weeks. The scenes of jubilation in the Tahrir Square, also dubbed the Liberation Square, would never be forgotten in many years to come. The ecstatic crowd dancing and chanting, celebrating the victory of the Truth and the rightful.


Source: Patrick Baz (AFP/Getty)

This was no ordinary uprising. Neither was the one in Tunisia. It was the voice of longing for liberal freedom of expression and the world protested with the Egyptians. The images were broadcasted to all corners of the world and the media around the world approved of and supported the struggle of the Egyptian people against tyranny, with Al-Jazeera playing a phenomenal journalistic role.  It was the greatest sign for those who doubt the fact that the world has indeed become a global village.

Even the Western leaders, particularly those of the United States, had to recognize the rights of the Egyptian people and opted to show their support for the protesters instead of Mobarak, who had been their main negotiating contact for diplomacy and peace process in the Middle East, especially in relation to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Only Israel and Saudi Arabia expressively voiced support for Mobarak, and for obvious reasons.

Many attribute these protests to the revelations made by the WikiLeaks and the fact that despite all the checks and controls on freedom of speech, the people in these countries were able to use the internet to rally and campaign to oust their respective dictators. People used social media like facebook and twitter to gather support for their cause, and bloggers and activists like Wael Ghonim played a key role in the uprising. Even the Egyptian regime of Mobarak was forced to suspend internet services in the entire country for a few days during the uprising.

But what do we learn from this? Were Egyptians so naïve that they did not bother to raise their voices for democracy, and more importantly, for freedom of speech? I am sure that is not the case. Egyptians have proved to the world how resilient, strong and determined they are. But they could never have achieved it had there not been an overwhelming unity of opinion and action among the protesters.

Many around the world feared the uprising in Egypt at the same time, and understandably so, especially Israel, who have a lot at stake in their relations with Egypt. Many feared that Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen or the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned religious political party and Islamic movement, which has been considered fundamentalist due to their opposition of Egypt’s peace process with Israel, will rise to power in Egypt.

This organization has been active in the social sphere and charity for a number of years and has also been in the center of anti-Mobarak protests. They have also been one of the main opposition groups  A lot of people are even skeptical about the path that Egypt has chosen of letting the military control the hold of the government. Many are fearing a change for the worse. Especially, when it comes to relations with Israel.


Source: Getty Images

While some around the world watch in doubt and fear, while others in jubilation and solidarity, you do not need arguments to convince Egyptians that they have done the right thing, which maybe they should have done years ago. They have complete trust in the military, as Ghonim, a prominent spokesperson of the people expressed in an interview to CNN, that it will not remain in power for long and will move to hold elections.

Whatever be the outcome, let us hope that Egypt moves on to a better future and that they uphold their peace agreement with Israel, while also not abandoning the Palestinian people, especially the ones in Gaza Strip. Let us hope life becomes a little more bearable for them. I hope that Egyptians will be responsible enough to take care of their own lives and of the peace in the region. If people like Mohammed El Baradei and Amr Moussa succeed Mobarak, then it can confidently be said that the peace in the Middle East will not be disturbed.

One of my twitter friends Purnima Rao tweeted:

To those who link violence & Islam, some of the most groundbreaking non-violent protests in the last 2 yrs have been in Muslim countries.

How true is that. The protesters remained non-violent and peaceful till the end and all the violence that occured was initiated by the police, the Presidential guards and the authorities in guise of pro-Mubarak supporters. It is a shame that Mobarak’s forces directly or indirectly caused the death of 297 people and injured thousands during the protests, according to Human Rights Watch, resisting the inevitable that he would have to step down eventually.

It would also be wrong to judge that the Egyptian people were the ones behind the looting and damaging the artifacts in the National Museum in Cairo, as the youth had formed a human chain around this building holding the treasures of nation along with the army to help prevent any more miscreants from entering it. A number of artifacts have been recovered and the damaged ones are expected to be repaired.

Whether you fear another military dictatorship, loss of American and Israeli interests in the region, or religious extremists overtaking the country, there is only one chant echoing in the streets and squares of Cairo.

Egypt is Liberated.

To many, this is just the beginning of a new Middle East.

The Kashmir Day Post – 2011


Source: Drew Martin,

Kashmir has been an area of conflict for quite some time, and has also been the most violent of regions in South Asia. While it is hard to even mention Kashmir without taking a particular political side, but to me, there is only side to take when I think of Kashmir, humanity.

Whether Kashmir is a part of India or Pakistan is none of my business, because both the countries are occupying certain parts of the region, and will continue to fight over it forever it seems. Neither would I be promoting any separatist ideas, which is something that Kashmiris on the both sides should decide for themselves.

Of course, every country was born out of a separatist movement, even India and Pakistan themselves.

Unfortunately, religious and political divisions in the sub continent are so deep that the prejudice, patriotism and nationalism cloud the vision of even the most apparently sane people who justify the use of all sorts of violence and force to achieve their political means.  At the end of the day, there is no balance in the way the Kashmir issue is perceived either in India or in Pakistan.

Of course, no Indian would approve of the idea of separatism, and rightly so, I support them in their views, but I would like them to consider that there is a boundary between political disagreement and human rights violation. But at the same time, I think it is the right of the Kashmiris to choose their own destiny. Unfortunately, the Kashmiri Muslims and Pakistanis completely fail to realize the agony of Kashmiri Pandits driven out of the state, and the Indian nationalists gladly overlook all the violence and atrocities on the local Kashmiri population blinded by nationalism.

I can thankfully say that my brain is not infected with any sort of false nationalism, patriotism or religious affiliation that could affect my ability of not disapproving a human rights violation when I see one, anywhere in the world, in Pakistan, in Kashmir or anywhere else. But the most cruel aspect to it is the brutal silence of approval and the lack of humanity in our views.

There is no use in hating the stone-pelter, for they will never stop unless they are accepted.

Pakistanis itch every year to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5, some for their vested interest, others for capturing Kashmir for its resources, some out of plain hatred for India, while others in genuine solidarity and brotherhood for the oppressed. But at least some one around the world should speak for the people who are suffering out there, if only the traditional rivals.

However, I see the matter differently because to me human rights violations in Kashmir is not really an issue for Pakistan to worry about, although every nation of the world should be worried about it. I would be even more concerned about it on a political level as an Indian and would have been concerned in the very same manner as a human being despite of any affiliation with the Indian subcontinent.

I can just be thankful that I am not a Kashmiri or that I don’t live in Kashmir, and I can afford to say that living in peace, comfort and security, like many of those reading these lines. While it seems cruel, cold-hearted and insensitive to say that , it is a harsh reality.  A reality known probably to every Indian, every Pakistani, but surely to every Kashmiri. Some compare Kashmir to Gaza, which is largely incorrect, but what Kashmir has in common with Gaza is the fact that no one would like to live there. I would not, at least.

While things have thankfully calmed down in the Indian Kashmir of late, which I would hope remain that way forever, there should just be realization and recognition of the human rights violations there that have been taking place for more than two decades now, and it is brutal to even mention the statistics, most probably starting after Pakistani intervention in the state. And the Indians who do recognize that impartially are labelled as traitors. Of course, tyranny shows its face in so many ways.

But Pakistani intervention or not, it is how the Indian forces treat the locals which largely alienates them from the country, as has been the case in Balochistan in Pakistan. This is a point to ponder for you cannot govern indefinitely using brute force. India is a strong regional power and Kashmiris do not stand a chance against them anyway, but every oppression has its limits.

Why cannot India, Pakistan and Kashmiris be on the same team? (Ridiculous? I know.)

I would like India to keep Kashmir forever, since it is one of their states. I have no problems with saying that. But I would only like them to treat Kashmiris the right way.

That is the only way Kashmiris could be made to realize that India, and even Pakistan, are more concerned about the people than the land and its resources, if only that were true.


Maybe that could help them win their hearts.