Author Archives: koojchuhan

Box set on sale EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD + booklets exploring asylum/refuge

…an alternative to the usual festive items for those of a conscious disposition…

EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD and booklets – box set on sale now!

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsOUT NOW! only £15.99 including free delivery

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsEXHALE :
local streets, global waters, bloodstained papers
5 years of video, music and electronic art engaging with asylum and migration in a new world order

“memorable and passionate”  art monthly
“evocative, metaphorical”  The Guardian
“brilliantly executed”  City Life

Box set with video-DVD, audio-CD, interactive ROM art and two booklets with 40 pages of essays, images and contexts
IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE NOW!    http://www.virtualmigrants.com/order.htm

Proceeds from sales will support our forthcoming multimedia performance around the themes of race, environment and refuge.

EXHALE is about people mending broken identities; piecing together links between the war on terror and the war against asylum seekers; school kids understanding the basics of humanity; expressing critical threads between slavery and modern migration contexts; being caught up in legal categories that demean your rights; and a range of other critical narratives along with a different take on how art can engage and discuss such issues.

EXHALE, a multiple-format publication containing original artworks (video, interactive and audio) by Keith Piper, Kooj Chuhan, Aidan Jolly and a number of other artists and collaborators.  This contains a series of short films, interactive art, music, writing and photography with conscience, anger, sensitivity and emotion, reflecting unsensational yet powerful and thought-provoking narratives on the lives and contexts around the asylum and migration stories which the artists connected with across the UK.  It also includes exclusive interviews with both Keith Piper and the What If I’m Not Real artists team.

exhaleWideMultishots_ewon sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets

The box set includes a video-DVD, an audio-CD, interactive ROM art, and two booklets of essays, images and contexts.  It contains the entire set of moving image and interactive works from the ground-breaking Terminal Frontiers exhibition which toured the UK and beyond from 2005-7, including the What If I’m Not Real installation and film which received a rave review at SIGGRAPH (http://www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale/siggraph07.htm).  It also contains “The Next Breath” project, a set of short fast-take semi-documentary narratives as video and audio pieces involving artists, refugees, asylum seekers and others from Glasgow, Derby, London and Plymouth.

EXHALE artists DVD, audio-CD and booklets: For full information about the many artists involved, the range of works, and the artistic process that led to their creation (and of course, how to order online) please check the section on our old website   www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale   or email us at  info[at]virtualmigrants.com

vmLogo1_sw

Continent Chop Chop | Climate justice performance

CONTINENT CHOP CHOP
austerity, refugees and climate destruction: a story told through music, poetry, transmedia and spoken word

With performances currently touring from October-December 2015 in Manchester, London, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Leeds and Leicester. Tour dates and tickets

Continent Chop Chop climate justice performanceClimate justice stories from across the world weaved together via Afrobeat influences, experimental electronics, English Folk and deconstructed imperial anthems.

Continent Chop Chop asks: What are the connections between climate change and poverty? How does the wider climate of austerity and scapegoating of migrants connect with climate change? And why should anyone care when they don’t have enough to eat?

Featuring commissioned recordings and footage from Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigeria-based leading environmental activist, and from Zena Edwards, a London-based performance poet, writer and musician.

A performance project by the Virtual Migrants collective.
Devised and led by Sai Murray (writer, performer), Aidan Jolly (musician, composer) and Maya Chowdhry (transmedia artist).  Supporting artists: Tracey Zengeni (vocals, performer), Jaydev Mistry (musician, digital soundscapes), Kooj Chuhan (video artist), Mazaher Rafshajani (photography and video).
Directed by Amanda Huxtable.

Full details of Continent Chop Chop climate justice performance at: www.virtualmigrants.net/continent-chop-chop

LIST OF PERFORMANCES IN 2015:
Ticket prices and ticketing details here

Saturday 31st October, 7.30pm
Kirklees Media Centre, Huddersfield  http://www.the-media-centre.co.uk

Saturday 7th November, 6 – 8pm
Highfields Centre, Leicester  http://www.highfieldscentre.ac.uk/home.html

Tuesday 10th November 6pm  (excerpt as part of ‘Dance The Guns To Silence’)
Rich Mix, London  http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/dance-the-guns-to-silence-ii/

Saturday 14th November, 7.30pm
Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester  www.anthonyburgess.org
Tickets: http://continent-chop-manchester.eventbrite.co.uk

Sunday 15th November, 3 – 5pm
The Lantern, Liverpool  http://www.lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk/

Friday 20th November, 7.30pm
Seven Arts, Leeds  http://www.sevenleeds.co.uk/

Thursday 3rd December, 6.30pm
Free Word Centre, London  www.freewordcentre.com

Full details of the performances and online videos at www.virtualmigrants.net/continent-chop-chop
Information on our participatory workshops to be announced soon.

Continent Chop Chop climate justice performance - funders and partners logos

NNIMMO BASSEY award-winning African climate activist: help make a film about his work

Nnimmo Bassey crowdfunderCardNNIMMO BASSEY is an award-winning African climate activist and poet: we want to make a film about his work and how it connects with austerity, refugees and our wider realities. Please spread the word about our crowdfunding campaign, or donate yourself if you can:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nnimmo-bassey-award-winning-climate-activist .

This film will be more than a film about a strong and critically important activist – which is worthwhile in itself. It will also connect Nnimmo’s work with immediate headline issues concerning many of us – austerity and refugees – and so will join some of the dots which many environmental films do not. Continue reading

Poster Film Collective "Whose World Is The World" cultural consciousness

Cultural consciousness: Poster Film Collective in the 80s and other online pieces

Selected posts by Kooj Chuhan recently on Virtual Migrants’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VirtualMigrants :

Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s

Whose World Is The World by Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s. Any parallels now? http://poster-collective.org.uk/whoseworld/index.php
These posters were often in the youth clubs and community centres that we worked in, running creative, campaigning and discussion activities focused on anti-racist and suppressed historical ideas and knowledge. They gave a continuity in the environment that the people who used the building could continue to reflect on after the activities and workshops, in an immediate and visual way without too much text clutter. I really think we need this kind of stuff again in our physical environment, maybe the digital world makes us forget these possibilities?

Migrant crisis: tackle the cause and not the symptom?

The Chance Or Choice report suggests long term answer lies in Continue reading

Image from the film Battle Of Algiers

Condemn murder but DON’T be Charlie!

Condemn murder but DON'T be Charlie!After the recent completely tragic murders I looked at a good number of Charlie Hebdo covers on Google images, and found racist stereotyping to be pretty consistent.  I might add that Muslims seem to be the target of ridicule by Charlie Hebdo more than others are, though thats purely based on the sample from Google images and not a statistical survey.   Sure, Charlie Hebdo does satirise almost everyone, but the way this is done in the case of Muslim people is using repeated images of Muslims that are practically from the colonial era, the equivalent of using gollywogs to depict people of African descent.  If those were to be used to supposedly satirise Africans, most would Continue reading

on sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets – socio-art exploring asylum/refuge

EXHALE – artists’ DVD, audio-CD and booklets – box set on sale now!

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsOUT NOW! only £15.99 including free delivery
an alternative to the usual festive items for those of a conscious disposition…

EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, bookletsEXHALE :
local streets, global waters, bloodstained papers
5 years of video, music and electronic art engaging with asylum and migration in a new world order

“memorable and passionate”  art monthly
“evocative, metaphorical”  The Guardian
“brilliantly executed”  City Life

Box set with video-DVD, audio-CD, interactive ROM art and two booklets with 40 pages of essays, images and contexts
IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE NOW!    http://www.virtualmigrants.com/order.htm

Proceeds from sales will support our forthcoming multimedia performance around the themes of race, environment and refuge.

EXHALE is about people mending broken identities; piecing together links between the war on terror and the war against asylum seekers; school kids understanding the basics of humanity; expressing critical threads between slavery and modern migration contexts; being caught up in legal categories that demean your rights; and a range of other critical narratives along with a different take on how art can engage and discuss such issues.

EXHALE, a multiple-format publication containing original artworks (video, interactive and audio) by Keith Piper, Kooj Chuhan, Aidan Jolly and a number of other artists and collaborators.  This contains a series of short films, interactive art, music, writing and photography with conscience, anger, sensitivity and emotion, reflecting unsensational yet powerful and thought-provoking narratives on the lives and contexts around the asylum and migration stories which the artists connected with across the UK.  It also includes exclusive interviews with both Keith Piper and the What If I’m Not Real artists team.

exhaleWideMultishots_ewon sale: EXHALE box set of DVD, audio-CD, booklets

The box set includes a video-DVD, an audio-CD, interactive ROM art, and two booklets of essays, images and contexts.  It contains the entire set of moving image and interactive works from the ground-breaking Terminal Frontiers exhibition which toured the UK and beyond from 2005-7, including the What If I’m Not Real installation and film which received a rave review at SIGGRAPH (http://www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale/siggraph07.htm).  It also contains “The Next Breath” project, a set of short fast-take semi-documentary narratives as video and audio pieces involving artists, refugees, asylum seekers and others from Glasgow, Derby, London and Plymouth.

For full information about the many artists involved, the range of works, and the artistic process that led to their creation (and of course, how to order online) please check the section on our old website   www.virtualmigrants.com/exhale   or email us at  info[at]virtualmigrants.com

vmLogo1_sw

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ exhibition in Oxford presents video art ‘Buy This (v3)’

This weekend on 1st Nov 2014 the ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ Exhibition in Oxford presents video art titled “Buy This (v3)” on race-migration-climate issues by Kooj Chuhan / Virtual Migrants.

The ‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ exhibition

DohMixMehUpMore info:

‘Doh Mix Meh Up’ – Diaspora and Identity in Art

A free one-day exhibition and performance programme exploring the role of the arts in understanding, expressing and experiencing diaspora.

1st November 2014, 3pm – 10pm

Panel Discussion:
‘Exploring Diaspora through Continue reading

How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign

PCMlargestmarch“organizing thousands of people to nonviolently shut down the area around the United Nations was thwarted by paid staff with the organizing groups.”

Important and critical article by Arun Gupta, ‘How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign’, originally published at http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/19/how-the-peoples-climate-march-became-a-corporate-pr-campaign/ .

Some extracts:

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch.

( … )

Environmental activist Anne Petermann and writer Quincy Saul describe how Continue reading

Unlawfully shooting working #migrants in #Greece #racism

Important story from the Guardian this week about farm guards shooting working migrants in Greece at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing .  Some extracts here:

Greece’s migrant fruit pickers: ‘They kept firing. There was blood everywhere’

Last year, Greek farm guards shot at illegal migrant strawberry pickers, wounding 35. When a court acquitted them this summer, there was outrage. At the camp, where they continue to live like slaves, the workers share their stories

Is a man worth nothing when he is branded illegal? Tipu Chowdhury has spent the past 17 months wondering. The answer has not been easy. Even now, after being forced to endure subhuman living conditions, after being starved and worked like a slave, the Bangladeshi does not speak ill of Greece. Instead of anger, there is resignation, an almost fatalistic acceptance that this is the life meted out to those who go “undocumented”.

Had he and his fellow strawberry pickers not been shot at – had the case not reached the courts and the men who did the shooting not been scandalously freed – he might not have pondered the question at all.

“When they pointed their guns at us, and there were around 200 of us gathered in that space, we thought they were joking,” says Chowdhury of the April 2013 attack. “After all, we hadn’t been paid for more than five months. We couldn’t believe it when they actually began shooting.”

This week, unions, anti-racist groups and peasant workers’ associations will launch a solidarity campaign in support of the Bangladeshis, starting with a mass demonstration timed to coincide with a speech the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, will give on Sunday outlining the government’s economic policy at the international trade fair in Thessaloniki. As preparations get under way, 33-year-old Chowdhury has found himself reliving the events of that day, one that would go down as the worst assault in Europe on migrant workers in living memory.

(full story continues at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing )

India’s support for Zionist Israeli oppression of Palestinians

Israel-India-arms-trade-copyA few important articles here – this article (on Al Jazeera): “India’s forgotten solidarity with Palestinehttp://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/india-forgotten-solidarity-with-p-2014848848765551.html , and also this on ShahidulNews: “Military Ties Unlimited. India and Israelhttp://www.shahidulnews.com/military-ties-unlimited-india-and-israel .

Posted today was also this short article (which prompted me to post this) from South Asia Solidarity www.southasiasolidarity.org about India’s support for Zionist Israeli oppression of Palestinians which happens to also include an interesting quote from Gandhi:

South Asia Solidarity Group condemns Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

We mourn the deaths of thousands of men, women and children killed in Gaza – not because they are disproportionate but because ‘proportionate’ does not make sense in a genocide.

We condemn Israel’s colonial policy of collective punishment which has held Gaza under siege – starving the population of essential needs  and then deliberately bombing hospitals,  schools and homes; killing people as they flee from the bombing; flattening vast areas of Gaza and  destroying its power supply and water.   This is a policy which we as South Asians know from our history. In India it was used by the British colonialists after the 1857 uprising –  India’s first war of independence – to wipe out entire populations in village after village. Like the Palestinians they were killed  not because they were convicted of anything, but because they were people of targeted regions. In that period too,  all freedom fighters and all those who resisted or even dissented were constructed as terrorists. Everyone was regarded as a ‘insurgent’.

We condemn the Indian government for its shameful silence and ambiguity over Israel’s genocide and its refusal initially to even discuss the issue in Parliament.  The present Indian government, led by the right-wing BJP, with its ideology of Hindu supremacy,  is betraying India’s own history of anti-colonial struggle.

This history was the reason why India was, for four decades after independence, unequivocally committed to freedom for Palestine. Indian freedom fighters spoke out wholeheartedly in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle.   Gandhi famously declared that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English or France to the French.” This is the understanding which  informs all those hundreds of thousands of people who, in the last few weeks, have demonstrated across India against Israel’s genocide..

We condemn the Indian government’s violent response to these peaceful demonstrations which led to hundreds being injured and the death of  fifteen year old Suhail Ahmad in police firing in Kashmir.

Why is it a crime in India today to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine? Why are  pro-Israel forces  welcomed and pro-Palestine demonstrations  brutally attacked by the police?

We condemn India’s ‘deepening relationship with Israel. Over the last two decades, India’s ruling class has embraced neoliberalism and  grown closer to US imperialism and Indian governments have advocated a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Israel.  Between 1998 and 2004 when a BJP-led government was in power for the first time, this relationship became even closer with a growing  affinity between Zionism and the BJP’s own ideology of Hindutva, each echoing the others’ murderous Islamophobia, both attempting to rewrite history, both specifically targeting Muslim women and children for the most  inhuman violence and both profoundly misogynistic. The state of Gujarat was described,  during the 2002 pogrom against Muslims as the ‘laboratory of the Hindu nation’. Today Gaza has become a laboratory of Zionism in which illegal weapons, cancer-causing bombs and other  methods of extermination are used with a cruelty which  no words are adequate to describe.

Israel receives weapons from the US and UK but also manufactures and sells its own. India is its biggest customer. It buys a massive  50% of its total weapon sales- a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. Tens of thousands of Indian paramilitary commandos are armed with Israeli Micro-Uzis with which they kill mainly unarmed civilians in India’s central belt, where multinationals are involved in land grabs, or in Kashmir. The Barak-8 naval missile defence system, Mossad surveillance equipment and expertise, and a variety of drones are others in a plethora of  weapons which India is buying and which are proudly on display at India’s Republic Day parade. We condemn these purchases.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom!

 

South Asia Solidarity Group condemns Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

We mourn the deaths of thousands of men, women and children killed in Gaza – not because they are disproportionate but because ‘proportionate’ does not make sense in a genocide.

We condemn Israel’s colonial policy of collective punishment which has held Gaza under siege – starving the population of essential needs  and then deliberately bombing hospitals,  schools and homes; killing people as they flee from the bombing; flattening vast areas of Gaza and  destroying its power supply and water.   This is a policy which we as South Asians know from our history. In India it was used by the British colonialists after the 1857 uprising –  India’s first war of independence – to wipe out entire populations in village after village. Like the Palestinians they were killed  not because they were convicted of anything, but because they were people of targeted regions. In that period too,  all freedom fighters and all those who resisted or even dissented were constructed as terrorists. Everyone was regarded as a ‘insurgent’.

We condemn the Indian government for its shameful silence and ambiguity over Israel’s genocide and its refusal initially to even discuss the issue in Parliament.  The present Indian government, led by the right-wing BJP, with its ideology of Hindu supremacy,  is betraying India’s own history of anti-colonial struggle.

This history was the reason why India was, for four decades after independence, unequivocally committed to freedom for Palestine. Indian freedom fighters spoke out wholeheartedly in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle.   Gandhi famously declared that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English or France to the French.” This is the understanding which  informs all those hundreds of thousands of people who, in the last few weeks, have demonstrated across India against Israel’s genocide..

We condemn the Indian government’s violent response to these peaceful demonstrations which led to hundreds being injured and the death of  fifteen year old Suhail Ahmad in police firing in Kashmir.

Why is it a crime in India today to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine? Why are  pro-Israel forces  welcomed and pro-Palestine demonstrations  brutally attacked by the police?

We condemn India’s ‘deepening relationship with Israel. Over the last two decades, India’s ruling class has embraced neoliberalism and  grown closer to US imperialism and Indian governments have advocated a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Israel.  Between 1998 and 2004 when a BJP-led government was in power for the first time, this relationship became even closer with a growing  affinity between Zionism and the BJP’s own ideology of Hindutva, each echoing the others’ murderous Islamophobia, both attempting to rewrite history, both specifically targeting Muslim women and children for the most  inhuman violence and both profoundly misogynistic. The state of Gujarat was described,  during the 2002 pogrom against Muslims as the ‘laboratory of the Hindu nation’. Today Gaza has become a laboratory of Zionism in which illegal weapons, cancer-causing bombs and other  methods of extermination are used with a cruelty which  no words are adequate to describe.

Israel receives weapons from the US and UK but also manufactures and sells its own. India is its biggest customer. It buys a massive  50% of its total weapon sales- a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. Tens of thousands of Indian paramilitary commandos are armed with Israeli Micro-Uzis with which they kill mainly unarmed civilians in India’s central belt, where multinationals are involved in land grabs, or in Kashmir. The Barak-8 naval missile defence system, Mossad surveillance equipment and expertise, and a variety of drones are others in a plethora of  weapons which India is buying and which are proudly on display at India’s Republic Day parade. We condemn these purchases.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom!

– See more at: http://www.southasiasolidarity.org/2014/08/11/free-palestine-end-israeli-occupation-end-the-siege-of-gaza/#sthash.1plYtBrv.dpuf

South Asia Solidarity Group condemns Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

We mourn the deaths of thousands of men, women and children killed in Gaza – not because they are disproportionate but because ‘proportionate’ does not make sense in a genocide.

We condemn Israel’s colonial policy of collective punishment which has held Gaza under siege – starving the population of essential needs  and then deliberately bombing hospitals,  schools and homes; killing people as they flee from the bombing; flattening vast areas of Gaza and  destroying its power supply and water.   This is a policy which we as South Asians know from our history. In India it was used by the British colonialists after the 1857 uprising –  India’s first war of independence – to wipe out entire populations in village after village. Like the Palestinians they were killed  not because they were convicted of anything, but because they were people of targeted regions. In that period too,  all freedom fighters and all those who resisted or even dissented were constructed as terrorists. Everyone was regarded as a ‘insurgent’.

We condemn the Indian government for its shameful silence and ambiguity over Israel’s genocide and its refusal initially to even discuss the issue in Parliament.  The present Indian government, led by the right-wing BJP, with its ideology of Hindu supremacy,  is betraying India’s own history of anti-colonial struggle.

This history was the reason why India was, for four decades after independence, unequivocally committed to freedom for Palestine. Indian freedom fighters spoke out wholeheartedly in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle.   Gandhi famously declared that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English or France to the French.” This is the understanding which  informs all those hundreds of thousands of people who, in the last few weeks, have demonstrated across India against Israel’s genocide..

We condemn the Indian government’s violent response to these peaceful demonstrations which led to hundreds being injured and the death of  fifteen year old Suhail Ahmad in police firing in Kashmir.

Why is it a crime in India today to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine? Why are  pro-Israel forces  welcomed and pro-Palestine demonstrations  brutally attacked by the police?

We condemn India’s ‘deepening relationship with Israel. Over the last two decades, India’s ruling class has embraced neoliberalism and  grown closer to US imperialism and Indian governments have advocated a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Israel.  Between 1998 and 2004 when a BJP-led government was in power for the first time, this relationship became even closer with a growing  affinity between Zionism and the BJP’s own ideology of Hindutva, each echoing the others’ murderous Islamophobia, both attempting to rewrite history, both specifically targeting Muslim women and children for the most  inhuman violence and both profoundly misogynistic. The state of Gujarat was described,  during the 2002 pogrom against Muslims as the ‘laboratory of the Hindu nation’. Today Gaza has become a laboratory of Zionism in which illegal weapons, cancer-causing bombs and other  methods of extermination are used with a cruelty which  no words are adequate to describe.

Israel receives weapons from the US and UK but also manufactures and sells its own. India is its biggest customer. It buys a massive  50% of its total weapon sales- a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. Tens of thousands of Indian paramilitary commandos are armed with Israeli Micro-Uzis with which they kill mainly unarmed civilians in India’s central belt, where multinationals are involved in land grabs, or in Kashmir. The Barak-8 naval missile defence system, Mossad surveillance equipment and expertise, and a variety of drones are others in a plethora of  weapons which India is buying and which are proudly on display at India’s Republic Day parade. We condemn these purchases.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom!

– See more at: http://www.southasiasolidarity.org/2014/08/11/free-palestine-end-israeli-occupation-end-the-siege-of-gaza/#sthash.1plYtBrv.dpuf

South Asia Solidarity Group condemns Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

We mourn the deaths of thousands of men, women and children killed in Gaza – not because they are disproportionate but because ‘proportionate’ does not make sense in a genocide.

We condemn Israel’s colonial policy of collective punishment which has held Gaza under siege – starving the population of essential needs  and then deliberately bombing hospitals,  schools and homes; killing people as they flee from the bombing; flattening vast areas of Gaza and  destroying its power supply and water.   This is a policy which we as South Asians know from our history. In India it was used by the British colonialists after the 1857 uprising –  India’s first war of independence – to wipe out entire populations in village after village. Like the Palestinians they were killed  not because they were convicted of anything, but because they were people of targeted regions. In that period too,  all freedom fighters and all those who resisted or even dissented were constructed as terrorists. Everyone was regarded as a ‘insurgent’.

We condemn the Indian government for its shameful silence and ambiguity over Israel’s genocide and its refusal initially to even discuss the issue in Parliament.  The present Indian government, led by the right-wing BJP, with its ideology of Hindu supremacy,  is betraying India’s own history of anti-colonial struggle.

This history was the reason why India was, for four decades after independence, unequivocally committed to freedom for Palestine. Indian freedom fighters spoke out wholeheartedly in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle.   Gandhi famously declared that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English or France to the French.” This is the understanding which  informs all those hundreds of thousands of people who, in the last few weeks, have demonstrated across India against Israel’s genocide..

We condemn the Indian government’s violent response to these peaceful demonstrations which led to hundreds being injured and the death of  fifteen year old Suhail Ahmad in police firing in Kashmir.

Why is it a crime in India today to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine? Why are  pro-Israel forces  welcomed and pro-Palestine demonstrations  brutally attacked by the police?

We condemn India’s ‘deepening relationship with Israel. Over the last two decades, India’s ruling class has embraced neoliberalism and  grown closer to US imperialism and Indian governments have advocated a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Israel.  Between 1998 and 2004 when a BJP-led government was in power for the first time, this relationship became even closer with a growing  affinity between Zionism and the BJP’s own ideology of Hindutva, each echoing the others’ murderous Islamophobia, both attempting to rewrite history, both specifically targeting Muslim women and children for the most  inhuman violence and both profoundly misogynistic. The state of Gujarat was described,  during the 2002 pogrom against Muslims as the ‘laboratory of the Hindu nation’. Today Gaza has become a laboratory of Zionism in which illegal weapons, cancer-causing bombs and other  methods of extermination are used with a cruelty which  no words are adequate to describe.

Israel receives weapons from the US and UK but also manufactures and sells its own. India is its biggest customer. It buys a massive  50% of its total weapon sales- a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. Tens of thousands of Indian paramilitary commandos are armed with Israeli Micro-Uzis with which they kill mainly unarmed civilians in India’s central belt, where multinationals are involved in land grabs, or in Kashmir. The Barak-8 naval missile defence system, Mossad surveillance equipment and expertise, and a variety of drones are others in a plethora of  weapons which India is buying and which are proudly on display at India’s Republic Day parade. We condemn these purchases.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom!

– See more at: http://www.southasiasolidarity.org/2014/08/11/free-palestine-end-israeli-occupation-end-the-siege-of-gaza/#sthash.NuvqboFe.dpuf