Muslims

Episode 43: Kashmir

Our guest this week is a young Kashmiri woman currently living in Mumbai.

Situated in a mountainous region between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been a nominal part of India since shortly after India and Pakistan both gained independence from the British in 1947. It’s also India’s only Muslim majority state and was the battleground in two separate wars between India and Pakistan and several armed conflicts between the two nuclear-armed rivals, including one limited engagement earlier this year.

Under article 370 of the Indian constitution Kashmir was guaranteed broad autonomy, including a separate constitution, and freedom to administer its own affairs in all areas except for currency, communications, defense, and foreign policy. Over the past few decades much of this autonomy has been slowly rolled back by the central government in Delhi, but one key feature that remained was Kashmiris exclusive rights to buy and own land in Kashmir. This key remaining feature of Kashmiri autonomy was eliminated when Hindu Nationalist Prime Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s government eliminated article 370 from the Indian constitution earlier this month. Since that time landlines, mobile communication links, and the Internet have been cut, and Kashmiris have been cut off from the rest of the world and their families in India.

Taken in Gaza City, Palestine, April, 2013. Photo credit: Eric Maddox

Taken in Gaza City, Palestine, April, 2013. Photo credit: Eric Maddox

 
 
 

Episode 42: Stateless - Myanmar's Rohingya People

In 1982 the Myanmar (Burmese) military government passed a citizenship law that effectively stripped the Rohingya community of their nationality overnight. They’ve been stateless ever since, and subject to institutionalized discrimination and coordinated persecution that has greatly restricted their movement and their access to jobs and to education.

Although there have been reports of attacks and massacres in the past, in August of 2017 Myanmar’s military began a campaign to drive many Rohingya out of their homes in Rakhine state, with the result that roughly 900,000 refugees have fled the country, with reports of widespread and coordinated attacks utilizing arson, rape, and mass killing that bear signs of genocide. Refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh have long since been filled past overflowing, and many have been reduced to living in squalid and unsafe conditions in and around the camps.

JN Joniad fled his home in Rakhine state 6 years ago, and is currently registered in with UNHCR in Indonesia as a refugee, while he awaits resettlement elsewhere. His story not only illuminates the condition of fellow Rohingya, but also uncovers what appears to be a global trend amongst wealthy nations (the US, EU, and Australia) to outsource their border enforcement policy to developing nations through a strategy of deterrence and obscured accountability.

 
 
J N Joniad’s Blog

J N Joniad’s Blog