War

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 34: Milena Zajović - Are You Syrious?

Have you ever watched a humanitarian crisis unfolding on the news and witnessed the subsequent failure of leaders to lead, and thought to yourself, "I wish I could get some friends together and just do something to make this better?" 

That's what Milena and a few of her friends in Croatia did when the largest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War 2 came to their borders in the Summer of 2015. That initial impulse lead to the creation of Are You Syrious?, a nonprofit that focuses on field work, integration, and advocacy for refugees in the Balkans and Southern Europe. Lately a lot of their work has focussed on reporting on the so-called "push backs" that have seen Croatian authorities playing the role of border enforcers for the European Union. These measures have been accompanied by widespread reports of violence and other human rights abuses and campaigns by various governments to criminalize the work of human rights defenders, a worrying trend that Latitude Adjustment covered in our previous episode about Malta as well. 

Be sure to subscribe to the Are you Syrious Daily Digest, a resource that's become reference material for foreign embassies, aid workers, and journalists, and which provides up to the minute reporting for and about refugees in Europe and across the Middle East. 

photos & logo design credit: Are You Syrious?/ Milena Zajović

 
Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

 
 

Episode 32: Adel Hashem - On the Ground in Yemen

We hear very little about the war that is taking place in Yemen, which is now in its fifth year. And we hear even less about this war in the words of Yemenis themselves, and far less still from those who are still in Yemen. This episode represents a small effort to address this disparity.

Adel Hashem is the director of Human Needs Development in Sana’a, an organization that is working on the ground to deliver food, medical, and education support to the Yemeni people.

Though the war in Syria, and other regional conflicts have managed to grab headlines in recent years, Yemen has remained conspicuously underreported despite the fact that it has seen the largest cholera outbreak in recorded history, starvation, thousands of civilian casualties, widespread food insecurity amongst the majority of its population, and despite the fact that all of these horrors are completely man-made.

This stems in large part from the fact that the majority of the carnage in Yemen has been unleashed by Saudi Arabia and its coalition of supporters in their fight against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia is a US ally and it’s brutal air campaign (and less reported mercenary-supported ground campaign) have enjoyed the support of US and Western weapons deals, as well as intelligence and logistical support. Quite simply, the war would not be possible without the direct and ongoing support of Western governments, and principally the US, UK and France.

But we can change this.

 

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