The Wise Men of Kashmir Rant

Get this: One of the rebel groups, the Harkat-ul Jehad-e-Islami, fighting the Indian army in Kashmir made a number of threats over the past year that are sure to make life much more wonderful, happy and free for all the Kashmiri people.

Here are some of their threats/demands/orders to the local population:

- Any women who do not stop working for the government will be immediately killed.

- No girls should attend school.

- All Muslim families, according to posters put up by the group throughout the territory, must immediately marry-off any daughters who are over the age of 15.

- Although few families have bathing areas in their homes and, therefore, the local women have always bathed in rivers and ponds, they have been ordered by the Wise Men of the Harkat-ul Jehad-e-Islami to never bath outside their homes again.

- The Wise Men have also ordered women to wear full veils whenever in public.

- And get this one: Women should never leave their homes alone! And under absolutely no circumstances may they ever travel alone.

So there you have it: No to education, yes to child marriage; no to getting clean, yes to covering your dirty self up with a veil; no to working or even going shopping, yes to starvation. Sounds like a winning philosophy to me.

According to the Wise Men, those who defy any of these orders will be killed. That's right, a death sentence for going to town to do some shopping. Death for bathing in the rivers like the local Muslims have done for centuries. Death for not dressing "appropriately". Death for going to work in order to feed your kids. Death for simply trying to live your life. You've really gotta love the Wise Men and their enlightened, noble and moral leadership.

I know that the Kashmir issue isn't a simple one and that the Indian government and, especially, the Indian army are in no way the good guys, but, still, you've really got to hope these religious freaks don't win. You'd end up with another Taliban/Afghanistan situation all over again: A bunch of uneducated religious fanatics who've never studied anything other than the Koran and who know nothing but war and killing ruling over a terrified population, making life especially miserable for all the girls and women under their control.

Down with the Wise Men! And, while we're at it, down with all fundamentalists, wherever they may be. One thing's for sure, no form of salvation or freedom will ever come through any sort of triumphant victory by these feudal-minded freaks.

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Friday, April 16th, 2004