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10.02.2021 – RT

‘Euro-speak’: Attempt by German-led EU to monopolise European identity & values is fuelling animosity & destabilising continent
The Flag of Europe is the flag and emblem of the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE). It consists of a circle of 12 golden (yellow) stars on a blue background. (Image by Public Domain)

By Glenn Diesen, a Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway, and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal. Follow him on Twitter @glenndiesen.Europe’s three largest cities lie outside the European Union, or four if you count Istanbul, and 40% of people on the continent are not citizens of the bloc. This hasn’t prevented Brussels from trying to hijack European identity.

The EU’s efforts to monopolise on a fixed understanding of ‘Europe’ was intended to create a common narrative and identity to unify its members. Instead, the EU has wrecked a common language required to negotiate and harmonise the different ideas (German, British, Polish, Russian, etc.) about the continent and how it should be organized.

Politics is a struggle over legitimacy, and legitimacy is informed by language. Consequently, politics can be fought by manipulating terms and descriptions. In the social sciences, the paradigm of constructivism suggests that reality is socially constructed. We can supposedly alter political realities and the world around us by merely changing the meaning of words and concepts.

War of words: Defining the meaning of words and concepts

The EU is commonly argued to be a constructivist project. A new reality can be created by transitioning from rival national identities with historical baggage to a common European identity. The Germans and French would no longer view the other as ‘them’ but as a part of ‘us’. It is an optimistic endeavour that presents the prospect of changing the world, which makes it a very attractive paradigm for ambitious politicians.

Yet, the manipulation of language can also be used to exacerbate differences by eliminating the shared meaning of words. It reduces the need to win an argument by merit by instead altering the meaning of the concepts. Case in point, ‘illegal immigrants’ are reconceptualised as ‘undocumented migrants’ with the benign intention to decriminalize a group of people.

This also has a negative impact by obscuring the focus of discussion – the need to uphold an immigration system based on the rule of law. If illegal immigrants can become legal by merely redefining them as undocumented workers, then why not reconceptualise drug dealers as ‘unlicensed pharmacists’?

Monopolizing on the concept of Europe

European history can be summarized as a long and arduous effort to organize the continent through war and diplomacy. This remains true today, yet we no longer debate complex issues with the nuance and care they demand. Instead, we compete to monopolize the concept of ‘Europe’ in order to denounce the political opposition with the zero-sum language of being anti-European.

The German-led EU conceptualizes Europe as the institutions of the EU, a federal project to construct a ‘United States of Europe’ based on a shared post-national liberal identity. The British concept of Europe is not compatible with federalism as it believes the continent should be defined by the dispersal of power to national parliaments to safeguard democracy and the vitality from competition.

The Hungarian and Polish vision of Europe is one where civilizational endurance rests on reproducing traditional culture, the Christian heritage and other conservative values, which is not compatible with a shared identity based solely on liberalism. The Russian ideal of Europe entails reforming and dismantling bloc politics and the dividing lines as a Cold War legacy and replacing them with an inclusive security architecture based on indivisible guarantees.

These competing concepts of Europe should be the centre of discussions, and the struggle towards peace should be focused on finding areas for compromise. Yet, the authoritarian obsession with assigning a fixed understanding of the contested concept of Europe undermines these debates from taking place.

Dismantling the shared conceptual space of the EU and Russia

The EU’s constructivist focus on forms of verbiage suggests that speech and words create realities, which implies that harmful speech must be removed from politics and polite society. It is assumed that the mere conversation about competing national interests creates and legitimizes outdated power politics. Russia speaks in the language of ‘outdated’ national interests, which is not comparable to the EU’s language of benign values that does not articulate underlying competing interests.

Subsequently, our shared language with Russia has been dismantled. EU members have governments and Russia has a regime. At times, we can even forget that Russia is a country that represents the national interests of its 145 million citizens, as the country is merely referred to as ‘Putin’s Russia’ or often simply ‘Putin’.

The EU has a neighbourhood policy and Russia has a Near Abroad, which is usually accompanied with suspicious quotation marks. The EU pursues a ‘ring of friendly states’ and Russia has ‘spheres of influence’. The EU’s influence is a ‘force for good’ and devoted to universal values, while there is no legitimate space for Russian influence beyond its borders. EU and NATO expansionism defends the status quo, while Russian efforts to prevent Western expansionism is labelled revisionist. At times, I am “invited” to write for American, Australian or German media, and sometimes I am “recruited” by the Russian media.

How can we discuss the complexities of European security when the language and concepts have been purged of shared meaning?

Orwellian doublespeak refers to words taking on mutually exclusive meanings: ‘European integration’ entails decoupling from the largest state in Europe; toppling democratically-elected governments is ‘democratic revolution’ and ‘making the European choice’; and ‘democratization’ implies de-Russifying former Soviet republics by denying voting rights and shutting down Russian-friendly media.

George Orwell has become a popular reference regarding the manipulation of political language. Orwell believed that corruption of language was instrumental to limit the scope of thought and debate. Thus, totalitarianism prevails by distorting and cleansing the language of any words used to even express opposition and disobedience.

Orwell referred to this as ‘Newspeak’, and one cannot help but to recognize similarities with our contemporary Euro-speak. Instead of achieving unity, Euro-speak has fueled animosity by undermining empathy and the possibility for compromise.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

08.02.2021 – IDN InDepthNews

Taking Action to Repair Our World
Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust, Rio de Janeiro (Image by UN Academic Impact)

By Ramu Damodaran

The writer is Chief, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) hosted in the Department of Global Communications. This OpEd first appeared in the #WhyWeCare, @ImpactUN on February 5.

“Nostalgia for the present“ is a phrase I once heard (or think I have), and it came to mind when reading a response received to last week’s (January 29) column and its looking back on CTAUN’s quarter-century of affirmation and affection. The question asked was straightforward; had CTAUN (Committee on Teaching) been able to “convene” over the past year? The answer, which I missed noting in my nostalgia for the past, is yes…three times actually.

The first, physically at the United Nations, in its annual conference with the theme “War No More”, on February 28, a web conference choreographed by Elisabeth Shuman on media literacy on December 8 and then one curated by Mary Metzger, on the United Nations and Indigenous People on January 24, International Day of Education.

Among the galaxy of participants, Mary brought to the event was Wilton Littlechild, the Cree lawyer and humanist who served in Canada as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, as member of Parliament, and on the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In that last context, he has spoken about looking at reconciliation “from two different places. One is from a cultural perspective. In my language, in Cree, when you say “reconciliation” it’s called Miyowahkotowin. It means “having good relations.” That’s what reconciliation is in my view, and I have a cultural support for that in our ceremonies, where we have protocol: Waypinasun, which can mean “letting go” when it is offered in that spirit. Whether it’s letting go of a bad experience to find a place where you can forgive, or, once you’ve let go, regaining your own self, your strength as an individual so you can start to get back to the balance that you were first blessed with.”

That regaining of self and identity is central to the individuality upon which the United Nations Charter is based (its reference to the “dignity and worth of the human person” and not “of human people” in particular.)

As this column recalled some months ago, it was as recently as 2007 that the United Nations adopted its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, implicitly central to which was what an academic paper by the International Labour Organization two years earlier described as the “right to be different.”

That was a right whose horrific extinction was manifest in the Holocaust, whose remembrance and commemoration we observed last week. As Professor Xu Xin, Professor and Director of the Centre of Jewish Studies, Nanjing University (People’s Republic of China) has written “what Hitler did is considered as a crime against humanity. It raises a number of questions concerning mankind.

For instance, how could a group of human beings (the Nazis) do such evil things to another group (the Jews)? Why did the rest of the world stand by in silence while the Holocaust took place? What is human nature? What happened to the sense of human rights during the Second World War?”

Dr. Xu’s observations are included in his contribution to the first in a discussion papers journal series published by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, established by the General Assembly in 2005, which its founding Chief, Kimberly Mann, developed into one of “remembrance and beyond”, one which Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi at New York’s Park East Synagogue, and the Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, in an article in the UN Chronicle, described as having “awakened people across the globe to humankind’s ability to do evil – but also to our capacity to take action to repair our world…a permanent and potent program of education (going) beyond memorializing; it would serve as an antidote to Holocaust denial, a vaccine to prevent the virus of anti-Semitism and racism from ravaging future victims.”

Those attributes are in many a sense the founding stones of the United Nations; as António Guterres has written in his foreword to the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, we have “ a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds through wide-ranging action to defend human rights and advance the rule of law. Indeed, the very identity and establishment of the Organization are rooted in the nightmare that ensues when virulent hatred is left unopposed for too long.”

Reading the Secretary-General, my mind went back to an essay on Fascism by the late Professor David Ingersoll, Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware (where US President Joe Biden was among his students) where he argues “perhaps most fundamentally – especially from the perspective of liberal modernity – fascism does not believe that the human being is expressing its most valued, living potential when it uses its capacity to reason for the purposes of individual and collective human enlightenment. Fascism is hostile to reason and “intellectual” reflection. This is one of the main reasons fascism is associated with action and not ideas.”

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has sought to build upon the power of ideas, which fascism suppressed and which the United Nations and Holocaust education have sought to animate, to create the power of action. Speaking at an event at the United Nations five years ago as part of the programme, Professor Zehavit Gross, Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Education for Human Values, Tolerance and Peace, School of Education, Bar- Ilan University, noted we were “honoured to live in one of the most splendid periods in human history. We live in a world of advanced technology, knowledge, and material richness and the question is what are we doing with it? Have we learnt to live in peace with each other? Have we learnt to respect difference and the human rights of others? If we look around the world today, we can see huge challenges. With all our technology we have not learnt to overcome evil. Yet, it is our responsibility to work for a better world. And the Holocaust must, through education, become a powerful tool against racism, helping to educate towards a better, more just, cosmopolitan future for the benefit of all humanity.”

The span of 2020 was bookended by two events manifesting “remembrance and beyond” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A year ago, the city was host to an exhibition created in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “Some were neighbours: choice, human behaviour and the Holocaust”, which reflected on what people did – or didn´t do – during the Second World War, in ways that helped the victims – or did not, by contributing to the rise of antisemitism and Nazism.

And on December 14 Rio inaugurated a Holocaust memorial, pictured above, that includes a 72-foot-tall tower and overlooks Sugarloaf Mountain, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, whose name has indigenous origins in the Tupi languagegoanã-pará, from gwa “bay” with nã “similar to” and ba’ra “sea”, allowing its ready translation to “the bosom of sea”.

That image brought to mind the call by Secretary-General Guterres on February 3, in his message for the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, for “knowledge – an ocean science revolution…restoring the ocean’s ability to nurture humanity.”

The ocean, in that tidal phrase, could well be a metaphor for education, the revolution seen within it by innovation and exploration, like that relating to the Holocaust, and education as a means to “nurture humanity” within its bosom, a bosom as nurturing and secure as that of the sea, an education which respects the lesson, no, the warning, of history, as António Guterres phrased it in his address to the German Bundestag in December, “that politics driven by anger, distortion and scapegoating is always – always – a recipe for disaster.“

A reflection of what the legendary scholar Professor Yehuda Bauer Academic Adviser to Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority (Israel) wrote in the very first discussion papers journal, that “politics that are not based on moral basis are, at the end of the day, not practical politics at all.”

Dr. Bauer had himself addressed the Bundestag twenty years ago, where he said: “I come from a people that gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Let us agree that we need three more commandments, and they are these: thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.”

Those words echoed in mind as I read Rabbi Schneier’s article in the Chronicle cited earlier, and his reference “to borrow from an old show tune, “You’ve got to be taught”. And what we must teach are respect, civility, the foundational values of justice and freedom – in short, to “love your neighbour as yourself”.

Reading those stirring lines, and wishing circumstances allowed us to hear them in Rabbi Schneier’s own voice of gentleness and steel, I thought of another tune and song of hope triumphing memory, of learning, that can be, like regret, lifelong.

Teach your children well

Their father’s hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

And you of tender years

Can’t know the fears

That your elders grew by

And so, please help

Them with your youth

They seek the truth

Before they can die

Photo: Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust, Rio de Janeiro. Credit: UN Academic Impact

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

10.02.2021 – Algeria – Middle East Monitor

Algeria says France must take responsibility for nuclear waste in Sahara
Gerboise Bleue nuclear test (Image by Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives)

Algeria’s senior military official, Bouzid Boufrioua, has called on France to take responsibility for the waste left in the Sahara after its nuclear tests there in the 1960s. Brigadier General Boufrioua is the head of the combat engineering department of the Land Forces Command and made his comments during an interview published in the February edition of Algeria’s Army Magazine.

The French colonial authorities conducted a series of nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara between 1960 and 1966. Seventeen tests were carried out altogether. Algeria’s state institutions and civil society organisations have been demanding that France should reveal the location of its nuclear waste in the Sahara.

“Sixty years after its nuclear tests, France still refuses to reveal the location of its nuclear waste and compensate the victims of disease caused by radiation,” said the magazine.

Boufrioua pointed out that the tide has turned on such issues. “On 7 July 2017, 122 member states of the UN General Assembly ratified a new treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons.” He explained that the treaty “clearly and explicitly recognises the ‘polluter pays’ principle; this is the first time that the international community has called on the nuclear-armed states to rectify the errors of the past.”

The treaty came into force in January last year. However, countries like France, the United States, Britain, Russia, and China refused to sign the agreement. They are the states whose nuclear weapons gave them the “authority” to be the only permanent members of the UN Security Council, with each one having a right to veto any resolution.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

09.02.2021 – Newsclick

Setting Aside 2013 Riots, Farmers Protest Reviving Jat-Muslim Political Alliance
(Image by NewsClick)

The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots led to the break-up of a crucial political alliance of Jats and Muslims forged by Chaudhary Charan Singh; the current farmers protest is uniting them again.

Tarique Anwar

Is aandolan men Hindustan hai; Hindustani bane raho; Hindu-Musalma mein mat batna (India is participating in this movement; continue to be an Indian; don’t fall into the trap of Hindu-Muslim divide),” Mahendra Singh Chaudhary, district president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budha Nagar, asked the youth from the stage at the Ghazipur border protest amid thunderous applause from the huge crowd.

Ghazipur (the Delhi-UP border near Ghaziabad) is one of the five doorsteps of the national capital where farmers have been staging a peaceful sit-in since November 26, last year, in the spine chilling cold to press the government to withdraw three contentious agricultural laws enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government in September last year. They are also demanding a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) — a price fixed by the Government of India for procurement of an agricultural product directly from the farmer.

Chaudhary said the communal divide between Jats and Muslims created post 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots ran deep, and it was high time the two communities put behind the bloodied history, which cost them heavily in terms of economic distress. “It’s time to move on and stay united, leaving aside our differences. Together, we can reshape the politics of western Uttar Pradesh and re-emerge as a force that can never be ignored,” appealed Chaudhary, who is in his late 60s.

Following the August-September 2013 rift in western UP’s Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts that resulted in at least 62 deaths (42 Muslims and 20 Hindus) and displacement of over 50,000 people, Muslims led by Ghulam Mohammad Jaula had walked out of the BKU. It also led to weakening the non-partisan peasants’ outfit founded by Chaudhary Charan Singh — former prime minister and champion of the farmers’ causes.

Although the demand of farmers has not yet been fulfilled even after 74 days of the ongoing protest, the agitation has definitely brought social and political consciousness among masses. People from different sections of the society (especially Hindus and Muslims) are seen standing together, forgetting their old rivalry and feud. This is the reason that Jats, Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits are together participating in the ‘dharnas’ at Delhi borders and also in the Mahapanchayats being organised across western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The realisation came at a heavy cost: weakening of the regional agrarian economy known for its cash crops, which is sugarcane, break up of the decades-old crucial political alliance of Jats and Muslims forged by Charan Singh and most importantly, the division in the society and the loss of social amity between the two influential communities.

Having the biggest area under cane production, Uttar Pradesh’s sugar industry has achieved a record production of sugar so far. The state’s sugar mills had produced 124.92 lakh tonne of sugar till May 27, 2020 against the previous highest of 120.45 lakh tonne in 2017-18 sugar season. Last year on the same date, the state had produced 117.68 lakh tonne. It is significant when seen in the national context, which has posted a 19% decline in production from 32.61 million tonne to 26.36 million tonne till May 15, 2020.

This is one of the very few regions in India where the two communities not only share the same culture and traditions, but also have the same blood. A group within the Jat, Gujjar and Rajput communities in western Uttar Pradesh had converted to Islam and is known as ‘Mule Jats’ and ‘Gujjar Muslims’. They share the same surnames (Chaudhary, Chauhan, Rana, Tyagi, etc.) and same ‘gorta’ (clan). Despite coming from two different religions, they share the same culture, custom and tradition in marriages, deaths and occasions of festivities. Till 2013 communal violence, they voted together for their political messiah Charan Singh and his son Ajit Singh.

Muzaffarnagar has precious memories of electing even a Kashimiri (late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Union minister) as its leader in Parliament. Mufti, who had won the election from Muzaffarnagar seat in the ninth Lok Sabha on a Janata Dal ticket, was made the first Muslim Home Minister in the country under the VP Singh government.

But the riots brought the western Uttar Pradesh society apart like never before, destroying the political career of Chaudhary Ajit Singh and his party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). It directly benefited the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was accused of inciting the violence for political gains. The saffron party swept in the region in the 2014 and 2019 general elections and UP Assembly polls of 2017.

Since then, people like Ajit Singh as well as many community elders had been trying to bring them together, but to no avail. The farmer agitation has given a new hope for the revival of this political and social alliance.

The Mahapanchayat held in Muzaffarnagar on January 29, a day after BKU’s national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait burst into tears while talking to media persons, was the first time since the riots that a former Muslim leader of the BKU, Ghulam Mohammad Jaula, was seen sharing the stage with Tikait’s elder brother Naresh Tikait.

“Several precious lives were lost. So many families had to migrate to safer places. Had Mahendra Singh Tikait been alive, the riots would have never happened. He was a secular person who always believed in unity. He garnered huge respect and had influence in the region,” Jaula told NewsClick, claiming both communities have remorse and they have moved on.

“There was a pin drop silence in the panchayat in Muzaffarnagar when I said Muslims were killed. It means, people have remorse. Years have passed now; therefore, there is no point to live with the difference. We have moved on. There is a bigger issue at hand. Since all of us are farmers and Rakesh Tikait is leading our fight, he has full support from our community,” he said.

He was a close aide of Tikait’s father Mahendra Singh Tikait, the legendary farmers’ leader from Muzaffarnagar’s Sisauli village, and was considered as a father figure to the Tikait brothers.

Jaula too, like several other farmer leaders, said he was moved seeing Rakesh Tikait in tears. On January 28 evening, Rakesh broke down while talking to media persons at Ghazipur border as police personnel moved in to clear the protest site. It inadvertently galvanised protesters in western UP and Haryana. The thinning protest that has faced intense pressure after the January 26 violence, got a new life following the outburst.

“When we saw Rakesh Tikait crying, we had a different feeling. We felt as if his father is crying, which cannot at all be tolerated as the Tikait patriarch was also someone who would do anything for the farmers,” said Jaula.

Camping at Ghazipur border, Zile Singh, a resident of Chaura Khurd in western UP’s Saharanpur district, said, “We are all together in this fight, and we need to raise our voice against these laws. It is need of the hour as all of us, be it Chaudharys, Muslims and Kashyaps (Dalits), are either farmers or farm labourers. We are farmers first and only after that we can consider our religion,”

He claimed that the Jat-Muslim divide has got bridged to a “great extent” with this agitation. “The credit also goes to Tikait’s tears, which made the stir against the farm laws a battle of ‘pride’.”

“For farmers in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, it was not just few drops of tears but an attack on their pride,” he added.

He alleged that the BJP fed the youth communalism as a medicine. But now, after the government (both in the Centre and the state) failed to give them a better future, the youngsters too have realised the fact that they were used and later betrayed. “They are not getting government jobs. Except for the police and the defence forces, they don’t have any other option. They are exploited in private jobs. Now, the trust of youth in the Modi and Yogi governments is lost. This agitation will write a new script of Indian polity,” hoped the marginal farmer.

Prabal Pratap Shahi, a BJP leader who recently parted ways with the saffron party, protesting against the three laws, said although the society was divided on communal lines, democracy was still in people’s DNA.

“If the peasants are refusing to accept the so-called reforms, withdraw it. The rigidity of the government to implement the laws by hook or crook while ignoring such a massive protest across the country strengthens the suspicion the farmers have in their minds — it will leave them at the mercy of corporates, their mandis (agricultural produce marketing committees or APMCs) will be eradicated once there will be open market, etc. They know the procurement will be done by Reliance, logistics will be provided by Adani and banks will be privatised for funds,” he said. “The youth of the country is educated enough to understand why profit-making PSUs (public sector units) such as BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited) that has given a dividend of Rs 25,000 crore are being sold. How can the government sell the public sector companies, which have shareholdings of people?” he asked.

Among the protesters wearing skull caps was Md Perwez Alam from Ghaziabad district. “Love for farmers is love for God too” was his prompt reply to the query as to what prompted his group to extend their solidarity to protesting farmers.

Zahind Ali, a 65-year-old farmer from Naqasa village in Amroha district, said the Jats got instigated and fought Muslims, accepting the BJP as their savior. “But after seven years of the bloodbath, now they have understood that they were used as political weapons. Expression of this remorse is helping the two communities to revive their lost unity. The change is quite visible given the inclusive nature of this protest,” he added.

A resident of Saharanpur, Majid Ali Khan, who is also a political analyst, said the Jats are very sensitive by nature. “They sound tough, but they are soft at heart. They have never been communal; and therefore, they have rallied behind several Muslim leaders such as Ghayur Ali Khan of Jalalabad. Ghulam Mohammad Jaula extending support to the movement by taking part in the Muzaffarnagar panchayat and reaching Ghazipur border with his supporters is a clear indication that the movement has revived the old relationship between the two communities,” he said.

He further said it has been over seven-and-a-half years since that madness engulfed western Uttar Pradesh and both communities suffered a lot. “Those who were killed and migrated were poor people working farm labourers. Jats lost their cheap work force as a result of the riots. Now, they depend on farm labourers from different states to work in their fields. A large number of Muslim victims were blacksmith who used to make farming tools in the village at lower prices. Losing them increased the input costs exponentially. We also witnessed a split in the BKU that resulted into its weakening. So, both communities did not have any option but to join hands once again. And the same is happening with this movement, which is a very positive sign,” he added.

Some local level Jat leaders, like Vipin Singh Baliyan, among others put in their share of effort to undo the Hindu-Muslim rift. “There is no split anymore in the group. Both communities have already set aside their differences. Several victims have also withdrawn criminal cases. It’s wrong to say that Muslims took part for the first time in the Muzaffarnagar panchayat after the riots. We had called at least 14 panchayats previously that witnessed participation of the two communities. Several families have already returned to their villages. Lives are quite normal,” Baliyan told NewsClick.

Dr Ravindra Rana, a Muzaffarnagar-based journalist, said the Jat-Muslim unity was a politically significant coalition and the BJP had realised that it could not make inroads in the politics of the cane land without breaking it.

“So, the party strategically raised the issues of discord, which actually did not exist. In nut shells, the BJP weaponised normal civic affairs like love affairs and eating habits into a source of majoritarian rage. It targeted love marriages between Hindu girls and Muslim boys as an Islamist conspiracy. Post riots, the party groomed and established its leadership in the region instead of depending on regional parties’ coalition. Once their candidates got elected in the Lok Sabha and state’s Assembly, they were given important portfolios in the governments in the Centre and the state so that the Jats’ confidence in the party could be strengthened,” Rana said.

But the ongoing protest and Tikait’s tears have revived the social bond. Rana said, “Panchayats after panchayats are being organised with huge participation of people from different communities. Interestingly, Jats in the region are now vocally admitting their mistakes they committed after defeating Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhry in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. At present, there is a lot of anger against the saffron party and if it continues till the UP Assembly elections next year, the party will surely suffer a lot.”

With regard to Tikait brothers, Rana appeared to be apprehensive. He still believes that Rakesh Tikait is the weakest link of the ongoing protest. Justifying his arguments, he questioned Tikait’s credibility and ability to sustain the movement till the next year’s Assembly elections in the state.

“The Tikait brothers have a credibility crisis. It is well known that they made the BKU an unofficial wing of the ruling BJP. Rakesh too admitted recently that he had voted for the BJP and helped the party form the government. Though he argues that he had inputs that miscreants had plans to turn the symbolic ‘chakka jam’ (announced by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on February 6 across the country from 12 noon till 3 pm) violent, yet his decision to call it off in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand raise question mark. It would be interesting to see if the Tikaits are able to sustain the movement. It’s in fact a great challenge before them as well,” Rana concluded.

However, some still feel that it is too early to expect much from what is essentially an act of solidarity between the Jats and Muslims during the ongoing protest as the “scars are too deep to heal”.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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