Faculty Head of our department denied entry into India

Our students in the Social Cultural Anthropology (SCA) at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where I received my Masters degree in 2001 and where I continue my PHD studies, has been busy the last few days as we intensify efforts to intervene in solidarity to the people of Kashmir and all those who are democratic in spirit, in a world increasingly divided along lines inherited from our nation-states and communities.  Richard Shapiro, who is the department head of the SCA department, was denied entry into India at the airport, where he was to meet his partner Angana Chatterji, who is also one of our faculty at the institute and is co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir.

This situation merits attention for those who want and need more democratic processes in the world, and to acknowledge the way states work in convening monopolies on power, even where there has been no crime committed.  How can he be turned away for doing nothing?  Why do states have more power than the people they are supposedly serving and protecting?  This is the crucial question of our historical present.

The below article from Yahoo News explains:

This coming Monday, November 8, at 11:00  in San Francisco, there will be a protest at the Indian Consulate, protesting this turn-away and the divisions and policies, actions and heritages that prop up these kinds of actions.  We must demand accountability to rights granted by our constitutions in democratic states and all states.

 

US professor sent back from Delhi airport

Wed, Nov 3 12:18 PM

Yahoo News. India.

A prominent US academic was sent back to America from Delhi airport on Monday, allegedly because his partner is associated with a human rights group in the Kashmir Valley.

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS), immigration officials at the airport initially put an entry stamp on the passport of Prof Richard Shapiro, but cancelled it after they examined the passport of his partner, Angana Chatterji.

Chatterji is co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, a voluntary organisation investigating alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir. She is professor of social and cultural anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), where Shapiro is Chair and associate professor of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthopology.

Chatterji was allowed to enter India, and is now in Srinagar. She said the immigration officials did not give any reason for denying Shapiro entry. No government official could be reached for a comment.

“This Monday, Richard Shapiro had travelled a long way from San Francisco to be with Angana Chatterji, who was travelling to Kashmir for work. When he first presented his passport to the immigration authorities, he was stamped an entry permit. Then they started processing Angana Chatterji’s passport.

She has been stopped regularly since the inception of IPTK in April 2008. As they paused over her passport, the immigration officer again asked Richard Shapiro for his passport,” JKCCS president Parvez Imroz said in a statement.

According to Imroz, Shapiro, a US citizen, has accompanied Chatterji, an Indian citizen and a permanent resident of the US, to India about 30 times since 1997. He does not work on Kashmir, but he has, since 2006, interacted with human rights activists in the Valley. He wrote two analytical pieces in local dailies in 2009 and September 2010, the JKCCS said.

According to Imroz, the immigration officials told Shapiro that the ban on his entry into India was indefinite. “They did not deport him or cancel his visa, but insisted that he return immediately. He was made to leave at 11.50 that same morning,” he said.

 

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Arundhati Roy. Jill Scott. Pointing to Resistance

“Power is fortified not just by what it destroys, but also by what it creates. Not just by what it takes, but also by what it gives. And powerlessness reaffirmed not just by the helplessness of those who have lost, but also by the gratitude of those who have (or think they have) gained. ”

– Arundhati Roy, from The Greater Common Good May, 1999

Internalized oppressions and bourgeois ideals can brutalize our ways to alliance-building and liberations.

Legacies of being violated in the social structure, playing out in the everyday, can leave nothing but those actions in our own actions, replaying them without realizing, with seemingly no other way to go.  If we divide ourselves and each other in our own communities, if we make them violent and unforgiveable, confusing and isolating, the way becomes darker.  Faking friendships–making them false friendships, comfort and safety and wanting this everywhere is also a weakness that strangles and disempowers us, legitimizing our giving up easily and to becoming hopelessly hopeless in the never-ending fight and struggle for justice, equity, care, and ethics in our everyday present.

Patriarchal assumptions in relations, ignoring our roots, in letting history allow us to ignore, in relegating ‘good’ activisms towards those that wind up supporting the morally superior, which already controls, dominates and violates us and admonishes those violated to remain ‘good’ while they continue to maintain and intensify the spaces and actions through which they dominate, making smaller spaces for difference and other—- onward onward.

Break the chains that would have us continue to want absolute safety, comfort, dominance and moral superiority, and to legitimize our own traumas and weaknesses through our practices of our own dominations.  The master/slave dynamic is not just about dominance and submission in their raw forms.  It is also about how we have internalized these notions and operate those creatures on ourselves.  We have moved way past treating each other the way we want to be treated.  If we hate ourselves, then how would we treat others–even in our so-called ‘best’ behavior?  Ask ourselves what must be done to turn directions, no matter how difficult.

What Arundhati Roy, activist/writer; and Jill Scott, poet/activist and singer, would ask us to do is to think about how we circumvent ourselves and each other, often without knowing.  Reflecting on our unexamined modes of the way we are ‘ourselves’ in the world, can we move differently?  Move our assumptions to a place where we can see and shift?  Unafraid to experiment, and find those who want to walk that path that will surely become increasingly difficult as the systems that operate around us also operate through us.  We must see that not our entire self, not the entire communities, or people, or history, are totally one-sided or one way.  There are resistances and ambiguous spaces.  Questions.   Let us listen to Jill Scott and what she is saying.  Let us listen to Arundhati Roy.  What is she saying?

How must we walk our paths differently from here?

Arundhati Roy – wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundhati_Roy