Category Archives: South Asia
For Immediate Release: Revoke the Barring of Professor Richard Shapiro
For Immediate Release November 5th, 2010 WHAT: Protest at the Indian Consulate: Revoke the Barring of Professor Richard Shapiro, End the Isolation of Kashmiris WHERE: 540 Arguello Boulevard, San Francisco, CA, WHEN: November 8th, 11am-12pm Organized by Students and Friends of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (IPTK) Press contact: Amanda McBride, email@example.com, 415.627.7675 On Monday, November 8th, at 11 am, a group of students and community members will be protesting IndiaÕs banning of Richard Shapiro, a US scholar, without any reported legal basis. The protest will take place at the San Francisco Consulate General of India, at 540 Arguello Boulevard. On November 1st, 2010, Professor Shapiro was denied entry by the Immigration Authorities in New Delhi. Professor Shapiro is a US Citizen and Chair, Anthropology Department, at California Institute of Integral Studies. Professor Shapiro traveled to India with his life partner, Professor Angana Chatterji, a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the US. Professor Chatterji, a prominent and frequent visitor to the region, was granted entry to India while Professor Shapiro was prevented from entering the country. Reports indicate that no legal basis was given for the decision to deny his entry. Professor Shapiro was in possession of a valid passport and visa. Given that Professor ShapiroÕs work focuses neither on South Asia nor India, it appears that his right to travel has been restricted in an attempt to further intimidate Professor Chatterji, and to discourage her from continuing her work as Co-Convener of the International People's Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir (IPTK). Since 2006, Shapiro has regularly traveled to Kashmir, and interacted with various human rights defenders, scholars, and youth to bear witness and to learn from their experiences. He helped form a Jewish-Muslim Friendship Circle. The focus of his scholarship and academic work is not India or Kashmir, but issues of race, class, gender, and alliance building in the United States, and discourses on power and subjectivity. Richard Shapiro had written an op-ed on Kashmir in 2009 and another in September 2010. These were analytical pieces based on articles and newspaper reports, and not on primary research that had been conducted by him. Any scholar can do that. This is a matter of academic freedom, and beyond the control of states and their desire to regulate thinking on the injustices they perpetrate. On November 1, when Professor Shapiro first presented his passport to the Immigration Authorities, he was stamped an entry permit. Then, they started processing Professor 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. Then, he was informed that he may not enter India, and that the ban was indefinite. The Immigration Authorities refused to pay for his return airfare. He was made to leave at 11.50 am that same morning. The Immigration Authorities refused to give any reason, while stating that Professor Shapiro had not been charged with anything. This arbitrary and undemocratic act by the Indian government is an affront to academic freedom, the right of families to be together, and further isolates Kashmiris from international solidarity in their struggle for peace and justice. The barring of an international scholar to Kashmir raises serious questions into the functioning of democratic rights and human rights conditions of Kashmiris. Denying Shapiro entry without due cause impinges upon academic freedom, freedom of movement, and the right to travel with his legal partner and to visit his family in Kolkata. The Indian state has regularly targeted those that have been outspoken on injustices and military governance in Kashmir. The Indian state has targetted Professor Angana Chatterji and her colleagues in Kashmir, Parvez Imroz and Khurram Parvez, for their work defending human rights. Recently, writer Arundhati Roy was a target. When academics, writers, and journalists are banned, such actions speak to the intent of the Indian State in maintaining impunity, and in deliberately isolating Kashmiris from the world and the world from Kashmiris. We call upon the Government of India to: * Revoke the entry ban of Richard Shapiro from India. * Stop obstruction of the IPTK's work. * End barring without due cause. * Support democratic processes, the exchange of ideas. For more information on the IPTK, see www.kashmirprocess.org. For a press note by Scholars at Risk regarding Professor Shapiro, please visit: http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Events-News/Article-Detail.php?art_uid=2454 The op-eds by Richard Shapiro: Governing Kashmir (August 2010): http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2010/Aug/29/governing-kashmir-17.asp A Just Peace in Kashmir? (August 2009): http://www.zcommunications.org/a-just-peace-in-kashmir-by-richard-shapiro
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
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.
French Hip-Hop: SOPRANO featuring South Asian singer Indila: HIRO
As in most first world national languages and from their former colonies and others, the French language showcases/expresses some great rap and hip-hop and what may be called ‘black’ urban music. On my blog, I have previously shown some from Japan and Korea and will continue to show my favorites from the world over.
Soprano is one of the best in present-day France. Here is a socially-conscious hip-hop song ‘Hiro’ (hero) which brings in the pride and heartache of black and non-white histories in the world and the wish to have changed history and what creates suffering today. Many of the persons and situations mentioned in this song/video are probably unknown to most Americans but we should know them as Americans. Do our research. There is more to the world than what we see in our small worlds. As such, the song mentions 9/11, Princess Diana, the making of African nations, Gandhi, Mohammed Ali, tragic airplanes that fly despots to their locations, etc. A character from the US television show ‘Heroes’ is a foundational character in the telling of this wish, this story. I love this song. In honor of knowing history and to be in the present to ACT!
Lyrics translated originally by 15 year-old French guy (SchezMusique) from Youtube.
I have modified as best I can. IF ANYONE CAN READ FRENCH and HELP with TRANSLATIONS– I will continue to modify…….
English translation followed by the French lyrics.
If I had had the power of Hiro Nakamura
I would have left reliving the birth of Lenny and Inaya
I would have been in Sanaa
Boycott the takeoff of A310 from Yemenia
I would have been there to see my grandfather one last time
Say to him I’ll take care of his daughter, so don’t worry
I would have left seeing Martin Luther King
After his speech, show him the photo of Barack Obama
I would have been in the temple of Harlem
Push Malcolm from the scene before a bullet reaches him
I would have been in the prison of Mandela
To say to him ‘hold out, your ideas will be of a president of south Africa’
Lover of Lady Diana,
I would have created a gigantic cork under the bridge of the Alma
I would have been in the Bahamas
Not for the holidays but to empty the hold of the plane of Aaliyah
I would have liked travelling through time
I would have liked travelling through time
I would have liked travelling through time
If I had had the power of Hiro Nakamura
I would have been there for the fight from Mohamed Ali to Kinshasa
Then, I would have been there to celebrate the independence of my Comoros
In the arms of my grandfather before his death
Then, a small tour in the Paris-Dakar in full savanna
To boycott Daniel Balavoine’s copter
I like the truths of those who wear a red nose
I would have been there to burst the tires of Coluche’s motorcycle
I would have been there to meet Mahomet in Medina
Then go to see the Red Sea, let myself pass to Moses
I would have been for the birth of the son to Mary
Two hours later, take the walking of the salt with Gandhi
I would have been there to sit down with Rosa Parks
Then to Woodstock to see Jimmy Hendrix live
I would have been at the birthday of Motown
To see Mickael make the moonwalk
I would have been in New York
To activate at 7 am a bomb scare in 2 towers
I would have been in Iraq
Teaching the journalists to shoot better with their shoe
I would have been in Afghanistan
Throw the cameras of the last interview of commander Massoud
I would have been in Angola
To go to tell the team of Adebayor not do the trip
I would have been in Clichy-sous-Bois
Disconnect the transpo of EDF before Zyed and Bouna comes
I would have been at Kunta Kinte or on Gorée
To give them guns before the colonists came
I would have been there to see the African infantrymen
To say to them that we treat their children like nasty immigrants
I would have been in Austria,
I would have done anything so that the parents of Adolf Hitler never met
Even if I had the power of Nakamura
What would I have been able to do for Haiti, the tsunami or Katrina?
What would I have been able to do for Alaska?
Everything that nature gave us
Nature will take back
So these are things which I would have wanted to change or wanted to live
So these are things which I would have wanted to erase or to relive
But are all impossible my friend
Thus I inspire a big breath and I blow on my 30th candle…
I would have liked travelling through time
But we can live only the present
We can live only the present
Chanda Mama: Playing for Change
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
Close Watch on My Professor & the Fight For Justice in this World
Some of you were kind enough to read my post entitled ‘Angana Chatterji and the Historical Present.’ Richard Shapiro the department head of the Social Cultural Anthropology program where I received my Masters’ Degree and continue to study, and the entire anthropology department here at California Institute of Integral Studies, are on edge as the events in Kashmir have heated up since the release of the People’s Tribunal in Indian-Administered Kashmir. Professor Angana Chatterji is in Kashmir presently, as we speak, where the intensification of violence in the streets to resist state violence has escalated. Professor Chatterji has been being followed closely by men with guns, plainclothed and uniformed police and paramilitary personnel. There is curfew and the state militarized officials keep a close eye on the members of the Tribunal and their friends and supporters. Angana and the tribunal members attended a press conference in Kashmir on the recent reports and ongoing research in Kashmir for justice.
We continually pray for her safety and the safety of all of the others working for justice in Kashmir and the present moment.
For further information, see article:
and please visit the tribunal’s update page here:
Song for Kashmir – by Naima ‘Grace’ Shalhoub
Naima ‘Grace’ Shalhoub is a San Francisco Bay Area -based singer/songwriter and artist who brings her multicultural heritages forward to present works of music/art in advocacy with struggling communities. She is a colleague and former classmate of mine in the anthropology program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. I want to share her music with you.
Angana Chatterji and the Historical Present
I have had the honor of conducting my graduate studies in the Social Cultural Anthropology program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. There, Department head Richard Shapiro and Professor Angana Chatterji, run an intellectually/spiritually rigorous program of re-thinking our present in light of the historical past. With this, the historical future will look differently. Why does it need to look differently, some ask? This, I’m afraid, is a question spoken by the privileged or the unconcerned. Anyone who has seen that disenfranchisement, disillusionment, mass forms of escape and ignorance, despair, rage, and genocide have increased the world over. It parallels the increase in the wealth of the few and the invisibility of the wealthy from the public in general, in most of the world.
The invisibility allows for certain mechanisms to be put into place, controlling increasingly more areas of reflection, thought, and policies. The nation-state neo-liberal systems, which was invented in the resistance of peoples against primarily imperial rulerships based solely on single religions, has now become a ruling configuration that also detaches itself from humankind’s deepest issues, many of which come from the governance of nations and its tactics and priorities.
Angana Chatterji has dedicated her life to continual self-education, admonishing those she touches to re-think the present by including the multiple angles and hierarchically-organized perspectives that are laid into place by the dance of dominance and resistance, privilege and oppression. The Social Cultural anthropology program (SCA) at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) challenges disciples to re-introduce intellect into the psycho-spiritual domain. The intellect, especially in the United States, but in most of the first-world nations, has been relegated to something menacing and/or useless. Today, ‘intellect’ is hardly recognized.
There is a reason for this. The academic institutions in the United States and many of the first world nations, as mentioned earlier, is more and more unconcerned with life and the people. It is more concerned about maintaining its institutions and formulations of power and legitimacy in their respective societies. When this kind of way of prioritizing things is practiced over and over, there is less and less room for adapting to things and people and situations. When there is less adaptation, as change is constant, the institutions become more irrelevant. What happens at this point, and has happened to a large extent in Europe, the United States, Australia, and Japan, is the amassing of wealth by these academic institutions in order to maintain its prestige. Prestige itself, I beg of you to understand from my perspective, is not ‘evil’ or bad. The problem is its prioritization in communities, over-taking an exacting look at the processes that create suffering and toil, vanity and genocides.
Through the work of Angana Chatterji, Richard Shapiro, and Mutombo Mpanya of the Anthropology program at CIIS, disciples (I would not say ‘students’ in the traditional sense) must grapple with re-learning, undoing, then re-thinking and learning how to think with the historical past in the now-moment. And in addition, this ‘history’ is not the traditional and mainstream ‘history’ that is often not recognized as propaganda in some ways. The dominant texts are written so that history makes the dominant groups and institutions’ versions of history ‘truth.’ Being inclusive for everyone and every community, is a liberal idea that most academic institutions attempt to practice. However, ‘including everyone’ or inclusivity, is a very tiny fraction of the issues in life. In fact, inclusivity into a system that carries oppressive norms is assimilation, an enticement. One just needs to look around. Just because we have burritos and sushi in the cafe does not make the political and historical circumstances that made our identities and fractured lives happen. Our privileges want to be maintained. We want to ignore the pain and suffering. So it isn’t learned. In the mainstream academy, everything is co-opted into the ‘feel good’ place and reconciled. Toward the neo-liberal and the maintenance of ‘good people.’ This ‘good people’ is an imagination of the moralities that propped up our histories. ‘Good’ people were smashing soap bars down Native American throats when they spoke their native language in order to civilize them. Civilization is ‘good.’ ‘Good’ people owned slaves yet treated everyone ‘well.’
These are crass, simplistic examples of things we need to , and can un-do as a single image in how to ‘take care of things’ in life that get in the way of our individual happiness. The suffering of the globe in the historical present, cannot change unless we bring ourselves into the picture. Our heritages, what has happened, what’s been done. The complexities are immense but not unfathomable. From these complexities we come to realize that everything has come about through each diverse community and tensions’ meetings and the series of events that play out.
In my studies with Angana Chatterji, there is tremendous transformation, a dropping-off of life-as-we-know-it, similar to some of my experiences in Zen training. The intellect keeps many things ‘tight’ in our minds. It is even more complex to think that in the United States, being intellectual makes us less ‘spiritual’ and ‘real’ and the intellect is relegated to something that’s ‘too much.’ Angana Chatterji and Richard Shapiro’s mission at CIIS, was to create an academy that is relevant to reality. Skill, power, depth, complexity, and attention to our ancestors and what has happened, can be included in the story of our lives. It deepens our lives to what it actually is and not what we blindly have let it become. Scholarship can become something that advocates for humanity and justice, not just something we do to get better jobs in the market-capitalist society or the socialist one.
Recently, Angana Chatterji, along with Parvez Imroz, Gautam Navlakha, Mihir Desai, and Khurram Parvez and others, have co-founded and convened the International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in the Indian-administrated region of Kashmir (website: http://kashmirprocess.org/index.html). This has been a labor of struggle and love and commitment, attesting to Angana Chatterji’s deepest wishes in relation to her ancestors and their legacy, for an academy that works with communities and is relevant to peoples’ struggles. In today’s world, often a community’s struggle is put into the light of some sort of competition between groups. Supposedly we are in a game of winning and losing. Angana and most of the people working pro-actively with struggling communities, would say that the oppression Olympics and its race toward individual ‘rights’ is a worldview that has developed due to how these things were taught to us. At close examination and with tremendous commitment to its roots, we can see that some things need to be struggled for and it need not be a competition between those struggling for justice and others doing the same. The Indian state is being asked to act as the state it promised to be. The tribunal wishes to hold the Indian state accountable to itself and others. Co-creating the world is diversity. Diversity is not a competition. Diversity and its concommitant need for re-thinking, re-structuring, and creating new imagination and processes toward justice and peace, takes re-education and understanding along with action and community. Angana Chatterji and the Peoples’ Tribunal is one of the many works that happen in the world and we need more of it.