May 6, 2104
In 1989, the end of Afghan war as well as the euphoria of Berlin Wall to fall, gave the Kashmiri youth a sense of freedom on the horizon. They, however, were convinced that freedom could not be achieved without international support. The cause of Kashmir had to be internationalized and needed international attention and solidarity and this, they reasoned, could only be triggered by violent uprising.
Human rights defenders, families of the disappeared, students, intellectuals and other sections of Kashmiri civil society, nevertheless, persist in their public protests. Any incident (e.g. rape of civilians by Indian army personnel) or event (e.g. national celebration of Independence Day) still provokes massive street protests or strikes in Indian administered Jammu Kashmir. These protests boost people’s individual human dignity as men and women who resist humiliation and injustice. But they also paralyze socio-economic life and fuel further distrust in local and national establishment, and are consequently followed by a hard response by army and security forces. It is an endless circle of action-reaction. Kashmiri civil society activists and human rights defenders concluded that violence is not the way out and call for nonviolence as means for conflict resolution. Thus, in last two decades, human rights defenders, peace-activists and former militants deliberately and successfully have focused on documenting human rights violations and on advocating the right to self-determination as their basic human right indeed.
Various efforts have been undertaken by American and European officials to mediate in regard of the Kashmir Dispute. However, such mediation endeavors so far proved fruitless and faced strong obstruction by vested interests discouraging the international community to be pro-active. Europe is fighting a desperate battle to prevent political implosion due to serious economic crises in its member-states, whereas the USA feels itself stuck in more global wars than ever before. Thus, Europe and USA tend to prefer to remove ‘Kashmir’ from their agenda for the time being. Many international diplomats and politicians hesitate to engage in direct talks on Kashmir and fear that talking to the Kashmiri themselves means to risk very promising trade relations with India.
Local and international civil society groups, think-tanks and diplomats advocate and reiterate that Kashmir has to be acknowledged as a most urgent issue on bilateral negotiating agenda between Pakistan and India. The people of Kashmir and their leaders should be acknowledged as stakeholder in the process of socio-political transition to sustainable peace. To get out of the deadlock, genuine civil society actors ‘on the ground’ are crucial to be acknowledged in their role in changing the status quo of ongoing human rights violations, impunity and injustice due to Black Laws and military occupation. Courage and persistence of the Kashmiris on the ground has happily and unhappily surprised regional as well as global powers, and has kept Kashmir on the radar of international human rights organizations and lobbyists in various diplomatic platforms.
In last two decades, Kashmir passed through various ‘Springs’ already. Regional and international powers are obliged to finally give ‘Summer’ a chance for Kashmiris: ‘An Everlasting Summer’ is what the people deserve after all sacrifices and persistence in opposing human rights violations and impunity. ‘An Everlasting Summer in Kashmir’ is the key for sustainable peace, justice and freedom in this very region of concern, in Kashmir, and, yes indeed, in the world at large. –