THIS is apropos the letter ‘Kamila Shamsie’ (Oct 2). The writer has lamented that a German literary award to a Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie was revoked because of her support for Boycott, Diversity, Sanctions movement against Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestine.
Not only the letter writer, but many luminaries of the literary world like Noam Chomsky and William Dalrymple too have protested over the revocation of the Nelly Sachs book prize. They all have done what was expected of them. The denial of the book award to Kamila was indeed a condemnable act.
However, Kashmiris in India-occupied valley have been suffering the atrocities for the last 70 years and today they face such misery which would have put even Nazis to shame.
There has been a curfew in the valley for over two months. Young Kashmiri men suffer torture by Indian security forces, men and small children suffer pellet wounds in their eyes, while women are raped and killed by occupation forces. Now there are reports that RSS goons are raping Kashmiri women after some Hindutva leaders urged them to do so.
Would it not have been an honour for Kamila, a Pakistani, if she had raised her voice in support of our Kashmiri brethren too as forcefully as she supports the BDS movement to condemn Israel?
Would not her strong voice be heard across the globe and helped Pakistan in internationalising and highlighting the Kashmir issue if this or any other award or privilege was denied to her for supporting Kashmiris? Imagine the impact it would have made on India if Kamila was denied an award for supporting Kashmiris and if she was supported by liberal world literary giants?
Is it too much to ask Kamila to support Kashmiris and suggest to the world to launch a BDS movement against Modi-led India for committing unprecedented barbarity in occupied Kashmir?
Or, are Kashmiris children of a lesser God for whom our literary giants like Kamila would not speak?
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019