Speech by Kumar Ketkar the editor of Maharashtra Times, Khilafat House
Director: Shaina Anand
Duration: 00:23:35; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 24.011; Saturation: 0.077; Lightness: 0.342; Volume: 0.247; Cuts per Minute: 10.813; Words per Minute: 140.099
Summary: Footage from the Tellavision Mumbai project. Kumar Ketkar, senior journalist and the editor of Maharashtra Times delivers an impassioned speech on the genesis of “terrorism” as we know it today and America's involvement in it, at a meeting called by the Students Islamic Organisation of India: Terrorism- Reality and Solutions. The meeting took place at Khilafat House, Byculla, Mumbai on 2nd November 2001.
Location shot of the entrance of the Khilafat House, Byculla. A yellow banner is mounted on the gate, and there are two boards on the wall left and right of the gate. There are a few police constables standing near the entrance. In the foreground traffic passes by on the street and a lot of honking can be heard.
Students Islamic Organization of India
All India Khilafat Committee
Khilafat House, Byculla, Mumbai
Khilafat House, Byculla, Mumbai
students islamic organisation
Jehad against Terrorism
Is this not Terrorism?
By US in Afghanistan
By Israel in Palestine
By Russia in Chechnya
By Russia in Bosnia
By Pak in Kashmir against Kashmiri Pundits
By Security Forces against innocent people in Kashmir
By Sangh Parivar in Aydohya
By Mafia in Mumbai on 12th March
On WTC on Sept 11
All India Khilafat Committee
College of Education
There is a poster stuck near the entrance of the Khilafat House building. After a close up of the poster the camera pans to cover a book stall situated near the adjoining wall.
KK: The term terrorism or the phenomenon of terrorism was not in vogue, most of us did not think about it, most of us did not write about it . When I joined journalism thirty years ago I did not know that I would have to write about it. There were Hindus and Muslims, Parsis and Jains; and there were occasionally even riots,between Hindus and Muslims or some other communities within the Hindu religion also. There were riots between two different castes, in Bihar, U.P or for that matter even Maharashtra. So riots or tensions or violence was common not only for two religious communities but was also common within the same religion, that is Hindu. And the tension or the riots and the violence was also quite common within the same religion in two different castes. But when the middle castes or the upper castes attacked the Dalits in Uttar Pradesh or in Bihar or for that matter even in _______ Aurangabad , nobody called that terrorism. Nobody describes the confrontation between two castes as a confrontation between one terrorist group,and another group as a victim of terrorism.
Kumar traces a history of
caste based and communal violence in the Indian context and questions why those instances of barbarity were not called acts of terror.
He asks why America's war against Vietnam and it's involvement with violence in Laos and Cambodia was not termed terrorism.
KK: While it is a fact that some of the upper castes particularly the middle caste...the middle caste in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were extremely violent and were deploying all the means considered today as terrorist means. Even during the 1960's and 1970's when there used to be communal tension between Hindus and Muslims nobody used to describe that tension as one caused by terrorism. So the concept of terrorism or the phenomenon of terrorism or, the very term terrorism that is being used today very loosely and very commonly has to be properly understood. And unless one properly understands the term we will not be able to think of the solutions that we are supposed to give. I think this phenomenon, this current phenomenon of terrorism can be directly traced to the political processes in the world that have been shaping it up ever since the 1960's. I'll just give you a few instances, when President Nixon and his secretary of state Henry Kissinger were bombing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for resistance between 1967 and 1974 by using B 52 bombers, the same bombers are being used today against Afghanistan. Nobody called Nixon and Kissinger and his team as terrorists who were killing people.
B 52 bombers
KK: That was considered a legitimate fight to prevent communism from spreading and to protect democracy and freedom. In the so called fight to protect democracy and freedom what Nixon and Kissinger were actually doing was bombing people out of existence, bombing countries out of existence. Nobody called it terrorism. When the regularly democratically elected Allende or Allende as it is pronounced, was removed from power in Chile and General Pinochet was put in power there and when Pinochet killed as many as twenty two thousand people in the stadium of Santiago the football,stadium of Santiago nobody described the act as terrorist act on behalf of Pinochet supported by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. When Fidel Castro was attempted to be murdered as many as nineteen times not just one. And now this is on record of CIA alone, the documents that were released .And the people who were hired to kill Castro were often from the members of the mafia, nobody called even that as terrorism.
Kumar questions why America's righteous wars against communism and the under hand tactics it used to wipe out opposers were not called terrorism.
He continues by stating how the media misrepresented these conflicts as political confrontations.
KK: Everybody in the press, everybody in the media, all the political thinkers described the confrontations in Cuba, the confrontations in Vietnam or anywhere else as political confrontations. Or the confrontations between the so called free world and dictatorial communist world.
He talks about the unjust execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto , who was Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977.
KK: The so called free world was actually defending dictatorships, and quite terrorist dictatorships in the world. Let us look at what happened between 1979 and 2001. It was on 4rth April 1979 that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by Zia-ul-Haq .Even today many members of the Pakistani Press describe that act by Zia-ul-Haq and by the supreme court at that time as Judicial Murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
April 4, 1979
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
He mentions how the involvement of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq was never acknowledged by America.
KK: I do not want to go into the actualities of the case, I am neither a protagonist of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's political philosophy, and I'm certainly not a defender of Zia-ul-Haq's rule. But at that time the United States Of America did not condemn the hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was democratically elected and undemocratically removed from power by Zia-ul-Haq, who ruled from 1977 to 1988. Let us first understand that it was during this time between 1977 and 1988, that the concept ,the term ,the roots of today's terrorism were rooted in the Indian subcontinent.
He considers the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the genesis of events that ultimately led to 9/11.
KK: It was in 1979 the same year when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged...it was the same year...in December 1979 that the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan. Whether it was right for the Soviet forces to enter, whether it is right for any country to enter anybody else's country and to try to dominate it, is outside the purview of this discussion. But the fact of the matter is that after the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, presumably to prevent the CIA and the American influence in the entire subcontinent and also in the Middle East . Americans started pumping in arms and money , and quite often the drug mafia , with the help of diplomatic support. The
Pakistani army...a section of the Pakistani political class was used to send arms to Afghanistan to fight the so called Soviet forces.
He speaks of how America extensively supported the fundamentalist forces during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
KK: Pakistan was armed to teeth by the United States in the name of fighting the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. And Pakistan was used as conduit and in that conduit the forces which were religious, and the term that was introduced at that time...nobody called it terrorism even at that time... nobody spoke...I've been in media for the past thirty years and I don't remember using the term fundamentalism in 1960's, 1970's, 1975 or for that matter almost till the 1980's. Nobody used the term fundamentalism.
He talks of the popularization of the term Fundamentalism by the American media.
KK: From where did this term come? Who introduced the term? To determine and to define a certain political approach as fundamentalist approach, let me tell you when the term fundamentalism was originally used by the American media, the American press it was used in a positive sense.
He expresses how the term fundamentalism was considered to have positive connotations by the American media during the nine year Soviet war on Afghanistan.
KK: It was used for the purpose of saying that these are the people who are fundamentalists and who believe in the values of religion, and did not want their religion to be violated... and it is being violated in Afghanistan by the Soviet forces. So those who respect freedom and religion should support fundamentalism , because fundamentalism reflected the idea of religious values to the American media.
He considers the Cold war as the genitor of terrorism as we know it today.
KK: So fundamentalism was not a negative term even to the American media till 1975 and 1980. We have to understand this whole phenomenon in the context of the cold war. If there was no cold war , which means if there was no fight for supremacy in the world between Russia, which was the Soviet Union at the time, and America, then the concept,the term and the phenomenon of terrorism would not have arisen at all.
fight for supremacy
He alleges that Hindu fundamentalist groups were also supported by America to some extent.
KK: So terrorism is born out of cold war compulsions, cold war politics, out of American efforts to destroy communism which they refer to as the evil empire. And it was to destroy this evil empire from everywhere whether it was in Chile or in Vietnam or for that matter in the Indian subcontinent that Americans began to finance and arm groups which were fundamentalist. Let us not forget that it was during that time that the Hindu fundamentalists, which were described as Hindu religious groups , were partly supported and financed ... in the Indian context armed by the United States.
cold war compulsions
He alleges that America wanted to create religion based disturbance in India because secular India was not easy to manipulate.
KK: So the United States was interested in seeing that the tension increased in India between the Hindus and the Muslims because that suited their interests. Because the secular Congress and the regime that Congress represented the kind of political culture the Congress represented was anathema to the United States of America
He states that America's influence in Indian politics had been minimal.
KK: The United States has been trying to get entry into the Indian Subcontinent ever since 1962, the India China war. But thank God... it was V.K Krishnamenon and Pandit Nehru who did not allow too much of interference in the Indian politics by the United States despite that fact that India was in trouble and at that particular point of time India needed some support from the United States but they did not allow the Americans to interfere in Indian politics.
India China war
United States of America
He continues stating that America's dubious political relations with Pakistan are a sign of it's efforts to neutralize India .
KK: Ever since then the United States has been "angry with India" . They always thought that India would not be helpful to the kind of dirty politics they were playing all over the world. And so United States wanted to neutralize India, wanted to weaken India wanted to if possible to divide India. And so the games that they were playing...they had no love for Pakistan either. I do not think United States loves any country, I do not think United States loves any religion,I do not think United States loves freedom...I certainly do not think that the United States loves democracy.
He says that America is essentially a corporate democracy and has no qualms about supporting terrorists as long as it serves some purpose.
KK: United States loves self interest, it's corporate interest and it's corporate democracy within the country. And therefore to defend it's own interests it started fanning out and fanning out by supporting minority religious groups who tried to take over the entire system of their community... of that particular ideology. And thereby simplifications began to spread everywhere, and one of the simplification that dominated that began to dominate a large number of Hindu minds that all Islam is violence.
According to him America was instrumental in widening the communal divide between Hindus and Muslims in general and Pakistan and India in particular.
KK: And just as they were spreading the similar message in Pakistan... the similar members who were communalists in Pakistan they were spreading the message that all Hindus are aggressive in nature or dubious in nature or duplicitous in nature, and are cunning. So the concept was to divide, India was divided. Dr Rafique Zakaria is here and he is an authority on this how India was divided , I would not like to comment on that , I'm certainly no better or wiser than him. But the point is somebody was interested somewhere in dividing India and we fell prey to it. And I'm very sorry to say but unfortunately even today a section of the Hindus and a section of the Muslims are falling prey to this conspiracy of dividing people within the same country, whether it is in Pakistan, whether it is in India, whether it is in the whole Indian subcontinent.
Dr Rafique Zakaria
He says that a communal divide in the Indian subcontinent will be a benefit to the imperialist forces of the world.
KK: In the ultimate analysis if the Indian subcontinent becomes prey to this kind of communal divide, the benefits are not going to the Indians the beneficiaries will be the United States and their western imperialist allies, and we Hindus or Muslims whichever religion or whichever caste we belong to all of us will be losers .And if we do not want to loose the fight against terrorism, I don't know the solution, but the fight against terrorism begins right from my house right from my media to see that communal tension does not divide, a human being from another human being, in the name of religion or in the name of caste because that is going to help the imperial forces in the world.
United States of America
He speculates that if the WTC attack would have occurred during the Cold War the Soviets would have been blamed for it.
KK: 1979 to 2001 has been a steady progression of terrorism continuously. In 1983 when Soviet Union targeted an American plane called Korean Airlines it was considered a most barbaric act. If the attack on the world trade center had taken place anywhere between 1979 and and 1985 before Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union America would not have blamed it on Osama Bin Laden on the Taliban on Muslim fundamentalists or anybody else, they would have blamed it on the KGB and Russian covert or overt operation.
1979 and and 1985
1979 to 2001
World Trade Center, New York
world trade center
He talks about how America would have attempted to decimate Russia if the WTC attack would have occurred during the Cold War.
KK: And they would have said this is a Russian covert or overt operation and it is necessary to attack Russia. And within minutes of getting the World Trade Center or Pentagon attack , within minutes of that attack the missiles from Washington and NewYork and from various places in the United States would have launched in the direction of the Soviet Union to wipe out Soviet Union exactly as they wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 , like their effort to wipe out Vietnam and Cambodia in 1968.
He talks about the positive facet of Globalisation.
KK: So in 1983 after the attack on Korean Airline by the Soviet Union or the Soviet armed forces if Americans had targeted...(video cuts off)
(video continues)....by 25th December 1991 ever since 1991 the American capitalist power expanded to a terrorist extent. The capitalist corporate terror that is spreading all over the world ...The Dow Jones Index which increased from 5000 to 12,000 it was because the world was open to foreign capital in the name of globalisation .We have to understand the two faces of globalisation. One face of globalisation is the progressive face of globalisation which unites people of the world, which gives people the technology called the internet which liberates people from the clutches of information consecration and information monopoly, and that is a good globalisation .
Dow Jones Index
He discusses the oppressive aspect of Globalisation.
KK: The other globalisation is the corporate globalisation which allows the flight of the capital but does not allow the flight of the labor. Anybody who has studied economics knows that labor is a component of the entire production cycle, you cannot say labor I will not allow and only production movement I will allow because that is distortion of economics . If you allow Ford to have a plant in Chennai you must allow the labor from India to move into any country they want . Freedom of capital, freedom of labor and freedom of market .All three must be there if there is true globalisation.
He says that as a part of their capitalist agenda the Americans created tensions to draw the focus away from important economic issues.
KK: But Americans did not want to do that. Americans began to spread only the notion of right of capital. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and whole Eastern Europe and whole of new liberalized countries. For Economies were seen as new markets emerging markets in the new countries where the capital could go. Where that capital could not go easily into these countries it was necessary to invent a guile it was necessary to invent duplicitous strategies. And one of the strategy was to create tensions and to keep away the fundamental issues of economics of poverty, of unemployment, of inequality, of backwardness. And keep the issues of Muslim and Hindu and Christians and so an and so forth which was a facade.
He states that the essential difference between people is economic ,and that religion based divisions are misguided.
KK: People are divided not on the basis of religion , people are divided on the basis of their economic status unfortunately today. We don't realize that we don't even highlight that . We highlight only who is Hindu and who is Muslim and not who is poor and who is the victim. Today that war that is going on in Afghanistan is a one sided war. United states had been bombing Afghanistan and the so called Talibani forces who themselves were the creation of the United States to fight the Soviet forces.
He talks how the suffering of the Afghans has been compounded by America's attack.
KK: They are now fighting the so called American soldiers who do not exist on the ground. And they are fighting them there. Taliban itself was creation...and it victimized it's own people, who had to run away...runaway from Taliban. And run away from Taliban to the Pakistani border, to Uzbekistan border,to Kazakhstan border , to China border. To escape from who? Not from American bombing, to escape from the Talibani terror . So on one hand the Afghan people were facing Talibani terror , where girls were not allowed to be educated , where the general health conditions of the poor people were not taken care of. And where poverty was not taken into the fundamental agenda , what was taken on the agenda was the emphasis on the purity of Islam.
purity of Islam
He talks about the deprivation of the Afghans and how the situation worsened for them due to American bombings.
KK: Majority of the Afghan people wanted simple,good, healthy , material life. That was denied to them in the name of religion , and that precisely created the situation in which the minds were swayed and the people became prey. And in this situation when on one hand the Afghan people were themselves tortured and terrorized by Talibanis they are being further terrorized and tortured by the American bombings.
According to him the two main opponents of rational secularists today are both fundamentalists and imperialists .
KK: So it is not a question of supporting Taliban versus American imperialism. It is necessary for anybody who loves democracy and freedom , anybody who supports genuine secularism in the manner that we must respect all religions, and we must respect all faiths and we must respect all human beings as human beings, in respect to their faith in respect to their caste and status in society. For them the enemy on one level is Taliban and on another level is Western imperialism, which is guided by American imperialism today.
respect human beings
status in society
He says that the problems of the world cannot be solved by using violent means.
KK: So terrorism is an instrument of two kind of people; those who are thinking in the world of the 21st century in the medieval fashion in the old fashion, in the 14th-15th century fashion. And those who say that they think about the world in the 21st century fashion but are actually using the means of 14th and 15th century medievalism to fight their wars. And the fight of the war is geopolitic. What Israel is doing, what Ariel Sharon is doing in Palestine is not described as terrorism . While what the Palestinians are doing is described as terrorism.
He says that the truth about the events in Afghanistan is being filtered and suppressed by the corporate owned media.
KK: I think this is gross injustice and unfortunately the entire media today is governed by the American media or the western media . Whichever news broadcast you hear coming from the west is greatly influenced by the propaganda machine. Today Americans the great advocates of freedom of press and freedom of media who actually defended...and thank god even the supreme court defended the right to publish . Today entire institutions...all institutions in America are blocking of all the items which respect or which give some kind of semblance of news coming from Afghanistan , which is not happy news for the Americans.
He speaks about fear psychosis.
KK: Today Americans are in a complete panic... they are in a paranoid state, and that paranoia has been inflicted by them on themselves . And that paranoia has come to them because they have realized , like in Shakespeare's play Macbeth they are seeing blood on their own hands . They are seeing and they know that blood is on their hands and the terrorists blood is on their hands . They've created this monster called terrorism
He speaks of drug routes , arms and terrorism.
KK: They've financed this monster called terrorism and when they could not do it through legal means , through political means, through diplomatic means. They systematically hired the drug mafia particularly in Afghanistan and Bombay, Karachi, Kabul , Kandahar and Amsterdam and Paris and New York and Washington is a drug route to them, a narcotic route to them . Billions of dollars are spent and these billions of dollars are exchanged as arms.
billions of dollars
exchanged as arms
He calls arms, drugs and religion three main elements of terrorism.
KK: So it is arms,, it is drugs , it is religion. And it is the combination , this explosive mix of drugs, arms and religion that causes terrorism. And so if we understand that these are the elements that are causing terrorism we will be able to control it if not solve it .Thank you very much.