Talk with Nikhil Anand in Bandra
Duration: 00:11:07; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 343.704; Saturation: 0.065; Lightness: 0.201; Volume: 0.240; Cuts per Minute: 4.584; Words per Minute: 151.375
Summary: Nikhil Anand talks to citizens of Bandra, the last sunday group at chez nous building in Bandra. His talk was titled globalised civilisation or civilised globalisation . Nikhil was also associate director for the tellavision Mumbai project.
Nikhil talks about globalised civilisation/ civilised globalisation.
He discusses the bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993
, the Bhopal Gas tragedy
, the invasion of Nicaragua
, the starvation deaths in Iraq
, and compares and contrasts the same with the 9/11 attacks
. He appears to imply that America has almost brought this attack upon themselves, making reference to Aundhati Roy's The Algebra of Infinite Justice
Nikhil: The World Trade Center bombings were a ghastly and horrid event. Six thousand people lost their lives, and I don't think that any of us here would not condemn such a ghastly incident. Yet there are many other events that we also have to condemn starting from, in my memory at least, the Union Carbide Gas Disaster where sixteen thousand people died; the invasion of Nicaragua by para military forces where two hundred thousand people were killed; the starvation deaths in Iraq as a direct consequence of the sanctions, where half a million people, babies have died; in Rwanda,where thousands of people have died as a result of as a result of ethnic conflict; and my gut reaction to the September 11th event is the same gut reaction I have to these other events, where thousands of innocent people were also killed. Yet I do get a sense that somehow these six thousand deaths were a little different. Perhaps it's in the nature that the U.S. was attacked for the first time. There are many reasons, or perhaps it's the role of the media and the way it has brought the events, time and again into our living rooms. But one of the reactions I am seeing, the manifestation of which was what I came across a few years ago, as the price of living, or the cost of living, or what Arundhati Roy calls "the algebra of infinite injustice." Like when I was researching economic globalisation, I came across a quote by the U.S.secretary of the treasury, in effect, the finance minister who said that, 'the economic logic of dumping a load of toxic waste in third world countries is impeccable." He was making the case that Africa was under-polluted, and that the toxic waste from the western world should go and occupy these areas. His argument was something to the effect that people are earning less in Africa, and that the lives were worth less, and therefore we should dump our toxic waste there.
Nikhil gives his audience a brief introduction to the purpose of his discussion.
Nikhil: The title of this talk, when they asked me about it, was 'Civilised Globalisation or Globalised Civilisations,' which I think is my attempt to come out to the tensions we have when hearing between civilizstions on one hand, and globalisations, and all the rhetoric we will be hearing about that, and the media before September 11, and the tensions, and the monopolies, and the ways in which these words were used. We go right from the six thousand lives lost, to the horrific incidents, to a global war on terrorism, and a war of civilisations known as... Civilised people don't go to war whenever they have conflict. And something that we should remember is that war itself is a manifestation of un-civilisation or un-civility.
Nikhil Anand borrows a quote by Martin Luther King
, who borrowed his ideas from Gandhi
, so as to help the audience relate to what he's trying to tell them.
Nikhil: Of course I also want to talk about the impossibility of any war against terrorism to actually solve the problem of terrorism. And finally, to make a plea or a call for sanity, and global peace, and global civilisation. Gandhi borrowed ideas from Theroux in the United States, and Martin Luther King borrowed ideas from Gandhi. This globalised sharing of ideas is what globalisation should be about. And this is the sort of globalisation that I am quite interested in. I just read a quote from this book by Martin Luther King: "Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you cannot establish the truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you cannot murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that."
martin Luther king
war on terrorism
Nikhil Anand continues to expand on Martin Luther King's quote in order to urge the audience to stand against the war on terrorism.
Nikhil: To extend Martin Luther King's example, through violence you may murder a terrorist, but you cannot murder terrorism. Most definitely you cannot get rid of terrorism with war, you cannot get rid of terrorism with politicians. This is why gatherings like this are especially vital, or especially important, because ultimately it's people who either support the actions of either the state, its army or its terrorists. If people, common people like you and me, do not take the ambiguous or the silent stand, and instead articulate ourselves and our politics, then perhaps we can get a war on terrorism and the ridiculousness of it stopped. There's no other way it can actually happen. The U.S.'s own experiences in Vietnam, and the public pressure pulling the U.S. out - it was a combination of those two things. I think it's time for us to start doing something, and the Indian government is no small target to focus our energies on.
Martin Luther King
An elderly lady in the back questions Nikhil Anand with regard to his stand on fighting terrorism.
Elderly lady in the back: Are you trying to say you can't fight terrorism? That means that any group of people who wish to take over, or who wish to terrorise this society, they can do so, and there should not be any fighting back?
Nikhil Anand tries to clarify his stance on the action taken against terrorism.
Nikhil: Oh, I didn't mean you can't fight terrorism. I didn't mean you can't beat terrorism. I meant to say to say you can't fight terrorism with violence.
Elderly lady: But then some action is required. So what would you consider a civilised action to control terrorism?
Nikhil Anand talks about the violence as action perpetuating a cycle of violent retaliation.
Nikhil: There's a very interesting graphic I saw recently; I might even have it. It's the cycle of violence and retaliation, and it's just going to go on. If civilised people don't break the cycle, terrorists have no bones about keeping it, and neither does a military intervention.
NIkhil: I am talking about breaking the cycle. I'm not talking about fashionable new ideas. Much the idea of a Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Theroux, but I think the best way to fight terrorism taking out its support base. And when I say taking out its support base, I don't mean bombing it with cluster bombs like the U.S. is doing. I mean every single person, whether they are in the valley of Kashmir or in the mountains of Afghanistan, and if they feel legitimised, then the terrorist fighting their battle...
Nikhil Anand suggests fighting terrorism by taking out its base, its support.
NIkhil Anand provides justification for his proposal by citing previous instances in which making war on terrorism appears to have been futile.
(A woman says something garbled)
Nikhil: The terrorists are fighting their battles? They will support the terrorists. So terrorism's not really a problem, but a symptom of a problem. Terrorism gets its support, gets its logistics, gets its arms, from people that are supporting it. What I'm talking about is strategies to fight terrorism. Now it may seem like making a climate unsuitable for terrorism through society's people is doing nothing. I imagine to ensure this climate, we have to be doing a lot for the situation in Kashmir that is not military. Israel has the finest intelligence in the world, 3 billion dollars of U.S. aid for military supplies alone. For the last 50 years, Israel has not been able to get rid of terrorism in its borders. So the success of forcing a military campaign on terrorism is there for all to see - you have the examples in Israel, and you have the examples in Kashmir, and we have to start thinking of new ways to fight terrorism which do not include 'smart bombing' them or something like that.
Nikhil Anand refers to the his belief that the members of the Taliban were trained by the U.S.
Nikhil: The Taliban themselves were originally formed and trained by the U.S. in Afghanistan for helping people. They were glory boys. I haven't watched it but I've read about it. And 'Rambo 3' - the movie was all about the heroes that are the Taliban fighting the evil Soviets.
Nikhil Anand states that everything is dependent upon a person's point of view - one person's terrorist may be another person's freedom fighter.
Nikhil: This also touches another point - Ten years ago, whenever it was, these same people we're calling terrorists were freedom fighters, or whatever they were called at that point. So everybody's terrorist is somebody's freedom fighter.
He explains that the terms 'terrorist' and 'freedom fighter' are merely labels used to manipulate the population.
Nikhil: These 'good' and 'evil', and 'terrorist' and 'freedom fighter' are labels, imposed at will for political expediency by politicians, to satisfy their own world view. And we are supposed to go say "Yes, now you are a terrorist. Now you are a freedom fighter."
Another elderly lady questions the fact that the discussion has failed to include any reference to religious fundamentalism.
Speaker: Aren't we ignoring religious fundamentalism in this discussion, which is really close to one of the causes? And by fundamentalism, I don't mean necessary Islamic fundamentalism; that's getting a lot of attention right now. What about Jewish fundamentalism which is responsible for those settlers being in the desert where they should not be? What about Christian fundamentalism which certainly has existed? It may be very low profile now. What about Hindu fundamentalism? If hate is fostered, taught "this is the real reason," isn't it why people react like this? Should we be not fighting that, rather than anything else?
Nikhil Anand discusses religious fundamentalism, and the fact that India, Israel and America all currently have strongly right-wing
Nikhil: No, I completely agree with you. And we are at a curious time right now, when fundamentalist forces, and all the countries concerned in the gulf in this war on terrorism, are right-wing fundamentalist governments. George Bush, I don't know how many of you know of his stand on many issues, but he's the most right-wing president that United States has had in a long time; openly on the right-side. Same with the Taliban; Taliban is Muslim fundamentalist. You have a right wing government in Israel, and we also have a right wing government in India. And when I actually talked about the curious alliance, it was just those three of the forty countries that support a war on terrorism, or a military solution as opposed to a... It was just three countries, just to repeat, where India, Israel and the United States - all three have the right wing Jewish, Christian and Hindu fundamentalist governments in place. And you have them. In fact, in the Taliban, a right-wing Muslim fundamentalists' government outfit or whatever you like to call it. So the role of fundamentalism is very, very strong, especially in this war.
It's time for us as citizens, as active citizens, to make political statements. Because even when your silent, you're making a political statement. To make political statements, to be effective as a society that we want to see, and the means by which we want to get to that sort of society.
Nikhil Anand concludes his talk with the information that there is to be a demonstration at Flora Fountain, should anyone wish to be involved.
Nikhil: Just to conclude actually, the demonstration at Flora Fountain against war and against terrorism on November 1st is at four-thirty, at fountain. So if you'll are looking for common citizen's way to express yourselves, this would be a nice way to start.