A Crusade or an Ego Wars

Israel and Hezbollah exchanged prisoners yesterday. Hezbollah gave the dead bodies of the two Israeli soldiers. Remember the Lebanon war was fought on these, now dead, soldiers. Israel returned four extremist in return. One of them, the oldest Lebanese prisoner in Israeli jail, is said to have killed a father in front of his three-year-old daughter and then crushed the skull of the girl. Yesterday night, Lebanon was in a celebration mood while the Israeli’s mourned the death of two young boys.

In Kashmir, the Indian arm forces were involved an encounter with two militants. One soldier was killed while another severely wounded. The encounter ended after 24 hours of continuous firing and the killing of the two militants.

Some sat the Crusade has moved east. Europe fought it from the Middle Ages to the Cold war. As the WWII ended, Europeans handed two major crises to the Asians –the Israel problem for the people of Middle East and the Kashmir problem for the people of South Asia.

The Middle East conflict amuses me. Sometimes you want to support the Arabs. You want to grieve for their loss since 1948. You feel British did the wrong thing by building the homeland for Jews in middle of an Arab settlement. The other face of the conflict is the amount of violence involved. Arabs seem to be in no mood for solutions. No conflict can ever be resolved without either side bending a bit. Same goes with our home crises of Kashmir.

Kashmir is an issue about two nations’ inflated egos. The victims are the poor Kashmiris without any voice. People in desperation always look at violence as a solution. And then you have a third party, in this case the Pakistani government, provoking you. If I was to look at Indian government’s stand critically, I find it equally faulty. The dream for a democratic Kashmir with a better way of life was never fulfilled. The state, instead, became a test tube case of political manipulation and oneupmanship. Six decades back, the issue was about two different religions. Now, no more. It is about the people of Kashmir and a test for Indian democracy.

There is one lesson that quite clear. Don’t try to chance the course of history. Europeans used Israel to clear its conscience of having tortured the Jews over the ages. British tried to give back the Jews their Holy land. They completely forgot the period between the establishment of Islam and the modern ages. How can you handpick history? How can recreate a settlement? Human history evolves… it can never be imposed.

In the Subcontinent, some bunch of political leaders with the ever manipulative British created two nations based on religion, not culture. They completely forgot that it is easier to create countries but very difficult to sustain a nation. Nations are built on cultures or else Europe or Middle East (minus Israel of course) would have been a single country. Kashmir got caught between the concept of an Islamic nation and a secular democratic republic.

More than 60 years down the line, Arabs and Jews have to work towards a solution. So do Indians and Pakistanis. Rockets and bombs will only create more graveyards. The scarcity of land may not even leave behind enough ground for a decent burial or cremation! After six decades, you cannot claim to uproot a complete nation and plant another. Let’s be practical and work towards solutions.

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