[News] Deconstructed Podcast: Arundhati Roy on the Kashmir Crisis

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Oct 3 18:06:58 EDT 2019


  Deconstructed Podcast: Arundhati Roy on the Kashmir Crisis

October 3, 2019

_India’s clampdown on_ the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir is 
entering its third month, and while the right-wing government of Prime 
Minister Narendra Modi has exerted tight control over the flow of 
information out of the region, a bleak picture has nonetheless emerged. 
Thousands have been imprisoned, including political leaders. Movement is 
tightly restricted. Phone lines have been cut off. Modi appears set on 
ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special semi-autonomous status and bringing 
it fully under the control of New Delhi, a move that residents of the 
Muslim-majority region strongly reject. Arundhati Roy, India’s most 
famous novelist and a passionate voice for Kashmiri self-determination, 
joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Kashmir crisis and India’s troubling 
rightward tilt.

*Arundhati Roy: *It is a place where you have had people fighting for 
self-determination for 70 years. They’ve been saying it with their 
blood. I don’t think they could have been clearer.

[Music interlude.]

*Mehdi Hasan: *Welcome to Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan.

On today’s show we’re talking about the crisis in Kashmir, where 
millions of people are living effectively under siege right now, thanks 
to an Indian-government-imposed lockdown and communications blackout 
that has just entered its third month.

*AR: *Every single person who has a voice at all has been arrested. 
Anybody who dares to speak up is being picked up, anybody on the street.

*MH: *That’s my very special guest today. Joining me from her home in 
New Delhi, the acclaimed, award-winning, novelist, essayist, activist, 
environmentalist, antiwar campaigner Arundhati Roy.

I’ll ask her about the bromance between Indian prime minister Narendra 
Modi and U.S. president Donald Trump, about why the world doesn’t seem 
to give a damn about the horrific situation in Kashmir, and about how 
Kashmiris are trying not just to survive but to resist.

On August 5th, the government of India, under the prime ministership of 
Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, launched a massive military clampdown 
in the long-disputed Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. 
Tourists were ordered out, movement for locals was restricted, 
communications with the outside world — landlines, cellphones, the 
internet — was cut off.

There were curfews, checkpoints, night raids, attacks on peaceful 
protesters by Indian security forces. The detention without trial of up 
to 4,000 Kashmiris – including three former chief ministers of the state.

*BBC Reporter: *Separatist leaders have been moved out of Kashmir. Top 
politicians from the region remain under house arrest. The Indian 
government taking no chances, worried that the situation here could 
spiral into widespread unrest.

*MH: *Supporters of Prime Minister Modi’s far-right governing party, the 
BJP, cheered the move.

*Modi supporter [on BBC]: *Prime Minister Modi has done what no other 
politician could have done. True Indians will support his decision.

*MH: *While many residents of Jammu and Kashmir, especially Muslim 
residents, expressed shock and outrage.

*Kashmiri [on BBC]: *In every part of India people are celebrating. But 
they don’t know that our hearts are bleeding. We are crying. We are 
under siege.

*MH: *Kashmir, one of the most beautiful places on earth, has a unique 
and troubled history. Once ruled by Hindu princes it became India’s only 
Muslim majority state at independence in 1947, but the territory itself 
was violently and quickly divided from the get-go between India and 
Pakistan, and both sides have since accused the other of occupying 
Kashmir. In fact, these two nuclear-armed neighbors and sworn enemies 
have fought two major wars and one minor war over Kashmir.

Inside of Indian-administered Kashmir, a violent insurgency — itself a 
response to political corruption and disputed elections — has costs tens 
of thousands of lives since the late 1980s. The Indian government blames 
Pakistani-backed foreign fighters and “jihadists” for all the violence 
but Indian armed forces have themselves been accused of inflicting 
terror on the state from extrajudicial killings to torture to sexual 
violence to the blinding of protesters with pellets.

*Newscaster: *The pellets smashed into this boy’s face as he played 
street cricket in a village in Indian-administered Kashmir. He may lose 
the sight in his left eye.

*MH: *Even before this latest crackdown, Indian-administered Kashmir was 
one of the most militarized places on earth, with one Indian soldier for 
every 20 or so Kashmiri residents. That is what repression looks like.

In August, though, the Modi government crossed a new line. The clampdown 
imposed on Kashmir was part of a long-awaited Hindu nationalist plan to 
get rid of the state’s semi-autonomous status and bring it under the 
direct control of New Delhi.

Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the region the 
right to its own Constitution and own laws, was revoked, overnight, by 
the Modi government, thanks to the Modi government’s majority in the 
national parliament, and without them getting any input, let alone 
consent, from Kashmiris.

*Kashmiri [on BBC]: *We have been completely betrayed. They put a gun to 
our heads and told us that a few people in the government have decided 
our fate.

*MH: *Yet, despite all this, the rest of the world has tended to ignore 
the plight of the Kashmiris. Western governments in particular have 
turned a blind eye to the rise of racism and yes, fascism in the world’s 
biggest democracy, because they want to stay close to Modi and make 
money out of a growing Indian economy.

Donald Trump, of course, is a great fan of both making money and 
embracing fellow authoritarian leaders. He even went to Houston the 
other week, to join Modi at a mass rally of right-wing Indian Americans:

*Narendra* *Modi: *He was a household name and very popular even before 
he went on to occupy the highest office in this great country — The 
President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump.

*Donald J. Trump: *Prime Minister Modi is doing a truly exceptional job 
for India and for all of the Indian people… And I want you to know my 
administration is fighting for you each and every day… We are going to 
take care of our Indian American citizens before we take care of illegal 
immigrants that want to pour into our country.

*MH: *Trump, of course, is an expert on the Kashmir conflict. Here he is 
explaining it to reporters in the Oval Office.

*DJT: *It’s Kashmir and Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have 
the Hindus and the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get along so great. 
And that’s what you have right now.

*MH: *You have the Hindus and the Muslims and I wouldn’t say they get 
along so great!

Wow. That’s truly profound. And here’s what the president said at the UN 
last week while meeting with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan who has 
warned of the growing risk of a nuclear conflict in the region if the 
Kashmir crisis isn’t resolved soon. But don’t worry! Donald Trump’s here 
to help.

*DJT: *I think I’d be an extremely good arbitrator. I’ve done it before, 
believe it or not. And I’ve never failed as an arbitrator. I’ve been 
asked to arbitrate disputes, pretty big ones, from friends and I’ve done 
it in a good successful fashion.

*MH: *Yes, the president of the United States thinks resolving the 
India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir is like fixing a dispute between 
two friends of his — assuming that is, that he has friends, which is a 
highly dubious proposition.

But, look, God help the Kashmiris if Trump ever does decide to try and 
be an arbitrator. That’s all they need right now. They already have 
Modi, who many have called India’s Trump, to deal with.

[Music interlude.]

*MH: *My guest today is someone who has been writing about Kashmir and 
campaigning on behalf of Kashmiris for many years now.

Arundhati Roy happens to be both India’s most famous novelist, writer 
and activist, and also the country’s most fervent and outspoken critic 
of Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist movement, the RSS. She’s 
received death threats from the far-right, and been accused of being 
“anti-national” and unpatriotic by India’s increasingly jingoistic and 
xenophobic media.

She joins me now from New Delhi. Arundhati Roy, thank you for joining me 
on Deconstructed.

*AR: *You’re welcome, Mehdi. Happy to be here.

*MH: *What is happening in Indian-administered Kashmir right now in the 
state, that was until very recently considered to be Jammu and Kashmir 
until had it status revoked? How bad is the situation on the ground as 
you understand it to be?

*AR: *Well, look, I haven’t been there since the clampdown. I don’t 
think I would be welcomed in there. But I have very close friends who 
are out actually right now. And the situation seems to be that there is 
obviously a complete communication, you know, clampdown.

So, in Kashmir, traditionally, normalcy has always been a military 
declaration. You know, it’s not the people that decide what is normal, 
it’s the establishment that decides. And so for them normal seems to be 
to keep seven million people under a complete communication blackout. 
And that is besides the terror, besides the reports of, you know, the 
thousands who are being arrested, who are being picked up, tortured, all 
of that.

*MH: *And the thousands who are being arrested and detained, just to be 
clear for an international audience who might not be aware of this. 
These people are not just “Pakistanis” or “foreign fighters.” They 
include leading Indian Kashmiri politicians, people who were even in 
government with the BJP with Narendra Modi until a few years ago, the 
former chief ministers of the state have been put under house arrest. 
That’s astonishing.

*AR: *Every single person who has a voice at all has been arrested. And 
that, as you say, includes all the former chief ministers, people who 
have been carrying India’s water for the last 70 years. Everybody is in 
jail. Anybody who has a voice is in jail. Anybody who dares to speak up 
is being picked up, anybody on the street, you know, and of course, 
internationally. The people who are negotiating and speaking whether 
it’s Imran Khan or Modi or Donald Trump, in a sense, you know, why are 
they negotiating the fate of seven million people who have been caged? I 
mean, how would it be if seven million people in New York were caged and 
everybody was deciding their fate and think, “Oh, it’s a good thing for 
them in the end, you know, they ought to be locked down for 50 days 
because they don’t know what is good for them?”

*MH: *People are literally saying this. Roger Cohen of the New York 
Times, liberal columnist, a liberal American paper, just wrote an op-ed 
recently saying this could be good for Kashmir in the long run.

*AR:* I read it. I read it. So appalling, so ill-informed and so 
dangerous, but you know, at least he’s an ill-informed American 
columnist, but you had, you know, what I call the goodbye India, “Howdy, 
Modi!” show where 59,000 people were chanting in favor of this.

[Crowd chanting at Modi rally in Houston]

You know, the preparations are being put into place for a kind of horror 
that people who are ill-informed or people who don’t have an 
understanding of the scale at which the dismantling of this country is 
happening, are all participating in it and that is so terribly disturbing.

*MH: *I want to come back to that in a moment and that is very 
disturbing, the big picture, just sticking with Kashmir for a moment, 
the two things that Kashmir is associated with on the international 
stage when people in the United States or the UK talk about or think 
about Kashmir, which is very rarely is terrorism, and nuclear weapons. 
And I just want to deal with both of those because we hear a lot about 
terrorism and militancy in the valley, of Muslim and “jihadist 
violence.” And of course, there is “jihadist violence.” There is 
terrorism of that form. No one is defending the killing of innocent 
civilians whether they’re innocent Hindus, innocent Muslims, whatever. 
But we don’t hear that much globally about what Indian security forces 
do in terms of violence, human rights abuses. I mean, correct me if I’m 
wrong, Arundhati, this is one of the most militarized places on earth, 
if not the most militarized place on Earth.

*AR: *It is the most militarized place on earth. And perhaps right now 
there are more Indian troops, and have been more Indian security forces 
there since 1990, more than probably were deployed in Iraq or 
Afghanistan by the U.S., you know, and that is a valley that has been 
locked down. If you follow, for example, there’s the Jammu and Kashmir 
civil service, JKCCS it’s called. There’s a report, a torture report, 
which is so chilling to read. I mean, what happened in Abu Ghraib, all 
these kinds of forms of torture, and variations of it have been commonly 
practiced there, you know. So, according to the Associated Press 70,000 
people have been killed in this conflict. It’s a valley covered with 
graveyards. Every village has its own graveyard. The gravestones grew 
out of the ground like young children’s teeth there, you know.

It’s a place where you have had people fighting for self determination 
for 70 years. And that fight became militant because of the repression 
from 1990 onwards. India’s moral position on Kashmir has never, ever 
been a moral position. It is a kind of moral corrosion that has corroded 
all of us. And now, now the world is looking at it.

*MH: *But do you really think the world is looking at it? My worry is 
that the world isn’t really paying much attention. What I find so odd is 
given the nuclear issue, isn’t it odd how little attention or how little 
urgency is devoted to the issue of Kashmir on the international stage 
from the world’s superpowers, given that so many nuclear experts say 
that the most likely place for a devastating nuclear conflict is not the 
Korean Peninsula is not the Middle East but in Kashmir or between India 
and Pakistan over Kashmir?

*AR: *Well, yes, you’re right. I mean, the whole world isn’t looking at 
it. But it’s got more attention now than it has ever had before. You 
know, that’s what I meant. But, you see India and Pakistan last February 
became the first two nuclear powers to actually carry out airstrikes 
against each other. Militarily both are very unequal. In a conventional 
war, they would be very unequal enemies. So, that makes the possibility 
of nuclear war greater, you know. If they were both equally matched, you 
know, you can imagine the kind of conventional war taking place, but 
now, the humiliation of Pakistan, both in the Indian media, the moves 
that are being made internationally because obviously India has more 
economic clout, everybody wants to sell India things and weapons and do 
trade deals, Pakistan is being humiliated and that’s never a good thing 
in a situation like this. And Kashmiris — forget Pakistan for a minute, 
you know — Kashmiris who have been pushed to the wall since 1990 are now 
being caged and humiliated and spoken for and treated in ways where, I 
mean, I listen with so much sadness to the fact that again and again, 
you hear people saying, it’s better to die than to live like this, you 
know. Young men have shown that they are willing to die, you know, all 
this time, but now it’s on a different scale all together.

*MH: *And in terms of the bigger picture of the conflict in Kashmir 
going back to 1990, going back all the way to partition, how much 
responsibility for the crisis do you ascribe to Pakistan and to the 
Pakistani military and intelligence services? Because on the one hand, 
the Indian government, of course, wants to very conveniently say “This 
is all foreign interference, foreign sponsorship, foreign incitement.” 
But on the other hand, it clearly is the case that some of the most 
vicious and violent groups in that part of the world have been trained 
and armed and funded by the Pakistanis for decades. So how do you split 
responsibility when you look at the problem in Kashmir?

*AR: *Well, look, this business of arming and training whatever you want 
to call them, terrorists, freedom fighters, or militants, every country 
in this region has been involved with it. India has done it in Sri Lanka 
for example. India sent non-state actors into Bangladesh for what was 
essentially a just war, I mean, not a just war but a war which stopped a 
genocide which Pakistan was committing in Bangladesh.

*MH: *In 1971.

*AR: *Yeah, in 1971. I don’t think anyone not India, not Pakistan and 
nobody has a clear, clean moral position on this. No state does, you 
know. But how things work on the ground are quite different and you know 
how people can be demonized. If it wasn’t Pakistan, there would be some 
other way of demonizing this struggle because it’s Muslim people, you 
know. So people will be demonized in some way or the other.

And, you know, one of the things is that India has a very, very powerful 
and very, very bigoted media that is working 24/7 to demonize anything 
that the state wishes to demonize, you know. It could be an individual. 
It could be a struggle, it could be anything. It could be the poorest 
people in the world such as people fighting for their homes and lives in 
central India, you know.

*MH: *You’ve said that the media is complicit in the violence that we 
see in places like Kashmir. For people who don’t live in India, but who 
are used to, for example, the propaganda and jingoism that comes out of 
Fox News here in the U.S. on a nightly basis. How does the Indian media 
operate? How bad are they in comparison to say a Fox News?

*AR: *Well, multiply Fox News into 400 24/7 channels in every language 
you can think of, you know, and that’s what you have. And also don’t 
forget you have a population many of whom are still living in a kind of 
feudal time. Who have made a jump from semi-literacy to television, you 
know. So you know, the kind of fake news and the kind of nonsense that 
can be put out is just phenomenal.

*MH: *And there’s this tension isn’t there between the Indian government 
and the Indian media that wants to say that everyone who has ever picked 
up a weapon or gone near a weapon in Kashmir is a foreign-backed 
jihadist or a Pakistani asset and anyone who says otherwise is an 
apologist or a defender of that terrorism.

*AR: *Today’s gotten worse. I mean, I was just reading a statement by 
the army chief who basically said that anybody who says things are not 
normal in Kashmir is surviving by terrorism or you know, sort of 
invested in it in some way.

*MH: *It’s astonishing. There’s this denial from whether it’s in 
Northern Ireland with the British, whether it’s in Palestine with the 
Israelis, whether it’s in Syria with Assad or Iraq with the U.S. 
occupation or in Kashmir, this idea that people somehow wake up in the 
morning, “I just want to commit terrorist acts for no reason,” that 
people are born terrorists or it’s in their DNA, or it’s all the 
religion. There’s no, there’s a willful denial of any link with kind of 
political, social, economic conditions on the ground, with any kind of 
legitimate grievances. That’s not to defend any kind of violence, but to 
say it doesn’t come out of nowhere, does it?

*AR: *Yeah, but this is just a strategy on the part of the state and the 
media that subscribes to it and is part of it and feeds off it. You 
know, it’s not as if they believe it. They know very well that what 
they’re saying is untrue. But that is a part of the strategy.

*MH: *You’ve talked about the attacks and abuse that you’re subjected to 
for speaking out on Kashmir or against this BJP government across the 
board. You’ve talked about, “gangs of stormtroopers” who turn up at your 
public events call you anti-national, call you a traitor. Arundhati, in 
India today, someone like yourself, who’s as high profile as yourself, 
do you have to worry about your safety, for your life even? Because I 
know India has become a pretty dangerous place for rank and file 
journalists. And even for prominent writers who have called out the 
far-right there.

*AR: *I think right now, really the problem is for journalists and media 
people in Kashmir. You know, they are under such great threat. I mean, 
the only people who have some sort of latitude to write some sort of 
truth are journalists, local journalists who work for foreign wire 
services and so on, you know, who report for Reuters or AP or, you know, 
BBC or things like that. And they’re the ones who I really worry for, 
you know, seriously.

*MH: *Of course, and you say, obviously, you say you don’t speak for 
Kashmiris, but you have traveled to Kashmir, you speak to people there 
regularly. What do you think — And polling is very difficult in that 
part of the world, in that place, but what do you think the people there 
that actually want? Is it just greater autonomy to bring back Article 
370, which was just revoked overnight? Is it to join with Pakistan? Is 
it to be independent? Is it a self determination?

*AR: *I don’t think that they could have been clearer. They’ve been 
saying it for 70 years. They’ve been saying it loudly. They’ve been 
saying it with their blood since 1990. Of course, it’s self 
determination. You know, of course, it’s self determination.

*MH:* To be an independent Kashmir?

*AR: *Yeah, the right to self determination to be independent, to be in 
charge of their own destiny, the stewards of their own land and their 
culture. Of course, it’s that and of course, it’s not an impossibility. 
Why should it be? You know —

*MH:* It’s not an impossibility. But of course, this government of all 
Indian governments, the Hindu nationalist government is the least likely 
to kind of even entertain the possibility of that. Talk to me about 
Hindu nationalism, what it stands for, and what it has in common with 
the kind of far right nationalism that we’re seeing across the west, 
whether it’s Trump’s America, Brexit Britain, France, Hungary, in Israel 
with Netanyahu, what are the similarities between what Modi’s doing 
there and what’s happening around the world?

*AR: *The similarities are, of course, the idea of racial supremacy and 
Aryan supremacy and things like that. Where India at this moment steals 
a march over all the other people that you’ve mentioned, while they have 
a lot of dealings with them is that they have an organization that has 
existed uninterrupted in a way since 1925, banned a few times.

*MH: *The RSS.

*AR: *The RSS. Recently they announced their plans to start an RSS 
school to train people to join the army. And they have a whole lot of 
Hindu nationalist groups and so, those groups can be pretty violent. 
They are not directly RSS, but they live under its shade in some ways, 
under its protection, if you like.

*MH: *And you’re right about India stealing a march on some of the other 
countries going through the same far right tendencies. I mean, people 
call Modi, Narendra Modi, India’s Donald Trump, which I hate, I loathe 
to be fair to Donald Trump. But to be fair to Donald Trump, he didn’t 
come to office with blood already on his hands as Narendra Modi did from 
his time in Gujarat, where he was Chief Minister during those 
anti-Muslim pogroms in 2002.

*AR: *And he doesn’t have this organization behind him, you know.

*MH: *Trump doesn’t.

*AR: *And the RSS has, you know, it has women’s organizations. It has 
schools. It was a shadow state, but now it is the state, if you know 
what I mean. You know, it has people everywhere. So what I wanted to 
say, and I think this is a very, very important thing for people to 
know, that abrogating section 370 was an RSS plan from long ago. They’ve 
always wanted to do this and it’s not nothing surprising in that sense, 
you know. They wanted to do it. They wanted to do the nuclear tests. 
They did it.

And now, you know, in the Eastern State of Assam, which borders 
Bangladesh, there had been a process called the National Register of 
Citizens, because Assam borders Bangladesh there was this thing that 
there are a lot of refugees from Bangladesh and we are not able to 
accommodate them all and so, there was this demand for the NRC and the 
BJP came in supporting it.

The home minister said, he called the Muslim infiltrators, termites and 
so on. When the process of the NRC happened today, you have something 
like 1.9 million people who are not on the list of citizens, let’s say.

*MH:* Yeah.

*AR: *So, now the problem that the BJP faces is that many of them are 
not Muslims. In fact, the bulk of them are not Muslims. So they’ve 
started to say, “We want a citizenship amendment act, where non-Muslims 
will automatically be citizens but Muslims will not be.” Now they are 
building in Assam detention camps for these more than 1.9 million 
people. But they’re saying that we want to have the NRC in all the other 
states. You’re creating a situation in which you will have non-Hindus, 
as non-citizens. You will have tiered rights.

*MH: *Which is what the RSS has always wanted, tiered rights with Hindus 
at the top.

*AR:* Yes, and then, you’re creating a situation, which is just pre-the 
concentration camps.

*MH: *So this is my question to you when you raise the issue of Indian 
Muslims and what’s going on not just in Kashmir, but as you say, in 
Assam where they’re building detention camps, when you bring up the 
situation in the West, when you bring it up — I’m a Muslim of Indian 
origin. My parents are from India — Even when you bring it up with other 
Muslim communities in the West and try and explain to them what’s going 
on in India, a lot of people will say, “Come on, it can’t be that bad. 
India has 200 million Muslims. It’s nearly one sixth of the population. 
Even if the BJP wanted to even, if the RSS wanted to, they couldn’t 
carry out a genocide against the Muslims.” What do you say to them?

*AR:* I agree that they can’t carry out a genocide on that scale, but 
they can make a massive population of stateless people who will just 
fall prey to so much of the chaos that’s coming. I don’t lose much sleep 
over people in the West not understanding, you know, maybe because I 
discovered that people, you know, politics is not about other people’s 

*MH: *If no one’s gonna do anything, that’s pretty depressing because 
who’s going to save those people who’ve been put in camps?

*AR: *No, so they have to save themselves. You know, they have to 
develop a kind of politics. We have to all think about it here.

*MH:* Are you hopeful about that, Arundhati? Because listening to this 
interview, it’s pretty depressing. You’re talking about the RSS with 
boots on the ground. Modi’s just been reelected. Maybe a preview of 
what’s going to happen in the U.S. next year with Trump, but where is 
the hope that this is going to happen?

*AR: *Okay, let me tell you the other side of the story. There are 10 
states in India which have these special provisions. On Independence Day 
when Modi was boasting about how he abrogated Section 370. Many groups 
in the states in the northeast said we will not celebrate Indian 
independence because this is a federal country. You can’t just force us 
all into this. The whole Naga peace talks had to do with their own flag 
and their own constitution. You know, last week the Home Minister said 
Hindi, suggested that Hindi should become the national language. 
Immediately there were protests in the south. So the more they pull this 
together, the more it breaks, you know. We are in a lot of trouble. 
There is no doubt. All I’m saying is it’s not just going to go entirely 
their way.

*MH: *But you have hope?

*AR: *Well hope, I don’t know about hope. But I’m just saying that, you 
know, they can’t control even that valley of Kashmir with their 900,000 
soldiers or 700,000 soldiers or whatever it is, you know. They don’t 
know what to do. They can’t lift their feet off the pedal. So this is a 
kind of stupidity, I mean, that’s why I said that rally was like 
Goodbye, India. Howdy, Modi. You know, because this way they are going 
to destroy this place.

*MH: *One last question: I know you said that you worked out long ago 
that you can’t rely on the compassion of others or people in the West or 
the international community. But a lot of people listening to this 
interview are not in India, and they may want to do something. They may 
think I didn’t know anything about this, or I did know about this and I 
want to help. What can people do, if anything? Is there anything people 
can do listening to this to help the plight of people in Kashmir?

*AR: *For one, they should read up. I mean, there’s so much written 
about Modi’s past, about where he comes from, about who he is, about the 
RSS, about its open admiration for Hitler and Mussolini. People can only 
do something if they understand, you know. Someone like Roger Cohen, who 
wrote that piece in The New York Times, it would be wonderful if he had 
the integrity to write another piece saying he was wrong, he was 
ill-informed, and he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

*MH: *On that note, Arundhati, we’ll have to leave it there. Thank you 
so much for your time and please, I know you don’t want to talk about 
yourself, but do stay safe.

*AR: *Yes, okay, Mehdi.

*MH: *That was the novelist and activist, Arundhati Roy speaking to me 
from her home in New Dehli. And making the point that we need to give a 
damn about what’s going on in Kashmir. We need to inform ourselves. We 
need to educate ourselves. We need to understand what is going on and 
why it is so wrong. Millions of people there right now as you’re 
listening to this are living under siege. And it’s not about being 
pro-India or pro-Pakistan, it’s about being pro-Kashmiri, pro-the people 
who are suffering, pro-their human rights, pro-their dignity, pro-their 

[Music interlude.]

*MH: *That’s our show! /Deconstructed/ is a production of First Look 
Media and The Intercept. Our producer is Zach Young. The show was mixed 
by Bryan Pugh. Leital Molad is our executive producer. Our theme music 
was composed by Bart Warshaw. Betsy Reed is The Intercept’s editor in chief.

I’m Mehdi Hasan. You can follow me on Twitter @mehdirhasan. If you 
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Podcasts at theintercept.com. Thanks so much!

See you next week.

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