November 3, 2019

A PEOPLE WHO THINK THEMSELVES A NATION ARE ONE:

Kashmir: Independence activists draw inspiration from German reunification (Deutsche-welle, 11/03/19)

"We believe that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent reunification of Germany are an inspiration not only to us but to all freedom movements in the world. Like the pre-reunification Germany, Jammu and Kashmir has also been split into two territories, and a wall (LoC) was erected to divide the same people," Toqeer Gilani, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, told DW. He added that "if Germany can be reunited, so can Kashmir."

"The post-World War II Germany was also forcefully divided by global powers. It was propagated that the division was necessary due to the 'ideological differences' between East and West Germany. We also experienced this in Kashmir," Gilani said.

Some experts say that although the German and Kashmiri dynamics are not totally similar, the "independent Kashmir" movement can still take inspiration from the German reunification success.

"As we approach the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we should rejoice that people can overcome adversity and divisions. The people of Kashmir will take inspiration from what happened in Germany 30 years ago. A group of people has been kept apart by force," Shaffaq Mohammed, a British-Kashmiri MEP (Member of European Parliament), told DW.

Ali Raza Syed, the chairman of the Kashmir Council, a Brussels-based non-governmental organization, says that just as in pre-reunification Germany, families are divided in India- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmirs. "They have the same culture, the same language. I think the German reunification inspirations can be applied to Kashmir," Syed told DW.

"You can threaten people, you can torture them, but you cannot govern a country out of fear," Mohammed said, referring both to the India-imposed lockdown in Kashmir and the oppression in the former German Democratic Republic, or GDR.

"If Kashmiris want to be independent of both India and Pakistan, it is their right," the Liberal Democrat MEP added.

Posted by at November 3, 2019 8:32 AM

  

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