Impressions of Syrian writer in Kashmir


For American born Syrian writer, Alia Malek, whose newest guide about Syria, The Residence That Was Our Nation, is getting rave critiques, it’s inconceivable that Kashmir will flip into Syria. Malek, earlier than heading to Jaipur literature pageant spent three days within the Valley. She stayed in Srinagar and Gulmarg. She had Wazwaan (a multi-course meal in Kashmiri delicacies) at Ahdoos however she was all reward for Harisa (A mutton preparation). 

She discovered Kashmiri shawls and carpets as exquisitic and Kashmiris as “dignified individuals who regardless of  drawn battle and immense tragedy don’t put on victimhood on their sleeves. She additionally described Kashmiris as foreigner-friendly. 

She visited Mughal gardens, went to Gulmarg, walked in previous metropolis Srinagar, went to vegetable market in Dal Lake. “This place is gorgeous and I imply it”, she says including earlier than her go to she had a simplistic understanding of Kashmir.

“In Center East folks acknowledge you as an outsider. There may be an aggression in direction of the foreigner. I’ve not felt any type of aggression right here.”

The writer, who was on a leisure journey to the Valley final week, says in different battle areas notably within the Center East, generally folks play to the outsider. “I perceive that intuition to point out that you’re a sufferer. It’s at all times like a efficiency of victimhood. Right here I haven’t seen that in any respect. Individuals are very dignified. In Kashmir, it doesn’t really feel like within the Center East, it appears like its personal factor.”

 “However after I noticed presence of troopers I felt like in Palestine. These convoys, troopers in every single place, watching the folks, I felt like Palestine. I hate that sort of intimidation as a result of a present of drive is intimidating folks. It seemed acquainted to locations like Palestine”, the writer says.

Because the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and others like Kashmir interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma typically say Kashmir shouldn’t flip into Syria, Malek laughs at such analogies.

The Centre’s interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, has been saying that if radicalisation within the Valley picks up, the scenario shall be just like that in Yemen, Syria and Libya. He typically likes to say that his greatest problem and the highest precedence in Kashmir is to deradicalize Kashmiri youth and militants and stop it from turning right into a Syria of India.

However Malek has a special view. “What occurred in Syria is that it grew to become simpler to hijack the revolution? I feel it might be more durable to hijack Kashmir’s revolution. Kashmiris are politicized from the day they’re born. Whereas as in Syria after having for 50 years the identical totalitarian regime folks had develop into unpoliticised in some ways as a result of it was so harmful to have a politics.” 

She says when the present regime in Syria consolidated its energy within the 70s and 80s it slaughtered any sort of opposition and dissent. She argues over time Syrians had develop into “un-political” whereas in Palestine or Kashmir persons are extremely politicized.   “So it was simple in some ways to hijack the reputable motion by exterior forces in Syria and it might be more durable in Kashmir. I feel it might be very onerous allow us to say for the ISIS to develop right here as it is extremely international. That’s my impression to this point”, she says.

She says it was simple for the ISIS to make manner in Syria as Syrians who began the motion weren’t skilled in politics they usually had been virtually naïve they usually naively believed that individuals from outdoors wished to assist out Syrians for the Syrian’s sake.

“However the fact is no person needs to assist Syria for Syrians. It was simpler to fragment Syrian society as a result of Syrians may by no means communicate overtly to one another. We now have one thing known as Mukhabarat (Intelligence). We might say partitions have ears. We by no means knew what Syrians considered one another. So it was simpler for outdoor forces to divide and destroy the motion and the regime helped that to occur”, she says.

In Might 2011 when the Syrian rebellion had begun and everybody was fleeing, Malek moved to Damascus from Baltimore, the place she grew up. Her mother and father got here to the U.S. within the ’70s and settled there.  Malek went to the Johns Hopkins College after which Georgetown. She was a trial lawyer with the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division. Later she bought her grasp’s from the Columbia College of Journalism.

In 2010,  she revealed “A Nation Known as Amreeka,” narrating the historical past of the US via Arab-People.

However, Malek at all times wished to be a witness of a historic motion in Syria, which many felt was shaping up within the area with Arab Spring in 2011. 

“I at all times wished to put in writing about Syria,” she says.

“In 2011, I believed possibly one thing was going to alter. I used to be born in 1974 however I felt I used to be ready for it since 1967. And I used to be not even born in 1967. However in 1967, the Arab world simply got here to halt. The defeat of Arab world by the hands of Israelis and the rise of those authoritarian and corrupt regimes ensured that nothing was occurring within the Arab world.”

“There, within the guide (The Residence That Was Our Nation) a narrative of a home. I used to be meant to be raised in. The home was taken from the household below Syrian regulation. Solely in 2010 we had bought the home again and in 2011 we began restoring it and I believed I’ll have a narrative to repair the home and it might be an additionally good lovely metaphor that we’ll be taking again our home on the similar time the Syrians had been taking again their nation. Nevertheless it didn’t work that manner. I moved there in April 2011 and it didn’t go the way in which I believed”, she says. Malek remained in Syria for 2 years researching and interviewing folks. However in 2013, Malek left Syria as she felt her presence in Syria may endanger relations in Syria.

“I remained there for 2 years. And I grew to become suspect. Everybody was considering I used to be a jasoos (spy). Folks thought I’m an American and I have to be wealthy and there have been probabilities of kidnapping for ransom”, she says. 

Because the “revolution” didn’t work and Syrian authorities stayed, Malek says “the regime is a winner.”

 “The face of the ruling class in Syria is Alawites. However, this regime didn’t stay in energy with out many Sunnis being in mattress with the regime,” she says. 

“In the meantime, the general public who’re getting killed by the regime are in truth Sunnis, because the nation is majority Sunni. However it might be mistaken to suppose that individuals’s pursuits are solely decided by their sect. Wealthy Sunni businessmen from Aleppo or Damascus, who may need made some huge cash below the regime, do not essentially have the identical pursuits as poor rural Sunnis  who — like most Syrians of all sects, together with Alawites — have been neglected of the monetary success {that a} very small elite have loved in Syria because the 1990s below Hafez al Assad. These  financial good points solely elevated below Bashar al Assad,” she provides.

The writer says Iran supported the regime however the regime and ruling elite in Damascus don’t like Iran as Iran is a theocracy. “That’s the reason additionally they roped in Russia.”

How the ISIS got here in?  “Throughout the American invasion of Iraq, the regime opened the border and allowed folks to go Iraq to combat. When jihadis returned, the regime arrested them. However when the rebellion began in 2011, legal professionals, lecturers and different civil society activists and simply common hopeful civilians had been put into jail and these jihadis had been launched. The clever opposition was taken off the street and others had been set free to hijack the motion. Equally, Turkey opened its border with Syria and helped outsiders  — in search of jihad or the caliphate or paradise or a spot to kill or righteousness and so on — into Syria. And several other gulf nations channeled cash to extremists and a number of other Western nations handed out weapons and funding to folks they could not actually vet. “


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