Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reader From Asia Salutes "Conscience Keepers"

Reacts To Prior Comment
About Alternative Radio Host
And Author David Barsamian

Zaheer Ali has left a new comment on your post "Alternative Radio Host A Hit In Pakistan":

The so-called 'annonymous' commentator must be a well-paid PRO man of military General turned President of Pakistan. First, David Barsamian did not choose the timing of his visit to Pakistan himself. He was invited by the Pakistani intellectuals and members of the civil society. The charge that his latest visit will now make Barsamian an 'expert' and commentator's insistence that he is NOT the one is ridiculous.

Barsamian has been a keen student of Pakistani society and politics for more than forty years. He tapped most of the information about the country from the original sources as he mastered Urdu when he was in his early twenties. He was deeply attracted to the culture and history of the subcontinent that brought him to India more than 40 years ago. He first learned to play sitar from Pandit Debu Choudhary and then learned Urdu from late Rasheed Hasan Khan in Delhi.

How many ultra-patriotic Pakistani can show evidence for such intense love for their motherland's culture? The commentator seems to have no understanding of the complexities of international politics. Barciamian's aim to address Pakistani civil society was not to influence US-Pak relationship. First of all people everywhere, that includes the US and Pakistan, barely get counted in matters of foreign affairs. Pakistan's close ties with the US have always been approved and fortified by the army. It is, therefore, the army, the elite leadership, bureaucracy and corporate controlled media that 'manufacure consent' and determine what sort of relationship Pakistan should maintain with the US or for that matter with any other country.

Thus, the commentator's premise -- persons such as Barsamian lead a comfortable life in the US and sermonise people of the underdeveloped nations such as Pakistan to be wary of US imperialism -- is based on political ignorance. Persons such as Barsamian, Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Arundhati Roy have commited themselves to keep their conscience alive against all odds and at great risk strive to disseminate plain truth. It is their job as writers, media persons or human rights activists to let people know the complex structure of power and how democracy has been reduced in almost all the democratic nations including the US to a mere ceremonial act of periodic election.

Barsamian was not asking people in Pakistan to vote or not to vote a particular party. He only underlined the real dangers people are exposed to across the world and more so in the Muslim world because of the imperialist policies of the US that are presented by the corporate media as the panacea of all the ills and evils of societies like Pakistan.

The anonymous commentator mischievously makes people believe that Barsamian makes pots and pots of money by being an independent broadcaster and writer. Alternative Radio, which Barsamian runs is mainly supported by its listeners and not by the corporate sector. People who are commited to truth listen to his broadcasts and buys his books that are not published by him but by independent publishing houses. It is unfortunate that a person like Barsamian has been deliberately portrayed as a selfish, gluttonous person who makes his money by selling lies. I'm deeply hurt by the outrageous comments because I know Barsamian personally. After his tour of Pakistan he came to New Delhi. We invited him to Mumbai to address the faculty, students and members of the civil society. Like everywhere his talk in Mumbai too was very well received. Persons like Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Shirin Ebadi, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, Basamian et al are in fact the conscience keepers of world and one can appreciate what they are talking about only if his conscience is not dead.

Zaheer Ali
President, Friends of South Asia

Posted by Zaheer Ali to The Cool Justice Report at 7:08 AM

  • Alternative Radio Host A Hit In Pakistan

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