In an interview in today’s ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ the Indian author, Kiran Nagarkar, who lives in Germany, made an interesting remark regarding the attacks in Mumbai, in which he said there will be a problem with terrorism in Indian until the Kashmir conflict is settled.(1) Now it got me thinking that maybe we blame poor old “Uncle Sam” a bit too easily for all of the world’s ills and that at the end of the day the Europeans in general, and John Bull in particular, did leave him a bit of an unmanageable mess when it came to pursuing his own imperial agenda.
Well, there in 1947 was good old “Blighty” aiding and abetting the Zionists in their creation of one artificial state based on religion, while not really doing very much to stop the creation of another artificial state based on religion a couple of thousand of miles to the east. Oh, and that, of course, meant ethnic cleansing and redrawing borders in both places. However, the Brits had always been “adept” at this and they were to prove themselves even more “adept”, and to hell with the consequences, when, back in 1893, they drew up the Durand Line in agreement with Afghanistan’s Amir Abdur Rehman Khan and not to worry that it has left about twenty five million Pashtuns in Pakistan and a bit more than half that number in Afghanistan and let’s not even start to talk about Africa where the borders of countries appear to have been left to the imagination of some “Hooray-Henry” at Eton to pass on to his dad in Whitehall; lots of straight lines and along rivers and lakes, ignoring the fact that the same tribes invariably lived on both sides of the river or lake. Ooops and there is me almost forgetting Ireland in 1921. The British had an “Irish Problem”? The evidence would appear to suggest that the Irish had a much bigger “British Problem”. Got a conflict resolution on that one though and there is daft Tony down in Palestine thinking well if it can work there, it can work here.
The world is a very complex place, with complex problems, requiring complex solutions our masters in Whitehall and Washington will tell you. However, we could do it like this, we could let Kashmiris living in both India and Pakistan decide where they want to be. In fact, we could even ask them if they wanted to be independent, we could do the same with the Pashtuns and we could ask all the Palestinians if they wanted to go home. However, these are democratic solutions that require us respecting basic human rights. Now, as I said in the beginning, poor old “Uncle Sam” was left a terrible mess to pick up on but doesn’t he revel in it? Well, of course he does, because you see there was method even in the madness of drawing of straight lines on the map. At the end of the day, it was all about divide and rule and old “Uncle Sam” realises that, tried and tested as it was, it was too good to give up. Perfidious Albion has a worthy successor.
1 ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’Friday, 28th November 2008 p2