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CWGE Spring 2021 Book Club: Chapter 2 and 3 Updates

CWGE Book Club

Batoul Hammoud (she/her/hers), CWGE Volunteer
March 22, 2021

“They can disappear anyone: me while I am talking to you or even you… anyone can be killed or disappeared at any time, without reason.” (Zia, 2019, p.54)

The second book club meeting of the Spring semester took place on March 3 and chapters two and three from Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women's Activism in Kashmir were discussed.

Shabir Mir, a victim of being disappeared, speaks up about his experience. Shabir was looking to consult doctors for the injuries he had suffered due to the Indian army's treatment. The book talks about Shabir's disappearance and discusses the treatment from the Indian army. His story explains how the "Indian nation-state constructs bodies that are seen as fit to be eliminated without accountability.” (Zia, 2019, p. 50).

The APDP activists are mainly females who express and protest feminism and female consciousness due to the destruction caused by the Indian army. Feminism and female consciousness can also be defined as the "centers upon the rights of gender, on social concerns, on survival." (Temma Kaplan, 1982). Female consciousness can be a doorway to political consciousness and educate those on feminism: Sadaf Khan, an APDP activist who was a half-widow. Sadaf was hoping to find her long-lost son, who was also disappeared. Women like Sadaf have been able to gain attention from the media, which has been a great help in spreading awareness for those who are disappeared. “Through the lens of discourse politics, which is an aspect of Foucauldian micropolitics” (Best & Kellner 1991, p. 58). The APDP is crucial because it helps women through the struggle of searching for their family members. The APDP movement can cause rebellion amongst those who have been silent and in pain.

“The killable Kashmiri body (Zia 2018)—one that can be killed without remorse or accountability—is the turf on which the spectacle of power is staged by the Indian nation-state.” (Zia, 2018, p. 50). The status of “killable” can affect your daily life because it is based on cruelty and oppression. This is what Kashmiri citizens experienced. The Indian military formed the term "killable." Most Kashmiris have heard it in different altercations, yet it is still a derogatory term to use. The Indian army believes that Kashmiri citizens are "disposable," also known as "the other." This term is insensitive and inappropriate because no human deserves labels such as "disposable." In fact, the word "killable" is constructed from all the stereotypical markers of "the other," whether it be materialistic items or sentimental. "The affective relationship that Kashmiris have with Pakistan through a shared historical, geographical, cultural, and religious heritage has also led to this Othering. India projects Kashmir’s historical ties with Pakistan as unnatural.” (Zia, 2018). This was the reason why Kashmiris were marked as the "other" fit, to be slaughtered because they yearn for emancipation from India.

The Kashmiri government is wanting to be perceived as a democratic government. However, protesters can never fully justify such altercations because the protests are reformed with limitations due to superior authority figures. The monthly protests became part of healing for these individuals because it was a coping mechanism used to grieve and process those who were disappeared and hope for justice and liberation. In sum, those resisting disappearance have been fighting for over four years, hoping for freedom and liberty. Those who are half-widow have the passion and ambition to keep on fighting for their civil rights.

During the book club meeting the following topics were discussed: the perception by Indian military that Kashmiri citizens are disposable (the other), how the status as "killable" could affect your life, how the Kashmiri government wants to be perceived as democratic, what could it possibly be like to have no benefits until four years of having half-widow status, and more.

Join the CWGE as we move forward with our book club kickoff!

Anyone can join the Spring 2021 Book Club, and at any time! We will continue to read Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation & Women’s Activism in Kashmir by UNC’s very own Dr. Ather Zia. Join us while we discuss, compare, and contrast the contents of the book with fellow readers! If you are not able to join during our scheduled Book Club meetings, you can still read along with us and get a physical copy of the book (limited quantities available) or receive a digital PDF version of the book all for free!

Join our Virtual Book Club

CWGE Book Club Registration or cwge@unco.edu

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