Opinion //

There is nowhere left to go but the streets

Speech for the CAA rally.

Image: Agence France-Presse

Friends, brothers, sisters, and of course most importantly, our enemies. Allow me to begin with a basic question; why are we truly here?

Do we honestly believe that the Australian government will condemn, in the harshest possible terms, the actions of the Indian regime? Of course not. How could they? Not two months ago, our Prime Minister was willing to abandon this country during one of its worst climate crises, to lick the boots of the Butcher of Gujarat in India. And, if it’s not that sycophant’s free will that impels him to cosy up to India’s fascists, his American masters have just announced their ‘love’ for India and a desire to strengthen ties with the Asian superpower. 

Do we think that the Australian government will open its borders to the thousands of Muslims, likely to be rendered stateless and stripped of their rights in the face of a violent nationalist government? Of course not. This is the government that puts Rohingyan children in off-shore prisons. The government which turns a blind eye, as children on Manus set themselves on fire. The government which exists on stolen land, subjecting first nations communities to domination, subjugation and every other type of malicious ‘ation’ one could possibly imagine. Make no mistake. There is no delusion amongst us, that Australia will develop a set of morals today.

Why then are we here? Standing outside the consulate of India — few and far between — demanding an end to the system of Hindutva that takes the lives of our Muslims brothers and sisters daily. The answer is simple. For those of us who wish to take a stand, who wish to challenge the fascist government in Delhi, there is nowhere left for us to go. What do I mean by that?

I mean that we face a media, who have a tendency to align themselves with the conservative and sinister interests of the state. Which, as Malcolm X told us, has a tendency not to place the proper importance upon what they hear, especially when they’re hearing it from persons they can’t control. Which will have you believe that the price of toilet paper, should be of greater importance to you than the millions of Muslims in India, being hosed down daily with the gagging perfume of fascism. 

I mean that we face a state that will have you believe that they are the moral arbiters of justice. All the while smiling and shaking the hands of genocidal maniacs around the world in the pursuit of their unjustified economic wars. Who put their hubris and commitment to ‘fighting communism’ ahead of the obligations they owe to the world’s most persecuted communities. Who were happy to peddle a policy of ‘divide and conquer’ while they bankrolled their colonies from stolen wealth, only to then turn a blind eye to its effects when they had taken everything we had left to give. 

In the face of those factors, we cannot rely on any traditional methods of communicating our message. The time has come for us to speak directly to our comrades in India.  To let our friends on the front lines know that we will no longer remain in blissful oblivion to the harsh realities of their true condition. To let them know that we stand here, before the Indian government, declaring in no uncertain terms that we support the emancipation of India’s Muslim communities. That we are willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to fulfil that cause. And that, around the world, people like us will take to the streets to ensure our voices are heard. 

I see amongst the host of communities in this crowd, a lot of students much like myself. Take for a second, the opportunity to place yourselves in the shoes of those calling for justice in India. Many of them, youths and university students just like us. Shahid Khan Alvi, an auto-rickshaw driver shot in the stomach. Mehtab, a 22-year-old, the same age as me and many of my friends burnt to death. The hundreds of students at Jamia, sitting in a library, as Indian police officers stormed their campus and beat them mercilessly.  The 9-month old baby, burnt alive in her house, as the Indian government sadistically watched on. What was the India she would have grown up in?

India’s Muslim community has been pushed to their limits for far too long. They’ve been subjected to every possible atrocity imaginable and told to be thankful that they’re living in a ‘secular state’. These protesters are not anti-Indian. They have every right to be, but they are not. The BJP government should thank their Hindu gods that the 200 million Muslims in India have not become anti-Indian. But do not blindly demand peace from the protesters. Not when you have burnt them alive. When you have robbed them of their brothers, sisters, parents and children; of an entire generation of thinkers, mentors and cultural leaders.  When you have given them every reason to turn violent. This is a community that is ready to define freedom on its own terms. A community that has the desire for revolution in their hearts. A community that is ready to test the strength in their executioner’s arms. A community that, after 73 years of subjugation will no longer remain silent. You have reduced their houses down to rubble. There is nowhere left for them to go but the streets. 

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