Lecture – Dr. Sahar Shafqat

(Critical Conversation Part 1, Part 2)

Legacy of British Colonialism
-British were using local personnel already in what was then the Indian subcontinent
-Personnel were Indian themselves, including the army (Madras Army, for example)
  *Actually, the VAST majority of soldiers were Indian!
-This was their main instrument to maintain colonial powers -> military as a controlling force

U.S. Imperialism post-1947
-U.S. recruited Pakistan to join military alliance to “combat communism” – Pakistan was constructed as a frontline state in the midst of “capitalism vs. communism”
-1980s- Pakistan became main staging ground so that the U.S. didn’t have to directly engage with the Soviets, i.e. Pakistan became a proxy sate
  *Pakistan was the instrument of the war (through the Pakistani Army)
-War on Terror: Pakistani Army as an ally for the U.S.

The Crisis Narrative
-Places like Pakistan are considered violent, unstable, ungovernable, and so on
  *And because it is “ungovernable,” the ONLY solution becomes to rule it by force 

Pakistan’s Role
-Front lines: first communism post-1947, and now the War on Terror
-As a result, Pakistani army and the state (which operate together) use the “War on Terror” rhetoric to repress activists – enabling state terror

Balochistan
-Pakistani state/Army are using neo-colonial governance to control Balochistan
-“Crisis” narrative
  *Balochistan is considered savage, uncivilized, “what about those poor girls?”
  *Pakistani Army DEFINES Balochistan
  *ONLY solution: control by force! hence Pakistani Army
-Balochistan is EXPLOITED! Whereas the dominant narrative claims it is *inherently* poor, the reality is that the region is preyed upon due to its natural gas, ports, for economic interests, etc.

Resistance
-Baloch Students Organization, Balochistan Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation Front
-International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons
*20,000 “disappeared” - i.e. kidnapped, tortured, murdered! (est. number via Balochi activists)
*Pakistani government tries to claim the number is around “1,000”…

 

Workshop – Small Group Questions

1. What are the main narratives about the community you organize with?

Community is helpless – community is against development/progress
Youth: language justice
     *Uneducated
     *Young & doesn’t know how to behave
     *Dress
     *Unexperienced/not an expert
Middle class minority groups (Asian Americans)
     *Model minority
QPOC – queer Muslims
     *Can’t exist
Urban Renewal is a soft word for gentrification
     *ANC is heart of gentrification – developer goes to ANC
     *ANC is elected (non-paid)
     *Run unopposed
     *Adams Morgan neighborhood (ANC popular)
     *Urban renewal (old is dead/bad)

2. What is the relationship between military/State forces and [______] communities?

Georgetown staff/faculty advocacy, Left activism in Pakistan
DC native, Black, Indigenous
Indian (class/caste privilege), prison abolition
Iranian, international, recently moved, sanctions
QPOC, caretaker
--
Immigration instability via unionizing threats
Keeping community exhausted, unable to participate actively (*child protection services)
State response to resistance vs. disaster: priority?
Respectability as survival
COINTELPRO
Exclusive resources: DV, BYP100, Marriage Equality
Military recruitment as site of poverty, POC, queer exploitation
North Dakota, prison
Non-profit industrial complex (not allowed to accept donations from certain groups)

3. How do we sustain our resistance movements in the face of the State’s terror tactics?

Connect so that different movements can see connections vs. divide & conquer
(See common liberation, reduce construction of otherness)
Resist fear of organizing/activism
Know your rights
Safe spaces
Know their coercion tactics/be informed
Know who to trust
Know where to get $$ without being co-opted
People can be involved over & covert ways / make involvement accessible
Alternate media
Read & READ
Intergenerational connections
Make connections that sustain you (as an activist and a person) (art, build each other up)

4. What are the risks we take to do the work and what are the calculations we take to continue the work?

Forget your own standpoint vs. others
Monitored/watched
Be on a list, followed
Racially profiled
Sustain mental, physical & community health/care, comfort
Lawsuits/defamation on organizations
Arrest for “watching” police
Support locally led orgs
White people to physically show up
Class/race/citizenship privilege
Food & childcare, wage replacement
Change the narrative (signs at press conferences)
Find community to build with & link struggles
Maintain mental health: hope, positivity
Get involved with civilian oversight measures
Know your rights as organizers
Local watchdog groups -> lawyers’ guild -> stop police terror DC
Push for reparations
$$ back
Finding cogs in the wheel