Monday, August 15, 2011
(Preface: This is a Note of mine at Facebook, based on my comment there on Avner Cohen’s link to a recent LA Times article; if you would like to join me at Facebook, write to me.)
“I wonder if Iran’s modern cinema has reached American and Israeli audiences easily. I am introduced to it quite recently myself on India’s cable TV — e.g. “White Balloon”, “The Circle”, “Song of Sparrows” etc… It seems to me to be compulsory viewing for anyone wishing to make war on Iran…It is surely among the best cinema there is. Nothing like it coming out of Hollywood, Bollywood etc.
The films reflect the society. “Offside”, about the six female soccer fans not allowed to enter the stadium, is especially brilliant in its candour. Nothing like it anywhere in the world at the moment. If society is so candid about itself, the politics cannot be all bad. I fear there is a massive cultural miscommunication between Iran and the rest of the world, caused of course by rather thick diplomacy on all sides. Is there not a master diplomat in the world who can get Iran and Israel to the point of diplomatic recognition? Zubin Mehta (an Indian of Iranian origin beloved in Israel) might be my choice as the initial/symbolic leader of such a diplomatic team!”
I got to Washington in the summer of 1992, just before the Clintons arrived, and lived there through all of 1993 and a bit of 1994. It is fair to say I have been continually critical — right until Mrs Clinton’s brilliant speech at the Democratic convention last year. Now I may have become a bit of a fan. Could the successful North Korea visit be Bill Clinton’s most dignified and single most poignant political deed? And Hillary appears to have finally found her calling as Secretary of State. She was an excellent diplomatist on her recent India-visit — and certainly put our rather dull political class into the shade. President Obama gets some credit here for good managerial decisions behind the scenes.
I have made clear my objections to the confusion the BBC has been sowing over months if not years through its purported maps of India and Jammu & Kashmir in particular — maps which have a subliminal effect as they are shown only for a split second before the start of some little reportage. As I said a few days ago there seems to have been progress in recent days in the BBC acknowledging the official UK Government/EU position that the Republic of India is de facto and de jure sovereign in J&K on the Indian sides of the LOC and LAC at least. I have said the dual national Pakistani moles who may have been pushing the hardline Pakistani viewpoint within the organisation may have found some opposition at last.
But today’s 0730 Indian Standard Time broadcast of the BBC’s purported “World News” should get Pakistanis perturbed as well! (Indians would be largely indifferent.)
In two separate reports from Pakistan during the same broadcast, two different maps of Pakistan were shown! The first map showed Pakistan to include Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Skardu etc up to the LOC, while the second excluded these!
The organisation seems to be in process of thinking out the history and geography of the subcontinent and BBC staff may like to consult my articles “Solving Kashmir”, “Law, Justice & J&K”, “History of Jammu & Kashmir” , “Pakistan’s Allies”, “A Brief History of Gilgit”, etc available elsewhere here for enlightenment.
Subroto Roy, Kolkata
Last September 27, I said here
“The BBC has unilaterally decided that Jammu & Kashmir has nothing to do with India. On its 1530 Indian Standard Time broadcast of purported “World News” today, it unilaterally lopped off all of J&K from the map of the Republic of India (shown attached to mention of a Delhi bomb-blast). Usually, the BBC at least makes pathetic reference to something it has invented called “Indian-Administered Kashmir”. There are senior BBC staff-members who are dual Pakistani/British nationals and who may be counted on to have been pushing such a line within the organisation, but lopping off all of J&K unilaterally may be a novelty. There are several “Indian-origin” staff-members too but perhaps they have renounced their Indian nationality, and apparently they have no ability to make any editorial protest. Does the Government of India have the sense, and the guts, to call in the local BBC and ask them for an explanation about their insult of history? For that matter, what is the BBC’s formal position on the J&K problem? The same as that of the UK Government? What is that of the UK Government for that matter? Has it remained constant since Clement Attlee in October 1947? BBC staff may like to refer to my articles “Solving Kashmir”, “Law, Justice and J&K”, “Pakistan’s Allies”, “History of Jammu & Kashmir”, etc for enlightenment.”
Then on December 4, I had to say again:
“Ill-informed Western observers, especially at purported “think tanks” and news-portals, frequently proclaim the Pakistan-India confrontation and Jammu & Kashmir conflict to represent some kind of savage irreconcilable division between Islamic and Hindu cultures. For example, the BBC, among its many prevarications on the matter (like lopping off J&K entirely from its recently broadcasted maps of India, perhaps under influence of its Pakistani staffers), frequently speaks of “Hindu-majority India” and “Indian-administered Kashmir” being confronted by Muslim Pakistan….”
Well this morning, in its purported “World News from America” received in India in its 0530 IST broadcast (in a story about that dreadful British film Slumdog millionaire), the BBC has done it yet again, lopping off the whole of Jammu, Kashmir amd Laddakh from its purported map of India. Clearly the powerful Pakistan lobby in Britain continues to affect British policy deeply, especially perhaps through the BBC’s dual-national Pakistani staffers.
I remain intrigued to know the official UK Government position on both J&K and the legality or otherwise of a UK public broadcaster distorting history and geography like this.
Specifically, I wonder if modern British foreign policy has, in a nutshell, taken a hardline, regardless of the facts of history, on the Israel-Arab dispute and a corresponding softline, regardless of the facts of history, with the Pakistani viewpoint on J&K. “Accept our position on Palestine and we will accept your views on Kashmir” might be the implicit trade that has been offered to the UK’s powerful Pakistani immigrant community.
Furthermore, in the event the UK Government and the European Union recognise Indian sovereignty de facto and de jure over J&K on the Indian side of the Line of Control with Pakistan and on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control with China, does the BBC, as a public British broadcaster, have any legal business to be setting that aside and instead inventing its own history and geography as it pleases?
The Government of India really needs to formally ask the UK Government what its opinion is.
The organisation that presently goes by the name BBC seems to be only very distantly related to the organisation by the same name whose radio news-broadcasts used to be definitive in my childhood.
POSTSCRIPT: But see now “Progress! The BBC retracts its prevarication!”