These are bizarre times for us in India….. Suddenly you get a feeling of ‘strangeness’ almost every moment in your apparently familiar surroundings. Thanks to ANI and thanks also to some of the television channels (and a few newspapers too), which are still open to providing space to ‘an alternative version’ when the public sphere is being forcefully run by ‘the versions’. These are also bizarre times when you find that the age-old value of commitment to the idea of little more equal and tolerant society is being ridiculed and mocked with a ‘rich consensus’. These are inexplicable times when there are enough domestic triggers almost on a daily routine basis to make you say and articulate a position which certainly is not ‘fashionable’, going by the trends in the public sphere. One of such issues has been the recent humanitarian crisis caused by Israel which has resulted in the loss of more than two thousands lives including a large number of children who were probably not even aware of the larger meaning of their own existence, leave aside the existentially(and historically so) brutal reality of the Israel and Palestine. The brutal and well planned Israeli attack was quite precise and non-discriminatory in nature, as a result of which there was no difference in bombing Hamas hideouts, schools, colleges, universities and even hospitals. They did not even have to develop the bogey of collateral damages. They were (and have been) simply reminding innocent Palestinian civilians that the only article of faith they can hold and have is to accept the cultural and political subjugation of their being. The largest, the biggest and the greatest democracies of the world have perfected the art of dispensing with the clamour for democratic engagement as far as the Palestinian people are concerned. The mood of our own ruling regime was no different when it did everything to block the discussion in the parliament. That must have saddened the father of the nation who believed-Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
Since 1949, the world has changed, though the nature, quantum and direction of the change varies from one nation to another; needless to reaffirm that Palestinian people have only longed for it, through multiple forms including poetry but certainly not limited to it. Democracy is a virtue which has become the privilege of a few, in terms of proprietorship and license and it indeed has been commodified in a manner whereby some of the greatest nations of the world have actually ‘excelled’ and become de facto exporters. If I go on….and on it shall be an endless story, whereas, I wish to quickly share what prompted me to write a few lines today.
In these dark times, when standing up for truth and rights is considered the most subversive of acts, Sayeeda warsi’s resignation lends a ray of hope to millions across the globe. Sayeeda warsi, a firebrand conservative party member, was part of the David Cameron cabinet till the other day when she chose to resign over what she considered was a wretched British approach towards the conflict in Gaza. Following the policy of COPY LEFT, I am sharing her resignation letter addressed to the British PM.
Dear Prime Minister
For some weeks, in meeting and discussion, I have been open and honest about my views on the conflict in Gaza and our response to it.
My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.
Particularly as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, The International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice. In many ways the absence of the experience and expertise of colleagues like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve has over the last few weeks become very apparent.
This decision has not been easy. It has been a privilege to serve for 3 years in your Shadow Cabinet and over 4 years in your Cabinet. Introducing you in Blackpool in 2005 as you made your bid for leadership I had the pleasure of being there at the start of the journey and it would have been rewarding to have been there til the end.
The last decade has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best in the Conservative Party and indeed in Government. William Hague was probably one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen and has been inspirational. He dismantled foreign policy making by sofa government and restored decision making and dignity to the Foreign Office. There is however great unease across the Foreign Office, amongst both Minister and senior officials, in the way recent decisions are being made.
Eric Pickles has supported me tirelessly in our work on combating hate crime. Challenging anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia and the pioneering work of celebration faith in the public sphere. This new found confidence in Government has allowed me to take the very public International lead on religious freedom, specifically on the ever growing crisis of the persecution of Christians. However, early evidence from the Home Office and others shows that the fallout of the current conflict and the potential for the crisis in Gaza and our response to it becoming a basis for radicalisation could have consequences for us for years to come.
From both Eric and William I learnt the art of reconciling passion and idealism with pragmatism and realism, but I always said that long after life in politics I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported. By staying in Government at this time I do not feel I can be sure of that.
It is therefore with regret that I am writing to resign.
You will continue to have my personal support as leader of the Conservative party as you continue to ensure that our Party evolves to meet the challenges we face in Britain today and ensure that the Party is relevant and responsive to all communities that make up today’s Britain.