Who Doesn’t Love a Good War? – Sanyukta Sharma – Medium
Who doesn’t love a good war? Subcontinental journalists relish it. The warmongering toxicity of most of our newsrooms is well established. War allows even relatively sane ones to drop pretence of skepticism & become patriotic sock-puppets amplifying their govt’s propaganda. In their aftermath Indian warmongers gets to tomtom victory, twitter gets to live out some deep rooted bloodlust fantasies, journalists get to act even nuttier, elections are swung, Bollywood makes movies. Meanwhile Pakistani chauvnists get to make jokes about fusli bombs, tomatoes & how vegetarians lack mojo, while their army & politicians act like the whole thing was a figment of Indian imagination. Both sides go back pretending they won. While very little actually changes on the ground, life goes on till the next cycle of attack/surgical strike. Or the next India-Pakistan match.
On 14 February 2019, 40 CRPF personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday when a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the bus they were travelling in near Awantipora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. It was the deadliest attack in terms of casualties in three decades of militancy in the State. Banned terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility and identified suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar as the one who carried out the attack. In an unverified ten-minute video recorded before the attack, Dar also mentioned that many more people like him were ready to ‘follow the same path’. Pakistan said the terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district is “a matter of grave concern” even as it strongly rejected Indian media and government’s allegations of the country’s link to the strike without probe.
Twelve days after the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s “biggest” terror-training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. The operation was carried out by 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets, which unleashed five one-tonne bombs on the camp, based 70 km inside the Line of Control (LoC), in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the surgical strikes after the Uri attack, India showed it no longer considered the Line of Control (LoC) to be sacrosanct, and that forces could cross over to strike terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). PoK is territory India claims, so hitting targets there was seen as legitimate retaliation. Divisive statements, violent protests took over discourse in the country. The next day, an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan after a major aerial confrontation and chase between Pakistan Air Force planes, which dropped bombs in four locations of Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian Air Force jets that countered them over the Line of Control.
Neither India nor Pakistan actually achieved anything from this brief skirmish. Yet politicians, journalists & nationalists from either side were seen crying hoarse, declaring victory and acting as though they behave thus out of some great concern for national interest. Kowtowing to your govt’s agenda is not acting in national interest. Govt’s go to war for all sorts of bad reasons — spectacle, misdirection, politics & a pliant media legitimizes these. National interest is holding your govt accountable for lies & asking difficult questions at difficult times at risk of being unpopular. National interest is peace. ANY kind of aggression between two nuclear armed countries needs to be called out as reckless and dangerous, and especially this which happened in an area riddled with proxy powers. My solution for Indo/Pak peace — send journalists from India & Pakistan baying for blood from comfort of TV studios to the front to fight. Publics of both countries will root for the otherside to win.