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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Jorge Luis Borges: Elogio de la Sombra / Kashmir: In the Valley of the Shadow

#Day47ofcurfew - Night curfew in Lal Chowk Area of Srinagar - #Kashmir #kashmirkillings: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 24 August 2016

Jorge Luis Borges: Elogio de la sombra

La vejez (tal es el nombre que los otros le dan)
puede ser el tiempo de nuestra dicha.
El animal ha muerto o casi ha muerto.
Quedan el hombre y su alma.
Vivo entre formas luminosas y vagas
que no son aún la tiniebla.
Buenos Aires,
que antes se desgarraba en arrabales
hacia la llanura incesante,
ha vuelto a ser la Recoleta, el Retiro,
las borrosas calles del Once
y las precarias casas viejas
que aún llamamos el Sur.
Siempre en mi vida fueron demasiadas las cosas;
Demócrito de Abdera se arrancó los ojos para pensar;
el tiempo ha sido mi Demócrito.
Esta penumbra es lenta y no duele;
fluye por un manso declive
y se parece a la eternidad.
Mis amigos no tienen cara,
las mujeres son lo que fueron hace ya tantos años,
las esquinas pueden ser otras,
no hay letras en las páginas de los libros.
Todo esto debería atemorizarme,
pero es una dulzura, un regreso.
De las generaciones de los textos que hay en la tierra
sólo habré leído unos pocos,
los que sigo leyendo en la memoria,
leyendo y transformando.
Del Sur, del Este, del Oeste, del Norte,
convergen los caminos que me han traído
a mi secreto centro.
Esos caminos fueron ecos y pasos,
mujeres, hombres, agonías, resurrecciones,
días y noches,
entresueños y sueños,
cada ínfimo instante del ayer
y de los ayeres del mundo,
la firme espada del danés y la luna del persa,
los actos de los muertos,
el compartido amor, las palabras,
Emerson y la nieve y tantas cosas.
Ahora puedo olvidarlas. Llego a mi centro,
a mi álgebra y mi clave,
a mi espejo.
Pronto sabré quién soy.

#Day47ofcurfew -
Night curfew in Lal Chowk Area of Srinagar - #Kashmir #kashmirkillings: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 24 August 2016 
Jorge Luis Borges: In Praise of Darkness 

Old age (the name that others give it)
can be the time of our greatest bliss.
The animal has died or almost died.
The man and his spirit remain.
I live among vague, luminous shapes
that are not darkness yet.
Buenos Aires,
whose edges disintegrated
into the endless plain,
has gone back to being the Recoleta, the Retiro,
the nondescript streets of the Once,
and the rickety old houses
we still call the South.
In my life there were always too many things.
Democritus of Abdera plucked out his eyes in order to think;
Time has been my Democritus.
This penumbra is slow and does not pain me;
it flows down a gentle slope,
resembling eternity.
My friends have no faces,
women are what they were so many years ago,
these corners could be other corners,
there are no letters on the pages of books.
All this should frighten me,
but it is a sweetness, a return.
Of the generations of texts on earth
I will have read only a few --
the ones that I keep reading in my memory,
reading and transforming.
From South, East, West, and North
the paths converge that have led me
to my secret center.
Those paths were echoes and footsteps,
women, men, death-throes, resurrections,
days and nights,
dreams and half-wakeful dreams,
every inmost moment of yesterday
and all the yesterdays of the world,
the Dane’s staunch sword and the Persian’s moon,
the acts of the dead,
shared love, and words,
Emerson and snow, so many things.
Now I can forget them. I reach my center,
my algebra and my key,
my mirror.
Soon I will know who I am

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986): Elogio de la sombra (In Praise of Darkness), 1969, English translation by Hoyt Rogers 

Living under the shadow of gun, the trauma children #kashmir have to go through -- #kashmirkillings: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 27 August 2016

Kashmir's 'curfew schools'  - #Kashmir #kashmiri: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 23 August 2016

#Day49ofcurfew: Curfew, shutdown continue in #Kashmir #kashmirkillngs: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 25 August 2016

Police forcefully closed down a Medical shop in Srinagar on August 18, 2016 - #kashmir
: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 24 August 2016

Two #Kashmir policemen publicly announce resignation in #Sopore | KashmirDispatch: image via KashmirDispatch @KashmirDispatch,  23 August 2016

Over 8500 civilians injured in forces firing in 49 days: Sumaiya Yousuf, Rising Kashmir, Srinagar, 26 August 2016

About 8500 people have sustained injuries in forces firing during the ongoing unrest in the Valley with 3812 people hit by pellets, 547 by bullets and 2343 by tear gas shells. 

The figures compiled by the government reveal the devastation on civilians by pellets, bullets and tear gas shells.

According to the figures, about 8554 persons have sustained injuries in the police and paramilitary forces firing in last 49 days in the valley.

The forces engaged in mob controls have fired live ammunition including bullets and pellets besides thousands of tear gas shells on the protestors in the Valley since July 9. 

According to the figures, thousands of youth have been hit by pellets in eyes, limbs, abdomen, shoulders and head. 

  #Day48ofcurfew -- A two year old in lap of his half blind father  - #Kashmir: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 27 August 2016

Pellet Guns

Introduced as crowd control management in 2010, the use of pellet guns by police and paramilitary forces has, as per the official data, injured about 3812 civilians people in the last 49 days.

A single cartridge of a pellet gun contains hundreds of pellets and once the pellet gun is fired, the cartridge bursts into hundreds of pellets with huge force.

Mohammad Amir Mir was shot by pellets in Prichoo area of Pulwama on August 24. He died in SMHS Hospital -  - #Kashmir: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 24 August 2016

It creates a deep wound and as per doctors, it sometimes becomes difficult to remove the pellets from body of the injured due to their size.

Highly placed sources said about 1407 people have sustained pellet injuries in the eyes. 

#Day49ofcurfew: 19 Pellet Hit Students Admitted in Hyderabad Hospital - #kashmir: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 26 August 2016

Pellets snatch both eyes of Srinagar youth Was to be engaged after Eid #kashmir: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 27 August 2016


According to official data, about 547 people have been hit by bullets. 
Many people hit by bullets are undergoing treatment at hospitals.

Bullet that ended the KAS dream of a young girl: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 27 August 2016
Tear smoke shells

2343 people were injured after being hit by tear smoke canisters fired by police and paramilitary personnel to quell protests during the ongoing unrest in the Valley, government data reveals.

It further discloses that 880 people were injured by stones pelting at them by police and paramilitary forces.

The injured, who were beaten by CRPF today at Safa Kadal, being treated at SMHS hospital in Srinagar - #kashmir:: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 25 August 2016
Beaten up by forces

According to official statistics, about 354 people have been injured in beating by police and paramilitary personnel.

In other cases like stampede situations, 47 persons have sustained injuries, it further said.

According to the data, among the total 1299 persons grievously injured, 1075 were referred to Srinagar’s general and trauma hospitals of SMHS Hospital, Bone and Joint Hospital Barzulla and SKIMS, JVC and tertiary care hospital of SKIMS.

As per the official record, 7472 patients have been discharged from the hospitals and 266 are presently undergoing treatment.


According to government data, 141 ambulances and 9 drivers that ferried injured to hospitals were attacked, the official data reveals.

A Woman walks near a graffiti written on Army Bunker at Badami Bagh Army Headquarters in #Srinagar #Kashmir: image via Umar Ganie @UmarGanie1, 27 August 2016  Munshi Bagh, Jammu and Kashmir


A man walks near a graffiti written on Army Bunker at Badami Bagh Army Headquarters in #Srinagar #Kashmir
: image via Umar Ganie @UmarGanie1, 27 August 2016  Munshi Bagh, Jammu and Kashmir

World in focus – best photos for August 27, 2016

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard as a Kashmiri child looks out from behind a barbed wire cordon during a curfew in Srinagar:
photo by Sajjad Hussain / AFP, 27 August 2016

As #Kashmir completes "Record" 50 Days of curfew (Pic), our PM @narendramodi talks on #KashmirCrisis in #MannKiBaat: image via Umar Ganie  @UmarGanie1, 28 August 2016   Sora, Jammu and Kashmir
Kashmir unrest, Kashmir curfew, Jammu and Kashmirm J&K, Kashmir violence, Burhan wani, Burhan wani death, burhan wani aftermath, Hizbul Muzahiddin militant, Kashmir, curfew in kashmir, 48th day of kashmir curfew, kashmir valley unrest, india news, kashmir news
BSF personnel patrol the street Thursday, the 48th day since curfew was imposed in the Valley
: photo by Shuaib Masoodi/ The Indian Express, 26 August 2016
Kashmir’s longest curfew: ‘It is painful when your baby needs milk and you’re helpless’: Srinagar sees the first light of day at 5.15 am; by 6.30 police and paramilitary personnel are manning every street, lane and bylane of Old City, the separatist stronghold: Bashaarat Masood, Srinagar, The Indian Express, 26 August 2016

One hour 15 minutes. With Kashmir under its longest ever continuous spell of curfew, for many in Old Srinagar City their lives depend on what they can make of that time.

Srinagar sees the first light of day at 5.15 am; by 6.30 police and paramilitary personnel are manning every street, lane and bylane of Old City, the separatist stronghold.

Sheikh Majid is among those in Fateh Kadal out today at the crack of dawn, leaving with the call for early-morning prayers from mosques. He is counting on finding shops open to stock up on milk, groceries, vegetables and other essentials, but the 28-year-old is almost sure he won’t be able to get what is on top of his shopping list today: diapers for his two-year-old boy.

“These are difficult times. We know we have to bear with it. But it is very painful when your baby needs milk or a change of diaper and you feel helpless,” says Majid.

"They (the forces) don’t even let patients go to hospitals,” claims Nazir Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Nowhatta, whose 15-year-old son isn’t feeling well. “Before I could tell them we have to go to hospital, they ordered us to go back. When we persisted, they pointed a gun towards us. We returned silently.”

A curfew pass isn’t easy to procure. These are issued by the Srinagar deputy commissioner and generally given only to journalists and those who can get clearance from higher-ups. Even then, the passes are often ignored by the wary men in uniform.

Kashmir in general and Old City or downtown Srinagar in particular have seen long spells of curfew in the past. The Valley was shut for a month after the Hazratbal siege of 1993. In 2008 and 2010, Kashmir witnessed short spells of curfew quite often. But this time, the curfew has already stretched for a month and half without a break in most parts of Kashmir. In Old City, security forces only withdraw in the night for a couple of hours, till dawn.

Whether Majid gets what he wants today depends on whether or not police have allowed milk and vegetables into Old City, from villages around. Supplies are allowed during the night, but there are days when police and paramilitary forces close all the entry points and stop milkmen and vegetable sellers.

With houses densely packed in Old Srinagar City, including at Fateh Kadal, residents have no space for kitchen gardens, leaving them totally dependent on villages for supplies. That makes this area one of the worst affected in Kashmir in terms of shortage of essential commodities.

While Kashmiris are used to stocking essentials, as earlier the Valley would get cut off from the rest of the country for months during winter, that is mostly in the case of rice. “Traditionally, we don’t like eating pulses during summer, so very few people have pulses in store. And vegetables cannot be stored,” says Naseem Ahmad, a resident of Safa Kadal.

Besides, he adds, “All this happened so quickly that we did not get a chance to store things. We ourselves have enough rice for two months, but there are people who live hand to mouth. For them, life is very difficult.”

Ashiq Ahmad, a resident of Nawpora Srinagar, says they have changed their diet to mostly rice with vegetables, and sometimes pulses. “Among vegetables, we are able to get only kale and a few others produced locally.”

Meat is a luxury, with mutton, the most widely eaten, almost completely unavailable, and chicken scarce.

“Usually, I supply around 400 litres milk to people downtown every day,” says Abdul Gaffar, who belongs to Maloora village on the outskirts of Srinagar. “But this time, police have stopped me near Parimpora (on the outskirts of Srinagar) on many days. They didn’t allow me to move forward or to go back, often causing the milk to spoil.”

Majid says things have turned even more difficult over the past couple of days after curfew was extended to night-time and following the police crackdown on “volunteers”. “We had volunteers who brought in vegetables, pulses and other essentials every evening. They stored the goods in the local mosque, and sold them on a no-profit, no-loss basis. People would go to the mosque early in the morning and buy the things. But then police asked them to stop it,” he says.

Superintendent of Police (SP), North Srinagar, Sajad Khalid refuses to comment on the charges.

With the national highway largely closed -- shut at night for security reasons and blocked in daytime by protesters -- the number of trucks bringing essential supplies to the Valley from outside has also dipped.

JandK Minister for Consumer Affairs Choudhary Zulfikar Ali denies there is any shortage. “We have adequate supplies, and we have ensured that these continue unhindered,” he says.

According to the minister, “some problems” have been created by sporadic incidents of people throwing stones at trucks carrying supplies.

However, the minister’s figure of 24,000 trucks bringing essential supplies to the Valley since July 9 makes it around 35 per cent compared to normal days. Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8 night, triggering the protests.

Excise Department officials say that on an average, around 1,500 trucks entered the Valley every day, or 45,000 trucks a month, before the protests.

Having found no diaper today, Majid decides he will wait for the next day morning. While curfew has ensured that the shops remain shut, some shopkeepers have started trading through the backdoor in Old City. Majid hopes to find one such backdoor entry to get a diaper.

It’s close to 6.30 now. In the distance, police and paramilitary vehicles can be seen driving in. Majid and the others rush back to their homes. Some who are still out are herded inside.

Commitment to goal can b judged by these children making victory signs w/o caring cruel India #Azadi #KashmirResists
: image via March4Kashmir @March4Kashmir, 27 August 2016

#MothersOfKashmir #KashmirResists #KashmirGraffiti: image via Aamir Jaffar @Aamir_Jaffar,  27 August 2016

#MothersOfKashmir #KashmirResists #KashmirGraffiti: image via Aamir Jaffar @Aamir_Jaffar,  27 August 2016

Hundreds of women marched for freedom  #Hurriyat #AzadiMarch #KashmirResists
: image via Abdul Wahid @abdullahgps, 27 August 2016

Massive pro freedom rally #kulhum #Kashmir of women marched for freedom  #Hurriyat #AzadiMarch #KashmirResists: image via Abdul Wahid @abdullahgps, 27 August 2016

The 5% of #Kashmir: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 27 August 2016

The 5% of #Kashmir
: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 27 August 2016

#TerribleTalesFromKashmir #Kashmir: image via Lost Kashmmir History @LostKashmirHist, 20 August 2016

Kashmir 101. #Kashmir
: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 19 August 2016

Kashmir 101. #Kashmir: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 19 August 2016

Kashmir 101. #Kashmir: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 19 August 2016

Kashmir 101. #Kashmir: image via Lost Kashmir History @LostKashmirHist, 19 August 2016

Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir while leading a peaceful demonstration: photo by Al Jazeera, 27 August 2016

Arrest of separatist leader causes uproar: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq a leader of separatist conglomerate, has been arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir: photo by Al Jazeera, 27 August 2016

Almost daily anti-India protests are taking place in Indian-administered Kashmir after a popular rebel commander was killed in a gun battle with security forces: photo by Farooq Khan/EPA via Al Jazeera, 27 August 2016

Indian Prime Minister Modi has laid much of the blame for the unrest on Pakistan: photo by Farooq Khan/EPA via Al Jazeera, 27 August 2016

Kashmir -- #Kashmir #KashmirKillings #kashmirsiege #kashmirresists: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 28 July 2016

Kashmir -- #Kashmir #KashmirKillings #kashmirsiege #kashmirresists
: image via Awaaz @AwaazKashmir, 28 July 2016




Thanks for this, Borges' poem --- ". . . The animal has died or almost died. / The man and his spirit remain." --- followed by the grim evidence of these pictures --"76 KILLED. / 100+ BLINDED. / 6000 INJURED. / 1.3 PELLETS FIRED. . . . "

Sandra said...

pocos escuchan a los viejos y quién escucha a los niños sobreviven la niñez serán viejos como todos

TC said...

Many thanks, Steve and Sandra. The beautiful Borges poem was of course written as he was losing his sight. The phrase that's been used in the Valley these past months, as more and more kids have lost their sight to shotgun blasts, while nobody in charge appears to care: Kashmir Blind Spot.

tpw said...

Great poem by Borges, Tom. Thanks for calling it to our attention. And all else you call to our attention, however painful much of it is.



Kashmir on front page of NYTimes this morning, with this headline : "IN KASHMIR WARD, 'DEAD EYES' RIFE / Indian Forces Fire Pellets Into Protest Crowds" plus a photo with this caption: "A Kashmiri at a hospital in Srinagar this month after he was hit by pellets fired by Indian security forces to disperse protesters" ---- better late than never . . .