Activist fascism


Farzana Versey June 21, 2010

Arundhati Roy Incorporated is a YouTubed fable. Our liberalism is suspect if we are not on this side of the fabulist line. Her myth machinery sets the stage with emails sent by People With Conscience acting like the thought police. They tutor us about the correct news perspective.

She then makes a splash on the front page of a Pakistani newspaper to counteract the malicious “concocted account” by an Indian news agency of a lecture delivered in Mumbai. Part of her gripe is “a ridiculous dumbing down of the (Maoist) debate”.

Is there a difference between what she speaks at meetings and what she writes? Videos reveal that she omitted several aspects that would show the ‘maliciousness’ as mere peripheral reporting. But, pray, what did she mean by: “I do not support the killing … it is not my brief?” Does she only represent herself or work on someone else’s brief?

Roy stated that half the activist industry is bought; the media is bought. This is often true and obvious. Now, will the self-righteous other half also come clean about their agendas and who sponsors those?

Regarding dumbing down, she mentioned a call from an uncle. He wanted to help in her fight against injustice. She responded: “I said don’t say this on the phone … they will call you a Maoist”! To create a romantic image of ‘her’ movement – “There are just a handful of us shouting from the rooftops” – she wondered aloud, “And after this they want you to come on the side of the government … after you see those people in loin cloth with bows and arrows. I cannot, I simply cannot.” Loin cloth? Bows and arrows? We have seen her picture, head draped in a bandana, with armed comrades. Was she referring to the tribals?

Who were they fighting with bows and arrows?

The PR note stated: “She did NOT call upon the government to put her in jail for supporting Maoists, nor did she offer support to the Maoists.” Why was she there giving a sermon from the dais if she did not support them? She did say she did not care if she was “put in jail, pick me up”. The important thing was to “turn around and ask your comrades the question for the sake of pushing things forward”. Protest groups must force the government to take action, but not as latter-day intellectual Robin Hoods.

For a certain huddled section, idealism means titillating with false images and false hopes. The moment a cause goes down in the ratings, the industry moves on to the next one. The background helps to embellish speaking assignments: “when I walked there”, “when the tribals said this”, “in Kashmir”, “in Gujarat”, never mind that “the war in Goa, which is mainly Christian” is wrong. Twenty six per cent is a majority?

The corporate behemoth got a naive jab: “In 1989 when capitalism won its jihad against communism, the whole world did a somersault.” Roy callously used the term jihad, that too out of context. Forget political correctness, this is stereotyping.

Her sights are elsewhere: “We can make history,” she said, because the Maoist movement is not only about justice; it is questioning civilisation. “I don’t even care about the human race … but also all those birds off the Gulf of Mexico with oil slick on their feathers …these people are fighting a war that is questioning all of that. That is the beauty of this resistance.”

A legitimate Maoist will one day tell us how greased feathers figure in the beauty of their resistance. “If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think” — Alice in Wonderland.

Published in The Express Tribune, June, 22nd, 2010.

COMMENTS (14)

AG | 11 years ago | Reply RMCT.... "If you are not with us, then you are with then".....now substitute this with Arundhati and it sounds exactly the same way as Bush made it to sound. That's communism for you. You would have to have some basic sense of logic to understand the communist / fascist fraud.
RMCT | 11 years ago | Reply It is no wonder that Farzana criticizes her. Arundhati Roy is an irritant to many elites in India who are a bit uneasy and hesitant to acknowledge that behind their new found riches some 80 billion abject poor are there, living on USD 0.5 a day, as it tarnishes the great " superpower-status " of India. All the while they are the ones who are directly or indirectly responsible for creating and maintaining such a huge malnutritioned population. Arundhati and Gautam Navlakha have gone to these places of so called ` Maoist infected' regions at great personal risk of lives, and told the out side world of the awful truths behind the operation green hunt, 102 MoU's for greedy MNC's, exploitation of natural resources and how the common people fight against an elite leaning corrupt, brutal government machinery of India. May be the Maoists are exploiting the poor in leading them down an armed movement. But what can the poor do when they see a police whose job is to rape ladies, kill men and loot the poor. When Arundhati exposes these in her talks the elite journalists like Farzana get irritated. These kind of journalists have never bothered to write about the poor and oppressed of the world. When Arundhati takes a bold step to write about them at the risk of her life, instead of writing one more novel and earning money, these elite journalists are there to find fault with her. Arundhati had argued for the Afzal case, the plight of Kashmiris, against the state-sponsored pogroms, for the illegal displacement of tribals, and now against the operation green hunt. What more do the greedy elite in India need to be angry at her.
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