New Age Islam
Sun Jul 14 2024, 05:09 PM

Indian Press ( 8 Jan 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Indian Press on Anti-Conversion Law, Munawar Faruqui, Imran Khan’s China Embrace, Capitol Hills: New Age Islam's Selection, 8 January 2021

By New Age Islam Edit Desk

 8 January 2021

• Supreme Court to Study Anti-Conversion Laws Of Uttarakhand and U.P.

By Krishnadas Rajagopal

• The Arrest of Stand-Up Comic Munawar Faruqui Should Worry Us All

 By Sanjay Rajoura

• Hindus and Patriotism: Why RSS Chief Is Wrong

By Karan Thapar

• Do We Have A Grip On Disinformation in 2021?

By P.J George

• Reading Hannah Arendt in Joe Biden’s America

By Shelley Walia

• Imran Khan’s China Embrace

By G Parthasarathy

• Pakistan's Sophistry

By Bhopinder Singh

•Why Is Turkey Wooing Bangladesh?

By Dr Yatharth Kachiar

• A New Low for America: A Mob Incited By President Trump Storms the Seat of US Power

By Saswato R Das


Supreme Court To Study Anti-Conversion Laws Of Uttarakhand And U.P.

By Krishnadas Rajagopal

JANUARY 06, 2021

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a spate of laws enacted by States such as Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand that criminalise religious conversion via marriage and mandate prior official clearance before marrying into another faith.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, however, did not stay the implementation of Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, despite fervent pleas by petitioners that “rampaging mobs are lifting off people in the middle of wedding ceremonies,” buoyed by the enactment of the laws.

“What we have here is multiple States like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh enacting these laws which are absolutely horrifying. They require the prior permission to marry,” senior advocate C.U. Singh submitted.

Mr. Singh argued that the burden of proof was on the people who marry to show they were not doing so to get converted.

“Those who are found guilty under these laws stare at a 10-year prison sentence. The offences are non-bailable. We are getting reports that people are being picked up in the middle of weddings on suspicion of religious conversion,” he said.

However, the Bench, which had initially asked the petitioners to go to the respective State High Courts with their challenge, did not stay the implementation of the laws.

“This is the problem. We have already issued notice. You have come here under Article 32 of the Constitution...” Chief Justice Bobde said and resisted the plea for stay.

Mr. Singh pointed out that the laws concerned violation of the fundamental rights of dignity and liberty enshrined under Article 21. He pointed out that they had been enacted despite a series of judgments by the Supreme Court, including in the Hadiya case, that right to marry a person of one’s choice was part of an adult’s privacy.

“Under the laws, a person marrying into another faith should give a month’s prior notice to the authorities. There will be an inquiry. The provisions are oppressive,” Mr. Singh argued.

The court fixed a hearing in four weeks.

The petition filed by advocates Vishal Thakre and A.S. Yadav and researcher Pranvesh, who were represented by advocates Sanjeev Malhotra and Pradeep Kumar Yadav, said the laws were against public policy and society at large.

“These laws will create fear in society and become a potent tool in the hands of bad elements to falsely implicate anyone. A grave injustice will be done by the ordinances... They will create a chaotic situation,” the petition said.

The Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind has sought to be made a party in the case, saying the Uttar Pradesh law violates the fundamental rights of the Muslim youth, who are being targeted and demonised.

A series of Supreme Court verdicts underline that the choice of a life partner, whether by marriage or outside it, was part of an individual’s “personhood and identity”. “Matters of dress and of food, of ideas and ideologies, of love and partnership are within the central aspects of identity. Neither the State nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability of every person to decide on these matters,” the court had said in its Hadiya case judgment.

Autonomy of the individual was the ability to make decisions in vital matters of concern to life, a Constitution Bench said in the K.S. Puttuswamy case, or ‘privacy,’ judgment.

Any interference by the State in an adult’s right to love and marry has a “chilling effect” on freedom.

Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable, the court has said, “the absolute right of an individual to choose a life partner is not in the least affected by matters of faith”.


The Arrest of Stand-Up Comic Munawar Faruqui Should Worry Us All

 By Sanjay Rajoura

January 8, 2021


Munawar Faruqui


A coffin needs many nails. Call it macabre, but a coffin appears to be an apt metaphor because in India today, only the dead don’t get offended.

With the arrest of stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui by the Indore police, have we driven the last nail in the coffin? We are told that his “jokes” hurt the religious sentiments of some people who took objection to Faruqui making fun of Hindu gods. In his defence, Faruqui states that he had many jokes on Islam too. What a sad place to be for a stand-up comic, to be answering to whatabouteries.

Every joke has a back story and a context, which are perhaps more important than the punchline. A comic goes on stage, often exposing her own life stories to transform an anecdote into a joke. She connects many contemporary incidents, people, images, institutions or practices and maps a social and cultural pattern. Religion is one of them, and an important one at that, because it’s an integral and unquestioned part of the life of the majority of people in the audience. Take a comic who uses a wheelchair, wants to highlight the difficulties faced by her because most places are not accessible, and she happens to mention how Hindu mythology portrayed disabled figures negatively as the punchline to drive home the point and highlight society’s apathy. Now, it would be ridiculous to think that she is making fun of Hindu mythology. In this context, if anything should make people angry it’s the lack of wheel-chair friendly neighbourhoods. The comic here is highlighting a very real problem faced by many. To reduce it to hurting religious sentiments is missing the point by light years.

Stand-up comedy is about human beings and their behaviour and practices and never about gods and goddesses. India has had a rich tradition of using mythology, religion and religious figures as part of storytelling. There are numerous examples. One being from the cult classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) by iconic director Kundan Shah. The epic Mahabharata sequence is etched into our memory as one of the funniest ever. It’s hard to imagine that just 40 years ago, the legendary Om Puri said in that sequence, “Oye tu kaise Draupadi ko akele le jayega, hum sab shareholder hain.” Is it possible to say that today in comedy without consequences? I am afraid not. Again, we all know that the sequence was not about religion, religious figures or mythology. It was about human corruption and depravity. Like all good jokes, it had a context and a larger point.

In 40 years, we have gone from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro to “Bolne bhi mat do yaaro”. You are free to conclude, whether this is a slide or a climb.

Section 295(A) is often invoked against someone who is accused of hurting religious sentiments. It is an archaic law and was one of the parting gifts of the British. Such an antiquated law has no place in a free, modern society. It’s interesting to note that 295(A) of undivided India is the precursor to Pakistan’s 295(C) — the blasphemy law which carries the death penalty.

Unabashed state support to the blasphemy law in Pakistan has resulted in unfair and unjust persecution, including mob lynchings of minorities and even the murders of political figures, most notably Salman Taseer, who opposed the law and was assassinated by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. There is also the horrific story of the lynching of Mashal Khan, a student from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He was lynched by a mob in his university on a mere rumour of blasphemy. Such laws empower the mob and give it a twisted moral legitimacy to commit murder. Once a mob is empowered, no one is safe. It leads to collective social paranoia. A mob is bloodthirsty by nature, and, after a point, becomes community-agnostic, even going after its own, as is evident from the murders of Taseer and Khan. Even some of the lawyers defending a blasphemy accused were murdered.

The writing on the wall is as clear as it gets. Act now, India, before it’s too late.

The Indore incident where Munawar Faruqui was first apprehended by a group of men and then handed over to the police should worry us all. In a civilised society where rule of law is the order of the day, such brazen acts have no place. If you don’t like it, don’t go for it. If your religious sentiments are hurt, you have the right to file a complaint with police. Any further action is for the police to decide on and take. Citizens cannot be a self-proclaimed extension of the police, acting as vigilantes and dragging people to the police station.

I don’t know Faruqui personally and was not exposed to his craft until the Indore episode. After the incident though, my online feed is full of his videos. After watching a few of them, I can safely say that here is a bright young man, who is extremely comfortable laughing at himself and his faith too. Some of his jokes on Muslims are remarkably intelligent. From the videos, I could see that when he was on stage, he was in an extremely happy space. The audience loved him. He spoke about my India, his India, our collective shared India. Some of them funny, some not so. Do people have a right to take him off stage and hand him over to the cops? Turns out they do, in the name of god.

This surely must be one of god’s #NotInMyName moment. Whether such acts are the final nail in the coffin of democracy, shall be known soon enough. For now, though, the joke has been incarcerated in India.


Sanjay Rajourais a satirist.


Hindus and Patriotism: Why RSS Chief Is Wrong

By Karan Thapar

Jan 8, 2021

RSS Chief, Mohan Bhagwat


We are all prone to saying foolish things. I do so quite often. In fact, it’s probably one of the qualities that make us human. On the other hand, robots or creatures that work on artificial intelligence are never foolish, although they could be wrong. However, there’s a significant difference between the harmlessly foolish and the defiantly stupid. The latter, particularly when its acted upon, can be dangerous.

I’m afraid that the comments made by the sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh fall squarely into the latter category. I know my saying so will infuriate RSS members and the sarsangchalak’s army of fans but that can’t be helped. I would have to call a spade a fruit fork if I opted for gentler terminology!

At a book launch last Friday Mohan Bhagwat said: “If someone is Hindu, he has to be patriotic, that will be his or her basic character and nature”. Just in case that wasn’t clear enough, he added: “A Hindu can never be anti-Indian”. Much as he might want that to be the case, it simply isn’t true.

First of all, our history establishes that there is no shortage of Hindus who have been traitors -- it’s another matter that the country may not have been called India at the time. Amongst the earliest was Raja Aambhi of Taxila. Apparently, he had helped build the bridge cross the Indus river which enabled Alexander to invade the country. That was way back in 326 BC.

Jump a few centuries to Raja Jaichand. In 1192, he supported Muhammad of Ghor against Prithviraj Chauhan. It didn’t matter to him that Chauhan was his son-in-law. It’s said the desire for revenge because Chauhan had eloped with his daughter outweighed any qualms about assisting the Afghan invader.

However, don’t assume it’s only in ancient or medieval times that Hindus were traitors. Modern Hindus are really no different. We have several examples of Hindu treachery from the British Raj. One of the most striking is Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior, who in 1857 supported our conquerors. There are accounts that suggest his part in helping the British capture the Rani of Jhansi was by no means inconsequential.

And so to our own time. I’m not sure how one should think of the likes of Chhota Rajan, Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi or, even, Lalit Modi. I certainly wouldn’t accuse them of treason, but I would hardly call them patriots. And remember, every one of them is a Hindu.

However, I suspect that Mr Bhagwat would simply brush aside all the evidence of history that I have just marshalled. I believe his actual, but unstated, point is that India’s minorities cannot be as patriotic as its Hindu citizens. This, presumably, is what he means when he said a Hindu is patriotic by “his or her basic character and nature”, and “a Hindu can never be anti-Indian”.

Alas, even by this interpretation, the sarsanghchalak is simply wrong. And since it is acts of valour against the Pakistanis that are most likely to impress him, let me gently remind him of the honours won by Muslim soldiers in battles against our western neighbour -- although he has no business to have forgotten about them! Havildar Abdul Hamid won the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest award for gallantry, in 1965. Brig. Mohammad Usman posthumously won the Maha Vir Chakra in 1947. Lt. Col. Salim Caleb in 1965.

If this fails to convince Mr Bhagwat, then let me add what should be the clincher. The Army Chief who defeated Pakistan in 1971 -- a victory that the RSS holds in high esteem -- was a Parsi. The general who by common consensus has been accorded the greatest credit for India’s military performance in 1965 was a Sikh. The chief of staff of the Eastern Command who left Pakistan’s Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi no option but to surrender in Dhaka in December 1971 was a Jew. None of the three would have been offended to be called a Hindu, but each of them would have considered the sarsanghchalak’s statement ridiculous.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot more than that. It’s dangerous. The sarsanghchalak’s statement divides us, the people of India, on the spurious grounds that Hindus are automatically and naturally patriotic whilst the rest of us are not. This is not just untrue, it’s also wicked. It seeks to sow the seeds of doubt, suspicion, distrust and, eventually, difference between Indians.

The undeniable truth is that patriotism is defined by the love of one’s country, not by the character of one’s religion. And it’s important to remember the opposite is also true. Hindus are as capable of hating their country as an Indian of any another religion.

There is, however, a further, though tiny, question the sarsanghchalak hasn’t asked himself. What would patriotism amount to for the millions of Hindus who have left India to settle abroad and become citizens of another country? They carry British, Canadian or United States passports. Often their children don’t speak an Indian language. In fact, only in terms of origin do they accept their connection with India. In every other way they consider themselves British, Canadian or American. Does Mr Bhagwat realise and accept that for them patriotism would be love of the country they were born in, whose passport they hold and whose future will determine their own?

Let me make one last point. The sarsanghchalak has also said that “if one loves his country, that doesn’t only mean the land, it means its people, rivers, culture, traditions and everything”. Here I agree with him but only because this is a statement of the obvious. More importantly, it’s not something that applies only to Hindus who love India. It’s as true of the French and the Germans, Nigerians and Burundians, Australians and Argentinians and even, dare I say it, the good folk of Lapland.

I guess the point I’m making is simple. If we want our country to survive and flourish, let’s stop trying to define patriotism as a Hindu attribute and let’s discard the belief that Hindus are special or better. Otherwise, we could end up like Yugoslavia.


Do We Have A Grip On Disinformation In 2021?

By P.J George

8 Jan 2021

Disinformation, or “fake news”, is a malaise that has been worsened by the infodemic of the social media age. In the last few years, it has been used as an effective weapon to polarise communities and upset democratic processes. As we begin 2021, what is the current state of the malady? Pratik Sinha and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen discuss this question in a conversation moderated by P. J. George. Edited excerpts:

The modes and means of disinformation have been perpetually evolving. What is the state of disinformation as we have entered a new year?

Pratik Sinha: In the Indian context, disinformation is not evolving in quality but in quantity. When Alt News started in 2017, we used to debunk maybe five, six stories every week. But the nature of disinformation was the same as it is today — primarily old videos and images used to represent something in the present, especially if they have an element of violence or are highly politicised. We saw massive spikes of disinformation on the anti-Citizenship ( Amendment) Act protests, elections, the Delhi riots of 2020, and the pandemic. In all of these issues, the kind of disinformation which was perpetrated was pretty simple, and not that difficult to debunk. It’s just the organised manner in which it was produced every single day — multiple false claims using photos, images and text.

Going forward, I don’t think this is going to change much. In fact, it is just going to keep increasing because political parties have found out that if you put out organised disinformation, then any political narrative can be controlled. At the same time, even though India has a federal structure, the parties which have been targeted are not doing anything about it. They are not introducing any educational reform so that people can be more aware. So, what we are going to see is just a lot more disinformation that is rudimentary, but with a lot of people consuming it day in and day out, and forming their political opinion.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen: Pratik has described very clearly the basic dynamics of disinformation in many countries. It’s very visible in India, but we also see similar patterns in the U.S. and Brazil and a number of other countries. While the tactics, forms, and communities involved in creating and disseminating disinformation evolve over time, by now we have a very clear sense of what the basic dynamics are. I think of it as the four Ps: You have disinformation that is spread and created in the pursuit of Power. It often comes from the political establishment: sometimes from the governing party, sometimes from the opposition. Then you have disinformation that is spread for Profit. This is mostly sort of low-grade clickbait. Then you have disinformation that’s driven by Profound public disagreement. This is bottom-up disinformation, where people in good faith spread information that others think of as disinformation. We see this around vaccines, climate change, community relations in countries such as India. And the final P is that all of this is enabled by Platform companies. Facebook and WhatsApp, Google and YouTube, Twitter, and others enable the creation and spread of this information in ways that set us apart from where we were before the advent of digital media. These four Ps of power, profit, profound public disagreement and platforms will continue to drive disinformation in 2021.

Then there are some things that are changing. Many disinformation actors have embraced formats that are harder to fact-check and harder to moderate, whether by humans or by automated forms. We’re also seeing that platforms have been, on rare occasions, willing to go after disinformation very aggressively. [Due to this], we are seeing a migration or a partial migration of disinformation actors away from the large consumer-facing platforms to smaller and more specialised platforms. These could be encrypted messaging applications or chat functions in online gaming platforms, or newsletters, or any number of other platforms where, at this stage, we don’t have the same amount of effort or resource to try to combat disinformation.

Do you think the traditional media has improved its game or is it going round in circles when it comes to disinformation?

RKN: The fact-checking community has evolved in really impressive and important ways over time, in particular, when they fact-check powerful and prominent individuals who seem keen that others’ disinformation should be countered but not their own. In terms of journalism, we have seen some recognition of two problems that have plagued news organisations while dealing with disinformation historically. One of them is that a fundamental driver of disinformation is powerful people who lie, and who have weaponised the journalistic convention of quoting powerful people verbatim in headlines, even if what they say is untrue. Any fact-checking and debunking happens much later in articles that many readers never get to. We’ve seen some news organisations, most prominently perhaps in the U.S., showing a greater willingness to have headlines that run along the lines of ‘so-and-so have falsely claimed without evidence that this is the case’.

The other area in which we see some progress is in journalists making really important case-by-case decisions about when to cover disinformation narratives that are potentially harmful. They are striving to strike a balance between covering them because it’s important for the public to know of the harmful claims, and risking bringing people’s attention to such narratives by virtue of covering them.

PS: In India, there are two kinds of false news: the ones that come directly from politicians, and the other that is organised disinformation on social media. About politicians themselves, [statements by] Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have hardly been fact-checked by any news organisations. I think one television channel tried to do a fact-check, and three of its anchors were asked to leave and some advertisements were withdrawn.

When it comes to organised disinformation on social media, again, the mainstream media in India has acknowledged the issue but not many news organisations actually do fact-checking. Even if any mainstream media organisations are doing so, they are not looking at the most dangerous claims that are being put out. The main purpose of disinformation in India is to target minorities, and there’s very little fact-checking that has been done to reduce that harm.

India also has another problem. Not only is the mainstream media not fact-checking people, but it is actually putting out disinformation. If not disinformation, these are plugs by the government. The government claimed that Arsenicum Album 30, a homeopathic drug, can prevent people from having COVID-19 and so, many organisations carried that claim. Many mainstream media organisations gave Baba Ramdev unlimited bandwidth to put out his claims on Coronil.

Platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube have amplified disinformation with algorithms that prioritise engagement and revenue. Do you see 2021 being any different on this front?

PS: From the point of view of India, it is not going to be very different. As I said, one of the most common forms of disinformation in India are old images and old videos. Now, platforms claim that they don’t want to be the arbiters of truth, but it takes very little technological work to have something as basic as a database of images. We have developed a similar technology for the Alt News app with a database of images with dates that the users can look up. There is no question here of the platform deciding what is the truth. This major vector of disinformation can be controlled if platforms are willing to go that extra mile. When I’ve had an audience with some of these platforms, I have suggested that that they bring us in, as we are the people who are bridging journalism and technology and have ideas on how to deal with these issues. But all our requests have fallen on deaf ears. Second, a lot of their decisions are not wellthought-out. They are constantly reacting to situations and do not seem to have any plan.

RKN: I agree that technology has the potential to deal with these problems. But at a very fundamental level, there are key parts of these problems that are political and social in nature. Several of these companies took major initiatives around the 2020 U.S. elections. And if you are a user in India, you would have every right to ask, ‘Am I not equally important?’ The companies have some tough questions to answer in terms of how they treat us.

While questioning science and questionable science have both been aspects of disinformation earlier, the pandemic period saw an overabundance of this. Where’s the slip up happening due to which established science such as vaccines is being called into question?

RKN: Science is arguably the single most powerful way we have of arriving at the best obtainable version of the truth. There are clear examples of misinformation and disinformation that is in direct conflict with the best available scientific evidence. These are harmful as they can be around vaccines or public health emergencies and, for that matter, climate change. It’s a particularly problematic form of disinformation and one where we actually have a ground truth that we can compare the claims against. However, we need to recognise that in a rapidly developing situation, research in science by its very nature deals with uncertainty rather than certainty. Large and powerful institutions that make decisions based on scientific input have to recognise that the scientific consensus will evolve as we get new data, and different analyses sometimes overturn established findings. Think of a situation like the early parts of the pandemic. Very important international health organisations made a number of claims about the way in which the disease is transmitted that we now know are wrong. I don’t think we should blame them for that. There are some areas in which there is a clear scientific consensus and an established ground truth, but there are other areas in which this is less clear.

Powerful people have weaponised the journalistic convention of quoting them verbatim in headlines, even if what they say is untrue. Any fact-checking happens much later in articles that many readers never get to. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

PS: From the Indian perspective, I’ll give it a two part-answer. One is how journalism deals with science. I know The Hindu has one, but most news organisations don’t have a science team that is trained to cover science. They treat science as press releases, dutifully putting them out without examining the facts. Problem number two is that none of us expected a pandemic; we were just not ready for the fact that during a pandemic, we will have science that is constantly changing. Even recently, we debunked a video where people were circulating an old mask protocol. The other thing that happened, especially in India, was that alternative medicine thought of this as a very good chance to gain prominence. A number of cures were put out claiming to be COVID-19 cures. These claims are there on Amazon and Google and many people are buying these drugs; again, no factchecking. So, in India, we are facing a much bigger problem, not just because we have what the rest of the world has, but because the journalism industry in India is not equipped to handle the science.


Reading Hannah Arendt in Joe Biden’s America

By Shelley Walia

8 Jan 2021

For the first time in the history of the United States, a President has incited insurrection by his neo-Nazi brigade of rightwing supporters, opposing the peaceful transfer of power. It is tantamount to encouraging hostility when the world stood horrified as a witness to the rioters storming the U.S. Capitol. The violence against democracy, a blotch on the American constitutional democracy, interestingly, changed the minds of senators like Kelly Loeffler (Republican) who had previously said that they would object to the Electoral College results.

Healing a polarised nation

The unhinged and angry authoritarian at last stands crushed and humiliated after trying his best to undercut one of the oldest democratic systems in existence. With Joe Biden walking into the White House on January 20, there can be no overplaying the enormity of the tasks ahead of him, what with the deeply polarised nation divided into two belligerent camps. Afflicted with an escalating novel coronavirus pandemic, an ailing economy, racial discrimination, and a climate crisis rebuffed by millions, Mr. Biden’s America has four long years to undo the tragic consequences of intolerance and division left behind by the incumbent.

Tragedy, for Joe Biden, is the very condition of life. Having lost his wife and daughter in an accident and a son to cancer, Joe Biden has always had the deep-seated desire to urge politics towards humanism in the wake of the overwhelming systemic racism that has underpinned American culture recently. The bitter assault on democracy is better understood in the recent revelation of his letter written in 1975 to the famous German-American philosopher, Hannah Arendt (, requesting her to send him a copy of her paper read at the Boston Bicentennial Forum. It reflects his desire to find “deeper causes” underlying the economic and social collapse as well as the scourge of racism.

A contrast to Trump’s politics

Arendt sent out a warning in her paper entitled “Coming Home to Roost” which the present generation must heed: “All speculation about deeper causes returns from the shock of reality... the stark, naked brutality of facts, of things as they are.” Her focus is largely on her deep-seated interest in political humanism and a free space in the world inhabited by people who are inspired by public principles and an ethics that stands in stark contradiction to the inherent ethno-nationalist populism and alternate-reality politics of Donald Trump. Boastful and deluded like Mussolini, and with an overriding penchant for self-glorification, he is overwhelmingly obsessed with not letting go of his power. More frighteningly, his conception of reality is different and facts have no significance for him.

Arendt returns repeatedly to this theme of the difference in things as they are and things as they can be made to seem — the difference, for example, in “our … outright humiliating defeat” in Vietnam and what Americans had been led to believe would be “peace with honor”. The image projected by Mr. Trump of an America for the whites, where there is no place for immigrant “termites”, coheres with the public sentiment of the white noncollege going population that relates fondly with the language of a President that is no better than a junior school third rater. The invasion of Mr. Trump into the political life of America has been more of a politics of lies projected through the dominance of an image to convince the people that only he could save America. And now when the shaky putsch has failed and the Trump loyalists have departed for home, he has begun to exactly do what the American government is an old hand at: “finding ways and means of how to avoid admitting defeat” and keeping the image of a President as the ‘mightiest power on earth’ and the only one who can keep it intact. A bully is no different.

In asking for the paper, Mr. Biden, to use Arendt’s words with which she described President Ford’s attitude after the defeat in Vietnam, has taken on the responsibility “to heal the wounds of a divided nation,” urging the people to begin a new chapter. As a young man in his thirties, he had already become aware of America’s “image-making as global policy”, a fundamentally American version of “big lie” techniques devised in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. There, Arendt argues, “lying was guided by ideology and backed by terror”; here, it has been directed at creating images and bolstered by “hidden persuasion” through the manipulation of public opinion.

A parallel, then and now

Interestingly, Mr. Biden, in keeping with the intellectual leanings of the 1960s and the 1970s, had begun to think at a young age of Arendt as a contemporary philosopher speaking on the idea of “image and lies”, on disinformation, on violence, on public and private freedom, and on political action. It was the war on terror, on Afghanistan and Iraq that echo Arendt’s report on the Holocaust organiser, Adolf Eichmann and his trial which derives its significance from the complex notions of justice and responsibility, ethics and duty. The war, for instance in Iraq or a few decades earlier in Vietnam was not in support of defending democracy and human rights but to exhibit the power and might of the American hegemon. The fabrication of the hypothesis of “weapons of mass destruction” was exposed when no such lethal nuclear arsenal was discovered. The sham left both the United States and Britain red in the face.

Setting policy right

Mr. Biden had early on in life learnt from political philosophy that the rise of a more workable political and public humanism depends singularly on Arendt’s “free spectators of action” who determine the meaning of action and its public relevance that saves humans from the abyss of a miserable existence.

No wonder Mr. Biden has taken keen interest in pressing humanitarian issues such as Sudan’s political crisis or the dark contemporary history of Syria. He has already introduced a national security team designed to repudiate Mr. Trump’s nationalistic isolationism in order to usher in humility and confidence among America’s allies.

His choice to execute the nation’s immigration policy is a Cuban-American (Alejandro Mayorkas). Avril Haines will be the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence. And possibly Lloyd Austin would be the first African-American in America’s history to head the Department of Defense. As Mr. Biden’s choice for Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland will be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary to ensure that the nation would make right the wrongs in the long history of bloodshed and extermination of the natives. This counters not only Mr. Trump’s misogynism but also his agenda of withdrawing shamelessly from America’s role in the world as a defender of democracy and human rights.

Arendt’s castigation of Zionism and the fascism of the American supported Israeli leadership brings us to the question of how authoritarian regimes fail to notice the lack of any sense of ethics or humanitarian necessity. It is true that “biological racism” that is visible in the history of apartheid, or in Germany under Nazism, or the resurgence of racist politics under Mr. Trump subsists on the major ideology of enforcing complete submission of the individual self to the state, the evil of incorrigible megalomaniacs striking out at the very dignity of being human.

Schooled in Arendt’s writings on totalitarianism and the nature of the human condition in times of crises, Mr. Biden is the right choice for President who hopefully, has the vision for an exceptionally progressive change. It is expected that he will constantly be on his toes with the same readiness as Barack Obama, and alive to what George Santayana warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Writings that inspire

America must know that politics of terrorism will not work any more at home or abroad. And it is hoped that many around the world would go to Arendt if only to learn a lesson or two about the vulnerability of our democracy that allows people like Mr. Trump to even stand for election when he is guilty of allowing thousands to die of the pandemic. Her writings have always been a powerful foundation of inspiration to the people’s movements fighting against totalitarian lying and the infringement of basic human rights. Her persistent warnings of failure of the American republican tradition for self-government asks for an ideological position underpinned by a more cognitive existence that is mindful of the facts ‘coming home to roost’. For Arendt, if you remain an onlooker and express no reaction appropriate to the circumstances, your inertia will amount to deliberately perpetrating violence and accepting lies to prevail.


Shelley Walia is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, Panjab University, Chandigarh


Imran Khan’s China Embrace

By G Parthasarathy

Jan 07, 2021

Pakistan’s leaders have invariably been more than solicitous in responding to China’s demands and ambitions. PM Imran Khan, however, appears determined to steer Pakistan into an even tighter Chinese embrace, with moves which Pakistanis could regret later. The readiness of an ambitious China to invest an estimated $62 billion in CPEC is understandable. CPEC links China’s landlocked western regions to the Arabian Sea. It provides an energy corridor for petroleum from the Persian Gulf to reach the heartland of China in the event of the lines of communication across the Indian Ocean being disturbed. At the same time, however, Chinese loans for infrastructure projects across Asia and Africa are landing recipient countries with debts. This leads to Chinese demands for the repayment of debts from the recipients, who have mortgaged ownership of their ports and mineral resources to China. ‘Debt trap diplomacy’ is now a Chinese specialisation across Asia and Africa.

Pakistan has been more than ready to be a junior partner in borrowing recklessly from China, while also fulfilling Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions. Beijing has, after all, backed Pakistan in developing its nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. Pakistan, in turn, has to now approach banks in China to obtain credits to repay loans from Saudi Arabia, which is insisting on timely repayment, even of relatively small amounts. The Saudis do not love Imran Khan, who rather naively agreed to support an initiative by Turkey and Malaysia, designed to restructure the Islamic world. Such restructuring would have undermined Saudi primacy. There are also reports of increasing military/nuclear dimensions in Imran Khan’s growing friendship with Turkey’s President Erdogan. How will this scenario, arising amidst a growing Pakistan-China nexus, play out in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf?

Imran Khan also earned the wrath of the UAE when Pakistan’s loquacious Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, refused to attend an OIC meeting of foreign ministers of 57 Islamic countries, hosted by his UAE counterpart. Qureshi’s petulance arose from the invitation that the UAE issued to India’s the then Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend and address the meeting. To make matters worse, Qureshi made his petulance public. Pakistan soon found that the visas of most of its nationals in the UAE were not being renewed. With remittances from its workers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia declining sharply, the only lenders Pakistan could find to repay Saudi loans were banks in China.

Even as Imran Khan seeks to borrow more money to meet past debts, Pakistan’s repayment liabilities are rising rapidly. The security situation in Pakistan’s mineral-rich Balochistan province, which also has significant resources of natural gas, is deteriorating. Moreover, private foreign investments in Balochistan from prestigious international business organisations have also been put on hold, because of legal cases filed by major mining companies from Canada and Chile. Balochistan is known to have huge reserves of gold and copper. The major beneficiary of these developments has been the China Metallurgical Group Corporation. The Chinese have secured lucrative tax breaks for their mining activities. People jokingly remark: “Pakistan is China’s gold mine!”

Now increasingly dependent on China, Imran Khan is set to provide off-shore bases for China’s submarines in the Islands of Buddhoo and Bundal across its Sindh coastline, near Karachi. China has also reportedly agreed to explore the possibilities of building more naval bases in the Arabian Sea, within or near, Pakistan’s territorial waters. There are, however, clear signs of discontent emerging in the coastal provinces of Sindh and Balochistan at the exploitation of their territory and natural resources by China. It has also led to the emergence of a militant organisation called the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army, which is reportedly making common cause with armed militant groups in Balochistan to target Chinese personnel and projects.

Growing resentment in Balochistan has been triggered by the arrogant behaviour of the Chinese residing in the province and by the Punjabi-dominated Pakistan army. The entire port of Gwadar was recently sealed by the Pakistan army at Chinese behest. Local Baloch residents were then being arbitrarily denied entry into port. This order has been stayed by the Balochistan High Court. It remains to be seen how long the recent stay order remains in force.

There are also reports that apart from Gwadar, the Islands of Bundal and Buddhoo in Sindh are being developed as bases for Chinese submarines. It is feared that the growing Chinese presence in these provinces would lead yet another senior Pakistani military officer being appointed to head the projects. The apprehension appears to be that he would be tempted to make his millions of dollars. This would be in line with how Lt Gen Asim Bajwa allegedly made $54 million while heading CPEC projects. The charges against Bajwa have not been investigated. He has, instead, got an extension to continue heading CPEC.

Bajwa would now also have to focus attention on road routes and hydel projects across Gilgit-Baltistan to China’s Xinjiang province, through the Shaksgam valley. The valley was generously “gifted” by Pakistan to China in the 1970s. India raised objections to this “gifting”, asserting its claims to the entire PoK territory. It is likely that more and more Chinese military personnel will move into Gilgit-Baltistan. The territory could well be integrated with the Wakhan corridor and Xinjiang.

An already cash-strapped Pakistan will soon be saddled with an even larger Chinese debt. As Quad prepares to meet this challenge posed by China, there will be a need for a comprehensive study of the strategic implications of Pakistan’s huge debt and dependence on China.


Pakistan's Sophistry

By Bhopinder Singh

07 January 2021

Its terror-conducive justice system, backed by the machinations of the politico-military-clergy triad, is a hoax. The country had better be prudent

Pakistan’s overall criminal justice system on terrorism is a creaking sham, not just owing to the complicity of the politico-military-clergy triad but also due to the compromised nature of the two essentials of any criminal justice system, i.e. prosecution and the judiciary. Despite various Anti-Terrorism Acts (ATAs), Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs) and even more grandiloquent National Action Plan (NAP) — the conviction rates in terror cases in Pakistan remain abysmally low, if at all the convictions take place. The judiciary has historically been an integral part of the Pakistani establishment’s machinations as exemplified in the mid-50s when Chief Justice Muhammad Munir had propounded the “doctrine of necessity” to legalise General Ayub Khan’s extra-legal takeover of the country by suggesting that “which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity”. But the fickle nature of intrigues and inter-institutional one-upmanship can result in the judiciary taking on the politicians and Generals also — not necessarily to uphold the law but pursuant to their own institutional turf wars. A special court trying the former Pakistan Army chief and President, Pervez Musharraf, had stunningly announced for him the death penalty by majority votes (which was later overturned); and, more recently, the Pakistani Chief Justice had rejected a petitioner’s last-minute withdrawal plea that had initially challenged the extension of the Pakistan Army chief’s tenure. It was followed by a tense three-day drama which kept the politicos and the Generals on the tenterhooks. The wheels-within-wheels of manipulation and vested interests by all the competing arms of governance have ensured the perpetuation of the rot that facilitates “terror nurseries”.

Pakistan is precariously poised to potentially get “blacklisted” for supporting and financing terror and is under constant review by the watchdog agency, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). But a few weeks ago, the Sindh High Court had set aside the provincial Government’s detention orders pertaining to the four terrorists held for the abduction and gruesome murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. The horrifying case of the journalist’s decapitation had shocked the conscience of the international community but the provincial court declared it “null and void” and not warranting “any sort of detention”. The acting Attorney-General of the US, Jeffrey Rosen, indignantly remarked that the “separate judicial rulings reversing conviction and ordering release are an affront to terrorism victims everywhere”, and the family of the journalist called it a “travesty of justice”. For its part, India is well versed with the Pakistani judicial system as a similar fate was bestowed upon the likes of Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and the other masterminds of the Mumbai 26/11 carnage who are often “detained”, “kept under house arrest” and even “sentenced” to appease the international community and keep the FATF proceedings from reaching harsh and punitive action, but are able to indulge in their nefarious activities nonetheless.

Intelligence sources had named the terror and Sunni-supremacist organisation, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, as being one of the key participants in the Daniel Pearl murder case. The dilly-dallying, obsequiousness and the long rope afforded by the courts to such organisations ensure that they continue to thrive irrespective of their crimes. The complicated history of the Pakistani military and its intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in nurturing and supporting such outfits from time to time has always ensured that there are crucial “contacts” and “sympathisers” within the military and the additional pusillanimity by other levers like the judiciary, completely enfeebling the anti-terror commitments that exist only in name. Unsurprisingly, last week, the same Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and ISIL (ISIS) cadres were said to have killed 11 Hazara Shia coal miners after abducting them, tying up their hands and shooting them in cold blood — another statistic was added to Pakistan’s bloody societal violence that is unmatched in its brutality, and apparent acquiescence and leniency from the Government’s side, at the same time.

To add insult to injury in the lamentable circus that besets Pakistan, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari inconceivably said: “India-funded terrorists in Balochistan are getting more desperate as development comes to the province!” The reality of the supposed “development” in the region barely masks the fact that the persecuted Shia Hazara community, from which these miners had come, is huddled in two heavily guarded ghettos in Quetta and surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, after hundreds of them were killed in sectarian violence over the past couple of decades. For the religious minorities and the “deemed minorities” like Shias, Ahmediyas and several others, justice is a far cry.

Even if the odd individual wishes to stand up for justice and for upholding the constitutional provisions, the societal regression that envelops the Pakistani judicial system is all-pervasive and powerful, as was seen when the proud murderer Mumtaz Qadri (who had killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in broad daylight) was showered with rose petals by the resident lawyers when he attended court. The judge who finally gave Qadri the death sentence had to face an impromptu strike by the District Bar Association, had his office vandalised and was forced into exile out of the country, fearing for his life. Further, the witness protection programmes in Pakistan are completely ineffective as “influential” bodies routinely and brazenly ensure intimidation and retractions, and people are simply too scared to testify.

The patent sophistry of ascribing the booming terror network in Pakistan onto the so-called “non-State actors” is a bogey that has lost all credibility. No such apparatus or ecosystem can survive for so long with such impunity despite so many Acts, laws and military exercises aimed at “uprooting terror” — unless the elements of the lawmakers (politicos), law enforcers (police/paramilitary), military, religio-social leaders and the judiciary themselves are hand in glove with the perpetrators. Indeed, many a time these terror elements also turn onto their one-time benefactors to settle scores and, therefore, the disentanglement of the murky terror wirings is not very obvious, linear or simple, given the multiplicity of the individual and institutional cross-support afforded to them from time to time. Therefore, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s unconvincing posturing as the “victim of terror” is akin to crying wolf as the Frankensteinian reality convinces nobody. The quartet of Pakistan’s military-politicians-clergy-judiciary can never come clean or abort their inter-linkages with such elements. But they will do well to remember that the slippery slope of terror spares absolutely no one.


Bhopinder Singh, a military veteran, is a former Lt Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. The views expressed are personal.)


Why Is Turkey Wooing Bangladesh?

By Dr Yatharth Kachiar

January 6, 2021

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s recent visit to Dhaka involved inauguration of a new embassy compound and a pledge of enhanced cooperation with the country. The visit has raised attention regarding Ankara’s expanding interest in South Asia, particularly Bangladesh. Turkey has historically been close to Pakistan to the extent of supporting Islamabad diplomatically and militarily during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Ankara officially recognized Bangladesh during the 1974 OIC summit held in Lahore and opened its first embassy in Dhaka in 1976. The ties between the two countries flourished after that. The relations took a nose-dive from 2012 onwards when the Islamist-oriented AKP, known for its support to Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, started condemning Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal’s prosecution of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for their involvement in the genocide committed by Pakistani army during 1971 war. The recent visit by Turkish foreign minister to Dhaka infused a new drive in Turkey-Bangladesh relations and renewed Turkey’s Asia pivot.

Turkey’s foreign policy dilemma

Since its inception in 1923, one of Turkish foreign policy’s primary goal has been establishing itself as a part of ‘Western civilization’.However, Turkey’s unique geostrategic position, developmental profile, Islamic identity, and security threats have always been similar to those in the ‘global South’. This inherent dilemma in Turkish identity was projected on its foreign policy as well. Consequentially, Turkish policymakers have always prioritized the relations with the West and the US over their Asian and Middle Eastern counterparts. Nonetheless, Turkey is also known to play its western vs Islamic identity in foreign policy and favouring a more multi-dimensional approach depending upon its immediate strategic orientation and the tensions with its principal ally- the European Union (EU).In none of these scenarios, Turkey had historically shown deep interest in expanding influence as far as South Asia and Asia-Pacific.

Initial pivot to Asia

Under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has vigorously started pursuing its strategic interests in ‘the global South’, including Asia. Initially launched in the early 2000s, Turkey’s extensive foreign policy outreach to traditionally neglected regions of Asia, Latin America, and Africa was the strategic vision of former Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. The impressive and sustained economic growth of the early 2000s gave Turkey the necessary confidence to relinquish its previous hesitations and embrace its strategic ambitions. Since then, Turkey has extended its global footprints by opening new embassies to engage countries in the ‘global south’ including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Cambodia, and Laos.

Renewed commitment

Turkey has invigorated this similar strategic vision under the ‘Asia Anew’ initiative unveiled by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in 2019. Under this new initiative, Turkey has been focusing on strengthening its relations with Asia’s countries to build synergies in education, defence, investments, trade, technology, and culture.Turkey’s renewed activism in Asia results from structural changes at the global level and the ideological drive behind AKP’s foreign policy. The increasing rift in Turkey’s relations with the West and the ongoing fight for primacy within the Muslim world has estranged Turkey from its traditional ally, the West and the neighbouring Islamic countries. In this scenario, Turkey is bidding to extend influence toregions with less historical baggage such as Asia.

Bangladesh: the desirable candidate

With its growing economy based on a sustainable development model, Bangladesh assumes a special place in Turkey’s outreach to Asia. Turkey’s ongoing competition with Saudi-led block for primacy within the Islamic world also makes Bangladesh a desirable candidate to sway within its sphere of influence.In South Asia, Dhaka is Ankara’s second-highest trade partner after India, with a total trade volume of USD 1 billion in 2019 before the pandemic.

Further, President Erdogan intends to expand Turkey’s defence industrial base by boosting arms sales to USD 25 billion by 2023. Bangladesh could also become a critical market for the Turkish defence industry in the future. Turkey has already delivered the Otokar Cobra light armoured vehicle to the Bangladesh Army in 2013 and secured USD 1 billion contracts for 680 light armoured vehicles in 2017.In March 2019, Bangladesh signed a contract with a Turkish company, ROKETSAN for procuring medium-range guided multiple rocket launchers.Various training programs and military exercises further strengthen the defence links between the two nations.

Turkey’s unconditional support to Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue has significantly deepened the ties between the two countries. Turkey rallied behind Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue at various multilateral fora such as the UN, the G20, and the OIC. Further, Ankara through its state institutions such as the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), and other Turkish NGOs has built various facilities such as camps, hospitals, schools, and orphanages for refugees in Bangladesh.


In the initial phase of Turkey’s outreach to Asia in the early 2000s, one of the most critical factors that worked in Ankara’s favour was its impressive economic growth. Driven by a booming economy, Turkish policymakers pursued trade, humanitarian, and cultural diplomacy with great vigour. The ‘Asia Anew’ initiative is the continuation of the previous policies under dramatically different circumstances. At present, Turkey’s strained relations with the West, Middle Eastern countries and its dwindling economy will pose significant constraints on Ankara’s renewed commitment towards Asia, and specifically Bangladesh. President Erdogan’s deep commitment to Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist values might also prove irksome to the leadership’s sensitivities in Dhaka if Turkey supports any such organization in Bangladesh. Undoubtedly, at present, Turkey-Bangladesh shares cordial and cooperative relations with the possibility of more intensive engagement. However, the real challenge would be to safeguard the relations from Turkey’s self-sabotaging policies.


A New Low For America: A Mob Incited By President Trump Storms The Seat Of US Power

By Saswato R Das

January 8, 2021

When all is said and done, when the dust has long settled on the 2020 election and the raw passions it unleashed, when Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been consigned to the pages of history, it will be said that this was the time when the great 200-plus-year experiment that is American democracy came very close to floundering – and survived by the skin of its teeth.

It survived because of the strength of America’s institutions; it survived because of the foresight of the Republic’s Founding Fathers; and it survived because there were still men and women of principle in the Republican Party who put America first. But it was close. Many would say too close.

To most Americans, the sight of domestic terrorists (for what else can you call them?) storming the US Capitol during the final vote certification proceedings of the 2020 presidential election in favour of Joe Biden was horrifying, unfathomable and unconscionable. The federal government had lost control of the Capitol, the iconic seat of US power. American democracy was literally under attack – and that, too, from Americans, egged on by a sitting US president, who was unhappy that he had lost the election by millions of votes.

It was a new low in the history of America. News reports showed images of the mob streaming into the Capitol through broken windows and doors, ransacking offices, and waving Confederate flags. Initial police action seemed lacklustre (in comparison to scenes of muscular action against Black Lives Matter protests last year), but picked up later in the day.

The Capitol was shut down for hours. Americans remained glued to television watching the chaos unfold. It soon took on a farcical, tamasha-like aspect: Many members of the mob, in costume, were taking selfies in the Capitol and putting on MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats on plaster busts of former legislative worthies.

For weeks, Trump had been railing against his loss, making unproven accusations of fraud. Court case after court case had been thrown out for lack of evidence; principled people like Brad Raffensperger of Georgia, who oversaw elections there, had resisted pressure from Trump to overthrow a legitimate election. Even Vice-President Mike Pence, who had been loyal to Trump, broke with his boss on Wednesday and said he couldn’t overturn the will of the electorate.

Trump’s refusal to concede cost the Republicans their Senate majority. Tuesday’s run-off election in Georgia saw two Democrats win against Republican opponents. Raphael Warnock, a former preacher, will be the first African-American to represent Georgia as a senator. It is a historical moment. As news reports pointed out, when Warnock was born, the two senators who represented Georgia were segregationists.

Right wingers and pro-Trump fans had descended in droves into Washington DC in the past few days, to hold a show of force to support their president. But most Americans thought that the protests would be in the halls of Congress, where a bunch of Republican legislators like Ted Cruz of Texas, a Trump rival turned bootlicker, were making a cynical show of support for President Trump. (Cruz is so disliked by his colleagues that a fellow Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, had joked a couple of years ago, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”) It would be procedural opposition and grandstanding that didn’t really have a chance.

The Senate Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, forcefully argued that the voters, the courts and the states have all spoken in favour of Joe Biden. He said that Congress should not overrule them, for “it would damage our republic forever.” Overturning an election solely to unproven allegations from the losing side, meant American “democracy would enter a death spiral.”

Most Republican senators echoed this sentiment, especially after the violence in the Capitol. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said he voted for Trump, he didn’t want Joe Biden to be president. “We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.”

As of this writing, according to news reports, President Trump’s Cabinet is mulling invoking the 25thAmendment, which would remove him from power. And Democratic legislators are considering impeaching him yet again.

George Washington, the first American president, had foreseen this: “The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

Two weeks remain until the new president’s inauguration, normally a stretch when a lame duck president ties up loose strings and graciously hands over power. This time it has been different. Joe Biden, the incoming president, called the attack on the Capitol “an insurrection” and “a dark moment” in the nation’s history. Indeed, America stands much diminished in the eyes of the world, and what happened in Washington DC will cast a long shadow both domestically and overseas.