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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Kashmir and a Green Book

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Hello dear Sunday readers, If you are reading this I will assume that you are a well informed world citizen and have already heard what happened on the border between Pakistan and India this week.

The two South Asian countries are known for their long term spiky relationship, indeed, the partition of British India, which they were both part of, sliced the country in three provinces based on religious majorities in 1947. This led to overwhelming refugees crises and large scale violence in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. While this took place more than 50 years ago, this week the world rediscovered that some of these conflicts are in fact, still not fully resolved. Pakistan and India, like two unhappy divorcees, both claim full dominion on a beautiful northern region, called Kashmir, which is where Wednesday’s events took place. There was a dogfight between Pakistani and Indian warplanes in the Pakistani controlled part of Kashmir, which caused the downfall of two Indian fighter jets, and one on the Pakistani side. This attack was preceded by airstrikes of the Indian Air Forces the previous day, which were the first incursion of Indian Air Forces in Pakistani territory since the war of 1971.

The Pakistani authorities later claimed to hold one of the pilots, Wing Commander Abhinandan, in custody. For experts, this sudden escalation between these nuclear-armed neighbours represents the geopolitical struggles that both these newfound democracies are having. Imran Khan, Pakistani Prime Minister and Narendra Modi Indian Prime Minister are described as being populist leaders who would both want to avoid seeming weak to their voters, thus maintaining this nuclear staring contest.

Indeed, as the Daily Telegraph explained: “India and Pakistan are sliding closer to the brink than Washington and Moscow ever did” which is an alarming thought after personally having spend the Wednesday afternoon, in the stadspark, not worrying about the end of the world. But after India’s backlash on the release of the video of the imprisoned pilot and the international attention, Imran Khan announced that they would let the pilot go freely, as ”a gesture for peace” in a hope to lighten their century old tensions with India.

On the topic of things that we thought should have ended 50 year ago, Green Book, winner of this year’s Best Picture at the Oscars, is criticized for being racist.

The movie, set in the early 1960’s follows the tale of the friendship between a successful black pianist and his Italian American driver who drive across the segregated South. Although the film sets out with a positive message, critics accuse it for being the sort of movie made by white people to make themselves feel better about racism. The blissful “post-racial” feeling the movie provokes and its white-centered cast and production team clashes with the painful portrayal of segregation in the Jim Crow Laws era. Although the public seems to be approving the film so far, many movie enthusiasts were disappointed that the nomination didn’t go to more culturally impactful films like Spike Lee’s “BlacKKKlansman” or Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

What did you think? Since these movies are currently being screened in your local cinemas, I would strongly invite you to go and watch them to figure out for yourself if the films promoted by award shows like the Oscars are still too white centered or if their attempt at diversity is working.


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