LISA Seminar 2012

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by Lisa on 05 Sep, 2012 02:55 pm


Held at  At Strathmore Grange Hotel, London UK on 23 August 2012 at 1730 pm

The London Institute of South Asia annual seminar this year was well attended with interactive participation of the audience. The seminar was addressed by some eminent scholars from India, Pakistan, Canada and the United Kingdom. For a fairly comprehensive video coverage please go to

The Seminar was chaired by Mr Alan Hart a role model of note and a man of distinction..

The seminar was addressed by the following speakers:-

  • Alan Hart

  • Dr Shahid Qureshi

  • Professor Gurtej Singh

  • Dr Awatar Singh Sekhon

  • Brigadier (R) Usman Khalid

  • VT Rajshekar

  • Hamid Saeed Akhtar

The proceedings of the seminar opened with introductory and welcome address by LISA Executive Director Saeed Ismat.

Introductory/Welcome address by Saeed Ismat

Aslaam o Alikum

May peace and safety be upon you all. On behalf of the London Institute of South Asia I take

May peace and safety be upon you all. On behalf of the London Institute of South Asia I take this opportunity to warmly welcome you all this evening to our Annual Seminar on ‘Roots and Realities of Terrorism in the Subcontinent’.

At the London institute of South Asia (LISA) we are determined to combat the tsunami of disinformation and propaganda brainwashing our minds so successfully. LISA is mindful of the influences corporate controlled mainstream media bears on the ordinary mind. At LISA we do not seek assistance or support from any foundation, government, or mainstream media since they are driven by their corporate masters or their specific agendas.

We are an independent voice determined to speak the truth and provide an alternative source of information and ideas for our readers. LISA needs your support in that we are looking forward to benefit from your candid view and your efforts to spread the truth wherever and how- so- ever you can. Intrinsic to our mission is our dedication to humanity in general and for betterment of the people of South Asia in particular. Our ideological perspective is based on commitment to integrity, fairness, equal opportunity, human rights in intra sate and interstate relationships. We shall be a voice for the freedom and rights of South Asian communities devoted to elimination of discrimination based on religion, caste, tribes, language, race or nationalities.

LISA shall try to bring on its platform leaders and academics, philosophers and thinkers, political scientists and historians who share its objective of peace and freedom for the peoples of South Asia. LISA started as a dream about six years ago. The person who envisioned this dream is right amongst us today.  It is my proud privilege to present Usman Khalid LISA under his guidance and enlightened the vision has come of age. We would also like to extend our gratitude and thanks to all the role players that have made it possible for the dream to become a reality.

I would now take a few moments to introduce our Chairman of the Seminar Mr Alan Hart a role model of note, a man of distinction. He has been engaged with the events in the Middle East and there global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilizations.

Alan Hart is a fiercely independent thinker. He hates all labels and isms and has never been a member of any political party or group. He prefers to judge issues on their merit. As a researcher and author, his first book “Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?” was published in 1984 and subsequently in several updated editions over a decade.

In his zest for search of peace his efforts have been extensive and highly laudable. He was actively involved in covert diplomacy or call it backdoor diplomacy to bring about a resolution of Palestinian problem. His mediation was based on Truth Telling as he believes that peacemaking is not possible without it. A decade later the process that he had initiated became to be known as Oslo Process.

 His latest book “Zionism: The Real Enemy of Jews” shows that countdown to Armageddon is on and how it can be stopped.

 With this brief introduction and before e I hand over the proceedings to the Chairman let me outline the form this seminar is take.

Each speaker has been allocated 15-20 minutes and I would request them to kindly restrict their address to the allocated time as we shall be publishing their papers on our website and some papers may be published in next LISA journals. After each speaker we shall take two to three questions from the audience and towards the end of seminar we have a planned a more comprehensive session for your active participation.

At the end of the seminar a ceremony for LISA Annual Book Award shall be held. Refreshment shall be served at the end of the seminar.

Now without any further ado hand you over to our chairman Mr Alan Hart.

Alan Hart

I am very happy to be with my LISA friends again; and I looked upon the invitation to chair this seminar as an honour.

Though I covered events in the Subcontinent for many years, my area of real expertise is, as some of you know, the Middle East. I describe the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel as the cancer at the heart of international affairs and which on present course may well consume us all. What do I mean by “consume us all”? The shortest answer to that question is a statement made to me by Prime Minister Golda Meir in an interview I did with her for the BBC’s Panorama programme. She said that in a doomsday situation Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the world down with it.”...... Less than an hour after that interview was transmitted on a Monday evening, The Times of London, then a seriously good newspaper, had changed its lead editorial to quote what Golda had said to me. It then added its own opinion - “We had better believe her.” I did. And still do.

On the subject of The Roots and Realities of Terrorism in the Subcontinent, the distinguished speakers who will be addressing you are far greater experts than me, so my purpose in taking a few minutes of your time now is to offer some general thoughts about terrorism in the hope of providing some context for their contributions.

The problem for any discussion about terrorism is that there is no agreement about WHAT IT IS; and therefore no agreement on when the use of violence to press a claim for justice is, or even may be, legitimate.

In my opinion the main reason why there is no agreement can be simply stated. Governments do not want to admit, cannot admit, that there are two kinds of terrorism - state terrorism and non-state terrorism.

State terrorism can be defined, I say, as the use of force by governments to impose their will on others, even when the others are the victims of injustice and have right on their side. I imagine there are few if any in this room who would challenge the statement that in recent decades the two leading practitioners of state terrorism were, as they still are, governments of the United States of America and the Zionist (not Jewish) state of Israel.

To me the most fascinating thing about state terrorism is that it is almost always counter-productive in the longer term. As evidence for that we have only to consider how the “war-against-terrorism” policies of President George “Dubya” Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair became the best recruiting sergeants for violent Islamic fundamentalism. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that because of his escalation of killing by drones, there’s a case for saying that President Obama is every bit as much of a state terrorist leader as Bush and Blair were).

On the subject of the counter-productive nature of American foreign policy, a most informed and explicit statement was made a day or two ago by Denis Kucinich, one of Ohio’s representatives in Congress. He’s also one of the few in that den of corrupted democracy who tell it like it is. He said:

“After more than 10 years of war against al Qaeda and the accompanying global ‘war on terrorism,’ we have failed to learn that our actions create reactions. Our presence creates destabilization, then radicalization. Occupations create insurgencies. In Afghanistan, we have fuelled the very insurgency we struggle to fight....Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria - al Qaeda surfs instability created or supported by U.S. interventions. Al Qaeda is ready to exploit resentment toward the U.S. while capitalizing on the openings created by U.S. interventionism. As a result our U.S. tax dollars are being used to fuel the rise of extremism.”

It is not so with non-state terrorism. It CAN be effective provided its practitioners are ruthless enough and can sustain their campaigns. Two examples are sufficient to make the point.

Zionist terrorism drove first the occupying British out of Palestine and then about three-quarters of its indigenous Arab people. Without Zionist terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine it made possible, there would be no Israel.

That said I must tell you very briefly one of my favourite stories. (It does have a point). In1980 I was acting as the linkman in a secret and exploratory dialogue between Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres, then the leader of Israel’s main opposition Labour Party and hoping to become prime minister and deny Begin a second term in office. One of the two men advising Peres in our little conspiracy for peace was Major General Shlomo Gazit, the best and the brightest of Israel’s Directors of Israeli Military Intelligence. Over coffee one morning when we were alone, Shlomo said the following to me: “If we had been the Palestinians, we would have had our mini-state a long time ago.” He meant that if the Jews had been the Palestinians, they would have subjected Israel to a sustained and devastating terror campaign which would have obliged its government to end the occupation of the land grabbed in 1967, to make the space for a Palestinian state.

Gazit was, in fact, acknowledging a truth about why non-state terrorism can get results provided it is ruthless enough and sustained. Simply stated that truth is this. In democracies there are limits to the amount of disruption, destruction and death the soft underbelly of public opinion will tolerate. I mean that if terrorism is ruthless enough and sustained, there comes a point when public opinion says to government: “We can’t take any more of this mayhem. Make whatever deal is necessary to stop it.”

The Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland was a non-state terrorist organisation that understood this perfectly. And that’s my second example.

It was the Provisional IRA’s ruthless and sustained campaign of terror, particularly on the British mainland, that caused Westminster governments to confront Protestant (Zionist-like) supremacy in Northern Ireland by insisting on a power-sharing arrangement to give the Catholic minority a fair deal and open the door to peace.

There were, in fact, two reasons why successive British governments moved progressively but decisively in favour risking the wrath of Northern Ireland’s militant protestant majority by engaging politically and positively with the Provisional IRA’s terrorist leaders.

One reason, evident from conversations at the time with government ministers and their shadows, was an awareness that because of the failure by military means to defeat the Provisional IRA and bring its terrorism to an end, the limits to the amount of disruption, destruction and death the soft underbelly of mainland British public opinion was prepared to tolerate were being reached. In England, for example, there was growing support for the idea that Britain should let Northern Ireland go - pull the British army out and leave the Protestants and Catholics to go to hell if they wished.

The other reason was fear in government and other Establishment circles of the economic damage that could be done to the UK if the Provisional IRA continued and escalated its terror campaign. My own understanding of this particular aspect of the matter was assisted by a former Director of British Military Intelligence who said to me: “There was real fear that the Provisional IRA could blow the heart out of financial London and bring our economy to its knees.”

There really is no mystery about how non-state terrorism can be defeated. In my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews I give a summary explanation of how in 147 words which, as I noted, are clear enough for understanding by an averagely intelligent child. I will now read those 147 words to you. (I think I did read them to a LISA audience two or three years ago but they bear repeating).

Terrorists cannot operate, not for long, without the cover and the practical, emotional and moral support of the community of which they are a part. When that community perceives itself to be the victim of a massive injustice, and if that injustice is not addressed by political means, the community will cover, condone and even applaud the activities of those of its own who resort to terror as the only means of drawing attention to the injustice, to cause it to be addressed. It follows that the way to defeat terrorism - the only successful and actually proven way - is by addressing the genuine and legitimate grievances of the host community. The community will then withdraw its cover and support for its terrorists; and if they continue to try to operate, the community will oppose them by exposing them - reporting them to the authorities if reasoning fails.

That is precisely what happened in Northern Ireland.

-The terrorists called off their campaign WHEN THEY HAD NO CHOICE - because the Catholic host community would not cover and support them any longer. And that happened because the British government summoned up the will, about half a century later than it should have done, to risk the wrath of militant Protestantism by insisting that THE LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES of the Catholics of Northern Ireland be addressed.

I’ll close with a comment on what I call the INEVITABILITY of non-state terrorism.

Generally speaking, and at the risk of over-simplifying to make a point, I say that much non-state terrorism is a form of public relations to draw attention to injustice of one kind or another. The Palestinians, for example, turned to terror because they believed it was the only way they could bring their cause to the attention of the world and prevent Zionism closing the Palestine file for ever.

And that, sadly, was how it had and still has to be because of the way our world is managed. What I mean is this.

To have a good chance of getting their claims for justice addressed, non-state groups and parties need the support of a major power. (In the Cold War days they needed the support of either the U.S. or the Soviet Union). But the major powers are not concerned with justice for its own sake. In effect they say to those who want and need their grievances to be addressed, “Unless you can serve or threaten our interests, we don’t care about you.”

That being so, it ought not to surprise anybody that non-state groups and parties with legitimate grievances say in effect to the major powers, “Okay, we’ll play the game by your rules and we’ll MAKE you care”  (by turning to terror).

It follows, or so it seems to me, that non-state terrorism is inevitable and will remain a fact of life on Planet Earth, probably escalating in the Subcontinent, unless and until the major powers, the one in Washington DC especially, decide that the best way to protect their own interests is by supporting movements for justice-based change everywhere.

Essentially there are two ways to run the world. One is in accordance with jungle law. The other is in accordance with international law which respects the human and political rights of all. We’ve had enough of the former. It’s time for the latter to be applied universally and not selectively as is the case today.