I’m not a victim and will never adopt the professional victimhood you seek refuge in so often.
Thank you for your ‘support’, but alas much like the gifts of the gods in Greek tragedies, your support comes with double-digit compound interest, which you make clear through your piece — that your positions are based on reciprocity. I, therefore, reject your support, which I never sought in the first place.
The only person this exposes as a hypocrite is you. Additionally, this demonstrates that you are utterly clueless about policy issues, legal principles, systems and context across the world. How can someone who pens such an infantile piece and could legitimately star in the sequel to ‘Clueless’ ever become a ‘top journalist’?
Let’s start with human rights. See Barkha, after the Niira Radia episode, and your article in ThePrint on me, I do understand that you consider positions taken by a journalist as being based on quid pro quo – ‘you support me, I support you’. I, on the other hand, regard it to be unethical. Unlike you, who arrives at a position based on kitty party gossip, I actually research and read about anthropological trends and back my positions up with solid statistics.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are despicable organisations, who have wreaked havoc on millions of lives through their calling for and support of regime change operations. I’ve written about it here. But since reading is not your forte, let me make another attempt.
Let’s start with the quarter of a million (some say up to 700,000) civilians who died as result of the US invasion of Iraq, based on exaggerated literature on atrocities provided by these groups.
Not content with the havoc they wreaked there, they’ve continued to provide similar justifications in Libya and Syria, and essentially acted as an enabler of interventions by the US.
You may schmooze with these high society enablers of horrific mass strife over glasses of Dom Perignon, but sadly their support for my freedom doesn’t absolve them. Do you know how NGO funding works? Why every problem has to be overstated, so that funders will cough up money? Why a regime change operation boosts NGO funding as it is seen as ‘concrete policy influence’? No? Clueless about that as well?
Tell me Barkha, in your unwatchable, giggly, school girl interview of Hillary Clinton, why didn’t you haul her over the coals for Libya? Thousands killed and a stable society completely destroyed as a result of her command responsibility I guess is not as important to you as her fight for gender rights?
Second, while you were spewing uninformed, semi-literate hot air, my Right-wing friends were busy working quietly behind the scenes to have me released. That they sought no acknowledgement or public recognition shows they actually cared about what happened to me, as opposed to your worthless, narcissistic, public posturing. Guess what? It was those covert interventions and not your ‘support’ that ensured I was treated well and initiated the process of the Odisha government dropping charges against me. But I guess after covering the political beat for over two decades you still haven’t figured out how this country works, says more about your undeserved ‘celebrity’ status than it does about my hypocrisy.
Yes Barkha, I’m not a victim, and, I never will adopt the professional victimhood you seek refuge in so often. Let’s take your quote of my tweet about Gauri Lankesh. The first in that series was about how she had been convicted by a court of law for printing fake news, and yet she got a state funeral, involving expensive sandalwood, a gun salute, and was draped in the flag. This was while people like you were going hammer and tongs at Jayant Sinha for garlanding those who were convicted, and their appeal was pending, in a cow lynching case. One of your ilk challenged me and I replied that lynch mobs were spurred on by fake news of the kind Gauri spread. Clueless? Barkha, do try reading up on the mentality of pogroms and how they’re spread by rumour mongering in pre-industrial societies. Incidentally, the court did hold that Gauri Lankesh did not take ‘due care’ before publishing articles, enough to merit a conviction. Just so you know ‘intent’ is a critical element of conviction in Indian and Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence.
I do remember the name of Lois Sofia, but do you remember the names of Vinod Mehta, Yogesh Kumar Sheetal and Chaitanya Kunte? See Barkha, with Sophia, what you fail to mention is, I posted the sections of the DGCA rules that clearly mark her actions in an aviation zone as prosecutable in no uncertain terms, punishable for upto a year, and I supported her right to call Narendra Modi a fascist, just not create a ruckus and intimidate a passenger in a high-security area. Curiously, it seems you tried to get Yogesh hounded out of IIMC for precisely the same reason. The difference was that Yogesh was sloganeering against you in a place where he had every right to, while Sophia was doing so in a high security, restricted space where the laws against disorderly behaviour are clear, and ruthlessly enforced for good reason since 9/11. But then again, your inability to absorb the nuances of any kind of law, leave alone security, shines through.
Your alleged ‘insights’ are simply phantasmagoria generated by those ‘reciprocity’ deals you, by your own admission, love so much. If you had, indeed gone through my timeline, you’d have seen me oppose my Right-wing friends and support the Congress’ right to abuse the Prime Minister, and on many occasions support outrageously provocative tweets against Hindu gods, simply because they had not called for violence in any way. You also, in your usual Goebbelsian way, left out that I called for machine-gunning Ram Rahim’s supporters when they rioted post his conviction, and asked for the same for “Lefty scum” who were engaging in violence. You see Barkha, try reading Steve Pinker, or Yuval Harari, or Ian Morris for real knowledge on how the states’ monopoly on violence and its use in the long run produces stable, free societies when paired with disruptive industrialisation.
Now, try googling the word ‘segue’. It’s what I used in the Karnataka assembly case of sentencing editors to jail to draw attention to Kashmiri newspaper editors inciting and, in some cases, giving meeting points and times in code to stone pelters. But I don’t expect you to get it. But what rankles me is that in addition to your research skills being so poor, you also seem to think journalists must be above the law, no matter how fatal their actions and how transparent their collusion.
You see Barkha, unlike you, I have only tweeted for prosecution against violence or genocide denial, but never coupled my tweets with legal action. Far more advanced democracies like France and Germany actually have laws against such genocide denial, and in the US the Anti Defamation League uses civil suits in the absence of genocide denial laws. Your verbal protests, on the other hand, were accompanied by actions – not against actions but against speech. Mine weren’t. Who’s the free speech supporter and who the hypocrite now, eh?
As for your deliberate attempt to solicit pity and make everything about yourself by asking “what would happen if I did this?”, well sorry to disappoint you, but ‘absolutely nothing’. Given that you weren’t even summarily investigated for your telephone conversations during Radiagate that supposedly tried to help those seeking to influence government formation, or when you allegedly outed positions during army operations, we know that whatever else would have happened to you, it wouldn’t be jail. In all likelihood, some no-name Twitter bots would have made less than credible threats, which, given your modus operandi, you would have taken to town and won some kind of international victimhood award as you tried to do with my arrest.
But I realise now that you’re not evil, you’re simply an utter mediocrity, desperately trying anything to stay relevant. I truly misjudged you, and for that, I apologise profusely. You don’t deserve my or anybody else’s malice. You deserve our pity, you’re not a bad person, just a failing, flailing megalomaniac.
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Twitter: @iyervval
All views are the author’s own.