We have arrived at the intersection of the War on Terror and the Free Market and it is impossible to discount the loop linking the pauperization of nations under a canopy of economic globalization, nationalism and renewed religious zeal. It is a rendezvous of Al Qaeda and Al Fayda- The Word versus The Profit. And at the intersection of Al Qaeda and Al Fayda, there are two faultlines- Kashmir and Palestine. These imperial durbars transport their stress to New York, London, Moscow and Beijing.  But as it stands now, profits remain unbowed and unbeaten. The task that remains incomplete is the perfect war- a flawless vehicle for the illimitable expansion of the free market.

Globalization has driven a 2.5 per cent increase in the world’s total income over the last decade. But during that time, the poor has increased by 100 million. Fifty-one of the top hundred biggest economies are corporations not countries. The top 1 per cent of the world has the same combined income as the bottom 57 per cent. What this top global one per cent demands is a devoted league of governments in underdeveloped economies to hasten the sale of 4.6 billion years of evolution.

Everything is for sale- rivers, gene pools, phone companies, air, bionetworks, oil, reefs, civil rights, and indigenous knowledge. Parcelled in Gros Michel banana leaves and tied with twine like Christmas pastelles, everything is discounted and on the shelf (no returns). Al Fayda- takes the plaque. Rare earths extracted, water privatised, patents registered, gas pipelines routed, a sea port shopping spree, Yellow Rain to make the world safer, treaties torn up, the lowly huddle in re-education camps and structural adjustment ripping apart the lives of the unfortunate.

In 1947, when the British partitioned the Indian sub-continent into Pakistan and India, it left 650 princely-states inside the borders of the two newly independent countries. By then, Kashmir was already a suzerainty of the British Crown. The Bill of Sale which made it a tributary state for 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees was insensible to the diversity of Kashmir. To the east, the Ladakh were Tibetan Buddhist. Jammu to the South had Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Sunni Muslim merchants and educated Hindu Kashmiri Brahmins lived in the central valley. The people of Baltistan in the Northeast practised Shia Islam. In the north, the Gilgit Agency was Shia and was established to prevent Russian intrusion. To the west, Punch was Muslim. And today, China claims that Aksai Chin is part of its Xinjiang prefecture. Narendra Modi instituted a lockdown on Kashmir on 4 August, 2019 and has subsumed the region into India’s federal government by revoking Article 370 of the constitution.

West of Kashmir, in 1947, as the British implemented its two-state solution in the Indian sub-continent, the Israeli–Palestine war erupted as the British withdrew from Palestine which it had occupied since 1917. The 1947 Israeli–Palestine War established the State of Israel with Israel capturing 78% of the entire territory. Seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were made stateless. Their villages, towns and cities erased. The Palestinian Arabs fled into the West Bank which was captured and annexed by Jordan. Others trudged into refugee camps on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea onto a slither of sand captured by Egypt called-The Gaza Strip.

On 9/11, 1922, twenty five years before the Arab-Israeli War, the League of Nations proclaimed Britain’s mandate over Palestine giving force to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Churchill in 1937 proclaimed of the Palestinians: “I do not agree that the dog has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. He went on to add, “I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly-wise race…has come in and taken their place.” In 1969, the Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said, “Palestinians do not exist.” Her successor, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, said, “Where are the Palestinians? When I came here [to Palestine] there were 250, 000 non-Jews, mainly Arabs and Bedouins. It was desert, more than underdeveloped. Nothing.” Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir added tributes later.

On 9/11, 1973, General Pinochet overthrew Salvador Allende. Thousands vanished. Firing squads conducted public executions. Concentration camps and torture chambers opened across Chile. The dead were dumped inside mine shafts. In August 1990, Sadam Hussein annexed Kuwait. President George H.W. Bush stood before a joint session of Congress on 9/11, 1990 and announced his decision to invade Iraq.  The world viewed its first prime-time war live on TV. It was the longest sustained air attack on any country since the Vietnam War. On 9/11 2001, Al-Qaeda’s patron Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for two planes flown into the World Trade Centre in New York, a third into the Pentagon outside Washington and a fourth that crashed in Shanksville. The preface of this was on 9/11 in 1683 when Grand Vizier Mustafa opened the Battle of Vienna by executing 30,000 Christian captives. Will it ever end? This loss and losing only breeds the death of dreaming.