Geelani’s letter to Angela Merkel on the Zubin Mehta concert

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Honorable Angela Merkel

Federal Republic of Germany

Dear Madam Chancellor,

As-salaam-u-alaikum. Please first of all accept my greetings. I am writing to you today from one of those remaining regions in the world which struggle with dignity and courage for the freedom of their people. I am writing to you as one of the countless ordinary Kashmiris who struggled through the better part of the previous century for their right to self-determination so that their people too could assume their rightful place in the international community. The Kashmiris still wait with patience for their freedom and that day when they could also join the larger collective struggle for a new era of justice and peace. It is for this reason Kashmiris expressed unwavering support for the United Nations Resolutions on Kashmir even as the international community did little to honor its commitments and responsibilities to the Kashmiri people.

The Kashmiri people have nevertheless always been grateful for the principled support for universal human rights and a peaceful, negotiated settlement to all international disputes by the members of the European Union. But Kashmiris are dismayed and disappointed by the decision of the German Embassy in India to organize a concert in Kashmir conducted by Zubin Mehta as part of “broader engagements” with Kashmiri people. Despite the concerns expressed by Kashmiris in the media, the German Embassy decided to go ahead with the concert. We believe that this concert is being used by India to legitimize its military Occupation of our land and whitewash its shameful atrocities in Kashmir.

The Kashmiri people had high hopes that Germany after reunification will play a meaningful and responsible role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute for an enduring and just peace in South Asia. But the decision of the Germany Embassy to organize this music concert against the wishes of the Kashmiri people has forced me to seek your intervention. Kashmir is a disputed territory and such an intervention undermines the efforts of Kashmir freedom fighters who have been struggling against India’s illegal military occupation since 1947. Kashmir and Kashmiri culture go back thousands of years and Kashmiris are eager for cultural exchanges and dialogue with the rest of the world. But when culture is used to whitewash human rights abuses, dilute Kashmir’s disputed status and project a false image of a wounded Kashmir to the world, it pains us that the great German people are being made complicit by India in such a blatant distortion of the truth. We remain convinced of Germany’s good intentions but are disappointed that the recent initiative of the German Embassy is indifferent and insensitive to the aspirations of Kashmiri people. We are also disappointed that the German Embassy in India has relied on the same security grid for the concert which has been internationally indicted for its serious human rights violations. We hope you would immediately intervene to stop this concert as it is a very unfortunate development in relation to the future of peace in this region.

I would in the end again reiterate the commitment of the Kashmiri people to a meaningful friendship with Germany and invite you to Kashmir to witness for yourself the oppression which Kashmiris face even in their everyday lives. Lastly, I again appeal to you as a leader of Germany and Europe to intervene in this matter. I end with a prayer to Almighty Allah for mercy to all mankind.

Sincerely yours,
Syed Ali Shah Geelani
All Parties Hurriyat Conference

Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.


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