Baloch Otriad and the hurdles
Date 2012-10-22 | Topic: Opinions
|Sohaib Mengal Baloch|
In 1942 four brothers, known as Bielski brothers, stood against Nazis in German occupied Poland (now Western Belarus) and formed Bielski Partisans or Bielski Otriad. The four Bielski brothers had fled to the nearby forests in December 1941 when their family members were killed. The Organisation, led by the oldest brother Tuvia Bielski, was soon able to persuade around forty people to join the group in the beginning.
No one knew that these four brothers would be the reason of an extra-ordinary rescue mission of protecting more than 1000 Jews in the jungles of Naliboki Forest. Protecting Jews from the draconian genocidal policies of German Nazis was not a simple job. The group of forty very quickly grew to more than 1000 in next few months. Hundreds of men, women and children joined the Bielski forest camps and at one time the camps contained around 1236 people, 70% of which were women and children.
Tuvia had amazing leadership skills and in the next few years he organized the camp in such a way that, in spite of outbreak of a contagious disease of typhus, it did not only satisfied the camp’s need but also logistically supported the soviet partisan units. Utility structures like kitchen, bakery, medical clinic and school were made even though the camp had to face the continuous belligerent German attacks. The Bielski camp had carpenters, hat-makers, barbers, watchmakers, tailors, shoemakers, leather-workers and metal workshops, which served the community. The camp even had its own jail and court of law.
More than a hundred partisans were engaged in armed activities against the enemy. The armed wing of the group was involved in sabotage missions and it continuously attacked Nazis and their collaborators. The Bielski fighters killed 381 enemy fighters. Around 50 members of the group were also killed in different battles with the enemy. The Nazi regime put a head money of 100,000 ℛℳ on Tuvia Bielski. In 1943 major air raids were also conducted in the jungles where the partisans were living. These raids killed many of the group members but the four brothers continued to provide protection to non-combatant Jew women, children and elders.
In the summer of 1944 when the area was taken over by the soviets, 1230 men, women and children emerged from the forest. These Jews had survived the genocidal measures of German Nazis in very severe and harsh living conditions. The four brothers had written an astonishing history.
At the time of formation of the group the four brothers and other partisans had very harsh debates with each other. Few of them thought it was impossible to fight an enemy as might as German Nazis. The scuffles continued each time more people would join the group. But steadily the Jews realised the power they have and then they changed the course of events and lived when they were supposed to die. With strong organisation and discipline topped up with a strong chain of command they were able to defeat the mightiest army of the time.
In 90s a group of few Baloch youth, which I will call Baloch Otriad in rest of my article, decided to change the course of events. Numbering less than 10 they had decided to fight a comparatively very powerful Army of Pakistan. They decide to protect the community and the community in this case was not limited to 1000 people but the whole Baloch nation. They knew it is the Baloch, which has to rise to save young Yasmeens from being killed when they demand clean drinking water. They knew no one else would come and protect the farmers who would be killed by Pakistani forces just because they demand their due agricultural rights.
Baloch Otriad had chosen a very difficult and challenging path at a time when everyone else was enjoying the incentives provided by Pakistan. Unlike Bielskis these boys were not reactionary and they were not taking any personal revenges. They had very consciously decided to follow a path of saving the people of Balochistan form an occupier. They were all alone. They were laughed at by many people who today claim to be the outspoken claimants of being freedom loving leaders. They were told it is not possible to fight an enemy, which is mighty and fighting such an enemy is second to smashing your head against a rock. But they had miscalculated these youth and they didn’t know that the ambitions of these youth were stronger than mountains.
The Baloch Otriad changed the history. They eradicated the traditional political mind-set and instead engrained a new approach in the minds of Baloch youth. In next few years the petty demands for mere incentives like roads and basic health care were replaced with the demand of outright independence.
The leader of Baloch Otriad was no less than Tuvia Bielski. He started from nothing and eventually made a mountain that was everlasting and strong, a mountain that was unconquerable. Their leader was from them and he himself knew how the work on the ground is to be executed. He was a leader that was not fortuitous but charismatic.
These youth would never have dreamt that they would attain their goals in such a little time. They would have never known that they would grow from 7 or 8 to 7 and 8 thousands in less than a decade. But it was the strong resolution and ambitions that made them invincible.
Nonetheless the Otriad faced very harsh difficulties. Changing the complete course of events is not an easy task. They had resolved to change the attitude and conscious of public and quite typically they had to face difficulties. Other than the foreign enemy they had another enemy in their own ranks. An enemy that looked like them acted like them and cried for rights like them but was still an enemy. He was from them but yet he was different.
As it has been in any revolution, a particular sect of society is very much opposed to transformations. This sect loves the status quo and it is never willing to allow the things to change. This sect gets inducements from the occupier and in return speaks in the language of the occupier for occupier’s benefit. For them financial incentives are very dear and they are not ready to depart from their lust even for few years of the struggle. They are not ready to sacrifice their lavish life for their nation. They indirectly wallow in the blood pool of people and they unintentionally stand on the pile of bodies.
They demand basic human rights including the right of self-determination. But these so-called political parties never educate the people that they are entitled to snatch their rights if they are denied. They will never ask the people to topple this system because they never want this system to be changed in a rebellious method. Because this will deprive them of their current status. They claim that they are peaceful political parties and they continue to remain a part of the exploitation system.
As fanon said, “their main demand is: give us our rights.” But they are very vague in their demand that what the rights are. They will never demand anything clearly but yet they try to maintain good relations with the people. Their demand of “rights” is in fact a tactic to keep good relations with the public. But at the same time they don’t want to irk the enemy. They try to kill two birds with the one stone.
In Baloch society there are many such political parties. These parties have harmed the struggle of Baloch Otriad more than the occupier. At times it seems they are an obstacle even bigger than the occupier. Recently BNP-M has also unveiled its face and unfortunately their face is no different than NP, BNP-A and JWP, which are acting as hurdle in the way of Baloch movement.
Akhtar Mengal’s recent visit, his interviews and his changed language uncover lots of horrid things. Either he has offered himself to be used as a reserve weapon or the occupier had kept him to use as such a weapon in the future. In his recent interview with a Baloch TV channel his language resembled very much to that of occupiers. Allegations on Baloch leaders of educating their children in Europe, cashing cheques and doing violent politics are few examples of such language.
In his interview he associated the Baloch political parties, which are struggling for the restoration of Baloch national state, with pro Pakistani political parties and some anti-Baloch personalities. Any fair-minded person would consider such an association a very apolitical statement. But considering the condemnation statements by political parties of Balochistan such a statement can be forgiven as a reactionary move.
But there are few other things in his interview, which should be debated. Justifying his decision to appear before the Pakistani Supreme Court, Mr. Mengal said that I am not the first person to appear in the court and families of Baloch missing persons have continuously appeared before the court. He further said that I appeared in the capacity of leader of BNP and I only represented a political party.
No one can object on the families of missing persons about their appearance in court of law. In fact it should be advocated that such an appearance is in the favour of the cases and it makes the case of abduction more concrete and credible in front of the International Human Rights Organisation. But if any Baloch political party openly disposes his confidence in the Pakistani Supreme Court than it of course is a point of concern. It is a very immature political move and it should be condemned in the loudest terms. I would be the first one to object if my political party ever decides to follow such an approach. In fact even the families of Baloch Missing persons continuously negate all such impressions and they have openly stated that we do not have any confidence in Pakistani courts. In this regard statements by vice chairman of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Mama Qadeer Baloch, are on record. It seems the families of Baloch Missing Persons have more political awareness than the leaders of BNP.
Akhtar Jan Mengal in his interview continuously repeated that we are a democratic political organisation and I am not a thief that I should hide myself or meet any person in the dead of night. In Pakistan there is a very easy litmus test of checking effectiveness of any political act. If the state allows you to practice your politics without becoming obstacle in your way then you can easily deduce that you are in their good books and they will not harm you. This should also be an indication to you that you are not really doing a good job for your people. Similarly if all of your activities are barred and you are continuously targeted then you must know that you are doing something very positive. In Balochistan parties like BNM, BRP and BSO-Azad are uninterruptedly being targeted by state run organisations and agencies. This shows that the work of these political parties is really bothering the state. Whereas if Akhter Mengal’s visit is accepted by the high-ups in Islamabad that automatically means that he has came in good books of the state.
Secondly there is no democracy in Pakistan and claiming to be a democratic party in Pakistan doesn’t make any sense. There are only two types of political organisations in Balochistan: anti-Pakistan and pro-Pakistan. If Akhter Jan’s statement referred to being an unarmed organisation then political parties like BSO-Azad, BRP and BNM are also peaceful political organisations but these parties are not allowed to do any political activity because their acts amount to “anti-Pakistan activities”.
Akhter Jan also justified his act by saying that other Baloch political parties appeared before the United Nation’s Working Group for Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and they also talked about Human Rights violations. Every fair-minded person would agree that disposing confidence in Pakistani framework and institutions and appearing before UN WGEID are two different and opposite things.
Akhtar Jan Mengal questioned that why those who are asking for freedom are themselves not present in Balochistan and are living cosy lives in Europe? It must be noted that it is not only Hyrbyair Marri or Brahumdagh Bugti who are struggling for freedom. There are thousands who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for freedom, thousands are still languishing in Pakistani torture cells and there are thousands who are still struggling against the tyranny. The aforementioned personalities are leading the struggle and every person would agree that security of these leaders should not be compromised at any costs. The struggle would face extreme hardships and difficulties if anything happens to the leadership of the current struggle.
And moreover the activists in Balochistan have very consciously adopted this path. They have wilfully determined that Pakistan can only be defeated through enormous sacrifices and they also know that no one else would come to give these sacrifices.
Akhter Mengal gave an impression that the leaders living in Europe misguide these activists. Unfortunately Akhter Mengal is on the same page with Pakistani Authorities here. The Pakistani authorities have continuously levelled such allegation against the Baloch patriotic leaders. Everyone should know that Ghulam Sarwar Zehri, Dr. Khalid, Diljan, Meer Jan Meeral, Advocate Ameer Baksh, Waja Ghulam Mohammad and thousands other very consciously and knowingly adopted to follow the path of sacrifices for the restoration of Baloch national state. Their consciousness was never exposed to petty misguidance. The activists in Balochistan are not that fool that they will sacrifice their lives just because someone living in Europe asks them to do so.
The impression that the leaders are living a luxurious life is also very lame. The leaders are living in Europe because of security reasons and it is very obvious that their children would also stay with them. Their children are supposed to get education and if they are doing so in London or Switzerland then there is nothing objectionable in it. But if a leader is living in Dubai and their children are studying in Norwich College, United Kingdom then the question of luxurious life would arise because in that case Balochistan or Wadh is more nearer to Dubai as compared to Norwich or United Kingdom. Interestingly Akhtar Mengal’s own child is studying in United Kingdom.
Another ugly allegation by Akhtar Mengal was cashing of cheques that he levelled against the pro-independence leaders. If by cashing cheques he meant the mere incentives then it must be analysed that who is longing for these incentives? The leaders who have sacrificed their family members, houses and all other properties or those who desire to participate in Pakistani elections? Moreover, if he was repeating the Pakistani version of allegation where it is time and again reiterated that these leaders are getting money in the cover of slogans for independence then it is explicitly clear that Akhtar Mengal is talking the language of occupier. In fact Akhtar Mengal’s own brother, Javed Mengal, and his nephews also vocally talk about independence of Balochistan. Does Akhtar Mengal’s allegation mean that his own family is also involved in these acts of cheque cashing?
The Baloch Otriad’s obstacles are not limited to Parliamentarian politicians. The Baloch politics is currently going through a very extreme filtration process. Different organisations have emerged from the ranks of Baloch activists and all of them are struggling on their own without a mutual and combined strategy. Such a state of affairs cannot be applauded, as it has often been that such activities have led to more and more disunity and graver consequences. All the Baloch organisations should realise that those who started the movement are still the most active faction of the struggle. It is the need of time that all organisations devise a combined policy that tells the world what Baloch are struggling for. Without a roadmap and a strong chain of command only individualism and chaos will prevail. The Baloch nation cannot bear more mistakes.
The writer is a Central Committee member of BSO-Azad. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/mirsohaib