Written by Tazeen Hasan, a Campaigns Manager of Free Kashmir and #FreeShabirShah, both advocacy projects of Justice For All Canada
This is Imam Omar Sulieman's speech at the Russell Tribunal in Bosnia, taking place in December 2021.
The most influential speeches in history are coincidentally short, comprehensive and compelling. Martin Luther King Junior's 'I have a dream', Nelson Madella's 'I am the first accused', and Ibraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address, all have these distinct qualities.
Imam Omar Sulieman's seven-minute speech at the Russell Tribunal comprises the same attributes. I found his speech succinct yet stimulating and compendious at the same time.
Containing all Arostatalian elements of ethos, pathos and logos, Sulieman began his speech with an English translation of his mother's poetry about Bosnia.
'A soul in Saraivo is as precious as a soul in Jenin'
He pointed out a few but profoundly important points:
While talking about the Kashmir conflict he identifies that our present narratives about history are distorted and often based on body counts and political calculations. The Kashmir conflict should be analyzed keeping in view its historical context focusing on the Kashmiri people.
Suleiman emphasizes that we should not be selective while raising our voices against human rights violations.
Kashmir is as important as Palestine.
He rightly pointed out that it is an irony that India is referred to as the “world's largest democracy”, and Israel is considered “the only democracy” in the Middle East, despite their repression and illegal occupations.
Making clear the notion of genocide he said, “genocide is manifested not just through mass killings but heavy milititirization, legislations, censorship to block news locally, surveillance abroad”.
I believe he used his seven minutes judicially, delivering the message needed to teach our Ummah (community) how to frame the Kashmir issue in the right context.
May Allah reward his efforts and free Kashmiris from Indian aggression.