MESSAGE FROM DES COUTINHO, Ireland
Apparently Knights of Infinite Resignation are like troubadours who sit by a tower serenading a princess they can never save but wiki doesn't always get things right. I am seeking mail art for
Irom Sharmila Chanu
Human Rights Defender
Jawaharlal Nehru I M S
We have been engaged to be married for some years just need to organize a prison break and art attack is one of the methods. How's it going I dunno maybe a few more years.
I live in a small village in Co Galway Ireland, Portumna. She would find it difficult to send mail art in return so I shall do so on her behalf. The reason I mention Portumna is that the Irish take poetry and art very seriously. In the Spring/Summer there will be Arts Festivals here so artists from around southern ireland will exhibit poets singers musicians dancers. I can send you the freebies they offer. Not expensive but how else will you get programmes for arts festivals from Portumna. To give you a measure for an ordinary poetry reading by locals maybe 100 plus people will turn up at the local pub to listen. This is a small village of no more than a few thousand souls.
That's the deal. For now I can send something kitsch from one of the local stores, maybe postcards of portumna or a pen with a green irish sheep on it. But come Spring Summer I can give you more respectable stuff.
If you check out her name you'll find out she's the real deal. Please don't signpost me groups I should really try. If you think anyone will listen more then please don't let me stop you contacting them for her. What I am offering is art for art. I am not a do -gooder. I am if you must press what Kierkegaard called a Knight of Faith unless of course wiki got that wrong too.
Desmond Coutinho she calls me her fiance and true supporter. To others if known at all I am called an international sex spy and man of mystery. I do have very bad teeth. Quick as you like I can send you something when you send her something and come Spring Summer you get the good stuff. She'll still be there.
She has been campaigning via non-violent compassion (satyagraha) for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which since 1958 has given absolute immunity to the Indian Army while on patrol in Manipur. She is a very simple woman and has been imprisoned for the past 13 years for long periods in solitary kept alive by naso-gastric intubation. She is a beautiful beautiful person. But she has always been allowed mail. And any positive contact does lift her spirits.
Addition by Guido Vermeulen, Belgium
INFO ON SHARMILA:
Sharmila on Wikileaks:
INFO ON THE SITUATION IN .MANIPUR
Manipur is an area that bind by The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 - AFSPA - under Indian Forces, for more than 50 years. The formulated provisions of the Act grant extraordinary powers to the Indian armed forces in the “disturbed areas” where it is applicable. The Act has been at the heart of concerns about human rights violations in the region, such as arbitrary killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances. Its continued application has led to numerous protests, notably the longstanding hunger strike by Irom Sharmila Chanu.
A separatist insurgency began in 1964, although momentum to a more violent phase did not occur until 1978. The Separatists demand a sovereign state separate from the Union of India, a claimed lack of development, plundering of local resources, and a general discontent is part of their argument. The international Human Rights Watch, argues that human rights violations by Indian Security Forces have only fuelled the insurgency. It adds that the Indian Army have at times acted with impunity as anti-terrorism laws in the state make prosecution of human rights violators difficult.
There are currently 34 groups, including non-violent ones, that demand independence from India. In 1999, some of these groups coalesced into an alliance organization called the "Manipur People's Liberation Front." Of these, the three most prominent are the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), andPLA of Manipur. The UNLF is estimated to have 2500 active militants, the PREPAK with 1500, and PLA with 3000. The Indian news organization, Rediff, wrote in 2004:
As of today, Manipur is the worst case scenario in the north-east as far as militancy is concerned. Apart from the fact that there are more militant groups in the state than anywhere else – at least seven prominent groups operate in Manipur – the rivalries between these outfits often leads to greater violence.
The Kuki insurgent groups want a separate state for the Kukis to be carved out from the present state of Manipur. The Kuki insurgent groups are under two umbrella organisation, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Forum.
The Zomi Revolutionary Army is a nationalist/separatist group dedicated to the defense of Zomis and the reunification of ethnic Zomi people in Burma (Chin State), Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts), and northeast India (Manipur and Mizoram). It aims to unite all Zomi people under one governing unit, known as a Zogam, meaning "land of the Zomi" under the Indian Union
The situation is further complicated because insurgent groups are not united in the same cause. The Nagas wish to annexe part of Manipur and merge with a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, which is in conflict with Meitei insurgent demands for the integrity of their vision of an independent state. There were many tensions between the different tribes and have witnessed numerous clashes between Naga and Kukis, Meiteis and Muslims.
Sharmila amongst the flowers