Hafta letters: Özil and Arsenal, the right to protest, RW voices on Hafta

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Özil and Arsenal, the right to protest, RW voices on Hafta
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Hi Newslaundry team,

This is my first mail since subscribing to Newslaundry.

There are two things I would like to mention.

1) In Hafta 299, you discussed the omission of Mesut Özil from the Arsenal squad, and it was related to Özil's comments about the Uighur Muslims. I follow Arsenal and I would like to say that his omission is due to his denial to accept the pay cut as proposed by the club during lockdown.

In fact, Özil commented on the Uighurs in December 2019 but he continued to play until the lockdown was imposed in the UK, ie early March 2020. Only after the Premier League resumed, and due to his refusal to accept the pay cut, was he reprimanded and the said action was taken. Moreover, his attitude in training has been a concern since 2018 and he has had run-ins with the past coach as well.

Özil is also a supporter of Erdogan, who is a controversial figure. We need to stop relating everything to religion outright and think of the other aspects as well. This is the major mindset change that the BJP has achieved in the past six years.

2) Almost every week, there is clamour from a lot of subscribers to bring people from right-wing ideology to the Hafta. I personally think that this is not a good suggestion as in previous Haftas, people like Advaita Kala and Smita Prakash joined in and, in my opinion, it has been an utter waste of time as their opinions and suggestions are pathetic and, in terms of value addition, they are negative. Such is the condition of RW people in India, that it's very difficult to reason with them and, in most cases, leads to an increase in your blood pressure. I think Anand Vardhan as a conservative view is fine and brings in another dimension .

Rest you guys are doing a wonderful job and I wish you all the best for your future. I guarantee my support always.

With kind regards

Somraj Mukherjee

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Hi all,

I want to know status of media ownership NL Sena project. As a contributor, I expect at least some transparency in this respect. At least you can tell all the contributors what are the real issues and hindrances due to which it is stuck.

It looks like one of the government schemes which was launched with great "huh-halla" and nothing comes out in the end.

I would also request Abhinandan to read this email as a anonymous mail on NL Hafta.

Thanks.

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Hi there!

I have just subscribed to Newslaundry for a year via the YouTube link.

I have a question regarding Newslaundry's policy/stance. While I support the good work you guys are doing, the moral reporters must be asked harder questions.

I am sure the erudite reporters at Newslaundry must be (more) familiar (than I am) with the five filters of manufacturing consent. First and foremost is the idea of profit orientation. As an example, no one from the BPL families will expend Rs 300 a month for a Newslaundry subscription. When most of your subscribers are middle- or upper-class citizens, why should we subscribers believe the organisation will also serve the interests of those who can't pay up?

What about those who don't have access to the internet? What are the reasons we should trust Newslaundry to safeguard the democratic interests of not only their subscribers but the larger public?

I apologise for any harsh words or snobbery (if any). I wish you may find time and resources to do good reporting and then, hopefully, some to answer my query.

Regards

Avikshit Pratap

PS: More content on Newslaundry Hindi, if it pleases you. :)

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"Protests are not meant to be convenient."

This has been a part of many recent Hafta conversations, and you have real street cred, what with Abhinandan's participation in the RTI protests and the Anna movement. But somehow this doesn't come through in your conversation this week. You had a better discussion when the SC ruled on Shaheen Bagh, but IMO that didn't go far enough...

So, I'm hoping to provoke that broader discussion, which seems necessary for our times - especially given the nature of the party in power, which (in my reading) seems not to understand or respect differing views... :-/.

1) India may have a glorious history of street protest, but there is no "right" to inconvenience other people with your protest. If you call a hartal or block a road, the state can legitimately punish you for inconveniencing your fellow citizens. You could be a perfectly peaceful grandmother asking for equal treatment re: citizenship, or a drunken baaraati with a gun, I don't see nuance in this.

And FWIW, I don't think Gandhi/Nehru/JP were ignorant of this, or that they thought it was "unfair" that they got chucked in jail for their acts of civil disobedience. BUT they took satisfaction from the broad support from the general population, is all.

Listening to the media narrative at least, it sounds like this distinction is lost; that protests may have reasonable bases, but when they cross a certain line, the state does get to intervene, and both are perfectly legitimate.

2) What is the goal of protest? To cause an inconvenience? Or to demonstrate that people can be mobilised on your issue? Or to raise awareness about it among people who aren't directly affected, but might empathise? I think Abhinandan has spoken about the way organisers ensure that there is a broad understanding of this ultimate agenda. It seems like these current leaderless protests don't have much of that.

Of course, there is the other side. That if the state wants to clamp down on protests, it's on them to ensure that they provide real and effective grievance redressal within the bounds of the law, and an actual consultative process, neither of which are as good as they should be.

To me, this is a good discussion to have, because there's a necessary tension. So, to hear Jayashree so easily declare that any harm that comes from protests are "side effects" and must be accepted, is just silly. And while she did get some pushback, I wish it had been substantive rather than a glib acceptance of this "right to protest" trope, and an essentialising of Jaat lumpenness.

PS: This is satire, and in Malayalam, but the movie that covers much of this ground is something called Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka. Please do watch it with subtitles for a takedown of protest culture, that is also a love letter of sorts

Vijay Krishnan

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