Tuesday night is too early for a midweek drink. But not for fulsome amusement, as it turns out.
Popstar Rihanna first popped the cork in support of…not the US’s new line on healthcare or environment…but farmers’ unruly and violent protests in India.
“Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest,” she tweeted.
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Because “we”, or Rihanna as the grand plural first-person pronoun, know nothing about the subject. That was the most popular response. The river of memes, jokes, and outrage had begun hurtling down its course when in a couple of hours another voice lately of global pontification, teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, tweeted with the same, grand plural first-person pronoun: “We stand in solidarity with the #FarmersProtest in India.”
Overseas NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) followed, quote-tweeting Rihanna.
“Indian authorities should be releasing activists and others already jailed or facing criminal charges in politically motivated cases, not adding to that list" ~ @mg2411 https://t.co/OyiTBUjNz2 #FarmersProtest https://t.co/4hRqEISrML
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) February 2, 2021
Now, HRW has been accused variously of anti-Israel bias, poor research and accepting funds from Saudi Arabia to look away from its human rights record. But more pertinently, it had received a record donation of $100 million from Hungarian tycoon-cum-global political meddler George Soros in 2010. The same Soros in 2020 pledged a $1 billion fund to fight “would-be dictators”, which includes Narendra Modi, a man who has been overwhelmingly voted to power by the people of India for the second time in the most transparent of elections. This is not the first time that some global celebrity has jumped into an Indian issue without any context, explanation, or seemingly, homework. Teenager Thunberg cannot seem to stop diving into these issues headlong. In May 2019, she condescendingly said: “According to statistics, India is one of the top countries in the world that emits. India emits a lot since they have a lot of people and they have very dirty coal and so on.” The fact that India has one of the lowest per capita carbon footprint (140th in the world, compared with the US at 14th and China at 48th) despite being a developing country with much bigger energy needs than developed nations did not come in the way of her tutored preachiness. Little Thunberg then thundered again in August 2020. “It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the Covid-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods. I stand with their call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID,” she tweeted.
It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the Covid-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods. I stand with their call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID — Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 25, 2020
Again, without any idea about a huge majority of students and parents favouring the exams lest a whole year be lost, or the government making extraordinary arrangements to get the students to write the tests safely.
Thunberg is not the only child wonder to attack India lately. Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban as a little girl and is now spending her 20s parroting the agenda of the West’s Left-liberal establishment, attacked India for scrapping Articles 370 and 35A which gave special status to Kashmir.
“I am deeply concerned about reports of 4,000 people, including children, arbitrarily arrested & jailed, about students who haven’t been able to attend school for more than 40 days, about girls who are afraid to leave their homes,” the young Nobel Prize winner tweeted. “I am asking leaders, at UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school.”
In the last week, I’ve spent time speaking with people living and working in #Kashmir - journalists, human rights lawyers and students.
— Malala (@Malala) September 14, 2019
She never mentioned that this was done to mainstream Kashmir, lift it from dark, bloody pits of separatism and terror, end discrimination against Dalits, women, and LGBTQIA persons. Nor did she wonder if certain curbs were necessary to stop Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks and widespread violence. Malala has also never waded into the subject of her home nation Pakistan’s brutal treatment of minorities.
But this sudden concert of global celebrity voices against almost every decision of India’s democratic government begs the question: Are there invisible conductors wielding the baton?
Is it a mere coincidence that big global brands like Rihanna, Malala and Greta, who do not tweet even a line out of whim, are doing it against India?
Can Rihanna or Greta explain what exactly they have against India’s new farm laws?
Is there a concerted global effort to destabilise India from outside, since chances of Congress or Opposition’s electoral victory against Modi seem highly remote if not impossible?
Who gains from destabilising India?
How big power is it that can spend thousands of crores on anti-CAA and so-called farmers’ protests?
What kind of power or network can activate big global names again and again?
Only the future may tell us the answers. But we must ask the questions now because the darkest of evil often comes dressed resplendently in good intentions.