OPERANDI: American Business and
Genocide Linked Again?
Muqtedar Khan | March
This article was published in Altmuslim.com [03.10.2005] and Counterpunch.org [03.11.2005], Associated Press of Pakistan [03.12.2005], NYC IndyMedia [03.11.2005], American Muslim Perspective [03.10.2005], The Muslimwakeup.com [03.14.2005], Iran Daily [03.15.2005], Business and Economy [03.14.2005], Naseeb.com [03.15.2005], UNNIndia.com [Urdu News service].
American Hotel Owner Association (AAHOA), despite strong protests
from several civil rights organizations and the Coalition Against Genocide
is determined to honor Narendra Modi at their annual convention in Ft.
Lauderdale, FL (March 22-24, 2005). Narendra Modi was indicted by many
international humanitarian organizations for perpetrating a pogrom of mass
murder, rape and arson against religious minorities in Gujarat in 2002
while he was the Chief Minister of that state in India. Even India’s
Supreme Court acknowledged his complicity in the pogrom against
is a shame that an American business organization, motivated by ethnic
loyalty and greed has decided to overlook heinous crimes against humanity
to honor him in exchange for investment opportunities in India. It is
particularly hard to imagine such callous institutions in our midst even
as we lecture the world on freedom, democracy and the rule of law. The
AAHOA is sending a signal that while the Bush administration is determined
to spread democracy they are determined to do business with mass murderers
who have absolutely no regard for human life or rule of law.
there are many concerned citizens in this country who have raised a hue
and cry about the Modi affair. At the forefront are the Indian
Muslim Council and the Coalition
against Genocide. These groups, along with several secular Hindu
organizations, have not only raised awareness of this alliance between
Indian fascism and American business, but have succeeded in delegitimzing
the event to some extent. One
outcome of their activism has been the withdrawal of Chris Mathews, the
host of hardball on MSNBC, from the event’s program. We hope that other
sponsors of this celebration of evil will also wake up and withdraw their
organizers continue to show a ruthless face. They are determined to honor
Modi no matter what his crimes. In response to the growing criticism of
this shameful act, Danny Patel the treasurer of
AAHOA said to an Indian
newspaper: “We have invited Modi to our annual
convention at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from March 24 to 26. And we will
honor it. There is no question of canceling it now… We want to hear him
on investment opportunities in the state. After all, 95 per cent of AAHOA
members are of Gujarati origin.”
even in the light of the fact that Modi allowed the systematic, rape,
arson, murder and pillage of Muslims in 2002 in his state, the state of
Gujarat, is greed and ethnic solidarity. Apparently as far as the members
of AAHOA are concerned, Modi is a fellow Gujarati, and he is the leader of
the state many of them come from. But above all he is seen as a great
friend of foreign investment and these American businessmen are happy to
overlook a genocide or two as long as they can invest overseas and
increase their profits.
This must come as a
shock to those Americans who believe that their country stands for freedom
and is at war against terrorism, oppression and tyranny. But those of us
who have long memories [or knowledge of history] are not surprised that
once again American business is hand-in glove with those directly or
indirectly guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
In 1998, The
Justice Department declassified information
that exposed the complicity of
many American corporations in the Nazi Holocaust. Many of them like IBM
cooperated with the Nazis while others profited from slave labor in Nazi
Germany. The outcry and the billions of dollars worth of settlements have
not yet receded from our memory and once again we witness American
businesses – The Asian American Hotel Association – eager to honor and
work with the new Hitler from India.
Modi is known for
his admiration of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Textbooks in the State of
Gujarat of which he is the Chief Minister, present a very uncritical
picture of Nazi fascism and even applaud its economic efficiency. It does
not come as a surprise that AAHOA, many of whose members come from
Gujarat, should overlook crimes against humanity to pay homage to economic
efficiency. Gujarat is one of India’s economic powerhouses, and also a
state ruled by Hindu nationalists who periodically unleash violence
against their Muslim and Christian minorities.
One of the most
outstanding films of this year was Hotel Rwanda. It gives a glimpse of the
horrors of genocide in Rwanda and also reminds us that we did nothing
while that happened. If Americans continue to patronize mass murderers
like Narendra Modi from India, it is just a matter of time when we will be
watching Hotel Gujarat.
Hotel Gujarat, a film about genocide in India, will open perhaps with a shot of Narendra Modi being honored by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.