When you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with the pissfights that routinely mop up spare time on the Left, it’s always fun to be reminded that the Right aren’t immune to the occasional spat.
The background is that Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when he orchestrated a pogrom in which more than 2000 Muslims were killed, hundreds of women and young girls raped, and over 200,000 rendered homeless, was planning a trip to the US. He has never been held to account for his part in these crimes. No one has. Instead, he has been lionised as a hero of Hindu nationalism and of his Bharti Janata Party. You can find out more about the background at the splendid Coalition against Genocide site here.
When the news of his visit reached U.S. activists, they mobilised. They persuaded Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hard Ball talk show to cancel an appearance with Modi. They had the American Express company in their sights too. And then something unexpected happened. The U.S. government denied Modi a visa. They said that he was denied his visa under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality act, specifically the bit that makes “any government official who was responsible for or directly carried out at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, ineligible for a visa”.
A victory! Never thought I’d be pleased with the U.S. government’s immigration practices, but there you have it.
“It’s an insult to the Indian constitution and Indian sovereignty,” said Modi when he found out, characteristically mistaking himself for the Indian state. And he’s not the only one affronted. The Right in India are up in arms. They’re not happy about U.S. bullies taking issue with the actions of a democratically elected representative. So a bunch of them decided to set fire to a Pepsi warehouse in western India, armed with “Down with Americans” placards. Not much nuance there, then, but one would hardly expect it from people who think that Muslims are worse than dogs.
Of course, there’s plenty of reason for large chunks of the U.S. government to be denied visas for their part in a range of crimes against the poor. Let’s hope that the Indian government retaliates.