Friday, January 18, 2002

"Split it up."
You know how every now and then, you hear some new fact that makes you readjust your world view? Well, of course you do, you remember September 11th. I just had one of those moments, not on the same scale, but in its way just as flabbergasting.

I was watching Neil Cavuto on Fox News' "Your World"... Well, ok, I wasn't watching, it was on in the background while I was working, because sometimes at 1:30am you want the sound of another human voice and you don't much care whose. Sorry, Mr Cavuto, nothing personal.

Anyway, he was talking to Farooq Kathwari, President and CEO of furniture manufacturer Ethan Allen. Mr Kathwari was born in the Kashmir region of... well, that's the crux of a big problem in southwestern Asia right now. Every day it looks more like India and Pakistan are going to come to nuclear blows over Kashmir. Since 1996, Mr Kathwari has been a part of the Kashmir Study Group, "an organisation that has dedicated itself to help bring about a solution to the crisis that has plagued the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the last decade." A worthy and honorable project, to be sure: A resolution must be found if the region is to survive.

On the January 17 "Your World", Mr Kathwari shared his ideas on what must be done, and it appeared to stun Cavuto as much as it did me.

"Split it up," he said.


I'll link to a transcript as soon as Fox posts one, because this is one of those moments that makes me want to see written confirmation. I mean, it's an obvious idea, and I've heard it suggested before, but never by someone in the public eye. And now it's been said on American television by a successful businessman from the region, a man who has spent the last six years studying this question.

Just... wow.

LATER: I just watched the later rerun of "Your World". If I were a big-time media outlet, I would simply delete the accompanying post. As it is, I'll just confess that I dramatically mis-heard the interview. "Split it up" was Neil Cavuto's mis-statement of Mr Kathwari's position. Mr Kathwari quite reasonably concluded that neither Pakistan nor India hold the key to the issue, and for so long as they continue to glare at each other, so long will the tensions mount. They have to come up with a solution that satisfies the people of Kashmir.

Well, that makes too much sense.

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