Scintillating Lecture on “Oppression in Paradise” at UCLA
Glimpses of the Kashmir Solidarity Day at UCLA
Los Angeles , CA: The Pakistani Students Association (PSA) and Muslim Students Association (MSA) of UCLA, in conjunction with Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COAA), presented a scintillating lecture "Oppression in Paradise" on Kashmir at Moore Hall in the UCLA Campus. The students' ability to produce such a well-organized program in such a short time is worth mentioning here. Rain and cold weather didn't deter a large contingent of students from attending this program. Several community members as well as many members of the Kashmiri community attended the event too.
The program began on time with Saad Ahmed, President of PSA - UCLA welcoming the guests. Junayd Banday, a UCLA student, had put together a very moving video about the abuses of human rights and the plight of Kashmiris. The video wasn't more than ten to fifteen minutes long but it certainly set the tone for the evening.
Saad then requested Dr. Ejaz - Consul and Acting Consul General for Pakistan Consulate, Los Angeles - to address the gathering. His argument that Kashmir remains the oldest issue on the United Nations agenda resonated with the audience as well as another speaker Victoria Schofield. She has written several books on Kashmir and felt that it is high time that the plight of ordinary Kashmiris is heard. President of COPAA, Mr. Adnan Khan, also addressed the gathering. He appreciated the participation of the students and their eagerness to undertake programs such as this one. In between Presidents of PSAs from different universities narrated the actual sufferings of the Kashmiris which drew a very emotional response from the audience.
The keynote speaker of the evening was Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director of the Kashmir American Council. His in-depth understanding of the Kashmir issue and his ability to enunciate clearly the issues is nothing short of the remarkable. He said that the issue of Kashmir is central to all the issues faced by the nations in the subcontinent region i.e. India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He raised an interesting point about the ground reality that the uprising among the Kashmiris is home-grown, non-violent and is not ingrained in religion. Dr. Fai kept reminding the audience through out his presentation that it is all Kashmiris, both Hindus and Muslims, who seek a solution to this problem and not just Muslims.
The program concluded with Saad Ahmed thanking all for their participation. Following the lecture, dinner was served. It was sponsored by COPAA.