Imchen has replied, on January 2, 2017, in the Eastern Mirror, to an earlier article by me. I will divide his reply into two parts.
Part 1. The reader can always tell when a writer has little to say on any subject that he has been asked to address, when, instead of discussing the issues on the subject, he attacks the character of the person who wrote the article he was supposed to address. It is a diversion so that the writer can avoid saying anything on the subject, knowing that he in fact has nothing to say on it.
Here are some of the words Imchen uses to describe me: “Not only is Silverstein past his prime but his continual tirades and tantrums … seem to be coming from a person who is eccentric, undisciplined, a bit confused….” “How do we handle such a wobbly person?” “…we can only feel pity on him….” I’m described as a “motor-mouth,” “an eccentric or old maggot,” and “an old buffoon.”
He goes on to say, “It is not uncommon for an old folk like Silverstein to ask too many questions like a child does…..childish and irrational questions.”
In between these nasty attacks, he has no real substance. He seems to be unhappy with me because I’m such a “pessimistic person… [about the ] Naga way of life and history.” And he spends a substantial amount of space and words describing that anyone as negative as me must be unhappy, and thus it is important that Nagas stay away from me because this unhappy view is obviously catching, like the flu.
Part 2. More importantly, he states this about Naga society: He feels that my calling Nagaland a “failed state” is a very bad idea because it is wrong and the poor naïve Naga people will start to believe such a thing is true if I keep saying it in articles. He goes on to say, “Nagas are optimistic for a better future….” “We will rise up from the present state of affairs, no matter what. We have faith and we keep the hope alive, and that is why we raise our voices – even dissenting voices – and feel proud of taking the pragmatic steps as you witness in our midst today.”
Here are a couple of those “childish and irrational questions” Imchen says I’m always asking. Where’s proof of this Naga “optimism” he’s talking about? In the drenched protesters after they are water-cannoned? In the double-taxed Nagas who are intimidated into paying taxes to those wonderful Naga nationalists, the NSCN (IM)? In the teachers who are never paid their salaries? In the Naga citizens who look at their state assembly like the corrupt joke that it is? In the drivers who must drive the roads, many of which are as bad as any in India? In the tens of thousands of Nagaland’s educated and uneducaed young people who are unemployed? Can you tell me where you find this optimism, except in your delusional mind, which, like the delusional minds of most Naga leaders, spends all its time avoiding reality and producing meaningless terms like “Naga optimism.”
Lastly, what are those “pragmatic steps” the Nagas are taking, that make them feel “proud.”? Being water-cannoned and crawling home defeated by a violent and corrupt state? Do you throw the corrupt politicians out of office? No. Do you bring legal action so teachers and others will be paid? No. That is because you don’t know how to run honest politicians who will win. And there are no legal actions because the legal system, like the rest of the state apparatus, only works for the corrupt.
The only effective investigative agency in Nagaland is a private organization, ACAUT. Your police and judicial system are useless; actually, worse than useless: they work only for the corrupt.
You can spend all your time telling people like me that there is optimism among the Naga people, but you must be reading different newspapers than the ones I’m reading and you must be believing the absurdities of Naga activists, who write in the papers about a nation they will never have and a greater Nagaland they will never get. They are also optimists, who are as delusional as you, as terrified of facing reality as you, who somehow think that if they repeat fantasies often enough those fantasies will transform themselves into realities.
Here’s the truth. There are a lot more pessimists and unhappy people in Naga society than there are optimists like you, and that is because they have to live each day in a state that is broken, a state with no rule of law, no justice, and few who have the imagination and courage to start to change things. And people like you only make it easier for the status quo to continue, because you spend all your time denying the truth that is there to be seen if you opened your eyes.
Robert A. Silverstein’s
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org