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‘YESTERDAY ONCE MORE’: a FOIL Primer

Narayanan Menon Komerath

‘IDRF announced a donation of $25,000 towards relief efforts following the World Trade Center collapse... the people responsible for perpetrating the disaster were Muslims, and the victims largely non-Muslim.’

Thus did Girish Agrawal, Angana Chatterji, Shalini Gera, Biju Mathew, Ali Mir, S Ravi Rajan and Elahe Heptullah brilliantly ‘prove’, in a report after ‘five years of meticulous research’ (M5R), their ‘simple and single conclusion – the IDRF does fund hate’.The donation mentioned was to the families of New York firefighters after the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA. This exemplified the heavily-funded, choreographed hate campaign by Ms Teesta Setalvad’s private limited company Sabrang Communications and the US-based Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL) in 2002-03 to deprive Indian orphans, tribal kids, earthquake victims and leprosy patients of their only source of hope.

Their assault collapsed in utter humiliation. FOIL’s spokesman Dr Vinay Lal, Associate Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles, removed all doubt about their standards, stubbornly maintaining that the Meeraj Medical Centre, an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church of North America, was an ‘RSS’ institution set up for the sole purpose of ‘hinduization’. People laughed off that ‘research’, not to mention intellectual honesty since there wasn’t any, in 2003. As realisation dawned that their falsehoods had been exposed, they slunk away, declared that the ‘fascists’ (their term for those who failed to bow to their Politburo) had latched on to ‘one error’ and used that cruelly to destroy their credibility. True, we nearly hurt ourselves laughing at their ‘FAQ’ and the declarations of Dr Vinay Lal (who always took pains to proclaim that he was Associate Professor of History at UCLA and hence superior to us ignorant, mere Indian peasants). But they didn’t specify which particular howler was the ‘error’ of the hundreds in their ‘report’ and their ‘FAQ’ and their myriad press releases and articles and interviews.

For a while, there was relative quiet. Then they found new contracts as ‘Kashmir researchers’. But, like the wild onions in my lawn, they’re back again and flowering, hoping you’ve forgotten. So ‘it’s yesterday once more’.*

As a shocked world rushed aid to the tsunami-devastated areas, FOIL was equally busy. It spewed hate, exhorted the gullible not to support the rescuers, again using the same bogus M5R ‘report’. It did this from email servers run by the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and using Pakistani propaganda websites, through its new spokesman and so-called ‘watchdog academic’, ‘Ra’ Ravishankar. Obstructing help to the needy is, after all, what FOIL does best. But it is by no means the only thing it does well.

Dr Angana Chatterji of the Progressive South Asians (PROXSA) which is the mother-ship of FOIL and of their ‘Coalition Against Genocide’ created ‘news’ again. Their network has now expanded to such impressive names as ‘Promise of India’. Not surprising. With the Marxist communists actively in Government in New Delhi, they can smell their stated goal: Lal kile par lal nishaan Maang raha hai Hindustan. The Red Banner over the Red Fort – demands India – a mandatory essay topic for candidates taking the State Education Board Exams in Marxist-ruled West Bengal. Probably a required question on all job applications when the Lal Nishaan files over the Lal Kila. My congratulations to the Comrades.


* This essay in its original form appeared in http://www.indiacause.com, which see for detailed references, supporting notes and links. The title is taken from ‘Yesterday Once More. Memories of the Carpenters and their music’, www.yesterdayoncemore.net. For the full lyric, see www.lyricsdepot.com.

I feel that the desi community deserves to learn much more about the toils of FOIL – by far the most powerful ‘South Asian’ organisation in America after General Musharraf’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Then again, per Pakistani newspapers, they may not be that different at all. FOIL is the hottest item in Indian- American politics today. The Comrades have worked tirelessly – and, quite contrary to what they say, they did not start in February 2005, shocked by the Gujarat Chief Minister’s impending visit, or in March 2002, shocked by the Gujarat riots. Their ‘Coalition Against Genocide’ is just the latest in a vast web of organisations, all run, and possibly funded, by basically the same entities. They started many years ago. Some of what follows is repeated from what was posted on the internet—my thanks to that user.