Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Autumn's Final Country

Screencap of "Autum's Final Country" (2003)

Screencap of "Autum's Final Country" (2003)

During the previous night's panel, Mr. Kathwari remarked how both India and Pakistan had arrived at this moment for peace not inconsequently due to the fact that they are being surpassed by China in the rush of capital to Asia. Mr. Kathwari's own company would have invested large sums in the region, but chose to place its investments in China due to the regional unrest. One questioner who attended both panels remarked upon the irony that peace might finally come because of commercial concerns, not human suffering. Mr. Kathwari acknowledged that while human suffering and death is his group's concern, government officials may better advance peace by focusing on the future rather than be caught up in efforts to assign blame for the suffering of the past.

Also on Autumn's Final Country panel was Maya Chadda, political science professor from William Paterson University of New Jersey and research fellow at the Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University. People in conflicts are often forgotten, she agreed, or become issues of strategy. Diplomats must be reminded that it is all about people at appropriate times. Moderating the panel was Mallika Dutt, founder and Executive Director of Breakthrough, which uses popular culture to promote public awareness and dialogue about human rights and social justice. Among Breakthrough's recent activities is a music video about love that crosses religious boundaries. Ms. Dutt urged those Asian Americans in the United States who can vote to be sure to register, to remember their past but to take an active part in their present country's politics.

Autumn's Final Country attracted many Kashmiri Americans, some who had personal experience with the religious violence that has frozen the state. Feelings of frustration were heard, from the lack of Kashmiri presence in the peace process to an inability to make a difference.

Somewhat undone by the feelings she had aroused, filmmaker Sonia Jabbar focused her comments on the making of her film, which was completed in one week and, remarkably, in one take. She felt uncomfortable that the four women subjects remain unaffected by her recent acclaim as a filmmaker to the point that she announced she is collecting money for the two most indigent and starting a project to help a village in north Kashmir that has been stigmatized by the systematic rape of its women during the conflict.

Sonia Jabbar has been politically active since the early 1990s and has worked on Kashmir issues as a rights activist, journalist, photographer and filmmaker since 1995. She has founded several Indian movements for nuclear disarmament, and after the 2002 Gujarat riots she co-founded Aman Ekta Manch, a citizens' group in New Delhi that worked for peace between the communities. She has initiated Indian-Pakistan peoples' conferences at the grassroots level and in 2000 she received a research grant from WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace), founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner HH The Dalai Lama.