Thanks for all the feedback on my column on Rihanna and India’s farmer protests, especially from those who disagree. (Special shout out to the tolerant “liberals” urging WSJ to fire me for writing it.) I’d like to quickly respond to two points that many of you have raised. 1/n
Many folks have pointed out that Rihanna, Greta Thunberg and others have not tweeted about the farm laws, only in support of protests to have them repealed. This is true. But it’s also true that in the West the protests are seen as heroic because the laws are seen as unjust. 2/n
This means you can’t interpret the protests without understanding what the farm laws are trying to achieve. Like most people, I support the right to (peaceful) protest. But I also view the laws as sensible and well-intentioned. So the picture is gray, not black and white. 3/n
On to human rights: Some people are upset that I characterized the government’s treatment of the farmers (so far) as relatively gentle. But this is empirically true. Imagine if anti-CAA protestors had stormed the Red Fort on Republic Day. It would have been a blood bath. 4/n
There’s still room to criticize Modi’s handling of the protests. I talk about Internet shutdowns, bogus sedition charges against journalists, pressure on Twitter and so on. But RELATIVELY speaking the government has been restrained. If you don’t believe me, ask a Kashmiri. 5/5
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