Prof. Latha Nair in conversation with Anjana Sankar
“My trip to Syria was a reality check on how alive the ideology is,” journalist Anjana Sankar was speaking here on the final day of the Kerala Literature Festival. Speaking on the wake of the deadliest journey she undertook, she briefed about the harsh realities and ironies she witnessed in Syria during her visit. Prof. Latha Nair, began the session by describing the depth of danger Anjana would have faced and what drove her to undertake such a mission.
Anjana, whose journalism focussed on refugee crisis believed that her mission as a journalist was to put forth truth and realities like the journalists who preceded to the war zones. Putting their life on the line didn’t matter when it came to their jobs, so that drove her to take it up however daring the situation seemed, she noted.The session was a journalist’s narrative on the harsh and humane realities of the territory that faced continuous threats. The video played in the beginning of the session gave us the intensity of the tremors people faced on a regular basis, when we lived cocooned in safety.
Elaborating on the situation of the detention centre she visited, Anjana said about the ideology of fear and the silence that prevailed in the hell holes they were in. On her interaction with the Kurdish military forces in charge of the centre, reaffirmed that the militants who faced detention were a radicalised and frustrated that they had witnessed numerous jail breaking incidents and still believed in Islamic Caliphate.
Comparing the detention centres to a UN conclave as it hosted people from all over the world, she shared her experience interviewing a militant who hailed from Belgium. A victim of slow radicalisation, she said she was unable verify if he was a changed man now. She said that he wanted to escape the place and that was the only hope he had about his future, and that would be the story of every militant, she noted. She went on to discuss the lack of solutions of nations to tackle the rehabilitation of these militants under detention, who are treated as international threats.
Shifting the focus to women and children, the panel discussed about the dangers of Caliphate wives and their children, who are trained at a young age to aspire for a life that is templated by their radical surroundings they grew up in. Prof. Latha Nair cued on the gender fluidity in Northern Syria where young girls were in the forefront of their military forces fighting against terrorism that hasn’t yet engulfed the region. Anjana shared the fierce feminism of equality they believed in and their willingness to marry martyrdom at a young age. The concept of co-governance, where a man and a woman held the helm of any institution in Northern Syria, could be adopted in every country she added.
The session concluded on the hearty note of how Bollywood transcend, irrespective of territories or political situation and her assessment of terrorism as a slow poison that triggered when one believed in differences of their fellow beings. Walking the audience through the experiences at Syria, Anjana Sankar was being a paragon of bravery and a journalistic icon who defined the true meaning of journalism.