Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
And no, this blog post isn't about Hindus and therefore they haven't been mentioned. And no, there is going to be no apologetic pacifistic statement about the stupid things Hindus do either. You're free to blog about those if you want to...even about the Sri Rama Sena and its antics in Mangalore. :)))) I promise to visit and comment.In the meanwhile, you are invited to tell me what you think about what is in the links.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Adoption...I really can't get what people have against it. My 'rebellious' take is that if an Indian naari can marry a man she doesn't know from Adam and do the most unmentionable things with him and produce babies...accept his entire family and moral and emotional baggage of more than quarter of a century not to mention his GENETIC BAGGAGE which is not the same as hers, why can't the Goddamn couple just adopt an innocent baby? [ It is not like the "arranged match" makers are going to mention the psychotic aunt who hacked the doodhwala to death because she was lactose intolerant or like the families are true blue descendants of Aryabhatta..What genes exactly are they keen on passing on? And who knows their family name beyond their mohalla and who really cares anyway? I asked a pal who desperately wants to get pregnant ( med help too) ALL this just a couple of days ago and she almost passed out from shock. But she says she'll continue to try. Tathastu! ]
Why would couples rather try nightmarish wierd medical possibilities when they fail naturally? Why is it legal to put up a huge signboard saying ‘INFERTILE? UNABLE TO CONCIEVE? COME AND DISCOVER THE JOY OF NATURAL PARENTHOOD AT OUR IVF CENTER’?? The wierdos never tell you how it can alter your life and morph you into a completely different human being…mentally and physically too. And why can’t you sue them for that?
Why won't widows who're otherwise modern remarry and find happiness again? Why do people (even their own children) get offended by this question? What is offensive? A woman's loneliness or the possibility that she can find the warmth of such a relationship again? Why do we think that the new husband might not accept the child of another man alongwith his widow...and most often..why are we right? But then again, why is marriage the ultimate solution to all problems?
Why is a woman's virginity of greater importance than a man's morals and ethics ( kya kya kya??)?
Why does a rape victim feel SHAME? I can understand anger, regret, depression, pain, etc. But SHAME? How many men do I know that would marry a rape victim? And if there are such men, how many will be allowed by their families to take this step? And why don’t these people feel SHAME?
Why is the CHILD illegitimate and not the parents who indulged in such an act? Who is the bastard here? What is the abusive word for the adults who produced an 'illegit' child? (Oh and there is another popular question. A girl that has that kind of fun is a s—t…what is the equivalent for a guy? )
Why do parents of disabled children look embarrassed?
Why do gay people remain closeted and even marry and produce children? Why do such marriages survive?
Why is marriage still legal? How many couples have you met that you REALLY think stay together just out of utter love for each other after the first few years of marriage? What is the TRUTH here without bringing in 'the kids'? So what does 'morality' mean? And is divorce the solution?
Uncomfortable, no? I can hear you clearing your throat. Sorry...
Do you see why some people would rather kill themselves than live lies? Suicide is the honest person’s cleanest exit option? Maybe this is why we have terrorists and criminals too. Array, if we're dishonest and unkind with ourselves, how can we be otherwise with others?
The only way to stay happy is to thumb your nose at the world and live your life on your own terms! But then...WE are the world?
[Disclaimer: This rant has been triggered by some conversations I had recently with some friends and by some blogs and articles I've been following. So don't blame me for the headache it leaves you with. It has been waiting on my fingertips for a very long time...though some of it had found expression in pseudo poetry I wrote years go. But now that I have the option to blog, I did. Cheers!!]
Monday, January 26, 2009
Miles to go before we sleep...peacefully and fearlessly again...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
While the two sisters have entertained and inspired generations of movie and music crazy Indians, they had also, till recently, made it impossible for women like me to sing in public without negative remarks about the texture of our voices. I guess it wasn't deliberate and even not their fault, it was just that they sounded so good that we didn't want to entertain any other kind of voice. Just recently Alka Yagnik said on TV to a girl with a 'different' voice like Sunidhi Chauhan's that she could probably sing 'item numbers' or 'different' songs but there was no way she was going to be crooning for the main lead, Indian kind of heroine...meaning the long suffering, suppressed, pining, lost, 'abala Indian naari', I suppose. I mean, how can a Nutan be shown crooning "One two cha cha" in Usha Uthup (nee Iyer)'s voice?
Luckily for me, I discovered Farida Khanum and through her, the entire galaxy of female Pakistani Ghazal singers with voices to die for and luckily today, Sunidhi is on top...as are other 'different' singers and I actually have a choice of songs I don't have to struggle with to sing. I do still go back to listen to Lataji and Ashaji...they were and will remain more than worthy of our respect and awe for their voices and abundant talent, but I don't try to sound like them anymore. And I hope all my friends who sound extremely FUNNY trying to ape the duo will come into their own too. Doesn't matter if we only sing for ourselves, we must sing LIKE ourselves. Trust me, it is such a release!
Friday, January 23, 2009
People who use their eyes to receive information about the world are called sighted people or "people who are sighted." Sighted people enjoy rich, full lives working, playing, and raising families. They run businesses, hold public office, and even teach your children.
TRANSPORTING THE SIGHTED People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel by operating their own motor vehicles. They have gone through many hours of training, at great expense, to learn "the rules of the road" to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a "driver's license" which allows them to operate a private vehicle safely and independently.
THE TRAGEDY OF LIGHTING Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are generally completely helpless in total darkness. Their homes are usually very brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses which cater to the sighted.
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION WITH THE SIGHTED Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. Thus, in many situations they will be unable to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person. Questions directed to sighted persons help them focus on verbal rather than visual and gestural communication.
HOW BEST TO ASSIST THE SIGHTED PERSON At times, sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns, and traffic lights, will assist the "driver" in finding the way quickly and easily.
Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle yet firm.
HOW DO SIGHTED PEOPLE READ? Sighted people read through a system called "Print." Print is a series of images drawn in a two-dimensional visual plane. Because the person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information while reading, his or her attention span tends to fade quickly when reading long texts. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by the dominance of his or her existing visual senses.
HOW DO SIGHTED PEOPLE USE COMPUTERS? Computer information is presented to sighted people in a "Graphical User Interface" or GUI.
Sighted people often suffer from hand-eye coordination problems and poor memories. To compensate, people who are sighted often use a "mouse," a handy device that slides along the desktop to save hard-to-remember keystrokes. With one click on the "mouse" button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily. People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and prepared to explain many times how your computer equipment works.
HOW CAN I HELP A SIGHTED PERSON? People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to life, work, and play alongside you. The best way to support sighted people in your community is to accept them for who they are. These citizens are vital, contributing members of society. Conduct outreach. Take a sighted person to lunch.
From a link in my previous blog. Do click and peek....maybe you'll come away a little more educated and more than a little ashamed...just like I have. Good luck!
And THIS isn't really that funny if you've watched them play cricket.
Is this your child?
Is this your child?
someone asked me when I was shopping
in a crowded store.
Is this your child?
I stopped for a moment and looked at my son.
He hadn't let me comb his hair that day,
and he wore his favorite teeshirt
which was decorated in ketchup red and chocolate brown.
His face was smudged and dirty,
we had been to the park and he had fallen in a mud puddle.
He was singing
God Bless America over and over
in his offpitchvoice.
Is this your child?
She asked again
I looked into her unfriendly eyes
and cringed at her tone of voice.
Taking a deep breath
I ruffled that unruly hair kissed his smudgy cheek.
Turning to face her I answered
loudly and proudly
"Oh yes, this is my child
his name is Dhylan
Isn't he wonderful?"
c. 1999 Sally Meyer.
Autism is not the end of the World. . . . just the beginning of a new one.
I am learning to accept 'imperfection' because I haven't found anything more imperfect than nature. Perfection, I guess, is for fools. No one has achieved it yet, in anything anyone has tried. Nobody is perfect and everyone is flawed. I ask again, who is 'special' and who isn't?
I haven't met anyone with two identically shaped or sized eyes or nostrils or feet or toes or hands, have you? I haven't seen a flower with two petals exactly the same. Yet in our imagination, everything that is right has to be perfect.
Perfection is not natural. And what isn't natural isn't divine.
I salute all the mothers who struggle with our insensitive, unyielding world in bringing up children who're blessed differently and I wish them strength.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
But SD makes big mistakes and doesn't learn from them. And now, it is as if nobody expects him to. I can't even fool myself into imagining that the 'poor chap' is jinxed anymore. He just seems beyond caring. He knows he can go utterly wrong and still be loved by the masses. His joker is his ace and he knows it. Today he's proven that he's only another Punjabi MCP who can't get over his 'manhood'. Well, he's just lost his first fan completely and forever with THIS though I've been drifting that way for very long.
I think if Sunil Dutt and Nargis were to sit judgement on the surname issue, they'd be prouder of their daughters than their wayward son whom they obviously loved but also lost....to his own stupidity.
AND, he's entering Politics? DOWN DOWN!! Mahila Morcha...jaago re!!
Addendum: WTH????? WAKE UP INDIA...for God's sake! Who is this Amar Singh? Who is Manyata? What is Sanjay Dutt? WTH?????????????? Where are we headed? If people make up a country, what is patriotism? Must I feel a bond with these losers? Argh!
Add II: OMG!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
( taken verbatim off the net...not edited)
tunes that we can't hold
Where we wash away our secrets
untamed, unnamed, untold
Where we weep until the water
goes hot- warm -tepid- cold
What is it about the shower
that makes us so bold?
[Had written this ^ long ago..a few words here and there were different I think...but hey!]
Old memories returning
to haunt awoken days
I can hear them echo
down long forgotten ways
I don’t have that talent sadly. When I make a U turn, there are tyres screeching and a round of apologies for being wrong. I wonder if hypocrisy is something one is born with or acquires over one’s lifetime preferring being numb and 'liked' to being alive to the truth. Friends, bought with words I don’t mean would be worth little to me. So why would I make that compromise with my soul?
Silence is a blessing I’ve absolutely begged God for many many times. The capacity to keep my mouth shut when my words will matter little. God never listens and I'm always suffering from bouts of foot in mouth.. Maybe He's getting even with me for daring to question his existance, or proving that he doesn't exist...hmm now. I am 41, yet I am unnerved by those who will remain silent at a time when the truth needs to be stated the most. These are people who'd trade their souls for a comfortable place in the shade and it isn't just about me and those I know. It is what affects the world as I see it today. Hypocrisy.
I always thought honest was nice. I thought justice delayed was justice denied. I thought to allow oneself to be wronged is worse than doing another wrong. I thought stating the truth as one knows it is one’s duty AND right. I thought to be silent when the truth, however insignificant, is being mauled is a crime. I must sue those who gave me these values when they mean nothing in the real world. Real World...what an oxymoron!
What makes a situation worse? The truth or burying the truth so there is ‘peace’? Sigh, if I haven’t found out in 41 years, is there any chance that I ever will?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Omana Thingal Kidavo
Nalla komala thamara poovo
Poovil nirannjha madhuvo...
Here's to you Appa, sleep well.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Blood does not sleep, stays awake as nightmare
Saladin, the greatest of Muslim warriors, died of fever and old age on the morning of March 4, 1124. He was the iconic believer. Malcolm Lyons and D
E P Jackson write in Saladin: The Politics of the Holy War, ''The imam Abu Jafar and al-Fadil were with him on the morning of March 4. The imam was reciting from the Quran. 'It is said that when he reached the words — There is no god but God and in Him I put my trust — Saladin smiled; his face cleared and he surrendered his soul to God'.'' On his last visit to Jerusalem, the holy city he had restored to Arab rule, in September 1123, he gave his fourth son, Abu Mansur al-Zahir, some immortal advice. As his son was about to leave, on October 6, Saladin kissed him, rubbed his hair fondly and said: be chary of shedding blood, ''for blood does not sleep''. He added, addressing his attendant emirs, ''I have only reached my present position by conciliation''. Nine centuries later, blood has still not slept in that land. It keeps awake as a nightmare. No region in modern times has refused conciliation and invested as heavily in a nightmare. Blood neither sleeps nor ceases; most cruelly, it does not discriminate between child and man. There is nothing new about war. But there is something new about the war raging on the sands of Israel and Palestine. Once, blood was lost on a battlefield, with honour. Blood is now spilt on the street. Civilians are no longer exempt from the havoc of war. Both sides target them, relentlessly. The difference is this: the Qassam rockets fired by Palestinians are crackers, pinpricks, compared to the overwhelming, bellicose firepower of Israel. Of all the images shivering into our consciousness from Gaza, none is more searing than the faces of children who have lost their laughter. Israel is building the foundations for war in 2025: children who are five today will be adults then. Blood will not sleep. Israel has every right to protect its citizens, but there are grave dangers in a disproportionate action that punishes a population for the actions of a government. It is only the insecure who over-react, but why would Israel, with its overwhelming military superiority, feel vulnerable? Perhaps, after throwing a chain around Gaza and delivering maximum punishment, time after time, it is unable to deal with the persistence of defiance. Defiance is courage, and courage is admirable, but courage is not victory. Victory too needs a definition, and it cannot be imposition. It must be justice, and equity demands that Palestine and Israel accept that neither will disappear. Both are nations. Facts demand peace, but fear engineers an essentially unequal war, its story told in cold statistics of dead, dying and destruction. There is more than one reason why Palestinians are still in refugee camps and Israel is a regional superpower. Gaza is imprisoned in two concentric circles. Only one is the blockade by Israel. The larger circle is a noose placed by cynical Arab ruling cliques who feed off Palestine's despair to perpetuate their own survival, using the alibi of conflict. When there is rage on the Arab street, as now, there is silence and wordplay in the Arab secretariat. Organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah have filled a vacuum created by military incompetence and pathetic governance. That is their appeal to Muslims beyond their borders. Poor governance has created a knowledge deficit; and knowledge is the key to strength. An Arab friend sent me some startling statistics; the email was captioned 'A time for introspection'. Here are just a few: there are only 500 odd universities in the Muslim world. The United States has 5,758 and India has nearly 8,500. Literacy in the developed world is 90% against 40% in the Muslim world. If you removed Turkey from the list, the comparison would look grimmer. High tech goods and services constitute only 0.9% of the exports from Pakistan, and 0.3% from Algeria. They add up to 68% of Singapore's exports. Men die for two diametrically opposed reasons: when they value what they seek to defend, and when there is nothing worth living for. Israel has created a state worth defending. The Palestinians must be given something to live for.
The lying silence about Gaza [ John Pilger ]
Western governments know about Israel's murderous history against the Palestinians. Why are they silent?
January 9, 2009
"WHEN THE truth is replaced by silence," the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, "the silence is a lie." It may appear the silence is broken on Gaza. The cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents, and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea can be viewed on Al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC.
Columnist: John Pilger
John Pilger is a renowned investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker who was called "the most outstanding journalist in the world today" by the Guardian. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire, a collection of investigations into the effects of war crimes and globalization. His books and films are featured at JohnPilger.com.
But Russia's incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemeral we call news; he was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it and so denied it. Among the Anglo-American intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge: the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why.
They know that the horror now raining on Gaza has little to do with Hamas or, absurdly, "Israel's right to exist." They know the opposite to be true: that Palestine's right to exist was canceled 61 years ago, and the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel.
They know, for example, that the infamous "Plan D" resulted in the murderous de-population of 369 Palestinian towns and villages by the Haganah (Jewish army), and that massacre upon massacre of Palestinian civilians in such places as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun, Jish, Ramle and Lydda are referred to in official records as "ethnic cleansing."
Arriving at a scene of this carnage, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, was asked by a general, Yigal Allon, "What shall we do with the Arabs?" Ben-Gurion, reported the Israeli historian Benny Morris, "made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said, 'Expel them.'"
The order to expel an entire population "without attention to age" was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, a future prime minister promoted by the world's most efficient propaganda as a peacemaker.
The terrible irony of this was addressed only in passing, such as when the Mapan Party co-leader Meir Ya'ari noted "how easily" Israel's leaders spoke of how it was "possible and permissible to take women, children and old men and to fill the roads with them because such is the imperative of strategy...who remembers who used this means against our people during the [Second World] war...we are appalled."
Every subsequent "war" Israel has waged has had the same objective: the expulsion of the native people and the theft of more and more land. The lie of David and Goliath, of perennial victim, reached its apogee in 1967 when the propaganda became a righteous fury that claimed the Arab states had struck first.
Since then, mostly Jewish truth-tellers such as Avi Schlaim, Noam Chomsky, the late Tanya Reinhart, Neve Gordon, Tom Segev, Uri Avnery, Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein have dispatched this and other myths, and revealed a state shorn of the humane traditions of Judaism, whose unrelenting militarism is the sum of an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology called Zionism.
Israeli historian Ilan Pappe wrote on January 2:
It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as desperate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system...Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology--in its most consensual and simplistic variety--has allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern [of genocide].
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
IN GAZA, the enforced starvation and denial of humanitarian aid, the piracy of life-giving resources such as fuel and water, the denial of medicines and treatment, the systematic destruction of infrastructure and the killing and maiming of the civilian population, 50 percent of whom are children, meet the international standard of the Genocide Convention.
"Is it an irresponsible overstatement," asked Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law authority at Princeton University, "to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not."
In describing a "holocaust-in-the-making," Falk was alluding to the Nazis' establishment of Jewish ghettos in Poland. For one month in 1943, the captive Polish Jews led by Mordechaj Anielewicz fought off the German Army and the SS, but their resistance was finally crushed and the Nazis exacted their final revenge. Falk is also a Jew.
Today's holocaust-in-the-making, which began with Ben-Gurion's Plan D, is in its final stages. The difference today is that it is a joint U.S.-Israeli project. The F-16 jet fighters, the 250-pound "smart" GBU-39 bombs supplied on the eve of the attack on Gaza, having been approved by a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party, plus the annual $2.4 billion in war-making "aid," give Washington de facto control.
It beggars belief that President-elect Barack Obama was not informed. Outspoken on Russia's war in Georgia and the terrorism in Mumbai, Obama's silence on Palestine marks his approval, which is to be expected, given his obsequiousness to the Tel Aviv regime and its lobbyists during the presidential campaign and his appointment of Zionists as his secretary of state, chief of staff and principal Middle East advisers. When Aretha Franklin sings "Think," her wonderful 1960s anthem to freedom, at Obama's inauguration on January 20, I trust someone with the brave heart of Muntader al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower, will shout: "Gaza!"
The asymmetry of conquest and terror is clear. Plan D is now "Operation Cast Lead," which is the unfinished "Operation Justified Vengeance." The latter was launched by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 when, with Bush's approval, he used F-16s against Palestinian towns and villages for the first time. In the same year, the authoritative Jane's Foreign Report disclosed that the Blair government had given Israel the "green light" to attack the West Bank after it was shown Israel's secret designs for a bloodbath.
It was typical of New Labour Party's enduring, cringing complicity in Palestine's agony. However, the 2001 Israeli plan, reported Jane's, needed the "trigger" of a suicide bombing that would cause "numerous deaths and injuries [because] the 'revenge' factor is crucial." This would "motivate Israeli soldiers to demolish the Palestinians."
What alarmed Sharon and the author of the plan, Gen. Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli chief of staff, was a secret agreement between Yasser Arafat and Hamas to ban suicide attacks. On November 23, 2001, Israeli agents assassinated the Hamas leader, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, and got their "trigger"; the suicide attacks resumed in response to his killing.
Something uncannily similar happened on November 5 last, when Israeli special forces attacked Gaza, killing six people. Once again, they got their propaganda "trigger." A cease-fire initiated and sustained by the Hamas government--which had imprisoned its violators--was shattered by the Israeli attack and homemade rockets were fired into what used to be Palestine before its Arab occupants were "cleansed." On December 23, Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire, but Israel's charade was such that its all-out assault on Gaza had been planned six months earlier, according to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
BEHIND THIS sordid game is the "Dagan Plan," named after Gen. Meir Dagan, who served with Sharon in his bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Now head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organization, Dagan is the author of a "solution" that has seen the imprisonment of Palestinians behind a ghetto wall snaking across the West Bank and in Gaza, effectively a concentration camp.
The establishment of a quisling government in Ramallah under Mahmoud Abbas is Dagan's achievement, together with a hasbara (propaganda) campaign relayed through a mostly supine, if intimidated Western media, notably in America, that says Hamas is a terrorist organization devoted to Israel's destruction and to "blame" for the massacres and siege of its own people over two generations, long before its creation.
"We have never had it so good," said the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir in 2006. "The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine." In fact, Hamas' real threat is its example as the Arab world's only democratically elected government, drawing its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians' oppressor and tormentor. This was demonstrated when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007, an event ordained in the Western media as "Hamas' seizure of power."
Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic. Neither is its proposal of a 10-year truce as a historic recognition of the "reality" of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition: that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders. As every annual vote in the UN General Assembly demonstrates, 99 percent of humanity concurs. On January 4, the president of the General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto, described the Israeli attack on Gaza as a "monstrosity."
When the monstrosity is done and the people of Gaza are even more stricken, the Dagan Plan foresees what Sharon called a "1948-style solution"--the destruction of all Palestinian leadership and authority followed by mass expulsions into smaller and smaller "cantonments" and perhaps finally into Jordan.
This demolition of institutional and educational life in Gaza is designed to produce, wrote Karma Nabulsi, a Palestinian exile in Britain, "a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed...Look to the Iraq of today: that is what [Sharon] had in store for us, and he has nearly achieved it."
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is an American writer on Palestine. She has a Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. "Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic," she wrote on December 31. "But I'm not talking about World War Two, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [the president of Iran] or Ashkenazi Jews. What I'm referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the past 60 years...Since Arabs are Semites, US-Israeli policy doesn't get more anti-Semitic than this."
She quoted Rachel Corrie, the young American who went to Palestine to defend Palestinians and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer. "I am in the midst of a genocide," wrote Corrie, "which I am also indirectly supporting and for which my government is largely responsible."
Reading the words of both, I am struck by the use of "responsibility." Breaking the lie of silence is not an esoteric abstraction but an urgent responsibility that falls to those with the privilege of a platform. With the BBC cowed, so too is much of journalism, merely allowing vigorous debate within unmovable invisible boundaries, ever fearful of the smear of anti-Semitism. The unreported news, meanwhile, is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can.
Then there are the academics, the deans and teachers and researchers. Why are they silent as they watch a university bombed and hear the Association of University Teachers in Gaza plea for help? Are British universities now, as Terry Eagleton believes, no more than "intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries"?
Then there are the writers. In the dark year of 1939, the Third Writers' Congress was held at Carnegie Hall in New York and the likes of Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein sent messages and spoke up to ensure the lie of silence was broken. By one account, 3,500 jammed the auditorium and a thousand were turned away. Today, this mighty voice of realism and morality is said to be obsolete; the literary review pages affect an ironic hauteur of irrelevance; false symbolism is all. As for the readers, their moral and political imagination is to be pacified, not primed. The anti-Muslim Martin Amis expressed this well in Visiting Mrs. Nabokov: "The dominance of the self is not a flaw, it is an evolutionary characteristic; it is just how things are."
If that is how things are, we are diminished as a civilized society. For what happens in Gaza is the defining moment of our time, which either grants the impunity of war criminals the immunity of our silence, while we contort our own intellect and morality, or gives us the power to speak out. For the moment I prefer my own memory of Gaza: of the people's courage and resistance and their "luminous humanity," as Karma Nabulsi put it.
On my last trip there, I was rewarded with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering in unlikely places. It was dusk and children had done this. No one told them to do it. They made flagpoles out of sticks tied together, and a few of them climbed on to a wall and held the flag between them, some silently, others crying out. They do this every day when they know foreigners are leaving, believing the world will not forget them.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Secularists and human rights activists have not covered themselves with glory over the Malegaon episode. Till a few weeks before the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya, these groups, as well as Muslims, were pouring scorn on the police, especially the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).
Investigations into the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts had seen the ATS feed a credulous media with details of various ‘masterminds'. More disturbing was the trial through the media being carried out by the police. Mumbai's Muslim leaders even met former ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was slain by terrorists in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, to protest against the raid on a Muslim mohalla, where policemen dragged a hakim out of bed at 3 a.m. at gunpoint and abused his family. To his credit, Karkare apologised and ordered an inquiry. That, however, didn't spare Karkare from the wrath of the Indian Mujahideen, who, in an e-mail sent immediately after the September 23 Delhi blasts, warned the "entire Mumbai ATS" that "we are closely keeping an eye on you and just waiting for the proper time to execute your bloodshed." (sic) Two months later, the Maharashtra ATS chief was killed in a terrorist attack. From all accounts it appeared that his killers didn't know who they were shooting. But immediately, secularists and Muslims declared that Karkare's killing was a conspiracy not by the Indian Mujahideen, but by the RSS. For just a day before his death, he had received an anonymous death threat for his role in the investigations into the Malegaon bomb blasts of September 29, in which the suspects had links with the RSS. Why give credence to one threat and not to the other? The answer to that lies in the willing suspension of disbelief in the Malegaon blasts investigation. As was done with Muslim terror suspects, details of the interrogation of Malegaon's Hindu suspects were leaked to the media.
But this time, no scepticism was expressed by the Left-secular brigade, nor did they scream "trial by media". No human rights organisation objected to the triple brain tests conducted on Sadhvi Pragya, though they had all along maintained that such tests were a form of torture. The BJP alone protested, raising exactly the same objections against the Malegaon investigation that human rights activists had raised against previous terror investigations, which had focused on Muslims and alleged Naxalites. Such protests were expected from the BJP. It was not surprising either, for Muslims to swallow the Malegaon findings hook, line and sinker. But such a deafening silence was certainly not expected of human rights activists and secularists. One crucial difference must be acknowledged between the Malegaon investigations and those that preceded it, and it was voiced by Karkare himself in an interview: "When we want to question a suspect and if he or she has any Hindutvawadi connections, we make sure once, twice, thrice, that we have enough reason and evidence to even question. Normally it is not like that. We are able to freely question anyone we suspect." There was also the incriminating evidence of the 2006 Nanded blasts, in which two RSS men had died while making bombs. Indeed, had the Nanded investigation been allowed to run its logical course, much of what was unravelled during the Malegaon investigations may have come out. Who knows the Malegaon blasts may not even have taken place. Ironically, the same powers that thwarted the Nanded probe gave the green signal for the Malegaon investigations because the time was right. Astute Muslims acknowledged this, even as they rejoiced at the findings. Surely the Left/secular brigade realised this too? Yet, for them, the Malegaon inquiry became a cause celebre. Karkare's career wasn't just about Malegaon. He'd dealt with Naxalites as an SP, Chandrapur, during 1991-93, and as ATS chief, was in charge of the case now against Mumbai's alleged Naxalites. Yet such was the effect of the Malegaon probe that Naxalite sympathisers, secular stalwarts and Muslim leaders, all turned out in force at Karkare's funeral, probably the first time they had paid homage to a police officer.
The writer is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist
Twayi mayo chaanya traiko vishnurVyartham kupyasi sarva sahishnu,Sarwasaminnapi pasyaathmaanam,Sarvathrothsyuja bhedaajnananm.
Satsangathwe nissamgathwam,Nissamgathwe nirmohathwam,Nirmohathwe nischala thatwam,Nischala tathwe jeevan mukthi
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
so you can breathe
and hug your folks goodbye
eat your meal
say your prayers
and then prepare to die
we know, you know
and god is just and kind
but we're not god
we want our land
we trust you do not mind
three wretched hours
is all you'll get
to taste the taste of peace
so hurry now
and don't forget
when there's a flash, say cheese!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
Washington Post piece here
Afterthought: What makes me certain it would have turned out very different had it been Shakira instead of Bell? Depressing thought? Why? What is music and why?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
We are told that the time can never come when the natives of India can be admitted to high civil military office. We are told that this is the condition on which we hold our power. We are told, that we are bound to confer on our subjects every benefit-which they are capable of enjoying?-no; --which it is in our power to confer on them? -no ; --but which we can confer on them without hazard to the perpetuity of our own domination. Against that proposition I solemnly protest as inconsistent alike with sound policy and sound morality. . . . We are free, we are civilized, to little purpose, if we grudge to any portion of the human race an equal measure of freedom and civilization. Are we to keep the people of India ignorant in order that we may keep them submissive? Or do we think that we can give them knowledge without awakening ambition? Or do we mean to awaken ambition and to provide it with no legitimate vent? Who will answer any of these questions in the affirmative? . . . It may be that the public mind of India may expand under our system till it has outgrown that system; that by good government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better government; that, having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not. Abut never will I attempt to avert or to retard it. Whenever it comes, it will be the proudest day in English history. To have found a great people sunk in the lowest depths of slavery and superstition, to have so ruled them as to have made them desirous and capable of all the privileges of citizens, would indeed be a title to glory all of our own. The sceptre may pass away from us. Unforeseen accidents may derange our most profound schemes of policy. Victory may be inconstant to our arms. . . . (Young 1935: 152-155).
...freedom is a many splendoured thing. And we're still to achieve it.
Friday, January 2, 2009
"Doubt Everything"...Gautama Buddha and my naani who brought me up.
"Don't trust a man who cries too often and a woman who laughs/smiles too much"...My naani again. ;)...ooh..and yeah, she's right.
'Read books, they make better friends than humans'...Daddy
'Mix with people your own level'...Daddy! Sigh! Sorry Pa, didn't understand you back then!
'Water will find its own level'....Daddy again...trying to dissuade me from showing people their place/s
'Operation succesful, patient dead'....Pa in law
'All geniuses are a little eccentric'...Pa in law...pulling my leg. lol
'Don't do anything that doesn't make you happy' ....that would be MOM...she rocks!
'Nice and foolish are two different things' ...Ma in law.
'Pretend not to have heard/seen/understood' ...a very smart lady I used to know over a decade ago.
'Good from far, far from good' ...Hubby
'Always do what is right , it will gratify half of mankind and astound the rest'...Mark Twain and Hubby( in his own words ofcourse)
...I'm still astounded!