Kalugu

Insight into South Asia

Indian troops in border – A tactical advantage over China

The lessons learned Forty years ago is valuable for Indians. The defeat of the Indian Army by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army during the 1962 Sino-Indian war was not only bitter, but was humiliating. It was a huge awakening to the new and young nation that was built on the principles of Non Violence. The inexperience of the then Defense Minister Krishna Menon (Our current Defense Minister A.K. Antony also hails from the same home state) and the ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai‘ sentiment turned to be costly mistakes for India. After the defeat, India claimed that China was occupying about 33,000 square kilometers of its territory in the Aksai Chin region of Ladakh. However, immediately after the war, China made it clear that the dispute is not over. Despite occupying Aksai Chin, it claimed that India is occupying 90,000 square kilometers (the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh) of its territory. To this day China has maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is actually South Tibet and belongs to China. You may recollect how China refused issuing Visa to a Indian official from Arunachal Pradesh intending to visit China, under the pretext that one needs no Visa to travel within the country.

China recently vetoed plans for an Asian Development Bank loan to India for development of the Arunachal Pradesh region

While there have been several treaties between India and China since 1962, the two countries have not only moved ahead, but have prospected on economic cooperation too. However the recent deployment of large Indian troops in the North East has irked the Chinese officials. The Indian governor of Arunachal Pradesh J.J. Singh last week announced the deploying of 30,000 soldiers of two Army divisions along the disputed border. He said the move was intended to “meet future security challenges” from China. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed that, despite cooperative India-China relations, his government would make no concessions to China on territorial disputes.

China and India have both seen tremendous growth during the recent decades. While China boasts of its overall growth and political stability, they endorse the rapid Indian advancements in the Information Technology sector. It was even reported few years back that the Chinese sent secret delegations to Bangalore to study and emulate the Indian success. While India was able to reap its success in the BPO and support services sector largely because of its English speaking population, China on the other hand established itself as a manufacturing hub taking advantage of its cheap labor. Its hard to refuse the fact that the political stability in both these nations has been the underlying factor to this growth and prosperity.

Global Risk Analysis – China India chartbook

Both China and India have a vested interest in preserving this stability to sustain their growth. While a confrontation between the two nations may not be at the best interest of either nations, it becomes important to formulate tactical strategies to safeguard the territories. The Indian move to deploy troops along its border can be seen as one. A good one indeed. While the intent may not be to engage in a confrontational mode, it establishes the fact that India is strongly committed to protecting its boundaries. The reaction from China has been sharp indeed.

Global Times a popular English news paper from China reported:

“India’s current course can only lead to a rivalry between the two countries. India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China. It should also be asking itself why it hasn’t forged the stable and friendly relationship with China that China enjoys with many of India’s neighbors, like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.”

Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh (in Pink). Courtesy: en.chinaelections.org

The People’s Daily – official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in an editorial that a decision to move more troops to the border would lead to a rivalry between the two countries, and asked the Indian government to consider “whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.”

While India realizes that the proportionate militarily strengths of both the nations has not changed much from what existed during the 1962 war, it is taking note that the global scenario is different. The following opinion from the Global Times editorial suggests that India is not without options.

“Indian politicians these days seem to think their country would be doing China a huge favor simply by not joining the “ring around China” established by the US and Japan.”

By making its first move, India has gained the advantage in this war of strategies as it has now forced China to show restraint in view of preserving the regional “stability” which is crucial for the growth of both nations. Some might argue that China is indeed ahead in the game as it has established its strategic “String of pearls” bases in Burma, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. However, striking India may most likely not be in China’s agenda or strategy as it would be detrimental to China and possibly disrupt or derail its own economic growth. Confrontation, hence becomes the last option for both China and India.

Unlike with its other neighbors Pakistan and Sri Lanka where India has always been taken for a ride, India sees itself in an enviable position now – only as long it is able to balance the rope-walk.

Written by Sunderapandyan

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Burma, China and Sri Lanka – The lessons

If you are wondering whats so common between these three Asian nations – well firstly, the religion Buddhism binds the heritage of these three nations. Secondly -all the three nations have been facing internal resistance and have used force to contain them for the past fifty plus years.  Its an irony that the religion of peace, has not imparted peace in the minds of its followers in these nations. While Dalai Lama – in the name of Buddhism, is fighting for the freedom of Tibet from China through peaceful methods, Burma has been using violence to quell internal disturbances and Sri Lanka is using excessive violence to quell the Tamil resistance. 

Burma:

Burma’s Junta recently extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 61 for another year, defying overwhelming international appeals. Suu Kyi, has spent more than 11 of the past 17 years of life in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The Junta took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma. It refused to hand over power when, on May 27, 1990, Suu Kyi’s Burma’s National League for Democracy party won a general election by a landslide.

Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship. According to the results of the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi as leader of the winning National League for Democracy party earned the right to be the Prime Minister, but her detention by the military Junta prevented just that.The United Nations, the European Union and the U.S. government have been repeatedly calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, as well as for moves toward democracy in Burma.

China – Tibet:

Chinese soldiers and Paramilitary encircled cities and villages in Tibet early this year, on the tip-off about possible unrest on the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Half a century ago Dalai Lama – the Tibetan spiritual leader fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese and has been living in Dharamsala, India – the Himalayan hill town that is the seat of the so called Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibetans outside of China and their supporters held rallies around the world recently to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising.

Dalai Lama

Meanwhile Dalai Lama acknowledged the “failure” of his policy of talks with Beijing which yielded no results. “Our approach never affects the inside situation. Things are not going well.” he told reporters.

Dalai Lama – The spiritual and political leader for the people of Tibet has been talking about the “cultural genocide” by the Chinese, has been warning that Tibet’s “ancient culture and ancient civilization are now dying.” and painfully confesses that “for the short term, the Tibet issue is hopeless.”

There is a suspicion among foreign analysts of Chinese policy toward Tibet that Beijing has no intention of seriously seeking a solution to the problem and is planning simply to wait for the death of Dalai Lama. His successor, after all, would enjoy none of the international kudos, domestic devotion, or diplomatic experience that gives Dalai Lama his political strength.

Since the last round of talks between top Chinese officials and delegates of Dalai Lama that took place through the year 2002 there appears an impasse. The Chinese side has repeatedly refused the Tibetans’ demands to discuss the outlines of  Tibetan autonomy,calling it a “covert independence” and a violation of Chinese sovereignty.

Sri Lanka – Tamil Eelam:

Tamils – the speakers of an ancient classical language, who have a heritage of rich literature dating back as much as 5000 years old are the native inhabitants of Southern India and North East of Sri Lanka in the present day boundaries of this region. Their struggle for self determination and the establishment of a free state “Tamil Eelam” has been countered by successive heads of the Sri Lankan state. Both peace-full resistance under the leadership of S.J.V.Chelvanayagam and armed resistance under the leadership of V. Pirabakaran have met violent opposition by the Sri Lankan government. 

The plight of the high civilian causalities during the recent offensive and the regular disappearances of internally displaced people from the Intermittent camps remind us of the Nazi days. The “Never Again” slogan seem to have been lost in the rumbles of the “war on terror”. Leaked UN figures state that more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed and several thousand injured by the Sri Lankan Army just in the last few days of the war. Several International analysts who have focused on past genocides of the world have warned that the Tamils of Sri Lanka are facing “slow genocide” at the hands of Sri Lankan armed forces and the Sri Lankan government. While the human cost of the Sri Lankan civil war has been extremely high, world leaders were still of the opinion that the Tamils struggle was legitimate, but their use of violence is unacceptable. The casualties of this war has largely been ignored or hidden by world bodies such as UN to avoid the embarrassment of the exposure of the “uncivilized” world. 

Non-violence and Armed struggle

I am wondering, if the world leaders and world bodies seek an end to all armed struggles across the world, do they think that the world is ready to heed to peaceful protests. If so why has there not been any progress or hope for the freedom of Tibetans. Why has there not been any success with the Aung San Suu Kyi’s strugle to bring democracy to Burma?.

Even after 50 years and 17years of struggle Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are yet to see any meaningful progress, leave alone a permanent solution. The International Community have been occasionally releasing statements in favor of these two rebel leaders, but carry on their diplomatic missions and trade agreements with China and Burma. The UN has always remained the extended arm of the Security Council members and has done nothing for these two peaceful struggles. 

It makes me conclude that the International Community and the UN are nothing more than empty words. Until they are able to bring a positive outcome to the peaceful struggles in these Asian nations or across the globe, they will not earn the respect of anybody and cannot gain any legitimacy in dictating the means and ways of somebodies struggles towards equality and dignity. Until then, the power to end the miseries of Burma, Tibet & Tamil Eelam rests in the hands of it own people.

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Terminator Salvation (English Movie Review)

I was eagerly expecting the release of this movie, for reasons unknown, as my experience with sequels is that the first part is the best and the last is the worst with nothing more to the storyline but more and more extravaganza and graphics. I can list quite a few examples starting with “The Matrix” (I am a huge fan of the first sequel of Matrix)

But, I was in for a sweet surprise as “Terminator Salvation”, defies all the rules for a sequel and looks like a fresh start or in IT terms reboot.

Introduction of fresh faces “Christian Bale” (as John Conner), Sam Worthington (as Marcus Wright) gives a new lease of life to the story.

terminator

The film starts with Marcus Wright waiting in the death row, and ending up donating his body for scientific research.

Then it spans to 2018, the post-judgement day, where Terminators roam the earth looking for human survivors and capturing them. John Connor leads the resistance, with most of the survivors supporting him believing in the prophecy which states that John Conner is the chosen one to lead them to victory.

The story picks up heat, when Marcus Wright comes out of the rubble in this strange world, very confused about how he came here. There is some level of suspense here, as we are not sure if he is human or a Terminator, even after he helps Kyle Reese and the small child escape.

This sequel introduces many different types of Terminators, hydrobots – the submersible eel like terminators that swarm the waters, Transformer type Terminators that fly around and capture human survivors, and small Transformer like bike Terminators that are dropped by the flying Terminators to chase fleeing humans.

What really made it a chilling watch is that, the movie very much reflected what happened in Sri Lanka just a couple of weeks ago.

The concentration camp, where machines keep the humans, the cold blooded terminators bombing all places, especially those with human presence brings memories of what we read in the newspapers recently.

Williams a pilot in John Conner’s team says to Marcus Wright “Before, if you killed somebody, that usually made you a criminal. But in this world, all it means is that you’re probably a good shot.”

Williams also says this that shows the option available to the surviving humans in her world.

You know, Marcus,” “We can focus on what is lost. On what is past. Or we can fight for what is left.”

Another pertinent dialogue is John Conner’s broadcast to the surviving humans out there in the world.

“Above all, stay alive. You have no idea how important you are – how important you will become, each and every one of you.”

“Humans have a strength that cannot be measured by mechanical means, by the machines that struggle to understand us. Join us. Get to a safe area to avoid detection. Look for our symbol. Make yourself known. We will find you,” He pauses and then continues “I promise – we will win. But you, me, everyone, we all need to keep fighting. My name is John Conner. If you’re listening to this, you are the Resistance.”

Another chilling conversation that shows the ugly face of war

Ashdown (The military commander for the human army) says “We don’t have time. The command commences attack tomorrow. Your unit will be in support of the bombings of the skynet central.

Connor replies “Bombing? According to our latest intelligence, Skynet is filled with human captives. What is the extraction plan for the prisoners?”

Ashdown’s reply demonstrates their hard priorities and tough decisions when its a question of survival. Watch out with sharp ears to hear what Ashdow had to say while you watch this segment of the movie. 

A heart-warming, oft repeated dialogue in all Terminator sequels is “I will be back”. John Connor says to his wife Kate, before going on his mission to save the human prisoners and defeat Skynet Central, a major base for the machines.

“I will be back” – If you are reading this and believe, then you are the Resistance 😉

Written by Joy Arun

Joy Arun is an engineer who also works to spread education to the needy. He believes education is the foundation for a healthy society.

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New leadership to emerge from Diaspora Tamils

Amidst several new revelations in the Sri Lankan crisis by the Tamils, Sinhalese and rest of the world, the Asia team comprising of India, Pakistan, China and Iran continues to reign in the rhettoric of “war on terror” despite the heavy cost of the war. UN is now on a damage control mode, after the leaked information on the casualties of 20,000 civilians in the last few days alone of the war. With the Sri Lanka government establishing that the LTTE has been eliminated from the face of the earth, the Tamils, especially the Diaspora seem to have gotten even stronger in their resolve for continuing the struggle.

While the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon reiterated the need for an international investigation to examine the war crimes of Rajapakse’s government, the Sri Lankan administration continued ignoring the growing resentment across the globe. In a statement to reporters on Friday at U.N. headquarters, Mr Ban Ki Moon said:

“Any inquiry, to be meaningful, should be supported by the members of the United Nations, and also should be very impartial and objective,”

“I would like to ask the Sri Lankan government to recognize the international call for accountability and full transparency, and whenever and wherever there are credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law, there should be a proper investigation.”

So far no Tamil has been quoted as welcoming the outcome of the war. Even hardcore Sri Lankan government supporter Mr. V. Anadasangaree has termed the conditions of the Tamils in the Manik Farm Camp as “horrible”.

Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai said he does not believe Mr Rajapakse even for a minute.  His organization has planned to hold several protests in Toronto and is also calling European Tamil organizations to hold protests. 

Jan's parents were teachers in Nigeria and Zambia where she lived in her youth. In England she lived in Southport in Merseyside, Croydon and Winchester.

In Europe young and elite leadership is emerging from the Diaspora Tamils. Rapper MIA endorsed Jan Jananayagan who is contesting as an the independent candiate to the EU Parliament. MIA appeared in several major media network, calling upon Londoners, to support Jan on a platform for Civil liberty. Jan holds an MBA from the INSEAD Business School in France and says she stands for, Individual Freedom, Financial Transparency and Effective Regulation, Equality and Diversity, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship, Ethical Foreign Policy & Animal Welfare. Jan has been campaigning with all minority communities in London and the Sikh and Tibet community organizations have declared their support for her candidature.

The EU Parliament election is a win-win effort by Jan, with some visible results already – of the unifying Diaspora that is strengthening the freedom movement after the demise of the military wing of LTTE.

Out Look India’s Sadanand Menon observes the following:

..a newly articulate, million-strong, diasporic community with international connections is poised to step in. That is where the new leadership, new resistance and new political process will come from. This segment is better equipped to continue the struggle through constitutional means..

The Lankan Tamil community stands as a symbol of hope for civil liberty. With their resolve they are demonstrating that there is nothing called “defeat”. Their determination and focus is likely to result in the emergence of a new elite leadership for the Eelam Tamils.

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Merit-By–Birth theory trashed

We strongly condemn the stories inplanted in media by certain vested interests and anti social elements claiming merit by birth and insulting the majority of the people of India.

One of the age old characteristics of the Indian society has been the caste system. This system was based on the principle of assigning  a caste to every individual based on their birth and inturn limiting them to a profession associated with that caste. This system was followed for almost two millennia, resulting in a society with people at extreme ends of wealth and talent. While one individual was able to excel in one profession, he had no freedom or opportunity to pursue a different one even if he wished to do so. The caste system and segregation of people based on birth is one part of India’s history that we cannot feel proud of today.

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, The architect of Indian constitution who ensured a provision for social justice and protected the interests of the downtrodden people including untouchables

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar: Caste has killed public spirit. Caste has destroyed the sense of public charity. Caste has made public opinion impossible… Virtue has become caste-ridden and morality has become caste-bound - Annihilation of caste 1936.

While  the constitution for the Republic of India was framed, the polarized nature of the different groups and the relative forward and backward status (educational and social) of different castes was envisioned to be balanced by an affirmative action that provided reservation in education and employment opportunities created through national funds. Even though this policy could be interpreted as “discriminatory” by few, offered the best solution to address the imbalance caused by a two millennia practice. It was widely believed that it will be welcomed and accepted by all sections of the society as it offered hope for the country to move forward. 

In a democracy, while the individuals right to “freedom of expression” and the likes are guaranteed, it is also the norm that a system that is in place to bring a larger benefit to the nation, is allowed to curtail an individuals right. Thus with wide acceptance, the theories of Social Justice and Equality of Opportunity has come into stay in the Indian system of administration.

However it is sad to notice that even after the transformation of India into a democracy, few individuals and groups still seem to believe the teachings of “Varnashrama Dharma” and “Manu Smirithi” –  the religious documents that preach the core values of the caste system. Posing a threat to the very structure of the new Indian society, these teachings can only be viewed as anti national and anti social. Apart from programs to reform the individuals who believe in the caste system, we need to enforce stricter laws and punishments to those who practice and preach the same.

Those who are familiar with the history of India will agree that the southern state of Tamil Nadu has achieved a unique place in India. From ancient days Tamil Nadu has retained its language and culture. Alternative schools of thoughts in religion, philosophy and culture have been welcomed. The impact of religious values and Sanskrit language from the north of the peninsula can be largely felt even today.. The influence of Tamil culture over the rest of India has also been well acknowledged by scholars.

Talking about the caste system – the Tamil society is not behind in any means in following the caste system. The state is still plagued by untouchability and superstition. There are indications in Tamil literature that the caste system deeply entrenched in to the society ever since the Vedic religion took a foothold in this part of the country. However, there are no scriptures of the type of “Varnashrama Dharma” or “Manu Smirithi” which endorse religious authority to enforce the caste system.

There has also been wide exposure to the principles of democracy and education after the arrival of Europeans. There were widespread questioning of the religious authority promoting castes and the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities.

Periyar EVR, the Architect of Self Respect Movement in Tamil nadu

Periyar EVR, the Architect of Self Respect Movement in Tamil nadu. Periyar brought social and political changes in Tamil nadu in favour of the backward sections of the society

The self respect movement spearheaded by E.V.R. Periar was against the inhuman practices based on religious authority and brought in a proportional representation and communal reservation in governance even before achieving independence from the British empire.

In Tamil Nadu a large quantum of reservations are provided to the backward classes, most backward classes and the scheduled castes. By this – most sections of the society participate in the administration of the state and the relationship of the government with the common man has been made easier, which promotes better administration and developmental activities. Here assessment of a qualification based only on the marks obtained in a theoretical examination is not the sole criteria for providing the opportunities. We do see some fringe groups insisting for such sole criteria since it is suitable for their preoccupied positions of social status. Their belief in “Merit By Birth” theories refuse to die.

The fact that Tamil Nadu is progressive is surprisingly well endorsed even by the magazine “India Today” which otherwise is known for its Anti Mandal (Anti Reservation) rhetorics. In September of each year, India Today publishes the “State of the States” cover story. The latest overall status of Tamil Nadu was surveyed by India Today in 2008 September. Tamil Nadu was placed in second position next only to Punjab among the big states of India.

India Today Survey 2008

India Today Survey 2008.

The methodology used in the survey of India Today is based on parameters such as Law and Order, Agriculture, Primary education, Primary health, Infrastructure, Consumer market, Investment, Environment, Budget and Prosperity. Each of these parameters are measured by various factors using analytical procedures.

Moreover according to the reports published in this month, Tamil Nadu is the most attractive state for foreign investments in India due to its better quality of infrastructure and governance. This is stated in compilation of “India – State index of attractive operating environments” by an Oxford-based consulting firm. Tamil Nadu is at the top of all the states in India in going global.

However we do see few elements in the print media making deliberate attempts to underplay the success of Backward class, Dalit members and that of the state as a whole. The recent news about the success of 100 candidates from the state in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) was widely reported in the state print media. This figure constitutes 12.5% of the 791 selected candidates all over India. Among the successful candidates, eight had written the main examination in Tamil. In all 98 candidates had written the examination in Tamil and 19 of them have qualified for the interview. Despite a clear display of success by all sections of the society, one mainstream media group stated the following as its observation:

“Social scientists are examining whether those belonging to the progressive sections of the society who had earlier dominated the North and South Blocks in New Delhi have returned to a career in administration” 

And an anonymous observer went further by saying:

“Candidates belonging to the progressive sections of the society had in recent years moved to the Silicon Valley. Now that there are no jobs there, I suspect that they would have written the civil services last year.”

By these comments, it makes us wonder, if these so called “progressive section” has ever learned the lesson about the failure of the “Merit By Birth” policy. It is hard to construct and beleive that any real “Social scientist” would subscribe to this philosophy at this day and age. Studies based on scientific analysis have rejected the “Merit by Birth” system as to be detrimental to any progressive society. It is not just a recipe for a polarised society but also does not provide the progress that are offered by an inclusive society that rewards talents from all sections and builds its progress from the best of the brains.

The real social scientists have already analyzed the improving better performance of the candidates from Tamil Nadu from the past few years in the Civil Services Examination and have observed that the largest number of those selected has been form non-metro areas, who had studied through the Tamil medium of education.

It is already reported and on records that Tamil Nadu accounted for nearly a quarter of the OBC candidates selected at the all-India level in both 2004 and 2005. In 2006, it accounted for 15%, while Uttar Pradesh accounted for over 20% (One in every five selected OBC candidate were from UP). Tamil Nadu has the largest number of OBCs making it to the civil services, much ahead of other large states which have double the population of that of Tamil Nadu.

Whether it is Tamil Nadu or any other state, it is the Morality, Virtue, Righteousness, Equality and Justice along with the written constitution which should form the foundation of administering the people. We request our fellow citizens who still believe in their own status by birth, to burn their religious past and accept the concepts of Social justice and Inclusive Growth so that we all can march forward to a future Indian society that is built on a foundation of equality.

Birth is alike to all : Excellence can be classsified
Based on the diverse deeds .

( ThiruValluvar 972)

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

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First Job for our Homeminister, Mayavati, Manmohan etc

Manmohan seems to be adamant on retaining the infrastructure ministries with cong. It seems not a bad proposition with the current politics. But it laughs in the face of coalition politics and Federal setup. It does not look right when we say a partner is representative enough of the people to fight elections together, but not good enough to lead and make decisions. But that is a theoretical and moral angle. The practicality of the PM being able to control someone outside his party in a ministry is a factor to be considered. But I would consider that a leadership and negotiation challenge to be overcome than a failure of a system. After all, you are elected leader of a multiple parties, because you must be able to lead them in the same direction. I am not naive to be assume this is a moral and leadership question alone. There is also the self-interest of congress in retaining the plum posts. And there is also the question of efficiency of the leaders in question.

P. Chidambaram has been chosen the Home Minister again. With him being from Tamil Nadu, We can expect the Tamils to get a speedy and just solution in Srilanka..Ok, I was kidding..Just making sure, if you are still awake. Firstly he has a home problem to control. Bharathiraja is a famous Tamil director of the 70s and 80s. He was incidentally the only male from the South Indian film Industry to speak in support of Khushboo in the chastity episode that was popular in Chennai a few years ago. It was not a pun that he was the only male. He indeed was the only male, as the other person to come in her support was a woman, Actress Suhasini. Recently Bharathiraja’s home and office were attacked by masked men in two vehicles recently. It is widely rumored that Karthi Chidambaram the son of P. Chidambaram was behind the masked men. It is unlikely ADMK or BJP or Communist men were behind this attack as Bharathiraja campaigned actively against congress this election. Moreover the DMK, BJP and ADMK men are more violent and use Acid, murder and would never resort to covering their faces in an attack. The cowardliness behind masking strongly indicates a congress presence behind this. Thinking of motives, P. Chidambaram narrowly escaped losing due to Bharathiraja’s effective campaigning. Karthi Chidambaram was also recently popular for threatening a Student who stood against his father in Sivaganga constituency in the election.  I bet the CBI can find the violent rogue quickly, if they start the investigation from the Home minister’s home.

Mayavathi has transferred the IAS And IPS officers in constituencies where the BSP had lost. She has also agreed to support Congress from outside in govt forming, although they dont need her support. In the last one year she has refused to support cong twice in governing India. I wonder what has changed in couple of months. She is indeed unpredictable as a decision maker. Any goodwill she earned by willing to standup as a potential Third Prime ministerial candidate is betrayed by such activities. I am a firm believer that Politicians are not the root cause behind the problems of India. I believe we have a collective responsibility behind our issues. We will keep electing Laloo, JJ, MK, Gowda, Mayavathi as they represent us in morality and values. I remember in a student election in my college, my Head of dept who I respected campaigned secretively(Surreptitiously to those, who adore big words)   and made arrangements to vote-rig with his son(who was also a student) to ensure my loss. This was a teacher with international repute who stooped to such levels. (the loss was one of the best things that happened in my life as I made my best buddies and got my best lessons after that episode). So how can we blame Politicians when our non-political leaders are themselves questionable. But still I write about the issues with Politicians, because I feel there is a growing disconnect between the values of our politicians and People.

I see a lot of distress and some glee amongst our readers regarding the Eelam deaths. I am taking a Strategic decision making course currently. Part of decision making is recognizing the public and private information available to us. The other part of decision making is understanding the levers/options available to me and their impacts. There are some levers available to me, but in international affairs most levers are not available to me as an individual. Most importantly in international affairs, some levers have nil short-term impact and only have long-term impact. And we get access to most levers, only if we have the necessary critical support numbers. The way I deal sometimes with some of my problems is recognizing the impact/lack-of-it of the levers available to me. And recognizing the movements of the whole machinery of the world human relationships(similar to the last locker scene in the movie “Men in Black”).

But at an individual level, I want to reach out to each and everyone, and say I stand by you in our loss. For those in glee, congrats! Btw I was elected unopposed for the same post in college, although I was disinterested the next year. Thinking practically, I believe Eelam Tamils will rightfully get their own self-governance soon. Borders are getting highly irrelevant as indicated by European Union, As more and more Traffic and communication unavoidably grows between Rameshwaram and Jaffna. When there is nothing to hold or gain, Control-lovers will get tired and let go soon. Thats just human nature!

Ciao and love for now!

by Ronin

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10 Questions to World Leaders

Honorable US President Mr. Obama, US Secretary of state Mrs. Clinton, UK Prime minister Gordon  Brown, Norway Minister Eric Solheim, most importantly UN Secretary General Mr. Ban ki moon,

Civilians in Internment Camps behind barbed fences

About quarter million civilians are in Internment Camps behind barbed fences. About 20,000 wounded are in need of immediate assistance. Food, Water and Medicine are in immediate need.

Even after the SL government claims to have won the war, President Rajapakse is busy celebrating his victory, while the Tamils are struggling for their lives, living at the mercy of the Sinhalese prison guards, without food, water and medicine.

Yet, the IC, UN, Red Cross and all World Organizations are watching the happenings without any action.

If you could touch your heart and answer even one of these questions truthfully, you are justified to be in the seat that you occupy.  

  1. What is stopping Mr. Rajapakse from allowing international help to reach the affected area? Is it because he needs his people to clear up all evidences to the genocide, in the name of clearing land mines?
  2. Why is there no Tamil in the Srilankan Army? Can those aristocrats in Delhi, Washington, London, France care to answer or comment.
  3. Weren’t the TNA MPs democratically elected? Then why is that their input is not taken into consideration in any of the decisions taken by the World Organizations?
  4. Millions of Tamils around the world have fled their home country Sri Lanka. Is it because, they wanted to tour the world?
  5. Those millions worldwide demonstrated in support of LTTE, and described LTTE as their freedom fighters. Are all of them hardened terrorists, as the Srilankan President Rajapakse is claiming?
  6. When will Rajapakse allow international aid to reach the Tamils? Or does he think that it is not necessary? Why was the ICRC thrown out of Srilanka?
  7. When will the reporters be allowed to report freely from the affected areas? What is the status of investigations carried out in the case of the reporters who have been killed? Why were the UK journalists thrown out of Srilanka?
  8. Why have the SL Government arrested the doctors who reported casualty figures from the war front? Also, why any one who raises his voice against the government, even if they are civilians or reporters, arrested and investigated?
  9. What is the function of UN? You might think that this is a stupid question, but I bet if anyone can provide an answer and prove that the answer is justified by quoting the activities of UN.
  10. How come Mr. Rajapakse has not yet mentioned about what he intends to do to protect the rights of the Tamils? Is he going to think of a plan when he has time after his victory bash?

Indian leaders from Delhi, Chinese Communists and Japanese war mongers are excluded from these questions, as this is directed to those who have some basic dignity and humanity.  

Note to Mr. Ban Ki Moon: Please do not ask advice from the following people

  1. Mr. Vijay Nambiar who goes for a leisure tour to Srilanka every few days and says everything is fine.
  2. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee who has been assigned to look out for investment opportunities in Srilanka, on behalf of Mdm. Sonia Gandhi.
  3. Mr. Manmohan singh, as he cannot answer without Mdm. Sonia Gandhi’s permission. So kindly do not disturb him.

Written by Joy Arun

Joy Arun is an engineer who also works to spread education to the needy. He believes education is the foundation for a healthy society.

Filed under: Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Open letter to Cho Ramaswamy – the strawman of Tamil politics

Mr. Cho Ramasamy the actor turned politician and editor/publisher of a Tamil weekly has recently appeared in few national television media to air his opinion on issues relating to the region.

This is an open letter to Mr. Cho with reference to his recent interview published in The Economic Timeson 19 May 09. I hope Mr. Cho will be a good sport for appreciation/criticism.

Open letter to Mr. Cho Ramasamy:

20 May, 2009

Good Morning Mr. Cho. Congratulations for getting a spot in the The Economic Times to air your views on the fallout of the latest Lankan developments in Tamil Nadu and to give your advice on what the Indian government should do now to find a solution to the problems.

I would like to point out some of your answers and seek some clarifications.

To start with, for the question: “What you think will be the fallout of the Lankan development on Tamil Nadu, where Sri Lanka war was a big election issue?”, you have answered: “It was never a poll issue and this time also it wasn’t a poll issue

However, In the very next question: “What about youngsters here? Do you think their empathy will spill over to agitations? “, You have answered “…. It may be a poll issue but parties will not support agitations”

If “the poll issue” fliflop was a print error by The Economic Times, I guess it can be left uncorrected as most readers presume that it is indeed your style of expression (confuse the issue or reader or if possible both). Otherwise, please clarify.

Further in one of your answers you have stated that “Nobody was elected because he was a champion of LTTE and nobody was defeated because he was not.

I am positive that you must be aware of the following facts:

The rout of several senior Congress leaders, including Union Ministers:The prominent losers from the Congress include Union Ministers E.V.K.S. Elangovan from Erode and Mani Shankar Aiyar from Mayiladuthurai, former Union Minister R. Prabhu from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu from Salem. In a see-saw battle, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram of the Congress won by a narrow margin of 3,354 votes.
— Frontline , “The Hindu” publications.

Are you not aware that there were few organizations that worked exclusively for the defeat of these candidates?  May be you did not want The Economic Times to know these facts?

Also you cannot refuse the argument that AIADMK would have been routed if not for the last minute announcement by Ms J. Jayalalitha that she will send the Indian Army to create an independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Further, you have also stated this: “As far as the LTTE is concerned, there is no sympathy left with the Tamils here

Can you explain the methodology you use to feel the pulse of the people in our state? Do you refer to surveys conducted by reputed firms?, Because all the surveys I have read (Indian Express, Vikatan and Loyola College) indicate that if not all, a sound majority view LTTE as a legitimate freedom struggle. Please let us know what logical reasoning you adopt to come to conclusions about the views of the people, because you may have to change it as it had gone totally wrong.

You have clearly stated that you oppose an independent state for Lankan Tamils. I respect your anti Eelam stance and will stand to protect your freedom of thought and speech. However the tool you are using to push your viewpoints – “Lies” is not appropriate in any manner. In my humble opinion, using “Lies” will not only taint your reputation but also weaken your viewpoints.

Further you have stated: “Well here, some fringe elements will indulge in some agitations. Some fanatics may even try self-immolation”.

Can you please explain what the term “fringe elements” mean?. Mr. Muthukumar has been given a page in Wikipedia. His statement became the most circulated material in the Tamil print and internet media. It fueled 10 other self immolations across the globe (Mostly in Tamil Nadu) which is very sad.  Film Actors, Film workers, Doctors, Advocates, Traders, IT Engineers, TV Actors, Directors, Students, Painting Artists, Poets – folks from all walks of life have observed protests. All political outfits have organized several forms of protests. The Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi and the opposition leader Ms Jayalaitha have observed fast protests. I have not seen an uprising in my life (in my state) that parallels the protests in the last few months. Your above statement that these protests are by “fringe elements” is nothing less than a consciously stated lie.

Again, I respect your anti Eelam stance, but the tool you have chosen to push your view points – “Lies” is not appropriate in my opinion.

To my knowledge, this convinient misrepresentation of facts (Lies) by you to mislead some of the National Indian English media  is indicative of the low standard of journalism you have set for yourself. It also indicates the low standard of moral ethics you have set to yourself. The sloka you quote very often which is the essence of the Hindu religion talks a lot about truth. 

“Sathyam Bhruyaath
Priyam Bhruyaath
Mathbruyaath sathyamapriyam
Priyam cha na anruthambruyaath”

(Speak the truth,
speak the soothing word,
Even if truth,speak the soothing word,
Even if true, do not speak the harsh word, Even if soothing, do not speak the untruth.)

What benefit it does to understand just the individual meaning of the words and not practice it in your life.

I urge you to write more about why you have been opposing the formation of an Independent state for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, with verifiable facts and arguments based on policies and geo political interests and above all with “Truth” behind your view points.

I do admire your sense of humor and will be delighted to see you in the screen again. 

Sincerely,

Sunderapandyan
Citizen Journalist, Kalugu.com
——-***——-
The Straw-man of Tamil Politics:

Cho’s affiliation to RSS and the Hindutva ideologies are his birth right. In my opinion he has his own version of the Hindutva philosophies and is yet to find a platform or a leader to carry that forward.

Cho has been very vocal in opposing any movement that would lead to the creation of an independent Tamil state for the Lankan Tamils. So I view him as sabotaging the Lankan Tamil interests and progress. Some feel that Cho represents the aspirations of the Tamil Brahmins. I don’t agree to that either. Cho has never represented the Tamil Brahmin aspirations. Here is an example from a recent happening:

Mr. Cho Ramasamy

MrCho is a self-confessed well-wisher of the BJP which did not win a single seat in the state.Mr. Cho predicted 25 constituencies for ADMK and 15 for DMK in this elections.

An incident that rocked the sentiments of the Tamil Brahmin community in recent times was the arrest of Swami Jeyendira Saraswathi – The Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt.  Needless to say the Kanchi Mutt is one of the oldest and most respected institutions for Hindus all over the nation. Several members of the mutt were in turmoil with the incident being highlighted in a manner that brought disrespect to the institution and its tradition. While most members of the mutt agreed that the crime has to be punished, they were shocked in the way the story was handled in the media, with no respect to the Hindu sentiments.

While the leader of the Tamil Brahmin community organization (TAMBRAS) called upon members of the community to come out of their house and organize protests, there was little support. To my knowledge Mr. Cho did not utter a word about the whole chapter. While Cho would comment on all state issues in National media, he failed to use his network in the media to throw some light into this issue. Mr. Cho would openly state that he does not stand for the welfare of his community. The pretext being – his ideologies are larger than just his community or even the state. So patronization of Cho by sections of his community (by subscribing to his magazine) has indeed recieved no gratification.

While among Tamil Brahmins, he ignores their true sentiments, while amongst Tamils he sabotages their aspirations, and we can speculate what he will stand for as an Indian/Human.

Cho being the straw-man he is in Tamil politics, does offer some value to the state. However, if one does not understand the correct perspective with which his opinions can be taken, it may lead to a disaster. The key is – his opinions should be listened to, but not implemented. In fact it may work in most instances if you implement the opposite of what he suggests. 

Mr. Rajinikanth and Ms Jayalalitha are two examples of otherwise successful individuals reaching the lowest point in their public life due to their association with Cho. The reason these associations resulted in disaster is because both of these individuals did not have any clue on how to apply Cho’s intelligence appropriately.

In simple terms, the key to success with Cho on your side is: When Cho says go south, you should go north.

Written by Sunderapandyan

Filed under: Asia, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Sri Lanka – back to square one after decades of unrest

Sri Lanka yesterday claimed that several of LTTE top leaders including its chief Mr V. Prabakaran have been killed. This news provided by the Army has been widely circulated in the Sri Lankan, Indian and Western media. However S. Pathmanathan, Head of LTTE’s International Relations in an interview to TamilNet on Monday refused those claims and said:

“The Sri Lankan government makes unverified claims. I am only able to ascertain that our National Leader is alive and well. It is true that many of our senior members and leaders have either given up their lives or been treacherously killed. This is very unfortunate, but it is important to realize that our struggle will continue until the aspirations of our people are realized.”

Mr S. Pathmanathan in an earlier interview to UK’s Channel 4 informed that LTTE is silencing their guns to avoid further killing of civilians by the Sri Lankan forces in the name of war. 

However sources from the conflict zone indicated that the attack by the Sri Lankan forces continued several hours after this announcement. Earlier audio recordings uploaded onto youtube website by unknown individuals from the conflict zone, mentioned about large number of severely wounded civilians laying across the conflict zone without any medical treatment. The only hospital that was functional in the area was destroyed by Sri Lankan shelling. 

Also the doctors who were providing updates to the international media from the conflict zone had evacuated, leaving the wounded at risk. Rebel sources claim that the government forces killed indiscriminately all the remaining rebels in the area who had already laid down their weapons. With 240,000 Tamils held in camps behind barbed wires and further 70,000 estimated to be directed to the camps and several thousand wounded or dead in the conflict zone, the situation remains the largest man made catastrophe in the region.

Back to square one:

For those who have been following the Sri Lankan crisis for the past 30+ years, it may be striking to see that the ground situation has gone back to what it was before 30 years:

  • Sri Lanka aligned with India’s strategic enemy nations (Then it was USA & Pakistan, Now it is China & Pakistan)
  • Sri Lankan forces had full control of Tamil areas
  • Tamil rebels were not a formidable force, but had widespread public support among Tamils in Sri Lanka and India.

The biggest fear of the southern Sinhalese back then was India’s intentions for intervention leading to an invasion. That fear has been further aggravated today by the open calls for the creation of Eelam by the two most powerful political parties of Tamil Nadu – DMK and ADMK as part of their election campaign strategies in Tamil Nadu. 

Early on it was India and Tamil rebels fighting Sri Lanka, next it was India and Sri Lanka fighting the Tamil rebels (Indo Sri Lanka Peace Accord), then it was India fighting with Tamil rebels and Sri Lanka (IPKF period when Sri Lanka was clandestinely funding Tamil rebels to pack Indian forces) followed by the current phase of Sri Lanka and India (Clandestine support by the Congress government) fighting with the Tamil rebels.

The new entrant to the conflict this time being China which is now the major partner of Sri Lanka and is constructing a billion dollar port in Southern Sri Lanka as part of its String of pearls strategy – raising India’s concerns. Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram last month accused China of using the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka to “expand its sphere of influence”, adding that this had “impacted on India’s response to the situation”. Meanwhile, China in April blocked India’s loan efforts at the Asian Development Bank on territory that both nations claim.

It may also be noted that Chidambaram gave an interview recently to an Indian news channel which marked a sharp difference from his parties earlier stance regarding the Tamil rebels. With India’s security coming above all other concerns, the strategic interest might prompt for a change in India’s foreign policy. Whether that will take into account the aspirations of the Tamils people of Sri Lanka needs to be seen though.

Written by Sunderapandyan.

Filed under: Asia, Politics, , , , , , ,

May 10 th 2009: One day, a record 3200 lifes prematurely terminated

by Ronin

What happens to a community when it does not not have unity, awareness, strategic relationships with others, buried in film stars and divided on casteism? The phenomenon is not new.  It is an old fermented wine tasted in history repeatedly, just offered in a new package for the new century.

10 May 2009

Sunday

Mullivaikkal East, Mullaitivu

‘Safe Zone’

ONGOING SHELLING

The International Community, the United Nations, India, and the United States are have failed to act over the last 5 months, resulting in the death of over 10,000 civilians and 20,000 injured.  The international community must immediately invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and intervene in Sri Lanka to stop the genoicde of the Tamil civilians.

Today, Sunday 10 May 2009, the Sri Lanka Army and Air Force began a systemactic, intense areial bombardment and shelling of the so-called ‘safe zone’ where approximately 130,000 Tamil civilians have taken refegue. This heavy shelling has continued throughout the day killing 3200 civilians and injuring thousands more.

The heavy shelling and areial bombardment, that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) claimed to have ended over two weeks ago has continued today resulted in over 3200 civilians killed and thousands more injured and expected to die due to a lack of medical facilities, medicine, and medical personal due to restrictions and embarogos imposed by the GoSL.

The death toll is very likely to be many times higher than currently quoted in the media, as the current number of dead is based only or assessments done at the temporary hospital and TRO staff in the field as shells were falling. Thousands more of the dead and dying are laying where they fell or have been buried in the sandy soil by family and friends to prevent the spread of disease.

TRO volunteers and medical staff are unable to manage with the vast numbers of dead and injured and the bodies are pilling up.

We urgently requests the international community to provide food and medicine and send a monitoring team to bear withness to the massacre that is occurring.

The world must intervene to stop the genocide.

Lawrence Christy

Head of Field Office

TRO

‘Safe zone’ / ‘no fire zone’

Mullivaikal, Mullaitivu

Filed under: Asia, Politics, World, , , , , , , ,

USA: The Al Qaeda threat and the need to find new partners

First published in Blogcritics.org – An online magazine that syndicates content to online editions of newspapers around the United States.

Spending on the US war on terror recently hit 1$ trillion, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US government watchdog agency. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), covering Afghanistan and other Global War On Terror (GWOT) operations, ranging from the Philippines to Djibouti began immediately after the 9/11 attacks and continues.
Has the threat to America been eliminated? Well, its hard to say, isn’t it?. There have been no attacks since 9/11. which implies that the Homeland Security team must be doing its job well. On the flip side, the threat is as alive as at any other time prior to 9/11, with Bin Laden — the mastermind — still around, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, and releasing cynical videos to scare the Americans and their allies.
Everyone will remember the days when the Bush administration was compounding the magnitude of the threat by introducing what they called a threat alert system, with a color coded index. The security threat to the US resembled a stock market index, with television news anchors announcing where the index stood every day.

Spending on the US war on terror recently reached 1$ trillion, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US government watchdog agency. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), covering Afghanistan and other Global War On Terror (GWOT) operations, ranging from the Philippines to Djibouti began immediately after the 9/11 attacks and continues.

Has the threat to America been eliminated? Well, its hard to say, isn’t it?. There have been no attacks since 9/11 – which implies that the Homeland Security team must be doing its job well. On the flip side, the threat is as alive as at any other time prior to 9/11, with Bin Laden — the mastermind — still around, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, and releasing cynical videos to scare the Americans and their allies.

Everyone will remember the days when the Bush administration was compounding the magnitude of the threat by introducing what they called a threat alert system, with a color coded index. The security threat to the US resembled a stock market index, with television news anchors announcing where the index stood every day.

caption here

In an August 2008 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next ten years from FY2009 through FY2018 could rangefrom $440 billion $865 billion.

By announcing the response to the 9/11 attacks as “Global War On Terror”, the Bush administration was also magnifying the enemy. The administration engaged in worldwide propaganda against terrorism. This was widely reported in the media as well, and news about several other armed groups around the world made headlines. The general attention towards similar attacks across the globe received primetime exposure on all media channels. It was as if the whole world were being attacked by terrorists, who somehow were all connected, with a common goal of  terrorizing people.

The policy of “Global War on Terror” not only diluted the focus on the real enemy – Al Qaeda, it also lacked a benchmark to measure its progress — the reason why none of us can ever conclusively say whether or not the job is done.

The USA was seen as chasing the weapon, rather than the enemy. Since it was declared a “global war,” US government resources were spent on assisting other nations to do their own dirty laundry. Nations with internal disturbances by armed groups lobbied the US administration to include their enemies in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) resulting in Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Operations spending alone (as part of the GWOT), amounting to 46.6 million. The US taxpayer was now paying for several other wars around the globe, several of which an average American would have never heard of before.

The Bush administration believed that these other wars would provide tactical experience for the “Global War On Terror”. Insurgencies around the world became experiments to test different strategies, some with very high civilian casualties. Most western nations, including the US, and even the UN, are now tolerating severe human rights violations by rogue nations which carry out their civil wars under the cover of counter terrorism.

A US soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan

A US soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan

While American soldiers serving in Afghanistan were losing their lives, a stretched-out policy of GWOT without a benchmark allowed the Bush administration to return to power for a second term, taking advantage of the patriotic sentiments of Americans.

The misguided policies  resulted in the “War On Terror” becoming similar to the “War On Drugs” or the  “War On Poverty;” without a definitive goal or deadline.

Interestingly, in the first 100 days of the Obama administration we are seeing a new approach on the horizon. Obama calling sections of Taleban to work with the US is not only a tactical and strategic move, but could be seen as a diplomatic one too. Working with other Islamic groups will open new doors for US diplomacy in the Muslim world. While the US is currently seen by many in Islamic societies as an enemy of Muslim interests, the new policy offers an opportunity for the USA to counter Al Qaeda’s propaganda and split the support base for Al-Qaeda in its home ground.

The option of networking with non-state players was never studied by the Bush administration. The possibilities can be quite significant, however, as US intelligence could gain unprecedented access to and knowledge of financial, communications and other infrastructure networks of similar organizations.

The US administration can also look for partners from other parts of Asia. The recent developments in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil minorities have been pursuing a 30 year struggle against the ruling regime, offer an opportunity for the USA to network with another insurgency group: the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known to be a very innovative and motivated armed group. However, their use of suicide bombers for military and political targets has landed them on the USA’s FTO list. Though the group has met some setbacks recently, it is known to have a strong global network and enjoy widespread support from the Tamil Diaspora. A timely intervention in the crisis could not only arrest the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in that nation, but could also serve the strategic interests of USA.

There could be other non-state players who can offer an edge to the USA in its pursuit of Al-Qaeda. Armed groups such as LTTE and the likes that do not share the ideologies of Islamic extremism should be evaluated for strategic partnership. Concurrently, the US should also use the association to cultivate these groups and encourage them to give up unacceptable conflict practices.

However, the biggest challenge to Obama administration would be to convince Americans to unlearn what the Bush administration preached to them and show them who the real enemy is, how small the enemy is, how important it is to partner with non-state players and how such a focused approach can eliminate the threat once and for all, leading to a conclusive victory in the “War on Al-Qaeda”.

Written by Sunderapandyan.

Filed under: Asia, North America, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Zionists, Jihadists and Parivarists – Red on the street

The colour of human blood is red irrespective of race, religion and nationality. What will the outcome of religious fanatism be? It is often claimed that only talibans are extremists. Yeah talibans are extremists there is no doubt about that. Recently a small group of Sikh community living in the Aurakzai tribal region in Pakistan were attacked by talibans. They demanded Rs. 50 millions as “Jiziya” a tax levied on non muslims under Sharia. 11 homes of the Sikh community were demolished by the Islamic religious fundamentalists. The media is doing the right thing of highlighting the threats the religious minorities face under the fanatics. The only thing that consoles the world is that the moderate muslim community of Pakistan opposes Taliban’s extreme form of Islamic interpretation.  There were protests in Pakistani streets against the flogging of a 16 year old girl, who was blamed of talking to a non-relative male on the street. Well the media and the elites around the world fail and refuse to criticize the Taliban-like religious fanatic behaviour of yet another theocracy.

Demolition of a Palestinian's house in the village of Sur Bahir in East Jerusalem, in april 2009, by israeli authorities
Demolition of a Palestinian’s house in the village of Sur Bahir in East Jerusalem, in april 2009, by israeli authorities 

24,145 houses of one particular religious group have been demolished by a Taliban-like government since the illegal occupation in 1967. The religious minorities and women cannot have the basic human rights under talibans rule. One particular group, living under this Taliban-like government  is denied basic human rights and dignity. The media and the elites refuse to speak against this Taliban-like regime. Well, this regime is not headed by a Hitler-like dictator, it is the only democracy in that region. There is certainly a commanality between the Nazis and this democratic Taliban-like regime. Both believe in weapons and might ,rather than justice and rationality. Infact their grand parents were the ones targeted by the Nazis and now this particular voiceless group, who was not at all involved in any way to the then Nazis, is being targeted in the same way the Nazis targeted their grand parents. What else could that Taliban-like, religious fanatic, neo nazi country be ?

The  United Nations office for the coordination of Humanitarian affairs report published on may 2008  says that at least 60,000 out of 225,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem are at risk of having their homes demolished by the Israeli authorities. Approximately 1,500 demolition orders have been issued in East Jerusalem, which if implemented, would displace about 9,000 people.

This picture on the right was published in the Haaretz newspaper in april 2009. (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072466.html)

1shot2kills

An Israeli soldier weating a T-shirt that shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, 1 shot, 2 kills

 It revealed that Israeli soldiers were designing, buying and wearing T-shirts such as the following : A sharpshooter’ s T-shirt shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills.”

A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.

The Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring the drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!”

The same newspaper has quoted an Israeli sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy saying the following  

“This revolting phenomenon is part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing… There is a perception that the Palestinian is not a person but  a human being entitled to basic rights, and therefore anything may be done to him”

The commnality between the Talibans and Zionists is religious fanatism. Jeff Halper, a Professor of Anthropology and a political activist who fights against the Israel’s apartheid policy in a non-violent Gandhiyan way says the following.

“France for the French and Mexico for Mexicans aren’t the same as Israel for the Jews. France like most countries have Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever. Israel affords itself only to Jews – an untenable system doomed to fail.”

 There is commanality between the Hindu fanatic groups and Zionists too.

Suguna Ramanathan, Retired Dean English Dept, St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad said the following about the Gujarath incident.

“A Hindu activist on one of those mad nights was carrying a four-year old Muslim child to safety in his arms. Stopped and interrogated, he replied that this was a Hindu child. They let him go. As he walked forward the child looked back over his shoulder and cried out ‘Abba’. They tore the child from his arms and hacked it to death. No hearsay – this was told by that traumatized activist; it actually happened. If our imaginations serve us, we will not forget that child in the arms of the Hindu activist crying out for its parents in the last few moments of life”

The colour of blood is red, the outcome of theocracy is that the streets will also be painted red as the blood will be flowing outside. What are we going to achieve in a religious state that cannot be achieved in a secular state?  Will the West realize that it has always been backing a worst form of Taliban-like regime in Israel and fighting against a similar kind of theocratic group in Afghanistan?  

On top of it we will see the hypocrites (elites, media and states) who will support one kind of religious fanatic group and blame the other. Though several spiritual philosophers have done good to the society, the religious fanatics throughout the history and even in this era have done and are doing more damage to the society than the claims. Taliban’s acid attack on a teenage girl has done more damage to Islam than any other cartoon can ever do.

Written by Ram Prasad

Ram Prasad is a human rights activist working towards peace and to create global awareness on gender based violence. He writes on Asian and Middle east politics.

Filed under: Asia, Politics, World, , , , , , , , ,

The End of democracy in India

If only 40% of the eligible voting population in a country bothers to vote, then is the country truly democratic ? Whatever government comes to power, it has a mandate from less than half the people. It’s truly a government by default.

First the politicians and media have absolutely no right to blame the electorate. I do not believe in the statement that ” it’s the apathy of the people that gives them a government they deserve”.

Second the arrogant attitude of some of our media stars that expressed ‘outrage’ at the low voting turn out , after “all they did to pursude them to do so” in Mumbai, should learn that while they can drive people to the cinemas, the people have little faith in their intellectual or political understanding beyond entertainment. Not everyone gets their picture o page 3 when they vote.

Third, how many times do the people of India need to come out and say ” WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICS ANYMORE”. The Mumbaikers did not vote not because they went away for a long weekend, nor because of the sweltering heat, but because none of the candidates made a substantial stand that aroused their passions, their desire to better the political system. I remember how the people of India came out in droves to vote to end the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, or who came out in droves again to re instate her when they were unhappy. Or when they came out in droves to vote for Rajiv Gandhi after Indira’s assassination.

We are a passionate feeling people that respond to our emotion, to our community. We need a leader to arouse those passions in us, someone to believe in, someone that we can trust that has the power, the integrity and the vision to lead us in this new century.

Give us, the people of India such a leader and watch us come out in droves to vote. And if not, then accept that democracy in India will be an excercise in futility and the forces of change will be ultimately thrust upon us by non democratic forces like the fundamentalists, like the the naxalitites that are threatening to invade our cities soon.

Written by guest writer Shekhar Kapur

Shekhar Kapur is a noted film maker of international repute.  You can read his blog here.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, , ,

The End of democracy in India – A Reply to Mr. Shekhar Kapur

Dear Mr. Shekhar kapur:

You have made some excellent points. I have some polite thoughts on those which I wanted to share. This thoughts could be misplaced hopes, due to vigor of the age. But they sound quite reasonable or practical to me.

Shekhar: How can we call ourselves a democracy when only 40% vote.

Ronin: I can’t completely agree with that. We can’t call ourselves a perfect democracy, but is still a peoples forum of interested and initiated voters. Some might say this is like “Leaping across half the well”. Either its a democracy or not. I disagree. The national institutions have given us equal share in this pie called government:one vote. And many have chosen not to choose their leaders.

And our Institutions have facilitated it as much as they can. For ex, in Gir Forest they set up a election booth for just one voter who lives there. We all agree that elections is an wasteful and inefficient process to choose a leader. But the government has done its best for a developing country, with so much poverty. We may or may not have used it due to our financial commitment or family commitments or the inconveniences on that day. But we all are almost equally empowered to vote and make an impact.

But I won’t be able to argue with utopian wishers or maoists or armchair critics, as I see the ground realities and what is possible.

Shekhar: Second the arrogant attitude of some of our media stars that expressed ‘outrage’ at the low voting turn out , after “all they did to pursude them to do so” in Mumbai, should learn that while they can drive people to the cinemas.

Ronin: I will conveniently skip making a comment about the attitude or reaction of the stars and make a footer note here. You make a fine point here. The stars advertise and can drive people to the Cinemas. may be even to a painful one! Are we doing that for voters? What is the entertainment value or aspirational value or value addition a voter gets for voting. You might ask why should we/they advertise to voters? I believe the reason is because the voters are also humans. Yes, we are driven by aspirational value(looking at a star voting) or peer pressure(a community star voting) or guilt pressure(feeling irresponsible). So leaving the individual motives aside of the stars behind, we need to encourage motivating voters to vote.

Shekhar: Third, how many times do the people of India need to come out and say ” WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICS ANYMORE”.

Ronin: If that’s the case, then we need to vote more vehemently. I think there is an underlying human behavioral issue, that needs to be dealt with. When I was an undergrad, I had monthly tests which led to the final exams. Each test counted a small way to the final score. I understood it and worked on it. After a while, boredom set in. So I started ignoring a few of this tests. The impact was not lot as I could make up for it later or in the final exam. I slacked further in this monthly tests. As I thought there is so many more months for the final exam, why should I care about a small test. Because the link between the test and the final score was a weak one. And when I did reach the final exam, it reached a point that I had done badly in this monthly tests, that I wont be able to salvage my final score, even If I was a genius and cracked the final exam. None of which were true! And I got a not a very good final score!

Tit-for-Tat policy dictates our day-to-day activities. we don’t pay electricity bill, we lose electricity. If we don’t pay rent, we lose housing! Similarly if we don’t vote, we don’t get our person. Am certain you might wonder, why am stating such a simple fact. It is not in the case of the elections, which is why its confusing. In a election process, when you vote for a ideal man, do you see change immediately. No..Because a lot depends on if your neighbor also voted for the ideal man. And that in turn depends on if the ideal man marketed himself to your neighbor also. And that depends on if he had enough money, people and time to market himself to both of us. So it depends on activism and time. So when a ideal man starts marketing himself, it might take 1-10 years before he reaches everyone and initiates a behavioral change in both of us. So it is not a fast tit-for-tat policy, but is still a clear tit-for-tat policy . (Everyone votes, he wins) . Somewhere in this the impatient voter loses interest.

But worser than that is, a belief sets in where we think there is no co-relation between voting and governance(like my monthly tests). There can’t be a more unscientific thinking than that. If we don’t believe in our politician, that expectation needs to be reflected int he vote. If we don’t vote, we can only wait for mass scale killings(revolution) to bring about change. But we know what happened eventually to such revolutions in Russia and China.

Shekhar:Give us, the people of India such a leader and watch us come out in droves to vote.

Ronin: Is nt this the easiest route, we all wish for. We all wish we win a lottery..It can happen, but I can’t count my Kid’s education on it. Is it easy for someone to grow up the ladder of a Political party quickly? Is it easy for anyone to market himself across India in 5 years? I think it is better to make organic grass root level intrinsic changes, rather wait for our Krishna Paramathma to bring about change! Because we have seen such Krishna Paramathmas eventually become the Stalins and Hitlers of the world, few years after the revolution.

More importantly, the question is how long would it take to make this change and will we be alive to see it. I hope and pray so.  And what we can do to make this more democratic and expedite the change. I had posted a detailed article on making this process more participative earlier:

http://kalugu.com/2009/03/20/the-indian-prime-ministerial-candidates/

http://kalugu.com/2008/12/17/does-regionalmarginalcoalition-politics-spell-doompart-iii/

Another suggestion is to make it convenient for voters to voice their opinion. By what? By technology. After all, what is the use of science if it can not be applied. Currently it costs people their livelihood or causes discomfort to vote. Some might be traveling or out of country. We must reduce the opportunity cost of voting. Voting should be  made more convenient where one day voters can vote from their home or office or a shop at street corner, a day or even a month ahead of the election. Hope we see that one day!

Regards,

Ronin

Ronin is a Technology Entrepreneur, Parent, Student, avid Reader and a global citizen

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IMF: Funding and defending genocide in Sri Lanka?

The Government of Sri Lanka is attempting to get a loan package of Rs.1.9 billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) under the pretext of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. The application of the loan is now being considered by IMF amidst international concerns of Human Rights violations by Sri Lanka. The loan is considered to be granted for the so called post conflict reconstruction or to help Sri Lanka to weather the impact of the global financial crisis or for both purpose.

In the North and East of the Country, the Sinhala Government has been waging a war on section of its own citizens which has caused extremely high civilian casualties along with destruction and uprooting of a millions of Tamil community from their homeland. It is evident that any financial assistance to Sri Lanka by any country or organization shall only encourage the policy goals of the Government of Sri Lanka to continue the Genocide of Tamils, thereby implying that those who assist GOSL shall become a part of such heinous crime.

Headquarters building of the International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a private international organization that oversees the global financial system. It is an organization formed to stabilize international exchange rates and facilitate development. Its headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., USA.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declares itself as an organization of 185 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. It offers financial and technical assistance to its members, making it an international lender of last resort. 

This declaration is under the assumption that each member country should treat its citizens equally. The main objectives of IMF can be considered as related to helping member countries in distress caused due to financial crisis purely out of fiscal conditions of economic activities. It is not meant for an attitude of Destroy & Reconstruct.

The Sri Lankan Central Bank’s statement reiterated that the aim of the IMF loan now applied for is to “continue with the resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the Northern Province, and the continued rapid development of the Eastern Province, which it deems key not only to uplift the living standards of the people in the areas affected by the decades long conflict, but also to successfully implement the government’s efforts to bring a sustainable solution to the conflict.”

In fact Sri Lanka is asking for this loan for a reason untold. The real situation is that the loan is required very urgently for the near bankrupt country. Sri Lanka desperately needs the money to make payments for imports and loans.

The central bank of Sri Lanka has said that in 2009 around 900 million dollars is required to repay the loans alone . Sri Lanka is in a debt trap and needs borrowing to repay the loans raised already. The country has lost its foreign exchange reserves in defending its currency paying for import and service loans as observed by Sri Lankan economists.

Such downward trend of Sri Lankan economy is due to heavy military expenditure and lavish spending of Government for its own establishment of a mega size ministry. Therefore the loan now requested by Sri Lanka must be considered as payment for the expenditure already incurred for the cause of genocide since such a necessity could not have risen if there had been no war.

Some countries like India and China are involved in competitive helping attitude to grant financial and military assistance to Sri Lanka without considering the humanitarian tragedy in the past few months. If IMF loan is granted the western powers shall enter Sri Lanka through their companies by getting contract for Reconstruction and the Ealem shall become a playground of USA, UK, China and India. It will be leading to a free for all situation.The total idea of India not to internationalise Ealem issue and acting as a big brother in this region shall fail ultimately. The Geo political hegemony and the economic interests shall compel all of them to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of the Government towards Tamil community which is almost orphaned.

Tamils are stateless and therefore Tamil Diaspora is left to fight its legal battles against the IMF Loan only in the western countries which are considered more responsive to the struggle of Tamils.

Earlier, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group, filed a complaint against Secretary of the US Treasury, and the US Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the United States Columbia District Court to obtain a declaratory judgment that a failure of the United States to oppose Sri Lanka’s pending $1.9 billion IMF loan application would constitute a violation of law.

Confidential UN satellite images leaked show the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed No fire Zone of about 150,000 civilians fleeing the fighting against the Tamil Tigers

Confidential UN satellite images leaked last week prove that the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the No fire Zone while 150,000 civilians were sheltered there. The images exposed earlier lies of the Sri Lankan government officials that the No Fire Zone was never shelled.

The Complaint detailed the Sri Lanka’s pattern of gross violation of internationally recognized human rights under the categories of 1.Extra-judicial killings and disappearances, 2.War Crimes in Violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions: Shelling and Bombarding Civilians, 3.Rape, 4.Cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, 5.Prolonged detention without charges, 6.Arbitrary arrests and national identity cards and limits of freedom of movement, 7. Starvation and denial of medical care, 8.Denial of free speech and press, 9.Denial of Investigations by International Organizations: Media Blackout, 10.Political Repression and 11.Torture.

Separately in another development on 28.4.2009, Public Interest Lawyers, a group of attorneys representing a Tamil activist group in UK, charged that in light of the Sri Lankan Government’s systematic and gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law ,the UK under international law has various obligations, namely, to denounce and not recognize the situation in Sri Lanka as lawful and not to render aid and assistance to Sri Lanka .The group will file legal action in the British High Court if the UK Government fails to respond satisfactorily to the charges.

It is to be seen whether such legal battles can be quickly settled and due Justice is shown to the Tamil community which is fighting for its survival.

Sri Lanka is attempting to get this assistance from IMF with no conditions or safeguards, specifically with regard to the military action in Northern Sri Lanka.

There is also a speculation that the IMF asked to privatise some state entities as a condition for its loan to be granted as revealed by Danushka Samarasinghe, head of research at Asia Securities.

It is learnt that Sri Lanka’s IMF loan request is rapidly moving towards agreement and that the loan would be available for Sri Lanka between the first and second weeks of May 2009. While the Colombo-IMF talks are in a second tier process, the final stage of loan approval depends on the “votes” of IMF Executive Directors.

The votes of Executive Directors are governed by the local laws of respective countries they are representing, and at present both Executive Director for the United States, Meg Lundsager, and Executive Director for the United Kingdom, Alex Gibbs, are facing legal action blocking their votes to the loan (to Sri Lanka). Therefore it is a test of concern on genocide for both USA and UK.

If such assistance is granted by IMF with implicit conditions on Capitalist Economy, without any safeguards on humanitarian aspects and without any monitoring mechanism on the flow of funds for the purpose specified, it will only strengthen the hands of Sri Lankan Government in finding military solution to the ethnic problem under the name of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. Sri Lanka shall again utilize the money for retaining its establishment of tyranny after making some symbolic throw of funds to Tamil population to hoodwink the world just as in the case of Tsunami Reconstruction.

Tamils against Genocide

Tamils against Genocide is a US based organization that campaigns against the killing of civilians in Sri Lanka and highlights the human rights violations by Gothabaya Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka - senior members of the Sri Lankan government and Army who are filed with genocide charges in an US court.

Several Western nations that are witnessing the unrelenting resolve of the Tamil diaspora are surprised at their unity, perseverance and persistence against all odds. Some Tamil leaders have emphasised the importance of devising intelligent ways to stop the Sri Lankan regime from pursuing the genocidal tactics. When a community displays such an acumen, wisdom and strength to win their land, they will be victorious. With that, the present phase of Ealem struggle is just one phase of their journey and defenitely not the end of their world.

Twofold is the way of the world –
Wealth is one Wisdom is another.

( Thiru Valluvar 374)

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

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