Politics

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Freedom of speech means that you can say that Kashmir is not a part of India whether you are Arundhati Roy or not.

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Politics

Obama

As a McCain supporter despite Palingrad, I have been continuously impressed by what feels like a steady stream of legislation that Obama has passed since becoming President. His latest speech which unequivocally rejects torture and lays out a plan for the closure of Guantanamo Bay is brilliant. He argues

“I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation.”

During the speech I turned into a Obama-groupie simply because I agreed so much with what he was saying.  His arguments made complete sense and Dick Cheney’s bumbling response only made me go “I rest my case”.

The full text of the speech is available here

Politics

Reaction

How do you react to the modern Bombay blasts? Outrage obviously at the audacity and deliberate targets spread across all strata of society. Foreigners killed, resulting in international repercussions; innocent and middle class at the train station and the rich also have no safe haven in the streets and movie hotels.

Fear – because this could escalate into a full scale war based on the PM’s “will take up strongly with our neighbors” and the referrals to the Indian army’s brutality in Kashmir by people claiming to be the gunmen. Fear also that Hindu extremist groups will retaliate with similarly mind boggling attacks on the Muslim community, a situation not dissimilar to Gujarat a few years ago.

Irony – since we feel utter outrage at these attacks but Sri Lankans have faced this situation for decades now. The same mindless killing and attempts to strike at crucial targets which have the maximum casualties.

Helplessness – since in such situations it is always the rich and famous who get protection. The weirdest thing (not related to the previous line) is that every time we enter a shopping mall like Shoppers’ stop in Hyderabad, there is a metal detector and security checking your friend’s purse but we dont take such measures at the train stations where thousands of people pass through everyday.

Politics

“Grease” banned from high school because of indecency

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/11/national/11fulton.html?ei=5088&en=6ff3
93ff4112b535&ex=1297314000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all
&adxnnlx=1160972903-ApnNLhD8seWSgieaKLY9PA

When i read this article, i thought “You have got to be kidding me”, but it turns out its true. People in the small bible belt town of Fulton, Missouri objected to the immorality and the indecency that the high school play displayed. This is because a girl was wearing just a pajama top rather than a more modest nightgown. There were also scenes of kissing and kids drinking alcohol apparently.

I seriously can’t believe it. Whats happening to the world? This is a high school play! I can fathom that parents might not want their kids to take part in plays that show kissing, drinking etc. – even thats being pretty conservative. But to take offense at this is absolute BS. Its okay if its done by Hollywood but not by a high school play? Whats the link? Isn’t it the same kind of offense irrespective of who does it?

And why is it offensive? Isn’t it simply showing what teenagers and high school kids do? Or is the depiction in O.C and every other American teenage/ high school show wrong? Kids seem to be drinking, smoking, having sex, doing dope – the works. So the rest of society just doesn’t want it to be in their face? Out of sight, out of mind eh? These people don’t give a crap that kids in their society are genuinely picking up bad habits and screwing up but see that in a show and its offensive. And the show actually “softened” language to suit the audience.

Art ruffles feathers. You have shows like Bodyworlds, nude paintings and statues and a gazillion movies and plays that are offensive to different types of people. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

PS: I got the lead from the show “Studio 60”. Its a must watch and they seem to use real data.

Politics

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

One of people I have admired greatly is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian asylum-seeker turned Dutch politician. My respect for her has been developed after reading several of her comments and her staunch opposition to fundamental islam. She has been one of the leading critics of Islam’s treatment of women, a problem that seems to be receiving less attention because of terrorism.

Recently, she was forced to leave the Netherlands (finding refuge in America) apparently because she exaggerated her asylum claim. Just before this, she was ordered to vacate her house because her neighbours feared for their safety. She travels with three bodyguards at all times after the death of her close friend (and numerous death threats to her), Theo Van Gogh who made a provocative movie about women in Islam.

It seems to me that this is a rather frivolous charge on which she is being asked to leave the country. The Dutch don’t seem to value her as a politician or as someone who hits out against fundamentalism. Considering that there aren’t enough moderates raising their voice in fear or being prosecuted or whatever, this would seem like an extremely important function. Furthermore, Rotterdam is actually turning into a majority Muslim city and the Netherlands is attracting Muslim immigrants in herds. There has been a rise of politicians like Geert Wilders who seem to be openly racist towards all Muslims. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep such a person in your country to promote some sort of debate about Islamic immigrants and their place?

Politics

Really, the death of all reason.

I am really tired of all the abuse that Singapore is drawing over the execution of Van Nguyen. (see article)
http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/the-death-of-reason/2005/12/02/1133422106383.html

Apparently, the death penalty for drug crimes is a return to medieval standards of justice and is not in line with Singapore’s pretext as being a first world economy. Oh really? Lets talk about Guantanamo Bay in the US then. And Bush’s blocking of the torture bill. Or about Britain’s equivalent of G.Bay in Birmingham prison. Or about Australia condeming a bunch of Afghan refugees to certain death by not allowing them into Australia under the guise of national security.

Firstly, the dude was carrying half a kg of heroin (400gms for the pedantic). Im not a fan of the death penalty but you need to respect the laws of the country you are in irrespective of whether its the airport or the actual city.

Another article goes as far to suggest that Singapore is executing him because apparently we dont like the “Arrogant Aussie style”. The arrogant Aussies need to re-learn a word they know well. Its called Sovereignty. The same word they used as an excuse to refuse the Tampa refugees.

Politics

Racially Aggravated Crimes: Call for Analysis

I’m pretty sure I can find some analysis on the issue if i google enough but I’d like to pick the brains of the eminent(cough) personalities visiting this blog.

Okay, Racially aggravated crimes are crimes which are motivated partially or wholly due to race issues. They are treated as more serious than similar crimes which are not racially motivated and criminals are therefore given harsher punishments. This is case law in the UK.

Considering that this is a distinction and an exception to “equality under the law” rule, is there enough justification for the same? Furthermore, why is equality under the law such an important principle? Especially since we live in a society rife with distinctions?

Expanding from here, is it good to have such distinctions in law where the enormous public interest value is taken into account? Should celebrities, for example be given harsher punishments due to their role model status and the extensive media coverage such trials receive?