Un-Tibet

March 16, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Posted in annexation, British meddling, Burma, chimpanzee, CIA, civilian massacre, colonization, communism, Dalai Lama, democracy, dictator, discrimination, displaced persons, dissidence, dissidents, equality, ethnic cleansing, exile, forcible deportation, freedom of speech, global evils, government, human rights, Indian foreign policy, individual freedom, individual rights, intolerance, justice, liberty, man's inhumanity to man, Myanmar, peace, poverty, race, racial profiling, racism, self determination, Tibet | Leave a comment
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three chimps see no

None in the International community of nations, seems to be ready to bell the Chinese cat on Tibet. The policy of silence is loudest in Tibet’s closest neighbour – India.

It seems a shame that commercial interests combined with India’s real fear of confrontation with China on the disputed area of the borders in Arunachal Pradesh state, should be sufficient to cow down such an erstwhile champion of human rights as India. Still, the sad truth is that though the Dalai Lama is our guest in exile, in toto, that too is just for publicity’s sake and has little other than symbolic value.

Reading through Tibet’s long and tortuous history, we must again conclude that the death blows to Tibetan independence were finally dealt by the British in the early years of the 20th century, closely followed by a botched CIA operation during the 1950s.Like any unfortunate country that is lacking great enticements (like oil or mineral wealth), no other nation is willing to stick their necks out against the Chinese behemoth for the sake of a few million poor and exploited Tibetans. Europe is happy to support the right of Kosovans to self determination but won’t even whimper at the fate of the poor Tibetans.As with Sudan and Burma, so it is too with Tibet – a mysterious cat has got every single nation’s tongue!
The Chinese have been much more concerned with the possible effects on their precious Olympics. I think they have misread the world’s commitment to anything other than money. Our modern world’s shame is highlighted by the fact that ‘amateur’ sport has been so successfully exploited to become the biggest money spinner of all time. Catch the nations of the world putting principles ahead of the chance to collectively make some really fast bucks! If only even one country would demand autonomy or at least basic human rights for Tibetans before agreeing to Olympic participation… fat chance!

Just for fun, compare the “Freinds of Tibet” facts and figures with the Chinese version of ‘the truth’ and tell me what you think… There certainly is bias showing in Western reporting on Tibet but the Chinese story is simply pathetic.

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Freedom dies, dying, dead.

October 29, 2007 at 6:21 am | Posted in Aung san Suu Kyi, bush, Craig Murray, Darfur, FRCS, freedom of speech, human rights, junta, MNC nexus, Myanmar, NHS, Uzbekistan | Leave a comment

Our world has lost the desire for justice. We are now losing our desire for freedom. Our politicians have become slaves of power and thus slaves of money, for they believe that without money there is no power.

Let me illustrate with two different examples:

The NHS, (National Health Service) and indeed the very practice of English Medicine itself, is being steadily dismantled (read ‘redefined’ or ‘efficientised’) in the “Formerly Great” Britain.

  • All medical super-specialties are being segregated to a very limited number of treatment facilities that also happen to be as far apart as possible.
  • The FRCS is soon to follow the MRCP to becoming just an empty qualification. It already requires a Training Completion certificate to get the proud owner any respect at all!
  • Most hospitals will be turned into Primary Health Centers where only routine medical procedures will be performed by doctors who have no additional qualifications – in other words “doctor” = “glorified technician”.

The government will (of course) save tremendously on salaries, facilities, maintenance, equipment and training expenditures. But that’s not all – the current Labour government is now actively looking for ways to quietly privatise as many of the facilities as possible and to then back that up with private health insurance.

In other words, healthcare will turn into the same sort of disastrous mess that now prevails in the U.S. with the average human simply being denied even basic healthcare…

The first step to getting the public behind these moves is to castrate the existing system. Create a demand and then let the privatisers move in for the kill!

Secondly, look at what’s happening in Darfur, Uzbekistan (see title link) and Myanmar… In all these instances, we see tremendous oppression. It is selective homicide and extreme oppression against members of one’s own nation being perpetrated by dictator style governments.

The world is silent!

YET, this same international community was happy enough to attack an Iraq that had already been decimated by sanctions. Do you know that a very conservative estimate of unnecessary child death (due to sanctions) puts the Iraqi toll at over 2,000,000? Did you know?

But try to get anything more forceful than pious declarations of commiseration about the really nasty stuff that’s going on, that every single person knows is going on, and you are met with a deafening silence!

There was a British ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan who dared to raise a voice of protest against the tacit support that both Britain and the U.S. were giving to the dictator there. He was promptly recalled, criticised and then canned from the Foreign Service. The issue appears to also have something to do with the Uzbek’s huge gas deposits which are being tapped by MNCs and their parent governments (see this fascinating fax linking Bush, Enron and Uzbekistan). There is also a suspicion that the American base in Uzbekistan was one of the primary holding grounds for the detention and torture of the victims of America’s Renditions.

On Myanmar, my own Indian government, democratically elected and the upholders of one of the worlds best constitutions has chosen to sell itself down the river of looting the helpless.

I am particularly and utterly amazed, and very deeply pained, that there has not been even so much as a whimper of protest in India’s press against the ridiculous moral – material support that our democratically elected junta is supplying openly to their brothers in Myanmar.

This same junta granted a high civilian honour to Aung San Suu Kyi just a short while ago! Obviously the two juntas are not strange bedfellows at all!

The only difference between then and now is that now our Indian corporates and their MNC friends have figured out how to make very substantial money from the misfortunes of the ineptly pacifistic Burmese monks.

PRIME PRINCIPLE : Good sources of ROI are not to be scoffed at;

And the easiest way to silence criticism is to enlist the help of our postmodern world’s ubiquitous Master of Spin – the POLITICIAN, whose only real agenda is to stay in power for as long as possible, in order to make their pockets as well lined as absolutely possible, while duping the dupable populace that only conscientiously good governance is the goal.

Good for you, Jimmy Carter!

October 4, 2007 at 5:43 am | Posted in Borneo, Darfur, DR Congo, Egypt, Guantanamo, H.A. Carr, human rights, Iraq, Jimmy Carter, Kosovo, MNC nexus, MNCs, Myanmar, N.Korea, Palestine, Papua, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, World Bank rapes forest, Zimbabwe | 2 Comments

Something about this article on Jimmy Carter taking on a hostile bunch of cops in the Sudan [title link] reminded me powerfully of my dad (H.A. Carr). When he got the bit between his teeth he was going to get wherever he had determined to go, and no one, nothing, was going to stop him.

Where questions of human rights, and more basically human lives, are concerned it’s about time we stopped letting the democracies, juntas, and dictatorships give us the royal runaround.

We all need a bit of the Jimmy Carter spirit to start getting things done.

Myanmar, Darfur, Egypt, Palestine, Uzbekistan, DR Congo, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Guantanamo, Kosovo, North Korea, Saudi Arabia (and much of the M.E.) , and then the almost complete blind spots like Indonesia’s Papua and Borneo…

Places like DR Congo, Myanmar, and the Indonesian islands, are kept under wraps quite actively by the MNCs that quietly operate there. We have posted about the timber mafias before and this recent TIME article shows how the MNCs, backed solidly by their hypocritical countries of origin, have gone so far as to subvert critically important international aid organizations like the Wold Bank to help them to quietly do their dirty work.

The World Bank is actually governed by government representatives, so without the involvement of the various governments…

It isn’t just a matter of quietly making money with a bit of biosphere rape thrown in. The MNCs-govt. nexus always results in human rights abuses. The countries involved will also end up being permanently crippled by the corruption and unequal distribution of wealth and power that the MNCs have encouraged.

Such then is the hidden nexus in today’s world, where supposedly democratic and freedom-oriented, nations are actually actively subverting the world’s poor (and raping their hapless environments) through their corporations and just for a bit of quick ‘filthy lucre’!

Tangled Rights

October 1, 2007 at 2:13 pm | Posted in development, freedom of speech, habeas corpus, human rights, IMF, International Monetary Fund, LRB, MNC. economics, neocononialism, Slavoj Zizek, WB, World Bank, Zimbabwe | Leave a comment

At issue across the world today is the question of basic human rights. The most endangered right is the right to freedom of speech, but freedom of opinion/religious belief, the right to a fair trial, and rights of habeas Corpus have also been shot full of holes.

The world’s political will to uphold human rights has been severely compromised by a number of factors.

First and foremost has been the change that has taken place in the West since the start of the 1970s drive to globalise.

Globalisation has primarily spawned massive international corporations that are not answerable to anyone. The bottom line is profit. And how one gets it, simply doesn’t matter. MNCs are designed to ensure their own survival and growth, while sharing a pittance of their ill gotten gains with their shareholders to keep them happy.

Secondly, the swing to right wing politics has had a disastrous effect. Bush Jr. in the U.S.A. led the way followed very closely by Blair and Great Britain. The world’s most prosperous nations, those whose corporations are reaping immense benefits from their MNC fostering and spawning neocononialism, have lost sight entirely of human rights. The open support to tyranny, backed by massive monetary support to any type of cooperating petty dictatorships has ensured hat human rights have no importance at all.

The idea of development is much touted as being the one and only route to economic prosperity for the ‘developing’ nation. In this model the involvement of MNCs is a basic requirement. The MNC brings in the technology, the knowhow, the foreign markets, and the working business models, that are together the key ingredients of success. The MNC is also well capitalised and can afford to wait until all the pieces fall into place to generate its profits. In the process, jobs are created, infrastructure is developed and a nation’s economy is supposed to ‘develop’. But that’s all a pie in the sky theory. It sounds plausible. It sounds good and so we choose to believe that this is what development means, that this is the win-win formula that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are all trying to promote – this holistic and positive model that will bring prosperity to poor ‘underdeveloped’ nations.

What really happens is that the absolute minimum of infrastructure is put in place to allow the MNC to remove the resources, finished/semi-finished goods that it has come there for. Technology will not be transferred. A few jobs, as few as possible, will be created. the jobs will be mostly menial and manual in nature with a lean and mean administration to extract the most for the least.

The government will be corrupted as environmental and developmental norms are given the go bye. The population will suffer as their natural resources are sucked out. There will be little to even trickle down as the majority of the earning is realised in international markets and the MNC pockets the huge profits. Local market systems that have functioned and self regulated for centuries will be shut down or subverted overnight. And when there are complaints, as there must be,

HUMAN RIGHTS WILL BE THE FIRST TO GO.

Aside: I often wonder if places like Zimbabwe are not encouraged and paid to go down the tubes to frighten the unwary. “This is exactly what will happen to you too if you don’t do exactly as the WB-IMF consultants advise you.”

I was struck by the incisive and pointed analysis in a not o recent Slavoj Žižek commentary

Are we in a war? Do we have an enemy?

Does “we were all living in a state of emergency because of the worldwide struggle between freedom and Communism, the full implementation of the Constitution was forever postponed and a permanent state of emergency obtained. This state of emergency was suspended every four years for one day only, election day, to legitimise the rule” somehow sound familiar?

in The LRB of May 23, 2002.

Forces of Evil

September 13, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Posted in casteism, culture, family, family prerogatives, forced marriage, honour killing, human rights, individual freedom, individual rights, marriage, SED, suicide | 4 Comments
The clash of cultures in India and other parts of the third world is something that I have always thought of as an intellectual exercise. Recently, though, the realities have struck a bit too close to home for comfort!

Our culture is one that is dominated by family. The family is now mostly the immediate family and the closest relations, something an order of magnitude greater than the nuclear family itself. Previously such was a much bigger group in India very often comprising one’s caste, (community or jaathi). Nowadays, for many of the city dwelling folks, the caste carries a little less weight, but the slightly extended family (SED), has taken over that role and dictates terms to the concerned individuals with an overpowering and imperative voice.

The Now Generation, the 6th – 7th generation of our youth (Millennium 1?) since this nation gained independence, is at a crossroads. They know, and their national constitution guarantees them, their rights, but the rights are on paper and cannot be exercised without causing much consternation in the SED. The SED decides on everything from dress codes, to schooling, to work, diet and even, yes, marriage partners. The confusion is compounded by the utter contrast between what these kids see on TV, on the internet, and what the SED is telling them.

Over the years, it has been our privilege to stand by those few brave souls who are willing to buck the system and insist that they do have the right as individuals to make their own choices. Not surprisingly, these individuals are those who have had perhaps more of an exposure to Western cultures, perhaps with parents who had themselves felt uneasy with the status quo but also quite often it is a matter of conflict from the word go.

Surprisingly, when in the midst of the heated, emotional and sometimes dangerous conversations that follow when a person moves against their SED, the question often boils down to economics: The SED has done a,b, & c for you at great cost to itself, therefore you cannot now go your own way. Obviously, the entire system, the economics of the SED way of life, is being called into question.

Reactions to challenges to the SED system of life are often even violent for so much is at stake. But the critical question is how this clash of cultures is going to work itself out? For one thing, those who want to accommodate the good in the older system (stable, long lasting marriages and families that are child oriented) find themselves in a bind for any change is not appreciated. Without the middle path it seems that only by open conflict will the system change!

Ground Zero is usually marriage. Arranged versus love marriage is the stark choice that faces our youth. The SED will not tolerate love marriages at all. Very often the few couples who proceed and succeed in getting married after falling in love, will face ostracism, often by parents and family on both sides. Some do survive the economic and societal pressures but often these couples are forced apart. The result is often disastrous with the couple deciding to commit suicide.

The only option within SED is to marry

whomever the SED picks out, and make the best of it.

It may have been a good system resulting in stable marriages and strong families at one time, but it only works when both husband and wife (and their kids!) are strictly role bound and do not ask any awkward questions. Given the ways in which the supporting culture is changing, it’s only a matter of time before the questions will out and marriages that looked solid find themselves on the rocks.

Our youth will have to find their way through this difficult maze, and to some extent, one can see them succeeding in forging a new path especially in the cities. The rural scene is still completely bound in tradition and forced marriages and even honour killings are still a ‘norm’ whenever the rural SEDs and the local caste system are challenged.

FREEDOM of SPEECH

June 27, 2006 at 10:36 am | Posted in 1st Amendment, 9-11, First Amendment, freedom of speech, human rights, Richard Oxman, Ward Churchill | Leave a comment


Living in India I am shocked at how little the West believes in/understands the simple concept of “freedom of speech”.

To take just one recent example, an essayist named Ward Churchill has just been told to quit his teaching post at a university in the U.S. because he published an article on the 9-11 attack on the WTC – saying something to the effect that “America should have been expecting an attack like this to happen given their horrendous activities across the world for the last several decades.”

He went even further while trying to place the actions of the 9-11 attackers in the context of language used by Americans during the 1991 Gulf War.

Left leaning – Yes.

Controversial – Yes.

But does that mean that a person should be blacklisted and hounded out of a teaching job, not allowed to participate in public speaking and called a terrorist? Of course, calling someone a terrorist in the West now is the equivalent of saying that this person does not have and does not deserve any human rights; certainly not the right to free speech!.

A sorry few voices have been raised in protest. One is “The Sounds of Bigots”
By RICHARD OXMAN and can be read at http://www.counterpunch.org. And one awaits the details on the “plagiarism” charge that has been bandied about regarding the essayist.

On the whole, my impression is that free speech in America is tolerated if it is fascist in nature (e.g. Coulter) but free speech takes on a different definition for proponents of civil liberties and justice.

How Utterly Sad

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