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.

Loving Community

September 9, 2006 at 6:28 am | Posted in communal insect, intolerance, pest control, Polistes, Polistinae, pollinator, Vespidae, wasp | 2 Comments

For a short while, we had shifted to a new home that had been lying vacant for quite some time. It was full of interesting creatures like geckos, roaches, 6 species of ants, at least 10 different types of spiders and two communities of paper wasps. The wasp nests were nestled into the air vents in the house’s two bathrooms. As they were well out of easy reach, we decided to wait on “dealing with” the wasps and got on with clearing out most of the other house guests. The nearby vacant land had a few trees with a resident family of purple rumped sunbirds and even a rarely seen green agama lizard sporting an impressively long, brown-tipped tail.

A little research on our wasps revealed that these were members of the family Vespidae, subfamily Polistinae and probably of the Polistes genus (though no entomologist am I).

The adults feed on nectar while the young are given a diet of other insects’ larvae making the wasps very important both as pollinators and as pest controllers.

After a week we realised that the wasps were not causing any problems – no one had been buzzed and though the bathrooms were in use, the wasps seemed to be minding their own business. As days went bye, we spent more time just watching them work. Superbly organised, there was daily progress on nest construction and we started to notice the young ones emerging and merging with the family community. there was even a powerful but gentle discipline maintained by the senior wasps. Juniors who did not get on with their work could be seen sitting just outside the nest area facing away from the nest for a few hours at a time till one of the older ones would come and nudge them gently back into the mainstream.

My son (about 13) had always been terrified of anything that carried a sting. Even he came round to taking bath without an upward glance! Soon he became the resident expert in capturing and releasing the few wasps that got confused at night by the tubelights and ended up in the living room or in one of the bedrooms.

When we shifted out after about 4 months of peaceful cohabitation, we (carefully) covered the vents up from the inside to try to protect the nests from whoever came in after us. The attempt was unsuccessful. When I returned to pick up the last few odds and ends after about a week, I found the netting removed, no wasp nests, and evidence of fire on the walls round the air vents.

Religious Disinterest

June 26, 2006 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Christian, Hindu, intolerance, Muslim, religion | 2 Comments

As a youth I used to think that everyone was interested in religion. I mean this very generally – all around my friends, classmates, acquaintances had to be involved in some religious activity at least once a week.
Hindu’s would do pooja,
Muslims would pray facing Mecca, and visit the mosque,
Christians would go to church
and in the villages,
people would consult the spiritist/healer/soothsayer.

It took a while for me to realise that these activities had little (if anything) to do with how people behaved towards one another.

It took very much longer for me to admit to myself that how i practiced “religion” did not help me to become a ‘better sort of person’.

In fact my denial of this fact continued for a number of years.

I had to come back to India, where our billion people and mountainous problems of daily life finally brought home to me the fact that what I had thought to be true religion was in fact nothing but.

My friend’s father helped to crystalise this truth for me very simply when one day he casually remarked that “the great religions are supposed to be pointing us towards God. But all they do is to grab a hold of us and point us towards religion”.

If my religion can’t make me a more loving person then it is pointless. Perhaps the fault lies not with religion but with my failure to become a more loving person regardless…

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