Showing posts from July, 2014

Bharat Bhushan - Ambient intolerance goes up

Business Standard. July 30, 2014 Ambient intolerance goes up With the temperature of Hindutva rising in the Indian social discourse, Narendra Modi is yet to become the inclusive leader that the high office he occupies demands of him Something has changed in our society after Narendra Modi became the prime minister. Today, speaking carelessly about other religious communities has become acceptable. A new "normal" is being defined about how India talks to herself and the world.  Election campaigns tend to accentuate political differences to appeal to voters and draw them away from others. Modi's campaign also gained from polarising voters. After a handsome victory, however, as prime minister, he has failed to heal the polity. If he lets the situation drift, differences could grow into deep social divisions. The tendency towards this is evident from several disturbing developments - of which Modi is a silent spectator. The testosterone-charged grey eminenc

Mani Shankar Aiyar - Silence From Modi, Great Social Media Mogul

Eleven Shiv Sainiks go on the rampage in New Maharashtra Sadan, stuffing chapattis down the gullet of a Muslim canteen-wallah protesting that he is keeping the roza in the middle of Ramzan - and the Great Communicator keeps his mouth shut and his twitter on silent mode. An innocent Muslim techie in Maharashtra is murdered in Pune for the sin of wearing a skull-cap and growing a beard - and the Social Media Moghul has nothing, absolutely nothing to say on his Face-book - even in Hindi. 19 boys - all Muslims - are hauled up by the police in Kerala for a spoof on Modi, and Modi has nothing to say about Fundamental Freedoms.  H is supporters cover his tracks by saying that all three incidents took place in Congress-run states and the Prime Minister is only being discreet in the interests of "cooperative federalism." The same argument is trotted out for his silence over the outrageous remarks of Trinamool MP, Tapas Pal. There too the Government is not the BJP's. In which cas

‘Social media used to incite violence’

Tweets by BJP national executive member C T Ravi on the Sahranpur riots has come in for severe criticism for their inflammatory tone. In one of the posts, Mr. Ravi, who is also party general secretary for Karnataka, uploaded a video link that said: “How Congress leaders made 1000s of Muslims attack the Gurdwara & cause Saharanpur riots — watch this Sikh speak.” Mr. Ravi also tweeted, “Only the Gujarat model, that worked from 2002 in containing their rioting elements, can work. Apply across Bharat.” Appealing to the NHRC to take note of these messages, Delhi-based lawyer Shehzad Poonawala said: “These tweets are inflammatory, hate-inciting and aimed at communalising the atmosphere.” Mr. Poonawalla alleged that the  modus operandi  and design behind these riots seemed was reminiscent of the Muzaffarnagar riots in which dozens of people were killed on the basis of false propaganda spread via social media. “Since Mr. Ravi belongs to the same party as the PM and the Home Minist

Book review: How the US Navy Is Killing the World's Whales

War of the Whales reviewed by Lindsay Abrams Author Joshua Horvitz on the epic showdown between marine life and national security You never truly win a conservation battle,” says Joshua Horvitz. The best you can do is “win the right to fight another day.” That’s certainly true of the 20-year battle between conservationists and the U.S. Navy, over the military’s use of sonar and the deadly effect its equipment has on the oceans’ whales. It was, in fact, just two conservationists: Ken Balcomb, a whale researcher and himself a Navy veteran, and Joel Reynolds, an environmental lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who worked to link Navy training exercises to the mass strandings of whales on nearby coastlines — and who took the battle all the way to the Supreme Court. The stakes — the existence of a majestic species versus national security — were massive, passions were high and each small, incremental victory came only with great personal sacrifice. It was, in

We Are Israeli (Women) Reservists. We Refuse to Serve

By Yael Even Or,  The Washington Post 24 July 14 Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves — which are made up of ex-soldiers — there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war. Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are  refusing to take part . We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. Partly, that’s because we revile the current military operation. But most of the signers below are women and would not have fought in combat. For us, the army is flawed for reasons far broader than “Operation Protective Edge,” or even the occupation.  We rue the militarization of Israel and the army’s discriminatory policies. One example is the way women are often relegated to low-ranking secretarial positions. Another is the screening system  that discriminates  against Mizrach

Karima Bennoune - Can People of Muslim Heritage defeat the Radical Fundamentalists?

“Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.” TED: “Karima Bennoune: The side of terrorism that doesn’t make headlines” Interview with  Karima Bennoune   ... ... the west in the name of anti-imperialism and identity politics. The authoritarian movements of the far right, which democrats of the South oppose, must be recognized for what they are, Karima Bennoune tells Deniz Kandiyoti. Karima Bennoune  - Your Fatwa Does  ... Karima Bennoune - Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Eye-opening accounts of heroic resistance to religious extremism. In Algeria , publisher Omar Belhouchet ... AMEL GRAMI and  KARIMA BENNOUNE  - Tunisia's fight  ... In conversations wit

'Only stones remain': Gaza lies in ruins - 1,031 Palestinians killed, 6,000 injured // The Massacre at the UN School/ Refugee Center // Gaza: Why a ‘Cease-Fire’ is Not enough

Palestinians in Gaza have been shocked by the scale of Israeli destruction, as long-term truce efforts continue BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Umm Ahmed Abu Sahwish holds stones in her hands. They are now all that's left of her demolished home. "My home is gone and only stones remain," the 65-year-old says.  Hundreds of homes here have been destroyed, and unexploded Israeli missiles litter the ground at the entrance to the town, at Gaza's northern tip near the border with Israel. The local hospital, emergency rescue equipment, and infrastructure have also incurred heavy damage from Israeli shelling.  Another woman, from a family of 20 people, cries as she tries to dig through the rubble of her house.  "Lifetimes of personal and household belongings are gone, with one Israeli missile. Where can we go? We have no food, water, bedding or extra clothes," she says. Driving the length of this tiny stretch of land — 1.8 million Palestinians live on Gaza's 223 sq