Showing posts from August, 2015

Isis karaoke: satire’s answer to hate preachers with microphones

NB - We should try this out on some of our motormouth fanatics.. DS The Twitter users behind @ISIS_karoake delight in putting song lyrics into jihadis’ mouths – and they aren’t the only comedians who have found the courage to openly mock Isis Peter Cook summed up the power of satire pretty well when he claimed to have modelled his comedy club, The Establishment, on the Weimar cabarets of Berlin, “which did so much to stop the rise of Adolf Hitler and prevent the second world war”. Satire isn’t a way to change injustice, it’s a way to live with it. If you’re satirising Isis, it can also be a difficult pursuit. Isis doesn’t do much that is immediately comic. Even your audience may not be prepared to see the funny side of a repressive, murderous terrorist state. While Isis is certainly a deserving target, it’s still an easy target to miss. Brutality is hard to make light of, and mockery of Isis sometimes comes bundled with generic anti-Islamic, ham-fisted, unfunny jokes out

Philip Oltermann - Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave

For much of his lifetime, he was the personification of Germany’s moral conscience, with literary interventions on anything from postwar guilt to the Israel-Palestine debate. And it appears that even  his death in April  this year hasn’t dimmed Günter Grass’s determination to provoke debate. In his last ever book, published in  Germany  at the end of last week, the Nobel prize-winning novelist and poet issues a beyond-the-grave warning about rising vitriol towards refugees. One of the poems in  Vonne Endlichkait  (On Finiteness) laments that Germans who were once refugees themselves now displayed the same level of intolerance towards refugees that they themselves once encountered. Millions of Germans displaced from east-central  Europe  after the end of the second world war, Grass writes in the poem entitled Xenophobic, were met with cries of: “Go back to where you came from!” when they tried to settle in other parts of Germany. “But they stayed,” the author continues, and app

Workers Demonstration Tomorrow 10am, 1st September 2015 Kamla Nehru Park to the DC Office Gurgaon

Workers Juloos and Sabha Tomorrow 10am, 1st September 2015 Kamla Nehru Park to the DC Office Gurgaon called by Workers Solidarity Centre (Gurgaon-Bawal) The campaigning around the strike-call in the past few days of listening closely to the rumblings in the factories and streets from Gurgaon to Bawal has been extremely energizing. Many independent factory unions and workers in the auto belt belt will strike day-after. We were also witness to great response to the campaign in the non-unionized garment industries where over 400000 wage-workers toil without end in horrendous conditions to produce clothes for the world. Mr.Modi's pro-capitalist reforms will not be taken lying down in this showcase zone of the developmental model in India, by  Those-Who-Make-in-India . More significantly than and connecting to the one-day general strike called half-heartedly by the Central Trade Unions, these concrete actions promise to connect to the already ongoing struggles/strikes i

Watch Anne-Sophie Mutter play extracts from The Four Seasons at the Edinburgh international festival

The Edinburgh international festival has been offering a wide and varied programme of music both classical and contemporary for those who can’t face the prospect of another fringe comedian asking the audience if they remember Spangles. And we’ve teamed up with the festival to bring you a series of exclusive short films of the very best performers at work. We  began last week with Anna Calvi and Heritage Orchestra , but today it’s the turn of the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, performing extracts from the first and third movements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She’s accompanied by the Mutter Virtuosi, made of young musicians granted scholarships by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. “It is particularly difficult nowadays for highly talented young instrumentalists to receive the necessary support during the crucial early years,” Mutter says. “In addition to the huge sums of money spent on lessons, in many cases financing a suitable string instrument poses great problems as well. Al

OLYMPIA SHILPA GERALD - How to Wreck a University. The crisis in Pondicherry University

Even at its bustling best, this south Indian Union Territory retains a sleepiness which its tourism department loves to plug as ‘Peaceful Puducherry’. But  just 12 kilometres outside the city, this image of calm is belied by the turmoil at Pondicherry University, which has been besieged by student protests, vandalism and vigilante violence. After a month of  disturbances, there is finally hope among students and faculty that the university will return to routine. This follows a communication from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) ordering Vice-Chancellor (VC) Chandra Krishnamurthy—whose stewardship of the university triggered the unrest—to remain on “compulsory wait until further orders … in the interest of restoring normalcy to Pondicherry University.” The Pondicherry University Student Movement (PUSM), supported by the Pondicherry University Teachers Association (PUTA), have been demanding the ouster of Krishnamurthy—VC since January 2013—citing plagiarism, misr

Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi, target of previous threats, shot dead in Dharwad // Rationalist’s cold blooded killing shocks Karnataka’s literary capital // Bajrang Dal leader says another rationalist next

Kalburgi had often spoken up against blind religious belief NB - This is the third such murder of a renowned rationalist whose ideas were disliked by the so called Parivar. The assassins obviously had little compunction in killing a venerable gentleman of letters in the evening of his life. We now hear that a Bajrang Dal leader has hailed the assassination and threatened another prominent rationalist. This body is an RSS front and the public has a right to know whether this NGO (yes, that's what it is) approves of political assassination as a means of enforcing its 'line' on Indian culture and religion .  We should not be surprised.   After all, Narendra Dabholkar was warned he would meet the fate of Mahatma Gandhi. How is this different from the murder of the Syrian scholar Khaled al-Assad by the Islamist fanatics of ISIS? Or the systematic murder of secular bloggers in Bangladesh ? There is every likelihood that this case too, like the murders of Narendra Dabh

Veterans plan OROP as Bihar election issue

Military veterans, whose protest for the implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme entered the 76th day here on Saturday, may announce holding of a rally in Patna if the government does not meet their demand by Monday. As part of “intensifying the agitation” in the absence of any favourable decision by the government by August 31, the ex-servicemen said they would launch a mass awareness campaign in Bihar against the Union government. To more States “Not just Bihar, we will be going to all election-bound States. We are going to tell the people when you elect your leaders, be careful and make sure they will fulfil their assurances,” Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (Retd.) told  The Hindu . “We will plan a rally in Patna at an appropriate time, we have not done it so far,” he said when asked if a possible date had been fixed. Another retired Army officer, who is part of the front, said the veterans would recalibrate their strategy based on the government’s response. A campaign

ALAKA M. BASU - Swamped by Ignorance and Prejudice, But Certainly Not By Muslims

The last thing we need is for reproductive decisions to be dictated by base motives that pit ‘us’ against ‘them’ and for women’s bodies to be used to wage a proxy war in which the only winner is ugly sectarianism The recently released 2011 census tables on religion tell us that Hindus now number (that is, in 2011 they numbered) 966 million (966257353 to be precise) and Muslims 172 million (172245158 to be precise); in other words, Muslims have grown by 34 million over the span of 10 years while the now close-to-a-billion Hindu majority has added 139 million to its own numbers. These statistics have generated some anxiety and paranoia among a large number of people on Facebook and Twitter, with only a minority of these social media users being more sanguine that ‘our nation’ is not being taken over by ‘other’ people. Misleading media coverage Demographic fear-mongering is not unique to India and not new in India. Even before the release of these census figures, pronouncements

Miho Janvier - Amazing sights from the International Space Station

Imagine seeing the lights of cities spreading around  the Nile Delta  and then in less than an hour gazing down on  Mount Everest . The astronauts on the  International Space Station  (ISS) are among the lucky few who will have this humbling, once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the beauty of Earth from space. The ISS doesn’t just offer spectacular and countless views of the natural and man-made landscapes of our planet. It also immerses its residents into the Earth’s space environment and reveals how dynamic its atmosphere is, from its lower layers to its protective  magnetic shield , constantly swept by the solar wind. The best views are seen from  the Cupola , an observation deck module attached to the ISS in 2010 and comprising seven windows. So, what are the amazing sights that you can see from the space station?.. See photos/videos:

R.K.MISRA - Painful Patel Punch: A National Social Re-engineering Experiment!

Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it scum floats to the top. But those who do so must bear the burden of the stink. Both stirred and shaken, Gujarat is going through turmoil-filled days as it’s affluent and numerically strong patidar (patel) community mounts a fierce assault for OBC reservation that is straining the fabric of inter-community harmony to it’s tensile limits. Fearful of a Patidar led-Anandiben Patel- government caving in to their demands, a counter-movement against it is building up as well.Two days ahead of the Patel’s biggest ever show of  community strength on August 25, the Other Backward Classes(OBC) mobilized  members from the 146 communities in it’s fold  for a dharna  near the Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad on August 23.The SCs and STs symbolically joined  it  and the tone and tenor were distinctly repudiatory of the  Patels.”Any move by the government or any community to snatch our rights will first ensure  this government’s pack up and thereafter

Chennai: Screening venue of 'Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai' changed after alleged threats from Hindutva lobby // Video of hooliganism by 'parivar' activists at DU campus

NB : This   account  of a n event in Ramjas College 1988 may interest all those who are facing violent censorship today -  DS The screening of Nakul Singh Sawhney’s documentary Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai was scheduled on Tuesday across the country in 50 towns and cities. The documentary, which traces the aftermath of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in west Uttar Pradesh, has been at the centre of protests across the country.  In Chennai, the documentary was to be screened at renowned art critic Sadanand Menon’s Spaces in Besant Nagar. However, there were threats made allegedly by Hindutva groups. When the screening organisers complained to the police, the police did not provide security. Instead, they reportedly persuaded the organisers to change the venue. People who had gathered at Spaces, protested the change in venue, with some even calling it ‘state-sponsored censorship’. The documentary was then screened at Goethe-Institut.