Thursday, August 28, 2014

When is a genocide not a genocide?

......by the 1990s, genocide had a “super stigma,” ....as the international court for Rwanda put it, it was the “crime of crimes” .....When it came to the Khmer Rouge, this development was only complicated by the peculiar political usage of “genocide” in Cambodia.....In 1999, the UN Group of Experts announced...not take a position on“whether the Khmer Rouge committed genocide with respect to part of the Khmer national group.” ......
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Cambodians are enthusiastic about play-acting to honor the memory of the victims of Pol-pot and company. We can sympathize as we sense that there will be a fuller sense of closure that way.  

As far as justice is concerned...unfortunately all we have (again) is a lot of play-acting and word-playing and a bit of fore-playing (but much more expensive to enact at $220 mil...all those lawyer fees....).

We love international law. Majority community killing their own is not considered genocide. However, majority community killing minorities is appropriate for the g-tag.

Thus Chicoms killing 45 mil Hans is not considered suitable for the worst of the worst tag. Neither is the 30mil killed by Stalin and company. Not even the 3 mil Khmers killed by Pol Pot qualifies as genocide.

As a saving grace the 20k Vietnamese and 90k Cambodian muslims (Cham) killed by the Khmer Rougue may finally see some justice. Regardless of definitions, evil men need to be taken down by other (righteous) men on earth, not any supernatural agency.

Incidentally something which aroused our curiosity is the Cambodian word for genocide: prolai pouch-sas. We are no linguists but "prolai" in Sanskrit (used in Bengali as well) denotes a state of crisis (at the end of times level). Perhaps a person who knows will step forward and clarify?
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August 7 was supposed to be judgment day for the last two leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Thirty-five years after the end of Pol Pot’s calamitous agrarian revolution, a United Nations-backed court in Phnom Penh found the movement’s chief ideologue Nuon Chea and the former president Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison.
 

We have a deal!!!

.....as per the proposed agreement, the armed forces would control strategic policy areas, such as relations with the United States, Afghanistan and India...promise of freedom for former president (retd) General Pervez Musharraf and that Sharif's government had secretly agreed to let Musharraf go abroad after a symbolic indictment over treason......
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When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said we are here to stay he was actually trying to convey a message.

Poor Imran Khan, Sharif senior has reportedly managed to strike a deal with the Army after all. Actually that is not quite correct, the Army has used Khan to soften up the Sharif brothers. Ayesha Siddiqui calls this  a "soft coup" and that Nawaz will remain a Prime Minister in Name Only (PiMNO, our words). The chance of PTI riding the protest horse to the throne now appears remote.
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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is close to making a deal with the Pakistan Army, in the backdrop of the political events that are unfolding in the federal capital, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The report suggests that as per the proposed agreement, the armed forces would control strategic policy areas, such as relations with the United States, Afghanistan and India.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

COPS. Oh America!

Another one. A producer of the show COPS is shot by....a trigger happy cop. 

 The rate at which cops kill unarmed people (mostly black people, but occasionally others as well, as in this case) is too damn high. In fact, the rate at which Black people get killed by cops is higher than the rate at which they were lynched by the klan in most years..... I avoid a lot of news stories because i have become irritable in my old age and for peace of mind I avoid news that tends to trigger elite left-lib bs, but even the paranoid can have real enemies and in this case the leftlibs have the right target...out of control copishness is an awful problem in this country. If someone could somehow dial that down and stop the war on drugs, this would be a great country. I wish I knew how to do it within my lifetime. On the other hand, I remain a man of faith....i think we will eventually get there. WHEN will we get there? that is the issue...probably not soon enough.

 Of course its not just cops. The fetishization of guns and the desire to shoot them extends well beyond militarized trigger-happy cops. 
If I was a hard hearted cynic, I might say this instructor had it coming, but imagine the burden this poor 9 year old girl will carry for the rest of her life. Her parents may be idiots for taking her to a gun range to shoot automatic weapons, but she is still a child and deserves sympathy...


Look at what police officer Sunil Dutta has to say about this topic...and weep.
btw, as some of the above links show, the libertarian magazine Reason has long had the right idea about the war on drugs, the prison mafia and militarized overbearing copishness in the land of the free...


Letter to India: what soldiers wrote in the first world war

A very interesting piece in caravan

http://caravanmagazine.in/vantage/what-indian-soldiers-first-world-war-wrote-home-about

To commemorate the centenary of India’s service in the First World War, the British historian David Omissi collected the letters of Indian soldiers away from home in Indian Voices of the Great War, published this year by Penguin. These eloquent letters offer a poignant glimpse into the lives of these Indian soldiers, whom history forgot.

Examples:

A wounded Sikh to his father
[Gurmukhi]
Brighton Hospital
18th January 1915

Tell my mother not to go wandering madly because her son, my brother, is dead. To be born and to die is God’s order. Some day we must die, sooner or later, and if I die here, who will remember me? It is a fine thing to die far from home. A saint said this, and, as he was a good man, it must be true.



Ram Prasad (Brahmin) to Manik Chand (c/o Sikander Ali, Bamba Debi Bazar, Marwari Water Tank, Bombay)
[Hindi]
Kitchener’s Indian Hospital, Brighton
2nd September 1915

And send me fourteen or fifteen tolas of charas, and understand that you must send it so that no one may know. First fill a round tin box full of pickles and then in the middle of that put a smaller round box carefully closed, so that no trace of the pickles can enter. And send a letter to me four days before you send the parcel off. [Letter withheld]

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The "Great" is no more in Great Britain

.....This week the British embassy in Washington decided to hark back to Blighty’s glory days....picture of a sparkler-bedecked cake “commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House”....embassy quickly retracted: “Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our friendship today …. Today UK-US celebrate #specialrelationship”.....
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Whichever way the September 18th vote goes for Scottish independence, one thing is for sure: after 112272 days (starting 01 May, 1707), Scotland will no longer count as a willing partner in the Union. Truth be told, this breakdown started during the Thatcher years triggered by the hated poll tax. However from what we read in the papers and based on accounts by friends, even most of Northern England (Yorkshire and even the Midlands) is in a different planet compared to London and the South-East England.

There is essentially a sense that London- a truly global city and home of the super-affluent - does not care much about the poor cousins "oop north" and imposes out of touch policies and unwanted migration on the rest of the country. 

Thus while the upstart (and popular) parties are polar opposites - Scottish National Party (SNP) is left-liberal and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is libertarian-paleocon - they are in agreement that London is bad for the country and harmful for the future. In the words of the wag, there is no better-together (pro-union campaign slogan), only bitter together.
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How should we feel about all this as Indians? We note that the article gives credit to the British for giving Indians the gift of democracy. There are other folks who would say that India would not even exist as a nation but for the British. Thing is, if you choose to take credit for the good things, you need to own up to  the bad things as well (the Victorian holocausts, the Bengal famine,...).

Also something which is almost never emphasized, it was the British-Indian army that helped maintain order in the far reaches of the empire and which also played a significant role in the World Wars and countless other wars. If Britain gave birth to a new India, the British empire was sustained through Indian blood, sweat and treasure. Not for nothing, India was known as the crown jewel of the empire. The moment Britain lost India, the empire gig was up.
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During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Britain had dominion over so many portions of the Earth it was said, famously, that “the sun never set on the British Empire.” Since the end of World War II, however, that sun has been steadily dipping toward the horizon. Today, sundown is truly at hand.
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