Friday, August 1, 2014

Gaza and the outrage of millions


I do not follow the Palestinian-Israeli conflict very closely, but of course, given the high visibility of this issue, I am not completely ignorant of it either and do have opinions about it. Ever since the current war started, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been aflame with outrage at Israeli actions and support for the Palestinians. I have posted a post (basically saying there is no end in sight) and a few comments here and there, but generally stayed out of it. This (relative) lack of outrage has outraged some of my friends and forced me to think about it a bit more. So here goes:

First, about my relative lack of outrage: I plead old age. I am so old, I remember when i was outraged at Nixon's Christmas bombing of Hanoi (I was a child, but I was a precocious child in that way, in a very politically aware household). I was outraged at the genocide in East Pakistan a few years after it happened (how I missed being outraged at that in 1971 is a long story). I remember being outraged when the CIA sent terrorists to blow up stuff in Nicaragua and when right wing death squads nailed nuns to the table in El-Salvador. I was outraged at the first Iraq war (and marched in Washington to oppose it, then went to a bar and saw zero coverage of that HUGE march on TV) and approaching old age, at the second. If that looks like a leftish list of outrages, its because (like all Westernized Desis) I grew up in a Leftist milieu when it came to being outraged. But I compensated in my old age. I have since become retrospectively outraged at Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, among others. I was even mildly outraged by our (Pakistan's) close allies the Sri Lankan army, and their tactics in their elimination of the Tamil Tigers. But the point is, I have discovered by now that the outcome of these things is rarely determined by the number of people outraged. In actual wars, especially wars where the opposing parties look at it as a fight to the death, its usually a matter of who can fight better and longer and who has the deadlier weapons.

Secularism (no exceptions please)

Indian secularists supposedly have a soft spot for muslims (sweet), while ignoring other minorities such as Sikhs (why? perhaps because they are successful and can look after themselves). Thus we have honest liberals like Mukul Kesavan (reluctantly) white-washing the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom (as opposed to the 2002 anti-muslim one). MK makes the case that Congress kills because of opportunity while BJP kills because of ideology. Yes.....but so what?

Meanwhile, in Saharanpur three Sikhs (officially) have just been butchered by a muslim mob (led by an ex-Congressman) and the predictable Twitter wars have been launched.
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When people are murdered do they really feel better that they are being killed on account of ideology or because of opportunity? How about the claims for justice, in which case are they more (or less) valid? Is it really true that the appointment of Man Mohan Singh as Prime Minister (who then issued a mealy-mouthed apology) is all that is required to wash away the blood-stains?
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The Indo-Europeans (Jats, Ezhavas)

...Ezhavas are brown Caucasians......Jat Sikhs are a lot fairer......only thing they have in common is a martial tradition.....study asserting that the two communities – that have never mixed and live thousands of miles away – are close genetically......
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India is full of interesting people and Jats are of special interest now that we have a Jat as a Chief of Army Staff (COAS). What came as a shock (to us) is the commonality between Kerala Ezhavas (the dominant shudra community) and Punjabi Jat Sikhs (the dominant shudra community).

(Lt) General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Jat but not Sikh), the 26th COAS who took over from General Bikram Singh (Sikh, most likely Jat), has a grand life-story to tell (see below), rising from a humble farm-hand background to be the highest ranked officer of the land, via the Gurkha regiment.

Our best wishes to General Singh and our hope is that we can maintain a "cold peace" in the sub-continent and that our civilian leaders will guide us accordingly.
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DNA samples taken from thousands of Indians have been compared with population groups from other parts of the world, particularly Europe and Central Asia.

The latest one is from Kerala, which is my home state on India’s south-western coast. According to the study, two entirely different castes – Ezhava, also known as Thiyya in northern Kerala, and Jat Sikh of Punjab – show remarkable genetic similarity.


Save Gaza is lovely....but not enough

“Sisi is worse than Netanyahu, Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews” .... “They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt, now they are going after Hamas” ...“There is clearly a convergence of interests of these regimes with Israel” ...the Egyptian fight against political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical....“Whose proxy war is it?”.....
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Brit-Pak cricketer Moeen Ali who helped England crush India in the third Test match with a six-wicket haul was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for wearing a wrist-band in support of the people of Gaza. Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang has also been threatened with a ban by Commonwealth Games officials in Glasgow, Scotland.
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The Hindu-Brotherhood is supposedly in favor of a "robust response" from Israel - enemies of Islam/Muslims worldwide, unite!!! Israelis are asking (and inviting Indian solidarity) what would happen if thousands of rockets were launched from Pak-administered Kashmir on Indian civilians?

That question has been answered before, not once, but many times and was crystal clear in India's response to 26/11 attack on Mumbai. Not even a finger was lifted in anger. Hafiz Saeed is happily surviving with a 10 mil dollar bounty on his person.

There are two important lessons here which point to a single conclusion. 
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Shah-Jahan-Abad rises from the ashes

...the victory of the British East India Company signaled the end of Purani Dilli.....For over 200 years the Red Fort and neighbouring areas housed both Mughal nobility and ordinary citizens.....The capture of Delhi in 1858 led to Shahjahanabad being changed forever.....city was torn apart by the British....Muslims were hounded out....their properties looted and destroyed.....
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From the (mythical???) all-glass capital of Indraprastha (Pandavas, Mahabharata) to the modern times and modern-day New Delhi, the valley marked by the Yamuna river to the east and the Aravalli hills to the West and South-West has been privileged as the seat of political power in India.
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Take any train that terminates in the old (original) Delhi station (for example, Mussorie Express from the eponymous Hill Station) and at journey's end you cross the river and trundle past the magnificent Red Fort. You will not easily forget the experience (we promise).
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