Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Change Goes Vacation?

I wonder if ‘change’ could ever rest. I however wish President-elect Obama a relaxing break in Hawaii before he has to make his way to the haunted house climbing over world’s corpses, left behind by his predecessor.

I applauded President-elect when he quickly intervened to fix the economic carnage by convening his economic experts while taking to task the other economic experts. That’s leadership.

I am now bewildered to find President-elect AWOL and instead his Axelrod doing the reckless driving; “President-elect Obama is closely monitoring global events, including the situation in Gaza, but there is one president at a time,” he said on your behalf. And, I ask where is the leadership?

What is worse I ask, the economic crisis or human carnage? And what is better - to lead for the sake of getting a car loan or saving a human life?

I recall the then Presidential candidate Obama preaching humility while campaigning in Israel for American Jewish votes. Here is how the macho mutt expressed his humility during his visit to Sderot in Aug of 2008. “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” he told reporters in Sderot, a small city on the edge of Gaza that has been hit repeatedly by rocket fire. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing,” said the humble-to-be-commander-in-chief.

Had then Presidential candidate crossed the border into Erez or any other city in Gaza after visiting Sderot, he could have related the lives of Malia and Sasha of South Chicago with Maryam and Fatima of North Gaza. It really is not rocket science to understand the reasons for rockets.

Malia and Sasha are worried about their dog while Maryam and Fatima are worried about their next meal. Malia and Sasha will drive (with a secret service escort) most likely to a private elite school while Maryam and Fatima will walk to a school without desks and books. Maryam and Fatima will play with pebbles as marbles and Malia and Sasha will be listening to Hannah Montana on their iPods.

Yes, Mr. President-elect, you have every reason to watch your daughters sleep and defend them while sleeping under down comforters. And just so the parents of Maryam and Fatima in Erez and million other parents in Gaza, wish to do - watch them sleep and defend them while they are sleeping. But those parents watch something else. Each night, they watch their equally lovely daughters - turning and twisting (on a hard floor) without down comforters and with hungry stomachs.

The change that you often refer to, Mr. President-elect, must be measured not only in how well your daughters can enjoy the slumber but why others’ daughters are unable to merely nap.

Unless you worry about and work for changing the lives of Maryam and Fatima to become just as good if not as better from the lives of Malia and Sasha, you did not really change anything? And, unless these contradictory and painful truths are reconciled, change cannot go vacation.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Palestinians have the right to defend themselves by any means necessary

Having watched the year[s]/decade[s] long dehumanization, denial of basic human rights of all Palestinians, especially in Gaza, I believe they've the right to defend themselves to restore their dignity and honor - just as anyone else - by any means necessary.

The champions of human rights - may they be of whatever faith (including Muslims and Muslim organizations) need to take a moral Viagra to wake themselves up to their responsibilities.

While CIA is reportedly distributing Viagra to lure the loyalty of Afghan tribal chiefs - let's ask them to also share some with other Muslim chiefs in town! It's about time, don't you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shame on Bush Administration

Washington Post Federal Courts Reporter Del Wilber discusses the case of the Uighur detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. In October of 2008, U.S. District Judge Richard Urbina ordered the release of the 17 Uighur men into the United States. The Uighurs were cleared for release as early as 2003 but fear they will be tortured if returned to China. Later, the attorneys who represent the 17 Chinese Uighur Muslims participated in a Congressional briefing.



Friday, December 5, 2008

Perils in Parallels

To call the Mumbai tragedy, “India’s 9/11” would be parallel to the chatter of Texan cowboy. Indian officials, I believe, ought to be smarter than that. The 9/11 lexicon is proven to be perilous.

The ashes in Mumbai raise more questions than the number of dead from several countries. It was an international tragedy that the Indian government is partly responsible for, exposing its sorrowful state of intelligence and law enforcement.

Reading the Western press, it seems India is about to bomb Pakistan, which itself is home to the “Islamic Nuclear Bomb.” Reading the Indian press, it seems there are many sane Indians who are questioning the lethargy of the Indian government and challenging the hyper Hindutva leadership. The former is still trying to figure out who to blame and the latter wants to rush and unleash the “Hindu Nuclear Bomb.”

We must not forget that a recent train bombing being assigned to “Pakistani agents” was indeed the work of a serving Indian army officer and his comrades.

Bomb talk is dumb. Bombing Afghanistan was dumb. Bombing Iraq was dumber. The Mumbai tragedy merits a thorough investigation followed by a thoughtful analysis, in that order. The people in India and around the world have learned much since the bomb talk of Cheney & Bush, also in that order.

As an Indian by birth and having watched “investigations” of all sorts while growing up, I say that the current Mumbai “investigation” will be a farce at its best. And, now as an American by choice, I am equally comfortable to say that I do not trust the American government, either.

The sane Indians and Pakistanis must urgently and immediately demand the following:

1. Pakistanis must demand their government ask the United Nations to convene an Investigation Task Force comprising of its nation members but excluding the countries such as Israel, Britain and the United States - parties with direct interests in India and the region.
2. The Indians must demand their government give unfettered access to the United Nations Investigation Task Force to complete its full, independent and impartial investigation of the tragedy.
3. Indians, Pakistanis, Americans and all people of good conscience should call upon United Nations to play its role and not merely remain a spectator.

It is time to act for all people, not just Indians or Pakistanis. In allowing the Indian discourse of 9/11 parallels is perilous for all people.
An awesome essay by Arundhati Roy crystallizing more --- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/12/mumbai-arundhati-roy