This is a warning/prophecy by an old guy. Having reached the biblical age where I am allowed to offer blessings, spit out curses, and issue wild-eyed prophecies, I have decided to get them all over with in this one all-purpose blog.
Malaysians have no other choice than giving Anwar Ibrahim the chance of being our next primr minister. He has been through hell and high water and still has not been drowned. His partners in Pakatan want him as their leader to help build a better Malaysia for all Malaysians. Vote for Pakatan and make it happen! Good proposal. Convert the PM's residence in Putra Jaya into a museum showcasing the luxury lifestyle of leaders who just want to enjoy themselves without serious attempts at improving the country's economy.
those causes.... not a peep out of Anwar &Co as to what they might do. So the scenario is that you have a group of PAS and PKR politicians waiting in the wings for their bite at the cherry pie. You have already seen that if you would only open your eyes... frog hoppers, disgraced politicians, minor corruption... and yet you still want to give Pakatan a chance.quote Anwar "we will make do with what we have" This is what i want to hear from my leader of my country. not BR1M, giving out money for WHATEVER reason instead of improving education, law, etc to let rakyat know how to fish by their own. Not 1M Supermarket or whatever it is. We want our leader to govern the country not to do business in this free market. Not building Tun Razak Exchange, that make no sense at all. even the name. Fight corruption? is the two words that current and pre leaders do not dare to mention. -Malaysian You confound meIt is a symbolic gesture, that say's that if the new PM can do it , the rest of the ministers, Chief ministers, senior civil servants can also do it. It is leadership by example. The impact is not in the amount of RM2.9 million per annum that is not spend but rather the message and the multiplier effect throughout the rest of the government. Unlike Najib who has spend over RM15. million on the latest renovations of the offical residence at a time when our debt and budget deficit is growing ,Anwars gestures speaks a thousand words of the difference between the irresponsible and profligate BN that driving Malaysia to bankruptcy versus a prudent and effective government as proven by the Selangor and Penang state government of PR"The Malays are among the poorest. But there are poor among the Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Dayaks. They all deserve to have a share in what rightfully belongs to all of them." No wonder many poor and suffering Chinamen are moved to tears. At least Anwar did not forget them, those who are poor and needy whom because of Malaysian stereotypes, we think all Chinese are rich and wealthy. You should see some of the abject poverty and squalid condition in their backyard. But Alas! nobody bothered. Here Anwar speaks the truth and the reality. I shall not mention the Indians and the rets for I am sure they catch the drift of the message too. My vote goes to Nizar Jamaluddin as new MB of Perak post GE 13.The PM's residence in Putra Jaya, in fact, the entire Putra Jaya is a monument to abuse of public funds, a shameful show piece to SHOW OFF, one of the many unwanted legacies of the RM100 billion man. For example, the Twin Towers, KLIA etc. How difficult, how far, how expensive, how inconvenient, how time wasting etc is Putra Jaya for the general public who have dealings, which are plenty, with all public institutions. Your thought here, Anwar, is a good one but remember you were the DPM and Finance Minister when that opulence were built and had a collective role to play in all that colossal waste and abuse of tax payers money. But then, who dared challenge and question the almighty, all powerful RM100 billion manWith the deplorable state that Malaysia is in economically, its leaders ought to be frugal and not but not be ostentatious. Living in mansions and spending millions a year on electricity and water, one-half million ringgit on their offspring's engagement party and 80,000 ringgit on their birthday party (both expenses alleged to have been met from public funds and the matter has not been disproved convincingly), when the country is heavily in debt and very many are ‘hard-core' poor smacks of the style of the presidents of banana republics and African countries such as Zimbabwe. On another note, I do agree with blind freddo that the PR announcing of what it will do in its first 100 days would be nice to hear. As for Anwar using a Merc, I wouldn't quibble over that, unless the car had been bought with public funds.
I don't think of myself as aged (I was just as cranky at thirty and I still get around pretty good) and my wife hates for me to use that ugly three-letter word -- OLD -- we are both chronic age deniers - but to deny my age at 80 would be like denying global warming during this fetid, never-ending New York summer. It's hot and getting hotter, and I'm old and getting older. I am more than worried, but not about the aging process. I accept the inevitable as I see my friends and contemporaries leave the scene, but what I cannot so easily accept is the inevitability of the Romney/Ryan election. I find that this is the scariest, most dangerous election that America has faced in my lifetime, and I've been around long enough to experience quite a few frightening ones.
Since I have a fair record of losing at the ballot box I have come to understand that my losses were not irreparable. That is until this election. I cast my first vote for Adlai Stevenson who lost to Dwight Eisenhower. As a kid growing up during WWII, I admired Eisenhower as a war hero, but as a young adult I didn't believe that war heroes were the best men to usher in peace and prosperity, and I was charmed by Stevenson's literacy and golden tongue. Frankly, I did not like Ike. Eisenhower proved me wrong. He helped to rebuild the country, proved himself a more than decent president despite his caution during the McCarthy era and surrounding himself with the smear monger Nixon and a few sleazy characters in vicuna coats, he warned about the military industrial complex, and helped in his own slow, cautious way to calm the Cold Wa, made some small progress with Civil Rights, and built a highway system that helped shape this country into a great postwar power. And after Ike I kept losing more than winning at the ballot box. I lost in my second vote against Richard Nixon. I lost in my vote against Ronald Reagan, and I lost and lost and lost again in my vote against George Bush senior and junior. And both the country and me survived our losses. Arguably, not so well after W: Indeed, disastrously so, still we were able to pick ourselves up as best we could, scrape off some of the dirt, smear on some anti-biotic salve, put on a clean bandage, and vote his party out of office.
We now live in a different time since Bush's Supreme Court left us with Citizens United, Carl Rove's political fundraisers, and the Tea Party. Quite simply these people aided by the Koch Industries' billions will try to buy the coming presidential election. And they may well succeed. The polls are close enough to cause a progressive like myself to worry a lot. And people are desperate in these hard economic times resulting from the last Republican recession to forget who caused their troubles, and to seek relief in a new set of rouges with a new set of promises. This time I fear it will be different. Indeed, I know it will be different.
Elections are the best tool we have for gaining a representative government. But they can also be the beginning of an end for the democratic process. Whoever believes that the Muslim Brotherhood will be voted out of power in Egypt should they prove too extreme and bring in a radical Sharia law is hopelessly naïve. Not all totalitarian regimes are brought in by military coups. Some are voted in. Germany in 1932 brought in fascism by electing it (with a little help from the SS murderer/bullies).
And now we have the possibility of a Mitt Romney presidency. I am not one of your fair-minded liberals who will give any points to Romney for his past business acumen, his alleged charities, or his former progressivism as Governor of Massachusetts. I find Romney to be a totally new political creature -- the sociopath as a square. He learned nothing from tethering his poor dog to the top of his car and riding full speed ahead to Canada -- and it is America whom he will now tether to his presidency, and the ride will be horrendous for young and old. No bathroom stops while Daddy Mitt is driving. I think he is probably the most dangerous man to run for the presidency in my lifetime, and that includes Nixon. He has lied time and again, distorting his own record while dissembling about the president's Medicare reforms, denying the public the right to examine his taxes and past business practices, and promising to help the elderly and the poor by destroying the very safety net that they are clinging to. Moreover, he is determined to win by hook or crook, forget the hook, there is enough crook in new Voter ID regulations to turn some of the swing states in his directions by denying the vote to minorities. Having no core of his own, the emptiness inside him can and will be filled by those who have bought him his presidency.
The prosperity he promises to the country is the prosperity we now have -- belonging only to that notorious 1%. And the liberties he promises to usher in will be freedom from the very taxes that support a civil society, freedom from Social Security which only spoils the elderly, freedom from Medicare and Medicaid, freedom from pollution controls, freedom from freedom itself in the case of women's bodies and minority rights. These amazing vouchers he so loves that promise to replace everything from SS, Medicare, Public Education, are a gift that will not stop giving -- to insurance cronies and educational profiteers. All of it is clear and out there, nothing is hidden from view, and to deny it and pretend that the etch-a-sketch will move him towards the center while the Koch brothers and the far right wing control that Romney toy is preposterous. This is the man who mocks President Obama for stating the obvious, that nobody succeeds on their own without the help of a functioning government. Perhaps he is one of the few who can say that because he did not need the government, all he needed was his rich father's success to start him on the road to a good education (with time out for a little gay bashing as he cut off the hair of a kid he held down). The lesson then as now, "Conform or we will force you to do so." Inside every bully is that totalitarian instinct waiting to take power.
Having voted Romney/Ryan into office with their disastrous foreign policy moves (trust me that war with Iran and Syria is going to happen under Romney -- so sayeth the Prophet) and with the country thrown into a greater poverty with the total destruction of trade unions and the outsourcing of any decent jobs, and with women's rights and gay rights rescinded, it should seem easy to vote Romney out in four more years with an energized, enraged populace. No way. He will be a war president who can and will assume war powers. That little thing called martial law can make civil liberties disappear in a nano-second. Immigrants will be regarded as a national security danger, and all protestors will be called traitors during the never-ending war. Forget your voting ID. Every citizen will need a national ID card that carries with it their political allegiance and enough information to control their lives. The freedom that is promised is the freedom from freedom.
The drone society that we see in that old Fritz Lang movie Metropolis, a German film that preceded the rise of fascism and WWII, is a warning of what can happen here. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis famously wrote in the 1930s that when fascism came to America it would not be wearing jackboots but would come in a very American shape. He was referring to the demagoguery of a Huey Long, not the Babbitry of a Mitt Romney, but Lewis knew that the denial of our rights would emanate from the ordinary, not the ranting, raging, dictator.
I will probably not be around to know if my prophecy of a Romney-ruled dystopian America will come true. I hope it is only my fantasy caused by my fear and loathing for these men with their shape-shifting characters and indecent policies. But I have a seven-year-old granddaughter, and a pair of four-year-old twin grandchildren who will be here. I love them beyond anything in my life -- save my wife of sixty years -- and for their sakes I do not believe that we can risk the Romney/Ryan presidency -- for as my wise old mother used to say, "If you dance with the devil, the devil calls the tune."
“MALAYSIA WILL BECOME A FULLY INDEBTED NATION BEFORE THE END OF THE DECADE AT THE CURRENT RATE OF MASSIVE BORROWING AND IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING BY THE BN GOVERNMENT” DECLARED THE MALAYSIAN INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH (MIER).
The time machine has catapulted us back to a dark era, to the times of Mahathir’s rule. The ‘dark’ times are well and truly here, thanks to the relentless efforts of a few sacred beings with a holier than thou attitude. Welcome ‘darkness’, welcome to a haunting world, where eerie shadows lurk in the dark, where daggers are brandished in case we wish to express our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.And I remain flabbergasted with what is going on right now, with the Government acting possessed and trying to exorcise our fundamental rights out of us instead!It will be interesting to see how much further would the Government be willing to push it’s agenda. An obvious agenda that targets those who are critical of it. It is vital for a mature democracy to be fed information from all fronts in order for it to make an informed decision. There ought to be some semblance of ‘variety’, variety still being a rare commodity. However, the void is being filled by strong voices on social media and who have a reasonable audience that worries the Government. Most of these voices do not instigate the common man to brandish their swords (and naturally the ones who do have to be clamped), they instead provide a trajectory that is quite different to that of the new media’s. This makes their outlook refreshing and innovative. What the Government has failed to understand in this unwanted clampdown is that by blocking people on Twitter, Facebook etc, it has birthed ten dozen more such free thinking people elsewhere. They can clamp your freedom of speech, but not your freedom of thought.Already well-known for his 'anything-to-win' political ruthlessness, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is not a stranger to controversy.
Three street dogs wagged their tails expectantly in front of our neighbour’s gate—instinctively they knew that it was time for the lady of the house to come and hand out last night’s leftover ‘parathas’ to cows and canines. It is a typical Indian tradition which has morphed into a good deed of the day and it leaves people feeling atoned for the sins of the last 24 hours at the least. Anyways, the quadrupeds feasted till they had had their fill and, satiated, they went away, probably for a snooze. A skinny rag-picker, about 11 or 12 years old, was watching the scene from a nearby vacant plot (which was distastefully being used as a dumping-ground by many residents and hence was a veritable treasure trove for the urchin, from where he picked up sundry trash which earned him his measly livelihood). His hungry eyes had noticed the two ‘parathas’ the dogs had left behind (probably too oily for canine taste, huh ?) and he looked furtively to his left, then to his right and, seeing that no one was looking, dashed towards the gate and grabbed the ‘parathas’. But he was out of luck—isn’t that the underlying theme of his miserable life?—and the lady reappeared and, seeing the boy scurrying away, raised an alarm of “Thief ! Thief ! Get him!” A few odd men—drivers, security guards, various vendors—hanging around in the locality immediately sprung into action and in a matter of a few seconds, had the pathetic boy by the scruff of his tattered collar and had dealt him a few tight slaps. They asked the lady what had been stolen by the imp, and she said she had no idea; she had simply seen him grabbing something and fleeing.
Well, the “helpful saviours” then emptied the big sack on the boy’s back and found nothing of import (after all, they couldn’t for the life of them imagine that ‘parathas’ could be counted among valuables worth stealing!) Between sobs the boy explained that he had stolen nothing but, being hungry, had simply picked up the two ‘parathas’ the dogs had left behind. For a few seconds there was an audible silence. I am sure that each of those present there had to deal with some guilt—guilt for having whacked the boy without confirming his crime; guilt for having had a sumptuous meal without sparing a thought for the millions who go hungry to bed; guilt for not having known the real value of food, “I am not a thief, please believe me,” his plaintive plea echoed in my ears for a long, long time.
The episode had unnerved me somewhat. A holier-than-thou attitude proclaiming that the lady was wrong to have raised a ruckus would be uncalled-for, because with the crime graph skyrocketing at an alarming rate, citizens have got to remain alert; and it is also true that these street children have been known to have committed some petty crimes. But the whole incident did get exaggerated—the boy needn’t have been bopped off without having verified his offence. But unfortunately, man’s baser instincts jump to the forefront in the heat of the moment. We are quick to seize an opportunity to open the floodgates of our anger, frustration, wrath, fury and so on. One could say that all the stresses that we constantly live with suddenly find an outlet of expression, and having vented our accumulated angst, we feel liberated and even proud to have proved ourselves to be conscientious citizens !
But does our conscience rear its head only when our supposed “culprit” is weaker than us in strength and/or status ? Why doesn’t our collective conscience feel equally outraged against the “powerful” criminals ? Why do political leaders, who are bungling with taxpayers’ money, go scot-free in spite of having been proved guilty by the judiciary ? Why are underworld dons treated like royalty even when they are imprisoned for a number of the most heinous crimes ? Why are killers acquitted even when there were eye-witnesses to the murder most foul ? Why is tax evasion regarded as a claim to fame when it should really be labeled as “theft”? When a shopkeeper cheats us by either giving us underweight or poor quality stuff or by not giving us a cash memo, doesn’t he qualify as “thief”? Why do we simply react with momentary shocked disbelief and then shrug our shoulders in helplessness when we are given media bytes about scam-tainted politicos or corporate honchos? Do we take up cudgels then? No, we don’t. “These things happen ”, we scoff. We are not prepared to upset our perfect little lives to get embroiled in any “nuisance”! Our self-preservation instincts warn us to play safe because we know that the people we dare to scorn might harm our families in a bid to get revenge. I am not condoning or propagating cowardice but it is perfectly natural for us to make the family’s security the topmost priority because we do not have much faith in our law-enforcers either. Fine. But then, we DO feel angry and agitated at the blatant misuse of power that we see / hear / read about, and this impotent rage seethes and simmers inside us only to boil over at small provocations like the incident of the nondescript rag-picker. That’s not very fair. But then life rarely is, we argue self-defensively.
Does this mean, then, that there is really no practical solution to this imbroglio ? For the time being it definitely seems so. It’ll take a huge amount of collective courage and unity to protest against the humongous law-breakers. Hopefully, a day will come when the public will tire of being made a fool of and will rise as one body to take some decisive action (lynching, for instance ?). Amen. Till then, what are we to do ? For starters, I guess we could be a little more compassionate and definitely more objective while dealing with those less privileged than us; it’d be foolhardy to trust them blindly and outright cruel to mistrust them completely. And what about the Godzillas of the crime world ? A few protest marches and demonstrations will not deter them—only capital punishment will. Is our judiciary upto it ?
Inside the narrow bylanes of Naroda Patiya, life runs at a fast pace, and it’s tough.As children rush out of a school in the afternoon, a woman walks past tugging at a toddler, his bag dragging on the road. “There is no water at home. The cooking and cleaning is yet to be done. The drainage choked up this morning,” she tells the accompanying woman. Her friend nods in agreement. “Nasirbhai scolded my son for not doing his maths homework. He was busy helping me clear drains since yesterday,” she says.Nasir Khan Pathan, principal of a small school ‘Ikra’ inside Patiya, has been teaching maths and science to children for the last 20 years. He claims he saw it all, including eight rapes, during the riots.Most of the Muslims settled in Naroda Gam and Patiya came from poor families in Karnataka and Konkan belt of Maharashtra 40 years ago. The magnet was textile-rich Ahmedabad. When the mills shut down, they joined other factories making tools, auto parts, chemicals, etc.
After the 2002 riots, they lost that too. They say factories dominated by Hindus closed their doors on them.
For the Muslims in Patiya, which housed around 5,000 Muslims in 10 major settlements of Husainnagar, Jawaharnagar, Masjid ki Chali, Kehmchand ki Chali, Panditji ki Chali and others, life was always all about earning their daily bread.
Farooq Qureshi, Nasir’s next door neighbour, says, “If one sees carefully, nothing has really changed. Earlier, we used to toil to earn our daily wages to manage two meals. After the riots, we are toiling much harder to streamline our small businesses that face threat from the majority community.”After the loss of factory jobs, the men from the Muslim community took to cart pulling, driving autos and cabs and setting up small pan shops, tea stalls and local phone booths. Now, the fight is to keep them humming.
And the dispossessed cried for mercy.
Yet, no one heard.
“ reformasi” They yelled.
Yet, no one heard.
“ reformasi” They yelled.
And the tyrants cried “ISA THEM KUGAN THEM!”
“Starve and beseige them!”
“Use all necessary force to bring them to submission!”
“Starve and beseige them!”
“Use all necessary force to bring them to submission!”
And to the world the tyrants raged: “Security!”
And the sycophants cried in defense of the tyrants.
And the sycophants cried in defense of the tyrants.
Then Conscience spoke and asked.
“Who will secure the starved, beseiged and dispossessed?”
“Who will secure the starved, beseiged and dispossessed?”
Corrupt political leadership does not attractive men of outstanding integrity; neither can it be expected to enact effective laws to maintain high integrity in
Life is not easy. Though some of the riot victims have got relief in the form of small bright-coloured houses built for them, it’s a daily struggle for two square meals.
Zannatbibi Sheikh, an old and feeble fruit vendor, shows her cash box and says, “I start in the morning and this is all I have earned, Rs 100. It has been the case for 10 years. Our businesses dropped and women were the worst sufferers — empty kitchens, several children to fend for, no money for school uniforms and books.”Zannatbibi, who lost her young son in the 2002 riots, points to a nearby madrasa and says, “The children who come to study here often come to my shop to eat potato balls. I sell them for only one rupee. I feel as if Mushtaq (her dead son) has come home hungry.”
The madrasa is now closed most of the times. The aged Maulana, Abdul Rauf Khan, comes every day to teach but there are not enough children.
He says, “There was a time when 10-12 batches of children used to come to recite the Quran. I loved reading it out to them. Now, only 10 children come to madrasa, that too after much convincing. Parents fear the madrasa would be the first to be targeted if things go bad again.
Mariambi, who runs a chicken shop near the madrasa, says, “This home is the only piece of property we have. We had requested the relief committee to rebuild our houses at the same place. For us, the struggle for basic needs is more important than the incidents of the past.”
Both Mariambi and Zannatbibi are widows living in Patiya with their children.
It is not without reason that people worldover call “politics a game of scoundrels”. This also explains why a majority of politicians across all parties were overjoyed when try to give a political alternative to the people because at present most leaders are corrupt and do not want a strong to curb corruption. These politicians know that electoral politics depends more on caste and communal combinations, and use of money and mafia, areas where Anna is a big zero.
Pesh Imam Abdul Salam Shamshuddin Sheikh, the custodian of Noorani Masjid across the road since 1984, says, “The mosque was empty. I had gone to a home for Daur (reading of the holy Quran). This was the best time for the attackers to start. They began with breaking the minaret of the mosque. They blasted gas cylinders inside. Not a single corner was left.”Noorani Masjid has been since restored and painted and it now bears no mark of the February 28 violence.
Amina Behlim’s sons moved out of Ahmedabad after riots but she still lives there at Masjid ki Chali. She is stronger than the rest. She was a security guard at a printing press in Chiloda, but was sacked for sheltering for five years a girl who was raped during the riots.She says, “She (the victim) stayed in Jawaharnagar alone after her parents kicked her out for not ‘adjusting’ with her alcoholic husband. I was hiding on a terrace and saw her being raped by 11 men.
Godhra Train Burning
Number of deaths 59; number of accused 94; convicted 31; acquitted 63
Number of deaths: More than 2,000, including killings at Best Bakery, Sardarpura, Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and Naroda GamMore than 4,500 houses destroyed, 18,500 damagedLoss of property of Muslims pegged at approximately 0600 crore and that of Hindus at approximately 040 crore (based on former IPS officer R.B. Sreekumar's affidavit before the Justice Nanavati inquiry commission)Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan re-investigating 10 major cases, including the Godhra carnageNot a single FIR against Chief Minister Narendra ModiBest Bakery killings: number of deaths 14; convicted 9; acquitted 8Sardarpura killings: number of deaths 33; number of accused 73; convicted 31; acquitted 42Gulberg Society killings: number of deaths 69; number of accused 67; number of accused out on bail 57; case has reached final stage in the trial courtNaroda Patiya massacre: number of deaths 95; number of accused 60; number of accused out on bail 49; case is in the trial court
Naroda Gam killings: number of deaths 11; number of accused 83; majority out on bail, case in trial court