Showing posts from February, 2013

Little Things Matter! - Remembering my days in Canada

In the spring of 1979, I accompanied some friends who were traveling from Edmonton , Alberta to Vancouver , British Columbia in Canada . Considering the long trip – almost 1200 kilometers, which can take at least 12 hours, we decided to leave at night and take turns driving the car. At night, with hardly any traffic on the highways, such trips usually take less time to reach a destination. An older friend had a big, old Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon, which could comfortably seat seven riders. We tied our bags on the top of the wagon thus allowing the back seat riders to sleep with their legs stretched out. Within probably an hour into our trip, I started feeling sleepy, and dozed off only to be awakened by the horns of a car that was following us. I also saw car indicator light signals flushing, as if to stop us. But our driver friend would have none of those signals to retard his speed. He was probably driving at speeds way above the allowable speed limit of 100 km per hour.

Obama’s Nominations and the ‘Kill-list’

Last week, Chuck Hagel’s nomination for the Secretary of Defense hit a roadblock in the Senate floor. Fifty-eight senators voted yes and forty voted no to his nomination. Obviously, these days a simple majority does not mean much in the Senate floor! The majority leader Senator Reid of the Democratic Party was one of those who voted against so that he could use parliamentary rules to quickly reconsider the nomination . Congress is in recess next week. So, the next vote may have to wait until Tuesday, February 26. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a possible GOP presidential candidate for 2016, who has tried to promote himself as a more traditional realist on foreign policy, wary of too much interventionism, could have been the deciding vote to clear the way for Hagel’s confirmation, but instead he opted to vote no. He   told   CNN that he would back a filibuster of Hagel, relying on the most spurious of pretexts: the charge, raised by senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), that Hagel is in the pay o

Indian Federation: Dream or Delirium?

Many Indians living in the USA strongly believe that all the south Asian countries that once belonged to the British Raj should be united under a single federation. They believe that the partition of India was a grave mistake and that none of the countries in the region outside India has what it takes to become a vibrant democracy. With all the street politics oozing out their ugliness, surely, it seems that Pakistan , Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and Nepal are not ready for democracy. Bangladesh achieved its independence from Pakistan on 16 December, 1971 after a bloody civil war that lasted for nearly nine months. The secular constitution, adopted within a year, proclaims a parliamentary form of democracy, and yet after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – revered as the father of the nation (more like what Gandhi was to India ) – on 15 August, 1975, in a CIA inspired military coup, military or quasi-military regimes prevailed for the next 15 years. S

First International Conference on the Rohingyas of Burma - an old video, only recently released

In 2007 JARO under the able leadership of Mr. Salim Ullah hosted the first international conference on the Rohingyas of Burma (Myanmar) in two cities of Japan, which included Tokyo. Recently, I came across the newly released videos from this conference. I was invited as the chief guest and keynote speaker in this conference. The videos can be seen here , here , here , here , here , here , here and here in piecemeals (8 part series). As you will notice, my concerns about the Rohingya people in a flawed democracy came so true with the latest unleasing of the pogroms against them - this time a collaborative one between the state actors and racist, criminal Rakhine politicians of the Arakan state.

Lies about peace and war!

In his second inaugural speech, President Obama said, “We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law.  We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.  America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.  We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East , because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.” Such claims are simply bizarre! Anyone paying slightest attention to history and facts would find, instead, that the U.S. foreign policy - especially with regard to  Iran  and the wider Middle Eas