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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Arundhati Roy, War Crimes in Afgahnistan, Ranjit Devraj, M J Akbar,

The year before its second nuclear tests, the world's largest democracy hurled a bomb onto the international stage. At first, people didn't realize it was a bomb. It was tiny, looked harmless and took a while to explode. But explode it did and the world's largest democracy is still reeling. Or perhaps we should say "democracy". Perhaps, in fact, we should say "heavily sponsored, TV-friendly spectator sport". The bomb, of course, was Arundhati Roy, the fragile-looking beauty from Kerala whose whimsical tale of two-egg twins and pickles, literal and metaphorical, bagged the Booker and set the world on fire. For India, this was confirmation that theirs was a land rich in saleable exports: photogenic, charming and home-grown. No hooded eyes or fatwas here; no unseemly flight to London or New York. Here was glamor, here was grace, here was huge-eyed modesty in a sari. This was the face of the new India: sophisticated, educated, funny and -- did we mention this? - drop-dead gorgeous. Interview with Arundhati Roy: 'We Need a Feral Howl'

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) demonstrated in a more than impressive way this week how science and technology can advance the cause of human rights. Using forensic analysis and satellite imagery, they did an excellent job in documenting a war crime -- and the subsequent U.S. supported cover-up -- in Afghanistan, where in the wake of the U.S. led invasion in 2001 hundreds of prisoners of war were killed by a U.S. backed warlord and dumped in a mass grave in Dasht-e-Leili. Check out this must see video: War Crimes in Afghanistan, Or: What You Don't Learn in Science Class

Will the destructive center kill health care reform? It looks all too possible.
What’s especially galling is the hypocrisy of their claimed reason for delaying progress — concern about the fiscal burden. After all, in the past most of them have shown no concern at all for the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook. Case in point: the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which denied Medicare the right to bargain for lower drug prices, locked in overpayments to private insurance companies, and did nothing, nothing at all, to pay for its proposed outlays. How many of these six self-proclaimed defenders of solvency voted no on the crucial procedural vote? One. (Joe Lieberman, to my surprise.) The six deadly hypocrites

A Fresh Approach to PeaceBy Ranjit DevrajNEW DELHI, Jul 17 (IPS) - If the leaders of India and Pakistan were looking for out-of-the-box solutions to their long-standing dispute over Kashmir and the related issue of cross-border terrorism, they could hardly have done better than the joint statement they released this week after their meeting at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. INDIA/PAKISTAN: A Fresh Approach to PeaceBy Ranjit Devraj

One sentence in the joint declaration issued by Dr Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani is going to hover over the future relationship: “Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these should not be bracketed.” You do not need a dictionary to decipher its meaning. This absolves present and future governments of Pakistan from any guilt in cross-border terrorism, a scourge India has to face for decades. It is a commitment that governments should continue the process of dialogue no matter how much havoc a terrorist group from Pakistan creates in India. If this principle had been in operation last year, India and Pakistan could have continued their Composite Dialogue in December after the savage Mumbai terrorism in November. Curiously, the joint statement includes a reference to Balochistan, lending implicit credence to Pakistan’s accusation that India is behind its troubles in Balochistan. If this were not the case, why mention Balochistan in an India-Pakistan statement? We did not make any effort to include the Naxalite violence in the statement, did we?India may have gone to Sharm-el-Sheikh as the victim of terrorism, and returned as the accused. M J Akbar A statement out of joint


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