Showing posts from February, 2007

the redirection seymour hersh

Brilliant article by Seymour Hersh, on all the different motivations and interest groups rocking the middle east. The last section of the article is not complete.

The New Yorker, Mar. 5, 2007

The Redirection

Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?



In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The "redirection," as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated wi…


I saw a powerful movie about the trauma of mass rape conducted by Serbs in Bosnia, in the 1990's. The movie titled Grbavica, deals with Sarajevo residents Esma (Mirjana Karanovic) who is struggling to raise her 12 year old daughter, Sara (Luna Mijovic). There are not too many jobs that Esma can find, so she ends up at a loud bar, where her she keeps feeling like she is revisiting her rapists. She does not have much support, other than from one friend who helps her babysit her daughter. She goes to a group support meeting, mainly to collect money that has been given out by the state, to women who attend the support group meeting.
Sara was told by her mother, that her father is a Shaheed, who was killed by Serbs, while he defended Bosnia. Sara also puts up with the taunting of her classmates when she and her mother are too poor to pay for a special school trip.
The movie moves with the pace and emotions of Esma and Sara, and shows how the effects of rape, violence and trauma eff…

India's missing girls

The Guardian has a shocking story about female foeticide in India, the largest population doing these abortions are university educated. Also the ultra sound machines were being provided by G.E., an American company, followed by Korean and now Chinese companies are supplying the growing demand.

The demographic consequences of mass female foeticide are most pronounced in the most developed parts of India. In Delhi, one of the richest cities in India, there are just 827 girls per 1,000 boys being born. Not far away, in the wealthy farming belt of Kurukshetra, there are only 770.

At the heart of the matter lies the most sacred institution in Indian life: marriage. New money has raised the price of wedlock, a ritual still governed by the past. Not only do most Indians believe in arranged marriage, in which dowry payments are made; there is also a widespread acceptance of the inequality between bride-givers and bride-takers.

The bride's side, according to convention, is supposed to give b…

Why Working Women Are Stuck in the 1950s

Alternet has an interesting story by Ruth Rosen about the realities of working women who try to balance children, caring for their parents and communities, with no support of the state.

The media constantly reinforce the conventional wisdom that the care crisis is an individual problem. Books, magazines and newspapers offer American women an endless stream of advice about how to maintain their "balancing act," how to be better organized and more efficient or how to meditate, exercise and pamper themselves to relieve their mounting stress. Missing is the very pragmatic proposal that American society needs new policies that will restructure the workplace and reorganize family life.

Another slew of stories insist that there simply is no problem: Women have gained equality and passed into a postfeminist era. Such claims are hardly new. Ever since 1970 the mainstream media have been pronouncing the death of feminism and reporting that working women have returned home to care for th…

The secret violence that challenges Britain’s Asians

Sunny Hundal writes on domestic violence within the British Asian community, and how it is compounded when a South Asian bride is brought over from the subcontinent.

Last week a young bride was living in fear of her life after managing to escape from a violent husband and his family in Manchester. She had suffered six months of domestic violence and verbal abuse. She said that “family honour” made it difficult for women in similar circumstances to admit to domestic problems and feared that her escape would bring shame on her own family.
“This is happening to many other Asian girls — our lives are being destroyed. Something needs to be done,” she told the Manchester Evening News.
It is indeed happening to many other Asians girls around the country. Today I will present a documentary for the BBC Asian Network radio station highlighting domestic violence against women. It focuses on brides who have come over from South Asia and their particularly difficult position.
In 2005 the Governmen…

Singur and Nandigram

Tehelka reports from Singur and Nandigram, on how the development debate is unfolding in Bengal.

Events in Bengal suggest that one cannot road-roll an economic boom in India. It is idle to get trapped into simple factory vs farm, industry vs agriculture debates. Economic ideas in this country have to be more agile than that. At the height of the Singur and Nandigram unrest, an editorial in The Telegraph said, “History does not offer the option of first obtaining consent then proceeding with industrialisation. Industrialisation must take place, therefore land must be obtained. How it is obtained — with consent or otherwise, is a subject of political management.”

It is this kind of hard position that events in Bengal belie. “Development with a human face” cannot be an empty promise in India. Human faces have an uncomfortable way of asserting themselves. Two weeks after Nandigram erupted, around 150 activist groups from far flung corners of India gathered at Gandhi’s ashram in Sevagram, n…

Maya Masi, Dominic Uncle, Nina and Seby


Geeta Bhua& Miso


Nayan Phupha & Miso


Ateesh Mamu & Miso


Katie & Miso


Sujata Masi & Miso


Katie & Miso


Emmy & Miso


Mamu & Miso


Ma & Miso


Papa & Miso


Nani & Miso


ABC Carpet and Home- Retail Therapy

ABC Carpet and Home, is having a promotional event, titled Gateway to India.

Amrita critiques it here.
On Saturday, I went to ABC Home on 19th and B'way, to check out their India promotion, and ended up taking a wrong turn into what they are calling their marigold theater for the duration of the promotion(..."our platform for arts, wisdom and healing" according to the brochure). It's a sale room hung with mostly Benarasi saris at one end to form a stage, and partially peopled with random wood or alabaster murtis, mostly of Krishna and Ganesh, and strewn about with flea market chairs and variously sized cushions all upholstered in more Benarasi silks. The cushions were for the audience, who had to take off their shoes at the entrance, as if entering a temple, but actually to keep the cushions clean. One had already been offered Deepak Chopra teas, unsalted cashews and dried fruit near the entrance and told to consume them before entering the marigold theater. Retail pe…

The Day My Skin Came Of

A powerful piece of writting by Sonny Suchdev, he is angered by black kids attacking other kids of color, like himself. I saw this piece in Sepia Mutiny and was written by Amardeep.
Sonny Suchdev, an activist and member of Outernational, a progressive 5-member band, writes about the time he crumpled to pieces in a New York subway after having his turban ripped off his head by a stranger.

When I was in the fifth grade, a classmate yanked off my dastar, my turban, on the playground one day, perhaps because it seemed funny to him. I will never forget how I felt walking around school the rest of the day with the black cloth of my dastar hanging off my joora, a Punjabi word for bun, because I didn’t know how to put it back on. Humiliated. Enraged. So so alone.

Now seventeen years later it’s the same shit.

I’m riding the F train like usual in Brooklyn when dozens of kids – perhaps in junior high – get in my subway car on their way home from school. The train is bustling with adolescent energy.


Which Babies Are Real Americans?

Alternet has an interesting article on how to define an American baby. Is a baby born to an illegal immigrant "not" American? Anti-immigration hysteria and anti-choice propaganda come together in a neat and terrifying package.

Yuki Lin , born on the stroke of midnight this New Year’s, became the winner of a random drawing for a national Toys “R” Us sweepstakes. The company had promised a $25,000 U.S. savings bond to the “first American baby born in 2007.” However, Yuki lost her prize after the company learned that her mother was an undocumented U.S. resident. Instead, the bond went to a baby in Gainesville, Georgia, described by her mother as “an American all the way.”

Alaa Al Aswany

The Hindu literary review has an interesting interview with Alaa Al Aswany, an Egyptian novelist. A dentist by profession, he has written, Imarat Ya'qubiyyan (The Yacoubian Building) which has been the highest selling Arabic novel since its publication in 2002. The screen adaptation of The Yacoubian Building became the most expensive Arabic film ever produced and was released in 2006.

In fiction we create characters based on real life people we see; only they become more significant, deeper and more beautiful. From the whole spectrum of the human experience I try to create a work that reflects the many-layered nature of reality. When people read a novel and mirror their lives through the characters they meet in the book, they realise that a certain situation can have many versions of the truth. They become more understanding and less judging, as we are all largely the result of our situations. And that is the beauty of dwelling on the secrets of the heart while writing.

Motherhood as a retail trend...

Interesting article by Janina Stajic on the realities of Motherhood.

Pick a major American city, wander down one of its trendy shopping streets, and on any given block you will likely see a plethora of stores devoted to all things maternal. Most obvious are stores selling pregnancy clothes, with larger than life posters of gorgeous, very pregnant women in styles any self-respecting, non-pregnant New York fashionista would be scrambling to wear.

Next to them are the baby supply boutiques with everything you could possibly want to accessorize your new role as mother (and the life of your newborn). Strollers big enough to be in the SUV section at your local car dealership -- with prices to match -- are parked next to cribs fit for a princess. Mixed in for good measure are the educational toy stores, the cloth diapering stores, the organic cotton baby clothing stores, and the baby beauty product stores. All proof that motherhood has become a trend.

Now, often trends, particularly fashion tr…


On the arrival of a new life in my life, I feel a sense of death approaching, am not sure why. My uncle has been very sick, I just heard my grandmother fainted and has suffered injuries from her fall. I guess the new arrival brings change, joy at her arrival, coupled with an immense sadness at what’s happening around me. A sense of destruction, of Kali cutting through darkness, and the search through that, obfuscation of the light. Of relationships shattered, of bonds broken of anger run rampant. Of insecurities brimming to the surface, of past securities disappearing. A sense of responsibility looming, to love and support a new life. She comes with her own Karma but it is my responsibility to support her and give her everything that I can for her to follow her own pre ordained path in life. At the same time prepare for the passing of an older generation that has given me, us so much love, wisdom and joy by there luminous presences.

The terrible bomb blasts aboard the Samjhauta Express

change in civics text books by NCERT in India

Anjali Puri has an interesting article on the 12th grade Civics text books published by N.C.E.R.T.

I remember studying it and getting extremely bored with its perspective and lack of opinion on any matter, in its attempt to sound neutral and objective. But things seem to have changed for the better. This welcome change is quite a departure from Murli Manohar Joshi’s attempt to change the history text books to provide a more positive Hindu slant to Indian history.

What are the following doing in a school textbook? 1) A picture of blank editorial space to protest the censorship of newspapers; 2) extracts from the Shah Commission's report on the Turkman Gate atrocities and the custodial death of a student called Rajan; and 3) a statement that the centralisation of powers within the Congress party made it impossible to check the slide into authoritarianism during the Emergency. Find out by reading the new Class 12 textbook on Indian politics since Independence.

What do Ayesha, a bright B…

my little darlin


Amitav Ghosh relocating to India

Times Of India has an interesting article on Amitav Ghosh winning the Padma Shri, along with Khushwant Singh and Ravi Dayal.

Ghosh's life too is at an ephiphanous point. After being a Bengali in Brooklyn for many years, like Piyali, he's now leaving the US to return home, to shuttle between familial Kolkata and his new Goa residence. The Padma Shri, he feels, couldn't have come at a better time.


The way to happiness:
Keep your heart free from hate, your mind free from worry.
Live simply, expect little, give much.
Scatter sunshine.
Forget self, think of others.
Try this for a week
and you will be surprised.

~ Norman Vincent Peale

Fair and Lovely

Salon has an article by Andrew Leonard about fair and lovely cream and it's use among poor Indian women.

Race, poverty and skin-whitener
You've got to wonder what the atmosphere is like when Aneel Karnani and C.K. Prahalad rub shoulders in the hallways at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. The two professors have similar backgrounds: They both graduated from campuses of the Indian Institute of Management (Karnani from Calcutta, Prahalad from Ahmedabad); they both have Ph.D.s from Harvard dating back to the 1970s; and they both are very interested in the economic lives of the poor.

But that's also where they differ, and in the world of academe, the rhetoric is getting a bit pointed.

C.K. Prahalad is famous in development circles as an evangelist for a concept known as the "bottom of the pyramid." The "BoP" represents the billions of poor people living on the planet whose buying power is, says Prahalad, a terrific, and stunningly unde…