RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


Democracy’s Failing Light: Is democracy a hit with humans because it mirrors our myopia? | Arundhati Roy

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3 July 2009

Source: Outlook India

While we’re still arguing about whether there’s life after death, can we add another question to the cart? Is there life after democracy? What sort of life will it be? By democracy I don’t mean democracy as an ideal or an aspiration. I mean the working model: Western liberal democracy, and its variants, such as they are.

So, is there life after democracy?

Attempts to answer this question often turn into a comparison of different systems of governance, and end with a somewhat prickly, combative defence of democracy. It’s flawed, we say. It isn’t perfect, but it’s better than everything else that’s on offer. Inevitably, someone in the room will say: ‘Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia…is that what you would prefer?’

Whether democracy should be the utopia that all ‘developing’ societies aspire to is a separate question altogether. (I think it should. The early, idealistic phase can be quite heady.) The question about life after democracy is addressed to those of us who already live in democracies, or in countries that pretend to be democracies. It isn’t meant to suggest that we lapse into older, discredited models of totalitarian or authoritarian governance. It’s meant to suggest that the system of representative democracy-too much representation, too little democracy-needs some structural adjustment.

The question here, really, is: what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasised into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the Free Market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of Continue reading

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Partitioned Selves, Partitioned Pasts: A Commentary on Ashis Nandy’s “Death of an Empire” | Vinay Lal

india-pakistan-partition-genocide

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Source: Manas

Outside South Asia, the partition of India evokes little recognition. As the British left India, the largest single migration in history took place: well over ten million, and perhaps as many as fifteen million, people crossed borders, and a million or more became the victims of murderous assaults. Both the Governments of India and Pakistan established commissions for the “recovery” of abducted women who numbered in several tens of thousands. Numbing as these figures are, they barely register in world histories: perhaps that indifference to the calamity that afflicted India and Pakistan betokens the view that Continue reading

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THE DEATH OF AN EMPIRE – Ashis Nandy

partition-genocide-india-pakistan1

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Source: Sarai

Independence did not come to South Asia as a single, identifiable event in 1947, though that is way most South Asians like to remember it. The slow, painful process of dismantling British India began with the great Calcutta riots and ended with the genocide in Punjab.

I was Continue reading

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A psychological study of India’s Partition – A sketch of Ashis Nandy’s recent lecture at UC Berkeley

india_partition_genocide1

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Source: Sanhati

A sketch of Ashis Nandy’s recent lecture at UC Berkeley. March 13, 2009

It was not hatred, but a strong undercurrent of humanity, that was the surprising finding of research on the traumatic bloodbath of the Partition, iconoclastic Indian researcher Ashis Nandy told an audience March 3 at the University of California.

Nandy made some unconventional points: Even in the terrible bloodbath that claimed the lives of millions, as many as one in four people among survivors said they were saved by the other community, and their fondest memories were still of Continue reading

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Imperialists look to dominate Somalia – Eugene Puryear

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( Dated Piece – 26 December 2008 )

Source: Party For Socialism and Liberation

Piracy smokescreen used to step up military action

At the behest of the United States, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted Dec. 16 to authorize nations to pursue Somali pirates onto land, an action which had previously been prohibited. The resolution comes at a critical juncture for Somalia, and in the shadow of Washington’s politico-military strategy in the African continent.

The pirates were originally groups of fisherman who, due to the stateless nature of Somalia, turned to piracy to combat illegal fishing vessels from around the world. They soon found their new trade much more lucrative.

The resolution also called for a regional office to coordinate the actions of a number of nations that currently have naval forces deployed in Continue reading

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India: The Doctor Whom The State Fears – Poornima Joshi
In this picture taken in February 2008, Indian health worker and human rights activist Binayak Sen waves as he is taken to a court in a police van in Raipur.  An Indian state government battling a Maoist insurgency said on May 31, 2008 it will press ahead with the trial of a prominent doctor accused of rebel links despite a campaign by Nobel laureates to free him. Binayak Sen, who has been charged under a law criminalising dealings with unlawful organisations, denies accusations that he smuggled out letters from an imprisoned Maoist whom he treated in a central Indian jail.

In this picture taken in February 2008, Indian health worker and human rights activist Binayak Sen waves as he is taken to a court in a police van in Raipur. An Indian state government battling a Maoist insurgency said on May 31, 2008 it will press ahead with the trial of a prominent doctor accused of rebel links despite a campaign by Nobel laureates to free him. Binayak Sen, who has been charged under a law criminalising dealings with unlawful organisations, denies accusations that he smuggled out letters from an imprisoned Maoist whom he treated in a central Indian jail.

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19 January 2008

Source: Mail Today

Over 18 months after his incarceration, doctor and activist Binayak Sen is still languishing in jail without any evidence against him. Here’s why he is feared by the government.

BINAYAK SEN was a doctor and human rights activist who had worked many years among the tribals of Chhattisgarh’s tribal districts. His work among the tribals had made him a hero, a man who did what the government did not. To the government, he was the villain who backed the Maoists. He had to be silenced.

Binayak Sen has been in Raipur prison since May 14, 2007. His incarceration has little do with the official charge that he passed on information from jailed Maoists to their friends outside. It’s quite likely that as a human rights activist and selfless doctor who worked among the tribals, he was seen as a Continue reading

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My Charlie Wilson War – Fatima Bhutto

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8 January 2009

Source: The Daily Beast

Why is the University of Texas naming a chair of Pakistan Studies after the notorious U.S. congressman who helped destabilize that country? Fatima Bhutto—niece of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto—demands an answer.

Pakistan’s new government, the only in the world headed by two former convicts—who have their fingers on the button of a nuclear-armed state, no less—is nothing if not a keen purveyor of irony.

There’s currently an effort underway by the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Texas to raise funds for a chair of Pakistan Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. The chair, a dream of the Pakistani diplomatic community, is to be named after Charlie Wilson. For those who missed the movie, it’s worth noting that of all the people to name a chair of Pakistani Studies after, Charlie Wilson is possibly the stupidest.

Why Pakistan would chose to honor Wilson is beyond everyone, even the Texans.

“Good-Time Charlie,” as Wilson was affectionately known by Afghan warlords and Texan socialites alike, has the dubious reputation of being the godfather of what would later be known as the Taliban in Afghanistan. (He was also buddies with Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza.) In the 1980s, Wilson led Congress into supporting the CIA covert Continue reading

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