Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Hindus and Muslims: The reality!

When the words sound similar
and expressions are familiar
When our food is the same
and we love the identical game
When the air is very akin
and so is the color of our skin
When people always live side by side
and our laughter is so allied
When we share the same fears
and there is no difference in our tears
When our culture is cognate
and celebrations get too ornate
When we are taught the same books
and possess indistinguishable looks
When the hearts beat in unison
and the lips move without reason
It gets difficult for a while
when Shahrukh and Amitab smile
to tell their cognomen
Hey blokes...Love thy countrymen!


An unjust America

The US defies UN and a collective will of an entire world to attack a sovereign nation

Little over a month ago, multitudes of people in their assorted hues poured out on the streets and alleys across the continents. With a hope in the hearts and a message on every lip... 'Peace'. Perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind such a large number of ordinary people marched for a single cause, cutting across ethnicity, faith and age. London, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, Islamabad, New Delhi and Sydney experienced one time zone for a change. A single song, a tender cry. It was humanity at its best and myriad strange voices converged to say... 'No war on Iraq'. Only to be rudely overruled!

At the crack of dawn on March the 20 as another fabulous day was beginning to ascend in the historical alleys of Baghdad, the angels of dark came descending. America attacked Iraq amidst a flurry of protests, requests and anticipations. In doing so the US bypassed the Security Council. It derided all international laws and norms as it pounced upon a sovereign nation. The US overruled the world public opinion, given the millions upon millions who marched against the war in Europe, Asia and much of America. It trespassed the UN weapons' inspectors' findings that clearly mentioned Iraqi compliance and absolutely no trace of WMD's. Hans Blix and Mohammad al baradae, thanks a heap sirs, for your efforts, now it's over to Tommy Franks and Ari Fliesher. Last but not least while Prez Bush signaled a go ahead to his armada, he gave the UN a quiet burial.

Moments later George W. Bush appeared on the TV to read his prepared speech (shown having make-up applied onto him in a BBC goof-up). The somber-sounding Bush flunked to do just one thing. Convince!Convince, why a war is so necessary! The techno-savvy men in their pleat less at the white-house suits might say a thousand things in defense but a hasty and unnecessary conflict in which innocents get killed is simply deplorable. The UK and US may also brag from the designed studios that 'surgical precision' is call of the day but we are already witnessing mounting civilian causalities. Bombs hitting Baghdad squares. Ironically the first causality of war is truth. Rebuffs and denials have already started swirling. The allied troops (read The UK and US only) have since pummeled the landscape of Iraq with Uranium dipped missiles and laser guided bombs. In a split second the booms scare the daylight out of the living. Only God knows what it feels like to be living close to the grotesque fireworks. The horrors of this war make your sobs catch in the throat.

One would laugh, had war not being pathetic, at this banality. America need not tell us, who will win this lopsided war. A war between B-52s and fusty bunkers needs no smart guesses. The Americans are destined to win and the Iraqi regime is doomed to fail. Isn't it really awful that because of an illusionary threat the US invades an independent country showing scantiest respect for the wishes and sentiments of its inhabitants? The US flouts all the mores and antagonizes an entire world. A classical case of pre­emptive doctrine. Of domination, of dictating the flawed arithmetic's to a bedazzled, hapless people impoverished by years of US sanctions.

America asserts that it will do the haggard Iraqis and the world at large a great piece of favor by ridding it of a cruel dictator, who kills his own people. In 1988, the Americans accuse, Saddam razed hundreds of villages in northern Iraq and used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Kurds. The next year US govt showered him with 1 billion dollars of aid in addition to high quality germ seed for anthrax as well as helicopters. So we see, while the 'Butcher' of Baghdad was busy at making salami of his opponents, the 'Beasts' in London and Washington were quietly honing his knives. Why does he get bad only now? He has been like this all his life. What made the US support him when he murdered his adversaries and democracy alike? What on God's green earth makes Turkey, which is no less dreaded than Iraq a US ally. Turkish military has killed Kurds for years and has such appalling human rights records. How about Ariel Sharon, a war- criminal with his blood stained boots still on. This is precisely the reason why the American intentions are always suspect.

The American administration has termed it a short, swift and successful operation. I work up a tiny smile to learn that they intend to capture Saddam and make him stand trail at the International court of Justice. For those who came in late, it is worthwhile to note that the Americans have not been signatories to the convention of setting up the august court and don't accept its jurisdiction. It miserably is the only country in the world for being criticized by the International court of Justice for carrying out terrorism in Nicaragua. The US response will be something like 'What's ours is ours and what's yours is negotiable'. If anything is irrational, it is exactly this attitude of the world's supreme power! 'Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac', the noble laureate former secretary of state Henry Kissinger one remarked. America is, plainly put, misusing its power apparatus and has no qualms in doing so.

Euphemisms have never helped a cause. Horrible bombs that pull oxygen out of the air can be ' smart bombs' and shameless killings 'Decapitating'. Stray rockets that land in schools and residential apartments can well be passed as a 'collateral damage' but history will use no covering words to call Bush a Methodist 'War monger'. He will go down in history texts as a man who killed innocent children and women and had the gall to declare that he acted in God's good name. US waged this war with a brew of designs on its mind and an altogether different bunch of bytes for an all-obliging media. But for a handful of intrepid Arab channels, the CNNs and BBCs of the world would make us believe the unbelievable. For once it remains known that the Americans won't get the throne of Baghdad on a platter. We know it now that it is Ee­rack and not Ee-rack as the central command briefings call it!

It is basically about the American supremacy...of letting the whole world know that they alone are the sole superpowers and hence the conscience bearers of humanity. They will have their presence felt in the volatile middle-east, further aroused passions and sowing seeds of discontent of what would be Bin laden's God sent human cannon-fodder. From the dunes of Iraq it could be a couple of quick regime-changes in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Libya, Sudan, North Korea perhaps. More American military presence around the globe. A few thousand more deaths and those 'whimpish' protesters again. Hail a fawning Blair and denounce a prudent Chirac. This is a new order world, remember!

Blood is renewable for the Americans, oil is not. It needs oil to keep its numerous machines sweetly purring and its capitalistic bandwagon going. Iraq has the black gold in galore. In rills and wells. Such a tempting prospect is too good for the Americans to resist. They have been ogling it for a while now and know it for a fact that if they control the world's oil, they will in effect control the world market. Contrary to what the gentlemen at the pentagon say... Oil is paramount, if not the single most important reason for this war. Iraq will provide the US the geographic area for its global dominance. A launch pad to future adventures and a close control over a treasure trove of energy. Surely the Exxon's and Carlyle's must be grinning.

An interesting factor is Bush's re-run for presidency. A couple of immoral triumphs marinated with Bush's ratcheted up rhetoric might just allow him to stay on in the white house and continue with his coterie of advisors who have all thrived on wars that America has waged from time to time. It is the same hawks... Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney and company with their fabled hatred for peace. All this while the US of A preens to call itself the 'most peaceful nation on earth'. In Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Columbia, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia and Cambodia to name a few... the US has interfered militarily or otherwise. Yet they are harmonious. Actually they claim to be a lot more. In the mean time Messers Halliburton, Schlumberger and the Bechtel group line up for their piece of cake in a post war reconstruction of Iraq. This is happening in the thick of action when American conscripts and service men die in a forced war.

Of course the people don't want war. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That's easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. Hermann Goering, Adolf Hitler's Deputy and Luftwaffe commander spoke these timeless words at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. They ring true to this day.

America may win what they call a 'just' war.

Benjamin Franklin must turn in his grave. 'Never has there been a good war or a bad peace', the great American once blessed.

Samir Bhat