Month: May 2005

Who is a hero?

As a continuation of an earlier debate yesterday, I still have the question fresh. Who is a hero? Do we have one? What are the criteria for choosing a hero? How does one distinguish between a leader, a hero, an icon, a legend? Is it possible to make the divisions? Is it desirable? Are heroes needed in the society? If so, why, at all? Do they fill in the same void for folks as religions do in one way (religions enslave feeble people who can’t articulate for themselves, even to distinguish on their own what is contextually correct and what is not)? Or are heroes actually needed so that people have something good to look back to? We have had worst phases of our inhuman legacies, of causing war and depression, of deliberate perpetuations of exploitative saga and firm refusal to replace existing systems. At least we had some heroes also to look back at (you want to talk of Bhagat Singh and Malcolm X…. Netajee Subhas and Patrice Lumumba). Well not anymore. First there …

One afternoon with Don Rojas.

Todd introduced Jared and I to the journalist-activist and a wonderful human being Don Rojas. Leading an extraordinary life with myriad blend of experiences which I shall detail in near future, doth not come easy. But what keeps him still way up there for all of us to emulate is his undying spirit to listen, articulate and educate us at the crossroads. Thank you.

As the Asian Heritage Month passes away

On campus at UMD, we had few events, of course. We even had Vijay Prasad over to give one of the most interesting talks I have heard of. He would agree too that the observation of the Asian Heritage Month was also one of the ways to normalize the potential dissent. Well, one of the pitfalls of the multiculturalism is of course that it makes things appear so subtle that it would then look like cultures were made to live by side of each other by default. Subsequently any war and peace are byproducts of a complicated web of interactions. In essence, the ways of living is clearly left for the people to determine. Culture never belonged to the government anyway. And millions of democracy lovers would want the Government to stay away from controlling culture. So, easy game, baby. Dominant will prevail. For the rest, we shall observe a month for them. Rest 11 months, the tech-slave Asians live within free American society.

Who is afraid of a human rights watcher?

Check this one out. Peter Bouckaert was in hell recently. At least that’s what he said. He was in Nepal. The violence continues between the Maoists and the ruling class military pets, and most people who have better things to do by dying than to take a side in this case, have fallen prey. This is a sure case for Human Rights Watch. And no wonder they have someone now who is world famous activist. With a Canon camera on hand and interviewers around and mainstream press going agog, we got Bouckaert as the celebrity now. Rolling Stone, that inimitable magazine of the music lefties, has this week featured Bouckart’s hell journey. What however is missed from the discussion is that despite the knowledge of active American military support, nothing much is being done to STOP the nonsense. Making a celebrity out of a genuinely interested globe-trotter and writing stories of the Western discoveries of the shocking third world massacres is easier. What is difficult however, is an insightful understanding of the historical reasons behind …

What price tag does silence carry?

“Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” – Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950 Time for folks to organize and act according to the call of conscience, not out of fear or fervor. As we emerge more and more as police states, with police actually solving all the crimes in the country as shown on the Law and Order, the reliance has just grown stronger, and in a frightening way, justifiable. Apart from ceremonious protests of a dozen of students holding placards showing never changing figure of 900 American troop deaths, there is not much of an organized action. Of course the larger events (and girl, they really are many) are often not reported in the press and hence if I write as a blogger about them it will sound incredible. At the same time, if the realization is that the media cause near absence of awareness, why do we take the media for …