Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who needs diplomacy when there's cricket!

So much craziness happening in the world right now. I generally refrain from commenting on big happenings such as Egypt, Libya, Japan like incidents because there is just too much being said already. You can't possibly do justice to such occurrences without being at "Ground Zero", if you will.
However, being in New Delhi and witnessing the madness surrounding the India-Pakistan World Cup Semi Final cricket match is an experience, to say the least. The 'sophisticated' cricket fans try to be politically correct and state that this is after all just a game and that someone has to lose, no matter what. But scratch a little bit beneath the surface and it becomes ample clear that this is SO much bigger than just a game. It is a build up of every political, cultural, social disagreement, event, misunderstanding between the two conflicting countries and this match actually signifies who is the weak one to succumb to pressure.
I am not a cricket lover. I have actually always found the game quiet long, drawn out and boring. But I have totally fallen prey to the hype of this upcoming match and it's really amazing to see myself get dragged in to the 'mob mentality'. People have dropped their important meetings, plans, deadlines just so they could witness this happening live. This is so extreme that the local vegetable seller who comes to our house on his little cycle cart has called off work too! That's when I knew it was serious.
Perhaps we should not downplay the importance of this game. It is indeed wise to acknowledge that this is just a sport and that it can't possibly do justice to decades of conflict between two countries. But this claim is also incorrect. Cricket is the only mainstream sport in India. Let's get real. Yes, there are hundreds of great athletes who indulge in other sports, but as a mass population cricket is the true winner in getting audiences together. So is the case in Pakistan. They are actually much more attached to the game, according to a recent documentary I saw about the country. A non-terrorist civilian (which accounts for 95% of Pakistan, believe it or not!) has not much going for him and he has no voice in government or social issues. His only motive is to survive and take care of his family. For this class of people, which accounts for a huge chunk of the Pakistani population, cricket is most likely their only activity for leisure. Watching, that is. So Pakistan's performance in the sport has high expectations and is the driving force for a lot of people to turn their television sets on.
Because of past unresolved issues between India and Pakistan that are so in our face now, direct confrontation is a no-bogus competition. Maybe they will never get issues such as Kashmir or Taj bombings or terrorist funding or money laundering resolved in a diplomatic manner, but this cricket match will surely determine who is leading, for now.
Go India!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Feelings? No voting for you!

"Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do." That was the catch phrase at a recent tea party group 'meeting'. Apparently the Republicans are really running out of candidates. Their new agenda is to prevent college students from voting by making it difficult to vote in the state of their university, and in some cases not be eligible to vote at all. They fear that since college students vote with their "feelings" and not "real life experience" they tend to vote for the wrong candidate.
Isn't that what democracy is about? What's next? Literacy and standardized tests? I am pretty sure that most ignorant conservatives wouldn't pass those either. But that's besides the point. I am not a liberal. But recent Republican tactics and low blows are just pushing most people like me over the edge. Just because the party is not capable of presenting a candidate that can appeal to people who apply common sense rather than prejudice and preconceived notions, it has to do whatever it can to limit people from voting. Kind of outrageous considering the fact that it is extremely UN-American and all that tea party advocates tend to talk about is "Patriotism".
If these laws pass, it will be another blow to the already deteriorating American democracy. Almost all of the basic liberties have been detoured through some sneaky government policy, but suffrage is the basic requirement for any country qualifying as a democracy!Claiming that feelings are not good enough to vote is very interesting considering Republicans thrive on emotional outbursts about abortion or homosexuality or religion. Very hypocritical and pathetic to see that since the Republicans are incapable of having an intelligent candidate that can appeal to majority Americans, they are trying to strip basic rights from people in order to increase their chances of winning.
Since college students are not good enough to vote, how about millions of
Americans that didn't go to college? Are they going to be stripped off their right to vote as well? Really makes you wonder, how low will the conservatives really go?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Palin's New Target: New Delhi!

Sarah Palin, in all her graciousness, is going to visit the motherland. Yes, she will be in New Delhi delivering a speech titled 'My Vision for America' on March 19. The first thing that comes to mind after hearing that is so what does she really want? It's pretty clear from her 'personality type and intelligence' that she is not coming here out of curiosity or genuine excitement. Just like everything she does or says in the American political scene, all her actions related to media have a particular agenda or play propoganda to something.
Well, this is surely the case this time as well. She wants to prepare herself for the 2012 Presidential Campaign. Is it 2008 again? She is really going to use this 15 minute speech as foreign policy expertise experience on her resume to run for the position of commander in chief. Granted that it's a good move by her strategists to come here considering that India is the world's largest democracy, one of US' biggest allies, and a key nation to contribute to any energy iniatives in tomorrow's world. However, her dozens of gaffs, ignorance in basic foreign policy issues, her anti-abortion agenda in any circumstance, and her countless other 'qualities' that might impress her American supporters are not going to help her here.
India is a third world country. Granted. Indians don't stand up to corrupt leadership. But Indians are not stupid. She cannot get away with unintelligent remarks and blabber on without people noticing. She will be watched closely and openly ridiculed if the speech she delivers (not writes, duh) comes across as any of her appearances on FOX News.
Personally, the fact that she is still on the news channels, on bookshelves, and on this blog is baffling me. She is the epitomy of American ignorance and yet she will be here in New Delhi, the capital of one of the world's most powerful countries, sitting with world leaders and trying not to make a fool out of herself and the Americans she so truly represents.
Choose your words carefully, Ms. Palin. The stage is much bigger and more crowded this time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Look twice, think none!

A US Supreme Court decision on the Westboro Baptish Church demonstrating at American soldiers' funerals was declared as 'okay' under the Freedom of Speech clause in the US Constitution.
So what was the church actually "demonstrating". Their hatred towards homosexuality. The church stems out of Topeka, Kansas (ew) and openly and actively expresses its unacceptance of Americans accepting homosexuality. Signs such as "God Hates Fags" or "Fags Die God Laughs" are brought over to funerals by 'devout' and 'religious' churchgoers at funerals of American soldiers who have served in the Iraq war. Regardless of how ridiculous their demonstrations are, the Supreme Court definitely got this one right. Unfortunate as it is to have such ignorant and obnoxious people in the country who find solace in hating in the name of religion, fortunate it is to live in a country that realizes such incidents as a weakness of the system in order to protect basic human liberties.
Most people in their right frame of mind would only be enraged by such signs and move on without letting it affect their beliefs about gay friends, colleagues, relatives, whatever the case might be.
However, it is amazing that people who claim to associate themselves with being truely religious easily use words such as Hate and Death along with God to give their opinion some weight; mind bloggling to say the least.
It was ironic though, that I read another article about hateful remarks the same day the ruling for this case was shared.
Apparently Mr. John Galliano, Christian Dior's chief designer, could face jail time on his 'Anti-Semitic' rants he made at a bar in Paris. To elaborate, it wasn't just "I hate joos" in Cartman's words. It was more to the effect of Jews deserving to be gassed. Terrible. In France, Anti-Semitic remarks are punishable by up to 6 months in prison. Insane. A whole flock of gay-loathing churchgoers are excused in American court at the same time a fashion designer might be going to jail for his Jew-loathing comments.
Agreed that both incidents are outrageous. But the truly notable thing here is that we are so caught up in what's legal and okay, that the hateful content of the messages carried in both occurrences is not paid attention to. Why question if what's being said and done is accepted by law or not? Isn't it more important to question why are these rants happening in the first place? Should 'whether punishable' be the only discussion point? Such hatred is usually a result of unwarranted prejudice.
I guess the famous proverb of think twice speak once has a newer version: Look twice, think none.