A special song...

20 December 2007 |

Walking in Memphis

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy -- won't you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel




Saw the ghost of Elvis
On Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through
Now security they did not see him
They just hovered 'round his tomb
But there's a pretty little thing
Waiting for the King
Down in the Jungle Room

(Chorus)

They've got catfish on the table
They've got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven't got a prayer
But boy you've got a prayer in Memphis

Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would --
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
And she said --
"Tell me are you a Christian child?"
And I said "Ma'am I am tonight"

(Chorus)

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain

STREETS OF LIFE

08 October 2007 |

I have been through these streets before
The streets of misery, pain and woe
It is Fate, says my brother Joe
Controlled by the Gods we know
Gods have been gone for long
Leaving us with the right and wrong
Some of us play the God's role
Life on earth they try to control
To stop the rain and make it shine
To control your very life and mine
Justice is the right of the might
Holds true every day and night
A child abandoned, woman raped
They are weak and that's their fate
Fate, destiny or what so ever
The women always deserve better
A daughter, a sister, a mother
How anyone sane could hurt her?
Why do we fail to react and respond?
When a crime goes unpunished…
Morality, Ethics and Principles
Vanished with all the Values
This street is much too familiar
There is the woman at the corner
Waiting for the rich customer
We made a whore out of a daughter
When born, she was a daughter
Life has been too cruel to her
She sells, to feed her daughter
Though a whore, she is a mother
The shameless man tries to buy
A night of pleasure and paradise
But this world calls her the sinner
As he goes unsatisfied, to another
Ah, I have been here before
Seen the man go home on all four
Losing every step of his life
As he beats up his poor wife
The kids smoke and do dope
Burn their lives out of hope
A young man loses his life
He was stabbed from behind
Why do we let this go on?
Why do we fail to respond?
We always blame the fate
And Gods we do create
To be used from time to time
To justify every little crime
Poets, the men and women of words
Who say a great deal with their verse
There is so much more to this life
Than keeping the meter and the rhyme
People, good or bad, speak in words
It is mere words that change the world
Krishna, Jesus and Buddha
Gandhi, Lincoln and Mandela
Martin Luther King had a dream
Their words are always free
Good people with good words
They dreamed of a better world
We fail them every day and night
As we stay mute to every crime
As an impotent world goes gay
Or queer is the way to stay
Dogmas and ideologies explain
Why this life goes in vain
We fail to act when we should
Blame the fate whenever we could
A world that has lost its shame
As I walk through this street again.

You Are Always Loved

|

I am filled with sorrow so profound
That no tears could ever release it
Li'll one, all I can give you is my emotions
My tears, trust, friendship and love
I do feel guilty, for I am a man
And this world is run by brute strength
Baby, I am tainted by that ghastly act
Guilty I am, ‘cause I failed to save
This world and you from being raped
The price we pay for chasing success
As we forget what fulfillment is all about
I know you never asked to be raped
You think that you lost what you held so dear
Baby, forgive this world, for Jesus did
The pain I feel in my soul and in every bone
And no words can ever explain the shame
My dear friend, you are the victim of a culture
That has no roots and hence cultureless
In a world where chicken is just dead meat
And never a living thing that died for us to eat
Where freedom is an expression of the might
Those three monsters were free to rape
And Gods stood paralysed, mute and helpless
'Women' to many are a 'holesome' pleasure
Not a living thing that too deserves respect
Sex, violence and evangelist shows on the screen
Mere extensions of the devilish material greed
Dinner and hard work is prose, dreams are poetry
Baby this cruel world did kill your dreams
Your poetry that touched each one of us
My sweet Angie, you are one of us
And will always be, loved

Homeward Bound

|

Home is where my love is
Tired legs will take me home
My shadow grows ever long
As the sun goes slowly down
Night falls and I lose my shadow
I realize that I am all alone
The light of love is in my soul
It keeps me warm and guides me home
Can't even touch my own destiny
Destiny, is too far away from me
Civilization, culture and governments
Faith, free market and establishment
First world and the third world
We all live and die in a forlorn world
Spirituality in the "land of the free"
Is a pathetic apology for material greed
Guns and cancer-sticks at the school
Vengeance and Salvation through religion
I spare a thought for the fallen leaves
That crumbles underneath my feet
I have to walk through the mine fields
And swim across the bloody rivers
My tired legs will take me home
For there waits my true love

THE WALLS

|

We live and die
Behind walls
Big and small
Low and high
Weak and strong
Short and long.

Border
Boundary
Country
Family
Company
Religion
Culture
Race
Ours and yours
I
You
Us
Them
A wall in between

Mistrust
Suspicion
Treason
Envy
Deceit
Hatred
Behind the wall

Walls divide
Makes us blind
Makes us kill

Love and Respect
Honor and Trust
Always trapped
Behind the wall

What is mine?
What is yours?
It is life
Mine and yours
We the Living

One World
Mother Nature
To hold on to
No Wall
No War
No Killing
People Living
No Nukes
No Guns
No defence deals
No Mines
Everything fine
No Famine
No Profit
No Loss
No Rich
No Poor
Just Happiness all around
Pure Bliss
Freedom
Liberty
Mobility
Equality
Free to live
Free from Walls
We know it all
The Berlin Wall
Symbol of the Cold War
With its Fall
We all smiled
Still there are
Too many Walls
Seen and Unseen
Invisible in our hearts

Time and Tide
Waits for None
Why do we wait…
For it to be done
History of Agony
Present not an Ideal Gift
Future in Our Hands
Gods are helpless
They can help
Only those who help
Themselves
What the Fuck!
Go get your Axe
Every piece of Iron
On paper, put your Pen
Your best Weapon
Break the Walls
Break 'em Down
Let our Kids
Inherit an Earth
Free of Walls
Free to Walk
Borderless World

Voice of the Soul

|

I saw them burning, homes and dreams
No one heard the Balkan's scream.
Kosovo burned, Belgrade bombed,
They made a mock of the Balkan soul.

They gave a damn to the human soul,
They wanted their own faith to win.
Their faith of God, made them kill,
In the name of God, the world still burns.

There is no God or any Devil,
It is the 'holy word,' that kills.
There is no hell or heaven,
If you reckon, eight follows seven.

They still sell you an American dream,
A world where you are always free.
Free to sell and free to buy,
A dream, only the rich can buy.

The human soul is never free,
When money and power is all you seek.
A price for love, a price for life,
You fail to hear the human's cry.

The topless blonde on the billboard smiles
That's "Human Liberty", American style.
Kids are free to carry guns to school,
They kill each other, and say "it’s cool".

They always fight, black or white,
I see them die, I see them cry.
No one cares to see the 'wicked smile',
Of the ones who won the TV rights.

They make you cry for the Kennedy boy,
He was a fool to fly that night.
It is news when the rich man dies,
No one cares when the poor man dies.

World is mad about the 'American dream',
Blood and Money on your TV screens.
Where sex and guns is all you dream,
Where hope and love is never free.

Tanya and I share a happy dream,
Of a world, where we all are free.
Free from hatred and free to live,
To take less than what we Give.


Scandal In The Palace

27 September 2007 |

By Arundhati Roy

25 September, 2007
Outlook India


Scandals can be fun. Especially those that knock preachers from their pulpits and flick halos off saintly heads. But some scandals can be corrosive and more damaging for the scandalised than the scandalee. Right now we're in the midst of one such.

At its epicentre is Y.K. Sabharwal, former Chief Justice of India, who until recently headed the most powerful institution in this country—the Supreme Court. When there's a scandal about a former chief justice and his tenure in office, it's a little difficult to surgically excise the man and spare the institution.

But then commenting adversely on the institution can lead you straight to a prison cell as some of us have learned to our cost. It's like having to take the wolf and the chicken and the sack of grain across the river, one by one. The river's high and the boat's leaking. Wish me luck.


The higher judiciary, the Supreme Court in particular, doesn't just uphold the law, it micromanages our lives. Its judgements range through matters great and small. It decides what's good for the environment and what isn't, whether dams should be built, rivers linked, mountains moved, forests felled. It decides what our cities should look like and who has the right to live in them. It decides whether slums should be cleared, streets widened, shops sealed, whether strikes should be allowed, industries should be shut down, relocated or privatised. It decides what goes into school textbooks, what sort of fuel should be used in public transport and schedules of fines for traffic offences.


It decides what colour the lights on judges' cars should be (red) and whether they should blink or not (they should). It has become the premier arbiter of public policy in this country that likes to market itself as the World's Largest Democracy.

Ironically, judicial activism first rode in on a tide of popular discontent with politicians and their venal ways. Around 1980, the courts opened their doors to ordinary citizens and people's movements seeking justice for underprivileged and marginalised people. This was the beginning of the era of Public Interest Litigation, a brief window of hope and real expectation. While Public Interest Litigation gave people access to courts, it also did the opposite. It gave courts access to people and to issues that had been outside the judiciary's sphere of influence so far. So it could be argued that it was Public Interest Litigation that made the courts as powerful as they are. Over the last 15 years or so, through a series of significant judgements, the judiciary has dramatically enhanced the scope of its own authority.

Today, as neo-liberalism sinks its teeth deeper into our lives and imagination, as millions of people are being pauperised and dispossessed in order to keep India's Tryst with Destiny (the unHindu 10% rate of growth), the State has to resort to elaborate methods to contain growing unrest. One of its techniques is to invoke what the middle and upper classes fondly call the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law is a precept that is distinct and can often be far removed from the principle of justice. The Rule of Law is a phrase that derives its meaning from the context in which it operates. It depends on what the laws are and who they're designed to protect. For instance, from the early '90s, we have seen the systematic dismantling of laws that protect workers' rights and the fundamental rights of ordinary people (the right to shelter/health/education/water).

International financial institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB demand these not just as a precondition, but as a condition, set down in black and white, before they agree to sanction loans. (The polite term for it is structural adjustment. ) What does the Rule of Law mean in a situation like this? Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, puts it beautifully: "The Rule of Law does not do away with unequal distribution of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such indirect and complicated ways as to leave the victim bewildered."

As it becomes more and more complicated for elected governments to be seen to be making unpopular decisions (decisions, for example, that displace millions of people from their villages, from their cities, from their jobs), it has increasingly fallen to the courts to make these decisions, to uphold the Rule of Law.

The expansion of judicial powers has not been accompanied by an increase in its accountability. Far from it. The judiciary has managed to foil every attempt to put in place any system of checks and balances that other institutions in democracies are usually bound by.

It has opposed the suggestion by the Committee for Judicial Accountability that an independent disciplinary body be created to look into matters of judicial misconduct. It has decreed that an FIR cannot be registered against a sitting judge without the consent of the chief justice (which has never ever been given). It has so far successfully insulated itself against the Right to Information Act. The most effective weapon in its arsenal is, of course, the Contempt of Court Act which makes it a criminal offence to do or say anything that "scandalises" or "lowers the authority" of the court. Though the act is framed in arcane language more suited to medieval ideas of feminine modesty, it actually arms the judiciary with formidable, arbitrary powers to silence its critics and to imprison anyone who asks uncomfortable questions.

Small wonder then that the media pulls up short when it comes to reporting issues of judicial corruption and uncovering the scandals that must rock through our courtrooms on a daily basis. There are not many journalists who are willing to risk a long criminal trial and a prison sentence.

Until recently, under the Law of Contempt, even truth was not considered a valid defence. So suppose, for instance, we had prima facie evidence that a judge has assaulted or raped someone, or accepted a bribe in return for a favourable judgement, it would be a criminal offence to make the evidence public because that would "scandalise or tend to scandalise" or "lower or tend to lower" the authority of the court.

Yes, things have changed, but only a little. Last year, Parliament amended the Contempt of Court Act so that truth becomes a valid defence in a contempt of court charge. But in most cases (such as in the case of the Sabharwal...er... shall we say "affair") in order to prove something it would have to be investigated. But obviously when you ask for an investigation you have to state your case, and when you state your case you will be imputing dishonourable motives to a judge for which you can be convicted for contempt. So: Nothing can be proved unless it is investigated and nothing can be investigated unless it has been proved.

The only practical option that's on offer is for us to think Pure Thoughts.

For example:

a. Judges in India are divine beings.

b. Decency, wholesomeness, morality, transparency and integrity are encrypted in their DNA.

c. This is proved by the fact that no judge in the history of our Republic has ever been impeached or disciplined in any way.


d. Jai Judiciary, Jai Hind.


It all becomes a bit puzzling when ex-chief justices like Justice S.P. Bharucha go about making public statements about widespread corruption in the judiciary. Perhaps we should wear ear plugs on these occasions or chant a mantra.

It may hurt our pride and curb our free spirits to admit it, but the fact is that we live in a sort of judicial dictatorship. And now there's a scandal in the Palace.

Last year (2006) was a hard year for people in Delhi. The Supreme Court passed a series of orders that changed the face of the city, a city that has over the years expanded organically, extra-legally, haphazardly. A division bench headed by Y.K. Sabharwal, chief justice at the time, ordered the sealing of thousands of shops, houses and commercial complexes that housed what the court called 'illegal' businesses that had been functioning, in some cases for decades, out of residential areas in violation of the old master plan.


It's true that, according to the designated land-use in the old master plan, these businesses were non-conforming. But the municipal authorities in charge of implementing the plan had developed only about a quarter of the commercial areas they were supposed to. So they looked away while people made their own arrangements (and put their lives' savings into them.) Then suddenly Delhi became the capital city of the new emerging Superpower. It had to be dressed up to look the part. The easiest way was to invoke the Rule of Law.

The sealing affected the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. The city burned. There were protests, there was rioting. The Rapid Action Force was called in. Dismayed by the seething rage and despair of the people, the Delhi government beseeched the court to reconsider its decision. It submitted a new 2021 Master Plan which allowed mixed land-use and commercial activity in several areas that had until now been designated 'residential'. Justice Sabharwal remained unmoved. The bench he headed ordered the sealing to continue.

Around the same time, another bench of the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of Nangla Macchi and other jhuggi colonies, which left hundreds of thousands homeless, living on top of the debris of their broken homes, in the scorching summer sun. Yet another bench ordered the removal of all "unlicensed" vendors from the city's streets. Even as Delhi was being purged of its poor, a new kind of city was springing up around us. A glittering city of air-conditioned corporate malls and multiplexes where MNCs showcased their newest products. The better-off amongst those whose shops and offices had been sealed queued up for space in these malls. Prices shot up. The mall business boomed, it was the newest game in town. Some of these malls, mini-cities in themselves, were also illegal constructions and did not have the requisite permissions.

But here the Supreme Court viewed their misdemeanours through a different lens. The Rule of Law winked and went off for a tea break. In its judgement on the writ petition against the Vasant Kunj Mall dated October 17, 2006 (in which it allowed the construction of the mall to go right ahead), Justices Arijit Pasayat and S.H. Kapadia said:

"Had such parties inkling of an idea that such clearances were not obtained by DDA, they would not have invested such huge sums of money.

The stand that wherever constructions have been made unauthorisedly demolition is the only option cannot apply to the present cases, more particularly, when they unlike, where some private individuals or private limited companies or firms being allotted to have made contraventions, are corporate bodies and institutions and the question of their having indulged in any malpractices in getting the approval or sanction does not arise."
It's a bit complicated, I know.

This was exactly when his sons went into partnership with two mall developers. Sealing helped malls; Sons & Co raked in the bucks.

A friend and I sat down and translated it into ordinary English. Basically,

a. Even though in this present case the construction may be unauthorised and may not have the proper clearances, huge amounts of money have been invested and demolition is not the only option.

b. Unlike private individuals or private limited companies who have been allotted land and may have flouted the law, these allottees are corporate bodies and institutions and there is no question of their having indulged in any malpractice in order to get sanctions or approval.

The question of corporate bodies having indulged in malpractice in getting approval or sanction does not arise. So says the Indian Supreme Court. What should we say to those shrill hysterical people protesting out there on the streets, accusing the court of being an outpost of the New Corporate Empire? Shall we shout them down? Shall we say 'Enron zindabad'? 'Bechtel, Halliburton zindabad'? 'Tata, Birla, Mittals, Reliance, Vedanta, Alcan zindabad'? 'Coca-Cola aage badho, hum tumhaare saath hain'?

This then was the ideological climate in the Supreme Court at the time the Sabharwal "affair" took place.

It's important to make it clear that Justice Sabharwal's orders were not substantially different or ideologically at loggerheads with the orders of other judges who have not been touched by scandal and whose personal integrity is not in question. But the ideological bias of a judge is quite a different matter from the personal motivations and conflict of interest that could have informed Justice Sabharwal's orders. That is the substance of this story.

In his final statement to the media before he retired in January 2007, Justice Sabharwal said that the decision to implement the sealing in Delhi was the most difficult decision he had made during his tenure as chief justice. Perhaps it was. Tough Love can't be easy.

In May 2007, the Delhi edition of the evening paper Mid Day published detailed investigative stories (and a cartoon) alleging serious judicial misconduct on the part of Justice Sabharwal. The articles are available on the internet. The charges Mid Day made have subsequently been corroborated by the Committee for Judicial Accountability, an organisation that counts senior lawyers, retired judges, professors, journalists and activists as its patrons. The charges in brief are:

1 That Y.K. Sabharwal's sons Chetan and Nitin had three companies: Pawan Impex, Sabs Exports and Sug Exports whose registered offices were initially at their family home in 3/81, Punjabi Bagh, and were then shifted to their father's official residence at 6, Motilal Nehru Marg.

2. That while he was a judge in the Supreme Court but before he became chief justice, he called for and dealt with the sealing of commercial properties case in Delhi. (This was impropriety. Only the chief justice is empowered to call for cases that are pending before a different bench.) .

3. That at exactly this time, Justice Sabharwal's sons went into partnership with two major mall and commercial complex developers, Purshottam Bagheria (of the fashionable Square 1 Mall fame) and Kabul Chawla of Business Park Town Planners (BPTP) Ltd. That as a result of Justice Sabharwal's sealing orders, people were forced to move their shops and businesses to malls and commercial complexes, which pushed up prices, thereby benefiting Justice Sabharwal's sons and their partners financially and materially.

4. That the Union Bank gave a Rs 28 crore loan to Pawan Impex on collateral security which turned out to be non-existent. (Justice Sabharwal says his sons' companies had credit facilities of up to Rs 75 crore.)

5. That because of obvious conflict of interest, he should have recused himself from hearing the sealing case (instead of doing the opposite—calling the case to himself.)

6. That a number of industrial and commercial plots of land in NOIDA were allotted to his sons' companies at throwaway prices by the Mulayam Singh/ Amar Singh government while Justice Sabharwal was the sitting judge on the case of the Amar Singh phone tapes (in which he issued an order restricting their publication.)

7. That his sons bought a house in Maharani Bagh for Rs 15.46 crore. The source of this money is unexplained. In the deeds they have put down their father's name as Yogesh Kumar (uncharacteristic coyness for boys who don't mind running their businesses out of their judge father's official residence.)

All these charges are backed by what looks like watertight, unimpeachable documentation. Registration deeds, documents from the Union ministry of company affairs, certificates of incorporation of the various companies, published lists of shareholders, notices declaring increased share capital in Nitin and Chetan's companies, notices from the Income Tax department and a CD of recorded phone conversations between the investigating journalist and the judge himself.

These documents seem to indicate that while Delhi burned, while thousands of shops and businesses were sealed and their owners and employees deprived of their livelihood, Justice Sabharwal's sons and their partners were raking in the bucks. They read like an instruction manual for how the New India works.

When the story became public, another retired chief justice, J.S. Verma, appeared on India Tonight, Karan Thapar's interview show on CNBC.

He brought all the prudence and caution of a former judge to bear on what he said: "...if it is true, this is the height of impropriety...every one who holds any public office is ultimately accountable in democracy to the people, therefore, the people have right to know how they are functioning, and higher is the office that you hold, greater is the accountability...." Justice Verma went on to say that if the facts were correct, it would constitute a clear case of conflict of interest and that Justice Sabharwal's orders on the sealing case must be set aside and the case heard all over again.

This is the heart of the matter. This is what makes this scandal such a corrosive one. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been devastated. If it is true that the judgement that caused this stands vitiated, then amends must be made.


But are the facts correct?

Scandals about powerful and well-known people can be, and often are, malicious, motivated and untrue. God knows that judges make mortal enemies—after all, in each case they adjudicate there is a winner and a loser. There's little doubt that Justice Y.K. Sabharwal would have made his fair share of enemies. If I were him, and if I really had nothing to hide, I would actually welcome an investigation. In fact, I would beg the chief justice to set up a commission of inquiry. I would make it a point to go after those who had fabricated evidence against me and made all these outrageous allegations.

What I certainly wouldn't do is to make things worse by writing an ineffective, sappy defence of myself which doesn't address the allegations and doesn't convince anyone (Times of India, September 2, 2007).

Equally, if I were the sitting chief justice or anybody else who claims to be genuinely interested in 'upholding the dignity' of the court (fortunately this is not my line of work), I would know that to shovel the dirt under the carpet at this late stage, or to try and silence or intimidate the whistle-blowers, is counter-productive. It wouldn't take me very long to work out that if I didn't order an inquiry and order it quickly, what started out as a scandal about a particular individual could quickly burgeon into a scandal about the entire judiciary.

But, of course, not everybody sees it that way.

Days after Mid Day went public with its allegations, the Delhi high court issued suo motu notice charging the editor, the resident editor, the publisher and the cartoonist of Mid Day with Contempt of Court. Three months later, on September 11, 2007, it passed an order holding them guilty of criminal Contempt of Court. They have been summoned for sentencing on September 21.

What was Mid Day's crime? An unusual display of courage? The high court order makes absolutely no comment on the factual accuracy of the allegations that Mid Day levelled against Justice Sabharwal. Instead, in an extraordinary, almost yogic manoeuvre, it makes out that the real targets of the Mid Day article were the judges sitting with Justice Sabharwal on the division bench, judges who are still in service (and therefore imputing motives to them constitutes Criminal Contempt): "We find the manner in which the entire incidence has been projected appears as if the Supreme Court permitted itself to be led into fulfilling an ulterior motive of one of its members.

The nature of the revelations and the context in which they appear, though purporting to single out former Chief Justice of India, tarnishes the image of the Supreme Court. It tends to erode the confidence of the general public in the institution itself. The Supreme Court sits in divisions and every order is of a bench. By imputing motive to its presiding member automatically sends a signal that the other members were dummies or were party to fulfil the ulterior design."


Nowhere in the Mid Day articles has any other judge been so much as mentioned. So the journalists are in the dock for an imagined insult. What this means is that if there are several judges sitting on a bench and you have proof that one of them has given an opinion or an order based on corrupt considerations or is judging a case in which he or she has a clear conflict of interest, it's not enough. You don't have a case unless you can prove that all of them are corrupt or that all of them have a conflict of interest and all of them have left a trail of evidence in their wake. Actually, even this is not enough. You must also be able to state your case without casting any aspersions whatsoever on the court. (Purely for the sake of argument: What if two judges on a bench decide to take turns to be corrupt? What would we do then?)

So now we're saddled with a whole new school of thought on Contempt of Court: Fevered interpretations of imagined insults against unnamed judges. Phew! We're in La-la Land.

In most other countries, the definition of Criminal Contempt of Court is limited to anything that threatens to be a clear and present danger to the administration of justice. This business of "scandalising" and "lowering the authority" of the court is an absurd, dangerous form of censorship and an insult to our collective intelligence.

The journalists who broke the story in Mid Day have done an important and courageous thing. Some newspapers acting in solidarity have followed up the story. A number of people have come together and made a public statement further bolstering that support. There is an online petition asking for a criminal investigation. If either the government or the courts do not order a credible investigation into the scandal, then a group of senior lawyers and former judges will hold a public tribunal and examine the evidence that is placed before them. It's all happening. The lid is off, and about time too.


Click here to sign the 'Investigate Justice Sabharwal Petition' to the President of India

Sheikh in a Bush is better than...

26 September 2007 |

Greg Palast writes Bush’s Fake Sheik Whacked

Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the US against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.

Bush shook Abu Risha’s hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.

Here’s what you need to know that NPR won’t tell you.

1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn’t a sheik.
2. He wasn’t killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik - and a murderous deceit.

...

Just in case you think I’ve lost my mind and put my butt in insane danger to get this footage, don’t worry. I was safe and dry in Budapest. It was my brilliant new cameraman, Rick Rowley, who went to Iraq to get the story on his own.



Watch the videos

Part-I


Part-II

Can Your Film Change The World?

25 September 2007 |




WWW.PANGEADAY.ORG

Greg Palast writes:


Newly unearthed records reveal that, in 2004, when Americans were in the midst of a brutal electoral battle over whether to reelect a president posing as a war hero, a commanding US reporter, Dan Rather, went AWOL.

Just three months before the election, Rather had a story that might have changed the outcome of that razor-close race. We now know that Dan cut a back-room deal to shut his mouth, grab his ankles, and let his network retract a story he knew to be absolutely true.

In September 2004 when Rather cowered, Bush was riding high in the polls. Now, with Bush’s approval ratings are below smallpox, Rather has come out of hiding to shoot at the lame duck. Thanks, Dan.

It began on September 8, 2004, when Rather, on CBS, ran a story that Daddy Bush Senior had, in 1968, put in the fix to get his baby George out of the Vietnam War and into the Texas Air National Guard. Little George then rode out the war defending Houston from Viet Cong attack.

The story is stone-cold solid. I know, because we ran it on BBC Television a year before CBS. BBC has never retracted a word of it.




But CBS caved. So did Dan.

The enemy inside...

20 July 2007 |

Bush's Cuba Policy

02 June 2007 |

This is from the round-table interview held on May 31.


"I'd love to talk about Cuba. I believe Cuba ought to be free. And I believe that when there is a transition to new leadership, the world ought to work for freedom, not stability, that the leading edge of our agenda ought to be to say to whomever takes over that government, we expect there to be elections and free press, free prisoners."


1. A free world, not a stable one. (Free for private enterprises to do whatever they want to do, including manufacturing war to kill people)

2. Free Prisoners (How about freeing prisoners in Cuba - who are in American captivity?)


Who wants to be the next president?

10 April 2007 |

Hillary and Obama are fighting it out in the US of A. When it comes to India, quite a few names are springing up these days.

Amitab 'Big B' Bhachan's name has been doing the rounds for a while now. If Ronald 'Cowboy' Reagan can do it, why not our 'angry young man of 70s and 80s'?

Another name that has sprung up is that man from Bengalooru, Narayana Murthy (Infosys fame!)

Churumuri.wordpress.com quotes

Capitalism is about providing equal opportunities for people, giving them the incentive to perform and creating the competitive conditions.

I believe in compassionate capitalism where there is capitalism in the mind, socialism in the heart, and corporations which make profits will have to live in harmony with the society around them.


Beware! Narayana Murthy is a Shylock.

Not just that, the Infosys slave master also has very strong views about India's National Anthem


Deccan Herald reports: National anthem could make foreigners at Infy uneasy: NRN
"We had arranged for five people to sing the anthem. But then we cancelled it as we have foreigners onboard here. They should not be embarrassed while we sing the anthem," said Infosys chief mentor Narayana Murthy.

As per the protocol, the national anthem was played twice at Infosys campus here as President A P J Abdul Kalam stepped in and out -- the only difference being, it sounded like a bad arrangement of musical notes. In other words, the anthem, which should command the utmost respect from all true-blue Indians, did not get its due, from whoever was responsible -- the speakers at the do or the person who ‘orchestrated’ it.

Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

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WebMD Medical News reports that Dark Chocolate and other cocoa-rich foods may lower blood pressure better than tea.

A new study suggests that dark chocolate and other cocoa-rich products may be better at lowering blood pressure than tea.

Researchers compared the blood pressure-lowering effects of cocoa and tea in previously published studies and found eating cocoa-rich foods was associated with an average 4.7-point lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and 2.8-point lower diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). But no such effect was found among any of the studies on black or green tea.

Cocoa and tea are both rich in a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols. But researchers say they contain different types of polyphenols, and those in cocoa may be more effective at lowering blood pressure.

Polyphenols Help Blood Pressure

Current guidelines call for people with high blood pressure to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which are also high in polyphenols. These compounds are thought to contribute to their beneficial effects on protecting against heart disease and high blood pressure.

But researchers say there are no current recommendations for people at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease to include polyphenol-rich cocoa and tea products in their diet, despite the fact that tea and cocoa products account for the bulk of people’s total intake of polyphenols in Western countries.

In their review, researchers reviewed the effects of cocoa-rich products, such as dark chocolate or specially formulated polyphenol-rich milk chocolate, and blood pressure in five studies, which totaled 173 participants and lasted on average two weeks.

They also reviewed black and green tea and blood pressure in five different studies that totaled 343 participants and lasted on average four weeks. All studies were published between 1966 and 2006.

The results showed four of the five cocoa studies reported a reduction in both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The reduction was an average of 4.7 points systolic and 2.8 points diastolic.

Researchers say those effects are similar to those found using one-drug therapy with common blood pressure-lowering medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors.

None of the five studies on green or black tea were associated with any significant reduction in blood pressure.

Cocoa to the Rescue

Applied to the population as a whole, researchers estimate that the blood pressure-lowering effect associated with cocoa would be expected to reduce the risk of stroke by about 20%, coronary heart disease by 10%, and death from all causes by 8%.

However, they say their findings should not be interpreted as a widespread recommendation to raid the candy counter.

But they say it appears reasonable to substitute polyphenol-rich cocoa products like dark chocolate for other high-calorie or high-fat desserts, such as having a piece of dark chocolate rather than a slice of cheesecake.

"We believe that any dietary advice must account for the high sugar, fat, and calorie intake with most cocoa products," write researcher Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany, and colleagues, in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Rationally applied, cocoa products might be considered part of dietary approaches to lower hypertension risk."

SOURCES: Taubert, D. Archives of Internal Medicine, April 9, 2007; vol 167: 626-634. News release, Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gandhi's India?

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Or is it Munnabhai's India?

The victims of Operation Leech:

With the help of the Calcutta intelligentsia and human-rights activists, can Burmese victimised by an Indian armed operation in the Andamans find justice?

by | Soe Myint

On 11 February 1998 in New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence announced in a press conference that on 8 February, a joint operation of the three wings of the Indian armed forces had successfully intercepted “an international gang of armed smugglers” and seized arms and weapons worth of USD 1 million in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The operation had been code-named “Operation Leech-111”. The security forces claimed to have arrested 73 foreign nationals. Six “gun-runners” were said to have been killed in the encounter.

The media soon brought to light glaring gaps in the government’s story. The newspaper Andamans Today exposed the fact that those arrested and killed in the operation belonged to the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) and the Karen National Union (KNU), ethnic nationalities’ organisations from Burma that have been fighting against the military regime for decades for self-determination and human rights. It was discovered that they had come to India after an agreement with Indian intelligence operatives that they would be allowed a base at Landfall Island in the Andaman and Nicobar atoll in exchange for their cooperation with intelligence gathering along the Burmese coast. One particular Indian military intelligence officer, a certain Lieutenant Colonel Grewal, was found to have betrayed the trust of the Burmese freedom fighters at the behest of the military junta and to have killed six of their leaders in cold blood.

The freedom fighters were kept under illegal detention at Campbell Camp on Nicobar Island in horrific conditions for several months and then transferred to the prison at Port Blair. The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to file a charge sheet for a full six and half years. Its representatives told the lower court that they could not file one because the Ministry of Defence was not co-operating with them.

India’s Guantanamo Bay

Not many know that this little hellhole festers just outside Port Blair, where cardinal violation of human rights is routine.

Abhimanyu George Jain

A hundred rupees by auto from Port Blair takes you to Prothragarh, a small place that houses the Prothragarh Jail and open prison. The open prison is a temporary holding place for foreign nationals caught in Indian territorial waters without sufficient reason to explain their presence. Nobody is quite certain who these people are. Most of them are Cambodian, Burmese or Bangladeshi nationals who might be fishermen blown out into the open sea, smugglers, poachers or even human traffickers. Once caught, they are tried, sentenced and sent to jail. After they have served their prison terms, they are interred in the open prison until they can be deported back to their native countries.

Shockingly, however, some of the inmates are kept in the open prison for years after they have served their prison terms. There are a few who have been in the open prison since 1998, which effectively means that there are people in Prothragarh who have not been released even eight years after serving their sentences. There are at least two inmates in the open prison who are yet to be charged with a crime. They have been detained without charges being brought against them for several months, let alone being presented before a magistrate within 24 hours, which is mandatory under the Indian laws.

Worse still are the conditions within the prison. The prison has a capacity to hold 110 inmates. It holds more than 300! Prisoners are housed in tin sheds that become cruelly effective boiler houses under the hot Andaman sun. Short of space, several inmates are forced to sleep out in the open, under sheets tied between adjoining sheds. The toilets overflow with faeces and waste, and clean drinking water is a mythically rare concept.

Praying for Life

09 April 2007 |

As the Smoke Kills...

The burning of incense releases high levels of some chemicals associated with lung cancer, findings over the past five years indicate.

Incense, used primarily for religious, medicinal and meditative purposes, was found to create air quality environments hazardous to human health, according to reports by New Scientist magazine.

A set of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are of primary concern. While organic and often aromatic, PAH include carcinogenic chemicals such as the components of benzene and the chemical used in mothballs.

A 2001 study by the National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan surveyed the air quality inside a poorly-ventilated temple and found benzopyrene levels that are 40 times greater than what is found inside of the homes of people who smoke cigarettes. The air quality in the temple was almost as bad as standing next to a busy intersection filled with car exhaust.

Another report says:
Benzene and methyl chloride was the most abundant species in temple air. It is concluded that incense burning in temples is a significant source of air pollution. It is suggested that visitors may decrease the amount of incense burnt and better with the period short in the temple, especially during peak periods in order to reduce the health impact.

Acute (short-term) exposure to high concentrations of methyl chloride in humans has caused severe neurological effects. Methyl chloride has also caused effects on the heart rate, blood pressure, liver, and kidneys in humans. Chronic (long-term) animal studies have shown liver, kidney, spleen, and central nervous system (CNS) effects. Inhalation studies have demonstrated that methyl chloride causes reproductive effects in male rats, with effects such as testicular lesions and decreased sperm production.

Incense sticks have been linked to cancer, asthma and dermatitis (a skin rash). One study reported that foetus or nursing infants whose parents burned incense had a higher chance of getting leukaemia (a cancer of the blood organs). Carbon monoxide, benzene (which can cause cancer, leukaemia and damage the developing foetus) and fine particles (“particulates”) are also released when incense is burnt.


Say No to Incense Smoke

Stop Elephant Slavery

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Elephants shouldn't be made slaves, chained and paraded in religious festivals. Yesterday, during a muslim festivity in Kerala, a tusker went wild - killing the mahout and injuring another elephant. It took almost three hours for the angry tusker to be tranquilised.

Circumcised what?

05 April 2007 |

To understand the 'circumcised Aids prevention strategy', one has to understand the politics behind it. This American government wouldn't pay for Africa's condoms. Using Condoms goes against the principles of sex laid out in the holy scriptures.
http://www.searchforacure.org/editorials/bushwhacked.html

Bush stopped efforts by the Senate and House to increase funding for AIDS in Africa. When he talks big about AIDS in Africa he doesn't tell you he made sure one third of the money must be used for abstinence-only programs -- a complete waste of 300 million dollars. And none will go to any agencies offering family planning.

And because Bush does not trust the Global AIDS Fund he wants the money to be given out by his State Department -- which knows absolutely nothing about HIV and chose 14 African countries for funds based on politics not their ability to use the money.

Countries that have spent years planning and developing treatment programs that are left out of Bush's list are outraged.

In the U.S. the story is similar. Scientists are told not to apply for research funds to study safer sex or which use the words condoms or anal sex among others. And money for HIV treatment is shortchanged for people Bush feels are sinners -- gays, addicts and sex workers.

The circumcised Aids policy is based on a 'research work' - Male circumcision and HIV infection: 10 years and counting by Daniel T Halperin and Robert C Bailey.

Who is this Daniel T Halperin? Who funded his research project?
Daniel T. Halperin, an AIDS expert for the U.S. Agency for International Development based in Swaziland, who in speeches and private presentations pointed to dozens of studies showing that condom promotion campaigns were having little impact and that it would be more effective to target the multiple, concurrent sexual relationships that fuel high rates of HIV.
Halperin is one who believes Circumcision provides more protection against HIV than a Condom! Bush should honour Halperin and Bailey.

Another research document, "Male circumcision: a role in HIV prevention?" addresses some serious issues.
It has been suggested that following circumcision, the surface epithelium of the glans develops a protective keratin layer, a form of natural condom. Thus, circumcision could reduce the HIV incidence by directly decreasing the susceptibility of uninfected men to HIV.
Damn! The entire project circumcised Aids prevention is to create a myth that people shouldn't use condoms.

Here is a comment I saw in Washington Post:
Circumcision has not worked in America where at least 85 of males are circumcised and yet they have the highest rate of HIV in the developed world. In South Africa Xhosas do circumcise and Zulus don't, yet both are dying as fast from AIDS. HIV does not seem to have a fetish for foreskins as proposed.

Most of Europe is intact with very low HIV rates. National health policy cannot be based on ONE biased and flawed study that conveniently ignored the most comprehensive meta-analysis yet conducted on this issue - the Cochrane Review.

Why is USAIDS and the Kaiser Foundation funding this research on circumcision and funding clinics in the developing countries when circumcision clearly has not worked in America to curb HIV infection? Why are they not promoting HIV vaccine research preferentially?
No thick-skinned glans helps in protecting you from HIV. Condoms do - as HIV is passed on through body fluids.

Again, the entire circumcision champions are only worried about men. If a man, carrying HIV, has unprotected sex - he is bound to pass on the virus to the woman. Isn't it better to protect the woman?

As a man, whether you are cut or uncut - if you wear a condom - you are reducing the risk by a BIG margin. If you don't wear a condom, the risk factor remains VERY HIGH - cut or uncut.

HIV prevention is not about MEN alone, it is about protecting WOMEN as well. If we unleash these circumcised morons, who believe they are free to have unprotected sex (that they have this keratinised skin protecting them!), HIV will be the winner.

If you want to live healthy, be smart. Don't buy this circum crap.

The silence of Bob Woolmer

25 March 2007 |

Soon after Cronjegate, Woolmer wanted to put the rotten apple back in the basket. I mean he wanted to help Cronje make a comeback into the game - in some form or the other.

That Woolmer was silent through the Cronjegate period - and remained silent for a long time... There are rumours that he was about to end his silence on Match-fixing/Betting...

His biographer, Ivo Tennant, wrote in The Times newspaper:

"Rumours Bob Woolmer was murdered because he was harbouring information on match-fixing or an association with corrupt bookmakers can be dismissed unequivocally."

"As the co-author of his autobiography and its planned sequel, for which a publisher had still to be found, I can state that he had no intention of writing or publicising any such detail in either this or his book on coaching and sports science, which will be published in June."
"He had no knowledge of Cronje's involvement in match-fixing during his time as coach of South Africa. If there there had been any such approach to his Pakistan players, he would have told them to report it immediately to the manager or the Board of Control," Tennant wrote.

"Doubtless he would then have informed the police himself. Above all, Woolmer was an honest man. He did not mix with dodgy individuals.

"Doubtless the reason why Cronje did not tell Woolmer of his underhand dealings was because he knew that his coach would have no truck with them."



Can we really trust Ivo Tennant's words?


According to a report in IOL.co.za

'Mafia behind Woolmer, Hansie's deaths'


Clive Rice, a former South African captain and a contemporary of Bob Woolmer during their playing and coaching days in England, has "absolutely no doubt" what happened on the 12th floor of the five-star Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, last Sunday night.

Woolmer, he said, knew too much and ended up taking those secrets to the grave.

"What is more," said Rice, "Bob knew a lot of what went on during the match fixing scandal in which Hansie Cronje was nailed. I found it odd that he was never called as a witness by the King Commission."

It was that commission into match-fixing, chaired by retired Judge Edwin King, that sat in Cape Town in 2000 and which, according to Rice, was suddenly stopped once "Cronje had taken the fall".

"There were a lot more people involved," said Rice, "but the commission fell short in exposing this. Strangely enough it (the commission) never asked how spread betting works."

Woolmer and Rice were respectively the coaches of Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire when news of the match-fixing scandal first broke.

"We were actually involved in a match in England at the time and Bob and I discussed it.

"He told me a lot that never came out.

"I'm not just talking about other players being involved, but officials too."

"I am convinced his death wasn't an accident, and I will continue to believe that until the day I die."


If Rice is right, Woolmer knew a great deal about Match-Fixing.

Who is speaking the truth here? Ivo Tennant or Clive Rice?

Clive Rice is a well-respected cricketer. He was the South African skipper when the country was welcomed back to the international fold.

In the meanwhile, there is another interesting report:


The Jamaican police feel that the manuscript of the book (Discovering Cricket) that Bob Woolmer was writing holds the key to his murder mystery and suspiciously, even the manuscript is missing. Tim Noakes is believed to be co-author of this book and the Jamaican police think that Noakes could perhaps throw some light on the Woolmer murder mystery.

According to the police, the manuscript contains information that could have blown the lid-off the bookie-player nexus that someone wanted to hide. So in desperation someone was prepared to murder Woolmer. The theory has gained ground ever since the Jamaican police said that the book's manuscript was missing from the room even though no other possessions were touched.

Why the Novel Matters

22 March 2007 |

If there is one essay that changed the way I saw life, it is this. Lawro, take a bow!



Why the Novel Matters

by DH Lawrence


WE have curious ideas of ourselves. We think of ourselves as a body with a spirit in it, or a body with a soul in it, or a body with a mind in it. Mens sana in corpore sano. The years drink up the wine, and at last throw the bottle away, the body, of course, being the bottle.

It is a funny sort of superstition. Why should I look at my hand, as it so cleverly writes these words, and decide that it is a mere nothing compared to the mind that directs it? Is there really any huge difference between my hand and my brain? Or my mind? My hand is alive, it flickers with a life of its own. It meets all the strange universe in touch, and learns a vast number of things, and knows a vast number of things. My hand, as it writes these words, slips gaily along, jumps like a grasshopper to dot an i, feels the table rather cold, gets a little bored if I write too long, has its own rudiments of thought, and is just as much me as is my brain, my mind, or my soul. Why should I imagine that there is a me which is more me than my hand is? Since my hand is absolutely alive, me alive.

Whereas, of course, as far as I am concerned, my pen isn't alive at all. My pen isn't me alive. Me alive ends at my finger-tips.

Whatever is me alive is me. Every tiny bit of my hands is alive, every little freckle and hair and fold of skin. And whatever is me alive is me. Only my finger-nails, those ten little weapons between me and an inanimate universe, they cross the mysterious Rubicon between me alive and things like my pen, which are not alive, in my own sense.

So, seeing my hand is all alive, and me alive, wherein is it just a bottle, or a jug, or a tin can, or a vessel of clay, or any of the rest of that nonsense? True, if I cut it it will bleed, like a can of cherries. But then the skin that is cut, and the veins that bleed, and the bones that should never be seen, they are all just as alive as the blood that flows. So the tin can business, or vessel of clay, is just bunk.

And that's what you learn, when you're a novelist. And that's what you are very liable not to know, if you're a parson, or a philosopher, or a scientist, or a stupid person. If you're a parson, you talk about souls in heaven. If you're a novelist, you know that paradise is in the palm of your hand, and on the end of your nose, because both are alive; and alive, and man alive, which is more than you can say, for certain, of paradise. Paradise is after life, and I for one am not keen on anything that is after life. If you are a philosopher, you talk about infinity, and the pure spirit which knows all things. But if you pick up a novel, you realize immediately that infinity is just a handle to this self-same jug of a body of mine; while as for knowing, if I find my finger in the fire, I know that fire burns, with a knowledge so emphatic and vital, it leaves Nirvana merely a conjecture. Oh, yes, my body, me alive, knows, and knows intensely. And as for the sum of all knowledge, it can't be anything more than an accumulation of all the things I know in the body, and you, dear reader, know in the body.

These damned philosophers, they talk as if they suddenly went off in steam, and were then much more important than they are when they're in their shirts. It is nonsense. Every man, philosopher included, ends in his own finger-tips. That's the end of his man alive. As for the words and thoughts and sighs and aspirations that fly from him, they are so many tremulations in the ether, and not alive at all. But if the tremulations reach another man alive, he may receive them into his life, and his life may take on a new colour, like a chameleon creeping from a brown rock on to a green leaf. All very well and good. It still doesn't alter the fact that the so-called spirit, the message or teaching of the philosopher or the saint, isn't alive at all, but just a tremulation upon the ether, like a radio message. All this spirit stuff is just tremulations upon the ether. If you, as man alive, quiver from the tremulation of the ether into new life, that is because you are man alive, and you take sustenance and stimulation into your alive man in a myriad ways. But to say that the message, or the spirit which is communicated to you, is more important than your living body, is nonsense. You might as well say that the potato at dinner was more important.

Nothing is important but life. And for myself, I can absolutely see life nowhere but in the living. Life with a capital L is only man alive. Even a cabbage in the rain is cabbage alive. All things that are alive are amazing. And all things that are dead are subsidiary to the living. Better a live dog than a dead lion. But better a live lion than a live dog. C'est la vie! *

It seems impossible to get a saint, or a philosopher, or a scientist, to stick to this simple truth. They are all, in a sense, renegades. The saint wishes to offer himself up as spiritual food for the multitude. Even Francis of Assisi turns himself into a sort of angelcake, of which anyone may take a slice. But an angel-cake is rather less than man alive. And poor St Francis might well apologize to his body, when he is dying: 'Oh, pardon me, my body, the wrong I did you through the years!' * It was no wafer, for others to eat. *

The philosopher, on the other hand, because he can think, decides that nothing but thoughts matter. It is as if a rabbit, because he can make little pills, should decide that nothing but little pills matter. As for the scientist, he has absolutely no use for me so long as I am man alive. To the scientist, I am dead. He puts under the microscope a bit of dead me, and calls it me. He takes me to pieces, and says first one piece, and then another piece, is me. My heart, my liver, my stomach have all been scientifically me, according to the scientist; and nowadays I am either a brain, or nerves, or glands, or something more up-to-date in the tissue line.

Now I absolutely flatly deny that I am a soul, or a body, or a mind, or an intelligence, or a brain, or a nervous system, or a bunch of glands, or any of the rest of these bits of me. The whole is greater than the part. And therefore, I, who am man alive, am greater than my soul, or spirit, or body, or mind, or consciousness, or anything else that is merely a part of me. I am a man, and alive. I am man alive, and as long as I can, I intend to go on being man alive.

For this reason I am a novelist. And being a novelist, I consider myself superior to the saint, the scientist, the philosopher, and the poet, who are all great masters of different bits of man alive, but never get the whole hog.

The novel is the one bright book of life. Books are not life. They are only tremulations on the ether. But the novel as a tremulation can make the whole man alive tremble. Which is more than poetry, philosophy, science, or any other book-tremulation can do.

The novel is the book of life. In this sense, the Bible is a great confused novel. You may say, it is about God. But it is really about man alive. Adam, Eve, Sarai, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, David, Bath-Sheba, Ruth, Esther, Solomon, Job, Isaiah, Jesus, Mark, Judas, Paul, Peter: what is it but man alive, from start to finish? Man alive, not mere bits. Even the Lord is another man alive, in a burning bush, throwing the tablets of stone * at Moses's head.

I do hope you begin to get my idea, why the novel is supremely important, as a tremulation on the ether. Plato makes the perfect ideal being tremble in me. But that's only a bit of me. Perfection is only a bit, in the strange make-up of man alive. The Sermon on the Mount makes the selfless spirit of me quiver. But that, too, is only a bit of me. The Ten Commandments set the old Adam * shivering in me, warning me that I am a thief and a murderer, unless I watch it. But even the old Adam is only a bit of me.

I very much like all these bits of me to be set trembling with life and the wisdom of life. But I do ask that the whole of me shall tremble in its wholeness, some time or other.

And this, of course, must happen in me, living.

But as far as it can happen from a communication, it can only happen when a whole novel communicates itself to me. The Bible--but all the Bible--and Homer, and Shakespeare: these are the supreme old novels. These are all things to all men. Which means that in their wholeness they affect the whole man alive, which is the man himself, beyond any part of him. They set the whole tree trembling with a new access of life, they do not just stimulate growth in one direction.

I don't want to grow in any one direction any more. And, if I can help it, I don't want to stimulate anybody else into some particular direction. A particular direction ends in a cul-de-sac. We're in a cul-de-sac at present.

I don't believe in any dazzling revelation, or in any supreme Word. 'The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of the Lord shall stand for ever.'* That's the kind of stuff we've drugged ourselves with. As a matter of fact, the grass withereth, but comes up all the greener for that reason, after the rains. The flower fadeth, and therefore the bud opens. But the Word of the Lord, being man-uttered and a mere vibration on the ether, becomes staler and staler, more and more boring, till at last we turn a deaf ear and it ceases to exist, far more finally than any withered grass. It is grass that renews its youth like the eagle, * not any Word.

We should ask for no absolutes, or absolute. Once and for all and for ever, let us have done with the ugly imperialism of any absolute.

There is no absolute good, there is nothing absolutely right. All things flow and change, and even change is not absolute. The whole is a strange assembly of apparently incongruous parts, slipping past one another.

Me, man alive, I am a very curious assembly of incongruous parts. My yea! of today is oddly different from my yea! of yesterday. My tears of tomorrow will have nothing to do with my tears of a year ago. If the one I love remains unchanged and unchanging, I shall cease to love her. It is only because she changes and startles me into change and defies my inertia, and is herself staggered in her inertia by my changing, that I can continue to love her. If she stayed put, I might as well love the pepper-pot.

In all this change, I maintain a certain integrity. But woe betide me if I try to put my finger on it. If I say of myself, I am this, I am that!--then, if I stick to it, I turn into a stupid fixed thing like a lamp-post. I shall never know wherein lies my integrity, my individuality, my me. I can never know it. It is useless to talk about my ego. That only means that I have made up an idea of myself, and that I am trying to cut myself out to pattern. Which is no good. You can cut your cloth to fit your coat, but you can't clip bits off your living body, to trim it down to your idea. True, you can put yourself into ideal corsets. But even in ideal corsets, fashions change.

Let us learn from the novel. In the novel, the characters can do nothing but live. If they keep on being good, according to pattern, or bad, according to pattern, or even volatile, according to pattern, they cease to live, and the novel falls dead. A character in a novel has got to live, or it is nothing.

We, likewise, in life have got to live, or we are nothing.

What we mean by living is, of course, just as indescribable as what we mean by being. Men get ideas into their heads, of what they mean by Life, and they proceed to cut life out to pattern. Sometimes they go into the desert to seek God, sometimes they go into the desert to seek cash, sometimes it is wine, woman, and song, * and again it is water, political reform, and votes. You never know what it will be next: from killing your neighbour with hideous bombs and gas that tears the lungs, to supporting a Foundlings Home and preaching infinite Love, and being corespondent in a divorce.

In all this wild welter, we need some sort of guide. It's no good inventing Thou Shalt Nots!

What then? Turn truly, honorably to the novel, and see wherein you are man alive, and wherein you are dead man in life. You may love a woman as man alive, and you may be making love to a woman as sheer dead man in life. You may eat your dinner as man alive, or as a mere masticating corpse. As man alive you may have a shot at your enemy. But as a ghastly simulacrum of life you may be firing bombs into men who are neither your enemies nor your friends, but just things you are dead to. Which is criminal, when the things happen to be alive.

To be alive, to be man alive, to be whole man alive: that is the point. And at its best, the novel, and the novel supremely, can help you. It can help you not to be dead man in life. So much of a man walks about dead and a carcass in the street and house, today: so much of women is merely dead. Like a pianoforte with half the notes mute.

But in the novel you can see, plainly, when the man goes dead, the woman goes inert. You can develop an instinct for life, if you will, instead of a theory of right and wrong, good and bad.

In life, there is right and wrong, good and bad, all the time. But what is right in one case is wrong in another. And in the novel you see one man becoming a corpse, because of his so-called goodness, another going dead because of his so-called wickedness. Right and wrong is an instinct: but an instinct of the whole consciousness in a man, bodily, mental, spiritual at once. And only in the novel are all things given full play, or at least, they may be given full play, when we realize that life itself, and not inert safety, is the reason for living. For out of the full play of all things emerges the only thing that is anything, the wholeness of a man, the wholeness of a woman, man alive, and live woman.




1984

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The presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was rocked by revelations Wednesday night that one of its contracted employees was the creator of a scathing YouTube video against his opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., despite Obama's insistance that he had nothing to do with it.

Phil de Vellis, until Wednesday an employee of the company that handles Obama's Web site, boasted in a posting on the Huffington Post that he made the ad, though he claimed neither the Obama campaign nor his former employer, Blue State Digital — which does software development and hosting for Obama's campaign — was aware that he had. -- ABC News


Like it or not, close to Two MILLION views! Go Youtube!

Former Irish Cricket Union president Robert Kerr died of a suspected heart attack on Wednesday (21st March), the second fatality in four days at the World Cup.

Bob Woolmer died in hospital on Sunday (18th March) after being found unconscious in his hotel room in Kingston.

In the meanwhile, there are reports that Soctland Yard will investigate the death of Bob Woolmer.

The Daily Telegraph (AUS) report goes on to say:
Woolmer, 58, had been found in a pool of blood with vomit and faeces in his bathroom in room 375 on the 12th floor of the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

First pictures of the deceased coach appear to show cuts to his ear and eyebrow.
Cricketworldcuplatest.com reports:

With Jamaican police terming Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer’s death as suspicious, several Pakistani bookies who have gone to the West Indies for the World Cup are likely to come under investigators’ scrutiny. The bookies have been involved in match-fixing in the past.

According to cricket circles in Pakistan, the most prominent member of the group is Khwaja Arif Pappu from Lahore, considered to be Pakistan’s gambling kingpin. He is said to have connections with gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

He is also believed to be close to Tariq Aziz, President Pervez Musharraf’s aide.

Match Fixing


It is quite interesting, what the Qayyum Report had to say about the man who was the stand-in coach for the final game against Zimbabwe, Mushtaq Ahmed.

Salim Pervez alias Paijee appeared before this Inquiry and confessed that he himself had handed Salim Malik and Mushtaq Ahmad $ 100,000 to throw away the final in Sharjah against Australia.

What makes a mockery of it all is:

Inzamam-ul-Haq also appeared. In his view the Singer Trophy match against Australia in Sri Lanka was not fixed. Inzamam-ul-Haq confirmed that an altercation had taken place during the South African tour between Captain and Vice Captain but he felt that no match-fixing takes place in Pakistan.

When most of the players informed the commission that match-fixing is rampant, honourable Inzi was completely unaware of it!

If you have the time, please go through the Qayyum Report in detail.

When it comes to India, there is the "Madhavan Report"

And the King Commission report from South Africa.


Poison traces found in Woolmer’s room: Police

21 March 2007 |

Jamaican Police on Wednesday confirmed that poison traces have been found in Woolmer’s hotel room. The information lends credence to the apprehensions that the Pakistan coach was murdered. Woolmer`s preliminary post-mortem report on Tuesday had proved inconclusive. Toxicology and other forensic tests were carried out by the medial and police teams. ...[more]

Oh no, not another fixing probe!

20 March 2007 |

Bob Woolmer was the coach of South Africa when Hansie fixer Cronje gambled and shamed the game we love so much. I have always wondered how much did Woolmer know about it all.

Now Zee News reports:


Fixing angle under scanner, Pak team to stay back for investigation

New Delhi, March 20: Speculation is rife about foul play being involved in Bob Woolmer`s death. Reports indicate that some current senior Pakistan team members might have fixed both matches, against West Indies and Ireland. It is being debated in cricketing circles that he could have been killed to cover up match-fixing by the Pakistani team. The Pakistan team would not be allowed to fly back home till the investigations are over.

The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, insists that team coach Robert Woolmer died of a massive heart attack.

A report in a leading daily quotes former Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz saying that certain top players in the team were involved in fixing the matches against the West Indies and Ireland.

A loss to West Indies and then minnows Ireland came as a shock to the entire world as Pakistan became the first team to pack their bags from the World Cup.

Apparently certain PCB insiders told Nawaz that at least five leading bookies from Pakistan had reached the West Indies in the first week of March and were in touch with heavyweights in the team.

“The theory going around in West Indies police circles is that Woolmer might have been killed by those who wanted to silence him on the issue of match-fixing,” he claimed.

A former PCB official who requested anonymity said Woolmer’s book, Discovering Cricket, which he was writing, could have exposed the cricketer-bookie nexus in Pakistan, India, and South Africa.

The official claimed that Woolmer met Delhi police officers during Pakistan’s 2005 tour of India to gather material for the book. Nawaz said Woolmer had finished more than 50 per cent of the book.

Meanwhile, Pakistan would not be allowed to leave Jamaica without the completion of investigation and determining the cause of death of their coach Bob Woolmer.

Pakistan team may be shifted to a hotel in Montego Bay after playing their last Group “D” match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday and stay there till the investigations are completed.

Police is now trying to ascertain the circumstances which led to the death of the Pakistan coach. Authorities have visited the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston where Pakistan is being lodged.

No member of Bob Woolmer’s family will be coming to Jamaica to sign the documents of his autopsy. Woolmer’s wife is in Cape Town and his two sons live in London. Pakistan team trainer and close associate of Bob Woolmer, Murray Stevenson, has been authorised by the wife of the deceased to carry out the formalities on their behalf.

India back on track?

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India beat Bermuda by 257 runs, re-igniting their World Cup hopes.

Sehwag smashed a brilliant hundred. Ganguly scored his second fifty in as many games this world cup. Yuvraj Singh reminded the world and himself what he is really capable of (He should watch videos of Michael Hussey's batting more often). Tendulkar, having lost his favourite opening slot, played a key role that fits his stature and expertise.

Dravid, the skipper, was brave enough to walk in with a couple of balls to be bowled, and finished the innings in grand style with a massive six!

Chappell's dreams came true.

Dhoni's magic is not working anymore. Let's face it, bowlers know where to bowl to him. Dhoni has to come up with something new at the crease.

There is an interesting story though, which many of the TV channels wouldn't talk about. Neither would Sidhu on NDTV nor the idiots in STAR NEWS channel. Sandeep Patil has to realise one thing, he may have taken Kenyan cricket to new levels... he is not simply good enough to be the coach of the Indian team. Whether Sandeep Patil or Saba Karim are good enough to be cricket pundits... oh well, ask the players.

Sandeep Patil lost his place in the Indian team for playing an atrocious shot in a Test match against England in India. Sunny Gavaskar had his Mumbai mate booted out of the team. Patil made a comeback in 1986, he was in the squad that toured of England. When Mohinder Amarnath was injured, the Indian thinktank picked the second- keeper Chandrakant Pandit into the side as a batsman ahead of Patil.

Patil has all reasons to have a dislike towards the Indian cricket establishment.

Sehwag hit Hemp for two massive sixes off the 5th and 6th ball of the 15th over, taking India to 99/1.

End of over 15 (15 runs) - India 99/1 (RR: 6.60)
V Sehwag 69* (51b 12x4 2x6) SC Ganguly 18* (40b 1x4)

For people who were watching Indian cricket in late 80s and early 90s - it reminded of Krish Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri opening for India.

Ganguly took over in the 17th over, after playing two dot balls, he scored a single off the last ball to move to 22 off 47 balls. Sehwag was unbeaten on 75 from 56.

Ganguly, being the experienced player and the former skipper (successful one too!) understood the 'tempo' of the game too well. John Wright, who was doing commentary on TV, was explaining how Ganguly likes to play the game as per his tempo. Oh well, it was not about slowing down the Bermudians or Steve Waugh's Aussies - to Ganguly - it is all about him being the prince of Kols.

Dada duly played six dot balls - making the 18th over a maiden.

In the 19th, Ganguly decided to have a heave - and connected one - way into the stands for a massive six. He faced four balls in that over, scoring seven runs.

20th over, Ganguly played four balls, scored three singles.

21st over, played four balls, scored three singles and a two.

22nd over, played five balls and scored two singles.

23rd over, a SIX and a single off the first two balls.

24th over, a two and a single off three balls.

25th over, first three balls were dots, and he scored two singles.

26th over, two singles.

27th over, Ganguly faced five balls of the seven bowled, including a wide.

28th over, first ball dot, second ball single, Sehwag has lost his touch by then - takes a single off the last ball to reach his 100.
End of over 28 (2 runs) - India 176/1 (RR: 6.28)

V Sehwag 100* (81b 14x4 3x6)
SC Ganguly 62* (88b 2x4 2x6)

Remember, Sehwag was on fire in the 15th over, hitting two massive sixes.
India was 99/1
V Sehwag 69* (51b 12x4 2x6)
SC Ganguly 18* (40b 1x4)
End of over 15 (15 runs) - India 99/1 (RR: 6.60)

In the next 13 overs, Ganguly moved from 18 (40balls) to 62 (88balls).
Interesting stats: Off the 78 balls bowled, Sehwag could only face 30 balls and he scored 31 runs off them.

Being the experienced pro that he is, and understanding too well that Sehwag was going after the bowling, Ganguly took the responsibility of keeping Sehwag off the strike!

Ganguly scored 44 runs off 48 balls in that 13 overs, which looks quite OK, but the truth is - he slowed down the game so much.

I am sure too many of Dada fans would think I am being a bit harsh on the veteran left-hander.

End of the 9th over, Sehwag was on 27(32balls) strike rate of 84.37
In the next six overs, Sehwag's strike rate was a phenomenal 221.05, scoring 42 runs off 19 balls. He had an innings strike rate of 135.29 at that stage.
Then Ganguly intervened.
Sehwag scored at a strike rate of 103.33 in the next 30 balls faced.

As he did against Bangladesh, Ganguly played at a pace and tempo that he likes and fits his personal gameplan. He was well set for a big innings for the second match in a row - but he threw away his wicket. Against Bangladesh, Ganguly gave the fielder catching practice with a terrible pull shot. Well, against Bermuda, on 89, Dada ran down the pitch and got himself stumped.

I am not going to do an analysis on Ganguly's performance against Bangladesh. As I said in my previous post - being the set batsman, he should have batted through the fifty overs. The way he got out was atrocious. The way Ganguly rotated strike was outrageous. [click for more]

The Guinness day at the Cricket World Cup

18 March 2007 |

Unbelievable - Bangladesh beat India.
Unthinkable - Ireland knocked out Pakistan.

17 March 2007 was a bad a day for Indian cricket, a horror day for Pakistan.

Even a military intervention would not have stopped Pakistan from losing the game to Ireland; they played poor cricket.

Maybe this is some sort of a justice; Pakistan should have been fined/banned for not taking action against two of their players - drug cheats. That Pakistan considered playing the cheats at the World Cup, only to pull 'em out in the last minute (thanks to some miraculous injuries), is a good enough reason why they have been knocked out of the world cup. Cheating has no place in cricket.

India's pathetic performance against Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) must have cheered up the Pakistani fans. If India can manufacture a loss against Bermuda or Sri Lanka - this will be a new chapter in cricket diplomacy between the two nuke nations in the Sub-Continent.

That no one (other than Aussies) want Ponting's yellow brigade to win the world cup means... West Indies are the new popular favourites to win the World Cup.

Looking back at the game between India and Bangladesh; credit must be given to the Bangla boys. In Mohd Azharuddin's words: "They bowled well, fielded well, and batted well."

One Day cricket is not like Test cricket. Not six or seven batsmen score big...

TV channels have already started abusing India's performance. STAR News in particular has a serious issue; they hate the Indian team. Does that have anything to do with STAR Sports/Espn not winning the TV rights of Indian cricket?

After the loss to Bangladesh, all the analysts, gurus, pundits and policemen are of the opinion that the only person who can hold his head high - standing in the middle of the Indian cricket shambles - is Sourav Dada Ganguly.

If you were to ask Dada, he'd tell you the truth. If there is anyone who let India down so bad is him and then Yuvraj.

Unlike any other batsmen, both Dada and Yuvi got the start that matters - one got to his fifty and the other was getting close to it.

Putting together a partnership of 85 runs in 17.3 overs, Yuvraj threw his wicket away in the 42nd over with the India score at 157/4. Three balls and one run later, India was 157/6, when Ganguly played an atrocious and irresponsible pull shot. Once Yuvi got out like an idiot, Ganguly should have stayed on there till the end.

It is easy to blame Sehwag, Robin, Dravid, Tendulkar, Dhoni... for not scoring enough. The stroke Dhoni played was as if he is playing in a charity match.

In the 1983 World Cup, India lost five top batsmen with just 17 on the scorecard against Zimbabwe. Then we didn't find mistakes with the batsmen who got out. One batsman walked out to bat and started hitting the ball to all parts of the ground - in the end he made 175 glorious runs - which ensured an Indian victory. His name is Kapil Dev.

Ganguly and Yuvraj had a BIG opportunity yesterday. They were set batsmen who threw their wickets away.

I still think India will win the World Cup.