Christine Ford and Anita Hill: Two Brave Women

Two brave womenI have total support for Christine Blasey Ford. This man Kavanaugh does not deserve to be a U.S. Supreme Court judge.

(And Trump is a racist and a womanizer who doesn’t deserve to be the president of America.)

That said, I remember the time when Anita Hill’s testimony about Clarence Thomas was strikingly similar to Christine Ford’s. I remember how appalled I was then. How disgusted to see a great travesty of justice unfold!

I was new in America, and didn’t know a lot of American politics; yet, I was aghast.

Not too many white liberals came out to support Anita: she was black, and Clarence Thomas, one of the staunchest conservative judges on the highest court is also black. The support (justified 100%) Christine is getting today was simply absent.

Hypocrisy, if you think about it that way.

It’s not only a double standard in America in the Republican world. It’s the same in the corporate Democratic world too.

(And I’m not even mentioning Bill Clinton here: we all know the salacious scandal corporate media and Republican Party drooled over. And the entire world laughed to see the unthinkable moral degradation of this great country).

I congratulate and applaud Ms. Christine B. Ford, for taking this bold step, against all threats, fears, and intimidation by racists and violent powers.

Ms. Anita Hill also took such a bold step, and was so extremely steady and articulate. But I remember she did not get much support from white liberal Americans.

Time to put some history in perspectives.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Is Trump the Ultimate Doomsday Clock for Humanity?

Trump 1Think about it. Verify with your real-life experience.

Every time you hit the road here in America, you quickly find out how angry and obnoxious people are. Obviously not all of them, but a very large number. And it happens on a daily basis: you just need to pay attention.

You drive a car following all the rules carefully, and suddenly somebody is passing you in high speed, honking at you, because guess what — you’re driving at 30mph on a 30mph road, and that too, a school zone in school hours. They (mostly men, but some women too) would pass you on an incoming lane to cut into your lane, roll down their window, and hurl words that are filthy, and full of hate. And it makes you sad and depressed that people insult you and hurt you even though you’re innocent. You feel even more sad and depressed if you have your family and children with you, and the exhibition of obscene, violent ego happens in front of them.

There are many other real-life examples of this arrogance and “I live for me only and I don’t give a sh.t about you” attitude. I just used one, because it happened again today. Reflecting on it, you travel to any other country — practically any country across the world — and you quickly find out how much calmer and saner people are. People actually care for each other, and especially for women and children. There is a perceptible sense of humanity.

Why is it so different here in USA? My quick analysis is that (1) people are extremely stressed and on edge here, because of the unstable, anti-people economic situation that makes them continuously rat-racing for survival; (2) people have grown up to be rabidly individualistic (thanks Ayn Rand and her cohorts), where care for the larger society is totally absent: practically, outside of some labor unions and immigrant communities (and dubious cult groups), there is no society left at all; and (3) the deeply-ingrained American lifestyle of “bigger, higher, and faster” — which is manifest in people’s zeal to buy big cars, speed recklessly, and grab anything possible as quickly as possible.

Add to it the 24/7 media exhibition of violent movies, car chases, gun worshipping, extreme video games, and drug use — and you know the background.

America was different: saner, calmer, and humane before this “We are the best in the world, and you better follow my rules, or else” violently egotistic, arrogant lifestyle took over the society.

And now with this man in the highest seat of power, through corporate media’s relentless advertising of his obscenity, illiteracy, zero respect for anybody who doesn’t look like him, and violent muscle-flexing (let alone womanizing), ordinary Americans are learning fast that this is how you become more popular and more powerful. People not just in America, but around the world — crazy for quick success at any cost — are emulating him and his group of people who thrive on spreading hate, and telling lies.

The world was already a dangerous place to live for ordinary, peaceful, law-abiding people like us, before he took over. Now, with every single day he is in power, humanity is closing in for a total destruction. The Doomsday Clock is ticking very close to midnight — when human civilization ceases to exist.
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Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
September 26, 2018

Doomsday Clock

Golden Memories

Diary from Calcutta

Memories are extremely precious, and in my case, extremely haunting.

When I feel alone, very old memories take me back to those sunlit, golden days back in Calcutta. I have written a lot about it, both in English and Bengali. And I am going to write a lot more.

Memories are lovely, and memories are friends. What’s more: they are therapeutic.

Try this immigrant life in America. You’ll know.
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Here’s a picture of my little notebook I carried with me all the time when I was in my early twenties in Calcutta. We didn’t have means to buy new notebooks. This one was one from 1970, which I was using in 1980.

In fact, it is still with me. (But the bed sheet in the picture — the blue one I used all the time in that little half-room in our North Calcutta home — well, it was a part of my life.)

This page in Bengali is a description of a classical all-night music program I attended in one of the public auditoriums — if anybody remembers where it was, let me know.
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November 22, 1980. — The program started at 9 P.M. and went all the way through 6.30 A.M. the next morning.

Artists who performed:

1. Dinanath Mishra (vocal). sang Raga Jog, and a Bhairavi thumri

2. Buddhadev Dasgupta, accompanied on tabla by Swapan Chowdhury — played sarod. Raga Bagesree, and a Pilu thumri.

3. A dance recital by Mira Chatterjee — I have completely forgotten about it. Not a trace of memory on this.

4. Sunanda Patnaik (vocal) — Raga Bilaskhani Todi, and a famous Bhajan in Bhairon (Jagannath Swami…).

5. Sohan Lal Sharma on harmonium and Tarun Bhattacharya on santoor — Duet — Raga Hansadhwani.

6. End of the program soiree — Sitar by Manilal Nag, accompanied on table by Maha Purush Mishra. Raga Ahir Bhairon.
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I could write a hundred pages on this memory. But I am savoring it tonight. I will sleep with this tonight.

 

Immigrant in America,

Partha Banerjee

Long Island, New York

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September 11.

911 anniversary WTAP dot comToday is September 11. A day to mourn. And a day to reflect.

Seventeen years ago, on this day, we went through one of the most horrible terrorist acts in the history of human civilization. My family and I went through the experience, where we were disconnected for a long time: none of us knew where the others were. Our high-school-going child saw the twin towers collapsing, and hapless people jumping to their deaths. We lost countless innocent people — of all races and religions. Windows of the World, the restaurant at the top of the tower, had a number of Muslim workers who all perished with the others.

But then, we saw how the ruling class took advantage of the terror that they could not prevent (and many say it was insider job, hushed up), and unleashed global terror. New York Times and other media with their fake WMD in Iraq stories legitimized genocide, and Bush and Cheney with complete disregard for the American and international people, wreaked havoc. Countless people were killed, and the destruction of Iraq de-stabilized Middle East. More terrorist groups were born, with alleged help from CIA and U.S. government. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all continued the bombing and killing ever since.

Fanaticism, hate, bigotry and violence-based politics have risen their ugly heads — in an unprecedented way that we have not seen since the demise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. People who supported Hitler and genocide of the Jews are now in power — both in the U.S. and in India. Trump’s father was a white supremacist, and Trump himself is openly supported by hate groups in America. In India, those who eulogized Hitler and killed Gandhi are now ruling the land of Tagore, Kabir and Sri Chaitanya.

The world order of peace and harmony that human civilization aspired for and nearly reached — is now a dream of the past. The international Doomsday Clock is now put at the closest hour to midnight, by scientists. As Noam Chomsky, whom New York Times ostracized repeated, climate catastrophe on one hand and threat of nuclear bombs on the other have brought us and our children on the brink of destruction.

I mourn the lost lives on 9/11. I pray for their souls. I condemn any variety of terrorism. And I mourn the loss of humanity, equality, peace and justice — because of the aftermath and politics of hate and violence, following 9/11.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (for one-time, nonprofit, educational use): WTAP.com

Labor Day Parade — An Inspiration

Labor Day Parade 2018

This Saturday, at the Labor Day parade, corporate media did their no-show, again!

But, regardless of the blatant Journalism of Exclusion, I had my reasons to celebrate. I realized the value of the work I’ve done for so many years here in America. It came back to me one more time that I may have lost a lot leaving India. But I have gained enormous knowledge and analysis that was impossible for a very ordinary man like me, with no opportunity to see the world.

Yes, it was unthinkable back then that I would spend more than half of my life in USA.

Saturday, I went to march along with at least 25,000 union workers and their families and loved ones in New York. This is my personal estimate, and I could be totally undercounting the massive parade.

With their warm, genuine smiles and handshaking, my students who are also my union brothers and sisters rekindled my hope that the political education we’re sharing with one another for so many years has made an impact.

Sure, we still have differences in the ways we talk about solutions to this unthinkable mess: I believe in democratic, nonviolent socialism, and many of them believe in status-quo Democratic politics. But we all understand the gravity of the situation — in areas of climate change, food and health care crisis, immigration and human rights scenarios, women’s rights, education, race and economic inequality. We all understand that America is teetering on the brink of fascism.

Yesterday, I saw light in the eyes of my fellow foot soldiers.

And I shall support new, honest, progressive political candidates — away from the DNC status quo. I hope you do, too.

On September 13, 2018, New York Democrats will vote in the primaries. I shall vote for candidates who promise me peace, tolerance, harmony, democracy, socialism, equality, health care, affordable education, and a clean, cooler, saner, humane climate.

I invite all my union brothers and sisters to think hard about their future. And the future of their children.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy: Smart Destinations. Only for non-profit, educational, one-time use.

Another Disaster in India. Question Why?

Majherhat bridge collapse KolkatatodayAnother India disaster today, but nobody answers the real question: WHY?

A busy flyover collapsed in Kolkata (Calcutta) today: second such disaster in a few years. In our worst nightmares, we have never seen anything like it.

A terribly corrupt, reckless and inefficient government, unthinkable population explosion, total disregard for safety, extreme privatization, and stealing of government maintenance money — all contributed to it.

Reminds me of the overhead bridge collapse in Florida a couple of years ago, which people already forgot. Nobody talked about extreme privatization in that case, either.

In case of Kolkata and West Bengal, God forbid, more tagedies will happen in future, with such callousness. Makes it easier for Trump-supporting BJP to come to power. Their own massive corruption will be forgotten, and swept under the rug by their propaganda machine.

Another sad day. I pray to God to save the hapless. Because the people in power won’t.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo Courtesy: For non-profit, education only use: Kolkatatoday.com.