Dr. Partha Banerjee from New York predicts ominous predictions about the upcoming 2019 national elections in India. Climate change, war, violence, terrorism, skyrocketed prices of health, education, transportation, medicines, and slashing of interests on people’s savings would make life miserable. Democracy will be killed once and for all. He wishes his predictions are all wrong. But…are they?
Some very possible outcomes. No, these are not meant for the Bhakts — religious zealots. It’s for commoners.
What can happen a day after the 2019 polls?
Possible Outcome (1) — Cost of meds, oil, gas, education, transportation etc. will skyrocket [again!]. And, on the other side, bank interest rates will plummet. Something like the present day USA. We get 0.5% to 0.75% interest at the banks here in America. Nobody knows or cares. Thanks to the IMF and the World Bank, the Modi government, along with their cronies from the Adanis and Ambanis, is forcefully implementing this anti-people American model on us. And will continue to do so. The interest rates from the banks have already gone down a lot. Earlier, the Indian rates used to be 6.5 or 7% that have now gone down to 5 or 4.5%. As a result, the savings of millions are going down the drain. Retired women, Indian soldiers (Yes! They too!), and all other senior citizens, who totally rely on their savings, might very possibly see their income dip drastically from 15k to 14/12k. The numbers are mere examples only.
Such will be the price rise, that they won’t be able to sustain a living out of it. Violence will increase in the social spheres, because of economic reasons, and just like the USA, the police, military and private jails will take up law into their own hands. Just like the USA.
Sometimes I wonder, why do immigrants like us, who are otherwise intelligent, open-minded, and receptive of a world culture are increasingly aversive to learn about all the potentially good and smart things — particularly art, music and movies — from so many different countries and races that have made America such a great melting pot?
I wonder, why is it that we Bengalis stick to our Tagore, our Ray, our literature, our poetry, and our passions that we have brought along with us to this land? Why is it that in America, most new immigrants — whether from Tamil Nadu or Trinidad — flock to their ethnic TV and newspapers. Here in America, only Yupp TV has found more ethnic viewership from India than from any place else.
Why do we not want to flock around the American TV, American media?
The answer is that nowhere in the new cultural and social space that we have adopted to be our own we find any message of respect and praise. The Western, especially American media, have not found a single inch of space for proud newcomers like us that we can call happy and comfortable. In the name of a much-glorified diversity, the people and powers who own and run the cultural show have made sure they are going to decide what we should like, what we should watch, and hear.
In my thirty years of educated observation, I have not seen a single message coming out of the mainstream U.S. media that would want me to follow the American shows, and not switch back to YouTube or Netflix to search for an Indian or Bengali movie, dance or musical performance. I have tried, believe me, for many years — to love the American “show.” I have failed.
Of course, the new-generation, MTV, Bollywood and Hollywood-raised young men and women do not know any better. The junk and the brainless is all they have grown up with. To them, cultural identity is not a word that makes them think twice. They live in their detached-from history, make-believe world where consciousness forms in a vacuum.
But for the extremely endangered, educated and sensitive human species like us, our roots in our cultural history simply would not let us drop our resistance, and willingly drown in the quicksand of substandard art and kitsch.
In the elite media or tabloid yellow journalism alike, this important discussion about the mind and its active killing by the power is completely absent. It is so absent that even the most sensitive mind does not miss it. It is not a part of their awareness.
A mass slaughter — a silent genocide — is happening right in front of their eyes, and they do not even notice it.
We are dying an invisible, slow, very painful, yet bloodless death.
ISIS — we all know, now, through the horrific carnage in Paris (and Lebanon).
But what the heck is Journalism of Exclusion?
Let’s talk about it.
Only recently, John McCain praised ISIS, and took pictures with the terrorist group’s top leaders. New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, NBC, and other major media did not report it, let alone publish photos that are now easily available online.
Not too long ago, New York Times reporter Judith Miller cooked up a so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction story, which the globally-feared paper printed on its front page for weeks, where defying all journalistic standards, it used one (and only one!) globally discredited source named Ahmad Chalabi.
The report validated Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to begin the Iraq genocide.
New York Times never bothered to mention that Chalabi was a paid CIA agent, a fact they disclosed only weeks ago, in a Chalabi obituary.
Now, let’s talk about the 2016 U.S. elections, that will decide the fate of an entire world and its people.
NYT, Washington Post, CNN, NBC and such powerful, global media never mention that Hillary Clinton is supported by (1) Monsanto, GMO corporation responsible for a massive number of farmers’ suicides in India, (2) Goldman Sachs, one of the primary culprits behind the 2008 economic crash, (3) Wal-Mart, corporation responsible for the destruction of American manufacturing jobs, and (4) private prison corporations that make huge profit by putting blacks and immigrants in American jails.
The above are all examples of Journalism of Exclusion.
I am a student of Noam Chomsky, but I don’t know if he has ever used the term “Journalism of Exclusion.” I have been using it, and asking my politically conscious and courageous friends to challenge big media head on. Only this fierce yet nonviolent challenge can save us from another generation’s time of mass deception and stolen democracy.
The current, global terrorism — both ISIS and American — finds its roots and refuge in this mass deception and the pretense of a free press and open democracy.
Do we want to put up with this violence, lies, and exclusion?
One person has so much education and insight that informed people compare him with Plato, Aristotle, Russell, Marx or Einstein. I compare his ocean-deep knowledge with poet Tagore, and his global peace activism with Gandhi. But U.S. media including CNN and New York Times censor his views, and exclude him from their list of experts.
If this is not bizarre and depraved, then what is?
Noam Chomsky asked me to call him Noam, and not Prof. Chomsky. So, Noam and I had a one on one video interview, then walked over to Plymouth church for his talk at Brooklyn For Peace on its 30th anniversary. I sat with him at the front table, and spoke on various subjects including war and peace, immigration and labor, media and Manufacturing Consent, and India and Bengal. And about his legacy. Got his signature. He pronounced my name the proper Bengali way, and referred to my introduction in his speech. I always lamented that I did not meet Tagore, Gandhi or Einstein. He filled up that emotional void. And his wife asked for a copy of my introduction to his speech.
Truly, and I repeat, it was a memorable day in my life.
On Saturday, November 15, Noam Chomsky came to New York.
Brooklyn For Peace, a grassroots organization, celebrated their thirtieth anniversary. On that occasion, they presented Chomsky with their Pathmaker to Peace award.
My wife and I have been involved with Brooklyn For Peace for a long time. I was its board member for a few years, and worked on its immigrant rights committee in the aftermath of the September Eleventh tragedy. The group reassured me and comforted me that there are a lot of mainstream Americans who are not hateful about Muslim and Arabs. And they do not consider them as “perceived criminals.”
I am neither a Muslim nor an Arab. But I feel a lot of togetherness with them. Just the same way I feel a lot of togetherness with African Americans and other marginalized groups. Latinos, Chinese, Sikhs…
Noam Chomsky is one of the most important scholars and intellectuals of all time. He is perhaps the most important linguist of our time. And outside of his M.I.T. linguistic studies, he is known worldwide as a leading voice of dissent against U.S. foreign policy and war diktat.
People line up for hours to get a ticket to hear him — all over the world. Scholars compare him with historic figures such as Aristotle, Plato, Russell, Tagore, Gandhi or Einstein. But U.S. corporate media despise him, because of his strong, fact-based, objective analysis of the media. Chomsky’s media expose Manufacturing Consent is a must-read, must-watch. You’ll know why U.S. media hate him.
And because of the blanket exclusion of Noam Chomsky by U.S. corporations, media, and the two big parties, most ordinary Americans do not know much about him. And the elite, status quo — both in the U.S. and across the world — are very happy that they don’t.
On Saturday, November 15, I had a chance of a lifetime to talk to him for a few hours. Some of it was, blessed I was, one on one. I also had a chance to interview him on camera, one on one. I shall post it when it is edited and ready to publish. I want to thank Brooklyn For Peace for that privilege too.
I’ve known the living legend since when I was a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I had my first chance to hear him a few months before I joined the school, when he came to the university to speak, along with late professor Edward Said on Palestine and Israel. In April of 2000, I organized a student meeting at the department when he came and spoke to the students of the department for the first and only time. Since then, I’ve kept in touch with him, and for the past six or seven years, I’ve kept pushing him to come speak at Brooklyn For Peace.
Finally, it all worked out. And I had my chance of a lifetime to sit down with him at the dinner table, and discuss many important subjects, including politics, economics, U.S., India, Bengal, and all. We particularly spoke about immigration, labor and their place in human history. We talked about the history-depraved U.S. education system too.
Noam Chomsky is now almost eighty six years old. But he is still doing okay, Thank God. He is speaking, he is writing books, and he is also traveling. A proverbial intellectual and scholar with ocean-deep knowledge is still around us, among us. Mainstream, corporate media and establishments will never like him. But let them dislike him. We love him. We absolutely love him. And we don’t have to agree with him one hundred percent on every issue.
I have never met Tagore, Einstein, Russell or Gandhi. But I have met Noam Chomsky. I’ve known him for quite some time.
And it’s by God’s grace he has also known me. And gave me his blessing and indulgence.
A scientist friend whom I respect a lot tried to impress on me that the cosmic expedition “success” of India last week was a great one, and that I’m playing negativity on it. She also reminded me that I had no business to downplay the incredible scientific achievement India just had. Moreover, she assured me that scientists had no business with politics: they were only doing their job. ISRO in India, and NASA in USA.
I respectfully disagree. Scientists and science, detached from political and economic reality, are actually doing a disservice to us the 99%, and helping the 1% big time, knowingly or unknowingly. In my own life as a scientist, I have seen extremely bright and talented scientists with zero political knowledge or wisdom or interest to get involved in anything political. These are some of the best, intelligent minds. Precisely, the people in power (the 1%) want that: they want to cajole or exploit their hard work and innovative ideas to champion their own cause — making themselves even more powerful, with motives to stay in power and strengthen themselves, and unleash more political, economic or military violence across their world.
Same with USA and its so-called war on terror. Syria and ISIS now. Iraq and Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda before. Chile, Bangladesh. Vietnam even before that. Agent Orange. Monsanto. Remember? It’s a huge, humongous military mission that mighty American science and U.S. scientists have helped their 1% to develop, and grow, beyond imagination. Do these scientists not know what weapons of mass destruction they’re manufacturing, and what costs — human and economic — they’re inflicting on us the 99%? Do they not know how many hundreds of thousands of innocent people their 1% are killing, with their invented and developed science? Do they not know how many Vietnamese mothers are still giving birth to crippled babies because Agent Orange crippled them when they were children?
Do scientists and engineers and IT professionals at GE and Monsanto and Northrop Grumman and Raytheon and IBM and Boeing have any social responsibility? Do they vote? Do they care to vote? Can they vote? Are they detached from the rest of the world and its 99%, with their cozy labs and fancy instruments and crystal chemicals and fat salaries and travel allowances and famed journal articles and five-star conferences? I’ve seen a lot of them and their five-star conferences. I’ve been there.
I would not say much now. But I do want to return to this subject, and ask for your thoughts. I do not believe that the people in power — the 1% — could care less about our thoughts and our alternative priorities, away from theirs. They do not like our strong voice of dissent, and informed, educated decisions that go against their programs.
In short, their priorities are driven by political and economic profits via political and economic violence, and ours are driven by peace, justice and equality via democracy, nonviolence and collective actions. The continuous propaganda by big media — in the U.S. and India — are required weapons of the 1%, to distract us, fool us, and make us believe that they’re doing the right thing (for us), and that we should be happy and proud about “our country.” Of course, they define what the country is: we fall for their definition.
When USA dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945, perhaps the greatest, deliberate mass murder in human history, it was possible because of the Einstein–Szilárd letter that inspired Roosevelt to start developing the bomb. Did Einstein do the right thing? Well, he was afraid Hitler might make it first. So, there was some political consciousness. But what happened because of that encouragement to FDR and Truman had changed the concept of human conscience, once and for all. Bertrand Russell, and later, Einstein too worked to stop the nuclear proliferation. Did they get involved politically? You can bet they did. That was the purpose of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto: to make people be aware more politically.
War proliferation continues. Who knows what is happening inside the iron wall the 1% have built, in USA, UK, India, China or Russia, and what they’re cooking up with help from science and scientists? In China and Russia, they say there is no democracy; so the ordinary people do not know. But in USA, UK or India — three biggest democracy drum-beaters — do we know? We always know after the fact, and not before. Do we have a right know how OUR money is being spent, and do we have a right to participate in the policy- and decision-making process? If it is a democracy, then we do.
If people like us — the 99% — after informed education, analysis and careful consideration, decide that sending a spacecraft to Mars should be India’s top priority now vis-a-vis feeding milk to the malnourished or free the country’s air from carcinogenic pollution, or in case of the U.S., relentless bombing and making wars should be the topmost priority vis-a-vis rebuilding the falling-apart schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, libraries and a strong middle class, then that would be the right thing to do.
Problem is, we the 99% are force-fed with their views by their media, and we are allowed to voice our support only. Our role is only the role of cheer leaders. Dissent is repressed in China and USSR and Saudi Arabia, but excluded in USA and India. Noam Chomsky talks about self-censorship by U.S. media. Nobody knows there was a dissent, and why there was one. Scientists who have dissent, however few and far between, are ostracized and silenced. Bertrand Russell and Noam Chomsky are not household names in the U.S.
Dissent is never heard. Only the euphoria is heard, hence. Or, a massive indifference looms large.
In my opinion, hence, hoaxes and hypocrisies flourish.
Now, if I could only impress it all back on my scientist friend. Would she care to listen?