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

President Obama, Why Should I Really Vote FOR You?

Change? Really?

Related post. (Click on this link) — Questions Media Won’t Ask Romney and Ryan.

Related post. (Click on this link)– Occupy Wall Street: Ordinary, Working People — Moderate Left and Moderate Right — Must Come Together, Empower and Fight Back Against Both the Elite Center and Far Right and Far Left. Because there’s way too many overlaps as opposed to differences. Believe me: this is where the real strength is.

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NOTE: I wrote this blog using my personal time and resources.

Recently, I wrote two articles on this blog — both on the subject of the U.S. presidential elections. They were both popular — beyond my expectation. I want to thank all the readers — practically from all over the world — for their kind interest. It’s been a gratifying experience.

In the first article (click on the link here), I expressed my fear that Romney and Ryan — the Republican ticket — would win (that was before the Mother Jones “47%” expose broke out). In the more recent article I posted just a few days ago during the Republican National Convention, I challenged and asked some questions to the R&R ticket. You can read it here too.

Readers visited both articles with surprisingly high interest; particularly, the newest post where I challenged Romney, Ryan and Republicans to answer my questions got a very high number of readers. I was delighted. Of course, I never got any response from the Republicans at all; my doubt is that they never even heard my name, let alone read my questions. I wish they did.

But it was reassuring that so many readers took a moment out of their busy life to think about what I had to say on the political and economic scenario — of USA and almost by default, of the entire world. Given that my readership — especially my American readership — has a more liberal tilt, and that too, perhaps with a Democratic affiliation, I felt happy that my questions reached them and that they had the opportunity to use and share those twelve bullet points in their own circles. Who knows, maybe, some of these people are going to attend the Democratic National Convention that’s happening in North Carolina this week; chances are, at least a few of them who perhaps heard my name and about my OneFinalBlog through grapevine, Facebook and Twitter would talk about the issues I addressed in my articles, and have some productive, positive discussion.

At least, that is my hope. With that hope in mind, I’m now going to ask a few questions to President Obama and his Democratic Party — again, on the current political and economic scenario of America, and almost by default, of the entire world.

Republicans are now asking the American voters, borrowing the famous line from Ronald Reagan: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Actually, even though I have absolutely no soft spot for the Republicans and I said it loud and clear that I would never vote for Romney and Ryan, I believe the question they’re asking is not irrelevant at all. In fact, that is a perfect ask any voters should ask themselves: are we now better off or worse off? And, what is the measure of being better off or worse off? Is it economic, is it the war and violence situation, is it domestic repression, is it the elitist status quo, or is it something else?

Remember them? No? No wonder media makes so much money making you forget stuff so quickly!

The only problem is, Republican leaders are asking the question disingenuously, and cheating their ordinary Republican (or undecided) voters who may or may not remember the whole story. If these leaders — most of them affluent and powerful and with deep ties with Corporate America and its powerful lobbyists — were not so dishonest and if they didn’t have an equally disingenuous media on their side, they would rather phrase the question this way:

“We know eight years of Bush completely destroyed the American economy, created an astronomical budget deficit, gave obnoxious tax breaks to the super wealthy, bailed out billionaire bank executives and corporate criminals, waged catastrophic genocides in Iraq and Afghanistan killing millions, looting oil and destroying history of ancient civilizations and bleeding us the U.S. taxpayers here to death, and tarnished the American superpower image once and for all across the world, but still, we believe that we are better than the Democrats to run this country. So, would you not vote for us? Please?”

Neither the Republicans nor the disingenuous, gloss-over U.S. mainstream media would frame their question to the voters this way. They don’t have the guts or honesty to do it.

(And Bill Clinton, in spite of his jackpot speech at the DNC, forgot to tell us how he destroyed age-old American welfare especially for poor women, imposed NAFTA with majority help from Republicans drastically cutting U.S. manufacturing jobs in the U.S., overturned landmark Glass-Stegall, rehired Greenspan to destroy the economy even more, and deregulated financial derivatives with help from Rubin and Summers. He also forgot to tell us how he and war criminal W. Bush have been great buddies ever since. Maybe, he’s preparing us for a Hillary 2016 and a Jeb Bush 2020. Who knows? Nobody but the elite knows anything: it’s all elitist secret. And they call it a democracy!)

Too disturbing to digest!

In any case, we can never believe that Obama-Biden and the Democrats did a wonderful job in these four years and should be able to put all the blame on those eight years of a Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft presidency; hence, we should all be happy and happily vote for another four years of Obama-Biden. Not so easy. We have some serious questions for President Obama and his Democratic Party, and here they are. Again, for the sake of time — both of my esteemed readers and Obama and the Democratic leaders who are busy and important people, I’m going to ask only a handful. I’ll save the rest for later.

You know what? I like Barack Obama as a person. I like Michelle Obama too. They are two of the smartest and modernest first couple America has seen for the first time in generations. And I know for sure that just because they are black, a large number of Americans (and Indians — from India) hate them. It’s unbelievable that even in 2012, millions of people especially in USA, Europe and India believe blacks are inferior to whites (and to browns and red and yellows and olives and purples and grays…) and a black president is a disgrace for this God’s Country called USA.

Well, let me tell you this. I think these people are pure racists and sexists and bigots and jerks too; and just because I know them so well from my own long experience to be with racists and sexists and bigots and jerks, I think at the end of the day, I’ll come out and vote for Obama, even though I think his Democratic administration has cheated me of my hope, expectation and enthusiasm for a change. But that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to vote FOR a presidential candidate FOR him, and not AGAINST his racist and bigoted and sexist and lying opponents.

So, at this point, without annoying my patient readers to death, I’ll ask a few questions to Barack. Mr. President, Sir, would you please be kind enough to respond, or at least ask one of your colleagues to do it? It would be much appreciated. My questions are not prioritized in any particular fashion.

Question 1. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — Rachel Corrie, a young American woman, in 2003 stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer to protest against Israeli government’s demolition of houses of Palestinian civilians. The bulldozer crushed her to death. Your Democratic Party leaders such as Hillary and Bill Clinton had blasted Chinese government’s human rights violation when its tanks threatened to kill Chinese protesters at Tienanmen Square a few years ago. Do you think your Democratic Party can show the same resolution to protest against the action of the Israeli government when they killed Rachel Corrie? (You might also add here the drama of including Jerusalem as the Israel’s capital in the Democratic election platform.)

Question 2. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — Multinational, U.S.-based companies such as Monsanto, Union Carbide, Coca Cola, Chevron and Disney (among many others) have caused havoc in many other countries because of their ways of doing business. For example, over the past decade, 200,000 Indian farmers (yes, you’ve heard it right!) have committed suicide — the largest in human history — because of Monsanto’s permanent seed replacement with their own genetically engineered products and false promises of crop yield. Union Carbide’s infamous toxic gas leak in Bhopal in 1984 had killed thousand of poor workers and their families; women who suffered are still delivering crippled babies. Are you going to bring these companies to justice and compensate the victims for the disasters they went through?

Question 3. (I asked this to Romey and Ryan too). — Have you ever visited an agricultural or industrial farm in California, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida or Texas where owners work immigrant workers like slaves in a toxic situation — with zero human rights? Many of them die of cancer, tuberculosis and such diseases — because of their inhumane work conditions. Do you see any difference between their condition and that of the black workers and their families in a cotton plantation during the slavery days? Your government has detained and deported more undocumented immigrants — many of such poor workers — than even Bush and Ashcroft government did.

Question 4. — Why did your administration let Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest corporate criminals in the history of modern human civilization, off the hook even after their criminal activities were exposed beyond doubt at bipartisan Congressional hearings?

Question 5. — Why did you include people such as Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Jeff Immelt, et al.  — some of the worst-known corporate elements responsible behind the financial disaster — in your administration and would not purge them in spite of repeated pressure even from the pro-people sections of your own party? Why did you not stand behind the Overturn Citizen United campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders — 100 percent?

Question 6. — Why did you not take up, let alone pass, the Employee Free Choice Act when labor unions have always been such an ardently faithful ally? Isn’t that one of the worst examples of not keeping your 2008 campaign promises?

Question 7. — President Jimmy Carter has condemned your drone attacks and hit lists that killed thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and recently in Yemen too). Isn’t that one of the grossest violations of international peace treaties and human rights laws? (And we all know you also backtracked on closing down Guantanamo.)

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Post Script. — This is from New York Times tonight (click for the news story here). Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod, said, “We’re in a better position than we were four years ago in our economy.” But Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, a Democrat, answered “no” on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” though he blamed Republicans. Other aides equivocated.

I’ll tell you this. Martin O’Malley and the other aides are honest. David Axelrod is dishonest and arrogant with his answer. And that is my problem with this Democratic Party and its top people who run the show. If you tell me we’re better off than four years ago, you’re kidding me. If you tell that to an ordinary American voter — Democrat or Republican or undecided — you’re going to lose their vote. Remember, many of these people didn’t watch Bill Clinton last night: they were working a late-evening shift to make ends meet.

We, the ordinary people who live and work in the U.S., who lost their jobs, health care, life’s savings and houses, and who can’t afford to play the stock market, are not better off. People like us do not see light at the end of the tunnel. President Obama and Mr. Axelrod, you must face the truth. You must tell the truth.

Most importantly, tell us why should we vote FOR you, and not just against your bigoted, lying, racist, sexist opponents?

Thank you, Sir, for your valuable time and kind response.
Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Youth Unemployment Hit a Record 30%.

New IMF Terror in India Can Kill My Family

Note: Please also read my other post on this subject: IMF Just Bought A New India President. Click on this link at https://onefinalblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/imf-just-bought-new-india-president/. Thank you for your feedback and share.

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India’s one billion people are now going through a massive and catastrophic terrorist attack. On the surface, this attack is bloodless. On the surface, this attack is not even violent. This new terror is silent.

This is a well-organized, pre-planned economic terror attack. And it is going to kill countless people.

You can consider this article as an urgent terror alert: a red alert. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, and willing to be a part of any debate mainstream media is bypassing. My hope is that you would not overlook this grave scenario unfolding right now.

The newest economic terror unleashed in India and on the Indian people — one billion of them — brings with it terrifying weapons of mass destruction. The new weapons are massive devaluation of the Indian rupee, historic price hike, and forcing harsh, neoliberal economic “reforms.” India now has the world’s steepest and fastest price rises for essential commodities — such as cooking oil and gas, rice, wheat, vegetables and pulses. I’m not even talking about the huge price rise in health care, education, housing and transportation.

Corporate India, Wall Street, IMF and their mouthpiece big media tout these new, harsh reforms as “necessary for growth.” They have their friends in the Indian government. In fact, India’s queen mother Sonia Gandhi, prime minister Manmohan Singh, and longtime finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who now assumed the position of India’s ceremonial president are all involved in and aware of this neoliberal economic terror, unleashed full-scale by IMF, World Bank, WTO (previously GATT), and their corporate forces.

These forces have now re-colonized India.

Update (September 22): It’s extremely disturbing that India’s media has completely bypassed this extremely important discussion. The only discussion that they were forced to take on was because of West Bengal’s loose-cannon chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who pulled out her support for the Manmohan Singh government on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): where the government gave away carte blanche rights to Wal-Mart, Mansanto, GE, Coca Cola and such sinister corporations to invade India’s huge retail market, replacing and destroying local economies. NO substantive discussion of the role of IMF has taken place, even during the month-long election campaign.

I have lots at stake in India. My father, sisters, cousins, in-laws, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, teachers and students and a large number of friends live there. All my childhood neighbors live there. All of those people who helped me to survive, grow up and prosper live there. My twenty five years of living memory lives there.

This new massive and catastrophic terrorist attack could kill them all. And a direct consequence would be: here in the U.S. where I live now with my little nuclear family could be killed too.

This is a real scenario. This is very real. This is very scary.

I blame the current Indian government. They have failed again to prevent a huge terror attack — just the same way they failed to prevent the 2008 bloody Mumbai terrorism. And many others that happened before and after.

I also blame the International Monetary Fund. I believe IMF-WTO with World Bank is responsible behind this new terror.

Stop IMF Terrorism, Now!

How does IMF unleash the economic catastrophe? Here’s a quote from Malaysia’s former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, who showed us a way to break away from IMF.

“In the old days you needed to conquer a country with military force, and then you could control that country. Today it’s not necessary at all. You can destabilize a country, make it poor, and then make it request [IMF] help. And [in exchange] for the help that is given, you gain control over the policies of the country, and when you gain control over the policies of a country, effectively you have colonized that country.”

The Mahathir Mohamad quote can be easily applied to India. In the 80’s, Rajiv Gandhi became (or was put in as) the prime minister of India after his mother Indira Gandhi was assassinated — allegedly by a CIA plot. Rajiv Gandhi who had no prior experience in politics, naively and ironically, opened up the floodgates of India’s socialist (and “stagnant”) economy to foreign corporations, and India has ushered in the new era of “reform.” The present prime minister Manmohan Singh was one of the chief architects of that so-called liberalization. This new reform has pulled India out of a so-called stagnation that the country’s elite did not like, made them extremely rich, and created the largest-ever inequality and rich-poor divide in India’s history. India’s corruption and black market have stooped down to an historic abyss.

Through this two-decade-long “reform,” India has succumbed to Western multinationals and directives of IMF and World Bank. India now has one of the highest price rises especially for oil and gas; its currency has devalued from 11 Indian rupees per U.S. dollar to 55 Indian rupees — in just twenty years. Unexplained by media. Accepted by the status quo. There is a cultural shift.

This is the same policy IMF imposed on countries such as Argentina. What is happening in India right now is a stark reminder of what happened in Argentina just a decade or two ago.

In the 1990s Argentina was the poster child for globalization. They followed the IMF and World Bank program. Soon after, their economy and infrastructure were destroyed. Western media did not care. India media did not tell that story either. Now, Greece is going through the same IMF horror. Ireland, Spain and Italy have begun suffering greatly, thanks to the global economic terror and anti-poor austerity measures in the European Union. (Gosh! Why don’t they ever ask the super-rich to do some austerity too?)

The “reform” plan for Argentina then, just like it is for India now, had four steps.

Pathetic Gold Greed.

The first step was capital market liberalization. Its liberalized markets freed capital to flow in and out across borders. But once Argentina’s economy began to wobble, money simply flowed out.

In India, money now leaves the country like crazy. Or, in a more India-like fashion, it simply goes underground: either into Swiss Banks or the country’s biggest-in-human-history black market. Nobody in the government ever discloses the amount of black (unaccounted-for and/or untaxed) money: there is no legal mandate to do that. Corporate media, strangely, never get to the bottom of it. The infamous Bollywood movie industry or India’s rising-star cricket industry with game-gambling — two biggest profit makers — are known to be run by smuggled or mafia money. Then you have India’s largest-in-the-world gold industry: particularly in crisis, black money changes to gold.

Grotesque Gold in India. And the Greed is Growing. India Govt also gave a tax break to gold merchants.

The second step in the IMF-World Bank regimen in Argentina was privatization. Both at the urging of lenders and out of financial necessity, Argentina throughout the nineties sold off the state’s oil, gas, water, and electric companies and the state banks.

Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, India has rapidly succumbed to the hands of globalization pushers; particularly its banking industry has been taken over by foreign banks. Nationalized banks such as State Bank of India have practically dwindled on the verge of collapse; Citibank, HSBC and such others have taken over the entire country’s middle class and their savings. Investing U.S.-style into the globalized stock market — particularly its financial sector with an aspiration to be quickly rich — has backfired on the middle class.

In 1994, at the World Bank’s urging, Argentina partially privatized its social security system, diverting much of it into private accounts. The US-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) calculated the revenue loss from this decision alone to be almost equal to the nation’s budget deficit during the period.

For that matter, India never had a social security system. But its nationalized insurance industry has collapsed too at the hands of Metlife, New York Life, now-fallen-from-grace AIG, etc. This is a direct result of never-well-disclosed IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program. I wrote about it in my Outlook India oped a couple of years ago. Click on the link here if you’re interested to read it.

The third prong of the push was “market-based pricing.” In Argentina, the main target of this initiative has been labor, that most inflexible of commodities.

“A major advance was made to eliminate outdated labor contracts,” states the CEPR report, noting approvingly that “labor costs” (i.e., wages) had fallen due to “labor market flexibility induced by the de facto liberalization of the market via increased informality.” Translation: workers who lost unionized jobs were forced into ad hoc arrangements, with far less protection. Here, the report asks the government to decentralize collective bargaining, a move that would reduce union power.

Child labor at Delhi Commonwealth Games. Nobody minds. The game must go on!

A very similar development in the labor sector has happened in India. Labor unions have seen harsh repression, governments and corporations have taken away their precious collective bargaining, and the once-mighty leftist or other pro-worker trade unions have practically died. Indian construction and manufacturing industries have used child labor that international human rights organizations have reported to be the worst-case scenario in the world. Women workers are often the victims of sexual violence and grossly underpaid, even by Indian standards. Worse, work, workers and poverty are now looked-down-upon — just the new trickle-down American way.

Step four of the IMF program was free trade. The loan terms of the two institutions had required Argentina to accept “an open trade policy.” As recession set in, Argentina’s exporters — whose products were effectively priced, via the peg, in US dollars — were forced into a spectacularly unequal competition against Brazilian goods priced in that nation’s devalued currency. Argentina grows a special kind of long-grain rice favored by Brazilians, and yet even as Brazil faced a hunger crisis tons of rice went unsold.

Dying Farmers and Families

India has seen more or less the same. “Free trade” has seen a one-way free trading where multinational corporations such as Monsanto have devastated Indian farmers: they have forced, with collusion from their operatives in the Indian government, permanent seed replacement with their own genetically modified seeds. Indian farmers, forced to take vast loans to keep their farms and produce, have become destitute and the country has recently seen the largest-in-human-history suicides of farmers. Indian farmers have also been forced to sell their traditional trademark products like Basmati rice to multinational corporations. In fact, the age-old name Basmati has been owned by a Texas rice company!

Before 1980, when the World Bank and IMF set out to rearrange the economies of developing nations, nearly all of them adhered to Keynesian or pro-worker, bubble-up, demand-side economy. Following the “import-substitution model”, they built locally owned industry through government investment, behind a protective wall of tariffs and capital controls. In those supposed economic dark ages, spanning roughly from 1960 to 1980, per-capita income grew by 73 percent in Latin America and by 34 percent in Africa.

India also saw an equitable economic system and price control for the essential commodities kept the poor and lower middle class happy and content.

My father didn’t earn much from his factory, but we had no debts.

I came from a poor or lower middle class family in Calcutta and I know for the fact that in spite of the low income of my father who worked in a factory was enough for us. Now, in 2012, with this new economic terror unleashed by IMF and World Bank and their operatives in the Indian government (such as the finance minister who is also, as I said before, the country’s official head of IMF), my poor cousins simply cannot survive with the money they make.

Health care costs are now so high that one of my cousins cannot send her mother to a good-quality private hospital; the poor woman is dying practically untreated at home (update: just this past weekend, she died). A friend whose son was a bright student in school could not go to an expensive private college; his dreams are shattered. Public sector health care and education, along with employment — once strong pillars of India’s somewhat egalitarian economic structure — have been purposefully destroyed. Public transportation is going to see the same fate in the coming days — again, the U.S. neoliberal way.

Sky-high rents and other essential living costs are driving the middle class into major debt; they’re driving the lower middle class into poverty, and the poor into destitution and death. One of my childhood friends in Calcutta killed himself because his parents were both ill and he was overwhelmed with debt because of their medical expenses. He and I played alley cricket and football together.

The newest round of oil price hike and sharp devaluation — under directives from IMF — will bring even more desperation for those people I left back there. A brother in-law recently died when he was only forty; he could not take anymore his lifelong unemployment, hopelessness and embarrassment. The sister he married nearly died too. IMF’s official India director who is also India’s national finance minister (nobody knows!) might want to face these families — on camera. (I want to be present there as the interview moderator.)

All of the above have had direct impact on my home here in the U.S. A failed globalized economy is running amuck worldwide. My family and I keep paying for its impossible price.

I want to live happy here in the U.S. But I can’t.

This new terrorism is ruining my people’s lives. And my life.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Very Sad but Very True!

The Non-Lessons of Nine-Eleven

What Lessons Did We Learn?

-One-

The Premise

It’s a simple thought. In fact, it’s a very simple thought. I’ll tell you what it is. Just give me twenty…thirty seconds.

The thing is, when I launched this blog some two weeks ago, I promised to my readers and friends, and also to myself, that I shall write about heartfelt, honest feelings; I said I’d write about life and love — in a soft, toned-down way. I did it as best as I could; honestly, I didn’t worry how many people read my posts, or whether or not my simple messages reached the five senses of the people higher up: those who could make a difference. Out of their five senses, I knew I could never pierce their remarkably thick skin; so I didn’t even try it.

But the pleasant surprise was that more than twelve hundred people read my blog in just over two weeks — something that never happened to me in my relatively new life of an activist writer. I was gratified to know that a large number of people still did care: very likely, they cared about the transparency and real-life, raw emotions I’m trying to pass on to them.

They agreed that it was indeed a matter of the heart.

I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for your interest in what I have to say. With your support, I hope to continue saying it.

So, now, what is that simple thought? What does it have to do with the present topic?

I posted a question on my Facebook page two days ago. It was this: “Are we more educated, informed and mature — can we now save more lives and human dignity?”

It was not a rhetorical question. It was not an academic question. It was not a question about any particular country either — U.S. or India, the two countries I know. I asked that question taking into account the evolution of human race, if we can measure it in such a short time, since the terrorist attacks and their aftermath global un-democracy, violence and war.

I have actually thought about it quite a bit. But I wanted to know from my friends who I thought would want to address it too. Some of the responses I got were as follows:

(1) “If “we” means Americans, the answer is a flat and emphatic NO..”

(2) “How come we need to be ‘more educated, informed and mature’ to save more life?”

(3) “”More”… relative adj. “More” than what/who/when??? As to whether we can now save more lives and dignity? I believe we can. Whether we do or not is another question entirely.”

Okay. Fair enough. People have different ways to express themselves, and sometimes without knowing it, people take a superficially different point of view when they’re actually in agreement with each other (believe me!). Sometimes I feel that through my writing, I’m raising debates on one hand (and making people uneasy and uncomfortable that way…sorry about that); and on the other hand, I’m playing the role of a moderator of the debate so as not to let it out of our hands. After all, if we can’t agree on things we so deeply care about, even within our own circle of friends, then how in the world are we going to impress them upon the others who do not know us and have every right to pay no attention?

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-Two-

Cliches and Cacophony

The terrorist attacks of September 11 killed 3,000 people, and changed our lives forever — yes, that’s a cliche. Don’t tell me I’m not being respectful to the innocent lives lost on that day; if you do, adios amigos, I’ll see you next time. (By the way, I just found out that the labor unions I work with lost 17 of their members: half of them doing construction and electrical work that morning on the 105th floor of the North Tower).

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 gave global war mongerers great ammunition to pursue their global fascist agenda — yes Das Capital’ists, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, we’ve heard you.

There are many real-life stories that media did not tell us — stories of how thousands of ordinary, innocent people fell victims of a repressive regime, and either perished in jail or got deported. — See, this is somewhat less known, but not that completely unknown now, thanks to the 24/7 hard work of hundreds of progressive organizations, lawyers and grassroots activists. And small, alternative media deserve credit too.

Muslims, Arabs and South Asians (including Sikhs) as well as other poor immigrants were target of heinous hate crimes, and some of them were brutally assaulted; a few of them actually died. — In case those big-name diversity, rights and justice groups did not tell you about it before, yours truly did it already, a number of times over. Reading his blog for the first time today? Welcome. Just flip through some recent posts.

So, what is new? What is NOT news yet?

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-Three-

Talk to Your Heart

Again, because I promised my blog this time around would be simple, soft and succint, I don’t mean to make it a long-winded, complex, lawyer’s argument, even though I put it out for my jury to release their verdict on it (FYI, as of today, only my Facebook itself has 2800+ friends, and that number doesn’t even include my six cousins and three brothers in-law).

So, simply put one more time, “Are we more educated, informed and mature — can we now save more lives and human dignity?”

What do you think?

Q. Who provided the necessary education since 9/11 that taught us how to be tolerant and respectful to all men, women, transgenders, religions, atheists, agnostics, Sikhs, Muslims, Africans, Jews and Latino immigrants (especially those who still “look like a terrorist” even after they were forced by their “American” employer to shave off their beard)?

A. Like…nobody?

Q. Who provided the necessary information after-the-fact that if you built very tall, arrogant towers at the end of an island, and that too, without any common-sense safeguards to prevent them from airborne terrorist attacks, it’s likely that terrorists would take advantage of that illiteracy and egotism of the people in power, and try their best to destroy them? (After all, just like pickpockets and muggers, terrorists are constantly watching out for easy preys while the easy preys are not watching out for them?)

A. Like…nobody?

Q. Who gave us and our children the maturity lessons that would help us and our children to be a little more mature than believe that what is norm and acceptable in a high-school brawl situation does not really apply to global civilization, and that it’s neither norm nor acceptable to use phony stories and hearsays (like, Judith Miller’s WMD stories published in mighty New York Times) to attack a foreign country, kill thousands of innocent men, women and children, and destroy a five-thousand-year-old civilization?

A. Like…nobody?

Q. Human dignity…now that’s a complex question. Some of my Facebook friends might ask: “How come we need to be ‘more educated, informed and mature’ to preserve human dignity?”

Follow-up Q. In fact, what is human dignity?

We’ll save that question for the next post. Please consider the other simple clauses of this rather simple non-lawyer’s argument, and deliver your valued judgement. I wouldn’t mind a severe sentence…punishment…like…long-term imprisonment…in your thoughts. All my life, I’m looking for those flung-open, skylark-sung prison camps.

Didn’t I say it was a matter of the heart?

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Yours Truly