3. Mr. President, even though you used 13 times more drone attacks than Bush did and killed many innocent people including women and children, I shall still support you.
4. Mr. President, even though you did not support the Wisconsin or Chicago labor and teacher’s strikes and not do anything about Employee Free Choice Act, I shall still support you.
5. Mr. President, even though your Israel-Palestine policy is no different from Bush-Cheney’s, I shall still support you.
6. Mr. President, even though you did not close down Guantanamo, and did put Bradley Manning behind prison, I shall still support you. (I know your big bosses are keeping an eye on my activities just the 1984 way, and that makes me…excited.)
8. Mr. President, even though I know your next four years will be no different from your first four years, I shall still support you.
9. Mr. President, even though I know ordinary people like me will go through exactly the same extreme ordeal, price rises, uncertainties, stress, anxiety and fear, I shall still support you.
10. Mr. President, even though you did not do anything for a comprehensive immigration reform and let millions of undocumented, hard working, family-oriented immigrants go through extreme poverty and exploitation, I shall still support you.
11. Mr. President, even though you have done virtually nothing to address global warming and scary climate change, I shall still support you.
12. Mr. President, even though with your blessing, IMF, World Bank and Wall Street, and their multinational corporations such as Monsanto, GE, Wal-Mart, Exxon and Disney have unleashed economic terror and made their brand of global economy a sure recipé for more poverty and more disaster across the world, I shall still support you.
13. Mr. President, I shall still support you because you and this wonderful, two-party plutocracy tell me we have no other choice.
I want to thank you all who took time to read what I said about Sandipta. It was nice to see so many thousands of readers came to visit my little blog. I want to thank those of you who commented on it. It was reassuring to know that people still care about life, and death. Through this very unfortunate experience, a small group of people came together, and shared their pain and sorrow. It was a matter of the soul. It was a spiritual experience.
Thank you so much for your compassion for this young sister who left us so suddenly, and so untimely.
Then, I found some Twitter messages Sandipta wrote in her last few days. One message was a re-Twit about Shiv Sena, India’s KKK, and its just-deceased chief Bal Thackeray. The message Sandipta re-Twitted was on 17th November. “[Shiv Sena chief] Thackerey’s … editorial very sweetly compared women journalists to prostitutes.”
This was from a 1991 editorial Thackeray wrote in his Marathi-language publication Saamna. This is just before the time when SS butchered poor Muslims in Bombay, right after the Babri Mosque demolition that took India into a new bloodbath. Sandipta reposted the message for her friends — without any personal comments.
It gave me the courage to write again. It made me remember the young, vibrant, Tagore-loving Indian journalist Sandipta Chatterjee whom I knew for five years. I remembered how in many Facebook conversations, we often talked about and shared our similar opinions on rights, justice and dignity for all — especially Indian women. I kept tagging her on my blogs — particularly the ones that talked about racism, bigotry and lies.
Most of the time, she would simply not comment. Once in a while, she would, in her usual soft, subtle way. Being a part of the Indian corporate media world, she did not want to be too explicit, and I always honored that ethical boundary. She was not nearly as political as me, either. But I knew she had support for honesty and truth. She had to: she was a graduate from Tagore’s university.
I am afraid I still don’t have enough energy to write too much. I just had to write something because it’s so relevant right now. My apologies if I sound too abrupt and too brief. I invite you to read some of the other articles I posted here on my blog over the past few months, if you’re interested to know indepth about these subjects. I invite you to read what I wrote about India’s corrupt sell-off political leaders, role International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Wall Street are playing in India right now — puppeteering profiteers as I call them — to destroy the Indian economy once and for all, and how Indian corporate media are cheer leading the ruling class without ever exposing the horrendous truths from a global point of view.
There is hardly any comprehensive discussion on Indian media (which is now officially a clone of global corporate media organizations and their profit-only business) on how IMF, World Bank, Wall Street corporations such as Wal-Mart, Disney, Monsanto, General Electric, McDonald’s, Exxon-Mobil or Coca Cola have destroyed economies and environments across the world. There is no discussion on Indian media about the connection between the thousands of farmer suicides in today’s India and the hundreds of young women burnt to death at garment sweatshop factories in Bangladesh just two weeks ago. There is no conversation to correlate these gruesome tragedies with the Union Carbide worker slaughter that happened in Bhopal three decades ago: to show that the global profiteering saga at the expense of poor peoples’ lives has reached a new low.
There was no discussion on the fact that for the first time in a very fractious India, political rivals such as CPI(M) and the left, BJP and the right, and grassroots Congress-breakaways such as Mamata Banerjee the West Bengal chief minister came together on an economic platform to stop the aggression of sinister, global corporations and their devastating profiteering — in the name of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Very soon, just like Indian farmers have been killing themselves in thousands — the largest number of farmer suicides in human history — small businessmen and farmer’s market vendors sitting for centuries on urban and rural markets of India will perish with their familes and children.
Congress Party and its media blast this coming together of right and left: they call it hypocrisy. Yet, just a couple of months ago, Congress got crucial support from India’s KKK Shiv Sena to elect its IMF-sponsored president Pranab Mukherjee. There was no comprehensive discussion of that scandal either!
Finally, before I run out of steam, a word about India’s cricket. This is of course the one of the largest, thriving, for-profit industries in India now. In fact, it is the only sports industry in the entire world that has a major portion of the country’s wealth played into the hands of mafia, underworld bookies, media corporations, politician-turned-administrators, and cricketers who keep making billions in a country where at least three out of four people do not have enough to eat, can’t send their children to school or sick parents to a hospital, or must walk miles every single day to fetch water to drink.
Here, this one game India invests so much money on, and a game only ten countries play (and nobody knows about it outside of the past British colonies they now call Commonwealth). There is no accountability for failures and no media discussion on how much money these players and administrators and underworld bookies actually make.
The game’s star player Sachin Tendulkar is now a Congress Party-nominated parliament member. Now, here is one interesting fact to reflect on.
During the very important FDI debate in Indian parliament, where Congress Party allegedly bribed some small, caste-based politicians to get their crucial, numerical support to pass the Wal-Mart and Rupert Murdoch’s foreign direct investment, Sachin Tendulkar was supposed to be present in New Delhi during that vote. But he was playing cricket in Calcutta exactly at the same time! Even though he was not able to pull the dismal Indian cricket out of a defeat by England (critics say he has hardly ever done it in his entire career: to pull the Indian team out of an imminent defeat!), he displayed perhaps one of the most egregious breaches of workplace ethics (I wonder if it’s illegal too), by working for two employment places exactly at the same time — also perhaps making money from the two places exactly at the same time!
And this entire breach of workplace code of conduct was done in front of one billion Indian people. Like, he was naked in front of all of them.
Well, I have said enough already. I am a poor, powerless man. I should not say so much. People are angry.
UPDATE on January 6, 2014. — Bangladesh is falling apart. Bengal is falling apart. First Britain, and then USA, with help from their cronies and crooks, have managed to destroy a very prosperous land with a thousand years of glorious history, art, poetry, literature, wealth and religious harmony. Oh God!! I don’t know Palestine well. But I know Bangladesh. I weep for Palestine. I cry out loud for Bangladesh.
This is a repeat slaughter of Bengali workers — mostly young women aged 12 to 24 or so — at a Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M, Hanes or Tommy Hilfiger outsourced factory run by these corporations and their international and domestic agents. Even New York Times expressed their disapproval. Even CNN thought it was not pleasant to have so many sweatshop workers killed so often.
I wrote about Latino immigrants in Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft’s America. I wrote straight from the Arizona-Nogales border — straight from a van we took to cross through the Sonoran desert when it was 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I wrote from the morgue where they kept unidentified dead bodies of women and children who perished walking across the scorching desert into the U.S.
I wrote about my experience in Israel and Palestine when I had an opportunity to visit the Middle East as a journalism student from a prestigious journalism school here in New York. I saw how Palestinians lived and suffered at the hands of the powerful. I went to see Golan Heights at the Syrian border where the Six-day War back in 1967 permanently displaced Palestinians from their own land and international big brothers made sure they remained destitute forever.
I wrote about the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation Struggle when some people decided a British-pauperized, partitioned East Bengal and its millions of newly-impoverished people had no right to food, freedom, dignity or even their own language, and they decided to send a Kissinger-crafted CIA war into that land through Pakistan, and killed ten million people, raped half a million women, and evicted ten million more from their homes and lands — to repeat a similarly bloody and catastrophic 1947 history in less than twenty five years.
I went to work on the borders of India and Bangladesh to see the suffering of those refugees first hand. I wrote about them.
I am now writing again to express my feelings about the poor Bangladeshi garment workers who were burnt alive yesterday in a repeat inferno at a Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M, Hanes or Tommy Hilfiger sweatshop at the outskirts of Dhaka.
I don’t know if my writing has any impact at all on the minds of the otherwise intelligent, educated and human rights-minded liberals in America and India — the two countries I know the best — or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. I have every doubt that such killings are now transient news blips that come on the surface, shake up a few minds for thirty seconds or less, shake up their conscience for an even smaller amount of time, and then disappear into oblivion.
Worse, these otherwise intelligent, educated, human rights-minded liberals in America and India — the two countries I know the best — or for that matter, anywhere else in the world keep supporting the Democratic Party and its leaders like Obama or Clinton, or the Congress Party and the Gandhi Dynasty in India…or…you put your favorite country and its political system and leaders…and by doing that, they sustain an inhumane, corrupt and cruel, exploitative socioeconomic system that is responsible for all these horrendous acts that are killing and torturing and maiming and starving and displacing and destroying millions of poor men, women and children — all over the world.
I have no hope that bringing up these horrendous acts of violence — political or economic — on the surface would make any long-term change within the status-quo minds of these intelligent, educated and human rights-minded people.
I have learned how not to hope anymore. Not from the elite liberals anways — American or Indian.
I just write about it because I have no other way to cleanse myself of my own sin — of being a part of this system.
Thank you for at least listening. Now if you want, you can go back and do your Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M, Hanes or Tommy Hilfiger. If you’re in India, find your favorite shopping mall for Diwali shopping. Soon, you’ll find Wal-Mart and Disney too…across the country.
Please do it. I wouldn’t mind at all.
Sincerely Writing (without caring about the outcome),
I came up with a list of questions that I think media — big media, corporate media, multinational media, mentor media — should ask Romney and Ryan. But I have a feeling they won’t do it.
So, I guess the onus is on us. Let’s do it ourselves.
(Update on September 18: Especially after today’s breaking news that progressive publication Mother Jones exposed Romney’s gravely disparaging comments that 47% Americans love to live on government entitlements and don’t pay any taxes, mainstream media such as New York Times are jumping all over it, and conveniently ignoring many other issues. Hence, it’s even more important to address these issues now. The political debate is getting shifted from economy to race, etc., and while race is extremely important, this election should be primarily about the economy and the 1%. We must not let vested interests to shift the debate from the economy.)
American media’s coverage of the Republican National Convention was as usual shallow, superficial and sentimental. Just like the previous conventions I’ve seen since Reagan, corporate media didn’t provide any serious analysis on any serious subjects. Its big-name journalists and experts did not show any critical thinking at all. It was all glossing over, spinning, twisting and distorting.
Question: Why is it always that way? Answer: Either they are stupid or they’re not doing their job on purpose. I think it’s the latter because these otherwise well-dressed and articulate (and definitely well-paid) people and their [very well-paid] bosses do not want to lose their tons of ad dollars and traditional viewers that might switch channels once real debates, controversies or unpopular, unpleasant narratives are brought in. It’s like, if someone on TV presents serious research data that among ALL the developed countries, USA has the highest income inequality and also highest social and health problems because of the grotesque divide (these are all facts — look it up here), most people would not like to hear it. They have been brainwashed for decades. They would switch channels.
It’s pathetic to see how American media have totally degenerated especially since Reagan. There is no hard-hitting journalism at all! There is no real analysis that matters to real people and their real lives. The whole RNC 24/7 coverage was, just like before, done almost in a vacuum — as if, it was a fantasy world out there! I have a feeling the Democratic convention will be this way too.
I also have a feeling we’ll see another pathetic repeat of the above when time comes for the so-called presidential debate with similar hoopla and meaningless moderation. I have a feeling it’s going to be another exercise of naiveté, glossing over, window dressing and scratching the surface — with exclusion of critically important issues.
Maybe, Karl Rove and Koch Brothers, among others, are watching over these media establishments. That’s why they’re so afraid to ask the right questions!
However, if I were one of these big-name media personalities with big privilege to work with these politicians, I’d ask them some straight-shoot questions. But because I do not have that privilege and I have no other power than writing them down in this blog for my friends, readers and sympathizers — now surprisingly from many near and far corners of the world — I’m writing them down here. My hope is that you find these questions worthy of asking; and in case you are one of those privileged journalists with access to these big-name politicians, please see if you can ask some of these questions — and get some meaningful answers that everybody can understand.
So, without further ado, here’s my short wish list. I know, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, you are extremely important and busy. Therefore, I’ll only ask you about a handful of topics. I’ll save the others for later.
Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, either of you can answer them. Considering you are planning to be commanders in charge of not just America, but de facto of the world, consider people like me all over the world are eagerly waiting for your honest, thoughtful and straightforward answers. Don’t haze it. Don’t faze it.
Thank you for your time, Honorable Sirs.
Question 1. Trickle-down economic policies have failed us the middle majority, working people. Giving tons of money and power to the rich at the top of the pyramid didn’t work. It has caused enormous income inequality, and the middle class has suffered greatly. What is your plan to change the course of our economic policy and actions?
Question 2. You propose more tax cuts for the rich — individuals and corporations. And, in fact, richest corporations now Supreme Court-validated as individuals — such as General Electric — do not pay any taxes. Don’t you think it’s unfair that we the ordinary, low-income people are paying about 33% federal income taxes (some say, to pay back to Federal Reserve which is a private, all-powerful entity that nobody really knows); yet, the richest corporations are not paying any taxes? For that matter, you said you paid only 15% income taxes yourself. Isn’t that outrageous discrimination against us who make so little?
Question 4. Bush-Cheney’s brutal genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan has destroyed world peace, bled American taxpayers (i.e., us) to death, caused a catastrophic budget deficit, and tarnished the American image (whatever was left) worldwide. Now you’re drum beating another war as soon as you come to power — perhaps against Iran (or is it Syria?). How do you think that would promote either peace or economic prosperity — two things you frequently talk about?
Question 5. 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. You 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 you can show the same resolution to protest against the action of the Israeli government when they killed Rachel Corrie?
Question 6. At the RNC in Tampa, you and your party’s top leaders such as Chris Christie have championed the cause of the American workers and families who are going through a horrendous time because of high unemployment that some compares with the situation during the Great Depression. Especially younger people, according to some research, have 30 percent joblessness, which is a record in American history. The economic situation our young people are in is simply horrible — check these facts. Are you going to create new jobs within America by supporting traditional job bases such as manufacturing and construction, and stop U.S. corporations’ massive outsourcing of these jobs to China, India and other countries? Are you going to take on Wal-Mart or Apple and their massive outsourcing?
Question 7. 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 8. It seems both of you and your colleagues such as Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal — and of course, Scott Walker — have fiercely anti-labor-union position. Can you please tell us if you’re in power, are you going to destroy organized labor once and for all? Are you going to take away their non-violent weapons such as collective bargaining?
Question 9. Are you going to overturn Roe vs. Wade and bring American women back to the coat-hanger alley days, with help from a partisan Supreme Court?
Question 10. Are you going to follow the dictates of your party’s “mainstream voice” Tea Party and abolish the separation between the church and state? Are you going to mandate Biblical prayers in U.S. public schools?
Question 11. Are you going to destroy Social Security and Medicare? Yes or no?