Archive for the ‘events’ Category
I had a really good time at Jon Stewart’s rally recently. It was great to see and talk to american citizens, who were being so passionate about their political beliefs. There was an enormous crowd at the national mall, and some very witty signs as well!
A US jury has found a man guilty of killing his sick 11-year-old daughter by praying for her recovery rather than seeking medical care.
The man, Dale Neumann, told a court in the state of Wisconsin he believed God could heal his daughter.
She died of a treatable disease – undiagnosed diabetes – at home in rural Wisconsin in March last year, as people surrounded her and prayed.
“If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God,” he said. “I am not believing what he said he would do.”
Indian man ‘sacrifices’ five-year-old girl for male child
A rural Indian witch doctor beheaded a five-year-old girl as part of a bizarre ritual to help a villager produce healthy male heirs, police said Thursday.
Vandana Kumari was murdered on Tuesday in Lakhimpur Kheri district, 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the Uttar Pradesh state capital Lucknow, police officer Ravi Srivastava told AFP by telephone.
Occult practitioner Mewalal Chauhan recommended the “human sacrifice” when the child”s neighbour Ram Niwas came to him for help, Srivastava said.
Dan Reed’s exhaustively researched film builds up a chilling, detailed picture, using CCTV footage, survivors’ testimonies and from police on the scene – who, with their outdated rifles, were powerless to stop the gunmen.
As compelling as these accounts are, it’s the phone conversations between the gunmen and their controllers back in Pakistan – recorded by the Indian intelligence services and aired here for the first time – that are the most revealing.
I have a lot of emotions right now, but I’ll try to keep this short. The actual recorded telephone conversations and CCTV images are gruesome to watch, but highlight the complete lack of preparation our security forces had in tackling such an attack. There’s footage of atleast a dozen police officers running away in the train station together, instead of trying to fire at the terrorists.
It’s also almost surreal listening to the recorded conversations between the terrorists and their handlers, as they receive *live* instructions on where to attack and what to set on fire *after* getting into the hotel. Was this information even available during the counter-terrorism response? If this was known, why were live feeds of the security activities allowed to be broadcast by the TV networks? I can only hope that our security forces have learned a lot from this incident.
There’s also a conversation with Kasab which is shown, where the police questioner asks him about his motivations. It’s easy to label the terrorists as inhuman, and devoid of human emotion, but the religious conviction which they’ve been brainwashed with in order to justify their acts is incredibly sad to watch. The recorded telephone conversations show how they are repeatedly reminded by their handlers that they should not get arrested and should die, and that God will reward them. It’s going to be education, rationalism and literacy which can prevent such people from turning into terrorists.
From the BBC,
The editor and publisher of a top English-language Indian daily have been arrested on charges of “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims.
The Statesman’s editor Ravindra Kumar and publisher Anand Sinha were detained in Calcutta after complaints.
Muslims said they were upset with the Statesman for reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its 5 February edition.
The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”
It concerns the erosion of the right to criticise religions.
The opinion piece by Johann Hari from the Independent is acessible online. It raises some very important issues.
But a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.
Yet this idea – at the heart of the Universal Declaration – is being lost. To the right, it thwacks into apologists for religious censorship; to the left, it dissolves in multiculturalism. The hijacking of the UN Special Rapporteur by religious fanatics should jolt us into rescuing the simple, battered idea disintegrating in the middle: the equal, indivisible human right to speak freely.
How hard is it to understand the concept of freedom of speech? The day that India removes the idiotic rule (Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code) and allows the free criticism of every religion, is the day we take a step of progress as a democratic nation.
However, going by the explosion of outrage and protests, that day is a very long way away. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen in my life time.