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Geek by profession, thinker/writer/artist by passion. Part-time blogger,social media enthusiast and a tramp by nature :) A Man Of Mud


Friday, April 18, 2008

A Tribute To Myself

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Posted by: danish Ahmed 1:49 AM

The other day I was sitting on the toilet pondering on the nature of things when suddenly it occured to me and I was really surprised that I had not yet realised how great I am! A door to my subconscious was opened, I felt a lot clearer now and could then recognize those random itsy-bitsy acts of mine for what they really were- marvelous deeds of a genius. In my arrogance I had overlooked my own brilliance and was instead appreciating the mediocrity of my fellow humans. In that moment of awakening I could almost feel the warmth of the radiant halo that must have been around my head though I couldn't see it myself. I was sorely tempted to seek someone else's assistance to just make sure but decided against it as I realised that showing my posteriority to someone else was not a good idea especially with my pants bunched around my ankles.

So I pulled up my trouser and socks and settled down to write this tribute to myself. I am fully aware that no one who knows me would recognize my greatness but that does not bother me at all. Even I myself, am not very sure why I should be considered great except that the thought came to me when I was answering nature's call. Throughout human history many a great ideas have come to great men and women as they sat performing this most intimate and private function of the human body so why should my thought be considered part of the crap just because I cannot not justify it ?

Many years from now someone might look back and confirm that this particular idea of mine should have been flushed down with the rest of the crap but till then I don't see a reason why I should not consider myself great and pay tribute to myself.

Note : I had composed this as a April Fool joke but didn't have the guts to post it. But Behan Mayawati's chutzpa a couple of days back was truly inspiring. . In case you are wondering what Im talking about, you might have missed the news item, "Mayawati unveils her own statue" !
Im thinking of changing the title of this post to "A tribute to myself, Behan Mayawati and all fellow narcissists"

Posted By danish Ahmed 1:49 AM

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spirit of the Olympic Flame Crushed

Posted by: danish Ahmed 4:48 PM

For the first time in history, the Olympic Flame was extinguished in Paris, amid protest against host nation China's poor human rights records and the recent repression in Tibet. In London it was almost doused by the protestors, rushed through San Francisco like an unwanted guest and an elaborate security measure has been planned for its passage through India. It is time that China and the international community wake up and take notice of the reality. The Olympic Flame represent's individual's rebellion and triumph against authority ( it commemorates theft of fire from Zeus by the mortal Prometheus), if it is taken out under security covers and from the midst of protesting individuals the very meaning of this icon is lost.

The Tibet flare up is seen by China as a desperate bid to deny the nation, its long awaited moment of glory. Indeed, after its inclusion into the Big Five club as the legitimate occupant of one of the five permanent member seats of the UNSC, People's Republic of China could never acquire an equally important role (even if in a sporting event) in the international arena. China already has a dismal record of human rights violation, allowing it host Olympics with active support of the global community may be seen by communist state as an endorsement of its various anti-people policy. We would do well to remember that Olympics is more than just a game, it is perhaps the only international event which witnesses participation of almost every nation on earth. In fact, Olympic boasts of a larger body of members than the UN. As such, venues hosting Olympic Games in the past have seen political protests, agitation and even violence. If the Nazis used 1936 Olympic Games for their anti-Semitic and supremacist propaganda, the Soviet Union boycotted the games till 1952 for political reasons. The Munich massacre of 1972 is the goriest blot in the history of Olympic Games but it also emphasizes the fact that the games are seen by diverse groups as the perfect opportunity to seek attention of the world population towards their own grievances.

Tibetans have been shouting hoarse since half a century but as of yet all their cries have fallen on deaf ears. Now, that the entire world's eyes are focused on Beijing, Tibetans have every right to draw attention towards their plight. Apart from the Tibetan issue, communist China's censorship laws, its brazen disregard for civil rights of its own population and its totalitarian polity need to be addressed too. China's economic growth in the last few decades has been stupendous, it is now being tipped as the next economic superpower but its population is hopelessly cut off from the rest of humanity. In this era of information revolution individualism has gained unprecedented momentum, more and more individuals are coming out and taking help of technology to participate in the political processes but China's restrictive policies prevent its citizenry from accessing even the BBC (Chinese language). It goes without saying that every effort is made to restrict/eliminate any sort of political criticism on ground as well as on the internet. It is ironic that the Western democracies led by the US have gone to the extent of invading sovereign countries on the pretext of defending democracy and human rights but if the offending actor is China, authoritarianism, human rights violation, ban on free press and regulation of all media including the internet are considered kosher.

It is not just the nation-states who are conniving with Chinese repression; corporate IT giants too have no reservations on diluting their own principles and policies. For instance, while Google behaves almost despotic when it comes to ensuring that its policies are not violated, it has no problems diluting them to comply with China's Internet censorship policy. Other than Google three other IT giants, Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco too follow China-specific policies that comply with China's Internet censorship policies. It is for this reason that the hacktivist group cDc describes them as "Gang of Four". These four biggest names of IT industry normally swear by Western ideals but when it comes to business versus ethics and human rights, they have no problems siding with oppressor to prevent financial loss. By complying with the Chinese government's internet censorship policy and conniving with the Chinese authorities in denying free information to people they are as much guilty of human rights violation as is the communist regime of China. I do understand that the major world powers or the corporate just cannot ignore the booming Chinese economy; they would not be able to ignore it even if they wanted to. But some values and principles are too precious to be sacrificed on the altar of monetary benefits.

Use of force or aggressive diplomacy to tackle China is too naive an idea to be harbored by anyone who understands politics, the only pragmatic approach is that of persuasion. In case of the Tibetan issue the Chinese government would do well to engage in dialogue with Dalai Lama. In spite of continuous persecution the exiled spiritual leader shows no personal hostility towards China, he still supports China hosting the Olympic Games. As a Buddhist spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate his adherence to the creed of non-violence is undisputed. Most importantly he has been calling for dialogue and is hopeful that the Tibetan issue can be resolved through negotiation. However, in reciprocation China accuses him plotting to create unrest on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. It is really confounding why China is unwilling to participate in dialogue. Often talks and negotiations are exploited to buy more time and perpetuate status quo, but it is highly unlikely that the Dalai Lama would indulge in such a strategy because the status quo is absolutely in favor of China.

China's unwillingness to accept Dalai Lama's invitation for dialogue and negotiation may have something to do with the authoritarian state's inherent inability to tolerate dissent and criticism. However, a few incidences in the recent past suggest that as China begins to rely heavily on the global market the communist regime may after all realize that it has to make concessions and recognize the fact that a progressive society cannot evolve out of a totalitarian state that seeks to maintain an iron grip even on the thought processes of the members. In the run up to the Olympic Games, the government is taking some steps to allow more freedom to foreign journalists, Wikipedia was unblocked less than two weeks back and there are indications that China may gradually relax some of its internet censorship measures. The world population should take a clearer stand and persuade China to improve its human rights records and hold dialogue with Dalai Lama to resolve the Tibet issue. If it wants an equal share in the global market and success of the Summer Olympic Games, it should take the opinion of the world population more seriously. The relay of the Olympic torch signifies unity and progress, it is relayed through most of the important countries in the world in order to emphasize the games' global significance. However, if the flame has already been extinguished thrice and requires security cover to ensure its further safety, the very essence of the ritual is lost. The authoritarian regime of China needs to understand that this is an indication of the fact that in a rapidly shrinking global village, the administration should not feel secure after gagging its own population; it has a whole world to contend with.

Posted By danish Ahmed 4:48 PM