Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Compulsion to talk

Finally, India and Pakistan are talking again. Since India's sudden U-turn a few days back on its stand of 'no talks till Pak dismantled terror network directed against us from its soil', a debate is raging in India whether we should be talking at all to a neighbour who has cared the least about our proof of its direct involvement in terrorism. We again feel punched in our nose with the Pune terror strike a few days back. Well, many in India feel the German Bakery blast in Pune was a disruptive effort by the elements opposed to the Indo-Pak talks. But it can also mean Pakistan punching us once again to bring home the message 'that is how we initiate talks with weaklings'.

But talk we have to. Reasons are obvious - the Americans want us to talk to our rogue neighbour because they want that rogue to be kept in good humour for reasons internationally well known. President Obama soon after assuming office made his intentions clear that he wanted US out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible and he is desperately exploring all possible means to achieve that goal (even if that means supping with the devil). Ironically, today India needs US more than the US needs it. Pakistan is hell bent upon linking Kashmir to peace in Afghanistan. India knows it very well that the Americans can damage us gravely just by uttering a single word; Kashmir. Another area of concern is that there are legitimate aspirations India has on a permanent UNSC seat and entering the elite nuclear club for which the US help is very vital.

The just concluded London conference on Afghanistan has almost tacitly approved President Hamid Karzai's plan of striking a deal with the Taliban. Pakistan which has already decided to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban (the Afghan Taliban are not disturbed as Pakistan feels they might soon be ruling Afghanistan once again) is feeling much elated with the outcome of the London conference while India is already nervously feeling left out in the cold. With China upping its ante every now and then India rightly feels that the atmosphere around it is not entirely in its favour and in future things are going to take a turn for the worse. It is certainly not the time to annoy the United States by displeasing it on Indo-Pak matters. The US has to be obeyed even if that means eating a humble pie.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Good Americans and some very good Christians

The Caribbean island of Haiti suffered the worst earthquake in recent times and many countries rushed in to help the victims of the calamity. Obviously, the Americans have a large presence amid those who are on the humanitarian mission. Right from pulling out of debris both living and dead, providing food and shelter to the needy to drawing reconstruction plans, the US have been on the forefront. Good Americans indeed.

But some very good Christians have emerged from among these good Americans. They perhaps came to the devastated country with a different mission - child lifting. Initially what appeared to be a case of extreme passion towards orphan children who were being helped in all possible way by the volunteers from a church group based in Idaho (USA) is actually turning out to be an act of kidnapping by committed and practicing Christians. As on 04 February 2010, a judge in Port au Prince established criminal charges against the group of 10 church members, it came to light that the claimed orphaned children indeed had their parents alive. The parents were told that their children would come back to them when grown up. One woman who allowed her 10 year old daughter to be taken away on such a promise has been extensively quoted by international media. While everyone else remains busy helping the needy these devout Christians shamelessly tried to accomplish a horrible mission of human trafficking.

Whether the judicial system of a small and battered nation will be able to bring the facts in this case out for everyone to know is debatable especially when the criminals belong to the most powerful country on the earth. However, some inferences can possibly be drawn about the motive of the gang.

The 33 children might have ended up as slaves in homes of some wealthy persons or sold to childless couples. Or they might have gone to Pedophiles lurking in garb of religion or, the worst might have awaited them if the gang was in the racket of trafficking in human organs.

That much for the humanitarian efforts of the missionaries.

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