My experiences , my thoughts.. A little bit of everything…

Archive for October, 2012

The Silence Of The Moderates

Malala Yousufzai

MALALA YOUSUFZAI, this name has come to represent, the voice of those millions of innocent girls like her, yearning for peace, freedom and education in the oppressed society governed by evil forces like the Taliban. It is  generally the weaker section of the society, that is the women, which bears the brunt of the male dominated chauvinist ideology. It was not surprising that the Taliban, the dangerous cult that dwells on the core principles of oppression, terrorism, ignorance and hatred imposed ban on the girls from going to school and studying, along with ban on anything that represents a secular free society. On Oct 9, 2012, Malala Yousufzai, the innocent girl, aspiring for education and freedom was attacked by a Taliban gunman in an attempt to assassinate her. Her crime? She was outspoken about the atrocities of the Taliban, She liked freedom, She wanted to go to school, She wanted peace in her loving home land. Ironically, the word “Taliban” means “Students” in Pashto language. What a shame, ones calling themselves “students” do not understand the importance of education. On the contrary, the Taliban claim that their act was justified. This was their statement released to the press in their own words “We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war. Sharia (Islamic law based on Quran) says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam.”

Pic courtesy: AP Photo / University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

The Taliban along with its fascist allies were at the forefront to criticize and call for beheading of the makers of the movie on the Prophet of Islam. What followed since the posting of the movie was widespread violent protests, killings, arson in many  parts of the Muslim world that lasted for more than a month. The so-called moderates were not far in criticizing and expressing their anger on the movie, pouring down in streets around the world. The supposedly moderate and secular government of Pakistan went to the extent of shutting down the whole country in protest of the movie. While there were widespread protests against a cheesy movie (which is not even worthy of mention) on the Prophet of Islam, the heinous act of the Taliban did not receive the same kind of criticism.

Protest in Pakistan against movie "Innocence of muslims"

Image courtesy: Reuters

Why are those moderate voices which roared on the streets to denounce the movie not heard now, when an innocent girl is struggling for her life? Why don’t those voices fill the streets to criticize the abominable acts of the Taliban? Where was the moderate government of Pakistan when the assassins were preparing to attack the poor girl? Except for some candle light vigils and a handful  demonstrations mostly by women activists, there has been no public criticism for this act of violence in Pakistan itself where this happened, let alone other parts of the world. Nor has there been an official criticism of the Taliban by the Pakistani government despite the fact that the Taliban has killed thousands of innocent people in the Swat valley and continues to do so to this day. Once again the Taliban has proved that it is their voice that reverberates stronger than the moderate voices.

Silence of the moderates could only mean, either the moderates agree with the ideology of the Taliban or they are too timid to speak against such ideology. It is the silence of the moderates that gives courage to the tiny minority such as Taliban to exert their ideology over the majority. It is the silence of the moderates that lets a handful fanatics to hijack the faith and use it to suit their evil agenda.When the moderates can come strongly to defend their faith if someone criticizes it, why can’t they come to denounce those who misuse the faith, if they think it is misused?. If the evil has to be eradicated, the moderate voices should resonate, resonate stronger and stronger.

Silicon To Chilecon Valley

Maoi of Chile

Maoi of Chile – Picture courtesy:wikipedia, under creative commons license

US Immigration policies are a curse to talented entrepreneurial individuals coming from around the world, who bring high skills, advanced knowledge and creative ideas for betterment of people and the country. Silicon Valley has been a hot bed of innovations from couple of decades now.  Facebook, Amazon, Twitter , Google, you name it, all the renowned names have found the needed nurture to grow and expand  here. Place, People and Policies, all have been conducive for new start-ups and their innovators in this mecca of technology, except for talented immigrants, who come to USA with a hope that their ideas will be recognized and rewarded and help them to create their dream ventures in US.

Lack of streamlined immigration policies, issues with visa renewals, refusal of visas on trivial reasons, extremely prolonged times to process green cards, restrictions to start businesses on immigrant visas, have hurt and added to the miseries of the highly skilled immigrants and forced them to seek other places to find ways to implement their ideas. Many have just found it beneficial to return back to their home countries, which have welcomed them back with open arms. This is the onset of reverse brain drain for America. Many of the world-renowned and successful companies in the US were founded by people who came as immigrants; take the example of Sun Microsystem or Hotmail. They had to wait long to get their resident-ship before they could create a company however. Many more great ventures are obstructed from creation, just because of the lousy, time retarded American visa policies.

Chile , the ribbon shaped country that stretches on the west side of southern American continent, and one which is not known much for technology or high-end development, has shown a welcome gesture  to the budding entrepreneurs  to try their innovations with its “Start-Up Chile” program, reports “The Economist”. The response has been immensely good if we are to believe the news. Educated, innovative and entrepreneurial individuals, who are left with no avenues in the so-called land of opportunities because of the vague immigration policies, will find a new world to explore. Besides the venture capital, lenient visa policies and governmental support for establishing and promoting businesses, Chile has much more to offer. Best wines, beautiful beaches, diversified food among others.

Sure, all those sharp minds will listen to the “Call of Chilecon Valley”. USA is on its losing end with its stringent immigration policies, while others capitalize on the talent from around the world.

Beer, Burger and Baseball

 

 

It is said that three things define the American way, namely BEER, BURGER and BASEBALL. After years of relishing on burgers and boozing beers, it was time to complement the American way with a game of “Baseball”. Coming from a country where cricket is the only way to sports nirvana, other sports seem paltry. So, it was not the game that attracted me, but the idea of burgers and sipping cold beer in the stadium that did. I was  a total dumber when it came to base-ball basics. This was going to be my first ever baseball game watch.

Atlanta Braves Vs NY Mets

Place: Turner field, Atlanta

Time: Friday Sep 28 2012, Evening 7.30 PM EST.

The Turner field is located right in downtown Atlanta and it is challenging to reach the destination on time in the heavy traffic, especially when there are planned events in and around the downtown. Street vendors, from caps, t-shirts sellers to peanut sellers lined the narrow streets leading to the stadium. Street performers singing and playing music gave the area around the stadium the look of a country fair. I was overwhelmed by the over pouring game enthusiasts in and around the stadium. Inside the stadium the dazzling  flood lights and  a huge LCD screen so enormous I had never seen one before caught my attention immediately. Billboards displaying flashy advertises, pretty cheerleader girls dancing at one corner of the ground, delicious smell of burgers and hot dogs and the distinct aroma of beer that engulfed the stands , seemed mystifying.  Before stepping in the stadium, beer and hot dogs were the only things on my mind, more than the game and I was happy to see them all around. Cheap tickets got as complimentary gifts for generously donating blood to Red Cross association on the blood donation day at work, put me on the top deck of the stadium from where dragon flies that crowded the nearby flood lights seemed bigger than the base-ball players on the ground below.

Amid cheers, yells and waving boards from the fans, the game started rather sluggishly. The game was between the home team Atlanta BRAVES and NY METS. So BRAVES had the crowd behind them to cheer at large. One player of the BRAVES with the baseball bat in his hand positioned at one corner of the stadium was ready to face the opponent NY MET bowler. Other NY METS positioned themselves at different positions on the ground to stop the ball. The field positioning, the batsman and bowler reminded me of the game of cricket which I was very much familiar. It looked bit similar. The MET threw the ball at the BRAVE man so fiercely it seemed as though his intention was to blow the batsman. The BRAVE man tried to hit the ball several times but missed each single time. The crowd sighed in disappointment. Several BRAVE men came forward to try to hit the ball but no one was able to hit it well. A few were just able to hit it across the ground and had to run hard after hitting to reach a circle marked at some distance before a fielder could stop the ball and throw at the person standing at the circle. There were only sighs and boos in the stadium until one man arrived when everybody got to their feet, and clapped, cheered and chanted “Chipper .. Chipper.. Chipper.. Go Chipper Go!!”. I understood he was some baseball god, a renowned veteran of the game, who had arrived on the ground to blow everybody’s balls (I meant to say hit every ball thrown at him.. don’t think different 😉 ). However, to everybody’s disappointment, he too missed every ball thrown at him.

Then there was the turn of the METS to try to hit the ball. And the same hit and miss ball continued. There was one lucky MET who was able to hit the ball, and he hit it hard, so hard that the ball disappeared in the dark sky. Everybody cheered and shouted frantically. There were fire crackers, the cheer girls danced to celebrate his feat. His happy face was displayed on the large LCD screen as he waved his hand to the crowd to demonstrate his victory. Now I understood, the key to the game was to hit the ball right and hit it really hard so that you don’t have to run. And if you cannot hit it hard and are just able to push the ball around the field, you run, run like crazy to reach a circle marked at some distance before the ball is stopped and that’s how you gather some points towards winning. If you run and make a full square you are a champ. But you have to be quick; else you will be declared out. By the end of the playing time, the BRAVES were not able to hit many balls well, while the METS hit some balls really hard. Clearly they had balls of steels that night. They were declared winners. The METS however were cheered coldly by the spectators, as it was not the favorite home team.

For a person naïve in base-ball, it hardly mattered who won. All it mattered was the fun at the end of the day and a good Friday evening spent cheering, sipping beer, hogging the dogs and to be part of a wonderful live gaming experience.

 

 

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