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Seen on a Bathroom Mirror

July 30, 2014

Received via KALYANI MENON-SEN

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Big media has become bigger: Media Diversity and Reliance’s takeover of Network 18: Smarika Kumar

July 28, 2014

Guest Post by Smarika Kumar

Big media has become bigger. The takeover of Network 18 by Reliance has consolidated news media in the country like nothing before. The Reliance-Network18 combination is, in fact, not exactly new. It was actually executed a couple of years ago in a very telling, roundabout fashion when Reliance lent money to Network18 through a trust called IMT, among other things, to buy all of its media properties. As a result of Network18’s debt, Reliance could then dictate to it the terms of repayment, which were agreed between the two entities in the form of debentures convertible to shares.

The resulting combination brings TV channels like CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNN-IBN, IBN7, IBN-Lokmat, ETV-Rajasthan, ETV-Bihar, ETV-Uttar Pradesh, ETV-Urdu, ETV-Marathi, ETV-Bangla, ETV-Gujarati, ETV-Kannada, ETV-Oriya, ETV-Telegu, ETV-2, Colors, MTV, VH1 and Nick; web content properties such as moneycontrol.com, ibnlive.com, and firstpost.com; as well as magazines like Forbes India under a single umbrella of ownership and control. (For a complete list of media properties held by Reliance currently, scroll to the end of this article.)

  Read more…

Breaking the Silence about Gaza from Israel: Yehuda Shaul

July 26, 2014

Guest Post by YEHUDA SHAUL

In November 2012, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip called “Amud Anan”, the literal English translation of which is, “Pillar of Clouds”. Though, the official name in English was deemed, “Pillar of Defense”. A few days ago we launched another operation named, “Mighty Cliff”, which is officially called, “Protective Edge”. Both chosen titles are highly defensive in their essence. When I hear the names given to military operations in Gaza – especially the versions chosen for an international audience – I am reminded of my military service as a combatant in the Israeli army, whose full name (both in Hebrew and English) is: the “Israel Defense Forces” (IDF).

Read more…

Women Have Been Branded Liars!

July 24, 2014

Guest Post by ANUBHA SINGH and SURABHI SHUKLA

The recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar & Anr. (Criminal Appeal No. 1277 of 2014) has once again brought to light the concern shared by the larger society about the ‘misuse’ of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter “IPC”) and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. This concern has been raised many times in the past (and present) and the judiciary has gone to the length of labeling this ‘misuse’, especially that of Section 498-A, IPC,  ‘legal terrorism’ (in Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India JT 2005 (6) SC 266.)

However, what has changed this time is that through this judgment the Supreme Court has endorsed and legitimized the common stereotype that women exaggerate and fabricate stories of violence to seek vengeance against their husbands and matrimonial families. Read more…

Anti-Semitism Cannot be the Response to Israeli Attacks on Gaza

July 24, 2014

Extremely disturbing reports of anti-Israeli sentiments spilling over into generalized attacks in France have been coming in lately.  This is completely unacceptable. The just cause of the Palestinian people is about occupation of their land by Zionists and all Jews are by no means responsible for the brutality that Israel is exhibiting in its attacks on Gaza, sparing no one and even specifically targeting small children. This is not a religious or a racial issue but one of political justice. Let us make no mistake that any attempt to make it into either a religious or race issue will only harm the Palestinian cause in the long run. Here is an extract from a report in Huffington Post:

France’s politicians and community leaders have criticised the “intolerable” violence against Paris’ Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city’s Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of “Gas the Jews” and “Kill the Jews”, as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as “little Jerusalem”…

Religious leaders gathered for an interfaith service on Monday to call for calm, and Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, and Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of Drancy shook hands on the steps of the synagogue.  Read the full report here

That said, it also needs to be underlined that in this no-holds-barred war, Zionists themselves have been keen and eager to see that the anti-Zionist feeling is transformed rapidly into an anti-Semitic one. Thus Mondoweiss published a Youtube video along with a report that showed that the attack on the synagogue was actually provoked by members of the Jewish Defense League. Mondoweiss’ story has since been confirmed by the President of the Synagogue de la Roquette. His words:

In an interview broadcast Friday on the 24-hour news channel i-Télé, Serge Benhaïm said that there was “not a single projectile thrown at the synagogue” and that “at no moment, were we ever physically in danger.” (“Pas un seul projectile lancé sur la synagogue”. “A aucun moment, nous n’avons été physiquement en danger.”)

While Benhaïm did not describe the street fight outside as resulting from a JDL “provocation”, he did say that the extremist group smashed up a cafe on Rue de la Roquette (“le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette confirme également que la LDJ a ‘cassé des chaises et des tables’) in order to confront pro-Palestinian demonstrators (“pour aller livrer ce face-à-face”). He added that he did not condone the action, and described the JDL as having a “bad reputation” using a French phrase – “une renommée un peu sulfureuse — that is not done justice by a literal translation. Read the full Mondoweiss report here.

There will be – as there are – desperate attempts to drown the groundswell of anti-Israeli sentiment in a flood of outcries of anti-Semitism, by all interested quarters. There is need therefore to see that no quarter is yielded to those who wish to transform the present mood of anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism.

 

Concerned Public Health Professionals on the Israeli attack on Gaza

July 24, 2014

The following is a statement issued by some concerned public health professionals in New Delhi, on 21st July, 2014

The world is once again witness to the macabre dance of death in Gaza unleashed by the Israeli aggressors, and once again the news of scores of innocent Palestinian deaths, including those of a number of women and children, is flooding in. The tragedy is compounded many-fold by the conspiracy of silence on this issue entered into by all the major powers of the world, who have singularly failed to take any effective measure to restrain the Israeli aggressors. The only exception to this silence is USA, Israel’s long time sponsor, which has once again blocked efforts at the United Nations to pass any motion of censure against Israel.

Israel’s alibi for the latest attack – to punish perpetrators of abduction and murder of three Israeli boys, holds little merit when Israel is the occupying force in first place and its leaders are belligerently calling for annihilation of ordinary Palestinian lives without discretion in accordance with their doctrine of ‘collective responsibility.’ The deputy speaker of Israeli Knesset, Moshe Feiglin has called Arab people “a gang of bandits” and has argued in favor of Israeli government cutting off electricity supply to Gaza in order to paralyze its hospitals. His reported statement is – “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter Gaza.” Read more…

The Sheepification of Bakistan: Mina Malik-Hussain

July 23, 2014

We are reproducing this piece by Mina Malik-Hussain, which appeared in The Nation (Pakistan) as it deals with an important issue which concerns the changes that are taking place within subcontinental Islam. The piece underlines the great cultural battle underway within Islam which, in the final analysis is about being Muslim in many different ways. Mina Malik-Hussain is a feminist based in Lahore.

When we were small, there was a month and it used to be called Ramzan. It was Ramzan on television, it was Ramzan in the newspaper with the sehr-o-iftar timings and while nobody had a cell phone or Facebook to wish anyone, it would have been Ramzan Mubarik nonetheless. Sometimes if one was being quite linguistically adventurous it would be Ramazan, but nobody seemed to mind.
And then, insidiously, The Arabs crept up on us. It wasn’t like the return of Muhammad Bin Qasim, but somehow Ramzan became Ramadan. Nobody knew exactly how it happened, but almost overnight our crisp z’uad sound became a lisping Arab burr, and we—a nation of language speakers with no apparent consonant pronunciation difficulties—were flung into the downward spiral of an affectation obsession. Now it was cool to sound Arab, and soon enough it began to be increasingly desirable to look it. Cue Al Huda, cue our streets being lined with gangly palm trees that do nothing, either in terms of beauty or shade, cue the availability of the most bling Islamic cover-up gear you’ll see this side of Dubai.

Still, as a nation we were still fairly open-minded about this, so we fasted year after year and didn’t really pay attention to the semantics of it. We were busy trying to live our lives and be regular Pakistanis, but The Arabs kept making inroads onto our cultural minds. One year ‘khuda-hafiz’, that old and comfortable way of saying goodbye and Godspeed, became ‘Allah hafiz’ with the dubious reason of having to specify which deity to whose protection one was recommending you. Because here in multi-religious, multi-cultural and secular Pakistan there was actual leeway where one would wonder who exactly Khuda is, and perhaps not want to be entrusted to a pagan god. Some people resisted, and continue to resist Allah hafiz and keep saying khuda-hafiz with the logic and hope that whatever His name, He will still protect and love them. Also if it was good enough for one’s grandfather and great-grandfather, it was just fine for them too. Read the full article here

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