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The End of The Light

July 16, 2014

This correspondence has been received from Haitham Saqqa  

I have stopped feeling whether it is day or night. Time has no meaning. I have stolen moments to sleep in order to relax my psychologically and physically body which is overwhelmed with the abundance of news. But I wake up soon because there is an airstrike.

We have neglected the house because we are all huddled in one room. And I see every moment the fear in the eyes of my sisters especially Dema the youngest. She does not leave the bosom of my mother, and I can’t talk to her about the end of this onslaught of dirt which we all hope for because at this moment the F16 attacks and I will be a liar. I’ve lost my dear friend and his brothers who were at his cafeteria on the beach. An F16 assassinated them. We used to go for football training together. They are still looking for my friends body.

I am unable to think of what is good. Everything in my mind is about the end. I cannot think about the future at this moment. All that I can think about it how to exploit the moments that I presently live in. I can’t look towards the future and nothing is clear or guaranteed. My dream is focused on what I can do in the moment, because I simply can’t dream the weekend or even the end of this day.   I wait only the end…

[Haitham Saqqa works with Medical Aid for Palestine. He lives in Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip].  

Israel’s Template for the Globe’s Future:Satya Sagar

July 15, 2014

 Guest Post by Satya Sagar

For all those who think that Israel is run by the most despicable, racist and repressive regime in the world here is some very bad news indeed.

Not only are the Israeli state and its ruthless methods here to stay they could also be, very frighteningly, a prototype of our collective global future.

 Watching the unbelievable destruction wrought by the Israelis in Gaza a simple question very high on many minds must be “How in hell does this artificially concocted child of European guilt and American ambition get away with all this again and again and again?”’

The answer is that instead of being a strange historical aberration Israel may well be a model state that global elites want to establish to control the world in the days to come. Read more…

The ‘Patriots’ of Our Times !

July 15, 2014

India is a land of surprises, say many.

And how can Bihar, which they say has been witness to a glorious past, be an exception. Of course nobody could have imagined that ‘surprise of surprises’ or (should I call) ‘mother of all surprises’ would be reserved for the Bihar police. In fact it was one life time experience for all of them there where they found how ‘Rs 50,000 can balloon into Rs 1.14 crore’.

The central character in the still unfolding drama is Giriraj Singh, a RSS activist since his childhood days, and a senior leader in the state, who has already carved out a name for himself nationally for his controversial statements. People would remember how he proposed to Modi opponents to go to Pakistan during election campaign or how he eulogized Brahmeshwar Singh, leader of Ranveer Sena, the private army of landlords which had been allegedly responsible for hundreds of killings of innocents as ‘true Gandhian of our times’ when the dreaded figure was killed in a gang war. As an aside it needs be mentioned here that Giriraj Singh was one of the first in the state who had vouched for Mr Narendra Modi’s PM candidature also. Read more…

Delhi Police Prevents Peaceful Protest in Front of Israeli Embassy – Students, Others, Injured and Detained

July 14, 2014

A Tale of Two Protests, On Two Days.

Protests against the situation in Gaza have been held in Delhi yesterday, (Sunday, 13th July, and today, 14th July, in the morning). Yesterday, on Sunday morning, there was a peaceful protest in front of the Israeli Embassy – this came out of a call for protest by individuals. Yesterday, about a hundred odd people, including many young people, had gathered. I was present at this gathering. Some people made statements condemning the Israeli state’s aggression against the Palestinian people. The Delhi Police was present, but did not try to disrupt or disturb the protest. The protest happened right in front of the Israeli Embassy gates on Aurungzeb Road.

Protestor in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Sunday, 13th July 2014

Protestor in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Sunday, 13th July 2014

Protestors with Signs against Israeli State's Aggression on Gaza, in front of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, 13th July, 2014

Protestors with Signs against Israeli State’s Aggression on Gaza, in front of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, 13th July, 2014

Read more…

Chhering – A Guiding Star

July 14, 2014

This article has appeared in the June issue of Terrascape

Travelling with a knowledgeable guide makes a trip worth it. And if the guide is someone like Chhering, you’ll cherish the trip all your life.

Kee Monastery, Spiti

Kee Monastery, Spiti

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of human beings, the inquisitive and the conformist. It is the inquisitive kinds who try new things; experiment, ask questions, make most discoveries, travel to unchartered territories and constantly venture into terrain, geographic and cephalic, where angels fear to tread. The conformist does none of the above. They travel only the well-trodden path, visit places where the food, the hotel, the weather, in fact nothing whatsoever has the potential of throwing up a surprise.

The world cannot exist without either. The inquisitive opens up the world, both physically and in terms of ideas, while the conformist fashions new territories – geographical and cerebral – habitable and familiar for others and prepares the ground for the next generation of the inquisitive to venture beyond what has by then become familiar.

It is a fact that I am not one of those who can be included among the ‘inquisitive’, not in the sense in which I use the term here. It is equally true that I do not want to belong to the category that I have chosen to describe as the ‘conformist’. Why I do not want to be placed in the second category will be revealed once you go through this episode placed below. Your perusal of the same would perhaps justify my reluctance to be counted among the second category. Read more…

Scholar David Shulman on the Gaza Bombings

July 13, 2014

The following is a report from the indefatigable Prof David Shulman, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof Shulman works on the history of religion in South India and poetry and poetics in Tamil, Telegu and Sanskrit. David Shulman writes as protests inside Israel increase, as do right-wing attacks on the protestors. This report has been circulated by Prof Louise Bethlehem of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Jews demonstrate in New York Against Bombings

Jews demonstrate in New York Against Bombings

July 12, 2014 Umm al-Ara’is, Susya, Bi’r al-‘Id, Ma’asara

Business as usual in the South Hebron hills. There’s a war on in Gaza, but that too is business as usual, the meaningless biannual ritual in which both sides gleefully smash one another before reverting to the status quo ante. The Israeli media are drowning us in words, a vast and raucous flood, and the government is putting out its familiar, mendacious statements; perhaps in recent days only Abu Mazen has spoken the truth. The only solution, he said, is a political one, and Netanyahu is no partner. Meanwhile, rockets are flying, the Air Force is bombing, children are dying, soldiers are doing what soldiers mostly do, that is, wait around, and in South Hebron the land-grab proceeds apace, as always. Nothing, it seems, can stop that.

But wait a minute, some things have changed. Since the horrible murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by the equally abominable revenge killing of the Palestinian boy from Shuafat, Israel has witnessed a wave of racist hatred on a scale perhaps not known before. Part of it has to do with the near-infinite opportunities of the internet: tens of thousands of virulent hate messages sent by ordinary Israelis have clogged the major sites; thousands of them call openly for revenge. I remember a time somewhat like this one, in the summer and autumn of 1982, the days of the first Lebanon War; the nadir came when a hate-filled nationalist threw a grenade into a Peace Now demonstration, killing my student, Emil Grunzweig. Some of the internet sites these days have called for the execution of leftists. Perhaps most striking of all is the utter shamelessness of this wave. Probably people used to have these same feelings but were not so ready, or eager, to state them in public. Decades of demagoguery and xenophobic incitement by the right, including, famously, by Netanyahu himself, have had an effect. The sluices are open. Read more…

How Goldman Sachs Got it Wrong on Football, The World Cup and Economics: Tushar Dhara

July 13, 2014

Guest Post by TUSHAR DHARA

In May this year the investment banking powerhouse Goldman Sachs released a report that predicted Brazil would win the FIFA world cup. The prediction relied on statistical modelling and used tools like “Regression Analysis”, “Poisson Distribution”, “Stochastic model” and “Monte Carlo Simulation”. In other words, the methodology is incomprehensible to anyone except those with an advanced degree in Statistics or Econometrics. In hindsight, the prediction looks silly, given the 7-1 score line in the semi-final match between Germany and Brazil. However, the report is a perfect example of the failures of modern economics, particularly the financial voodoo economics pushed by the likes of Goldman Sachs.

When “The World Cup and Economics 2014” was released on May 27 it gained a lot of press publicity globally. The report predicted that Spain would reach the semi-final stage and lose to Argentina, which would lose to Brazil in the final. Goldman’s research division analyzed reams of data, including about 14,000 matches since 1960, national teams’ Elo rankings, average goals scored per team, home country and home continent advantage. To be sure, the report states that the predictions are just “probabilities” of teams advancing. Still the report states, “The most striking aspect of our model is how heavily it favours Brazil to win the World Cup”, and, “the extent of the Brazilian advantage in our model is nevertheless striking.” Read more…

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