Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Bleeding.. Turquoise?

Since when did Pakistan become our biggest adversary? And no I haven’t been living under a rock =/.

Like how about either of the teams opens a couple of beers and says, “In peace bro, enough of this nonsense, you can have the match if you want to.”

I know I know, this is not practical. And the game should go on, no need for this idealistic blabber. I agree with you. I’m just saying, for argument.

Its quite terrifying for me to think of the millions who have called in sick today or are not studying for exams, to sit at home and hope that Pakistan loses. I was asked to pray that India wins. Why do we Indians wait with bated breath for Pakistan to LOSE?

Exhibit A: “India has taken peace talks with Pakistan a bit too far by gifting them a place in the finals of the World Cup.” This is what a friend of mine had to say. This is racist, as far as I'm concerned, and hardly nationalistic.

I have never feared for my life, more than after this post =/

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rubble Rousing

Pieces of the Berlin Wall are still sold and cherished, in glass frames, in memory of what happened in 1989. The breaking of the wall was not just a procedure for geographical unification, but was also of extremely symbolic and sentimental value. It brought families together, and told people that peace is possible and the war is over. At least at the time.

The Sentimental State
Why does the State involve itself in the building of national monuments, erecting sculptures, flying flags and using official emblems on currency notes? These are practices that have a strong notional value. They give people a sense of patriotism and belongingness. Which is why in the time of protest, dissidents burn flag, effigies of leaders and tear up the constitution.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has had the Pearl Roundabout, razed to the ground. The graceful monument, was comprised of six dhow sails, that represented the six countries of the GCC, and atop of it was perched a large round pearl, symbolizing Bahrain’s history of pearling traditions, and to some people, their time of prosperity before being colonized. What it has come to signify more than this in recent times, is freedom and democracy for the thousands in Bahrain who are protesting the rule of the King. The Pearl Roundabout, or Pearl Square as the western media was calling it, was the focal point for all the protests in the country. It now no longer exists.
The picture below shows what it looks like now.
And this is not much different from this picture below =/.

Timing is everything
Word out on the streets is that the Roundabout was a traffic nightmare, and plans to break it down were not new. Word in the grapevine is that the Government didn’t want the Pearl to stand as a tall reminder of the protests that have questioned its sovereignty and rocked its boat. Whoever is the public relations person of the Government needs to be sacked for coming up with such a feeble cover. And whoever advises the King on strategic affairs should take a swim for his life, for suggesting this as the way to deal with protests/ traffic/ general nuisance.
Timing is everything. Understandably, protests cause traffic jams, and there is a logistical need to ease out bottle necks. Understandably, at this time emotions are running high and people had been camping out in the shade and shelter of the Pearl, forming a reverent attachment to the monument.
Shooting yourself in the foot
Protests in Bahrain are (were? Read on.) different from the ones in its neighbours, because there has been a large peace movement going on simultaneously as well. #UniteBH is a viral on Twitter and Youtube that has become a buzz word, flash card, poster and more for the ones who don’t want to protest or at least don’t want to protest in this way. People are heading into the studio, and cutting tracks for peace. Peace marches are also being held.
What the King had on his side, was the large expatriate community’s support. According to 2007 statistics, there are 527,433 Bahrainis, and 511,864 foreigners in Bahrain out of which, 1 lakh of them are Keralites. Expatriates had no complaints against the King, because their standard of living on the island is more than they can dream of, back home (I was to blog on this in another post, but found it too hard (or too controversial) to finish).
The Pearl Roundabout was important to them as well. They have made hundreds of projects in school, pasting its picture on the blank side of their notebooks. They have sent photos with the Pearl posing in the background, to their relatives.
No one expected this show of might and autocracy from the Government. Now the locals are angrier, and the expatriates are disillusioned. People are going to be lovingly picking up bits of stone and mud, and flinging it back at security forces- the Streisand Effect. While the Government may not have lost control of the situation yet- they have their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns to their advantage- they have certainly lost the solidarity of several thousands who were on their side. #UniteBH will happen, but its matrix will change drastically with the death of the Pearl.

So now there is no square, circle or roundabout. Where did you revolution happen again?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

N-Tech, No Way

I always thought nuclear technology, for energy or warfare, was a bad idea. As far as Im concerned, there is no such thing as nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
One, because in our world-conspiracy, nuclear technology (for peaceful purposes. For ‘peaceful’ purposes), is denied to nations (think Iran), because of questionable trustworthiness- This coming from high and mighty, not to mention guilty, US of A.
Two, because of N-tech’s scope for misuse.
And three, because of N-tech’s potential to be hazardous, despite safety measures. All it needs is a tsunami to blow the reactor off the charts.
Japan is reliving pains of historical proportions. Only that this time, it is due to their civilian nuclear energy plants not being able to withstand the recent Sendai earthquake and tsunami.
In these days of energy insufficiency, radical environmentalists go all out in favour of nuclear power. They see it as a suitable compromise, between human supply and human demand, and their own concerns for environmental protection. Nuclear power is said to be a clean source of energy, even considering the dangers of radiation, and the dirty energy that is used to build and run the plants in the first place.
Given all my environmental concerns and activities, I cant agree to this settlement. Charge me with being a radical humanitarian over an environmentalist, but I think it wise to pre-empt problems- nuclear explosions and radiation can lead to irreversible environmental and human damage. Choosing N-tech is going from the frying pan into the fire, from a situation of an energy deficit to a situation of an energy danger.
What swings me away from N-tech is that the dangers are not worth it, given that we are not yet at a Hobsons’s Choice. We have coal. That’s right, I just said we have coal. And I would prioritize coal over living with a millstone around my neck. However I only speak in favour of coal, because policy makers, researchers and developers, haven’t yet found a way to make renewable and clean energy attractive on a large scale. What I truly mean, is that we have the ability to make clean energy more credible. Giving N-tech the kind of importance that environmentalists have given it, is as bad as giving coal the kind of importance that industries have. We are not better than them for having come up with this as a solution to the problem of energy, when it only poses other problems, if not bigger ones.
A note to you if you are concerned about the environment- Do not forget that you are concerned about the environment because at the very bottom of it all, you are concerned about humans. Apart from the fact that there is a public saturation with environmental needs, is the fact that environmentalists turn people off. Environment for environment’s sake is the idealist outlook, and a harder argument for you to sell if you want to gather momentum to the movement. And we are running out of time, that we can all agree on.