Sunday, March 23, 2014

Let's talk about death-5

There is no easy way to describe how death works. And you may have probably seen death in front of your eyes, read about it and watch it on Television. No matter how you have witnessed it, it sometimes saddens you and sometimes it brings tears to your eyes. No death can ever be easy being it in an accident, diseases or just natural. It is just an excuse that your death may come in many forms but ultimately it all leads to the end of life. One’s death ends one’s life but the hole and emptiness that they leave behind for their loved ones never gets filled. It is just strange that we see so many deaths every day but do not show emotions but if someone from our family or loved ones gets fallen to this tragedy, we are unable to cope with it for a long time to come. When we are young, we don’t want to talk about it or even think about it but the harsh truth is that death waits for nobody; it comes to young, old and a child. It becomes harder if a child dies and sometimes we are at a loss to figure out why a child has to die and why was he/she born in the first place if the life of them was so short to begin with. And here we are at a loss to understand the mysterious nature of how the death works. Everybody assumes rightly that death is a given and there is nothing you can do about it.

Let's talk about death-4

Besides the usual taking care of where you want to be buried, buying your own spot in that area of choice, making a will and if you really want to buried or just cremated, you need to make your character as better as possible. What do I mean by that, I mean your behavior should be commendable with other people, helping them, not committing sins? I may sound a little bit preachy here as I have no right to tell people what their characters should as it is all internalized but you don’t want people to remember you by a bad name. Now people will say that if they are not in this world how would they know they are being remembered with a good name or bad. Well if you have kids or extended family, people will talk about you and will say such and such things if you made good or bad choices in your life. And I believe everybody in their heart wants to be remembered by a good name that is why you see so many people work hard to create a legacy which will last beyond them and pass it on to their next generation. And if you are not in this world, your name will still resonate with your kids and grandkids and your extended family. Even if you are alone in this world, you don’t want your name to be remembered in bad terms. Death is not something that you should take it lightly as it is the end of your term in this world and even if you don’t believe in the hereafter (another topic) you never know what is going to come after life ends here. Better to be prepared than sorry or have regrets later on because there is no correction or remedy afterwards.

Let's talk about death-3

Death is like unstoppable and it has been happening since the beginning of time. And it is not only human beings but anything living and breathing suffers this phenomenon, plants, animals and humans are all in this together. Death is the only chain that links us with all the creatures. No matter how to slice it, one day everybody has to die, some will die earlier and some will die later but everybody will die eventually and to prepare for death we need to not involve in any kind of sin but if we do we make sure that we ask for forgiveness as life will not accord you one. Each day that we are living makes us come closer to our journey back home. And don’t think that when we say about other person dying like it is just for regret or condolences. Death is very painful and relenting and once you die there is no way you will be able to come back. You think that you may have escaped death sometimes but it is just not your time to die because when it is your time to die nothing will stop it from coming. And you never know where and at what time and what kind of situation you will find yourself in when you die. You may plan all you want and promise someone anything in the future but all your plans will get disrupted if you meet your end. How do you prepare for your demise is not that easy but you can make sure some things you should do and that they are in order in case of your death.

Let's talk about death-2

If you have seen the movie series Final Destination you will understand what I mean. If you have not seen any of the five movies, here is the plot: some teenager enjoying life are hit by a freak and gruesome accident and in it one of the teens is brutally killed by something unknown. Initially it was just regarded as a freak accident but when the teens keep on getting killed, it dawns on someone that death itself is after them. Here nobody believes this person until they are start to piece together the clues and start devising plans to escape death's clutches. And the remaining person in the movie goes on to the next one and then the story reboots again. Every time they try to escape death they fail no matter it is earlier or later and that is my point here. No matter how hard you try, your death is just a moment away and people sometimes forget this basic thing in life. How many of people out there would feel really uncomfortable if we talk about death in front of them. It is according to me the mother of all taboos (besides religion) that nobody in their serious mind would want to talk about it. I am in the same league because I have experienced near death situation when I almost drowned twice. You can be ready for anything in life but death is one that you are never ready but one should be ready for it anytime and at any moment. It does not wait for anybody.

Let's talk about death

This article will make everybody uncomfortable and that is what I called equal opportunity uncomfortableness. I will not talk about a man's salary which makes them uncomfortable and it is a taboo in the real world and I will not talk about the woman's age which clearly makes them uncomfortable. It is the most uncomfortable of topics ever and it is called Death. Everybody celebrates life, when a baby is born we all feel happy, we celebrate their birthdays and see them grow. We also celebrate life when some tragedy befalls on somebody and we find some life after losing so many people. It is just human nature that we all like to love life and we want to enjoy it to the fullest until that dreadful day when we are no longer in this world. And that dreadful day does not mean that you have to wait for a certain time before you reach that level when you have fulfilled all your wishes and have seen your kids and grandkids grown up. Despite all the hype about fate, it is your death (which is part of your fate) that stops all your desires, wants and wishes right in its tracks. You can make all the plans in the world and build all the houses and earn as much money as possible but your life is so precarious that you don’t know if you are going to survive the next moment. I don’t want to sound rude or harsh but that is the reality.

The myth and reality-3

The same myth is perpetuated for taking vitamins and then aspirins at one time and at another time to abstain from it or nothing happens. These myths are all created in the minds of people who don’t have the time or the expertise to research the reasons being creating a myth. Sometimes the myth are created because people refuse the believe the truth and say that it is all part of the conspiracy hatched by some government entity so that the people holding the myth will not be able to see the truth they want to see their way. Same logic goes with the legends or myths of Big Foot and the lockness monster. Some person long time ago saw something in the dark or some image that he/she could not comprehend or understand and decided to give it a name based on the area where they were located or based on his/her idea of what that things should be vaguely and so the myth was born. We don’t have to believe in any myths if we know that we can research more information behind the myth and find the reality. But that does not mean that we should following it blindly also. And I am sure every country have their own myths which clash with reality. Myths will keep on creating since human beings when they don’t understand something like the Alien abductions will create something in their minds which is easily understandable and then it spreads to like minded people and it will never go away even if the myths gets destroyed by reason.

The myth and reality-2

I know I am not being a good person by only drinking two glasses each day and I don’t recommend it for other people but for me two or maybe three is sufficient to sustain myself for now. Maybe in the later years of life I may drink more. Another myth that is being perpetuated (sometimes with evidence but also generalized) is that of how many hours one need to sleep. Everybody knows that babies and younger kids more sleep than adults and as you get older you need less sleep or could not sleep due to various reasons (like insomnia, financial worries, work stress, exams etc). But here the controversy starts to brew when the right number of hours gets discussed. Experts say that we should all get at least 8 hours of sleep every day to function and make us feel fresh for a full days work. But I will again disagree on this as I function with less than eight hours (although I admit that I sometimes yawn throughout the day). Sometimes I sleep 10 or more hours since I have not had enough sleep the day before. But what is considered enough sleep can vary from individual to individual. Doctors sometimes function less than eight hours and are fine and some people need eight hours of sleep to function properly. I mean nobody knows my body requirements well as I do and I alone can decide what enough sleep is for me. And the sleep crisis that the experts say in the U.S. can involve other factors than just enough sleep.

The myth and reality

For centuries there have been myth perpetuated by ignorance, nuisance effect or just superstitious which may have nothing to do with reality and only to do with what humans cannot understand or understand on a limited basis. And most of the myths even if they are resolved beyond doubt still cast a shadow over some people and it perpetuates and endures longer than necessary. And besides all the things about the big foot, the lockness monster and Elvis, Bruce Lee being alive and President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and scores of others who died or were killed very early in their lives, there are some medical things that keep on going on. I know that it is usually applied generally but the insistence that sometimes comes with it suggests otherwise. It is just like you having to do this or that and your life or your lifestyle is at stake if you don’t. An example that I can give you is the increasing insistence that one should drink eight glasses of water each day. I understand that water is essential to human beings as it quenches your thirst and clears your skin but to keep on insistence and watching people religiously following it perplexes me. I drink like two glasses per day and it suits me completely and I have no problem in that, I don’t know if my body agrees with me taking only so much water as compared to the "recommended" eight glasses but for now I my body does agree with my taking only two glasses.

Can you spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend be your best friend?

You see I have always heard about people saying that so and so my love and my best friend meaning their spouse or partner. And they are so fond and proud of saying it and it just makes me think, yeah sure why not? If you are going to call your spouse etc as a best friend then what are going to call your best friend then and do you really believe that you will do things with her/him the way that you do with your best friend? Would you share your financial information with your friend and would you sleep with your best friend (male or female) and would he attend to you if you are sick and stay with you the whole time in the hospital like your spouse etc does? (Maybe they will and maybe they would not). There are certain things that you share with your spouse etc and there are certain things you share with your friend. There is a reason a friend is a friend and not a spouse etc and vice versa. In my opinion, the word best friend and spouse cannot be used interchangeably since they are two different relations with two different set of priorities. Although you can have fun with your significant other but you cannot discuss your future plans and responsibilities with your friend and sometimes the things that you say to your friend or just spend time with them stress free, you sometimes cannot do that with your significant other. So at least me the euphoria about your significant other being your best friend is just that euphoria and your significant other cannot be a replacement for your best friend and vice versa.

On the lighter side-Movies-Frozen (2013)

Disney all time champ animated movie about a girl who goes looking for her sister whose curse of snowing has made her kingdom frigid. Excellent special effects and a good family movie. Animated. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Buck Wild (2013)

Four friends on hunting trip accidently shoot the owner of a land and the owner turns into a zombie in this low budget and forgettable horror comedy which is only entertaining if you have nothing else to do and even then stay away from it. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Saving Mr. Banks (2013)-Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson

An epic quest by Walt Disney to get the rights of the books Mary Poppins from its reluctant author in this very good and watchable movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-American Hustle (2013)-Christian Bale, Amy Adams

A con man and his accomplice get caught up in a scheme by an FBI agent to help him catch politically connected criminal in this exciting and funny movie. Recommended

Can you defeat an insurgency?-10

Even in this age of technology there is no substitute for good ground intelligence and it is this that can save their lives. These Special Forces should be given the task to hunt down and either captures (for information) and if not possible kill the insurgents without any recriminations on the part of some lopsided lawmakers who may have sympathies with the insurgent. The Special Forces should be trained in all kinds of warfare including counter insurgency, guerilla and urban warfare and be ready to fight and die in the line of duty just like the insurgents who are ready to kill or be killed for their ideology. This counter insurgency is to be waged not only on the insurgency's home turf but to make sure there are no remnants of them in the cities and towns should be waged against their rank and file and their sympathizers. Although I can keep on going but for the sake of secrecy of military operations and also the soldiers on the ground have a better much idea than what I may have to say further, I will just say that at first you can negotiate with the insurgents but if you are unsuccessful then an all out strategy be chalked out in which all the intelligence agencies and military and civilian commanders should be given a detailed briefly about the operations to be conducted against the enemies of the state. And the operations should be conducted in all parts of the country and with utmost secrecy so as not to give any chance for escape or other plans by the insurgents to strike back. This is my brief analysis of what should be done at the least to defeat any insurgency. I have other ideas but as I said secrecy is the key and these ideas could be put in once you are actually in the theater of combat.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-9

So what form of military force is necessary to fight the insurgents? You can either use large military force including the army and the air force and sometimes the navy but it is really not that necessary to use this large forces. Although in some cases you would have to use overwhelming and disproportionate amount of military power to overcome the insurgency. You can use highly specialized commando units to infiltrate the enemy territory and flush out the insurgents with minimal casualties. This way you know what target you are hitting. But the insurgents are not going to invite you or pinpoint where they are located or hiding and it is at this juncture that you need good ground and air intelligence support in order to know where to find them. The latest weapon in the war today is the Drones, the unmanned aircraft which can fly fairly above and pinpoint the location so that you can find your target easily. There have been quite a few advanced in the drones technology. There are already two types of drones used by some militaries, the unarmed and the armed one. The unarmed one are used for reconnaissance and the armed one which is used to fire on the target. The unarmed drones can be used to locate the enemy and this information communicated to the soldiers on the ground and then they can hit their target without incurring much civilian casualties. But sometimes the terrain where these insurgents hide are not that accessible for soldiers or the drones to locate them and in that case you will have to rely on ground intelligence.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-8

Since the internet has become a popular tool all over the world and especially the social media where you can contact other people and know about their status updates twenty four hours a day, an effective monitoring of the internet and hence the social media along with emails should be monitored all the time. Although most of the people will see it as an intrusion of the government in their lives but when you are facing a bloody insurgency where the insurgents don’t much care about the laws and rules of the country and have utter disregard for human life, the government fighting them should not have its hand tied in dealing with them in any way possible and by any means necessary. I know human rights and laws should and must be considered by the government in order not be perceived on equal level as the insurgents but you cannot fight an insurgency with just being nice and worried about every little detail with innocent blood is flowing in the streets every day. Once the above measures are in place, you will nevertheless have to fight the insurgents with military power to defeat them. Once and if the negotiations fail or the insurgents are still carrying out their terrorists activities during the so called "cease-fire" period, you will need to confront them militarily without any discrimination or without any consideration of the loss of life on either side. But it does not mean that there should be killings of non combatants’ women and especially children. Although I do admit that in case of the military operation there will be casualties of women and children caught in the crossfire of both the insurgents and government forces.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-7

The role of the charitable organizations especially in Islamic countries cannot be ruled out. Although charity is considered sacred in many cultures and religions and people feel good about it but some charities funnel funds to so call Islamic people who then finance their activities and attack other Muslim minorities and terrorist activities. These must be checked no matter how pious a person is because you never know what kind of piousness he/she inherits and what kind of charity he/she is giving money too. If you want to secure your country, check to see if the charity is legitimate and the funds it has raised is going to the right cause of helping people and not terrorizing them. Another way to monitor and fight the insurgency is to monitor the phone and internet activities of suspects and their supporters. I know once again the privacy issues come into place but if you want to be secured you will have no other choice. Either it’s your life or your privacy rights. Monitoring your borders and also the imports and exports cargo is another way to defeat an insurgency and selective raids from time to time to criminals’ even small ones who may or may not give a clue to the activities of terrorists should also be included here. All of these activities should go together and it should be conducted without any regard to any pressure or influence. And it really involves a sincere and honest government who feel for their people and who are honest about securing their country.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-6

I know that in the war against insurgency, privacy will be trampled and innocent people will be caught up in the war. But that is the price we have to pay in order to secure our cities and countries. One of the other things is better intelligence gathering and sharing. There is no need to jealously guard your sources of what is going to happen from other intelligence agencies as all have to work together to secure and win the war. You know that an insurgency can never be sustained unless helped from sympathetic individuals who are backing their cause for whatever reason. So all kind of charities and fund raising should be monitored to make sure that they are not contributing to terrorist causes. Other thing is that if you know that is person is a known killer, why not put him/her behind bars or investigate him/her further or at least put him/her on surveillance so that you can track his/her activities. Keeping track of religious institutes of learning (also called Madrassas in Muslim countries where insurgencies are the strongest and the state weakest) should also be a priority for a successful counter insurgency campaign. Although not all the Madrassas are hot bed for militancy but the one that are they are creating a bad name for everybody and it affects how to perceive the students and teachers there. Although religious education is a must in an Islamic society but hatred and bigotry is not and that is what some of the Madrassas with their half baked teachers teach their students.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-5

Hopefully the negotiation will come to a successful conclusion and the terms of the surrender will be done quickly. If there is a deadlock on some minor issues, then it can be resolved amicably without any delay but if there is a major one then there can be a little back and forth as both sides will have to show some flexibility in their negotiations. And if the talks breakdown, you can try to resurrect it but once the resolve is gone or some attacks happen then it is time to separate between the people who want peace and who don’t. And once you have done that then you should go wholeheartedly into an operation on multiple front not just military operations alone. You will have to go after every person or entity that is sympathetic to their cause as they are the ones who provide them with financial and material support during the insurgency. This is the most important thing in the fight against insurgencies, go after the source of the financing. Who is financially supporting them and who is supporting them by providing them shelter and other kinds of material support to sustain them in their insurgency. Every mode of financing should be thoroughly checked to see whether the funds are going to the place they are intended too and there is no terror related funding involved. It is the United States does in vetting out funds and make sure that there are designated individuals and entities that are terror related. Every nation should develop this sort of list to stop terrorist financing

Can you defeat an insurgency?-4

Once you have done that they you can ask the insurgents to cease all activities against the state during the time period of the negotiations and if any of them violate even remotely then all bets should be off and action should be taken against them. Both the sides should halt all activities relating to security as long as the negotiations are being discussed but that does not mean that if you find an wanted killer right in front of you, you will ignore that since the negotiations are "on". This point should be conveyed to the insurgents from the start so that there is no illusion of who is in charge. There is no need to advertise daily about what is going on in that negotiations as it will have an impact on the negotiating teams and may cause them to get distracted from their original terms. Since hopefully everybody involved have done their homework and have brought the terms of the negotiation, there is no need to change them later on if the government believes that it fundamentally deviates from the original terms. The incumbent government should have the exclusive authority to negotiate with the insurgents and all outside people sympathetic or non sympathetic to the insurgents should be barred from influencing any of the decisions made the government team. You have heard the expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth" and this exactly will happen if the government tries to involve too many parties in the negotiation process.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-3

Once both the insurgents and the government team have decided what they will be talking about, then comes the part that what individuals should be constituted to negotiated for whose behalf. The government team is obviously the people from the ruling government and they should be free to appoint their own people and if the insurgents object to these people then they can be replaced but not without valid cause and not under any pressure public or private. Since the government must be talking with a point of strength there is no need to accept demands from the opposite side if they feel that the demands are unjust. The insurgents can constitute their own team but the team should have the approval from the government side also. And to emphasize, both teams should have the full authority to accept or reject any demands made by each parties. If they don’t have the authority to negotiate surrender or make peace then you may as well wrap up the whole drama and fight the war. The next comes where to have these negotiations (or surrender as I must say). A neutral site is a must and not what the government and the insurgents want is their favorite place. They may decide to come to terms with a secret location but the government should insist on a neutral location away from the glares of the media and cameras, if a neutral venue outside the country is not available then another secret location inside the country can be chosen as the negotiating site.

Can you defeat an insurgency?-2

We need to know what caused the insurgency in the first place, what are their complaints/grievances and what do they want. If you want to invite them to a dialogue then you should as all conflicts can be resolved through dialogue. But you know that a dialogue involves give and take and much compromise on both parties. It is should be the state that should take the most and not compromise on core principles. The state have to make sure that some things would not be compromise for the sake of some illusionary peace that can be threatened by splinter groups or groups that emerge after the peace dialogue have finished. And the main thing is that the state should always negotiate with the position of strength, if it does not than it will be capitulating to the demands of the insurgent and are just surrendering with another name. Once you have identified the causes and complaints and set the stage for dialogue, you need to figure out who are the main opponents and whom you are dealing with. You should have a list of topics to discuss with some topics that be worked out and some is a red line which the state should and must not cross. Once you are dealing with a position of strength you have all the cards in your favor but if you doing it with a position of weakness and a sense of defeatism then you have already lost the battle. You need to know the opponent side's demand and what they would agree on and what they would have their own red line.

Can you defeat an insurgency?

Now the question is can an insurgency be defeated at all? Now before I go into detailed analysis of it, I want to let you know that I am not a military analyst, specialists, serving or retired soldier, strategists of any of number of names that you call people who are expert in military affairs. I don’t have a full time job analyzing military things and I don’t have the resources or the time to do it. All I read is on the internet, books, newspapers, magazines and other sources and form my own opinion about military things. I have no experience in counter insurgency or guerilla warfare so my opinion is strictly from the confines of what I have read. It is up to the individual militaries to decide how best to deal with insurgencies. I just have a few suggestions which may or may not have implemented and can be useful in case ever a country encounters one. What fuels insurgency and the causes. Some are genuine grievances against the government for ignoring their rights or they have some other concerns where they are just creating nuisances for the public. Sometimes they are driven by blind ideology which is outdated but they are clinging to it due to their leader’s tight grip on the ideas and the soldiers/workers/insurgents are just following orders. Whatever the reason, in order to defeat an insurgency, you need to work on multiple fronts and each one needs a different method to deal with it.

Why do insurgents mostly win?-2

Even if you suspend the belief that the insurgents don’t get financial support voluntarily from the population, their biggest support is that they instill fear in the people of their nation. They can get the finances by kidnapping, robbing and stealing but with fear and intimidation it is far more lucrative to get voluntary forceful contribution from the population they are terrorizing. The innocent population which is caught in the middle of the insurgents and security forces are in a lose lose situation because both the parties view them with suspicion. And most of the time, the population quietly pay the money to the insurgents because they know that they will be killed or their family members will be killed if not paid. This is the not the case with the security forces as they have to play by the rules laid down by the state and they are their protect the population and not intimidate or terrorize them. But not all the insurgents have achieved their goal as you can see in Sri Lanka and also in Northern Ireland and Spain and Colombia and Peru. They can be a running nuisance for some but they are not major problems that the countries cannot deal alone. Some of the insurgents’ movements were defeated at the battlefield and some on the negotiation table. To sum up, fighting against the insurgents is difficult and not impossible as there are ways to mitigate their influence by various tactics some employed by governments and some for reasons best known to them or widely known not considered at all.

Why do insurgents mostly win?

You that there a few insurgencies going around in the world, like the one on Iraq, Syria, Philippines, Thailand, some in Africa and also in Pakistan's Baluchistan and North West Province (now called Khyber Pakhtonkhwa or KP for short) and in Afghanistan to name a few. Every insurgency is different and so are the individuals involved in it. Some have genuine complaints against the state they are fighting against and some are just plain criminals who need to be put down first with dialogue and then with force. Some insurgents may be called freedoms fighters by some and insurgents by some. But once the insurgency starts and you have no option but to fight to the end for the integrity of your country and to stop the unwanted bloodshed. Insurgents cannot succeed on it and it depends upon the financing and backing of influential and rich individuals inside and outside the country and sometimes some so called enemy countries. Most of the insurgents are fighting for some cause and in that because they have this tendency to make collateral damage which can cause embarrassment to the government but not to them as they don’t care about civilians dying because they consider it a minor headache in order to achieve their goals whatever that maybe. But on the other side, the government forces have their hand tied because they have not only to fight the insurgents but also to protect the local population and not to commit human rights violations at the same time.

Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist Organization?

Recently the Egyptian based organization was branded a terrorist organization by the regime there followed by the Saudi Arabian declaration also. This means any assistance of monetary help and any association with that organization will be treated as help a terrorist organization. How times have changed in a few years, from being a ruler in Egypt and now being a terrorist organization in the home country along with Saudi Arabia (and I believe other small Arab countries of the Middle East to follow). Although Muslim Brotherhood (MB for short) came to power after the ouster of the former President of Egypt, they were ill equipped to handle their transition to power from a grass root organization. People had a lot of hope from them to solve their problems and were expecting that since they have been clamoring to establish their own government, they had already done their homework on how to handle the affairs of the state. I wrote about MB not to long ago but this time after being branded a terrorist organization, nobody has bothered to reflect upon why they failed in the first place. What were their shortcomings and why they came to underestimate the problems that the Egyptians faced despite their massive social services network and why they were feared by other Arab states? Some would say that Islam and Politics or specifically religion and politics cannot exist side by side and Political Islam is a failed experiment. But I believe that it is the failure of the individual that is the culprit in this case and not the co existence of religion and Politics. If an individual does not let power go to his head and he/she behaves the same way as if they are outside the government and do their homework and are on their feet all the time serving their people honestly, I don’t see any reason that religion and politics cannot exist side by side be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or any other religion for that matter.

The fight of the Arabs

Recently the Arab countries of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from another Arab country Qatar whom they are now accusing of meddling in their affairs. To be clear these are all middle eastern Sunni states who are accusing another Sunni Arab states for supporting so called " terrorist activities" to put it very mildly in their countries. What do I mean by "terrorist activities", it is the support of the Qatari government of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and sometimes also of Iran but mainly it is the Muslim Brotherhood support that is being bothersome for these countries who have recalled their ambassadors. As you know Muslim brotherhood has recently been called a terrorist organization in its home country and in Saudi Arabia and Qatar was one of the biggest supporters of them during their brief stint at power in Egypt. These Arab countries are all autocratic and were ill at ease when Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt and have supported the military regime in Egypt who overthrew them later on and so there are not that happy that Qatar is supporting the Muslim brotherhood and also having ties with their so called "Enemy" Iran. But it is very strange that being on the same page with same ethnicity and cultural and religious (I will sectarian) bond have not stopped these countries to accuse another one of being involved in destabilizing their countries. It just shows that even when you are all related by blood you will look after your own interest and will undercut anybody who tread on your turf.

Who decides who the “best” is?-3

I mean you cannot compare the Egyptian Military with the Israeli one and the Pakistani with the Indian One or the Chinese with the Russians or the Americans. Why can't you compare them because every nation mentioned seems to think that their militaries are the best trained and equipped to defeat enemies, never mind the fact that some of the militaries have only lost wars and never won one and still they are considered the best in the world by their citizens? Why is that, it is because there is no comparison between militaries in the true sense and nobody wants to see a war where each military is at the throat of another in world destructive competition. It is just a subjective matter and sometimes very emotional that people decide that their sports team, favorite food store or place or even their military is the best without even comparing under which criteria they are the best. So if you see some place of eating or any other place which advertises itself as being the best in town or even the sports teams or companies, you should view it with suspicion because being the best does not mean that they are truly the best but only that at a certain point in time, they were described by some magazine or some expert as being the best place or product, company, team but to maintain it every year is very hard as the term keeps on changing hands sometimes subjectively and sometimes seriously (only for the establishment claiming to be one).

Who decides who the “best” is?-2

Can somebody claiming to have the best stand up to the challenge of somebody else saying the same thing. And if you are writing that you have the best product, doesn’t some agency comes and scrutinizes that claim or say that you are doing false advertising unless your claim is proven true otherwise. I believe that the word "best" have been used so many times that it is now useless even to try to regulate or believe in it unless you eat at all the places where they say they have the best thing and then decide for yourself. I mean your best may not be my best and my best may not be your best in terms of taste, make of the product, location, etc. And this so called "best ness" so to speak goes on in sports and other events also. The most I have heard is about who has the best military in the world. Now this really becomes interesting for a change as patriotic and ultra nationalists people claim that theirs countries militaries (which includes the Army, Navy, Air force and in some cases Marines) have the best manpower, equipment, training capabilities, preparedness etc. And the countries sometimes also perpetuate this myth that their militaries are the best in the world so as to instill patriotism in their citizens. But how do you compare different militaries? Do you compare on their equipment or their preparedness, or their winning wars or just their training and not anything else. And yet you cannot compare Apples and oranges in the same breath.

Who decides who the “best” is?

This is the word that has started to annoy me quite a bit (but who cares if it annoys me, I mean I am nobody for anybody). Why? Because everybody wants to be the best at something. When I move around the city of New York, I see signs like the best Pizza in town, the best burger in town, best this and best that and you may also have encountered in the U.S. and other countries. We are a being obsessed with being the best at something and we don’t stop at anything to achieve it including false advertising and twisted sense of self adoration. But who decides who the best is? Does some random customers which may be a few of them say that they are the best and then the company says that they have the best Pizza in town or the best burger or whatever best they are claiming to be. Did they enter into any official competition that decides who is the best in its class of products or services. To me, being the best is just a subjective matter open to interpretation and an individual's own decision. You can call yourself best but how did you make that conclusion? Did your customers or some top level experts in their field went to your place along with hundreds of others like to make that decision and even if they did, maybe you are not the best, but one of the best in your field, does it not satisfy you that you are one of the best or you keep on drumming your name as being the best because it is your products and not anybody's else.

On the lighter side-Movies-Army of the Damned (2013)

A reality show being filmed in a house turns suddenly into a domestic disturbance situation and all hells breaks lose as blood and gore flows like water and violence is unrelenting. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Cody the Robosapien (2013)-Penelope Ann Miller

A toy robot and a boy try to rescue their parents from evil doers in this fun, family movie. I enjoyed it but it is not for adults. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)-Jennifer Lawrence

An excellent adventure sequel to the block buster movie The Hunger Games this time the popularity of the heroine starts a sort of rebellion in the dystopia which sparks a crackdown from the government. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Out of the furnace (2013)-Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson

A man goes after the leader of a ruthless gang when his brother mysteriously disappears and police fails to follow up with the investigation in this gritty and exciting piece of movie drama and action. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-HomeFront (2013)-Jason Statham, James Franco

A former DEA agent who has retired from the force due to his killing of a gang leader’s son moves to a small town and gets tangled with the local drug dealer in this standard Jason Statham action movie. Nothing special. Not recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Enemies Closer (2013)-Jean-Claude Van Damme

Two enemies must work together to get away from a drug dealer who has his drugs hidden in a lake in this not that of a great way to spend your time kind of movie. I was curious about the actor to whom I grew up with Jean-Claude Van Damme but he should now quit since he is aging and not in a great form of fighting. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Legendary: Tomb of the Dragon (2013) - Dolph Lundgren

Sometimes I get duped into watching movies which are latest but are just plain boring. A Scientific team from the U.S. tracks a legendary monster in a village in China which has been wrecking havoc on the populace there. Not enough action though to make it to the end. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hours (2013) - Paul Walker

Paul Walker last complete film about a father whose daughter is born prematurely on the eve of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His wife dies during childbirth and he tries his best to save his daughter’s life in this very dramatic and highly effective movie about a father’s love for his child. Recommended

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Game of Soccer-2

The main problem with the game is that in the United States there is lack of sponsorship to go with this game. If there is sponsorship I can imagine that we would also have major events staged in the U.S. and major channels carrying these games throughout the year. As this game can be played outdoors and in doors all year long and there is so much talent when the kids are growing up in this game backed by the so called "Soccer Moms" that I am not doubt that we can at least win some championships along the way. Another thing I don’t understand is that the game is played with simple rules and you do a lot of running which is good for everybody and still very few people are interested in promoting this game. And when the whole world is watching and rooting for their respective teams in the World Cup, eerily the United States seems disinterested in the game. The things lacking is that the parents have not been raised on this simple game and there is no money to be made on it by the players. There needs to a whole transformation of culture and attitude towards playing soccer as we have the talent and the resources but not the interest there by private sponsors. And if we can have interested sponsors I am sure the kids who have abandoned this game during their teens and don’t want to play either football or basketball or baseball, they will come roaring in back because of the money and simplicity and exposure they will get playing it.

The Game of Soccer

As everybody knows Soccer (as they call it all over the world football) is the most popular sport in the world. It is played by hundreds of millions of people rich and poor all over the world. In fact the one of the biggest sporting event in the world is World Cup Soccer. In Europe the richest players are in Soccer and they are also the biggest stars. In fact when the soccer is being played between two European countries, there is always a danger that the losing side fans will lash out and burst into mindless violence. There are several great teams like Liverpool and Manchester United in the U.K. and Real Madrid in Spain and also the Soccer mad nations of South America and the Middle East also have their share of fanatic fans and players alike. I have seen small and poor kids play soccer in the streets of Iraq and Saudi Arabia and you don’t have to be rich to indulge in this sport. It just a bit strange that the world most powerful country in terms of economic and military might does not have national soccer team or any regional team for that matter. Although I see that soccer is a very popular sport during the elementary and middle school and millions of kids play this game every day and to my surprise there are cheerleaders for soccer teams also but curiously this enthusiasm fizzles in the high school years and you don’t see that much activity at that time and most of the boys get involved in football, baseball and basketball while some girls still play soccer but a lack of encouragement stops them from pursuing this game to the fullest.

The Diabetic epidemic-3

You have to keep on monitoring the level of sugar you have in your blood so as know how much and what kind of food you want to eat. Usually the number ranges from 80-120 mg/dl for a normal person but diabetic have usually low and high numbers. A low number means you can go into a diabetic coma but the high one is not necessarily good either. Long time ago the only way to monitor your blood sugar level was to go to a doctor and get tested once in a while but with the rise of the glucose monitors, now every diabetic can do it on their own not once but several times a day if necessary and adjust their diet accordingly. A balanced diet of fruit and vegetables along with low calorie and less salty and sugary diet should be included daily in one's food intake along with a half hour exercise regimen. As I am not a doctor but a person who have history of diabetes in his family and knows full well how devastating this disease can be for not only the person involved but for the whole family, so if one has diabetes or found out that he has one then he/she should consult his/her physician to find out what is the best course for him/her to take in terms of what to eat and dieting so as to control his sugar level every day. And since this epidemic is spreading in new areas and in people previously untouched by it due to unhealthy lifestyle, it is time one should be vigilant and take precautions about their diet lest you become afflicted with it down the road.

The Diabetic epidemic-2

Although it is hard to maintain the discipline to exercise every day and eat a balanced diet but if you want to survive and live a normal life, you have no other choice. It is the individual's responsibility to take care of their own selves and not rely on other people to tell them what to do. This disease is so bad that juveniles and even infants are sometimes born with that disease. It is heart breaking to tell little kids to not to eat certain foods because they are just growing up and trying to fit in. They don’t understand much and it becomes a parent's nightmare that when they send these kids to school, they are always on edge and constantly worried about how their kids will complete their day without having a single episode of low or high blood sugar. Because despite all the knowledge out there regarding this disease, an ignorant or unaffected person will not understand. Nowadays without even a cure for diabetics, a huge industry has been born that caters to the diabetic population especially in advance countries with huge amount of information and products available for them in almost every store. Most of the grocery items have a sugar free version and the regular version. All sorts of stuff is now available in the market to make the life a diabetic as normal as possible. And since this disease is increasing and we don’t see any sign of it slowing down in the future, more and more information and research is going into it to find a cure for it.

The Diabetic epidemic

Diabetes is a debilitating and life threatening disease if not checked properly. It is a disease characterized by high blood sugar content against low insulin produced by the body. It can be either pill dependent meaning people can take control of the diabetes just by taking pills and controlling their diet or they can inject insulin every day in their bodies to counter the high blood sugar that their bodies produce. It is not only the high blood sugar that is dangerous but the lower blood sugar levels is sometimes doctors describe as more dangerous. I am talking about it since I have my whole family under this disease since I was born and even before that. And new statistics keeps on coming out that states that it is increasing everywhere but more in Asia as they eat more and exercise less especially in the rich countries of the Middle East. Most of the Diabetic is due to genetic and hereditary but there have been many instances where the people without any of these pre existing conditions have contracted these diseases due to their unhealthy lifestyle. Since once you have contracted these diseases, there is no known cure yet available to avoid it in the first place. If one or two of your parents have this disease, your likelihood of getting too increases exponentially unless you counter it by adopting good eating habits and exercise regularly. The only evidence to do that is self control and hold on to those temptations like being lazy and eating healthy food.

Stages in life-3

Now it becomes a little muddled as who defines who is young and not. We have all sort of agreed that being young starts from eighteen years or so but where the young does age ends and old age descends, this is a little bit tricky and depends upon whom you are asking. If you are very sick and near sixty or so, you will be considered young, but for employment and social security and Medicare and Medicaid you will be considered old enough to qualify. If you are around 40 and a woman you will be considered old to have a child and be considered old in other issues but the men even if they are old are not considered as such until they reach seventy or so. So there is clearly a disconnect between the age people should be called young and the threshold level that people enter old age. And you know old age is when you are again dependent on other people to do your stuff but this does not mean that you are not old if you are seventy or more. You will be considered old no matter what once you read a certain age and that is the whole point I am making now is essentially at the end there are only three stages of life being a child, being young and being old, all the other ones are just to make it easy for people to break down the three mentioned earlier into easy categories and to assign particular attributes to it.

Stages in life-2

So what stage you stop calling a child a baby because your baby will always remain a baby in your eyes even if they are 40 or 50 years old. And believe me I have heard people say to their grown up and middle aged daughter and sons baby from time to time since it becomes a habit from the start of their birth and they will always remain one in their parent's eyes. But you really don’t call a 10 or even 9 or 8 year old person a baby since they would have by now know that what is wrong and what is right. We usually call a human being a baby until a time when they start to distinguish between good or bad and I can say that usually that time is from the day they are born to around six years of age. After this age it becomes hard to justify calling them babies because they can do most if not all of the tasks they can do without depending upon their parents on everything. Usually pre teen people say is between eleven and less than thirteen but it should not be called pre teen as they are anybody below the teen threshold is technically a child. And why do we have to call a person a teenager when they are again in the eyes of the law a minor. We are so desperate to categorize everything that if they are not then we don’t know how to characterize them. Now the age after eighteen is called adulthood and you are called adult but you are young.

Stages in life

People say there are many stages in the evolution of a human life. You can say that it starts with being born-the Baby of the family, then you go to the stage of Toddler, then infant, Pre teen, teenager, Young adult, adult yet being young and then middle age and then old age. This the people along with the society have broken down in case of human evolution. I just believe that there are only three stages and that are childhood, Youth and old age, all the others are just to break things down more easily for all people to help them decide which age to blame for which problems. You see a child is a child whether it is a baby, toddler, infant, preteen or a teenager as according to law, anybody under eighteen is considered a child (well nineteen is technically not considered a child since it is lumped into being a teen but they are adult according to the law). Why do people do that is the question? I believe they want to attribute certain habits formed in a human in different stages of their lives and it is easier to do it that than to say that that child did it because people will say he/she is not a child but a young man/woman like maybe thirteen or fourteen years of age for example. If you say a child did it then it is assumed automatically that the child must be below the age of 10 or maybe even 11 or 12 to stretch a little bit. Nobody is going to say a young man of the age of 15 or 16 is a child since now a day they are being treated as adults when it comes to criminal activities.

The Ukraine in Crisis-3

Things are folding rapidly in Ukraine right now and every thing is now uncertain. But now the whole world is watching what is going on in Ukraine and especially the countries which are not that favorite of the U.S., Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba. They are watching to see if the Russian go on with their excursion in Ukraine and how the West reacts to it with limited options at their disposal. But if Russia wins or loses this war of nerves, there will be consequences being that Russia will be less cooperative on many international issues and will do quite the opposite what the U.S. and the west wants them to do. One interesting thing that I read today is that there has not been any cyber attack on Ukraine from pro Russian forces and the analysis really made me start thinking that if somebody is equal or near equal to their opponent, nobody wants to blink first. The item I am referring to is that there has not be any big cyber attacks on Ukrainian assets by the Russians because the Ukrainian hackers are known to be the best in the world and if something does happen, they can hit them back as hard too. And this is a little known fact (although widely known in hacker circles) that most of the hacking is being done in Eastern Europe and if going head to head with a country whose citizens are widely known as fantastic computer experts will not do Russia any good and harm them equally. That was the culmination of the article that I read today and I said off course why not if your opponent is equally skilled at what you do then it will give you a pause before you do something stupid that will bite back to you big time. So stay tune for more news in this unfolding saga. Hope everything turns out fine with little or no bloodshed.

The Ukraine in Crisis-2

Russia despite being reduced to one country still have enormous influence on world stage and now with China taking sides with them on Ukraine, things get a bit complicated. Russia's support is crucial in securing deals in Syria, Iran and even in the Middle East and their cooperation is also essential in combating terrorism. And in response to the Russian actions in Ukraine, the U.S. is severely limited in its ability to do anything militarily. Europe is still more out of the question since they are very fractured and dependent upon Russia's energy to power their homes in winter especially. It seems to me another of the Cold war scenario with much less rhetoric as both the U.S. and the Russian don’t want to start a new Cold war but there will always be some area of influence that both would like to keep. The U.S. backyard is South America and as the Russians has made it perfectly clear, theirs is Ukraine and other nearby countries whose population is historically and culturally linked to the former Soviet Union. And that is exactly what is happening, the Russian still want to retain or are adamant that their sphere of influence includes all the states which were part of the former Soviet Union and they don’t want the West to encroach on it economically or militarily. Right now the West is unable to do anything but it can change if Russia formally invades Ukraine and there are heavy casualties. But what if there is an invasion what the west can do, it is unable or unwilling to take on the huge Russian Military without triggering a nuclear war nobody wants to be involved in.

The Ukraine in Crisis

By now I am pretty sure everybody knows what is going on in Ukraine, the former republic of the former Soviet Union. Essentially it was that the President wanted either his country to join European Union or go with the Russians and when the Russians gave an aid package, he went with them and that is when the pro European Union people started staging protests and ultimately the President fled somewhere and the parliament installed another President and that is when all the next stage of the trouble started. The Russian after waiting for a while have invaded literally their former enclave of Crimea home of the majority of ethnic Russians. And the Russians troops are there seemingly for a while for all this mess to sort up. To be fair, Crimea was given to Ukraine by the former Soviet Union that is why it still has big numbers of Russians there. There are no easy solutions in this crisis. The United States although threatening economic sanctions does not have much leeway in this matter. Russia is not a small country to deal with. It is still one of the most powerful countries in the world with a nuclear stockpile equal or near equal to the United States and natural resources which surpass the U.S. overwhelmingly (due to being the biggest country on the planet by area size). It also has its area of influence and have veto power in the United Nations to block any initiative in the cases with Syria and Iran.

Criticism of International Monetary Fund (IMF)

As everybody Knows the IMF is a monetary fund based in the United States who helps countries in times of need and give them funds in return of much needed and I may say forced reforms so that the countries can get back to economic growth and pay the loan back to the IMF. Now as with all the things humans have created, IMF is not without its critics and its opposition mostly from the countries where they have lent money. And it is true that they have screwed one times too many but I believe that no country is forced to come to the IMF or the IMF does not offer its services just casually. There is no force or coercion that some country has to approach IMF to get funds. The countries are free to follow their own economic policy and generate its own revenue. When they don’t do this it means that they are not serious out raising revenue or are not interested in following prudent economic policy. But once you approach IMF don’t expect that you will get the loans with any conditions or requirements to fulfill because they want to get back their money they have lent so there will be some harsh medicine to be taken with these kinds of loans. And as with every loan you get from a bank or other places there will be costs attached to it. So approaching IMF without doing your homework in terms of paying back the loans and its conditions should be the first step towards securing the loan. Constructive criticism is good but if you are going to just say that terms are bad or one should not approach it then just fix the economy yourself instead of coming with a begging bowl in your hand, getting the loan and then criticizing it for all the wrong reasons.

The complicated human relationships-6

The relationship between a teacher and a student is also enduring provided there is no resentment later on between them. Another relationship that you may or may not develop is between your favorite store and yourself. This may take a couple of years of constantly buying stuff from them every time you need one. If it is big store then it may take a bit longer as the employees change and you don’t know the owner directly because he/she may be located outside of your residential area or there can be multiple layers of ownership in between. But you can always cultivate your relationship with one or two employees who may then give you discounts and exclusive deals with their connections in the corporate office. But if you happen to go to your neighborhood store where the owner is working alongside their employees then you can get exclusive discounts and other goodies right there from the owner. Doctor and patient relationship is also one of those that can last for many years. And this usually happens that people become comfortable with their doctors and even if the people move to another place or the doctor relocate to another place, the relationship is still there because you know the doctor well and the doctor knows your symptoms, habits and your diseases. All of these relationships are manageable if you are patient and the other party reciprocates it the same way. Complications arise when your negative emotions take over and you lose sight of the bigger benefits in a relationship.

The complicated human relationships-5

Sibling relationships are very complicated even when you are living under your parent's roof as the sharing of items and other privacy issues crop up. And with this relationship you just can't walk away from it as they are your blood relatives. You can be angry and estranged but for how long? Other relationships can endure very long even with no blood relationship is involved like between friends. You can make many friends but it is that only one or two of your friends are true to you throughout your life and you many fight with them and become angry with them from time to time but they are sometimes also their most important confidant to whom you reveal your secrets and your anxieties of life even your parents or siblings may not know. Then there is the relationship that you develop when you move into a new neighborhood and you meet your neighbors. If you have a good neighbor, it is a blessing because they help you in case of need and also you develop a solid relationship with them that can last even if you move out of that neighborhood. But if the neighbor is a pain for you then you can either reply them in the same coin or ignore them completely or just move out (not that easy). I choose the path or ignore because you cannot reason with a bad neighbor and if you are of a different ethnicity than you should definitely ignore that neighbor for good.

The complicated human relationships-4

I know that some people might not care about which side of the parents their kids may want to follow the religion. But for some individuals it is important to them to raise their kids the way they were raised (for better or for worse) but no parent wish bad for their kids and so this religious upbringing has to be the most talked about and fought over in a family. And religious tension is just one of the battles that you have to fight in a marriage. Others ones I can name is going on vacation, spending money on certain things, financial issues, where to buy a house and all the decision that a supposedly married couple has to do together. I believe that apart from kids factor, this thing happens when you have a girlfriend or a boyfriend and even with a kid in between they still argue and fight and although they are committed but believe me it is not the same as getting married (I know there will be people who will protest this statement but it is my opinion and everybody is entitled to it). This is just one aspect of the complicated relationships that human beings are involved in. There are other less difficult relationships that you are involved in like if you are parent your relationship with your kids when they are little and when the grow up to think about themselves is not less complicated. And then you have relationships sometimes cordial sometimes not with your sibling which is commonly called sibling rivalry. And this rivalry sometimes destroys families for many years to come and with it the relationships between your kids and their cousins also suffers.

The complicated human relationships-3

Married life is already very complicated with juggling compromises and different habits and when the kids show up in the equation, it becomes even more complicated. Now don’t get me wrong. I love kids, they are the best thing right besides your parents and you would do anything for them but right now I am talking about relationship between two individuals in a committed married relationship. Once the kids are born, another clash is setup regarding how to raise, spend money on them, who will do what chores and what not. And if both the husband and wife are from the same culture and religion then the kids raising issues does not come that much as you can disagree on what they do in their spare time, who will do what with their play time, homework and other things. But if both the partners in a marriage have different cultures and religion than it becomes difficult if not impossible to take manage your relationship when it comes to marriage. Although if you read some of the scriptures, they emphasize truth, justice, moral integrity and all the things which make a good human beings but the way it is interpreted religious is sometimes fundamentally different and here comes the clash between two religions. And even if one party is the stronger one to prevail in the debate of raising your kids in one religion, the fight is going to be very nasty and there will never be any clear winner as both parties can stick to their guns and don’t budge even if one side feels they have won the battle.

The complicated human relationships-2

You know being in relationship with a girl or married is the most difficult one to handle. I mean when you are happy or supposedly in love you don’t see anything coming and you believe that loves conquers all. But when you are actually settled down in your relationship then the trouble starts as the likes and dislikes and habits and annoyances creep up steadily. Since you are living with a person whom you thought that you are in love with starts to show their true colors and feel relaxed in their relationships, you see yourself compromising in more ways than one. When you start your relationship, you are on your best behavior and try to impress the opposite person and when you have done it and are in steady relationship then there is no incentive to be on your best behavior since you are already committed to one another. But in this boyfriend/girlfriend relationship if you are not happy with each other or "not in love" you have the option to get out by breaking up (but if you have child even breaking up does not help as you will be one of the parents of that child and you are linked to your ex in one way or the other). And if after all this relationship, you take the next step by getting married then you are in a completely different territory. As with all risks, this risks is also unforeseen as you don’t know how your life will shape up to be once you are in a committed married relationship.

The complicated human relationships

Human beings are complicated and that goes with all their relationships that they have during their lifetime. And the level of complications varies with whom you have relationships. It is different with your parents, siblings, spouse, neighbors, co workers, grand kids, your in laws, your friends even with your favorite store where you shop for many years, your teachers, your relatives and list goes on and on. You try to do your best to maintain cordial relationships with all of them but circumstances and other misunderstandings can either derail your effort or make permanent enemy out of them. You should not give up because if it is your fault, you should have the courage to say that you are sorry for what you did or happened but if the other party seems to you is guilty than you should again be strong enough to show that person the light of his mistakes or if still unconvinced be the bigger person and accept your part too so that you don’t lose a crucial relationship to sometimes frivolous arguments and mistakes. Although I am not going to say which relationship is the most difficult as it depends on each individual and also it changes over time and there are some relationships which even if you are estranged from that person you cannot just walk away from it since it is your blood relative but in my experience the most difficult one is the husband and wife relationship or if you are married or even if you have girlfriend or boyfriend.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Baluchistan Question-4

So for a moment let us assume that some disgruntled Baluchis (the people born there are called) have joined the separatist movement and are playing in the hands of the masters. Now what are you going to do about it? Are you going to eliminate them but killing everybody who opposes the rule from the capital or are you going to initiate a dialogue and address their grievances. The talks are being held with the wrong people as some of parties involved in the insurgency are not interested anymore in staying within the federation of Pakistan. I maybe wrong about it but I believe that some of the groups fighting the Pakistani government have abandoned any hope of staying within Pakistan. Although some of the Baluchis may still cling to hope that they will be given their rights but the separatists’ narrative is being won over slowly and steadily. It is the wrong policies of all the governments at the provincial level and on the Federal level that has made Baluchistan such a hot topic nationally (to a lesser extent) and internationally (to a larger extent) and the Punjabi populace is still in denial mode that nothing is wrong in that province and buying into the government narrative of handful of misguided people terrorizing the population. And it is that apathy that can be witnessed all over the country. Even with the Baluchistan question being increasingly highlighted through the country and internationally, the government and the powers to be does not seem to care that much about that province and life goes on for them. But the more the insurgency is subdued with violence, the more it will claim adherents so it is better for the government in Pakistan to stop issuing statements and do something about it by action.

The Baluchistan Question-3

And this time it looks like this low level insurgency has legs as it has been complemented by target killings, sectarian killings and all sort of crimes known to mankind. But the main problem is the apathy or indifference of the largest province Punjab (population: More than 100 million) that has made this province such an interesting place for foreign powers. Although to be fair most of the poor people are so involved in their daily lives in Punjab that they are not even concerned with what is happening in this important part of the country. But it is the elite who have been wrecking havoc with the province resources. It is a very resource and mineral rich area that has been exploited for a long time and still being done so in the name of the overall general well being of the country. But these resources are not being utilized properly in that province. All the civilian governments that have come and gone do not want to take much interest since it is the military who hold all the cards (despite the denials). They are the true rulers and some people point a finger towards them for supporting sectarian violence to have an excuse for their presence there. I have no evidence or otherwise to support or contradict this accusation. But apart from this the civilian government in the federal capital is too weak or does not even care (despite all their rhetoric) that something is even going on in there. They all refer to this low level separatist movement as being conducted by foreign powers and by some local people who are playing in the hands of their masters.

The Baluchistan Question-2

But this does not mean that it can be said for the future. Although I am all for the integrity of Pakistan as it is better to deal with one nuclear entity rather than four but not all the people share my view. And due to the wrong policies of the government in Pakistan, it seems that despite all the efforts (with the military effectively in control of the province) the insurgency to separate the province is slowly gaining momentum. The mainstream media and the government keep on blaming outside forces (namely India and sometimes the U.S.) for supporting the separatist movement (with no evidence yet to be presented to the public after many years) but to put all the blame on other factors looks like an easy way to absolve oneself of the neglect and violence being done in that province. The security apparatus does not seem to care much about what is happening there as with massive number of personnel, bombs and killings keep on going unabated. Baluchistan is also very resource and mineral rich area and most of the gas used in the country is extracted in this province and that is why a potent weapon in the hands of the separatists is to blow them up from time to time in order to disrupt the flow of gas to other provinces and to inflict economic damage to the country. No government has been serious enough to look at the problems facing that province and each side blame the other for the backwardness of the province. It is also the province where the atomic explosions took place in 1998.

The Baluchistan Question

I am back with another article about the insurgency hit nuclear Powered Pakistan. And this time it is about a serious topic which people in Pakistan are not taking seriously as it is remote from their conscious and from the media glare. You see Pakistan has four provinces, Sindh, Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province (now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Punjab. Out of the four Baluchistan is the biggest one with the least population and it is one of the provinces with active low level insurgency going off and on since it was part of Pakistan from 1948 but now a days it is more like active insurgency for the last many years. It is also the most neglected and exploited area of the country and the other parts of the country don’t either not care or are unaware of it. The only view or narration they here is from the government and you know how that works, only the news deemed acceptable is to be presented to the public and nothing negative should get out. My point in stating all these facts is that recently one of the congressmen from the U.S. suggested that since the U.S. is having such difficulty in Afghanistan, they should support the independence of Baluchistan from Pakistan so that they may have a willing ally there and give the U.S. massive amount of support. Although it was rejected outright by the U.S. that the U.S. administration respects the sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan, there are still voices out there who want to support its independence.

On the lighter side-Movies-The returned (2013)

Interesting take on the zombie genre. In the future a drug made out of the dead zombies have made the life of the remaining zombies livable as long as the dosage is taken daily. A doctor who is married to a returned (the name of the people who can become a zombie if the drug is not taken) tries to escape with her husband when the drug supply runs low. I enjoyed the movie which was different. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Almost Human (2013)

A guy gets supposedly abducted by aliens and comes back two years later as a murderous being bent on inhabiting earth with alien beings. Bloody and brutal but nothing else to recommend. Skip it. Not recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Bullet (2014)-Danny Trejo

A police officer springs into action when his grandson is kidnapped by drug smugglers in this routine action. Nothing to recommend here but Danny Trejo who is very slow in this movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Gravity (2013)-Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

An astronaut in a American Space station gets stranded in outer space due to a freak of accident and starts drifting in a empty space in this superbly excellent piece of science fiction/adventure/thriller. Excellent acting overall. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Thor: The Dark world (2013)-Liam Helmsworth

That hammer wielding hero is back in this excellent action packed sequel in which he teams up with his estranged brother to defend his homeland and avenge his father death against enemies. Must see movie. Highly Recommended

The ritual of evaluation

I know that for most people, evaluation time is almost done or finished and they are readying up either to get their bonuses or have received one based on their yearly evaluation. Most of the corporations do their yearly evaluation but now to keep their employees on edge some have started to do semi annually. I don’t know what will have happen in that short period of time that they had to do that kind of procedure but I don’t buy this evaluation process. If you are evaluation is just for evaluation sake and nothing concrete comes out of it like a higher raise or bonus then what good is that evaluation. And if you see that many people are getting either no raises or no bonus and still the evaluation goes on. Maybe the management wants to highlights your shortcomings but you already know what kind of it is but since you don’t have any incentive to improve it you are just doing the barest minimum only not to get laid off. In some companies they may have evaluation but have already decided before hand how much to give each employee based on their budget and the evaluation process is just a charade so as to tell the employees that they are being fair. But how would you know that since the employee compensation is treated like a top secret national security issue that is not revealed to all employees. So it is my humble opinion this annual (or semiannual) ritual should be done away with and just have an open discussion of what the employees and the employers feel about each other so there are no ill feelings and everything is out in the open.

Keeping up with your appearances

You know what I am talking about but maybe you don’t know it is all about how you have to groom yourself to look good in front of others. I mean I see every day women dressing up and coming to work in full blown makeup and if during the day their makeup wears off they put in back on. If you have ever checked women’s handbag, you will always find different sorts of make up in it just to make sure that they are not caught short handed or not ready for some occasion. I am not saying that women should not do, they have every right to make themselves presentable if they think that they are not or think that what other people will think if they do not put makeup on. It is just that society have put so much pressure on them that if they don’t put their makeup on they would feel less of themselves as beautiful. And if I am not wrong, you don’t see men carrying shaving creams and razors or even cologne with them wherever they go. They just put on their suits and comb their hair and away they go. Sometimes they can even go without saving and still look good but if the women don’t do that they are judged harshly even if the people don’t say anything. I know that this double standard is not going to stop no matter what but the women should be less pressurized to look glamorous with their make ups on and if they don’t put up on they should not feel any less beautiful next to the woman with full makeup.

Comfortable in your own language

I work in a foreign based financial institution and so I hear a lot of different languages. Although everybody speaks English when two different language speakers want to engage in a conversation but when two people of the same language team up, they try to speak the language of the native tongue. It is not that I am talking about just other people but it is I also that when I meet somebody of the same language that I speak I converse in that language. Although I am fluently conversant in both languages, but I feel that when I speak with the other person of the same language, they don’t want to have conversation in English language when they already know they can express themselves and be more comfortable in their native tongue. And no matter how conversant or fluent you are in another language, you always tend to gravitate to your own mother tongue. There was a study long time ago that when the language you are hearing or speaking or wants to speak is not your mother tongue if you hear it then you translate it first into your mother tongue and then say it in the non native tongue. And if you are like me you may have seen numerous instances where you get emails in English which are it seems translated literary from the Native tongue and it sounds sometimes funny and sometimes makes no sense. So next time you should notice this for yourself that if you meet someone from your own mother tongue you will naturally gravitate to speak in that language even if you know perfect well other languages since that is the most comfortable you feel in.