Sunday, February 25, 2018

Staying relevant on the internet

People who are obsessed with the internet try to post as much as possible in order to stay relevant, each and every day. There is no end to it as the mobile revolution has made the constant attention factor a curse or a blessing whichever you want to choose from. If one who does not post at least some relevant material each day, they fear losing their audience and the attention they are craving for. Even in some cases people post several updates each day on their social media sites. And since there are so many social media sites, some people have accounts on all of them and they are obsessively updating it with their pictures, stories but mostly it revolves around them. This is what I called staying relevant on the internet. The whole life revolves around constant updates even until the time they go to sleep.
In this obsession, some of the people have turned to stunts which are clearly dangerous and some have resorted to reckless comments which they have been forced to retract due to intense online participants. Clearly it seems that all is fair in this kind of obsession unless the whole society especially the ones who urges and craves these kinds of behavior put a stop to it. I know that the internet has created this monster with people constantly following the celebrities and in turn the celebrities scrambling to update their status constantly to keep themselves relevant in front of the core fans but this obsession like many other obsessions which people have is very unlikely to be overcome.

Pakistani forces in Saudi Arabia

Despite Pakistan’s parliament decision to not to send troops to Saudi Arabia which Pakistan feared will be sucked into the Yemen Conflict, the government (meaning the powerful Military) decided to send more than 1000 troops under the guise of the 1982 military pact. And when the Senate and the Parliament wanted to get some answers from the government why it bypassed the parliament and under what conditions the troops are there, the government refused to divulge the details of the deployment. So it seems that essentially the military called the shots in this case (as usual) with no regard to the parliament declaration showing that the democracy which Pakistan crying out loud is just a farce and the actual power lies with the military as seen by countless times the foreign dignitaries always paying a visit to the Military headquarters with no permission sought (I believe) from the civilians as they already knows where the ultimate power lies.
But back to the deployment, why is this necessary, as everybody knows well that the Saudis have the best weaponry the money can buy and one of the best equipment armed forces in the world. So the question is why do they need Pakistani forces and in what capacity they are there in the first place. But these questions will never get answered in Pakistan as the Military will never answer why it bypassed the parliament or why did it not get approval from the government (as the report says it was approved by the Prime Minister which was just a camouflaged to show it was approved by the civilians). But even if Pakistani Forces get engaged in the Yemen conflict, would the people of Pakistan know and would they even raise a voice against it? 

The Florida high School Massacre

Recently a deranged and out of mind ex student went on a killing rampage and instead of shooting himself after killing 17 kids, decided to join the escaping exodus and then went to some store before being caught mercifully an hour later. As the news of the suspect trickles in, some major issues have been raised, like how was he able to get a high powered rifle, why was he not flagged even when alerted to authorities, the latest one is why an armed security guard stood outside the building for four minutes out of six minutes why the shooting was happening. How was he able to get into school without getting noticed and also why was he in the school grounds when he was expelled and was not a student there? When we get all the answers, it still would not answer the main question, what triggered him to kill 17 kids without any emotions and regret?
Although this tragic loss of life will never ever be erased, some of the issues which has come forefront is the safety and security of schools and the supremely divisive issue of gun control. Every day there have been demonstrations about the above two mentioned issues which I will deal with later in our other posts. Suffice to say now is that hopefully there will be less instances of school massacres in the future (please note that I am mentioning less instances which means I believe there can be more until there are no guns available anywhere in the U.S. but that is a fantasy for now) but my sincere condolences to all the parents and loved ones who saw the dead bodies of their irreplaceable sons and daughters who were there joy in life tragically taken away at so young an age by a reckless and remorseless individual.

Culture, tradition and religion

People often confuse culture and tradition in country with the religion of that country. Tradition and culture often predates religion and it is hard to get rid of the tradition and culture which is highly entrenched and often comes into clash with the religion and wins sometimes as the tradition and culture somehow envelopes the religion and makes it seems like part of the religion which it is not most of the time. I will give you some examples regarding how it is easy for the outside people to confuse tradition and culture being part of the religion. In Saudi Arabia, it has been a long standing taboo that women cannot drive a car but this was not part of the religion but part of their culture and tradition. They may have tried to convince people that it is part of religion but nowhere in any Islamic country, are women not allowed to drive. Driving a car by a woman driver is not taboo but part of the culture and tradition that is only being enforced in Saudi Arabia and not even in any Arab country.
Another tradition/culture I have read is in Yemen where people are eat Khat which is banned in some countries but legal in some African countries as well as in Yemen, where it huge. Again since it is a stimulant it has nothing to do with any Islamic values as tradition/culture dictates its consumption and since it a stimulant it may be banned in Islam. So does Child marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), extravagant spending on marriages and so many others that people try to associate with a  certain religion but actually is not as some people try to distort certain verses in the Holy Book to their advantage. It is essential that people read the background of a certain culture and tradition and try to deduce if it is actually related to a certain religion. I know it is lot of work but coming to a conclusion based on little or nonexistent information is worse.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Indian population explosion-Scarce jobs

In an international newspaper I was reading that in India an advertisement for a clerical position which usually pays only Indian Rupees 7,500 ($1=64.5) and with a minimum qualification of an eighth grade drew people with graduate, masters and even doctorate graduate as the population of India is exploding and less jobs are being created. I know that people want to join a government organization even if the pay is low since it is a secured job but it is ridiculous that a job whose requirement is a minimum eighth grade qualification brings in people with master’s and doctorate degrees. Although the private sector in India is rising fast and creating big number of jobs, it still does not create enough of them to absorb millions of people entering the work force each year and thus create a situation like that above. This big population which happens to speak English has created an opportunity for foreign businesses to outsource their business to India.
With a huge population to cater to and insufficient jobs being created, the salary of Indian highly educated workers will continue to be under pressure giving ample opportunity for western business to tap into this huge and cheap workers for whom any job which pays even the minimum will do. And with little oversight from the government regarding employee benefits and welfare, the scope of outsourcing to India is huge, even if there is government oversight over business it is the job of the outsourcing companies to take care of it. But it is at the same time sad state of affairs that highly educated workers will keep on being exploited due to high demand for jobs.

Young and Cheap-Banking hiring on the cheap

Usually I devour all the news that interest me but I may have missed the news that my friend sent to me. Although I knew it for a long time but now it was confirmed that the banks want to hire fresh graduates and then train them instead of hiring senior and experienced talent which can be more expensive and may not supposedly bring new ideas or increasing their bottom line. I can understand the banks logic in that young people are eager to learn and follow since they want to grow in their jobs but it can only happen when you are from less than prestigious schools since the Ivy league or top ranking schools graduate won’t fall into this trap and anyway the banks would be foolish enough not to offer them more money. Banking nowadays are racing to increase their revenues due to increasing cost of doing business and compliance issues and this is one way of reducing their costs.
But hiring inexperienced folks would entail more on the job training. And how would the bank know that after learning the ins and outs of the business, the young person would leave for a chance to earn more. If you are going to pay less money to hire inexperience folks, the more experience they gain, the more they would want more money and the raises in the banks are not that great or even consistent yearly.  And due to hiring cheap and young, many banks have outsourced their businesses much as possible to cheap third world countries. There are definitely pros and cons of hiring young and cheap and the banks have to be careful not to overdo it to spark a backlash against them (which they don’t care anyway).

The bottomless pit of Education-Always short on funds

I have written about it before when I mentioned it about my town being short of funds for supplies. And my town is considered upper middle class with an overwhelming majority of white and prosperous families. But the other day I was hearing on the radio that how a radio company is helping teachers get their hands on supplies which they are unable to get due to paucity of funds. And I have said it before despite the highest property taxes in the country, New Jersey is also hurting for supplies then I can imagine other places where the school taxes are not so high but I don’t really understand why that is so, I have never understood where does that money go and even after raising property (school taxes) there is still fund raising going on especially for private schools. Private schools charge so much money and still they always are on the prowl to get some more.
I am sure some private schools don’t raise funds but I have seen in my jobs that some people bring candies to the office to be sold as fund raising. There is like a perpetual cycle of fund raising going on for sports, school trips and everything imaginable or creative that the schools comes up with. We all love our children and want the best for them and sacrifice everything for them but this fund raising when we are already paying for public schools through our property taxes has got to stop.

Visit our website

If you have heard the above phrase, you will know what I am talking about. Every time a business advertises themselves to the public, they always mention this in order for the public to visit it and see the full array of information they have. Since advertising is very expensive and only last a few seconds, it is essential that the business has a website that potential customers can go to see what kind of business they have and what products they are selling. Even small businesses need to have a website and for me it is really frustrating when I cannot visit a website of a business or the business does not have a website. Although right now nothing seems local anymore as business need to a website because you never know where the business will come from and being local is like you are limiting yourselves to a small geographical area and hindering your potential to increase your revenue.
And when business say that visit their website, they are all assuming that you have either have access to a computer or you do have a cell phone to view their website. Even now I really see some businesses not wanting to have a website because either they believe it is a waste of money which is not and it is not even that expensive or they believe that they are local to an area and don’t want to bother with increased revenue from outside their sphere of their presence. I don’t have an insight into the mindset of these individuals but what they are doing is not reaching their full potential of revenue which they can achieve by have a rudimentary website.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies- IT (2017)

A child eating clown who is terrorizing a small town brings together bullied friends who decide to fight against it. Great and scary horror movie. Recommended 

On the lighter side-Movies- The Snowman (2017)-Michael Fassbender

A detective tries to solve the disappearance of woman with the only clue of her scarf around a snowman.  Not read the novel on which it is based but the movie was okay but definitely not theater material. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Flatliners (2017)-Ellen Page

Medical students dwell into life after death by stopping their hearts momentarily. Remake of an earlier movie. Okay to watch. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Ritual (2017)

Four friends decide to take a shortcut through a forest in Sweden only to encounter a supernatural being worshipped by some weird forest people. Okay to watch, atmospheric and eerie. Recommended with caution

Rise of the nationalists

Although this phenomenon in recent years has seen the rise in the United States but it was not always that way. People from a country feel proud about it and some of it to the extent that they feel superior to other countries and abhor immigrants whom they feel are superior and supposedly don’t take jobs which they think are beneath their level but when the immigrants want to take that job, the nationals become agitated. But this is not an American phenomenon as most of the media would make you believe, but it happens all over the world and lately it has been showing in places not known for it previously. I am not against showing patriotic fervor when it is needed and people should be proud of where they come from and should always show it but the dangers becomes exponential when this type of patriotic tendencies descent into hatred of anything which is not of the native land.
I will give you some examples. You already know how nationalist (or simply white supremacists) are trying to set their agenda on the U.S. public but they are not the only ones as the white population in Britain and Poland and Hungry try to do the same in Europe. And not to mention in Asia, Japan has been notoriously nationalists as they have looked down upon their Korean-Japanese population for a long time and despite their shrinking population have refused to simply open the gates to immigration from less “pure blood” ( you know what I mean) countries. Chinese do the same as they are suspicious of anything that is not Chinese and so do the Russians. But if the supposedly Islamic countries where Islam specifically forbade discriminating based on race, the racist tendencies of Islamic nationalist states are simply overlooked by the natives in direct opposition to the nationalists’ tendencies being shown in European countries due to the illegal immigrants streaming to the European shores by mostly non White population.
And you would think that being an African would mean one continent as it is presumed that it is where all the dark skinned people live but even there discrimination is pervasive as the Libyans not want to be associated with Somalis and north African countries feel superior to the less wealthy Africans even if they themselves are discriminated in other places. But due to the Syrian Civil war and to a lesser extent the poverty and war ravaging some African countries, the immigrants mostly illegally trekking to European countries have given rise to nationalists feeling even in place where none of evident like in Italy and Greece, home to one of the largest concentration of illegal entrants from African and Asia. And with the rise of illegal immigrants, the rise of nationalists in the host countries was bound to happen and it will continue to remain in the elevated state. 

I am not a vegan

Although I don’t classify myself as a meat eater always but I am not vegan either, you can say I am a hybrid type of guy who likes to have a mix of both vegetables and meat but mostly meat you can say. I don’t know where my dislike or hatred of certain vegetables came by but I know this that my parents tried to push me into the vegan world but did not force me to eat against my will. I really tried to eat some of the vegetable but the sight of the food presented to me was not to my liking and I don’t want to gross you out with what I thought they looked like but my taste bud never developed enough to enjoy vegetables regardless of how healthy and nutritious they are. Even the most delicious food made of vegetables would not convince me that I should taste it as my dislikeness of vegetables will hinder me to even take a bite of it.
Now that is not to say that I abhor all vegetables. I like how my wife makes okra (also called Ladies finger in many English speaking countries), although I eat it but it is not that I feel excited but I can stomach it and I can also vouch for spinach and also vegetable soup or vegetables chips but try to entice me with eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and I am ready to throw up or walk away from the table. But it does not mean I will not carrot or cucumber as they are my favorites. And this habit of mine just makes my life difficult when I am not at home as my choice of food shrinks while on vacation as vegetables are available plentiful but not meat (not the kind I want) but fish can be a very handy in such situations. So there you have it, I can be flexible on certain vegetables but not all of them but for the most part I will prefer my meat any day over vegetables.

Deficit hawks no more

I thought that the Republic party was the party of the discipline or so they billed themselves to be that way.  They were deficit hawks and fiscal conservatives who would hold onto making government small and as such deficits even smaller or even balance the budget if and when they get the government. So here we are after one year of complete Republic party rule and what have we got, besides cutting some things here and there like the tax reform bill or some low income supported program which would have not busted the budget but helped poor Americans get by, the newest budget sent to congress is bigger than ever with outlays for defense increase-a signature of Republic party who also have make the Americans believe they are strong on defense. And the tax reform bill that passed the Congress increased the deficit over 10 years to more than one trillion dollars and counting.
I also read that deficit as seen by the Republicans is not as important as it was before as they are likely to keep on increasing the burden of debt accumulation solely on the shoulders of the American public. And this debt burden cannot be now solely blame on Democrats policy as the Republicans compete with them to have an equal share in this increase in deficit and debt. And with pet projects of law makers and also of the President high on the list of must do approvals in the budget and the money to go around not enough, it seems that the only way is to issue more debt and that is how the United States will seem to be carrying out its business affairs far into the future.

The suicide of a livery driver

I read a story that a 61 year old livery driver protesting New York City policies toward ride hailing cars and others came to downtown and committed suicide. Before committing suicide, he wrote at length that how the ride hailing services have increased competition and led to his ruin as he was about to lose his house can’t pay off his cars and bills. He said that he tried his best but he was unable to keep his head above water. Specifically he was ranting against the current governor of New York and the former mayor of New York City of introducing these services thus increasing the competition and threatening his livelihood. It is reported that this is the third suicide in three months for these drivers. I am not here to judge what went through his mind to commit such a grave act leaving behind his family to struggle and make a sense out of their loss but to blame competition for this extreme act will be unfair.
In this globalized economy, there would always be winners and losers and the people who don’t or cannot keep up with the rapid changes are going to lash out. Throughout America, the most industrialized nation on earth, there are people in some industries who would not be able to do the transition to a new job requiring a new skill set and would either die bitter or commit suicide. But suicide is also a selfish way to get out of this situation as the remaining members of the family become helpless grieving for their loss and also angry at the person of leaving them alone to fend for themselves. The less educated lot are already drowning in unemployment and going deeper into drugs and the only way out of it is to commit suicide in some cases. I wish I had a solution for this kind of situation but can only suggest that don’t lose your hope as times do not remain the same and desperate times can be overcome with patience and perseverance.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Stigmatization of dancing and singing

The region in which I live has been stratified socially, however unlike the European countries this stratification is based on the ancestry rather than the economic class. This over time has generated stereotypes which are associated with people of particular castes. The idea of this stratification based on ancestry was introduced by Aryans who employed the caste system. Since the Aryans themselves devised this system so they ascribed themselves as Brahmins, the highest of the four castes. The malaise didn’t remain limited to a certain religion but spread uncontrollably. However these social differences were adjusted according to the needs of time. For example the British gave the ‘Martial Race’ theory. This doctrine ordained that the recruits in the Indian colonial army should only belong to the martial races. However this policy upended when the cannon fodder was sorely needed in the First World War. Recruitment took place without any prejudices of caste and the soldiers recruited from non martial castes performed equally well, so that stereotype was annihilated by the ones who created it. But even in the 21st century many stereotypes still prevail. One of them is listening to music and dancing, which is considered un Islamic and it is sneered upon by the majority. Therefore it is widely believed that it only pertains to ‘marasis’ or the caste which inherited singing, dancing and entertaining people as a heirloom. Hence the members of other caste consider it below them to indulge in any of these activities. However it is important to note that the great Sufis who enhanced the outreach of Islam in India and converted people in the first place, never shied away from espousing such practices. The Sama or the devotional music and dance were an important facet of the meditation which was employed by Nizam ud din Aulia, Jalal ud din Rumi et al. Which begs the question why dancing and singing is ostracized and considered demeaning to the individual. The orthodox believers even in the times of the aforementioned mystics refuted such practices but they couldn’t bring the religious sources which prohibited them other than their own predilection. It’s time to eradicate the tunnel vision that majority has and stop the stigmatization of dancing and singing in Muslim societies.

Submitted by B.H.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Annabelle: Creation (2017)

Prequel to the horror blockbuster in which the events leading up to the creation of the possessed doll is revealed. Recommended if you want to see the origins, otherwise stay away.

On the lighter side-Movies-Transformers: The last knight (2017)-Mark Wahlberg

They are back one more time (and will come for more) as the Aliens fight with each other with humans thrown in for good measure. Loud action fest. Recommended with caution

The woes of the deported illegal immigrants

I was reading a long article who has been recently deported to his Native Mexico leaving behind his American wife and American born kids in the U.S. He was reportedly brought here illegally when he was only 10 and never went back to his native Mexico and his parents never did establish any contact with their relatives there. He stayed here, got education and married and had kids and had a successful business but he was here illegally. Despite the best efforts of this family and others in the community he was deported to this native Mexico where he lives with his aunt where he feels like an alien since he had no contact with this native land. His family is trying to arrange for him to come back but it will take at least 18 months before he would be interviewed by the U.S. Embassy. On the face of it, it seems like a heart breaking story about a person who has not committed a crime but was illegally smuggled to the U.S. when he was only 10.
But here is the rub that this parents or whoever brought him to the United States turned their backs on their native and never instilled any kind of contact with his relatives in Mexico which is strange in itself as with the new technology nowadays, he could have been contact with some of his relatives in Mexico via many apps. Family does not only mean his wife and kids, it means his relatives too. I can understand that when he was little he did not know, but after gaining adulthood, he could have reached out to his relatives in Mexico (maybe he did or did not) so that he would have felt a little bit connected to his Native land or the place where his ancestry came from. I can feel the pain that his family is now in but my advice is to keep in touch with your extended family wherever they are because in the end a family is a family even if they are not physically near you.
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The migrant ship mishap in Libya

A few days ago, a migrant ship carrying 90 people traveling illegally to Europe capsized near Libya, the point of departure for illegal entrants to Europe. It had mostly Pakistanis who wanted to escape poverty, injustice and unemployment in their country to the so called promised land of Europe to start a so called better life than what they had back home. The latest news in this saga is there have recovered some bodies and saved only 4 of them now. Besides they have arrested the human trafficker whose brother lives in Libya and son lives in Italy who are all involved in it. Another report said that nearly 600,000 people have used to route to try to enter Europe Illegally. As you may read news, many have died trying to reach the promised land and those who have reached successfully are leading a miserable life as the doors of Europe have been shut and they are living in bad conditions in Greece, the major point of entry to Western Europe.
As I have written before, the welcoming mat for the illegal immigrants especially the ones who are the so called economic migrants has been pulled back. During the new wave of migrants, the civil war in Syria and Afghanistan were welcome as they had nowhere to go but during this wave some of the economic migrants from other countries like Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, some North Africans and others also tagged alone and were lucky to reach the promised land and they were somewhat welcomed. Now that the wave has subsided due to the increasing hostility of the citizens of the host countries, people are still trying to go there despite the fact that the situation is dire in those countries too with racial and ethnic hatred and Islamophobia but I guess that the people who are trying to reach there seems to think that it is better to be in Europe than to die a worse death in their own countries.
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Cape Town, South Africa Water Woes

I have reading about the water woes of one of the richest cities in Africa and it at times an interesting but also very frightening read. Actually the cause is attributed to as much as nature but mostly it is human made. For the last three years, Cape Town has been receiving much less rain resulting in drought like condition. Their reservoirs have been down so low that the local government has given a name for when the water will shut down it is called “Day Zero”. This is the day when the water will no longer be provided to people and only essential services will get water. Right now with increasing monitoring, they are reducing the amount of water being provided through selective water pumps. People are brushing and washing and whatever they are using water it gets recycled to flush and given to lawns. Water is being transported from other less drought areas and now they are moving fast with desalination plants and other measures which will take time to materialize.
But despite the efforts, the rainy season which starts from April is all the hope that is being pinned on which is a big if since for the last three years, they have inadequate or no rain at all. These are dire predictions even for one of the richest cities of Africa and it can a showcase for other rich cities where there fight is on to conserve water like in the South and western United States. The water usage in the U.S. is 80 to 100 gallons per person per day which is 5 times what Cape Town citizens are getting right now and it will be reduced further if rains don’t come in the rainy season. I just shudder to think how people will be able to cope with the resultant shutdown of this essential commodity.
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The U.S. threat to the Palestinian aid

If the announcement to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was not enough, now the U.S. has threaten to cut off aid to them via the United Nations program if they don’t end their boycott of peach talks with Israel. First the cut off amount was USD225 million and now it is also another amount of USD65 million. Since the U.S. is the biggest contributor to this program to help Palestinian refugees, there will obviously be crisis of major proportion. These programs help the Palestinians people to go on with their daily lives and the cut off or the threat of it will definitely mean hardship for them. The Palestinian leadership has refused to bow down to pressure of this sort and is adamant in their boycott of the whole peace process and the U.S. being part of it.
So my question is who is going to replace all this aid. Although some Muslim countries have come forward to help them (including Kuwait with a paltry $900k as reported) , I have not read anywhere that the rich Muslim countries will replace this aid with their own pledge to contribute whatever the shortfall in funds the Palestinians will need. This is the crux of the problem as Muslims are so much deeply divided among themselves that they don’t have much time or sympathy to help their Muslim brothers and sisters in need. If the Muslims and Arabs in particular don’t help their Palestinians Muslims in need, why would the Non Muslims care about them helping? 
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The resurgent Kabul attacks

Recently there has been resurgent of attacks in Kabul killing more than hundred people and showing the continued threat of Taliban and Islamic State (IS) strength despite the presence of Afghan and thousands of NATO forces trying to maintain peace in the country.  The attacks came in within a week’s time and show the utter failure of the U.S.  trained Afghan forces and the intelligence apparatus they are responsible for. This war has become the longest war in U.S. History and despite what the candidate Trump said during election campaign, this war has now become his war as he has authorized sending more troops and give the go ahead to pursue Taliban wherever they operate which is also in Pakistan. The U.S. being frustrated in its effort to bring peace to Afghanistan is lashing out at Pakistan despite the fact that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism and may not have that kind of leverage with the Taliban to end the war.
Even if Pakistan does have the leverage, the increasing presence of IS militants is also complicating the peace process in the country. The U.S. relying on India to increase its presence in Afghanistan is also not likely to materialize as Pakistan sees much threat in this scenario and also India does not want to send its troops and get bogged down in a country which dislikes foreigners be it Pakistan or India. The best scenario for the U.S. is to cut its losses and leave Afghanistan as the war will not likely be a win for the U.S. But here is the problem, a recent study suggests that Afghan forces will crumble in a matter of months if the U.S. leaves but it will have to leave to make the Afghans realize that it is in their own benefit to bring peace to the country if they want to get rid of the perpetual cycle of violence they are in now.
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Cyber Bulling

I have also written about bullying and as with racism on the internet, cyber bullying is also increasingly become common resulting in some teen suicides. Sometimes the bullying which is being done in the physical world is carried onto the world wide web and sometimes it becomes so vicious that some of the victims either shut down their social media links or had have enough to the point that they commit suicide. The anonymity and sometimes not on the internet is so powerful that unless you become emotionless, very few people can ignore it and commit suicide and then the stories come out that how they were bullied and could not take it anymore. Even if you inform the police, I don’t think they can do anything about it as no physical crime has been done, although I believe words can be as powerful as any physical weapon in hurting people.
Although bullying will never cease to exist but parents can do help their kids navigate through this sorry part of their lives as they can monitor their kids online activities and also keep track of any behavior that is out of the ordinary that may signal that the child is being bullied. Also reassuring the kids that the bullies are not going to harm them as long as they ignore their online taunts and be strong in every sense of the word. In case of this does not stop, the parents can approach their school and organize likeminded parents in stopping this cycle of bullying. I am sure different circumstances will demand different approach but there are ways to fight cyber bullying, you just have to be persistent in not giving in to their empty threats and taunts.
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Racism is alive and well and not going anywhere

I have written extensively (accordingly in my blog) about racism from different perspective. And with the election of the New U.S. President, racism has gone into overdrive and sometimes it is openly preached only to be pushed back by forces that are against it. A few years back, the U.S. was celebrating the election of the first Black President and now it seems we are back to square one as increasing incidents of racism are being witnessed, although people are trying to fight back as much as they can. In this age of technology, racism has a new face in the form of internet where you can post anonymously any sort of racist thoughts and images without the fear of public backlash. This form of racism is becoming more prevalent and increasingly abusive with only your fingers to fight back. Although people do call out the racist person but with so much anonymity afforded by the internet, it is hard to imagine that this will ever stop.
Although people who are faced with racist taunts and slurs try to fight back along with their supporters as much as possible and in whatever way they can, the only that I can see is to ignore them completely. Although I understand it is hard to do ignore and the urge to fight back is human nature but that is all these racist people need is to make their target angry and agitated and then their purpose is complete. If you ignore them long enough, their purpose will be defeated. Although it is not a clear cut solution as some of the racists can get infuriated at being ignored, but on the internet instead of launching into a back and forth tirade against racist trolls, it is best to ignore them outright and move on.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Climate Change

Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. This seems to be the case especially when one looks at the apathy of the world leaders towards climate change. Before we proceed further we must remind ourselves that the civilization such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa which attained very high levels of advancement such as sewerage, water ducts to carry it to the washroom showers etc. 5 millenniums ago were wiped from the face of the Earth because of the climate change. Therefore, the issue of climate shouldn’t be a subject of our collective ignorance and should be dealt appropriately. The humans have a tendency to overlook their long term interests for myopic benefits. This is the reason why, after the Paris climate summit 2015, the third world countries refused to abide by the regulations, since they believed that they are industrializing and it’s the industrialized first world countries who are responsible for the pollution, hence they should be the ones who should be subjected to regulations not them. To further exacerbate the sensitive situation and instead of efforts to placate third world countries, the magnificent new president of U.S.A Donald Trump refused to accept the Paris climate accord, setting a dangerous precedent for others to follow. However we must bear in mind that there are countries like Kiribati and Fiji facing an existential threat. Kiribati’s demise as a country is inevitable, and it would barely make it to 22nd century. Resultantly producing climate refugees, the situation is even more depressing when one witnesses the maltreatment that refugees generally are meted out and how world community has failed to cope with the ones that already exist. Taking all of this in account the future clearly depicts a dystopian picture and the world community must undergo course correction before it’s too late.

Submitted by B.H.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rape Cases and Underage Marriage

Recently in South Asia cases of murders after rape of children and infants as young as 8 month have increased to unmatched proportions. These heinous crimes raised an outcry for the perpetrators to be held accountable and finally the lackadaisical authorities sprung into action and nabbed a few while many remain at large. The case in point in this piece is of Zainab, an 8 year old girl from Kasur Punjab, who was trapped by one of the neighbor through his devious tricks. After subjecting that innocent child to multiple rapes he killed her and dumped her body in the waste. Although this act should be condemned to hilt but this should also elicit others to reflect where they stand as society. Therefore it’s equally important to confess the malaise that have been affecting this region since time immemorial. In India and Pakistan girls in their days of innocence were married off in yesteryears and this practice continues to this very day, albeit not openly. The determining factor if a child is to be married or not was the puberty, if they have reached puberty it was ok to marry them whereas the age of puberty was determined according to the customary or the religious laws. This practice hasn’t ceased and takes place not openly but clandestinely at many areas, which begs the question if this under age marriage isn’t a form of marital rape? How many Zainab’s have suffered in the past and how many more are at the risk of suffering the same afflictions. It’s time that such antediluvian practice should be given up and for the society to not only settle with the arrest of the perpetrators but demand fool proof legislation and strict implementation against underage marriages.

Submitted by B.H.