OMNI-TV File: Unpunished Rapes of India among the poor and voiceless; Rohingya Muslims of Burma: where do they go?

Zuhair Kashmer on OMNI TV commentary logo

The Unpunished Rapes of India Among Poor and Voiceless (Jan. 11, 2013)

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Once you’ve gone past the sheer evil of the brutal gang rape that has shaken India’s rich and middle-class to their roots – and the tragic death of the victim – you see writing that has always been on the wall – not just about a woman’s place or lack of it in the world’s so-called largest democracy – but a continuing breakdown of law and order ever since India achieved independence from the British – in fact, Booker prize winning author and activist Arundhati Roy says that while the large protest by the have’s of India will lead to new rape laws that will protect middle class women – their enforcement will disappear at the level of the poor, the lower castes, the tribal communities, the rural voiceless – where rape is an everyday unpunished occurrence – or in conflict zones like Kashmir, Manipur, Chattisgarh where the army and police themselves use gang rape as a means of control – this is the bulk of India which is outside FaceBook and Twitter – in 2011, there were 95,000 pending reported rape cases and only 15 percent were expected to make it to trial – when I worked as a reporter in India, you doubled official figures and multiplied by four to get the real number – even after the recent rape, a spokesman for the popular RSS, the Hindu Taliban of India, said only westernized women in cities get raped – and a defence lawyer and a Hindu priest blamed the victim – the priest said she should have fallen at the feet of the rapists chanting god’s name – Remember the survey I told you about recently that India was named the worst place in which to be a woman – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.

Rohingya Muslims of Burma: Where do they go (Jan. 4, 2013)

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Here we are in 2013, and before you get sucked in with clichés and rosy forecasts for the new year, let me tell you about the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, formerly Burma – who to me are a metaphor for a world that has lost its moral compass as global trade and consumerism push aside human rights – almost a million of them continue to face ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Rakhine Buddhists who claim they are not really Burmese – almost a hundred thousand of them are kept in concentration type camps by the army after they were driven out of their generations old homes – those who fled to neighbouring Muslim Bangladesh were persecuted as foreigners – their plight has been documented and criticized by the UN, and human rigths groups such as Doctors without Borders – but what really upset me was the stony silence of someone we all supported – Oxford educated, Nobel Peace Laureate San Suu Kyi – who lived under house arrest for years, eventual winning her fight for democratic elections – she first did not think the Rohingyas were Burmese, in keeping with the official line of the army junta – and then she was silent about giving them Burmese citizenship – Why? Because her party is forecast to win the 2015 elections from the very Buddhist community that has hacked Rohingya men, women and children and torched their homes – and she becomes the Prime Minister – I didn’t mean to rob you of your new year’s eve cheer, but didn’t I warn you in my year ender that you are going to see more of the same in the 13th year of this century? – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.



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