OMNI-TV File: Stephen Zedong Harper; Canadian Raj; Hating America; India helps poor, but not its own!
Stephen Zedong Harper
Money has no religion or ideology, it is both right wing and left wing, a mentor of mine told me once – and now we have our Federal Tories – the right wing free enterprise capitalism-can-do-no-wrong zealots who are marketing a renowned Canadian whose Marxist beliefs today probably would have landed him permanently under the watchful eye of the Canadian security services – I am talking about a Canadian doctor named Norman Bethune, a native of Gravenhurst Ontario — a passionate Marxist who joined the Spanish civil war against the fascists of Spain and then joined Mao Zedong’s glorious struggle against the Japanese and other feudals in 1939 and eventually perished and was eulogized by the great Chinese leader himself – his statues adorn different parts of China, several medical schools are named after him and now that the Chinese are getting richer, thousands are turning up in Gravenhurst to pay homage to their history book hero – Under normal circumstances, the Tories would not give Comrade Bethune the time of day – but times they are a changing – we need Chinese trade and investment and we need Chinese tourists – so our capitalist heroes have shelled out two and a half million dollars to turn Norman Bethune’s home in Gravenhurst into a shrine for Chinese tourists reliving their history – in fact, it was inaugurated by none other than Treasury Board president Tony Clement this week – who made clear that the Tories were not celebrating his Marxism, but his universal public service spirit – whatever – bottom line, to use the words from a Stevie Miller song: take the money and run, Tony – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Canada Goes Colonial
A few weeks ago I came across a news item that Canada was negotiating with several countries in the developing world to rent bases for its armed forces – and it signed an agreement with Jamaica for the first of these bases – our armed forces will be stationed there and at the other bases in Asia and Africa for rapid deployment – rapid deployment? – For what? – to invade countries and build our Canadian Raj of influence? – I can see our former prime minister Lester Pearson turning over in his grave – he won the Nobel peace prize for setting up the Blue Helmets, a UN peacekeeping force – twenty years ago one third of Canada’s soldiers served as peacekeepers – today this number is a paltry 33 – the rest are send to die in unnecessary wars – perhaps Ottawa is trying to create a false economy like in the US, where tens of thousands of jobs and much of the country’s wealth is linked to the defence complex – is it any wonder that America always has new enemies to battle and new countries to invade – is this where we want to go? do we want glitzy army recruitment centres as the US has in the middle of Times Square in New York city? cajoling the young poor to come learn the art of killing and help Canada garner the colonial image that it missed along the way to nationhood? – on the bright side, the large majority of Canadians today want to get back to peacekeeping rather than following the US or NATO into crazy and unethical wars like Afghanistan or Libya – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File: Quebec Student Protest 2012: born out of necessity to stress free university education for all
Quebec Students’ Summer 2012 Protest stresses the need for free university education for all…
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This promises to be a long hot summer – at least in Quebec, where the three month old student protest against increases in tuition fees continues – bringing thousands of students to the street – some of the demonstrations did turn violent – the protest has been condemned by our establishment media led by the CBC’s Rex Murphy who called them undemocratic and the actions of a mob in a province that has the cheapest university education – Time Magazine compared one march with students banging cooking pots to the 1960s left wing protest in Chile against the ruthless dictatorship of Pinochet, who was in fact editorially supported by Time and the CIA – But let’s not forget that it was the violent protests in Chile that eventually turned the tide against Pinochet – unfortunately we live in a 15-second news-clip world where only acts of violence draw attention – instead of examining the heart of the issue, Quebec passed an undemocratic law making it illegal for a march by 50 plus people without permission and a ban on face masks – Needless to say I have no problem with the Quebec protest – I have a problem that English Canada students and those in Quebec’s English universities did not join in – because there is a broader issue here – that all higher education should be free to guarantee equal access to all – how do we pay for it? – tax the rich – tax those crazy speculative stock market profits – redistribute wealth for education rather than let students graduate with a hundred thousand dollar debt – socialism, you say, so what? – what’s wrong with introducing elements of socialism for public good? – We have it in healthcare – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Love that white skin, baby! Shame on you India for your treatment of women; Run Justin Trudeau! Minorities need you!
White Skin Shall Set You Free…
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Remember the line from the famous book turned movie, A Passage to India – where the Scottish police inspector is prosecuting an Indian on charges of sexually assaulting an English woman – it is a universal truth that races with darker skins are attracted to races with fairer skins but the reverse is not true – colonial racism? I thought so until the Scotsman’s truth hit me smack in the face – in matrimonial ads where an upper caste man is looking for an upper caste woman who must be fair skinned – in snide remarks by lighter skinned Indians of all religions against darker skinned Indians – sparking off a bleaching mania and a multi billion rupee skin whitening industry, many of whose products are toxic and carcinogenic – fast forward decades later to the age of the Internet and it hits me smack in the face again, this time on YouTube – an advertisement from India reproduced for the benefit of the world where a wife sits totally ignored by her husband reading a newspaper – then she takes a shower using a brand name skin whitening gel – but wait, not just for her skin but specially for the skin around her nether regions – a pop up window explains why lightening the skin in this neck of the woods is the key to eternal seduction – rose petals fall and there is a happy Bollywood ending – many of the product manufacturers in fact hire popular Bollywood stars for their commercials their skins lightened by PhotoShop – so here we are, decades later – the gora sahibs and memsahibs have returned to England and all we seem to have taken from them is a skin deep legacy – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
G-20 Poll: India comes LAST in treatment of women (June 22, 2012)
For a country that is called an emerging superpower, whose rich men are among the top 15 in the world and where you can buy fresher Italian prosciutto then in Canada, India must be quite dismayed to see its ranking in a wide ranging poll of 370 gender specialists from India and other nations who were asked to survey the status of women in the G-20 countries – it was named the worst country to be in if you are female – Canada was named the best because of its policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation, and access to healthcare – India came even after Saudi Arabia for heaven’s sake – India was given the last place because of continuing rampant infanticide, child marriages and slavery – the poll was conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation – in fact, India and Saudi Arabia were consistently placed last or second last when determining the status of women in areas of healthcare, freedom from violence, workplace opportunities, access to resources and political participation – I have said time and again that simply passing grandiose laws is not enough – it grabs world headlines but nothing gets enforced at ground level – and I bet you that Indian officials are going to react by saying we are trying our best but we are such a big country and it will take us time – I am sorry, but I don’t buy that anymore – I’ve been hearing that lame excuse for 50 years, like a broken record even though we now live in an age when records that break don’t even exist anymore – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Amnesty International, Muslims and Islamophobia (May 2012)
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Recently, I asked Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to read an Amnesty International report on Roma Gypsies — hoping he would look more kindly at a group that faces horrendous discrimination in Europe — today I have another Amnesty report for him: one that shows European laws and attitudes towards Muslim women wearing face or head covering are fuelling racism and Islamophobia at levels where it denies women jobs and girls education — France And Belgium ban face coverings, and similar laws are being considered in Italy, Spain and elsewhere — our very own curry in a hurry minister said in between mouthfuls of tandoori chicken that he is banning face coverings at citizenship ceremonies — why? because you can’t be sure that they are actually swearing allegiance to Canada and the Queen — hey, they could be swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden and saying Allah O Akbar under their breath – as if an official could not stand beside one of them and listen — veils imprison women, said Kenney repeating European arguments, as he signs up with the fraternity of white knights to emancipate them – Nobody of course tells us is how many women wear full face coverings – in Canada their number would fall off a statistical chart – before Canada joins the ranks of lunatic governments in Europe, Mr. Curry in a Hurry should listen to Marco Perolini of Amnesty: states have focused so much on the wearing of veils as if this practice were the most widespread and compelling form of inequality that women have to face – precisely – how about first smashing the glass ceilings that women face in making their way up a corporate ladder – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
New Immigration Rules (May 2012)
If anything is showing the true face of Canada’s turn to the extreme right, it is the immigration system – Ottawa’s most recent incarnation is immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s announcement that thousands of backlogged skilled worker applications for immigration to our country will be spiked just like that, the fee refunded so as to end a huge backlog – these are people who have been waiting for years and in many cases have used their life savings to process their applications, paying immigration consultants and lawyers – instead, the federal government will raid different countries and entice the rich to come over with their buckeroos and only admit the skilled workers it feels Canada needs today – in Steven Harper’s Canada, cash is king – the more bucks you can offer this country, the sooner you catch the next plane to the white north – in one sense this is like going back in time – we need to build the railroad, so we bring in Chinese workers by the boat load, even making them pay a head tax for hammering rail spikes across Canada – in the 40s and 50s we needed construction workers to build sewers, and so we brought over post-war Italians – turning people into commodities – what do we need today and where are the midnight sales – and not just that but the government intends to ask the industrial barons of Canada to sit on immigration panels to decide who can enter and for how long – they will even be allowed to pay the workers 15% less than the going rate – read union rate – and jump over any queue faster than you can say Kenney’s nickname, curry in a hurry – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File: Dump Conrad Black; Toronto cops fingered but unscathed in G-20 probe; Tories kick the downtrodden
Dump Conrad Black the “British Criminal”
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It is not often that the tabloid Sun and the Star agree on something – what brought them together is a man described by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair as a British criminal – Lord Black of Crossharbour, better known as Conrad Black, the media baron who renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to be knighted by the Queen – went on to commit fraud in his worldwide media operations based in the US and to obstruct justice, for both of which he was jailed – now he’s free – and our immigration department actually allowed him to return to his mansion in Toronto despite his criminal record – Conservative Immigration minister Jason Kenney of course swears he had nothing to do with the decision – and Black intends to apply for his Canadian citizenship – now imagine if this was not Lord Black of Crossharbour – but a refugee from South Asia or Africa with a criminal record – I bet you a hundred to one that instead of high level bureaucrats discussing his entry, we would have scrambled our aging air force to drive them away – and I bet you that Black will be given back his citizenship – unless of course the NDP forms the next government – and when he is ready to swear his citizenship oath to Queen and Canada, here is my plea to Jason Kenney: force him to wear a burqa – the black full face covering that a tiny minority of Muslim women wear and which Kenney banned from citizenship hearings – covered in black from head to toe he will not break the peace with his revolting presence and breach section 49 of the Criminal Code of Canada called Alarming Her Majesty – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
G20 Police Report
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In most progressive cities, if a police force was accused of wholesale violation of people’s civil rights, the chief would be on the sidewalk in a hurry – but not so in Metro Toronto, the jock haven of a mayor who calls police to chase away reporters – and I’m not just making this up – Gerry McNeilly, the director of Ontario’s independent police review board, has released a scathing report that accuses the upholders of the law in Toronto of violating civil rights with mass arrests of a thousand innocent people, detained in a makeshift pen and hardly any of whom were charged – this was during Toronto’s gong show in 2010 – the G20 summit that was designed to launch our fearless prime minister Stephen Harper as a world leader – a billion dollars was earmarked for summit security – police were given the right to stop anyone within five metres of the gong show perimeter and question them – the report found they did more than that, they corralled hundreds in pouring rain unlawfully, they stopped questioned and searched people simply because they wore a bandana or carried a backpack – outside the provincial parliament the cops moved in with riot shields, rubber bullets, tear gas, officers mounted on horseback in a show of force never before witnessed in Toronto – I remember watching this on TV and thought I was transported to a Latin American dictatorship of the 1960s – I think Chief Bill Blair deserves the Bay Street treatment when it fires people: you come in one day and your electronic entry card doesn’t work – you call the receptionist who says sorry chief, you’ve been fired – go home and wait for your severance – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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Fighter Jets at any cost! (April 2012)
Last week I told you about the $40 billion worldwide sales of weapons – and how the biggest buyers are also the poorest countries in the world such as India and Pakistan – little did I realize that our own government would be spending more than half of this total, meaning about $26 billion, to buy, maintain and fly the ultra sophisticated F 35 fighter Jets – and not just that, but the federal government of Steven Harper hid the full extent of the cost during the last election when he won a majority – conveniently ignoring to tell Canadians that there was an additional $16 billion price tag on top of the base price of $9 billion – a lot of money when you think of the lofty goals announced by Ottawa recently to cut the $33 billion deficit –and really, what on earth do we need these ultra sophisticated fighter jets for anyway? – Does Canada really believe that it is becoming a superpower that will take on dictators and take over countries like America does? – Or is this part of Steven Harper’s right wing vision to militarize Canada and Canadians by dismantling the hunting rifle registry, introducing military vehicles in Christmas parades, firing off cannons at football games? – Come on Canada, go back to your honorable historical role of peacekeeping in countries from where you draw many of your immigrants and refugees – peacekeeping was why the world loved us, the F 35 will make us no different than the war monger south of the border – Reflect on the mess you left behind in Libya, getting sucked into a NATO misadventure based on lies and fabrication – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Read Amnesty Report on the Roma, Mr. Kenney (April 2012)
Sometime back, I told you about our immigration Minister Jason Kenney and his upside down view of the Roma Gypsies from Europe – originally South Asians who migrated to Europe more than a thousand years ago – his claim based on God knows what research that the Roma were not persecuted and that countries such as Hungary, our trading partner, were the beacons of human rights – he also suggested that they only come here to get welfare – this self-proclaimed champion of Canada’s ethnic minorities should read one of the most disturbing Amnesty International reports I have read, on the Roma – a horrifying picture of poverty, human rights abuses and violence in both Western and Eastern Europe – the 12 million Roma are paid slave wages, suffer higher unemployment and have the worst access to healthcare and public services, because of systematic discrimination and other human rights violations – the result of prejudice of centuries of societal, institutional and individual acts of discrimination – Statements by sleazy heads of state such as president Nicolas Sarkozy of France don’t help either – he calls the Roma “a source of criminality – in countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and others the Roma have been attacked not just by neo-Nazis but even every day citizens – in Slovakia two thirds of Roma children are in institutional care – in Moldavia, 60% live in dire poverty – says Kate Allen, It’s time Europe woke up and put a full stop to the persecution of these marginalized communities – What on earth was Jason Kenney smoking when he slammed the door on the Roma – or maybe he was too busy watching Bollywood movies in Brampton and collected votes – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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Canada joins Roma bashing; Oil sands are dirty… period; Let’s tow away Toews’ Bill C-30; Hindus-Muslims join hands in gay bashing: OMNI-TV file March 2012
Kenney and Immigration: slamming the door shut on Roma gypsies… shame on Canada
I’ve never thought much of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and his curry in a hurry ethnic vote grab – but his overhaul of our refugee laws to block Roma gypsies places him even lower – under new rules, he could unilaterally decide over a plate of tandoori chicken that countries such as Hungary or the Czech Republic are safe countries from where no refugees will be accepted – most of the Roma refugees have fled to Canada from Hungary which has no Canadian visa requirement – in Hungary, as in other parts of East Europe, the Roma are second class citizens, openly discriminated against, beaten by right wing thugs, randomly stopped by police, their children harassed in schools, as documented by well known papers such as The Guardian – even in Italian cities such as Milan they live in a gated colony – to leave it they must produce their identity card, explain where they are going and for how long – the Roma’s I am talking about migrated from India more than a thousand years ago, were discriminated against from day one and then faced a genocide mounted by Hitler where hundreds of thousands of them were slaughtered? – instead of taking his cues from human rights groups, Kenney glibly says that all they want to come here for is a welfare cheque – even a light-weight like Madonna risked booing at a concert in Romania for pleading about the Roma – what on earth is happening to the kinder and gentler Canada? – are we becoming like this blogger with a Hungarian name who wrote: Allowing gypsies to come to Canada is very unwise. Gypsy culture is criminal activity — think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File: Influential Indian Muslim groups waste efforts on Rushdie instead of helping community
Fanatic Indian Muslim Groups Still Waste their Time on Salman Rushdie
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Next year (2013) will be 25 years since the controversy over Salman Rushdie’s book, Satanic Verses, spread like a nuclear fallout – with the late Ayatollah Khomeini accusing Rushdie of blasphemy and putting a price on his head – events in India in the last couple of weeks gave us yet another taste of religious fanaticism – Rushdie was to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival when a Muslim group called the Darul Uloom raised a hue and cry and wanted New Delhi to block his visit – it couldn’t and festival organizers defied the protest – Indian authorities apparently floated false information of an assassination plot against Rushdie – he cancelled his visit and opted for a satellite link – that too was cancelled after several groups threatened violence – what is really sad is that Muslims are among the most discriminated people in India and steeped in poverty, according to a government study – they have been the subject of pogroms – the illiteracy rate among Muslim boys and girls is huge – and the best that these Muslim groups can do is go after an author who got his fame but has to go on in life watching over his shoulder? – and the ruling Congress Party appeases them simply to secure millions of Muslim votes when it could have easily protected Rushdie? – I can only imagine how many theatres will be burned down when and if a movie being made by Canadian Deepa Mehta and based on Rushdie’s classic, Midnight’s Children, is released – it may well suffer the same fate as The Satanic Verses which by the way is banned in what our media loves to call the world’s largest democracy – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Gurkha Warriors: Colonialism and the Raj Live On (February 2012)
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One of the hallmarks of the British Raj was labelling the races of South Asia – the Gurkhas of Nepal, the Sikhs, the Marathas and the Rajputs were the martial races – the Gujaratis were the businessmen – South Indians made good babu’s or government clerks, dotting every ‘i’ in their pursuit of red tape – even after the Raj ended, England made sure it enlisted young Gurkhas into its regiments that fought for instance in the Falklands war and more lately in Afghanistan – some 45,000 Gurkhas died in British uniform in the two world wars – India continues with this legacy of the Raj and also maintains Gurkha regiments – only now there is a Maoist majority in the Nepalese parliament and a new sense of cultural identity – a report put together by a parliamentary committee is recommending that this export of mercenaries be banned – Gurkha recruitment gave the youth a small opportunity for employment … but has not always allowed the country to hold its head high, says the committee report – besides, the nations these exported mercenaries fight, such as Pakistan and Argentina, are not Nepal’s enemies – but then, millions of rupees pour into Nepal from retired Indian and English Gurkha soldiers – and of course the exotic racial stereotyping continues to enthrall the young – the Agence France Presse reporting on the controversy again described the Nepalese as having a reputation for ferocity and bravery and known for their distinctive curved Kukri knives – the parliamentary report caused a major controversy in Nepal – but it was the British ambassador – yes, once again the Raj – who had the last word: whether the ban happens in our lifetime is questionable – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
India defies the US over Iran; web censorship, why sometimes it is necessary…: OMNI-TV File Feb. 2012
India Ignores Uncle Sam, buys Iran Oil (Feb. 10, 2012)
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Finally, two developing countries are standing up to Uncle Sam over the issue of sanctions against Iran – India and South Africa – India in addition to having historic trading and cultural links with Iran, imports about 12% of its oil needs from that country – India used to pay Iran in dollars through a Turkish bank – which ended after the Americans, Canadians and the Europeans slapped economic sanctions against Iran based on unproved allegations that Iran’s nuclear energy program is simply to produce bombs – ludicrous when even America’s national intelligence chief James Clapper, standing beside the CIA chief, told a senate intelligence committee last week that they do not believe Iran has decided to build nukes – As the west began boycotting Iranian oil, India, which needs oil to keep up its growth rate, ignored American and European pressures and struck a deal with Iran to continue buying Iranian oil – Iran will accept rupees, hold these in Indian banks and use them to buy Indian agricultural products and machinery – pressure on India has already begun from Washington – and on South Africa – whose African National Congress still remembers how Ayatollah Khomeini funded the group’s liberation struggle to overthrow the white apartheid regime to fulfill a Koranic injunction to help the oppressed of the world – New Delhi should not give in to pressure and remember that the west needs India to buy its products, provide cheap services and to keep China from gaining world economic domination – besides, in the words of its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, regional cooperation is key to defeating neo colonialism and India and Iran share very close historical links – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri. (For one of the more thorough backgrounds to this piece, click me)
Web Censorship in India (Feb. 17)
Sitting comfortably in Canada, with a huge literacy rate, my material needs looked after, it would be fairly easy for me to stand up and scream about anyone who attempts to censor anything on the Internet – after all, the web is supposed to be a free flow of information – but then I take myself back to my earlier days as a reporter in India – covering Bombay and the surrounding regions – I remember one town just outside Bombay – somebody supposedly threw cow meat at a temple – the rumour spread and within two days hundreds of men, women and children, both Hindu and Muslim, lay dead – I remember another town farther away where rumour of an upper caste girl marrying a lower caste boy left behind a massacre – forget the cops, they either look the other way, or as in the Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, took part in the massacre – communal, caste and inter-racial riots and violence begins in the world’s largest democracy at the drop of a hat – even today – in this context, when the government, following up on a court ruling, recently asked Google, Yahoo, FaceBook, Microsoft’s Bing, to remove content from their websites that could be construed as offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians, I had no problem in accepting the court’s dictum – while I adore the freedom of expression in Canada, I cherish even more the value that the west places on human life – unfettered freedom of expression is not a priority in countries that neither have the literacy or sophistication to appreciate this freedom nor the law enforcement mechanism to protect it – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.