Iran scientist assassination: high-tech colonialism?
The assassination this week of a fifth Iranian scientist was nothing but terrorism – Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist, was assassinated when two men on a motorcycle slapped a magnetic bomb on his vehicle in Tehran’s rush-hour traffic – had these been European or American scientists and the likely culprit Iran, and an Iranian general had told the media with a smile that he wasn’t shedding any tears, you would have seen blazing headlines calling for a war or terrorism – But I have yet to see one Western newspaper or TV or government including Ottawa condemn this blatant act of terrorism – likely by agents of Israel and/or a Western power – I specify Western because Iran is in the crosshairs of the west for refusing to bow down to America and Europe – which have decided that Iran’s nuclear energy program is solely to build a nuclear bomb to attack Israel – and it must be stopped – when the Nobel Laureate and former Egyptian diplomat Mohammed el Baradei, the ex-head of the International Atomic Energy Agency refused to produce reports backing the west, he was forced out, and an Internet campaign launched accusing him of being an Iranian agent – his accusation about western pressure and that there was a lot of hype in the issue went virtually unreported – the media was manipulated to build an image of an evil and fanatic Iran – trade sanctions are now choking Iranian oil revenue and countries that trade fully with Iran are cut off from US dollar activity – In fact, if Iran were bombed tomorrow Westerners wouldn’t bat an eyelid – is this democracy or 21st Century high-tech colonialism to continue the supremacy of the Western world? – think about it I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File (December 2011): Canada’s unethical oil; Aravind Adiga’s new book; Christmas stories; my wishes for 2012
Climate Change and Canada’s Unethical Oil (Dec. 9)
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In the last while, I’ve been telling you how Ottawa led by the stone faced Prime Minister Steven Harper has been steering Canada to the right — militarily, foreign policy wise, and now even the environment — where once the world looked upon Canada as a nation with vast natural resources and a sound environmental policy — we are nowhere to be found in Durban, South Africa where the countries of the world are debating the Kyoto Accord – and Canada is leading the charge to kill the accord — led by TV anchor turned environment minister Peter Kent — it is sad to read the accounts by reporters such as Geoffrey York of the Globe and Mail, describing the open door offices and exhibits of most countries, even China — with daily announcements and briefings for the world media — and Kent with a closed door office, briefings restricted to a few Canadian journalists and as little said as possible – and Canadian delegates apologizing to the world community for their dim-witted minister – but then, isn’t this the minister who is pushing the concept of ethical oil – in other words wouldn’t you rather buy the oil produced in democratic Canada despite its horribly polluting methods that have earned Canadian oil the title of Dirty Oil — rather than buying from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela — the implication being ideological purity acts as a sieve — just like pouring tea, it filters the tea leaves and gives you a fresh brew – of democratic oil — which burns as sweetly and safely as sandalwood — don’t believe me? just walk on Yonge Street in rush hour open your mouth and say Rob Ford – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Last Man in Tower – Book Review (Dec. 16)
Still looking for presents? – forget play stations and all that junk – just go to the nearest bookstore and buy a desi suspense thriller by an award winning author – It is called Last Man in Tower – one of the most gripping books to come out of India – I couldn’t put it down – [BOOK COVER GRAPHIC IN] it is written by Aravind Adiga, whose first book The White Tiger won the Booker –Being a former journalist, Adiga’s eye for detail is like watching a TV clip – backed by superb story telling – published by Random House, it is about an ageing housing coop in Mumbai – [GRAPHIC OUT] thousands of these were built for middle class buyers in the sixties and later – but today real estate in Mumbai is more expensive than Manhattan – and scummy developers scout out such coops, offering large sums of money to buy out owners, tear down the buildings, and replace them with luxury skyscrapers – the catch is everyone must sell or the deal is off and it is not unusual for a holdout to end up in the foundation of a building under construction – in this case the developer is self made billionaire Dharmen Shah and his target is Vishram Society with a melange of characters as real as Malabar Hill – among them a Communist who suddenly finds wealth very exciting – Do they all sell? What is the level of greed and how far does it take them? – What Adiga paints is not a pretty picture — but then neither is a society where wealth is replacing spirituality – after you finish ask yourself why Bollywood is full of Hollywood rip-offs instead of an original story such as this? – think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File (November): Killing Occupy Movement, Multicultural Remembrance Day, Cluster Bombs & Banks, Torture in India
How Occupy Movement was killed by media and the state
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It was sad to see the tents of the occupy movement being dismantled across Canada and the young people with a fresh vision being driven off to the fringe – our government leaders and our media ignoring their message and focusing instead on how these trouble makers were messing up public spaces – and they did have a message that unchecked capitalism and free enterprise was not the answer to a planet in crisis – that the American model was the cause of massive inequality, poverty, hunger, deprivation, war, famine and conflict – poor countries like India have been worshipping this model for two decades and today a hundred families control a quarter of the country’s GDP – 800 million Indians live on fifty cents a day – while corporations use the media to brainwash us that happiness is to turn into a zombie at a department store’s midnight sale – in America itself people are losing their jobs and homes while Barack Obama bails out Wall Street and bombs innocent people – Indian author Arundhati Roy said it best at an occupy speech in New York – we need an end to cross-ownership in businesses – weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health, put a cap on how much wealth individuals can accumulate and the children of the rich cannot inherit all their family’s wealth – the young men and women were simply telling us an inconvenient truth that it is time to guarantee a home, food, healthcare, total education for all – instead of building them a shrine where we could ponder a different god, we drove them away – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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The first is an excerpt from the speech of Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy in New York in November 2011, at the Occupy Movement camp in Manhattan. A week later, the occupiers, who were focusing on the greed of Wall Street and demanding equality and justice for all, were forced off public areas and into the fringe. The second, is an extract from a newspaper item on the report by the Asian Center for Human Rights in New Delhi, talking about torture by police and Indian security forces.
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Diwali and Hindu Muslim Religious Tolerance in India
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Let me share my memories of Diwali as it used to be celebrated in India – it did not matter that we were from a Muslim family – even before school ended, we knew exactly what was in store for the evening – sweets galore of every kind from our Hindu neighbours – a package full of firecrackers with the usual warning from our parents to watch out for the little ones that resembled miniature dynamite sticks – small earthenware oil lamps lining our balcony, the same as any other balcony, as if the entire building was celebrating a birthday decreed in heaven – just before it got dark our parents would disappear to a Diwali party – where my father would partake in card games hoping that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, would bestow a few favours on this renegade Muslim – I on the other hand would score deserts all the way down the building and then join other children and toss our first miniature dynamite below the window of an old Bollywood actor, Billimoria, who hated loud noises – in the next hour, all are firecrackers would be set off, including the crazy little rocket called sur-suree, whose claim to fame was that instead of shooting up in the heavens it sometimes chased the boy who lit it down the street – amongst us they were Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsees, Sikhs – all linked by a simple formula: sweets, loud noises and a lot of fun – whatever happened to the India that was growing up so amicably? – Think about it and a Happy Diwali to you and your family – I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
Canada’s new shift to Right Royal Militarism
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If you are one of those who lived through an era when Canada was respected as a peacekeeper and the beacon of hope, it’s time for you to sit up and smell the coffee – from a nation of peacekeepers, our Tory government is slowly turning us into a militaristic nation shaped after the image devised for America by the disgraced George W. Bush – our Armed Forces have been fighting wars that in previous years our ambassadors at the UN would have tried to stop – and they are no more the Canadian Armed Forces, the Tories have brought back colonialism – they now are the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy and so on – our embassies abroad have been forced to prominently display large portraits of the Queen of England – the monarchy reigns supreme again – tell me, how can I as an Indo-Canadian respect the head of a family whose ancestors ravaged, robbed and enslaved the country of my birth – and Prime Minister Stephen Harper now plans to spend $12 million to falsely commemorate the 200th anniversary of the war of 1812 between what was then an English outpost, America and the First Nations as a militaristic event that shaped our character – I have no desire to see my descendents growing up in a militaristic state, I have no interest in recognizing the English monarchy more than the 52 cent postage stamp that I buy reluctantly and I have no interest in foreign nationals walking into our embassies to stare at an English woman with a crown rather than our illustrious leaders such as John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
India Population Set to Overtake China… along male lines
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The population of the world’s so called largest democracy has gone past 1.2 billion and is set to overtake China’s 1.3 billion in 20 years – officially, anyway – off the record, most experts will tell you that India has already gone past China, and is closing in on 1 1/2 billion – more alarmingly, the latest census found that the gender imbalance among newborns is in favor of boys – it already stands at about 900 girls for every thousand boys, thanks to what is generally called gendercide – according to official figures, some 12 million unborn girls were aborted by Indian parents in the past three decades – despite a 1996 law banning this practice – but then, the market for sex determination of babies in India is booming, worth more than $100 million, with 40,000 registered ultrasound clinics, a corrupt medical establishment and cops more than willing to look the other way for a fee – and if all this isn’t enough for a country with abominable poverty rates that surpass even Africa, in the southern state of Kerala, Christian churches have begun offering parents $200 – for many a full year’s salary – if they have a fifth child, so as to boost the Christian population and match that of fast growing Muslim community – a government report to force families hold the line at two children under threat of fines and jail terms has been attacked by the Christian and Muslim communities as an encroachment on religious freedom, with only the United Hindu Front arguing that given the country’s limited resources it makes sense – and you know what, I agree as long as it can be equitably enforced – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV File (October): Pakistan, its ISI and America…; Kashmir – the politics of slaughter and mass graves…
Kashmir and DNA testing — dissappearances, mass graves and the politics of slaughter
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Imagine reading on the front page of your favourite newspaper or watching on your favourite TV newscast that thousands of bodies have been discovered in mass graves in a country – the result of extrajudicial killings – imagine the hue and cry in the Canadian Parliament – imagine the outrage and condemnation – headlines would continue for days – well, we did live through a similar scenario just recently – Omar Abdullah, the chief minister of the Indian state of Kashmir, announced that DNA testing will be carried out on hundreds of bodies found in mass graves – human rights activists say thousands of people, suspected by Indian security forces of either being militants or having links to such groups demanding independence for India’s Muslim majority state of Kashmir, were summarily detained and killed – Across the valley, more than 8000 relatives live in enduring uncertainty, hoping that missing relatives may one day come home alive – while on the one hand, this DNA testing decision is a testament to India’s democracy, on the other hand this democratic response has been rather slow and reluctant and condemnation from the champions of democracy in the western world non-existent – the disappearances have been documented for years in well-known magazines and in books such as Pankaj Mishra’s Temptations of the West – Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy never stops talking about the disappearances of Kashmir’s young men – but don’t expect a hue and cry in Ottawa – after all, these are all just Muslims, and these days Muslims are fair game for drone attacks and extra-judicial killings, or simply because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri but with no connection to that troubled state.
Pakistan, its ISI and America: is there some mischief afoot?
Once again, Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, is in a spotlight of infamy – it has been accused by one of the highest-ranking American military officers, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of organizing two of the deadliest bombings in Afghanistan – in mid-September, a NATO outpost south of Kabul was truck bombed, killing five people and wounding 77 foreign troops, plus an armed assault on the US Embassy left 16 Afghan police officers and civilians dead – the admiral told a Senate armed services committee open quote with ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy end of quote – Mullen said the Haqqani group is an arm of the ISI – US intelligence says it also was able to determine through cell phone wiretaps that the ISI was behind the 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul which left several dead – the story played out in the media for two days and then simply vanished – but if you reflect on it, this is a very serious charge against a country, Pakistan, which I have said time and again is a totally failed state that should never have been created in the first place – for lesser accusations than this, people have been hauled in as war criminals and put to trial – is the head of the ISI, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, going to be extradited to face charges of war crimes and murder? – Of course not – but it does lay a media manipulation groundwork for America to undertake its unfettered extrajudicial killings outside of any international law that it imposes on other countries –Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
As the US prepares to wage a new kind of war, Arundhati Roy challenges the instinct for vengeance
The Guardian, Saturday 29 September 2001
In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said: “Good and evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday. People who we don’t know massacred people who we do. And they did so with contemptuous glee.” Then he broke down and wept.
OMNI-TV file (September): 9/11 tenth anniversary — What did we learn? Zilch…; Stephen Harper disses Muslims, again; Gaddhafi and his colonial ‘friends’; Jack Layton…; School prayer capers in Toronto
9/11: the tenth anniversary — what did we learn? ZILCH…
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As we mark the 10th anniversary of the horrific tragedy known as 9/11, have we learned anything from this? – other than clichéd headlines: in the shadow of ground zero, hallowed ground, confronting Islamic jihad, America’s real war – heart rending tales of victims and families – TV shows about a tragedy that changed the world forever – a theme that allowed the US to invade Afghanistan and radicalize a Muslim world already convinced that America and its NATO allies were out to destroy Islam – to invade Iraq on falsified information and commit horrific war crimes – to continue using its drones to kill people it identifies as al-Qaida terrorists and with them, hundreds of innocent Muslims who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – 3000 people died in 9/11, but when did you last read about how many have died in Iraq? – According to Information Clearinghouse, a news aggregator, almost one and a half million Iraqi men, women and children have been killed – and then there is the theme about the 19 terrorists behind nine eleven driven by a crazed Islamic ideology which needs to be fought worldwide – but can we simply write off nine eleven as the work of crazy Muslims who hated everything Western? – immediately after nine eleven, Sunera Thobani, a women’s studies professor at the University of British Columbia, said that the motive may well lie in US foreign policy – her quote from Chile to El Salvador to Nicaragua to Iraq, the path of U.S. foreign-policy is soaked in blood – and let’s not forget the biggest issue that nobody brings up: America’s – and Canada’s – biased support of Israel in the Palestinian struggle for a homeland – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
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OMNI-TV file (August 2011): Ethnic Shakespeare; Sri Lanka’s Slaughter; Rob Ford’s Chain Saw Massacre
They say that Shakespeare is universal and England’s famous Globe Theatre is going to make this come true – as a lead up to the Olympic Games in London next summer, the Globe will stage all 38 works of Shakespeare, but not in English – [GFX in] so if you’re planning to visit England next summer get ready for a multilingual Shakespearean bonanza: The Tempest in Arabic, Titus Andronicus in Cantonese, Julius Caesar in Italian, Henry VIII in Spanish, King Lear in Australian Aboriginal language and – listen to this – Taming of the Shrew in Urdu – [GFX out] which then leads me to question why invite Pakistani TV Star Nadia Jamil for the lead role as Katherine in the play instead of a Bollywood belle? – after all, Urdu is not a Pakistani language, even though Pakistan insists on calling Urdu its national language – Urdu is a language born in the Deccan Region of India which reached its full bloom in Lucknow and it is as Indian masala dosa – it is largely the language of Bollywood romance – and believe me there is more talent in Bollywood than the rest of the world film industry put together – however, enough of politics – there will also be the esoteric performances, such as Troilus and Cressida in Maori – remember the bard’s favourite line that all the world’s a stage on which you and I play our bit roles and then vanish – so make tracks for England next summer – and if you really don’t want to, I suppose there’s always Stratford Ontario — think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
It is not often that human rights organizations come across what they call trophy evidence — documented graphically with photos and video — so imagine the surprise of Christof Heyns, chief investigator for the United Nations Human Rights Council that got raw footage of naked Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka, their hands tied behind their back, being shot in the head by Sri Lankan soldiers — his instant reaction was to make sure it was genuine — video analysts declared it genuine, based on which the UN is calling for a war crimes investigation into atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan army which is accused of slaughtering hundreds — the Tamil groups say thousands — of innocent civilians – in cold blood – the report by Heyns led to countries such as England and others boycotting an anti-terrorism conference hosted by Sri Lanka in Colombo — which was attended by countries such as India and China, both accused of similar atrocities, the former in Kashmir and the latter against Tibetans and Chinese civil rights activists — and by Russia, whose role in Chechnya is equally questionable — Human Rights Watch called the conference an attempt by Sri Lanka to whitewash its role in the routing of the Tamil Tiger rebellion by wholesale slaughter — and Sri Lanka itself wants the right to hold its own investigation — which is a joke — it is like the good old days when the police forces in Canada had their own internal investigations into complaints of police brutality — and no copper was ever convicted — think about it — I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.
As a property owner who pays taxes, although not in Metro Toronto, I can empathize with Mayor Rob Ford who wants to balance the city’s budget ASAP and trim three quarters of a million dollars – but the rest of his plan reads like the Texas chain-saw massacre – working with a consulting company, he and his gang of right-wing Reaganites have identified things such as mowing the grass and pruning trees at city parks, closing libraries and cutting all funding for 2000 daycare spaces for low-income parents – all of them items that over the years have given Toronto a quality of life that has made it the most liveable city in the world – Pittsburgh did some of this in recent years and found its youth crime rate rising – so how about starting with the salaries of the mayor and the 44 councillors? – which alone totals way over three quarters of a million dollars when including perks and expenses –– then, there is a lot of fat in City Hall management I am sure as there is in agencies such as the police department whose officers insist on riding two-person patrol cars even in upscale areas whose crime rate is as low as an abandoned island – and of course being right wing, Ford would like to privatize as many city services as possible – a move that has caused serious quality issues in other jurisdictions – but then am I the only one that sees something wrong with the Ford manuscript? – a screenplay that sees Mayor Rob running rampant with a pair of sharp scissors in a ribbon factory? – And where is the taxpayer revolt? – Think about it, I’m Zuhair Kashmeri.