February 2007


“This is happening to many other Asian girls — our lives are being destroyed. Something needs to be done.”

Last week a young bride was living in fear of her life after managing to escape from a violent husband and his family in Manchester. She had suffered six months of domestic violence and verbal abuse. She said that “family honour” made it difficult for women in similar circumstances to admit to domestic problems and feared that her escape would bring shame on her own family.

(click here to read more)

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We Can Wear Bindis, But You Can’t

As an Indian American who has spent the majority of her life in the “West” (ie North America and to a smaller extent, Western Europe), I’ve always noticed the commodification of cultures for societies that are based on consumer culture. The moment I noticed this was back in 1997. In high school, my friends took me to a No Doubt concert in Orange County, California. At the time, No Doubt’s GwenStefani was sporting bindis. So when I went to the concert, I wore one. Everyone at the concert was white; all the girls were wearing bindis . But they were looking at me in the most depreciating manner; I even heard a couple of comments about my skin color (I used to be very tan because I was a swimmer and water polo player) and that I “should go back.”

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1,400 Suicides in One Region Alone Last Year – by P. Sainath
Ramesshwar Kuchankar decided that the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee was where he would take his own life. He did, on November 28 in Panderkauda, Yavatmal. Ten days later, Dinesh Ghughul was shot dead by the police at the Wani cotton market in the same district. And Pundalik Girsawle walked into the premises of the agricultural officer, Wani, and killed himself there 12 days after Ghughul’s death.

Kuchankar was 27, Ghughul was 38, and Girsawle 45. Different people in several ways. Yet they represent the same new – and growing – trend in Vidharbha’s farm deaths [in the state of Maharashtra, east of Mumbai]. More and more such farmers are directly blaming state policy – not drought or floods – for their misery.

(click here to read more from Znet)

Dr. Lenin Rahguvanshi, a human rights activist working for the Dalits and the backward class in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India has been receiving death threats from local political figures from the upper caste communities, asking him to stop his work with dalits or he and his family would be murdered.

(click here to read more from the South Asian)

“1 hundred thousand civilians died in Iraq, what the f@*#! is up with that?”
— Sonny Suchdev of Outernational, introducing the song “Blood on the Streets.”

I’ve been following the band Outernational — with their fearless melange of punk, rap, ska, bhangra and afrobeat — since 2003. While still not a household name, the group began to make waves at 2004’s Republican National Convention protests in New York. That’s where they played (at the “Axis of Justice” concert organized by Tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine) to a large crowd of pissed-off activists, many of them Critical Mass bike riders who had just watched the NYPD target and arrest scores of their own (the Bloomberg administration claimed that “anarchists” had infiltrated the group bike ride). The repercussions of that day’s mass arrests and police mistreatment continue to reverberate in Outernational’s NYC home base.

(click here to read more)

The problems of villages like this are not only a Sri Lankan problem; many villages all around the world in Asia, in Africa, and in Latin America face similar and related problems. It is also clear that NGOs are an effect of Neo Liberalism, an attempt to stop any political solution from arising.

(click here to read more from Counter Currents)

Much is being made in India of the letter written by the UPA chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi to Shri Manmohan Singh regarding the major news of Walmart entering India in partnership with Indian industrialists without a footprint in retail.

The language of the letter of course, shows that Mrs Gandhi has all along been in the dark about this major reorganization of retail sector in India, being considered by the agriculture and commerce ministries, with the green signal from Prime Minister, under the garb of inviting investments into agriculture and propelling the Second Green Revolution in India. Of course, the issue of on whose backs the second Green Revolution will play itself out, is a moot question, one best answered, by a much delayed and avoided, visit to farmer organizations in Vidarbha and Indian killing fields.

(click here to read more from the South Asian)

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