Kunal Mukhopadhyay

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The largest scam in the history of 21st century.

In Blogging, Globalization, Politics on November 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

So now Scania is also accused of oil-for-food kickbacks. Volvo was already implicated earlier. I remember reading a while ago that many French industries also traded regularly with Saddam while the alleged “embargo” was still in place. Ha! Blithering opportunists.

While Saddam enjoyed the luxurious spoils of being pampered by the selfishly opportunistic companies in Europe and the US, sadly, the common mass suffered from the embargo imposed on Iraq. Medical equipment like X-ray machines were hard to get by but one could easily find a laser guided weapon in the country.

I recently was talking to a taxi driver in Stockholm, originally from Iran who narrated the practical hardships caused due to the current embargo on Iran. It was ridiculous to hear what transpires in this world in the name of justice and democracy. For example – Iran Air aircrafts are not allowed to fuel in Sweden due to the embargo. Specifically – Iran Air does not fuel at Stockholm due to the embargo. But apparently, there is a loophole in the rules/embargo that allows the aircraft to fly down to Gothenburg and re-fuel from a private company before returning to Iran. Or alternately stop-over at Geneva where Iran Air can fuel with no obstacles.

So guess who really feels the brunt of it at the end of the day? Yup – the poor passengers who need to sit and wait while the aircraft fuels up. Ordinarily the flight takes 4 hours from Stockholm to Teheran. With the detour it can take up to eight hours. And here’s the killer line – there are several European airlines that fly to Teheran.

The UN Independent Inquiry Committee set up in 2004 found enough, if not pretty damning, evidence to make any decent human being with any moral conscience to stand up and cry foul. Here is the UN_report_summary.

This may not be the first instance in history of such a scam. But I wonder if it isn’t the worst it terms of the number of nations and companies involved.

Truly a shame for the 20th AND the 21st century.

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Afghanistan – a tale of sorrow and victory?

In Politics, USA on November 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

(An old post that ended up in the drafts folder)

Last night I watched the movie, “The Kite Runner”. My heart wept – for Afghanistan.

While in middleschool I remember reading a story titled Kabuliwallah (The man from Kabul). My mother also used to tell the story of a real-life Afghani man who used to come by her street every year peddling dried fruits, having walked(?) from Afghanistan. Just like in the story, one year he didn’t come and then as my mother and siblings grew older and the things of the past became just memories, so did the Afghani. But I wondered – what became of him?

There is a line in the book/movie – “No foreigner has been able to besiege Afghanistan”. When I pondered on it, I realized that the although the current ISAF/US troops presence may be viewed as “friendly” or to some as “liberators”, to the indiginous population of Aghanistan they are still foreigners in their land. They too shall be defeated…..the definition of “defeat” being subjective.

The Saga of Iraq

In Iraq, Politics, Social trend, USA on February 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

The US House of Representatives is to debate on the issue of Iraq. At the centre of the debate lies the decision of The president and his allies to increase the US presence in Iraq by dispatching an additional, whopping, 21,500 military troops. I can almost here the words scream out ….”to achieve what??”

The debate couldn’t have come earlier. What part of the growing global & domestic antagonization caused by the entire situation with Iraq, do the politicians not understand?? Is it not embarrassing enough that the very reasons for entering Iraq, the presence of WMD, were flawed and false from the very beginning? Or are they that thick skinned that it doesn’t affect them??

A growing fraction of the public (American & global) are fed up of the high cost of lives, and financial expenses being meted out for the sake of political games and gains. This isn’t a game of chess the Congressmen can play in the comforts of Washington sitting on padded chairs while servicemen and Iraqi people die on the streets of Iraq! Pull out the troops to calm the flared hostilities and engage neighboring (and far) Arab nations in the effort to rebuild Iraq. What this would demonstrate to the Iraqi people, and the world, is that the US government is indeed interested in the wellbeing of Iraq at heart and not its own selfish gains. Unless of course the truth be otherwise!

In my experience, the average American that I have interacted with, has never travelled abroad. Maybe once, if you are lucky. A very limited fraction of the American people know and understand foreign culture – and most often it is not because they travelled abroad, but rather because of the high diversity and presence of peope from different cultures in the US. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much more people in Sweden and Europe, in general, travel to other nations – even though the reason may be for vacationing/holidaying/leisure. At the very least, they see what a foreign land and its people are like.

How ironic then, that the US government almost assumes an air that it knows best and can help other nations  solve their problems. Does it really? Is the government a real reflection of its people? Not really, if you ask me. How many languages can the average politician in the US speak? Impress me, by just being able to speak spanish or latino….without a native twang, and I will start believing. Otherwise, I am afraid that the image of the “pompous big brat” nation that is popularly becoming the view in the worlds, will be a heavy price to pay by the US.

Pride goes before destruction.