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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2583

Article

India's risky UN Gamble

P R Kumaraswamy - Exclusive to Asian Tribune

By deciding to field Shashi Tharoor as its official candidate for the post of Secretary-General, India has taken a risky, avoidable and potentially disastrous gamble at the UN. Official spin notwithstanding, the move implies that India has given up its aspiration for a seat in the UN Security Council. At least in the short run. Many countries both in Asia and elsewhere world will warmly endorse the Indian position of rotation “under which the next Secretary-General of the UN should be from Asia.” Indeed veteran socialist leader U Thant of the then Burma, now Myanmar, was the last Asian to occupy that position until he was killed in a tragic accident in September 1961.

The Sun God’s War

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The Kebithigollawa abomination is symbolic of the war the Sun God wants to wage, and of the war he wants Sri Lanka to wage - a war of terror on terror in which unarmed civilians are targeted by both sides, as a matter of course. Mr. Pirapaharan does not want the Fourth Eelam War to be a contest between a democratic state (and Sri Lanka is that despite her warts) and a terrorist movement. Such wars are hard to win, because in the present international context terrorism is not quite in fashion. He wants a racial conflict, a Sinhala on Tamil war, where ethnicity is the determinant factor and simply being a Sinhalese or a Tamil will make one a ‘legitimate’ target for the other side. He wants a total war, in which every horror is permissible, terrorism is a shared mindset and both sides attain ‘parity’ status in barbarism. It is only in such a war that he can present himself to the Tamils and the world as the sole saviour of a beleaguered minority.

Hate lessons in Saudi, Pak textbooks

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Even as the so-called war on terror continues with little success and the fool hardy attempts by the US to transport ‘democracy’ to reluctant shores make the Americans even less liked in the Muslim world, one of the main worries in the West remains the hatred for Christians and Jews preached in school textbooks in many Muslim countries, especially in one of its closet allies, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which also spends a part of its huge petro-dollar income on spreading across the world the message of the faithful. Post 9/11, textbook in Pakistan also came under the scanner but the country being more ‘focused’ on demonising only the Hindus, the US is not bothered about what hate lessons are taught in that country, the frontline state in the so-called war on terror.

Bomb blast kills 64 villagers and catapults Sri Lanka toward war

A powerful landmine blast killed 64 passengers and injured at least 80 traveling on a bus to the town of Kebitigollewa in Sri Lanka’s north central province on Thursday morning. This criminal act is a deliberate provocation aimed at destroying what remains of the 2002 ceasefire and plunging the island back toward civil war. Whoever carried out the attack, there is no doubt that the Colombo government and its chauvinist allies are directly responsible for inflaming communal hatreds and creating the political climate in which such an atrocity can take place. Most of the victims were impoverished Sinhalese farmers and their families, who were traveling to town from neighboring villages. Among the dead were 15 children. The area, about 240 kilometers from Colombo, borders the war zones of the northern province, significant portions of which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Civilian Casualties, Political Solution, Ethnicity and War: Change the course Sri Lanka

By Dr. Siri Gamage

On paper at least, it seems that all political players are for peace, patience, political solutions and safeguarding civilian lives. On the ground, the picture emerging from Sri Lanka, particularly in the north and eastern provinces as well as border areas is quite different. Media reports civilian abductions, disappearances, killings, claymore mines, sniffer fire, and other hardships faced by the people. Latest attack on a civilian bus with a very high casualty rate in a government controlled area and return attacks by government jets on LTTE controlled areas imply a 'hidden preference' for further engagement between those who carry arms-there seem to be no lack of these figures- in the two provinces. It is possible that the armed conflict can extend beyond the two provinces in the north and east and much more innocent civilian causalty occur in coming weeks and months unless the trend is reversed via diplomatic and political processes - locally and internationally.

Will Musharraf now respond to PM’s Kashmir initiative?

By J. N. Raina - Syndicate Features

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is dreaming a dream about Kashmir. He has a vision and a roadmap for the undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir. His announcement at the roundtable Conference in Srinagar, to set-up five ‘working groups’, aimed at peaceful and everlasting resolution of the contentious Kashmir tangle, has been acclaimed widely. Neither any breakthrough nor miracles were expected at the conference, because the Kashmir valley continues to remain a haven for militants. The atmosphere has still not been conducive, where people can breathe freely; and where people can be free from terror. But the steps he has taken are bound to galvanise secular and democratic forces on either side of the LoC, to bring peace.

The Toronto terror plot and the Canadian establishment’s political agenda

The alleged Toronto terror plot is being used by Canada’s ruling elite to stampede the public into accepting a dramatic shift to the right in Canada’s foreign and domestic policies. By conjuring up the image of a Canada under siege from al-Qaeda and “homegrown” Islamicist terrorists, the Conservative government, the national security establishment, the corporate media, and a pliant official opposition are seeking to overcome popular resistance to Canada’s participation in wars, closer collaboration with the Bush administration, further economic and geo-political integration with the United States, and increased repressive powers for the state.

Postman vs. The courier man

By Atul Cowshish - Syndicate Features

It is astounding that more than half a century after Independence our postal services continue to be governed by a law going back to colonial days, the Indian Post Office Act, passed in 1898. As a result we have such anachronisms as references to the UK and Her Majesty’s government in the statute book. Belatedly, however, the government is now getting ready to replace it with a new Indian Postal Act which, among other things, is expected to take cognisance of facilities like the internet, ‘private enterprise’, a euphemism for courier service, and provide a level play field to all service providers in the postal sector. Hopefully, it will also lead the government to do the more needed job of improving the postal services.

Bangladesh: Babar & his magic stick

Lutfozzaman BabarBy Christopher Giddings

In Bangladesh, one name is widely circulated, as a man with the magic stick or wish bone to mesmerize the members of Bangladeshi law enforcing agencies, in becoming extremely active in handling the opposition activists during any political agitation, which, in the name of democratic right, always turns into anarchy to the highest degree. His name is Lutfozzaman Babar, one of the youngest members in Bangladesh cabinet, with his own style of spike cut hair and certainly a decent smile, whenever speaking to the press. Many would rather wonder as to how this thin man would handle the entire situation in the country, and successfully face the political turmoil without any tense or fear. Each time, he looks to be very confident on the members of Bangladesh’s law enforcing agencies, which too, have notable admirable and affection for this man, for untold mystery.

Escalating violence in eastern Sri Lanka

Over the past six months, as Sri Lanka has slid toward full-scale civil war, hundreds of people have been killed, including many innocent civilians. Tens of thousands have been displaced and several thousand have fled to India and other countries. The eastern district of Trincomalee is one centre of the escalating conflict. Clashes between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and rival Tamil paramilitary groups, covertly backed by the military, are taking place virtually every day. Trincomalee town has an important harbor and is the site of a major navy base.

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