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What Makes America Great  Is Its Diversity: Obama’s Re-Election Victory Speech – Full Text
US President Barack Hussein Obama

We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened up by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. 
We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known, but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. 

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag , the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner, to the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president. …
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. 
America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you're willing to try. 

 

Congratulations Mr Naipaul, At Last Your Anti- Islamic Stand Has Borne Fruit
Girish Karnad

Anyone can find his statements in the archives of the New Yorker where he is writing about the Indian writer. Even that turns into a tirade against Muslims and how they destroyed Indian culture! This is the white man’s view of Indian history, an Orientalist stance and view that is also echoed by the RSS. Naipaul’s writing is vibrant, but a lot of his thought, though it sounds original, is something he has just inherited....

President Barack Obama Creates History, Wins Second Term In White House

US President Barack Obama swept to re-election on Tuesday, creating history again by defying the undertow of a slow economic recovery and high unemployment to beat Republican foe Mitt Romney.Obama became only the second Democrat to win a second four-year White House term since World War II, when television networks projected he would win the bellwether state of Ohio where he had staged a pitched battle with Romney...

Why is Naipaul Being Honoured?
Girish Karnad

But Landmark and Literature Alive who have announced this Award have a responsibility to explain to us where exactly they stand with regard to these Naipaul’s remarks. Naipaul is a foreigner and can make pronouncements as he wishes. But do they mean to valorise Naipaul’s stand that Indian Muslims are raiders and marauders? Are they supporting his continued insistence on Muslim buildings in India being monuments to rape and loot? Or are they by their silence suggesting that these views do not matter?  The Award givers have much to answer for....

When War Passes For Foreign Policy
P. Sainath

“Take the profit out of war,” said Kevin Zeese, one of the more important activists of the Occupy Movement in the United States, “and you take out war.” His audience was made up mainly of U.S. war veterans gathered in New York to observe — and protest — the 11th anniversary of the conflict in Afghanistan. That is the longest war the United States has ever waged....

Can you be in a war involving weapons of mass destruction and not know it?  The answer: indeed you can -- and we are.  Now, American officials are suddenly raising the alarm that malefactors (like Iran) might already be doing smaller scale versions of the same to us with potentially disastrous results (since we are perhaps more dependent on computer systems and the world of the Internet than any country on the planet).  After all, cyber war does potentially involve the use of weapons of mass destruction in the most literal sense, as TomDispatch regular Karen J. Greenberg makes clear in today’s post.  And even if no cyber apocalypse hits, Greenberg vividly lays out how fear of it is likely to be used to further locking down “the homeland.” Tom

 

Secularism - Vote Based or Value Based?
Asghar Ali Engineer

Equality, human dignity and gender equality provide strong base for secular culture. These values are hardly ever mentioned, much less emphasized, in our education system. Indian society even today, despite its constitutional values and provisions, tends to deeply hierarchical and discriminatory. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to cultivate scientific temperament through educational system....

The Death Of Logic: The Way We Tolerate Extremism In Pakistan
Yaqoob Khan Bangash

... one thing which I have noticed repeatedly is that Pakistanis have become increasingly devoid of logic. And logic not just in the sense of the Greek fathers, but even simple common sense — which, of course, is not common. Most people have simply accepted the basic premise of the right that ‘the killing of an innocent is wrong’. While on the face of it, this statement sounds logical, but as pointed out by Ejaz, this statement is not only illogical but dangerous....

“The allegation that Muslim men entice Hindu and Christian women into marriage for reasons other than love, as part of an Islamist conspiracy, has recently been investigated by the Kerala Police and has brought out some ugly details,” the pamphlet said. The Indian Express had on October 1 reported that Justice K T Sankaran of the Kerala High Court had directed the state police and the Union Home Ministry to probe the alleged movement called ‘Love Jihad’, under which young Muslim men allegedly target college girls for conversion by feigning love.... The pamphlet claims 4,000 girls have been converted by now. -- Deepu Sebastian Edmond

'Love Bomb': A new RSS weapon against Muslims

Editorial in Jan-Satta Hindi Daily, New Delhi

 

Walk across at Wagah
Irfan Husain

Clearly, I had not factored in the mean-spiritedness of South Asian Babus and their political masters. With an unerring instinct for making life difficult for me, they have, with infinite malice, decided that senior citizens will only get visas on arrival at the land border at Wagah, between Lahore and Amritsar. This means that if I want to go to Mumbai from Karachi, I will have to take a flight to Lahore, then take a taxi to Wagah, cross the border on foot, take another taxi to Amritsar, and then get on a plane or train to Delhi….

Justice in Maharashtra (Local Muslims Need Not Apply)
Jyoti Punwani

In Bhartiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat, a fair trial is an impossibility when the accused are Hindu BJP supporters, and the victims are Muslims. Thus the Best Bakery case, named for the incident during the 2002 riots in which 14 persons were burnt alive, saw all 21 accused acquitted in Gujarat. Tried in Mumbai, nine were convicted. The Bilqis Bano case had 12 of the 20 accused convicted in Mumbai....

The substantial public support for the movement in the first phase had made Team Anna over ambitious and they failed to acknowledge the dissenting voices both from within and from the various civil society members and groups. The outside support of civil society began to dwindle as one after another the members began to distance themselves from the movement….

An Appeal to a Naroda Convict
Najeeb Jung

We wish to purge ourselves of the prison of this memory by confronting it, by bringing the guilty to book, by doing what the South Africans did, by walking the path of truth and reconciliation. To quote Nelson Mandela, “ As I walked out of the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison”. But truth first: no real reconciliation can come from the sort of willed nostalgia that the apologists for Gujarat government wish to inflict upon us....

The Face of the Gujarat Police
Ujjwala Nayudu

Dahyabhai Gobarji Vanzara, the “encounter king” of Gujarat police, was seemingly indomitable until his arrest in 2007 for staging the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. The flamboyant Chudasama, 47, is called “well-networked”, “star cop” and “dreadful” in the same breath....

A Terror Tale with Plenty of Loose Ends
Imran Khan

However, civil society activists remain skeptical of the police’s claims. The family of the arrested men has accused the police of arresting them on false charges. And Muslim groups have accused the police of fabricating evidence and victimising innocent members of the minority community. They point out to several previous instances where high-profile arrests made by the police resulted in acquittals….

Naroda Patiya: A Partial Sense of Closure
Anumeha Yadav

“The mob killed my mother Abida Bibi. They flung my seven-year old niece Gulnaz Bano into the fire. She died. My sister Saeeda died of burns at the hospital the next day. I was attacked by swords and lost my 11-month-old daughter while trying to flee. I found her at the Shah Alam camp two months later,” says Naimuddin. His wife Naseem*(name changed) was gang raped by four men; her left arm chopped off with a sword, he adds....

Gujarat ex-Minister Kodnani is no less guilty than Pakistani Terrorist Qassab
Antara Dev Sen

Kodnani helped kill 35 kids, 32 women and 30 men. Almost as a reward, Mr Modi made her state minister for women & child development.

Our justice system presented us with two enormously important judgments on Wednesday, August 29. Both were about mass murder. Both were about massacres that had horrified the nation. Both had a sectarian angle. Both verdicts proclaimed that there was a larger conspiracy and meticulous planning behind the mass murders. Both found the accused guilty of pre-meditated mass murder.

But we responded to these two verdicts very differently. Which once again gives away our shameful prejudices, mindless priorities and silent fears.

Mindlessness On The March
Ayaz Amir

If there was an international shoot-in-the-foot prize Pakistan would win it hands down, our genius for self-inflicted injuries surpassing that of all competitors. We don’t need RAW, Mossad or the CIA to conspire against us. We are self-sufficient in this department, no conspiracy from those quarters coming close to what we can do to ourselves.

 

The Naroda Patia verdict has renewed public faith in the Indian judicial system
Mukul Kesavan

 

Ten years after the Gujarat killings, a special court in Ahmedabad has found 32 people guilty of premeditated violence in the massacre of 99 Muslims in Naroda Patia, one of the many murderous sprees that made up the pogrom of 2002.

This is a landmark judgment because in India the instigators of murderous communal violence are almost never held to account. A decade is a long time, but given that three decades have passed since the organised murder of Sikhs in 1984, in which time some of the principal accused died unpunished, ten years from murder to conviction begins to seem like judicial alacrity. Even those who consider the judgment an inadequate accounting for the pogrom, who feel that justice requires the conviction of the authorities accused of colluding in the killings, must see this as a sustaining victory in the long struggle for the truth.

The judgment holds out the hope that the endless, attritional battle to establish the facts about the killings of 2002 wasn't futile, that India's judicial system is still capable of reminding the powerful and their clients that total impunity is not theirs to command.

GUJARAT RIOTS: Naroda Patiya verdict: The sting in the story
Ashish Khetan

It was unprecedented. Never before in the history of Indian journalism had there been a reportage that had caught killers, rapists and rioters giving a graphic account of their crimes. The first-hand accounts left little doubt that it was a State-sponsored pogrom. And it was all in the can. We had also nailed the real story of the Godhra train burning. The star police witnesses were caught on camera telling how police had tutored them to give false testimonies and framed a spontaneous communal riot into a cold-blooded conspiracy.

The turnout at the Tehran Summit of NAM is itself a proof that the forum has not lost its significance, though the dispensation of the Cold War under which it first came into being is no more existent. The world is still under the hegemony of different military and economic powers with the lone superpower exercising its overall control on the world affairs.

Looking at the figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently for Bihar for 2011, one realises that the State has actually become an increasingly unsafe place for women. The crime rates against them have increased from 6,186 cases in 2008 to 10,231 cases in 2011, a 65 percentage point increase in just the last three years.

Separated at birth
By Saif Shahin

Separated at birth
Saif Shahin

Much is made these days of the apparent likeness between India and Israel. Both are supposed to be modern democracies. Both, it is pointed out, are also fighting Islamic terrorism. But this is a superficial comparison. There is no dearth of modern democracies in the post-Cold War world, and no dearth of nations fighting Islamic terror either, post-9/11. For two nations to be considered alike, they ought to be similar in ways that are more fundamental and, at the same time, that also set them apart from other nations.

It is not India but Pakistan that shares a number of such traits with Israel.

Keep At Bay Communal Elements
Najeeb Jung

Why are Ministers/ Chief Ministers flaunting their connections with so called maulanas and sundry sadhus and priests? Why must we always look for compromise and polite dialogue and be seemingly reluctant in meting out harsh punishment that is possible under law and the Constitution? Why are Chief Ministers, District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police not held responsible for either having inadequate intelligence or lacking the courage to combat communal passions frontally? Communalism must be fought at all levels, starting with schools.

It surprises me when sections of Muslims object to the Gita being taught as part of the curricula, equally as sections of the Hindu right would not appreciate the teaching of the Quran. It is high time we started dialogue across the board among all sections of society, in schools and universities, in think tanks and social forums on the intrinsic beauty of each faith. It is imperative to understand that no faith can possibly be superior or inferior to another and learn of the positive aspects of each faith. Frankly speaking, if blood is the price of freedom then India has overpaid.

Modi’s Murderous Minister: What can be said of civil society in Gujarat when its woman minister for women  and child welfare is convicted of conspiracy to murder women and children
Aakar Patel

What can be said of civil society in Gujarat when its minister for women development and child welfare is convicted of rioting against women and children? On August 29, for the first time in India, a sitting MLA (what is called MPA in Pakistan) was found to have instigated violence in the worst of the 2002 incidents. Twelve people testified to minister Maya Kodnani assisting and egging on the rioters in the Ahmedabad suburb of Naroda Patiya. A total of 96 Muslims were killed that night, 34 children including a newborn, 32 women and 30 men.

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