31st October, 2005
… 21 years ago this day, the BBC quite helpfully recalls. The only woman Prime Minister of India was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for her attack on the holiest Sikh shrine of Harminder Sahib (aka Golden Temple) in Amritsar, in which 1000 people were estimated to have died.
Her killings prompted some members of the ruling Congress party to start riots in the capital Delhi, and start massacaring Sikhs. Nearly 4,000 were murdered. A lot of the instigators are still on the loose. The BBC website has some witness accounts.
Because the media was still heavily state-controlled at the time, a lot of news about the killings did not come out till later. About the only useful thing Indira Gandhi did during her tenure was to stop the Pakistan army massacring Bengalis and help liberate Bangladesh in 1971. It was listed somewhere as one of only two military interventions in the 20th century that actually stopped the killing of people.
Immigration Minister Tony McNulty is publicising sample questions ahead of the test coming into force on Tuesday.
People seeking to become British will take the test at one of 90 centres across the country, before taking part in a formal citizenship ceremony. The “Life in the UK” test is the last of a series of changes to how people become British brought in by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett.
The Home Office says that it wanted to create a new more meaningful way of becoming a citizenship in an effort to help people integrate and share in British values and traditions. Prospective new citizens already need to demonstrate sufficient working knowledge of English to help them get on.
Take the test
here [more recent link] and see how you get on.
I got a score of 9 out of 15 and apparently that means I should get a seat on the district council, rather than wait for my deportation orders!
30th October, 2005
Amidst a bit of controversy over the latest batch of Peerages being awarded, the IoS reported yesterday: “Sandip Verma, a businesswoman who fought Wolverhampton South-west for the Tories at the last election, also gets a peerage.”
Though she did pretty well in the last election, it is more significant to note that Verma represented a seat that once belonged to Enoch “rivers of blood” Powell. How ironic. Other Asian women in the Lords: Shreela Flather (Tory), Pola Uddin (Labour), Usha Prashar (Independent, also on the ITV board) and Kishwar Faulkner (Liberal Democrat).
The Indy also reports today that ethnic minority doctors suffer the most from racism according to how many complaints it receives. Trevor Phillips says an investigation by the CRE is likely:
Although nearly two thirds of senior doctors were now from an ethnic minority, they were not being promoted to the highest level, he said.
“The grade (called an SAS grade) just below consultant is absolutely stuffed with minority doctors. And they’re just stuck there. That’s not because they’re uneducated, not because they’re poor, but because they are black and Asian.
So the next time you go see your doctor, don’t mention the ‘c’ word.
29th October, 2005
1) A whole bunch of people, including David T of HP have provided views on Navid Akhtar’s documentary Young, Angry and Muslim for OpenDemocracy magazine.
2) Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, writes more on the Indian blogosphere vs IIPM issue on his column for MSNBC.
3) Incurable Hippie tells us, quite yummyliciously, that Ben and Jerry’s are giving away free ice-cream to those willing to donate blood. So what you waiting for, foo’?
4) The Renegade of Junk points out, quite alarmingly, that Halliburton is tricking Asians into coming to Iraq to work. Grrrr…
5) The Indian blogosphere has also been going mad over the ’55-word piece of fiction’ phenomena, and a new blog has been set up bringing together everyone’s entries.
6) Ashish Niti finds that the Indian govt was also implicated in the Volcker report on the Oil-for-food scanadal in Iraq.
7) Madeleine Bunting’s interview with Al-Qaradawi was disappointing I thought, because she did not ask more difficult questions or put him on the spot over suicide bombings in Israel. She wants to engage rather than alienate Muslim scholars, but why fete a man who polarises so much? I just don’t get it. David T and Yusuf Smith have more.
8) Nick Cohen has written about the Birmingham riots and says Pickled Politics is run by a bunch of “sharp” Asian writers. At least someone recognises!
UPDATE: 9) Independent on Sunday’s Peter Cole also name-checks PP in an article on how the media treated the disturbances.
To send tips for next week’s round-up, use the link on the top right.
With floods in the south east and a train crash killing over 200, the three bombs in Delhi this afternoon topped off a truly depressing day for India.
I have only ever called two cities home, Delhi and London. Only months apart, both have been hit by organised, synchronised bomb attacks. Both the London bombings and the Delhi bombings targetted innocents with cold precision. The London bombs took out commuters, today’s three explosions killed unsuspecting shoppers, eagerly preparing for the festive season of Diwali and Eid in crowded shopping areas.
The BBC and other agencies currently put the death toll at 50-55 and rising and Star News (an Indian channel) estimates over 200 are seriously injured.
West Midlands police have made more arrests in connection with Isiah Young-Sam’s murder.
A further two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder and a serious assault. The men aged 24 and 23 both from Birmingham were arrested yesterday (Fri 28 Oct). The three men arrested previously aged 22, 22 and 25 remain in police custody for further detention.
In total five men have now been arrested in connection with the stabbing and a serious assault in Lozells.
This weekend the police have 600 officers patrolling the area to make sure no more violence breaks out, and the pirate radio station which broadcasted the rumour of the young girl being raped has voluntarily shut down.
On Wednesday evening I was invited to a panel discussion, along with a Ligali representatitve, on the Pakistani channel PTV Prime. You can hear the show from here.
Nevertheless some people prefer to keep regurgitating rumours, living in denial, or aggressively keep pointing fingers.
28th October, 2005
Since those comments were made, understandably there has been a diplomatic orgy of condemnation and I will not even bother to defend the President of Iran.
But he is not stupid and there has to be a calculated reason why he said he wanted Israel off the map. Here at Pickled Politics we want to go behind the scenes, rather than simply throw out tired insults like some xenophobic blogs.
It also helps to examine Israel’s role in all this.
27th October, 2005
The immigration minister Tony McNulty says journalists “haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about” when it comes to asylum, and strongly cricised the Press Complaints Commission yesterday. “If PCC guidance worked then we would not have all the rubbish we see in the media regarding refugees and asylum seekers.”
I think this is the first time he has actually slammed the PCC, a toothless body full of executives who are supposed to regulate themselves. Roy Greenslade gave some great examples a few months ago.
Papers have been guilty of publishing false stories about asylum-seekers: the Sun, notoriously, claimed that unspecified “East European poachers” were killing and roasting swans from the Thames while the Daily Star alleged that Somalians had rustled donkeys from Greenwich park in order to eat them. The Daily Express ran a splash alleging that police had arrested two Lithuanian asylum-seekers linked to al-Qaeda who were plotting to kill the prime minister.
Senior police were so outraged by the falsity of the story that they issued an unequivocal denial, calling it “rubbish” and pointing out that the Express reporters had been told in advance that “no security issues were raised by their arrest”. The men, who might not even have been asylum-seekers, were probably involved in a drugs-related offence and were deported.
The media prefers not to acknowledge how this false reporting leads to more racism in general.
Meanwhile, former minister Keith Vaz, who clearly has little else to do now, is trying to get the upcoming game Bully, to be banned. Talking about the same theme, Rob Fahey of GamesIndustry.biz ain’t too happy.
This reminds me of the stupid spectacle of Hillary Clinton getting hot under the collar over the sex-scene in GTA3: San Andreas. Hello! Find something better to do with your time, please?
26th October, 2005
On Saturday a 23 year old man was innocently walking back from the cinema with his brother when he was set upon by ten to eleven thugs and brutally murdered. His brother was also stabbed.
If he had been an Asian kid set upon by white or black youths there would have been outrage within our community. Instead, because it was a young African kid murdered by a gang of Asian youths – there was, and still is, silence.
It took a group of around 70 women and children yesterday to hold the first joint demonstration condemning the brutal murders. Unsurprisingly there was not a single Asian “community leader” to be seen, presumably because there was hardly any media interest.
With nearly 70,000 dead, the earthquake in Kashmir has become a worse humanitarian nightmare for the UN than even the Tsunami.
It says governments have pledged only around 30% of what is really needed despite the continuing problems and more expected in the coming weeks.
Blogs from all over the world today have combined together to form Blog Quake Day to keep the disaster in the public arena and try and keep raising money for this humanitarian disaster.
According to Oxfam
France, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Spain – $0
Oxfam warns that the gap between an emergency appeal being announced and funds actually being received is vast, and could mean the difference between life and death for many thousands of survivors. Only about 20% of the money requested in the appeal has actually been given.
25th October, 2005
Navid Akhtar, behind Monday’s C4 documentary – Young, Angry and Muslim – wrote an interesting article for the Observer the day before (via FaithinSociety) about some Muslims being torn between cultures and turning to extremism. He starts by saying:
But for many in our community the London bombings were a watershed and left us feeling the time had come to face up to some harsh realities. The community has failed to address a growing crisis of identity.
True, though some like Dr Mohammed Naseem and the MCB still seem to be living in a fantasy world. Navid elaborates on the problems.
Our community is fracturing – we live in the most deprived areas of Britain, family ties are breaking down, personal conflicts and ‘honour’ killings are on the increase.We have low educational achievement, high unemployment and one of the largest prison populations for any ethnic group. A once law-abiding community is now plagued by drugs, crime and violence.
True, and these are issues that the community leaders need to deal with, rather than working on their TV interview techniques. He talks of the Biraderi clan system and how that gives rise to frustration over politics.
Young Pakistanis are losing faith in mainstream politics. Tribal people are reluctant to break old relationships, so despite anger over foreign policy clan elders continue their relationship with Labour. The effect is rising support for radical parties, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir which campaigns for restoration of the caliphate and sharia law, basically a return to Islamic rule in the Muslim world.
This is a point I disagree with. Whatever your leanings and the failure of the Labour govt, I believe Muslims have to realise that to influence real change they have to do it from within the Labour party. Opportunistic people like Galloway and the Respect party are as useful as a lighter in a barn, and only provide false hope by fooling a few people. It is always within the centre that real power lies and where any lobby group should aim to influence.
Navid Akhtar illustrates why Hizb ut-Tahrir are to be despised (condescending towards others, no real plans, supporting terrorists etc) though does not examine this enough. He may have done in the programme though, which I unfortunately missed. He ends succintly:
I believe the future of my community lies in finding the right blend of all that is British, Pakistani and Muslim. Change can only come from within, but we have to accept out faults first. It is from the young people, in particular women, that grassroots solutions will begin to emerge.
This applies to pretty much everyone mate… if only we had more women leaders.
For years before her arrest, Mrs Parks had been active with local civil rights groups, which were looking for a test case to fight the city’s segregation laws. Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organised by the then little-known Rev Luther King Jr, and the protest led to the desegregation of the transport system.
Speaking in 1992, Mrs Parks said of her famous bus protest: “The real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long.”
From the BBC. More on her life here. She was also one of Time’s top 100 people. But Rosa Park’s legacy is important now more than ever.
Isiah Young-Sam, 24, had not been involved in any of the confrontations between the Pakistani and African-Caribbean communities that erupted on Saturday evening, officers from the West Midlands police said.
The victim was, they said, innocently walking home with his younger brother, Zephaniah, and two friends, when three cars pulled up alongside them and launched into a furious attack. Detective Superintendent Dave Mirfield said: “The group was approached by three cars. Those cars contained, we believe, between 10 and 11 men. These men got out of the cars, armed with knives, and attacked Isiah and his friends.”
From the Guardian. May your soul rest in peace brother and may the people who started this race war, on both sides, pay for their sins.
24th October, 2005
After the 7/7 atrocity, if you sat on a train and saw a bearded Muslim man with a bag and thought, even for a split second, “people like you”, then the minority that caused the tragedy achieved in making you the very thing you hoped never to be: judgemental of people you do not know.
If anyone still believes the actions of minority aren’t the main focus of the populous, pick up the two best selling newspapers The Sun and The Daily Mail.
The more I think about it, the more it seems obvious. It’s the minority that always rule…
I was hoping not to write more on the Birmingham issue, but tensions aren’t likely to ease anytime soon. More disturbances have been reported after the riots.
I’m not going to mince words here. Certain so-called “representatives” of the Afro-Caribbean community seem to be using this rumour to further their own race agenda and bigotry without working for community harmony.
First we have to look at some of the reasons why this happened. It is also important to take apart assertions made by the organisation Ligali on their website, and figure out how to move forward. If we let racism divide us, we are no better than the BNP.
21st October, 2005
…and look what happens. Sheesh! There isn’t a lot to say on the riots in Birmingham that hasn’t been said already said. As for the racist comments, well shame on some of you. I’ve just spent the last hour deleting over 200 comments from that thread and it is now closed. Yes, I need to sort out more admins. But the point is, I will not tolerate any racism towards the Afro-Carribbean, Asian or any other community. If you still spot any objectionable comments, email me.
Since you ask, I’ve been at a conference in Paris looking at the development of ‘minority ethnic’ (aka specialist / targetted / community / alternative) media that caters for Europe’s smaller communities. Not focused on alternative media, such as Indymedia, as much as reaching out to the new immigrants and how they can get themselves heard and work with each other. Will write about this more later. Really loved Paris.
20th October, 2005
Like most old men in their early 20s, Iâ€™m spending an increasing amount of time listening to Radio 4. Now I donâ€™t really want to go over old ground about the religious hatred bill, as it has been covered in length elsewhere â€“ Sunny has done an especially good job. To briefly state my position, I believe it to be a fig-leafed token gesture to appease the MCB after Blair pissed off a lot of Muslims. I simply want to bring a few fascinating comments from this eveningâ€™s Any Questions to your attention.
David Davis was in for a shock today, David Cameron over took him by 33 votes in the second round of voting today. From the three remaining leadership contenders, we are now down to the final two.
Mr Cameron topped the poll, taking 90 of a possible 198 votes, while Mr Davis was second on 57. Rival Liam Fox was eliminated after gaining 51 votes.
With Liam Fox MP now out of the race the former Chairman of the Party, teased the press by saying:
Now of course with two candidates left they will be looking for an endorsement and I will be listening with very great interest in the coming weeks to see what the candidates have to say.
The 33 vote difference Cameron had on Davis could still mean that technically Davis can stand down in the Leadership race. However there has been no indication whatsoever that Davis will do so. Instead it looks like the next six weeks are going to be filled with campaign trails to the grassroots who hold those vital votes.
Both Cameron and Davis will now frantically get out the constituencies to meet the grassrootsâ€™ who will decide their fate. This is no walk in the garden; this is 300,000 members of The Conservative Party from all over the country.
Finally this article shows that although Cameron may have a slick campaign and is currently riding a good tide, it is not long before the fall comes and quite honestly Davis hasn’t had his positive spin yet. This leads me to the forecast that the final ballot may be a close one. Many of the MPs that voted for Cameron in this second round may revert back to Davis now that Fox is out of the running.
19th October, 2005
Our lives are very difficult now. For twelve weeks we have had all benefits taken away and, as we aren’t allowed to work, we have to survive on the charity of others. It’s inhuman and degrading. The government, they’re not treating us like people, like human beings. We’re just targets or statistics to them: but we’re not statistics, we’re real people. There aren’t really words to express how we’re feeling.
The government say their policy is fair. How can it be fair for my mum to be so depressed she’s had to go on medication, she’s crying all the time, for us to be spending sleepless nights? Is it fair for me to have missed another day of college to come here to plead for our lives when I should be studying so I can become a midwife and help British women? Is it fair to say to a mother, “How would you feel if we took your children off you?” which was said to my mum back in August? I was there but you can imagine. What kind of question is that? Is it fair? Or is it degrading?
This was part of a speech made by 19-year-old Flores Sukula to a meeting in parliament this week. She is an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), whose family was one of the first to be made destitute under new asylum laws.
It comes only days after a Zimbabwean won his test case against deportation back to Mugabe’s regime. Not that the government cares, its still trying to send people back to Iraq.
Editors Weblog announces that a new site has just been launched, which is nothing short of a media revolution. At least that’s what the chief exec of Inform.com would have us believe. So what is it?
Itâ€™s effectively a newsreader, in that it scours hundreds of newspapers, magazines and other major information outlets – including blogs – but goes further than Google or Yahoo newsreaders, which work on a simplistic keyword-based system, and RSS readers, which simply use a story’s first paragraph. Inform.com scans articles from major publications and creates an index of important elements in the article, providing related stories to those elements and making them far more searchable.
The Search Engine Journal (yes, it exists) claims that the new site’s USP is its comprehensive nature, incorporating an algorithm which determines key concepts such as topics, industries, people, places and companies in the story.
And following on from Sunny mentioning Indian outsourcing companies, I bring this interesting New York-based site to your attention for another reason – over half of its 55 employees are based in India.
18th October, 2005
Trouble is brewing in Birmingham it seems, with the black community angry over claims that an Asian shop owner and 18 other Asian men gang-raped a 14 year old African girl at the back of their shop in the Perry Barr area, Birmingham. Last night about 300 black people in the area staged a demonstration calling for justice.
Protestors are vowing to continue the demonstration today and stage a protest march on Saturday. Just about 10 minutes ago, I got an email from Ligali, which said this:
We must state that this story has not been confirmed as the family has yet to make a formal complaint. Nonetheless the national media seems to have deemed this story insignificant with coverage by the BBC and other major media institutions being almost non existent making it almost impossible to verify ‘officially’.
Regardless of this we are calling for everyone in the African British community to boycott Asian businesses in support of our Birmingham cousins until the Asian community breaks the â€˜wall of silenceâ€™ it has erected hiding the truth or protecting the paedophiles involved in this alleged heinous crime.
[Link] I can see they are pissed off at such a heinous crime, but it has not been confirmed she was raped by Asian guys and there is no evidence to back up that the Asian community is “hiding or protecting” these bastards. In fact I’d be happy to see their balls on a plate.
A national boycott is surely taking it too far? Why should Asians everywhere be blamed for the activity of a gang of criminals? Ligali is generalising in a way it warns others against doing so with regards to the Afro-Caribbean community. If you hear anything more on this story, email us.
Whatever you thought of his interview with Michael Jackson, Bashir is here to stay, and getting bigger. Yesterday ABC News announced he was going to part of a team of three to replace Ted Koppel on Nightline. Not 100% on this, but it may be the highest such post for a British journalist, especially of Asian origin.
Martin Bashir’s notable interviews have been with Princess Diana (BBC), the five alleged to have killed Stephen Lawrence, Lord Archer and Michael Jackson (for ITV).
Google News stories.
17th October, 2005
Indian software companies are becoming confident, almost arrogant some would say, with plans of world domination. Don’t believe me? The NY Times interviewed Nandan M. Nilekani this weekend, the CEO of Infosys, India’s second-largest outsourcer.
Even consultants should beware, as he is after IBM and Accenture. You know why he’ll succeed? He makes $60,000 a year at a company worth nearly $20 billion. Last quarter Infosys recruited a phenomenal 8,026 employees and grew profits by 35.6%.
Q. Are you worried about the outcry over outsourcing in America?
A. What’s happening is pretty fundamental. If you go back to the 1830′s, India and China were 50 percent of the world’s G.D.P., and then they missed the entire revolution of industry. So if you take a long view of this game, it’s just part of the process.
Q. Is there anything you realistically fear from Western policy makers?
A. No. I think politicians have to win elections. But underlying secular trends like technology and demographics – you can’t stop these things, they’re all megatrends. They’re going to happen whether you like it or not. In fact, the guys who are going to win are the ones who say, “It’s going to happen anyway; let’s figure out how we can take advantage of it.”
He handles himself pretty well, like a guy in fact who is secure in the knowledge that things will eventually go his way.
Rohin points out below that China is doing much better than India economically. But the latter is investing more in its knowledge base, a strategy much better for the longer term. Expanding into value-added services is logical progression.
Q. Does it feel odd to find yourself lecturing Americans on the joys of capitalism?
A. You guys told us for so many years to cut out this socialist rubbish and go to free markets. We came to free markets and now you’re telling us, “Stop, don’t come.”
In just a few weeks, Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, will be arriving on our fair shores for a five day jaunt. Over the last few months, vast amounts of column yards have been dedicated to â€˜Chindiaâ€™ in the press all over the world.
China and India have been identified as massive emerging economies. But as the world becomes somewhat more knowledgeable about these two Asian giants, so too are the differences emerging, such as Shankar Acharyaâ€™s forceful assertion that these neighbours are far from equal. This weekend saw an unfortunate event which may have repercussions when the Chinese party comes to the UK in November.
The brainwashed followers of Hizb ut-Tahrir have been recruiting under the name Stop Islamophobia, Sunday Times’ Ali Hussain revealed yesterday. He found their stalls in freshers fairs at Luton University, SOAS, Queen Mary and London Metropolitan University.
He met Shazad Ali from UCL who, in his infinite wisdom, said: “You definitely can’t have (Jews) as close friends.” Foolio. Then he meets Razaq who recently asked a HuT ‘sheikh’ about suicide bombings. The reply was:
I can strap a bomb to myself and kill as many people as I can. I’m going to die shahid (martyr) and go to jannah (heaven).
Ban them already, please! Then Razaq says:
Stop Islamophobia is set up by us. But we don’t actually push it like that. The moment they link Hizb ut-Tahrir with Stop Islamophobia, they’ll bring the whole campaign down.
… and mess it up for Muslims who are genuinely (and without a sinister agenda) working to stop Islamophobia. HuT’s rebranding isn’t surprising, but their audacity to piggy-back on other issues is well, typical I guess. What next, using a stall supposedly raising money for Kashmir?
« previous posts
A slightly shaky start as I was supposed to publish this yesterday, but here goes anyway. Readers are welcome to send me links for next week’s round-up.
1) Haroon asks whether “the [Kashmiri] rubble popped a Jihadi bubble” in Osama, Osama, Where Art Thou?.
2) Sonia Faleiro in Mumbai writes an excellent series of profiles of former dance bar girls in the city. Former because it recently banned the whole trade. She sheds light on how they’re coping since (first, second, third).
3) Marc recently launched Campaign for Secular Education blog (support!), and MWW has a hilarious post possibly from the BK cone guy!
4) Simon Barrow writes on the demonstration against the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill (Rohan on the bill itself) and finds it ironic that “Christians who called for a ban on Jerry Springer â€“ The Opera were now singing the praises of â€˜free speechâ€™”. Heh. I wrote on this before here and here.
5) Think-tank Civitas not too happy with Lee Jasper’s tirade against Trevor Phillips.
6) Yusuf Smith is launching Blogistan to “represent the true, moderate face of Islam in Britain” and be a counterweight to “certain media monitoring sites run by immature people”, and is looking for volunteer bloggers. He starts by pointing out MPAC’s tendency for “hand-wringing and mud-flinging”.
Update: 7) Couldn’t resist adding Curious Hamster’s dissection of Jack Straw on Newsnight. He’s becoming slimier than Bush’s Scott McCellan. [via Worstall]