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8th May, 2006

Poorism

by Rohin at 1:13 pm    

Two British papers have run similar stories on consecutive days, both concerning the subject of a new brand of tourism; poorism. Whilst the two experiences are quite dissimilar, both subvert the traditional Western notion of a holiday in the developing world, where one can normally afford to live like a king.

India has been pioneering trips to more rural communities for many years, I first read about Kerala’s attempts to popularise ‘model villages’ quite a while ago. Here, foreigners or indeed wealthy Indian urbanites, can experience what traditional village life consists of. Or at least a sanitised version. The Telegraph visits Kanadukathan, in Tamil Nadu. The reporter journeys there with his wife and the stay does sound like a quaint chance to see another side to India.

Now the Observer reports on Delhi’s take on the phenomenon, where punters tour the city’s railway station slums and gawk at drug addicts and the homeless.

Babloo, who thinks he is 10, has been living here for maybe three years. His hands are splashed white from the correction fluid that he’s breathing in through his clenched left fist, and he pulls a dirty bag filled with bottles with his other hand. His life is unrelentingly bleak and he recognises this. ‘I don’t know why people come and look at us,’ he says.

This seemingly bizarre sightseeing trip has honourable intentions - the ticket money of £2.50 goes towards a local children’s charity. I toured Soweto, the famous Jo’burg township, a few years ago and whilst a truly amazing experience, the far pricier fee I paid went nowhere near the people I visited. In fact the article briefly mentions similar excursions, including Soweto, the Rio favelas, the Bronx and East Harlem, Belfast and Rotterdam.

Filed under: Culture, Economics, India

Is Pakistan ‘failing’?

by Sunny at 5:44 am    

Pakistan has sharply moved up the list of ‘failing states’ according to a new study.

The report - compiled by the US Foreign Policy magazine and the US-based Fund for Peace think-tank - ranked 146 nations according to their viability.

Judged according to 12 criteria, including human flight and economic decline, states range from the most failed, Sudan, to the least, Norway.

The second annual “failed states index” was based on “tens of thousands of articles” from different sources gathered over several months in 2005 and reviewed by experts, its authors said.

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Filed under: South Asia, Pakistan
7th May, 2006

Weekend open thread

by Sunny at 2:34 pm    

I’ve got to cut the grass again today. Anyone doing anyonething interesting?

Filed under: Uncategorized

Mid-air Mancunian Pakistani peasant revolt

by Rohin at 2:07 pm    

It seems that I’m providing the light relief on PP at the moment; studying has tragically rendered my brain useless for anything else.

Economy class passengers aboard a PIA Islamabad-Manchester flight screamed the Marseillaise and stormed the first class cabin yesterday. The angry mob had been kept waiting for hours on scorching Islamabad tarmac and when the plane took off the effeminate cabin crew rapidly lost control. Passengers charged into the empty first class cabin as economy was packed. We have no information on whether business class was full, so I can’t decide if these are brave comrades of the revolution or just free-loading bastards. The pilot radioed Manc Airport who mobilised the Manc police. 14 arrests were made.

I wonder, if this hadn’t been a plane of an airline from a Muslim country, how would a group of angry Pakistanis surging forward on a plane have been treated? Full story.

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Filed under: Humour, Pakistan
6th May, 2006

Why I welcome the BNP vote

by Sunny at 4:55 pm    

Much will be made of the BNP’s gains in the Local Elections, given they doubled their share of councillors from around 20 to 44. But a closer look at this result is warranted and I, for one, am happy with the gains they made. Let me tell you why.

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Filed under: Race politics, The BNP

Al Qaeda in Trojan elephant shocker

by Rohin at 12:15 am    

WREUTERS: An audacious terrorist plot has been uncovered as Al Qaeda infiltrate London in a huge mechanical elephant.

The nation’s capital was today the scene of a terrorist strike the likes of which have not been seen since, ooh 1184 BC. A collosal wooden beast made its way towards Parliament and Horseguard’s Parade, somewhat reminiscent of a giant HORSE used by TROJANS which is popularly referred to as ‘the giant horse used by Trojans’. Suspicions first arose when detectives at Scotland Yard uncovered that ‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ had a Muslim-sounding name. When the monster appeared it was clear that the carving was ISLAMIC and special assault teams were deployed. The resultant scenes were far short of horrific. Soon afterwards, an evil missile landed in London and a passing hairdresser is quoted as saying he was confident it was “nuclear”. From within it emerged a female messenger of death, presumably the first graduate of Al Qaeda’s new emancipated women’s college.

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Filed under: Humour
5th May, 2006

Blair isn’t going anywhere

by Sunny at 1:32 pm    

A few thoughts on the Local Elections.

1) Tony Blair is not planning to leave his job soon, and his firing of Charles Clarke (with an offer of another portfolio) shows this. He wants his supporters around him. This is also why Geoff Hoon is back, Prescott has been neutralised and Gordon Brown will remain where he is. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

2) I think the biggest story of the night isn’t the BNP (more on that later) but that Ealing went to the Tories. This has been solid Labour territory since 1994 and is seen as a sign of things to come at the General Election.

3) Tories have done the least disappointingly out of everyone. Labour didn’t go into meltdown apart from in London, Tories only made huge gains in the capital. The Lib Dems, BNP and Greens all did worse than they expected.

Filed under: Party politics

Local Elections open thread

by Sunny at 12:15 am    

Post comments and results here as they come in… Labour is going to get a kicking no doubt, but will the Tories gain those seats?

And will the BNP get any serious number of votes? On the last question I am not sure either way. On the one hand they have seen a huge surge in members, on the other the media has gone out there intentionally to find BNP supporters for a soundbite. Though Nick Griffin got unlucky, the BBC is predicting 5-6 seats for the BNP in Barking and Dagenham. Hmmm…

I’ll be on BBC Asian Network at 10am to discuss the aftermath. Oh, and I wrote something for CIF on the BNP.

Filed under: Party politics
4th May, 2006

The Bradford Riots revisited

by Sunny at 2:40 pm    

Tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm a drama on the Bradford Riots is being shown. I’ve wanted to write about the 2001 riots for a long time because in many ways they were a small watershed for race relations. A stereotype of a Britain falling apart was formed, used time and time again by Trevor Phillips (CRE) to make absurd statements.

Like many other British Asians when they first kicked off, I was sympathetic towards the rioters…

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Filed under: Race politics

Gujarat flares up again

by Sunny at 12:16 am    

The Indian army’s been deployed in the Indian town of Vadodara after a few days of rioting and mob violence. Yesterday morning 32 year old Mohammad Rafiq Vora was burnt alive by a crowd of 1,500 Hindus. Guess who is in charge and not doing much? The politicos are meanwhile too busy paying condolences to the murder of a supremacist .

3rd May, 2006

‘Third most hated country in the world’

by Al-Hack at 3:38 pm    

Would you think it a bit wierd that anyone who hates a country would also stand as a political candidate? Welcome to the wierd and wonderful world of Yvonne Ridley. She writes:

The source of all this adulation was British-born Sami Yusuf, who is so proud of his claret-colored passport that he wants us all to wave the Union Jacks. I’m amazed he didn’t encourage his fans to sing “Land of Hope and Glory.” Brother Sami asked his audience to cheer if they were proud to be British ,and when they responded loudly, he said he couldn’t hear them and asked them to cheer again.

How can anyone be proud to be British? Britain is the third most hated country in the world. The Union Jack is drenched in the blood of our brothers and sisters across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Our history is steeped in the blood of colonialism, rooted in slavery, brutality, torture, and oppression. And we haven’t had a decent game of soccer since we lifted the World Cup in 1966.

She is also standing for the local elections in Church Street Ward, Westminster. What would her constituents think, representing a country she hates so much. I don’t want to call it mind-numblingly stupid hypocrisy or anything. Maybe she should stand for parliament in Afghanistan and see if they let her run?
Via Indigo Jo

Filed under: Party politics, Humour

South London bomber

by Sunny at 2:36 pm    

I don’t think it is prudent at this stage to say the attacks in those shops in London are racist. This has not been proven. It may be that the Asian ownership of these shops is coincidental, and thus I’ve changed the heading of Al-Hack’s previous article.

Much of the media has already labelled this a ‘vicious racist attack’ without being certain of the motives. We should not fall into the same trap.
Two men have now died as a result of these arson attacks.

Update 4th May: A man has been charged.

Filed under: Race politics

Ever celebrated a day ‘without an immigrant’?

by SajiniW at 9:14 am    

Ridiculous, racist and narrow-minded. Just three of the adjectives used to describe the hostile callers and comedians talking about the inaugural ‘Day Without An Immigrant’ celebrated in the US on May the 1st.

Held in protest against the demonisation of illegal immigrants in the US, it passed without friction.

The Minuteman Project, which has organized citizens’ patrols along the Mexican border to monitor illegal immigration says they cost Americans jobs, and that black communities in inner cities are hurt most. The group plans rallies across the country, beginning Wednesday in Los Angeles, to highlight its view. Republican Congressman, Tom Tancredo, echoes this view, saying: “If all illegal aliens all took the day off and were truly invisible for one day, there would be some plusses along with the mild inconveniences.”

Some Hispanic leaders are, surprisingly, in agreement with him. CNN reports that Washington, meanwhile, is struggling with immigration legislation.

The Senate bill would include provisions for improved border security, a guest-worker program and options for citizenship. If a Senate compromise is reached, it would still need to make it through the House, where the going could be more difficult.

Filed under: Current affairs

The Sharpener re-launches

by Sunny at 2:28 am    

The political group-blog The Sharpener relaunched yesterday with an intro by Nosemonkey. I believe it would be worth adding to your bookmarks, not least because I shall also be contributing there occasionally, along with around 30 better writers than me I.

Filed under: Uncategorized
2nd May, 2006

Racist Arsonist arrested

by Al-Hack at 5:21 pm    

A man has been arrested by detectives investigating three shop fires - one of them fatal - which are thought to have been racially motivated.

The 33-year-old, from Stockwell, south London, is being questioned by police about the murder of Khizar Hayat and the other fires - all in the capital. [BBC Online]

Update: Any connection to a different firebombing attack in Birmingham today? [hat tip: Scribbles]
Update 2: A second man has died in connection with the bombings.

For compulsory voting

by Sunny at 5:10 pm    

The Labour-friendly think tank IPPR is of the opinion that voting should be made compulsory. It says:

ippr’s analysis shows that other reforms – proportional representation, postal voting, weekend voting - only have a limited impact on increasing turnout and often the effects do not last during subsequent elections. ippr found that reforms like these often make it easier for people who already vote, rather than encouraging non voters to get the voting habit.

Chris and Garry are not too enthusiastic about the prospect. The former says “compulsory voting will raise the Labour vote disproportionately, while the latter laments the party “will go to any lengths to avoid having to confront their own failings”.

I agree with both of them to a point. Labour is probably hoping it will ensure that their demoralised and fed-up supporters still keep it in power. Given that people will generally prefer Labour to Conservative, it will help them. But I’d still want voting to be made compulsory.

1) It may force people to take politics more seriously, read up on party policies and vote accordingly.
2) It would more accurately reflect the support of smaller parties. The BNP for example deliberately spread lies during their campaign to get people angry and make a protest vote.
3) It could make parties more unwilling to take hugely unpopular decisions if they know they will be punished at the polls. Thus, Labour could no longer rely on apathy to stay in power.
4) The signs from other countries (Australia) are good.

But I am in the minority on this it seems. Chris from Qwghlm, Kel, Longrider and One Perfect Rose are also against it. Damn.

1st May, 2006

May Day madness in London

by Kesara at 11:47 pm    

Resident photographer Kesara headed down to the May Day rally in London today to watch the diverse and eclectic (shall we say) groups of people protesting and having a laugh. Here are some pictures and commentary.

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Filed under: Current affairs

Asians and electoral fraud

by Sunny at 3:04 pm    

Why why why? Why do the political parties let these villager-mentality idiots represent them? Candidates who think they are still campaigning in a village ‘back home’ and will try any dirty tactics to win.

On Wednesday a 50 year old woman was arrested in Birmingham. She was identified as the wife of Mohammed Khan, a Liberal Democrat candidate.

The police is also investigating claims by Galloway that he has uncovered “widespread” electoral fraud involving postal voting in Tower Hamlets. Police are looking into similar allegations in Harrow, Kensington and Chelsea, Merton, Southwark, Hounslow, and Barnet - guess what they have in common?

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