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Letters | Apr 28, 2003
Bloodbaath’s Over, Now For a Game of Lego
Apr 28, 2003
OK, Iraqis are spitting all over Saddam’s image and pumping the hands of cynical, grinning Yankee ape-soldiers (Endgame, April 14). Is that something to gloat about? True, Iraq was under a rotten dictatorship. But so are so many other countries, including America’s friends Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. If the US is really so concerned about freedom, why doesn’t it bring deliverance to them all? Besides, if you suffer carpet-bombing for two weeks without water and power, wouldn’t you be happy for the war to end, even if you are not the victor?
Ghulam Noor, London, UK
Now that Iraqis have shown their hatred for Saddam, will you still shed tears for that bloody dictator and oppose the liberators? Or will you admit your second blunder in two years—following the Taliban’s fall, another US-led action you opposed? Here is a suggestion for Outlook: why not set up your own poultry farm with all that egg on your collective faces?
Prabhat Gupta, Bangalore
The sheer pace with which the US-UK combine evicted the Baathists has been amazing. It was a victory for the coalition, the Arabs, the Israelis, in fact, for mankind at large. But behind the thick black smoke billowing from a brutally ravaged country lies the question: can this military triumph confer automatic justification for war? Has not Bush been the harbinger of anarchy?
S.S. Chauhan, Indore
Congratulations, Outlook, for finding that 690 million Indians thought Bush was a warmonger (86% Oppose Bush’s Invasion, April 7). I obviously belong to the remaining 310 million who weren’t asked for their opinion.
V. Sudhakar, on e-mail
Your cover with Bush as a devil was worth a thousand anti-war protests. Thank you.
Wake up, India. If no action was taken against tyrants like Saddam, you could end up facing the wrong end of weapons of mass destruction. Who do you think is holding Pakistan back from going nuclear? You may beat them in the end but not before a lot of Indians are dead. By the way, did you see the Iraqis cheer the ‘invading’ forces?
Tony Martin, Portsmouth, England
Outlook seems to have taken a strong line against the ‘invasion’. But the onus was also on you to report the war in a non-partisan manner—without going into whether the action was ‘moral’ or not. This despite it offering a textbook case of a successfully executed military strategy.
Harsh V. Pant, Indiana, US
How would you define the two potentates, Saddam and Bush? Both have made the world a dangerous place to live in. One used Biblical phrases, the other the Quran—misinterpreting holy texts to support violence. Bush killed civilians to liberate them; Saddam massacred them in the name of patriotism. Hope these images disappear from our TVs soon. It’s sad to see people fight each other and the media showing it like an action movie.
Gilani Kamil, on e-mail
Hitler attacked Poland to annex it. Bush’s intention was quite different. He only wanted to put an end to Saddam’s cruel dictatorship. Any Iraqi who wrote/spoke a word against his regime was murdered. Saddam wasn’t even averse to bumping off his own son-in-law after a rift. The Iraqis have truly been liberated.
N.K. Bahulayan, Madurai
How can the US justify the killing of innocents in the name of eliminating terrorism? Did the action in Afghanistan stop terrorism? It only incited passions for revenge. The one-sided war in Iraq would create more enemies. Bush should learn from Gandhi who evicted a regime, peacefully.
Irfan M. Khadiwala, Ahmedabad
New World Orderlies (April 14) was brimming with signs of an inferiority complex and low esteem. India should first take care of itself, then worry about the world. It should make thermonuclear bombs and delivery systems to match the best and not merely suck up to big powers.
R. Purohit, on e-mail
Would Bush and Blair have gone to war with Iraq if the latter had nuclear weapons and long-range missiles? NO. Look at how North Korea is being treated. Forget the intellectuals, pinkos and p-secs, India should flex its nuclear muscle. As for America’s Pakistan policy, only when they receive a nuclear suitcase via isi-backed channels will they know the real colours of terrorism. To relearn its lessons the hard way.
Anuradha Pradhan, on e-mail
Hanif Shukrallah’s Empire of Corpses (April 7) was pertinent, soul-stirring. Today the whole world is enmeshed in the net of western war technology. In ’61, Arnold Toynbee had predicted: "In examining America’s situation in the world, I can say with my hand on my heart that my feelings are sympathetic, not malicious. After all, mere regard for self-interest, apart from any estimable considerations, would deter America’s allies from wishing America ill." The political and spiritual unification of the world isn’t coming through any western agency, that’s for sure.
A. Subbaian, Annamalainagar
The challenge of our epoch is to convert the worldwide anti-war upsurge into a movement for a people’s democracy, a sort of globalisation from below. It must not fade away to make space for chaos and regressive forces of religious extremism. That our ‘greatest democracies’ are the supreme war criminals of all times must call into question the spirit and content of these democracies. Regime change must begin from home.
Anuradha Kalhan, Mumbai
What do we do with these war criminals who committed and abetted crimes against humanity in Iraq? Those who let hospitals be looted, let the injured die by default, who shot women and children point-blank and aided mass looting, compressing the agony the Iraqis suffered over two decades into a 21-day horror and apocalypse? Is there any punishment for those who pillaged 170,000 priceless artifacts of an antiquity dating back to the ascent of man? Who will arraign them at the International Court of Justice?
R. Rajaraman, Chennai
On a humorous note, if one looks closely at Saddam, his features resemble Ravana’s—the fakes being his extra heads. But the similarities end here. Who is the Ravana here? The invading forces had no moral right to impose war upon the Iraqis. Just the fact that the invasion happened is frightening. Listening to the leaders after the Belfast talks and the rhetoric regarding the need for a democratically elected leader in Iraq, one wonders about Pervez next door.
M.K. Sapra, New Delhi
Misguided Missiles (April 14) by Ruben Banerjee was truly wonderful, letting the world know about the duplicity of the flag-bearers of modern civilisation. It’ll help keep the world informed of the feelings of those for whom "the shoe actually pinches".
Robin Banerjee, Dusseldorf, Germany
Banerjee’s holier-than-thou attitude is disgusting. The Arabs can never be trusted, ever. How many Arabs will support India on Kashmir? Even a so-called friend like the uae has refused to deport underworld dons, even after repeated pleas.
The sacking of Peter Arnett by the nbc raises fundamental questions. This, along with the new fad of "embedded journalism", points to a trend that bodes ill for the media and for the public it informs. Philip Knightley, author of a book on war reporting, was quoted on bbc Online as saying that "Gulf War II means the end of the war correspondent". I’m amazed at how little alarm I hear over this atrophying in India even though the tendency is evident in Indian journalism too, though thankfully the plural vernaculars and media politics work to check that trend.
Uma Asher, Pennsylvania, US
While ‘embedded’ channels got on with their coverage, a business channel showed its anchor literally trampling over an Iraqi map on the floor, assiduously pointing out the cities and towns besieged. Sickening, to say the least. I don’t think there was lack of forethought in this tacky presentation, so what was it? Uncle Sam’s boots, in-your-face?
N. Navinkumar, Chennai
Like always, Vinod Mehta’s Delhi Diary (April 14) made interesting reading, even in difficult times. As in the item Upping the Anti, there is a great degree of resentment against US policies in Canada. Toronto saw some of the biggest anti-war marches, most led by high school and university students. That’s because the US does not think twice before bullying even this warm and friendly neighbour.
Bharat Punjabi, Toronto, Canada
The US-led war on Iraq reminded me of these words by Ernest Hemingway: "They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet or fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no reason."
K. Phani Raja Rao, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
If there ever was a Warmongers Hall of Fame, Bush and his pardner Blair would be its star attractions...up there with Churchill, Hitler and Kaiser Wilhelm.
Ranjith K. Thomas, Bangalore
Sympathy For The Devil
Apr 28, 2003
For a change, the incorrigible, quintessential pseudo-secularist has given the benefit of the doubt to the rss and its sister organisations (Sympathy for the Devil, April 14). But in the process, it has misread the fundamental reasoning of the rss. The rss has never been pro-US, anti-US, pro-Soviet or anti-Soviet. It has always been essentially pro-Indian; nothing more, nothing less. It has only one yardstick in assessing any issue: how it would affect India and its people. And as always, the rss has taken the right stand.
Lekshminarayanan S. Doha, Qatar
Left Indicators On
Apr 28, 2003
The Congress will destroy the economy of the country if it presses for reservation in the private sector at the altar of electoral politics (Left Indicators On, April 14). It is the populism of the Congress that was responsible for the commanding and corrupt heights of the public sector in the Indian economy. V.P. Singh’s Mandal, the bjp’s kamandal and the Congress’ divide-and-rule tactics are responsible
for India’s backwardness. India’s future looks bleak because of its petty, communal, corrupt, selfish and inefficient politicians of India.
Barefoot Dreams In The Park
A Whiff of Freshness
Apr 28, 2003
Barefoot Dreams in the Park (April 7) was a rare piece about a Catholic do-gooder in the Northeast when most reports from the region are anti-missionary or about insurgency, kidnapping and extortion. May the tribe of journalists like Nitin Gokhale increase and herald more good news from the Northeast.
C.M. Paul, Calcutta
Much Ado About...
Apr 28, 2003
...Nothings. At a time when Gulf War II should have been the only news hitting headlines, the Salman-Vivek ‘filmi’ feud seemed fiercely mundane and entirely unworthy of the media attention it got (Midnight Masala, April 14). Agreed that Salman’s alcoholic stupors are dangerous and he needs medical help but Vivek Oberoi, the new kid on the block, could have been a little more mature in handling the situation. Strange that he didn’t even file a police complaint against someone who was threatening to kill him but called a press conference. And the media, hungry for gossip, readily obliged.
Sameera Hai, on e-mail
Poona Expressway Town
A Place of Our Own
Apr 28, 2003
As someone who has just moved out of Poona and into Delhi for his first real job, I have come to realise how many things I took for granted back home (Poona, Expressway Town, April 14). Comfort, convenience, civility and safety. I loved your article about my great little town and the awesome people that make it such a pleasure to belong to. While the age-old adage, ‘there’s no place like home’ holds true for most places, there’s really no home quite like Pune!
Rohit Kulkarni, on e-mail
Great story. Gave Pune hope. Great writing, great ambience, a lovely read.
P. Vijaykumar, Bangalore
Pune is lovely! Don’t let it turn into another dirty Indian town. Puneites must drive their local and state governments to clean up the rivers, and invest in infrastructure.
Rajiv Varshney, Chicago, US
While mentioning the growth of Pune as an IT hub, you ironically forgot to mention one of the key r&d organisations in Pune, c-dac or the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing, which has been responsible for bringing India in the league of five developed nations having supercomputers, making India self-reliant in the field. It is amusing to mention IT in Pune without mentioning c-dac, especially when you mention the growth of call centres. It seems IT in India is seen only as bodyshopping, a call centre business or as techno sweat shops.
Prateek Kaul, Pune
Fine Strokes, Copybook Style
The Unsung Ones
Apr 28, 2003
Manu Joseph’s Fine Strokes, Copybook Style (April 7) was excellent. He rightly mentions our neglected local players. Who remembers that Mumbai cricketer Wasim Jaffer played a fine innings when requested by his coach to save his team from losing even though his mother had died that very morning? Does anyone know Anju George’s world rating in the broad jump? Or that paceman Tinu Yohannan’s father was a gold medallist in the broad jump at the Asian Games in Teheran in the ’70s?
Soli Canteenwala, Mumbai
VIPs, Flight Hazards
Apr 28, 2003
This comes a little late, but thank you Sandipan Deb for mentioning in your March 24 Delhi Diary the current situation and consequences of blocking traffic for VIPs. We have been having this problem for decades with our ambulances—both on road and in air. A few times our medical team and patients have had to circle the airport trying to land or have to wait before take-off because of VIP procedures. This can cause delays of up to an hour sometimes and if we are taking off to land in a remote area with no night-flying facilities, the mission at times has to be postponed till the next morning.
Dr Kimberley Chawla, East West Rescue, New Delhi
Life Is An Iced Gateau
A Sure Misfield
Apr 28, 2003
I e-mail from memory but Sam (Bahadur) Maneckshaw is not the first Field Marshal of India (Life is an Iced Gateau, April 14). Gen Cariappa was the first to be so elevated.
N. Khosla, on e-mail
Over the Moon
Apr 28, 2003
In the story Over the Moon (April 14), Prof C.N.R. Rao was mistakenly identified as U.R. Rao in the caption. We regret the error.
Echoes in the Wilderness
Apr 28, 2003
I was one of the few Americans who was against the war. But I was outnumbered. By one man. George Bush. Several hundred thousand people around the world said ‘No’ to war. One man, George Bush, said ‘Yes’. And we in the United States who were against the war could not stop him. I’m sorry for the impression this must have given of Americans. I sent an e-mail to one of my senators about being against the war. There was no reply. Not even an auto-reply. You see, being against the war is like criticising your mother’s cooking; even if you are right, you’re frowned upon because you are ‘unpatriotic’. I don’t know how wanting our young fighting men and women to come back home in one piece is "unpatriotic", but it is deemed so. Anything Bush said about the war was accepted as fact by most Americans, because he said it. I couldn’t pull the wool from my countrymen’s eyes because they refused to see without it. Bush made them feel safe. But even a caged bird feels safe. What we Americans have done inside our country is admirable. But some things we’ve done outside our country are questionable. Someday I hope sanity in our foreign policy will return.
John Briggs, Missouri, US
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