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Truths I learn. Barriers I seek to break. Let me scream.

Archive for the ‘I’ve Been Screaming’ Category

Concerns, Crys and Contentions

Can’t Be Patriotic

Posted by themischord on January 26, 2007

Miles away from my country, as many do, I feel more ‘Indian’ now than I ever did. I did not forget that today, 26th January, is a historic milestone for my country. But that doesn’t make me patriotic. I never felt patriotic. Not when I religiously sang the national anthem. Not when I saluted the flag. Not when I made speeches at length on how to build a better India. In my younger days, without reasoning, I accepted this to be a personal fallacy. A failure for passionate association. I can reason it better now.

If it weren’t for the British, would I be an ‘Indian‘ today? No, maybe simply a ‘Hyderabadi’. Maybe the only binding factor would be some kind of an ‘Indian Union’, like the European Union. Noting that such unions are formed for economic and not cultural or social reasons, I would not be singing

“Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha, Dravida Utkala Banga.
Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga, Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga”

I would have grown up learning to be loyal to some ‘my country’. My teachers would have preached the principles of patriotism, but now in the context of some ‘my country’. And this is just my contention. Country boundaries are so much a matter of chance. I wish we didn’t have boundaries. I wish I didn’t need visas to travel.

I wish ‘association‘ did not mean ‘division‘.

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Posted in I've Been Screaming, Musings | 2 Comments »

Justice Needed, Not Charity

Posted by themischord on May 10, 2006

From Bono's remarks to the National Prayer Breakfast "Here’s some good news for the President. After 9-11 we were told America would have no time for the World’s poor. America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And it’s true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors.

In fact, you have double aid to Africa. You have tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund—you and Congress—have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from malaria.

Outstanding human achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud.

But here’s the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There’s is much more to do. There’s a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.

And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it? It’s about justice."

The ONE Campaign claims that a 1% increase in the US federal budget for humanitarian aid could help:

  • Prevent 10 million children from becoming AIDS orphans
  • Get 104 million children into grade school.
  • Provide water to almost 900 million people around the globe.
  • Save almost 6.5 million children under 5 from dying of diseases that could be prevented with low-cost measures like vaccination or a well for clean water.

It is mind blowing to think of the economic imbalances in the world we live in. And it is a no lesser known fact that this was achieved by systematic exploitation. It is true world over, not just Africa. Justice is needed. Not charity. Atleast, not merely charity.

The few who fail to agree on this should look at the HIV/AIDS prevalance levels in Africa. Almost every country has an infection rate of more than 10%. These rates are survived by the fact that the available medical treatment is unaffordable to almost the entire population. A mere single digit percentage of the infected population is treated with the help of grants and aid. These are the people whose country, labour, resources, trade has been exploited. They stand waiting to be exterminated.

We have something to think about here. And raise voice?

Posted in I've Been Screaming, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Make The Web A Better Place

Posted by themischord on April 3, 2006

Today while chatting with a friend who is building a website, I realized how much my outlook on the importance of standards has changed in the recent past. The number of websites which follow HTML/XHTML specification is greatly outnumbered by those which don't. Unfortunately, this is largely due to the tools used to make these web pages. So what is the problem? The pages become browser specific. They show up differently/ incorrectly or partially on others. This is by far defeating the very surpose of having a standard for data definition language like HTML. To avoid this, make sure every web page you create is standards compliant (visit http://validator.w3.org/)

An even more unfortunate reality is the lack of awareness and interest to build websites which are accessible. Accessible web sites allow their content to be navigated in systematic manner. Which means, the web page can be navigated using some tools by the blind and other specially abled people. I know of a totally blind person who owns a start up software company. And another one who is a gnome developer. So if I make my site using flash, it means that I will not be able to reach them. But most people don't care! Would they? Even if they knew this?! Indifference everywhere!

Please follow web standards and avoid flash. Let's make the web a better place!

Posted in I've Been Screaming | 4 Comments »