Indian film stars should walk in Jet Li’s path

Just a few days after posting “Poor India,” a post in which I beseech Indian film stars like Amitabh Bachchan to start a charity and use their star power to get other Indians to do charitable work for the poor, I read the article, “China’s Pusher of Philanthropy” at the Washington Post’s website. The article reports that Jet Li took two years off from acting to travel through China, research philanthropic organizations and bring in other known names to help raise money for a charity he  started.

The charity is helping children affected by the devastating May ’08 earthquake in China. Another goal of Jet Li’s endeavor is, to quote, “The role we played is more like a pusher of philanthropic culture,” Li said in an interview. “Right now, people still have a fuzzy recognition about philanthropy and volunteerism. . . . My dream is to change the concept of philanthropy in China from simply helping others into responsibility.”

The core idea of Li’s One Foundation is that in a country the size of  China, if everyone gave a little, the impact would be enormous. Li is urging everyone to donate one yuan — about 15 cents — a month. “We set the lowest entrance barrier,” Li said. “Nobody can say no.””

Couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. Jet Li. You are  my hero. And I am heading over to the Amitabh Bachchan Blog to post a comment requesting him to do the same!


Poor India

The Lives of Poor

As if the lives of poor in India wasn’t hard enough, The CNN article, “India razes slums, leaves poor homeless” reports that to improve Delhi’s look for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the scant dwellings of hundreds of people were razed to the ground in a matter of minutes — the huts were too close to a major road that needs to be expanded. Of course expansion of roads is required in Delhi to ease the clogged traffic but the inhumanity of  it all was the fact that no relocation or help was offered to the poor residents — many of them had lived there for 10 to 20 years. And to be sure, such an event has been and will be repeated with frightening monotony.

For all of India’s strengths and positives, social consciousness isn’t one: be it the Government or the People at large. There are thousands of well meaning Non-Profit Organizations, and I am most admiring of  the work they do, but in a population of a billion they are but a drop in the Ocean.

So what can be done about a problem that has burgeoned to a point that it envelopes India?

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A Celebration for the People of America

As the media reports pour in on the throngs of people at the Mall  and the great speech delivered by Mr. Obama at his Inauguration, without taking anything away from Mr. Obama — he is a brilliant and astute political leader —  I cannot help but think of Mr. Obama’s inauguration as a victory for the people of America more than for Mr. Obama.

After having elected Mr. Bush twice, the world was beginning to think of America as a religiously, socially and racially conservative, self-centered and arrogant country. A country that when provoked by the evils of terrorism, itself reacted with mindless violence resulting in the killings of countless innocents. A country that had forgotten how to think its way through trouble and only found force as an option. 

A country where consumers indulged in credit-card based debauchery and businesses were so greedy that they outsourced their fellow citizens jobs and systematically dismantled the system with only their pockets in mind. A country where the Judiciary was a rubber stamp for the Executive wing rather than a check on its powers and a Legislative wing that was only interested in pork barrel projects and conniving with lobbyists and businesses on how to stuff their war chests to get re-elected.

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Watching own knee surgery live

(Please participate in the poll at the end of the post)

My fervent desire was to “watch” my knee being operated upon. It was not out of any morbid tendencies but purely intellectual: I wanted to see with my own eyes the marvels of modern surgical techniques, the skills of surgeons and of course just exactly what I had done to my knee.  May be taking it to the next level but in line with recent articles in the news  like  “Empowered Patient” on CNN and “Patient should be there own Primary Care Providers” on the Better Health blog.

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Real smoke after the “half-smoke”?

Smoking and Obama — Why didn’t the media focus on it prior to the Election? 

Let me just get this out there — I supported Obama over McCain. And I used to smoke and quit. I mean really quit.  So There.

Now that you know, I hope you will read the remainder of this post with the same sincerity that I am writing with.

With the Inauguration for our President-Elect upon us and much more weighty worries and questions on the media and the public’s mind,  I still can’t get this one question out of my head, “Why didn’t the media focus more on Obama’s smoking habit pre-election?”  

You see, I have had this unsettling feeling inside me about this topic for quite a while and only a few days ago, was I able to articulate why I felt as such:

 “Change We Can Believe In” was his campaign slogan. So why then, Mr. Obama, when you have promised to change the very ground that we walk on, and I hope you succeed, can you not change your smoking habit?

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The only possible solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict – Part III of III

We Need True Leadership

The hour is getting late and we are heading towards the precipice. Innocent people are dying in hordes as a result of twisted thinking being called sane policy. Generations will live with untold damages to their Psyche.

We need true leadership from Barack Obama, the next Israeli PM, Mahmoud Abbas, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Putin. Why, Putin you may ask?

The Road to Middle East Peace goes through Moscow!

Last American administration’s insistence of not talking to Iran and Syria has only strengthened Moscow’s historical ties with Iran to a point where Kremlin alone has some sway on Tehran. In addition, the planned Missile Defense System in Poland has ensured that Moscow does not use its leverage on Iran for furthering US and hence Israel’s interest.

In a great article in NY Times titled “Let Russia Stop Iran” the authors Oded Eran, Giora Eiland and Emily Landau argue, in essence, that Obama should improve relations with Russia and ask in return for Russia to have Iran stop its Nuclear program.

I believe the following minimal steps need to be undertaken urgently:

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The only possible solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict – Part II of III

The Current War – Hamas is to blame for triggering this conflict and Israel is to blame for triggering a war.

Hamas’ rocket attacks in violation of the peace deal are absolutely to blame for the start of the conflict, but we can always leave it to Israel to escalate it to a disproportionate level with, very importantly, rather murky objectives that, like I have argues in part 1, never really get fulfilled.

And lest anyone is thinking the war is only between Israel and Hamas they are sadly mistaken. For this war is not only between Israel and Hamas, it is a high stakes geo-political chess game being played by Iran, Hezbollah and Syria on one side – who use Hamas as a mere proxy — and Israel is doing the bidding of the out-going American administration along with, possibly, reacting to internal political dynamics.  An interesting article by William Kristol at New York Times website on why America needs Israel to fight. I find the probability of success of the approach postulated by Mr. Kristol – even if it were to succeed – to actually weaken Iran to be close to zero.

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