Biographies, Books, History & Politics

Jerusalem: The Biography

By Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem - The BiographyReads like a thriller!

If only there was an easier way to remember all those names.

Advertisements
Standard
Bookmarks, Culture, Good Reads

Robin Williams’ divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world

By Russell Brand

One of the best obituaries for one of the best artistes of our times.

“We sort of accept that the price for that free-flowing, fast-paced, inexplicable comic genius is a counterweight of solitary misery. That there is an invisible inner economy that demands a high price for breathtaking talent.” – Russell Brand

Read the article on The Guardian

 

Standard
Finance, Original Articles, World

Default To Survive: A Greek Tragedy

In 1999, eighteen nations in the European Union (EU) established a monetary union, known as the ‘Eurozone’. Nations in the Eurozone can formulate their individual fiscal policies (the ability to set taxes and adopt spending policies), but an European Central Bank (ECB) decides the common monetary policy (supply of money, interest rates and economic growth) for all member nations.

The idea worked well during times of economic prosperity, however, the ECB’s one-size fits all policy is suspect in the face of a global financial crisis.

The problem: Handling of public finances by member governments.

Continue reading

Standard
Original Articles, World

Afghan War: The politics of logistics

It is said, logistics is the stuff that if you do not have enough of, the war will not be won as soon as.

With the ‘War against Terror’ getting protracted for well over a decade, the United States of America and the Obama administration is learning this the hard way. Escalating civilian deaths, rising war costs and a susceptible foreign policy is pushing America to rethink its Af-Pak strategy. It is struggling to find a solution to teething logistical problems of getting man, machine and rations to its troops in the war zone through long and dangerous supply lines.

Continue reading

Standard
India, Original Articles

The Sanyasi’s knotty politics

A bearded man running around in women’s clothing, on national television, even as lathi wielding police officers chase him all over the place; is a moment that is one of the most repugnant pictures that defines where the country’s latest fascination – the anti-corruption revolution is heading.

The UPA government and its biggest party, the Congress is a pro at handling dissent, revolutions and the good old hunger strikes. However, its recent misadventures with the public protests and the activists who have become  rallying figures for a public anger makes one wonder about what went wrong.

Continue reading

Standard
Original Articles, World

The coming of the third intifada

The blusterous Jasmine revolution that changed the political landscape of the Middle East seemed more like a whimpering draught when it blew over Palestine. You would not be wrong to assume that Palestinians slept through the Jasmine Revolution. However on the weekend of May 14th-15th, – a period the Palestinians call naqba, a day of great catastrophe when Israel was created 63 years ago, hundreds of unarmed Palestinians stormed Israel’s defences and entered the Jewish nation.

This event, seen as the beginning of their third intifada (uprising), set in motion demonstrations and protests across the borders of Israel. However, what looked like Palestine joining the list of countries that toppled governments and dictators during the Arab spring slowly withered away as losses mounted in the face of Israel’s crackdown. Nevertheless, the en masse has emboldened Palestinians who have seen decades of diplomacy and violence failing miserably in bringing peace and recognition to the Palestine state and its people. The demand by Palestinian moderates to Israel asking tit to return to the 1967 borderlines, the period before Israel captured major chunks of Palestinian land during the Six Day war between Israel on one side and Egypt, Syria and Jordan on the other has been categorically rejected by Israel’s right wing Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

For the Israelis the main reason for repudiation of demands lies in its concern about the security of the Jewish homeland and the control of the holy land of Jerusalem. Israel opposes the binational solution of 1967, as it burdens it with the challenging task of relocating about half a million Jews settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Palestine believes belongs to them. Netanyahu sees this and the exponential population growth of Arabs living in Israel as the biggest internal threat to  Israel.

For this very reason, since the days of its charismatic leader in the 1960s, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians has been to rid Israel of non-Jews. Understanding the political futility of such a task, Ben-Gurion tried, rather unsuccessfully, to force the Palestinians to leave by restricting job opportunities, reducing land holdings, and cracking down on dissent that has risen from a few thousand Arab Israelis.

However, four decades of subterfuge have cost Israel its global standing where it is increasingly seen as am obstinate and aggressive nation. Facing pressure from its oldest ally, the USA, and following President Barack Obama’s speech asking Israel to return to 1967 borderlines, (a demand, once again furiously refuted by Netanyahu) has led to the lowest ebb in US-Israel relations. President Obama, running for a re-election risked riling the powerful pro-Israeli lobby even though it wields enormous clout in American politics. This sudden change in American foreign policy is because of Netanyahu’s continuous refusal to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements in West Bank and the US Government’s frustration with the Israeli obfuscation.

Netanyahu must realize the futility of this sparring as unlike last time, Obama is now riding on popular wave following the death of Osama Bin Laden. By trying to bundle the Al Qaeda and Hamas – the Palestinian party that runs the Gaza Strip, and portraying the Palestinian Government as one run by a terrorist organization with who compromise is not an option Netanyahu is trying his best to appease his right wing coalition government. His rejection of Palestinian demands has brought to fore the Jewish-Arab Israeli relations that have been superficially amiable since the 1967 war. However, the fallout in the binational talks will lead to things becoming increasingly dangerous as more Arab Israelis are empathizing with their Palestinian cousins.

Decades of suppression have seen a distinct rise in radicalism in Palestine. Ignoring this movement will cost Israel dearly and put the two groups on the path of collision such that every Israeli will see every Palestinian new born as a potential dissenter and every Palestinian will rise up in revolt as they prepare for the third intifada – the final uprising to avenge its humiliation.

Standard