Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘I protest’ Category

Found this simply hilarious! So just had to share. You can read the full article @The Hindu.

TH21-EDIT-MODI_1726323f

Dear Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar,

We know we need no introduction. And yet it may be useful to highlight some aspects of our reputation which you and others have been carelessly sullying in the run-up to the general elections. When Hillary and Tenzing scaled Mount Everest, imagine their chagrin when they found one of us had already set up shop there. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon he almost forgot his lines “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, because he ran into one of us, and that was not part of the script. That is how ubiquitous we are. It takes a lot of enterprise and hard work to be that.

It is, therefore, a matter of deep dismay and hurt, in fact a crisis of identity, for us when you and others like you mention Modi and us in the same breath, or mention the one and mean the other.

Let us make this very clear. Modi may or may not have what it takes to become the prime minister. But he certainly doesn’t have what it takes to be a tea seller –

A satire in the form of an open letter by Sashi Kumar, columnist and Chairman, Asian College of Journalism

 

 

Read Full Post »

Friends and well wishers staged this candle light vigil for slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge on Jan 9, 2014, at the very same spot in Attidiya, a suburb of Colombo, where he was shot dead. Five years after the high-profile assassination, Sri Lankan authorities are yet to bring the perpetrator/s to justice. AFP photo chief in Sri Lanka, Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, captured this image:

in memory

Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge (1958 – 2009)

Read Full Post »

Rape culture!

(Re-blogged from the talented http://boudiccasrevenge.tumblr.com)

Rape culture

Rape culture

Rape culture is when I was six, and

my brother punched my two front teeth out.
Instead of reprimanding him, my mother
said “Stefanie, what did you do to provoke him?”
When my only defense was my
mother whispering in my ear, “Honey, ignore him.
Don’t rile him up. He just wants a reaction.”
As if it was my sole purpose, the reason
six-year-old me existed,
was to not rile up my brother.
It’s starts when we’re six, and ends
when we grow up assuming the natural state of a man
is a predator, and I must walk on eggshells, as to
not “rile him up.” Right, mom?

Rape culture is when through casual dinner conversation,
my father says that women who get raped are asking for it.
He says, “I see them on the streets of New York City,
with their short skirts and heavy makeup. Asking for it.”
When I used to be my father’s hero but
will he think I was asking for it? (will he think)
Will he think I deserved it?
Will he hold me accountable or will he hold me,
even though the touch of a man – especially my father’s –
burns as if I were holding the sun in the palm of my hand.

Rape culture is you were so ashamed, you thought it would
be easier for your parents to find you dead,
than to say, “Hey mom and dad,”
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for it.
I never asked for this attention, I never asked
to be a target, to be weak because I was born with
two X chromosomes, to walk in fear, to always look behind me,
in front of me, next to me, I never asked to be the prey.
I never wanted to spend my life being something
someone feasts upon, a meal for the eternally starved.
I do not want to hear about the way I taste anymore.
I will not let you eat me alive.

Rape culture is I shouldn’t defend my friend when
an overaggressive frat boy has his hand on her ass,
because standing up for her body “makes me a target.”
Women are afraid to speak up, because
they fear their own lives – but I’d rather take the hit
than live in a culture of silence.
I am told that I will always be the victim, pre-determined
by the DNA in my weaker, softer body.
I have birthing hips, not a fighter’s stance.
I am genetically pre-dispositioned to lose every time.

Rape culture is he was probably abused as a child.
When he even has some form of a justification
and all I have are the things that provoked him,
and the scars from his touch are woven of the darkest
and toughest strings, underneath the layer of my skin.
Rape culture leaves me finding pieces of him left inside of me.
A bone of his elbow. The cap of his knee.
There is something so daunting in the way that I know it will take
me years to methodically extract him from my body.
And that twinge I will get sometimes in my arm fifteen years later?
Proof of the past.
Like a tattoo I didn’t ask for.
Somehow I am permanently inked.

Rape culture is you can’t wear that outfit anymore
without feeling dirty, without feeling like
you somehow earned it.
You will feel like you are walking on knives,
every time you wear the shoes
you smashed his nose in with.
Imaginary blood on the bottom of your heels,
thinking, maybe this will heal me.
Those shoes are your freedom,
But the remains of a life long fight.
You will always carry your heart,
your passion, your absolute will to live,
but also the shame and the guilt and the pain.
I saved myself but I still feel like I’m walking on knives.

Rape culture is “Stefanie, you weren’t really raped, you were
one of the lucky ones.”
Because my body wasn’t penetrated by a penis,
but fingers instead, that I should feel lucky.
I should get on my hands and knees and say, thank you.
Thank you for being so kind.
Rape culture is “things could have been worse.”
“It’s been a month, Stefanie. Get out of bed.”
“You’ll have to get over this eventually.”
“Don’t let it ruin your life.”
Rape culture is he told you that after he touched you,
no one would ever want you again.
And you believed him.

Rape culture is telling your daughters not to get raped,
instead of teaching your sons how to treat all women.
That sex is not a right. You are not entitled to this.
The worst possible thing you can call a woman is a
slut, a whore, a bitch.
The worst possible thing you can call a man is a
bitch, a pussy, a girl.
The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl.
The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl.
Being a woman is the ultimate rejection,
the ultimate dismissal of strength and power, the
absolute insult.
When I have a daughter,
I will tell her that she is not
an insult.

When I have a daughter, she will know how to fight.
I will look at her like the sun when she comes home
with anger in her fists.
Because we are human beings and we do not
always have to take what we are given.
They all tell her not to fight fire with fire,
but that is only because they are afraid of her flames.
I will teach her the value of the word “no” so that
when she hears it, she will not question it.
My daughter,
Don’t you dare apologize for the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to preserve it.

My daughter,
I am alive because of the fierce love I have
for myself, and because my father taught me
to protect that.
He taught me that sometimes, I have to do
my own bit of saving, pick myself off the
ground and wipe the dirt off my face,
because at the end of the day,
there is only me.
I am alive because my mother taught me
to love myself.
She taught me that I am an enigma – a
mystery, a paradox, an unfinished masterpiece and
I must love myself enough to see how I turn out.
I am alive because even beaten, voiceless, and back
against the wall, I knew there was an ounce of me
worth fighting for.
And for that, I thank my parents.

Instead of teaching my daughter to cover herself up,
I will show her how to be exposed.
Because no is not “convince me”.
No is not “I want it”.
You call me,
“Little lady, pretty girl, beautiful woman.”
But I am not any of these things for you.
I am exploding light,
my daughter will be exploding light,
and you,
better cover your eyes.

Read Full Post »

lasanthaLasantha Manilal Wickramatunge was a prominent Sri Lankan journalist and former editor-in-chief of the The Sunday Leader. Wickramatunge was assassinated on 8 January, 2009, while driving to work in Dehiwela, just outside Colombo. His killing has been widely condemned by the media and viewed as an assault against press freedom. The government is being held responsible for the killing as it has failed to stop attacks against media personnel. His murder is the latest in a series of murders of journalists in Sri Lanka.

(Disclaimer* The views expressed in this article are solely that of the late Mr Wickramatunge and not mine or the organisation I work for. I empathise with what he says and this post is in memory of him)

One of his last essays read:

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honor to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be The Sunday Leader’s 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

Why then do we do it? I often wonder that. After all, I too am a husband, and the father of three wonderful children. I too have responsibilities and obligations that transcend my profession, be it the law or journalism. Is it worth the risk? Many people tell me it is not. Friends tell me to revert to the bar, and goodness knows it offers a better and safer livelihood. Others, including political leaders on both sides, have at various times sought to induce me to take to politics, going so far as to offer me ministries of my choice. Diplomats, recognizing the risk journalists face in Sri Lanka, have offered me safe passage and the right of residence in their countries. Whatever else I may have been stuck for, I have not been stuck for choice.

But there is a calling that is yet above high office, fame, lucre and security. It is the call of conscience.

The Sunday Leader has been a controversial newspaper because we say it like we see it: whether it be a spade, a thief or a murderer, we call it by that name. We do not hide behind euphemism. The investigative articles we print are supported by documentary evidence thanks to the public-spiritedness of citizens who at great risk to themselves pass on this material to us. We have exposed scandal after scandal, and never once in these 15 years has anyone proved us wrong or successfully prosecuted us.

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

Every newspaper has its angle, and we do not hide the fact that we have ours. Our commitment is to see Sri Lanka as a transparent, secular, liberal democracy. Think about those words, for they each has profound meaning. Transparent because government must be openly accountable to the people and never abuse their trust. Secular because in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as ours, secularism offers the only common ground by which we might all be united. Liberal because we recognize that all human beings are created different, and we need to accept others for what they are and not what we would like them to be. And democratic… well, if you need me to explain why that is important, you’d best stop buying this paper.

The Sunday Leader has never sought safety by unquestioningly articulating the majority view. Let’s face it, that is the way to sell newspapers. On the contrary, as our opinion pieces over the years amply demonstrate, we often voice ideas that many people find distasteful. For example, we have consistently espoused the view that while separatist terrorism must be eradicated, it is more important to address the root causes of terrorism, and urged government to view Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife in the context of history and not through the telescope of terrorism. We have also agitated against state terrorism in the so-called war against terror, and made no secret of our horror that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens. For these views we have been labeled traitors, and if this be treachery, we wear that label proudly.

Many people suspect that The Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that – pray excuse cricketing argot – there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the UNP was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred. Indeed, the steady stream of embarrassing exposes we published may well have served to precipitate the downfall of that government.

Neither should our distaste for the war be interpreted to mean that we support the Tigers. The LTTE are among the most ruthless and bloodthirsty organizations ever to have infested the planet. There is no gainsaying that it must be eradicated. But to do so by violating the rights of Tamil citizens, bombing and shooting them mercilessly, is not only wrong but shames the Sinhalese, whose claim to be custodians of the dhamma is forever called into question by this savagery, much of which is unknown to the public because of censorship.

What is more, a military occupation of the country’s north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering “development” and “reconstruction” on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen – and all of the government – cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government’s sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

The irony in this is that, unknown to most of the public, Mahinda and I have been friends for more than a quarter century. Indeed, I suspect that I am one of the few people remaining who routinely addresses him by his first name and uses the familiar Sinhala address oya when talking to him. Although I do not attend the meetings he periodically holds for newspaper editors, hardly a month passes when we do not meet, privately or with a few close friends present, late at night at President’s House. There we swap yarns, discuss politics and joke about the good old days. A few remarks to him would therefore be in order here.

Mahinda, when you finally fought your way to the SLFP presidential nomination in 2005, nowhere were you welcomed more warmly than in this column. Indeed, we broke with a decade of tradition by referring to you throughout by your first name. So well known were your commitments to human rights and liberal values that we ushered you in like a breath of fresh air. Then, through an act of folly, you got yourself involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal. It was after a lot of soul-searching that we broke the story, at the same time urging you to return the money. By the time you did so several weeks later, a great blow had been struck to your reputation. It is one you are still trying to live down.

You have told me yourself that you were not greedy for the presidency. You did not have to hanker after it: it fell into your lap. You have told me that your sons are your greatest joy, and that you love spending time with them, leaving your brothers to operate the machinery of state. Now, it is clear to all who will see that that machinery has operated so well that my sons and daughter do not themselves have a father.

In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death, but dare not call his name. Not just my life, but yours too, depends on it.

Sadly, for all the dreams you had for our country in your younger days, in just three years you have reduced it to rubble. In the name of patriotism you have trampled on human rights, nurtured unbridled corruption and squandered public money like no other President before you. Indeed, your conduct has been like a small child suddenly let loose in a toyshop. That analogy is perhaps inapt because no child could have caused so much blood to be spilled on this land as you have, or trampled on the rights of its citizens as you do. Although you are now so drunk with power that you cannot see it, you will come to regret your sons having so rich an inheritance of blood. It can only bring tragedy. As for me, it is with a clear conscience that I go to meet my Maker. I wish, when your time finally comes, you could do the same. I wish.

As for me, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I walked tall and bowed to no man. And I have not travelled this journey alone. Fellow journalists in other branches of the media walked with me: most of them are now dead, imprisoned without trial or exiled in far-off lands. Others walk in the shadow of death that your Presidency has cast on the freedoms for which you once fought so hard. You will never be allowed to forget that my death took place under your watch. As anguished as I know you will be, I also know that you will have no choice but to protect my killers: you will see to it that the guilty one is never convicted. You have no choice. I feel sorry for you, and Shiranthi will have a long time to spend on her knees when next she goes for Confession for it is not just her owns sins which she must confess, but those of her extended family that keeps you in office.

As for the readers of The Sunday Leader, what can I say but Thank You for supporting our mission. We have espoused unpopular causes, stood up for those too feeble to stand up for themselves, locked horns with the high and mighty so swollen with power that they have forgotten their roots, exposed corruption and the waste of your hard-earned tax rupees, and made sure that whatever the propaganda of the day, you were allowed to hear a contrary view. For this I – and my family – have now paid the price that I have long known I will one day have to pay. I am – and have always been – ready for that. I have done nothing to prevent this outcome: no security, no precautions. I want my murderer to know that I am not a coward like he is, hiding behind human shields while condemning thousands of innocents to death. What am I among so many? It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when.

That The Sunday Leader will continue fighting the good fight, too, is written. For I did not fight this fight alone. Many more of us have to be – and will be – killed before The Leader is laid to rest. I hope my assassination will be seen not as a defeat of freedom but an inspiration for those who survive to step up their efforts. Indeed, I hope that it will help galvanise forces that will usher in a new era of human liberty in our beloved motherland. I also hope it will open the eyes of your President to the fact that however many are slaughtered in the name of patriotism, the human spirit will endure and flourish. Not all the Rajapakses combined can kill that.

People often ask me why I take such risks and tell me it is a matter of time before I am bumped off. Of course I know that: it is inevitable. But if we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they be ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted. An example that has inspired me throughout my career in journalism has been that of the German theologian, Martin Niemoller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany, however, he saw Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to extirpate, it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view. Niemoller spoke out, and for his trouble was incarcerated in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem0ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read it in my teenage years, stuck hauntingly in my mind:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled. Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

Read Full Post »

women_pub
Around 40 goons of the ‘Sri Ram Sene’ entered a pub, assaulted people there, dragged women by the hair, molesting them and lifting up their blouses and skirts.

They claimed to be righteous defenders of ‘Indian morality,’ incensed by ‘women boozing’ and ‘pub culture.’ Since these scenes came to people’s notice through national TV, there was widespread outrage, and after a delay of many days, finally, some of the perpetrators were arrested.

The Chief of the Sri Ram Sene PV Muthalik, is yet to be booked for masterminding this assault – though he has been taken into custody on some other charges. The ruling BJP and even the Sangh Parivar (RSS) has tried to distance itself from the Sri Ram Sene. Today, there are many attempts to turn the story upside down. The perpetrators are being painted as ‘rescuers.’

The targets of the assault – the women – are being projected as the villains.

Their crime?

They were spreading ‘pub culture,’ says CM Yeddyurappa, and ‘pub culture’, ‘boozing’ etc are ‘against Indian culture.’ The Chief Minister is echoing the words of Muthalik, the leader of the outfit that attacked women. The ‘seer’ of the Udupi Pejawar math has also tacitly encouraged the attack, saying that if women provoke religious sensitivities by visiting pubs, it is natural for “everybody to protest.”

The State Women’s Commission, instead of being concerned over women’s rights, has recommended that the pub be closed! Even more shockingly, Nirmala Venkatesh, a representative of the National Women’s Commission, has not only recommended closure of the pub; she has said that the Sri Ram Sena member she met in jail said they were ‘provoked’ by women ‘dancing semi nude’ – and women, in order to ‘protect themselves’ ought not to wear such clothes! The Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss from the UPA Central Government, the AP CM YSR Reddy and the Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, both from the Congress, have all spoken against ‘pub culture’.

women_sorrowIs pub culture the real issue?

Is the pub incident a sudden one that happened because innocent men were ‘provoked’ by ‘semi nude dancing’ and ‘boozing’? Have saffron Sangh Parivar outfits never attacked women before? Let us recollect some facts about events in Karnataka:

On December 12, 2008, a college bus, on an official trip from Mangalore to Mysore, was stoned by the Bajrang Dal, an outfit of the sangh Parivar, a sister organization of the BJP that rules the state. Several students were injured. The Bajrang Dal defended the attack, saying that allowing Hindu girls to travel with fellow students, especially boys, who were Muslim or Christian, was ‘against Indian culture’. (See The Hindu, Dec 12, 2008)

Between July and September 2008, there were at least ten incidents recorded with the district police – of attacks on young people in Dakshina Kannada district. The Bajrang Dal claimed responsibility for seven of these incidents – which included assaults on a young woman who visited a friend (another young woman) from another community; on a group of friends including a Hindu girl with her Hindu and Muslim male friends at a hotel in Mangalore; a similar group of young friends who were “laughing and talking loudly in a public place”; a young woman with her Muslim fiancé travelling in a bus; a young Hindu man who brought medicines for his Muslim friend who had been suffering from malaria; Muslim school boys carrying school bags of their classmates who were Hindu girls etc… According to the Bajrang Dal, socializing between communities was an “immoral act.” The Bajrang Dal head of Dakshina Kannada district, Sudarshan Moodabidri, said “Sometimes it becomes necessary to use force. Fear of such action should deter such misadventures. Girls reform themselves once they are thrashed and humiliated in public, but boys are tougher to control.” (See The Hindu, Sep 07, 2008)

So, months before the pub attack, a prominent Sangh Parivar leader of Karnataka was openly defending his outfit’s actions of ‘thrashing and humiliating (women) in public.’

Mr. Yeddyurappa:

Why were Moodabidri and his goons not arrested?

When women are ‘thrashed and humiliated’ in pubs, you say you will close down pubs. When girls are thrashed in schools and colleges, it seems you will ban education for women?!

The same Sangh Parivar in BJP-ruled Gujarat raped and massacred thousands of Muslims in 2002. Babu Bajrangi, a Bajrang Dal leader of Gujarat, boasts that he has ‘rescued’ (abducted) 1000 Hindu women who had married Muslim men, persuading them – no doubt through ‘thrashing and humiliation’ – to disown their inter-community marriages. Now, the same forces, with help from an obliging BJP government, are trying to turn Karnataka into Gujarat. Can we afford to allow them?

It is a real shame that, instead of sharply challenging the communal fascist and anti-woman agenda of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP-ruled states, Congress leaders, as well as the UPA Government, and its institutions like the NCW, are busy blaming ‘pub culture’ and women’s choice of dress and lifestyle. Shame on NCW member Nirmala Venkatesh for echoing the patriarchal commandment that women are ‘responsible for their own safety’ – i.e, they are guilty even when they themselves are the victims of assaults!

Sanghi Terrorism

The Sene chief Muthalik has been giving speeches openly boasting of the Malegaon blasts and promising more of the same. There are also audio recordings, recovered by the Maharashtra ATS, of a retired Major boasting that the Mecca Masjid blasts too (for which innocent Muslim young men suffered brutal torture) were conducted by “one of us.” By now, it is clear that the Malegaon blasts were the tip of the iceberg. The Sanghi terrorists had a gameplan of subverting the Indian constitution and democracy and establishing a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’ In such a Hindu Rashtra, needless to say, Muslims, Christians and other minorities will face the fate they did in Gujarat and Kandhamal (Orissa). And women can visualize life in such a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by seeing the events in Karnataka for the past several months.

Indian women have won their rights and freedoms – to education, to choose partners of their choice; against child marriage; against being burnt for sati; to equality in the workplace – through hard struggle: a struggle they have to fight daily. We will not surrender these rights to the diktats of the Sanghi terrorists, the saffron Taliban! Let us raise our voice loud and clear against the BJP regime in Karnataka and all other self-appointed custodians of ‘morality.’ Let us say – the only morality we uphold is one which respects women’s unfettered freedom, and rights to decide their own education, jobs, sexual preferences and partners, and lifestyle; on which abhors any attempts to poison the relationships between communities.

– Rati Rao, President, AIPWA, Karnataka

Read Full Post »

soft_toys1-copy1

(I felt good when I made this poster myself with Adobe Photoshop)

My favourite blogger Jenny B Harris from Allsorts says:

************

When congress passed the CPSIA (the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Act) in August 2008, they were intending to protect companies from selling harmful products. All products intended for children under 12 years old must go through thorough and stringent testing. The CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children’s products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

Most people know someone who will be affected because most people know people who have children, will buy something for a child within their lifetime, or have children themselves. Most small businesses and crafters who sell children’s products care about this. They will be put out of business by this law due to the prohibitive testing costs. Their products might be safe, but they can’t afford to “prove” it. Many parents care about this, their choices for their children could be significantly limited if the mid-size, small, and micro manufacturers all go out of business due to this.

Who should be concerned?

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren’t originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children’s books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there’s always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:

Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it’s passed testing. It won’t even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:

Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can’t sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can’t even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children’s items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:

Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you’ll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you’d better start buying now because it’s all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren’t certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html

To the American Economy:

Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Global Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

Click here for a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law.

What can I do to help?

So many Indian traders would be affected as there are n number of them selling soft toys in the US. Well, being in India we couldn’t do anything about the Patriots Act either, but I’m sure all of us gave a standing ovation to Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11. As far this issue is concerned you can register your support online for the small trader and start buying from Etsy or your local stores, instead of patronising the big ones.

*********************
handmade
Support Handmade – by rachel chitra on Polyvore.com

Read Full Post »


computer2Do you remember that a few posts ago, I had protested against a Christian Wife Disciplining (Domestic abuse) book on Amazon.

I had said that I was shocked to check this link posted at TW. The stories written by Leah Kelly are truly sickening! Any idea on how to petition Amazon to stop selling such books?

Today, I check out Amazon to read the reviews on Kite Runner and I find that books of grown men spanking women appears as search history. And Amazon heads off that section with “You might like this…..”

Ugh! First thing I am annoyed that Amazon should record my search history and secondly the header is “You might like this….” Nauseating!

I am really not for these hidden cookies that are there on every site, which record your history. Its supposed to make your online experience better, but somehow all this electronic-spying freaks me.

On Facebook again, there might be walls. But I am not sure that I want all the 80 people on my friend’s list to read what I have been doing, who I have been chatting with and what latest games I played. Facebook, Orkut and Myspace collect and store personal information to increase the “user’s experience.” But then what is not often mentioned is that they are ok with sharing this information to google, other websites and SMS services.

Why should my age, occupation, gender and the fact that I like Asterix & Obelix, be made available for the general edification of the public at large? When asked, Facebook has stated that it wants to provide a “more personalized service that will increase our enjoyment.”

And what happens if Facebook or Orkut are taken over by another company? Well there is a transfer of all the information owned by these organizations to the new owner.

And again people do all kinds of stupid things on Orkut. They give their cellphone numbers; they give their home addresses; they even fix up dates via their scrapbook. If you made a fool of yourself when you were 14, would you like Facebook or Orkut, carefully storing that information so that they could “maximize your enjoyment” even after you were 21?

Google privacy policy forms part of signing up on YouTube. So if you have signed into your account, you will have YouTube happily storing away everything about you.

Let me see, what was the last video I saw on YouTube…….. it was this horrid video of T Rajender spouting his usual nonsense and insulting a fellow-member of the press.

So, will YouTube now take this as proof that I am a big fan of T Rajender?

I have never used Yahoo’s services. But reading their privacy terms didn’t really tempt me to sign up. They say, ‘Once you register with Yahoo! and sign in to our services, you are not anonymous to us.’

What is this whole ‘user experience’ that they use as justification? Well, its basically hidden cookies that track every website we visit and every product we see, so that they can jam our inbox with spam.

And then there are your friends. Some of my friends have no problem downing drinks in front of the cameras. Though a teetotaler, there have been many parties I have attended where the drinks were freely flowing. Now, I find that some of these pictures have been uploaded onto my friends’ social networking sites. I find that irritating to say the least! Even if you are very private and not given into sharing personal information on the net, you will find that you are on someone or something’s database.

And so far I am just talking about image-consiousness. What about more serious threats like that of sexual predators?computer13

I am also not for large corporations or government bodies (in particular the US) having access to my entire Internet history. What if a guy had been through sex abuse as a kid and hence reads up a lot on that subject. If he mails his CV to Amazon, what if they decide to look up his search history? They will no doubt dub him a “weirdo” or think he has bad taste and dump his resume.

One must never forget the moral behind the Quechup expose. This social networking site used the email addresses on its database for a spamming operation.

Basically this means “Invasion of Privacy.” And I am dead against it!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »