Who is a hero?

As a continuation of an earlier debate yesterday, I still have the question fresh. Who is a hero? Do we have one? What are the criteria for choosing a hero? How does one distinguish between a leader, a hero, an icon, a legend? Is it possible to make the divisions? Is it desirable?

Are heroes needed in the society? If so, why, at all? Do they fill in the same void for folks as religions do in one way (religions enslave feeble people who can’t articulate for themselves, even to distinguish on their own what is contextually correct and what is not)?

Or are heroes actually needed so that people have something good to look back to? We have had worst phases of our inhuman legacies, of causing war and depression, of deliberate perpetuations of exploitative saga and firm refusal to replace existing systems.
At least we had some heroes also to look back at (you want to talk of Bhagat Singh and Malcolm X…. Netajee Subhas and Patrice Lumumba).

Well not anymore. First there was systematic suppression of heroic feats (like they banned Paul Robeson and Mohammad Ali). Next, there was systematic and legalized infiltration of anti-heroic commodifications (like the Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all the obvious honors including the bob dylans of the times getting the tastes of market). Then there were mortification of heroes where people were made into legends (suddenly the atheist Buddha was made into a God, and Gandhi was a huge statue and a story to be challenged every now and then for anyone who wanted to sound different). Of course lastly there came a time when all these sounded dated and came a new genre of heroes—the television celebrities.

British accused Americans of their obsession with popular vulgar culture of paris hiltons. Americans accused the Brits of their obsession with elite vulgar cultures of a dormant prince-lover cuckoo love in royal kingdoms. As they all fought with each other, they discovered the common minimum factor: the hero-worshipping driven by media zeal. And yes Paris and Prince Charles continue to be the heroes.

And at most times too, teenage girls aspire to become the heroes even if it means they have to become desperate housewives. For apparently the desperate housewives every Sunday night are about heroes too.

Pathetic culmination of human civilizations.

And if this is civilization, I demand barbarism now!


As the Asian Heritage Month passes away

On campus at UMD, we had few events, of course. We even had Vijay Prasad over to give one of the most interesting talks I have heard of. He would agree too that the observation of the Asian Heritage Month was also one of the ways to normalize the potential dissent.

Well, one of the pitfalls of the multiculturalism is of course that it makes things appear so subtle that it would then look like cultures were made to live by side of each other by default. Subsequently any war and peace are byproducts of a complicated web of interactions.

In essence, the ways of living is clearly left for the people to determine. Culture never belonged to the government anyway. And millions of democracy lovers would want the Government to stay away from controlling culture. So, easy game, baby. Dominant will prevail.

For the rest, we shall observe a month for them. Rest 11 months, the tech-slave Asians live within free American society.

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Who is afraid of a human rights watcher?

Check this one out.

Peter Bouckaert was in hell recently. At least that’s what he said. He was in Nepal.

The violence continues between the Maoists and the ruling class military pets, and most people who have better things to do by dying than to take a side in this case, have fallen prey. This is a sure case for Human Rights Watch. And no wonder they have someone now who is world famous activist. With a Canon camera on hand and interviewers around and mainstream press going agog, we got Bouckaert as the celebrity now.

Rolling Stone, that inimitable magazine of the music lefties, has this week featured Bouckart’s hell journey.

What however is missed from the discussion is that despite the knowledge of active American military support, nothing much is being done to STOP the nonsense.

Making a celebrity out of a genuinely interested globe-trotter and writing stories of the Western discoveries of the shocking third world massacres is easier. What is difficult however, is an insightful understanding of the historical reasons behind the ideology formation of hatred in the Third World. This for the uninitiated, means the roles that the dominant countries of the West have played in colonizing and oppressing the peoples’ spirits and at the same time either directly ruled or aided the military of the installed clown rulers of the lands.
This needs to be followed up with all active steps needed to STOP the genocides by an international body of nations, which needs to be respected in real terms. Not a helpless body of the UN whose general secretary cribs because he is not heard enough. This international body needs to go and bloody well stop the massacres. The tragic deaths of millions of innocent lives is not a matter of celebrity photographer becoming a legend. It’s a call for collective action.

Why does the West pretend that it does not know of the atrocities worldwide? Does the elite group of rulers need a photographer always to report to them and let them exclaim in awe at the courage of the camera?

That simply defies logic. Because all of us knew of Nepal long before RS published the story. Did we just need pictures taken by a white camera?

And what is to be done now? Award ceremonies and self-congratulations, I am sure.

Bouckaert says,

“Whenever I leave a place, it is always difficult to say goodbye. I do not want to tell people, I hope to see you soon, because that means that they will still be in trouble the next time that I come.”

It’s time, for the world community of rulers to realize that maintaining lives on the planet is not the task of the freewheeling scribes, its the responsibility of the defense departments of the respective countries which regulate arms control rules.

What price tag does silence carry?

“Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience…therefore [individual citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950

Time for folks to organize and act according to the call of conscience, not out of fear or fervor.

As we emerge more and more as police states, with police actually solving all the crimes in the country as shown on the Law and Order, the reliance has just grown stronger, and in a frightening way, justifiable.

Apart from ceremonious protests of a dozen of students holding placards showing never changing figure of 900 American troop deaths, there is not much of an organized action.

Of course the larger events (and girl, they really are many) are often not reported in the press and hence if I write as a blogger about them it will sound incredible. At the same time, if the realization is that the media cause near absence of awareness, why do we take the media for granted anyway?

Resisting war needs to be peaceful of course, but very pressing as well. And when one presses well for a cause, the domestic laws which proclaim serenity may get shaken up. The governmental forces may get alarmed, the people for a worthy cause may end up in unworthy cells.

But one wonders if we act on the contrary, are we not by spirit merely repeating the stoic silences of the erstwhile Germans?