Two Terrorists

(On their untimely deaths. One died too late and one, too early) 


You were right about the god

He took care of his subjects

Rewarded those to Him closer

Punished any whom to Him objects

Must be sins driving them to deaths

Who dared appeal for divine justice

Fateful nights of communal clashes

Died those lesser Hindus, Muslims 

You, much loved,  lived on, lives on

Immortalized by  Lata and Bachhan

Honored with Tricolor, your body

Even in death, rules over the  nation



Now that you are gone

We can breathe again

Lose in the dance of joy

Seek ourselves in your death

The unfinished business 

Of ending terrorism 

Find itself done 

Now that you are gone


– Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet


Jab Tak Hai Jaan :: A tribute to Yash Chopra

By Saswat Pattanayak

Yash Chopra’s last, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is by far his greatest creation. In many ways, it is one of the grandest experiments in the history of Hindi cinema. However, the aspects that are revolutionary about this movie have not really been deliberated upon by the critics so far.

For one, Jab Tak Hai Jaan addresses ageism and sexism that affect a large section of Indian audience. Piyasree Dasgupta for FirstPost writes, “a self proclaimed 25-year-old, who looks 40, gets to kiss a girl who seems to have walked out of Vogue….(the girl) despite all her Mercedes and Gucci glory, can’t keep her hands off a waiter who has an annoying habit of speaking like he is perpetually in an art of living class.”

The patriarchy subsuming the likes of Dasgupta cannot make room for anyone subpar in their look books. Therefore, not only is a 40-year old not acceptable – let alone attractive or not (which again are extremely subjective adages) – enough simply because he “looks” a certain age, he is not allowed to kiss a girl who again “looks” like a fashion model. Not just a good-looking woman, but one who looks like a Vogue cover. Objectification of women (and, men) does not end here. The man is also derided for being a waiter with an unpolished accent. Clearly working class folks must not aspire for wealthy “beauties”, concludes Dasgupta. Classism has become classy in such reviews.

Except, there is a problem here. Yash Chopra has addressed issues of class society in almost all his movies. Too often the highbrow critics have pronounced Chopra movies to be silly tales of romantic love, and our competitive academic standards coupled with parental strictures have made our educated audience to believe in the notion that there is nothing revolutionary about love as a construct. Love therefore gets relegated to the stature of an Indian myth, connected vaguely with the days of yore. Young folks who would otherwise fall in love have started singing the tunes of “friendship” to appear cool, a live-in to refrain from commitments, and aspire for individual career growths while leaving behind their mutual feelings as “impractical”. Yash Chopra did not fail to depict Anushka Sharma embodying this position. But he took this narrative one step further – he suggested that the old recipe still works today. And that, it should.

To bring home that point, Chopra added a Rishi Kapoor-Nitu Singh pair to the plot. He even broke any stereotypes about the “old” marriage-forever love. Nitu Singh is portrayed as a married woman with a child who preferred to run away with her lover leaving behind her husband and daughter. Not because she was abused in her relationship; in fact she was well taken care of. Hence, under ordinary circumstances, Anupam Kher, the deceived husband would have earned all the sympathy for being the sufferer and for being the father who single-handedly raises a daughter. But no, Chopra makes Kher look like a capitalist crap who did not deserve either the wife or the daughter. So much so that Katrina Kaif, the daughter, ends up learning the lessons of love from the very man who had separated her from her mother. Intriguing, yes. But progressive, very much. This point is clearly lost to most critics, including Anupama Chopra (who writes an otherwise favorable review in the Hindustan Times) when she says, “You don’t go to a Yash Chopra movie to delve into realism or the messiness of relationships. You go to partake in a fantasy of swooning, idealised love – and Jab Tak Hai Jaan delivers plenty of that.”

Yash Chopra movies are brilliant realisms and his love stories are necessarily messy. As a matter of fact, love and realism are not contrasts, they are intertwined. As Che Guevara used to say, “the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love.” What Yash Chopra has consistently done through his movies is project love and its variously complicated manifestations (the realisms, so to say). Chopra started his career as a director with the brilliant Dhool Ka Phool, whose Sahir Ludhianvi (who worked with Chopra for all his movies until the poet passed away) number “Tu Hindu Banega Na Mussalman Banega” still holds torch for the only hope in an increasingly divisive India. Dhool Ka Phool was a love story with all the characteristic messiness Yash Chopra went on to embrace in all his movies. A scenario where a woman abandons her own child simply because she had got carried away with her partner, broke several taboos in a society where motherhood is considered a virtue by all means. And yet, Chopra never made this woman a villain, and he even made an example of a Muslim man who brings up this abandoned child with humanist values – a child who subsequently is accepted by the society. One may argue it is all too idealistic, but Chopra made this convincingly real and urged upon the audience not to just reflect on what is prevalent, but also to consider what is required for a world after his vision.

Likewise if in Daag, Chopra explores issues of bigamy, in Aadmi Aur Insaan, he tackles love’s intersection with class. In Kabhie Kabhie, a daughter from a pre-marital relationship is made as acceptable as the old lovers turning friends, within a highly complicated series of love stories spanning two generations. In Trishul once again, Yash Chopra makes an “illegitimate” son the protagonist, who then takes revenge by destroying his rich father’s capitalistic setup. Kaala Patthar, another outstanding cinematic treatment of social justice, engages love stories within a framework of socialist realism bringing the miners to progressive prominence. Equally compelling is Mashaal, where the decent protagonist turns to arms with no other purpose than exposing the misdeeds of the socially venerated. In Faasle – although considered his cinematic worst – Chopra throws positive light on secret relationship over marriage despite the inherent challenges. Chandni treats disability as a social location and how oppressed it is when it comes to juxtaposed love. Lamhe was revolutionary in its examination of age and stereotypes, where it is not considered in Yash Chopra’s vision any unnatural if the younger men love older women or younger women fall for older men. Darr brilliantly humanizes an otherwise villain as an ardent, misunderstood and irreconcilable lover. Dil To Pagal Hai, Veer-Zaara and Silsile are in their own unique ways romantic masterpieces but have at the same time challenged existing conventions of friendships, patriotism and, loyalty respectively.

To dismiss Chopra as someone who does not complicate relationships in his movies is as blatantly fabricated a charge as there can be. And apart from the complicated love story, what Jab Tak Hai Jaan provides for is even more radical, which unfortunately has escaped the critics so far.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan profoundly challenges the divine belief systems that usually dominate Bollywood. Rituparna Chatterjee for IBN Live says the movie could have a different ending. The “ending falls flat” because the audience were waiting for a tragic twist instead of a happy ending. Well, the ending was a deliberate mischief on part of Yash Chopra but its foundation was laid from the very beginning. Throughout the movie, Katrina Kaif makes promises to Lord Jesus and is rewarded for her religiosity. Shah Rukh Khan, her vagabond lover is a self-proclaimed non-believer and even challenges “Sir Jesus” (a sarcasm) that he will win in the end. Unlike all the movies in the past that have taken up such a topic where the god is challenged, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the god eventually loses. Jesus would have won, had Shah Rukh died while diffusing the last bomb because Katrina had broken all her divine promises. Chopra deliberately had this unpalatable but a necessary ending where a man openly and unrepentantly challenges the divine plan, and prevails.

Yash Chopra forces us to rethink the concepts of the vagabond, reminiscent of Raj Kapoor’s experiments with Aawara (which in turn was influenced by Charles Chaplin’s). But he takes up this unenviable task in an era of corporate aspirations where programmatic mindsets and technical expertise and systematized greed rule the day. And he again deliberately poses a struggling Pakistani as a friend-in-need, something which has not gone down really well with the critics. Rituparna wonders how a “struggling Pakistani, who could not hold down a job long enough to save some money to send back home, makes it big as the manager of a posh eatery in London in 10 years’ time with the help of a fist full of bank notes”. Well, guess what, there are numerous rags-to-riches stories in the world, and this one did not even begin with rags.

What is worse, Azzan Javaid for the “Parallel Post” goes one step further to describe this character as “a fat and good for nothing Pakistani who lives on the money of his good Indian friend”. So not only is this person now “fat” (which is to say, he/she does not fit into the fascist standards of acceptance), but the fact that he is unemployable or at the moment unemployed, makes him a “good for nothing”, and make no mistake, here comes another slur – Pakistani (who lives on the money of his Indian friend). And our elitist reviewer Piyasree Dasgupta for First Post fails to digest this phenomenon and caricatures working class heroes as “freeloading floozies to Michelin-starred restaurant owners”. To begin with, “floozies” is an utterly sexist remark and “freeloading”? What are we now, Mitt Romney? Not to mention Dasgupta’s disdain for “taller women with hotter legs” as the Firstpost review describes the women in the movie.

That said, I certainly have utmost respect for Javaid’s arguments regarding Kashmir – although in Chopra’s defense, the vagabond was playing his tunes from Ladakh to London and that is what vagabonds are about, leading therefore to a movie that did not certainly critique contemporary Kashmir crisis. And this movie while humanizes military uniform, it does not glorify war or stigmatize another nation as an enemy – which many otherwise acclaimed movies have done in the past even without displaying the uniforms. Coming back to the Pakistani friend, what Dasgupta and Javaid ignore is what Chopra deliberately planted there – that friendships are unconditional relationships; at times overcoming national boundaries or wealth – a constant theme with Yash Chopra movies, a direct takeaway, if one may, from his elder brother B R Chopra’s works.

Some critics also have pointed out their disappointment at the fact that a vagabond street musician ended up becoming an Indian Army officer. This sentiment of disapproval is a variant of the elitist mindsets pervading the youth today who also wonder how a lower caste child of a cobbler can imagine of becoming a doctor. Well, guess what, such highly annoying visions have remained historically core to Yash Chopra movies. Utopian, for sure, but welcome? Very much.

So not only someone who “looks like he is 40” can actually kiss a Vogue magazine cover stunner, he can also help his Lahori friend (by the way, Yash Chopra hailed from Lahore, and that explains that) to become a hotelier, and that fat Pakistani then remains a friend forever, and the mom who had run away from home becomes the idol for the daughter and the reporter who believes in instant love and the god who demands obedience both end up losing in a film that is a Yash Chopra classic, and going to remain his masterpiece because of sheer radicalism and for painting love in revolutionary red.

– Saswat Pattanayak, 2012.

Referenced/critiqued reviews –

The First Post
IBN Live
The Hindustan Times
The Parallel Post
Indian Express

Obama is winning his War on Women Candidates

Democrats are desperately seeking more women to come out and vote today, preposition being Obama is the natural choice for women in this country and with more women voting, more is the likelihood of him getting reelected. To draw home that point further, the Democrats under Obama have devised a phrase “War on Women” to discredit their assumed rivals. And liberal women are all lining up to vote their Messiah who has emerged as the White Knight, rescuing distressed damsels of Sandra Fluke variety who subsumed under propaganda of the liberals are uncritically and unconditionally making uninformed choices while reelecting their male boss from the White House.

“War on Women” is a phrase only the Democrats could have come up with, considering they have been waging wars against women for decades. And in recent times, they have been battling women at the electoral polls. And yet a sizable section of liberal feminists continues to identify with their oppressors rather than with their comrades.

Obama/Romney vs Lindsay/Stein:
Comrade Peta Lindsay is the latest victim of Obama Patriarchy. Ms Lindsay, a Marxist-Leninist is challenging the President on the Party for Socialism and Liberation ticket. She being not only a committed communist, but also a progressive black feminist, is posing a genuine threat to Obama and his Fluke brands of activisms. Her party indeed provides absolute alternatives to the electoral monopolists today chaired by President Obama and his Democrat/Republican colleagues, especially outlining progressive visions for working women and men of this country that destroys the make-believe world of Obama/Romney camp that is presented to the American public.

Comrade Lindsay has a ten-point program that are as follows – 1) Make job a Constitutional right, 2) Make free health care, free education and affordable housing Constitutional rights, 3) Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home, 4) Stop racist police brutality and mass incarceration, 5) Defend our unions, 6) Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand, 7) Full rights for all immigrants, 8) Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, 9) Save the planet—End capitalism, 10) Seize the banks—Jail Wall Street criminals.

Unlike Obama and his gang of hypocrites, Ms Lindsay actually demands free healthcare and demands employment as a constitutional right. Exposing the hypocrisy of the Romney/Obama group voicing their concerns for working women, Ms Lindsay says, “The two (dominant) candidates will present their wives to speak to for a ‘women’s perspective,’ but their presentation will be based largely on a bourgeois perspective. Ann Romney, who is the daughter of a factory owner and has hundreds of millions of dollars. She recently made the point that she ‘made the choice’ to be a stay-at-home mom, but for most Black women, no such choices are available. Michelle Obama may come from the working class, but the Obamas are millionaires and have been solidly in the upper class for decades. I want to speak to the experiences of poor and working-class Black women.”

Precisely because she wanted to address the poor and working class Black women – just like Cynthia McKinney wanted to do last election before Barack Obama gathered supports from Goldman Sachs and his friends at the Wall Street to shatter Ms McKinney’s political career as a Presidential aspirant – Ms Lindsay has this time faced stark opposition from President Obama to the extent that the Democrats worked with the Republicans to make sure that the rules concerning the much-publicized Presidential Debates that shape and inform the opinions of voters in the United States are manipulated to the extent of censoring and forbidding candidates like Ms Lindsay from addressing the working class of this country.

Who owns the Presidential Debates?
Amy Goodman interview with George Farah reveals how the Obama regime secretly negotiated contracts with Candy Crowley of CNN to specifically omit any question that mentions alternatives to him and Romney. Although the Committee on Presidential Debates is constituted to entertain divergent visions and to present to people the presidential candidates with alternative views, during Obama’s tenure, it was decided to censor the two radical alternatives to Obama/Romney aspirations – both challengers happened be two women Presidential candidates – Peta Lindsay and Jill Stein.

Of course the only people dangerous to patriarchy, and in effect to capitalism, are radical women. Last election, it was a black woman of tremendous strength and courage who was victimized by racist attacks in the Congress – Cynthia McKinney – who decided to quit the Democrats and contested on the Green Party ticket to pose a serious threat to Barack Obama. And this election, it is Peta Lindsay who has been so censored by liberal media that she remains virtually unknown to huge majority of voters in the country. Not a moment goes by without liberal media touting their love for women, and yet soaked in unfathomable hypocrisy, they vociferously silence the alternative voices aired by progressive women candidates.

Instead, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney – all three women whose political worth are measured by their undying love for their erring husbands are today symbolizing feminism for most educated women across the country, thanks to the manner in which Obama/Romney president ticket has manipulated media, through outright lies, enormous capital and direct control of the processes of debates and dissent.

Anti-Feminism: How Democrats Killed Equal Rights Amendment
Democrats with help of their dominant media forums comprising such corporate bigwigs as CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, have been miseducating young women voters of this country with atrocious lies about their past involvements with women’s rights movements. The truth is Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which was introduced in the Congress back in 1923 and comprised sections that would have outlawed any unequal treatment of women on account of sex, constantly faced challenges along the path to its realization by the Democrats alone.

ERA, drafted by feminist and suffragist leader Alice Paul, had recognized that right to vote for women meant little if women continued to be discriminated against through other social means. Paul’s National Woman’s Party advocated for ERA to be introduced in the Congress, which materialized with the help of radical feminist Susan B Anthony’s nephew Daniel R Anthony, a republican member. It would take three more decades before President Eisenhower – another Republican – would ask a joint session of Congress in 1958 to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. He would become the first president to openly express support for a law that was to ensure that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Democrats specifically refused to support ERA during Eisenhower’s time. Noticing the growing discontent among progressive feminists, John F Kennedy saw it as opportunity to cash in on women as a vote bank and promised them that he would support ERA and ensure its passage. But soon after gaining power, Kennedy played hide and seek with ERA demands and his core officials started opposing Equal Rights Amendment in public. Embarrassed by the fallouts, Kennedy offered a compromise – a “President’s Commission on the Status of Women”. This was nothing but a mockery of women’s rights movement for it tried to investigate whether or not there actually was any trend of discrimination against women, conveniently ignoring the positions forwarded by feminists that indicated discriminations indeed were the order of the day. PCSW of course was nothing but an organized committee to merely enlist women against communism in Kennedy’s favorite pastime called the Cold War. Like his predecessor Democrat President Truman who allowed McCarthy to list the men who the government wanted to target (a scoundrel who was silenced only by Eisenhower through his executive privileges), Kennedy created a committee to recruit women to do what McCarthy had left midway.

The only saving grace in PCSW was Eleanor Roosevelt, who had earlier opposed ERA under heavy pressure from the Democrats, but later on regretted her mistakes and finally lent support to ERA. But even her support to ERA did not convince Kennedy to work towards passing ERA into law. Instead he initiated another compromise by the name of Equal Pay Act of 1963 which remains to this date immensely lacking, and wage gap between men and women continue to be sustained. When President Obama was asked a question regarding the wage gap during the 2012 presidential debate, he refused to answer it, continuing the regressive tradition of Democrats initiated by Kennedy.

Kennedy’s compromises naturally reveled in their contradictions, leading to angry feminists forming National Organization for Women (NOW) to continue demands for Equal Rights Amendment which the Democrats had been refusing to recognize. Shirley Chisholm, the black woman representative was the only exception who exposed the hypocrisies of fellow Democrats on the floor of the congress. In her famous “Equal Rights for Women” speech Ms Chisholm attacked the Democrats for refusing to allow ERA from becoming a reality since four decades –

“I wish to introduce today a proposal that has been before every Congress for the last 40 years and that sooner or later must become part of the basic law of the land — the Equal Rights Amendment.
Let me note and try to refute two of the commonest arguments that are offered against this amendment. One is that women are already protected under the law and do not need legislation. Existing laws are not adequate to secure equal rights for women. Sufficient proof of this is the concentration of women in lower paying, menial, unrewarding jobs and their incredible scarcity in the upper level jobs. If women are already equal, why is it such an event whenever one happens to be elected to Congress?….
A second argument often heard against the Equal Rights Amendment is that it would eliminate legislation that many States and the Federal Government have enacted giving special protection to women and that it would throw the marriage and divorce laws into chaos. As for the marriage laws, they are due for a sweeping reform, and an excellent beginning would be to wipe the existing ones off the books. Regarding special protection for working women, I cannot understand why it should be needed. Women need no protection that men do not need. What we need are laws to protect working people, to guarantee them fair pay, safe working conditions, protection against sickness and layoffs, and provision for dignified, comfortable retirement. Men and women need these things equally.”

Despite Chisholm’s leadership and staunch feminism, the Democrats refused to still pay heed. Ironically, once again, it was a Republican President Richard Nixon who did what Kennedy was slyly refusing to – he became the first American President to endorse ERA’s approval. ERA – constantly opposed by the Democrats each and every Congress finally died following a deadline set for it to be ratified in 1980.

Not only that, but even Chisholm’s demand for the marriage laws to be reformed in a sweeping manner was met with Bill Clinton’s infamous Defense of Marriage Act. Once again, the Democrats were at the forefront of annihilating feminist progresses and movements by passing a law that defined marriage as a legal union between only a man and a woman. Clinton, the visionary leader of the Democrats today, swiftly declared that under the law, no US state is required to recognize same-sex marriage. This was in the classic tradition of the Democratic Party’s long lasting attack on feminist movements in this country.

Democrats as Dangerous Compromises:
Destroying ERA and introducing DOMA are not the only contributions of the Democrats. The more damaging are their “compromise” laws which they sign from time to time in order to distract the feminists from core issues and to treat women as vote banks for their power plays. Under Obama’s regime, the PCSW equivalent was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is a pure hogwash, to begin with. Although Obama team have been highlighting how women-friendly this Act is, the reality is it does not even address discrimination, let alone provide for a fraction of what ERA stood for in terms of women’s rights progresses.

What the Democrats are not saying the women is that Ledbetter Act does not enforce companies from disclosing the amount of pay they are offering to men and women at workplaces. Without this a reality, it is absurd to even claim that women will receive “fair” pay when they are not even supposed to know what a “fair” pay amount is. Similarly, using LGBTQ as a vote bank, Obama has signed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010”. Far from being a civil rights victory for the oppressed minorities, this is indeed akin to legalizing entry of black people into the armed forces of America to fight against oppressed minorities worldwide on behalf of militarist rogue regimes of the United States. Another Democrat and anticommunist Harry Truman in 1948, had ensured that black people – while they were still being treated as slaves in their home country – were going to be fighting on behalf of their masters to kill innocent people – specifically Communists – abroad. Paul Robeson, the great black revolutionary famously opposed such absurd proposition which suggested that black people should fight in Korean War. Its about time, progressive LGBTQ leaders move away from fundraising for Democrats for letting them die in unjust wars abroad while White House politicians continue to fool around with their human rights issues as electoral agendas.

If invoking executive privileges to force black people and sexual minorities into military is not a big deal for Democratic presidents, then legalizing same-sex marriage should not be a hindrance either. Indeed, ending racist police brutality would not be so difficult after years of movements demanding the end to the pig culture. Or shutting down military bases, including Guantanamo Bay would not have been so difficult either. Or providing full rights to all immigrants. Or, to ensure free healthcare. Or, to end capitalism by seizing the banks.

But, then, that would actually be progressive, radical, feminist a vision. A vision that Comrade Peta Lindsay has. And in this election, Barack Obama and his buddy Mitt Romney are out to destroy precisely that – with active collaboration of their quintessentially uncritical voters.

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2012)

Why is Hurricane Sandy a Political Issue?

President Obama and his administration have been exchanging high-fives and posing for stock images to bring home the point that Sandy’s aftermath is being dealt with successfully. Reassuring this to the rest of the world, the president then visits his campaign rallies. And after his inspiring speeches are registered the liberal media spins portray how neighbors should be helping each other, how communities should come together and how individual charities make all the difference in resolving natural disaster crisis. They paint the aftermath a victory for a president who hugs the visibly grateful citizens with a confident smile facing the camera. We are Americans, and we are always victorious, no matter what challenges we face, the stenographers parrot the administration lines in corporate newsrooms day after day while raking in advertisement money for their journalistic services. Things are under control and even the New York Marathon preparations are. And if the Marathon race doesn’t start from Staten Island, no sweating required. The next fanfare championship is getting held nationwide, come Tuesday. Don’t forget to join the celebrations. Don’t forget to vote the millionaire orators back to power.

Except that, there is a problem here. Maybe too many of them to find a place in this essay. Partly because most tragedies related to Sandy are not being covered by the media whose major source of revenue is from electoral campaign teams at this point and they cannot afford to upset their bosses. And the executive branch, let alone conveying to us effectively the tragedies is choosing to depict it as an electoral victory of showmanship for a clueless leader.

As a bystander to this ongoing crisis, waiting for the food and the milk to be stocked back in the local grocery stores here in Queens, as a jeopardized New Yorker waiting for the public transportation system to resume full service, let me attempt at painting just a slightly different picture.

The truth is there has been no aftermath to Hurricane Sandy. The storm is still very much alive and kicking the livelihoods of millions of people in this country. Being a survivor and chronicler of the killer cyclone in coastal belts of Orissa (India) exactly 13 years ago, I am acutely aware of two simple premises: devastations of a storm are not felt when its at the peak, and that the natural disasters that hit the headlines are invariably human-made trail of tragedies. They do not bring along surprise elements with them. Precisely because of such predictability of natural disasters, there are functional Met offices and salaried task force professionals who are required to address the inevitabilities all year round.

Hurricane Sandy therefore was not supposed to be a fluke nor was it supposed to render millions of people homeless and hundreds dead. Weeks of predictions and media engagements with weather maps and NASA images and boasting of American priorities were the signs of how devastating the approaching times were going to be. But what they also were indicative of was that the governmental administration and the respective agencies directly responsible for addressing the consequences were going to be better prepared, considering Sandy had claimed 61 lives in Haiti on its course. What it meant was that the United States government which is duly elected to hold offices of power to administer on behalf of its citizens was meant to be constantly prepared to face and address challenges. What it meant was that the government had access and willingness to access, all the areas affected by a natural disaster of such enormous potential. What it meant was that the politicians and those that they appoint as bureaucrats were supposed to be sensitive to the needs of the people who were going to be impacted by the storm. That, the required assistance was not just going to be promised via press meets and television channels that made no sense to the affected masses rendered hapless without electricity, but that the access to basic needs of the affected were made available to the people as they were required.

What the Obama administration has failed to act upon is everything that was desirable and possible. Five days after Sandy hit the coast, if the administration had no visual footage of how an entire borough of New York City looked like, let alone displaying a willingness to access the territory, that is a failure of the political will of an administration which has been mandated by the people to practice good, ethical and humane governance. When the media channels finally made their way to interview helpless citizens in Staten Island several days after Sandy and they found the women saying they are literally dying out of access to food and basic utilities and the President of the country is cheerfully applauding the works of his campaign team in far away political trails, that is a failure on part of the political will of an administration that was put to place to prioritize agendas based on needs of people, not greeds for reelections.

If several townships and villages still are submerged in sewage water in New Jersey, stinking to the point of turning off the anchors inside newsrooms in Atlanta, and yet the President and the governors pat each others’ backs on accomplishments and pose with wider grins to declare Obama’s bipartisanship abilities as an incumbent, it is a political tragedy of massive proportions that shamelessly cashes on distressed emotions for gleeful votes.

If the federal government can send drones to monitor Pakistani air space and fails to send helicopters to Staten Island to carry food, medicines and drinking water, and if the commercial airlines at JFK and LaGuardia are able to fly across the border while the administration cannot send essential relief items to its own citizens stuck in darkness in Rockaway, Queens, then it is crude reflection of a failed politics at Washington DC and it is time for the president to stop patting backs of his officials.

Even as the FEMA continues to be showered with praises by the president and the liberal media there are millions of people without essential amenities, access and hopes. There is no telling when the electricity will be restored, when the roads will be cleared, when the sewage water will be pumped out, when the proliferating infections will be addressed, when drinking water will be made available to millions of Americans, if at all the insurance companies will be kept aside and the government will offer assistance to people to rebuild their homes and businesses, there is no telling when medicines will reach the needy, when the toddlers will have access to milk, when the people can get food at local stores or gas at the local pumps. When long queues of vehicles parade New York City streets to wait for hours until they get access to a rare petrol pump, there is no telling when the rest of the country devastated by Sandy will be on the roads to recovery once again. When new-born infants are hand-pumped by luxury hospitals of Manhattan on their ways to evacuation, there is no telling when rest of the healthcare units will attend to the suffering patients existing in abysmal darkness in the cold winter nights.

Even a country languishing in the Third World offers its needy people with minimum compensations from the government to address emergency situations, but in the United States, the epicenter of inhuman capitalism, there is no telling when if at all, the sufferers will find any funding that are not bound by loan shark terms, just to re-envision their lives after this unfortunate and entirely mismanaged tragedy of highest proportion. There is no telling when the government if at all, will take any steps towards distributing blankets at the very least, so the millions of people shivering in devastated regions can cover themselves up and be able to at least sleep during lingering dark nights.

Hurricane Sandy is all about politics. It is more about politics than Hurricane Katrina was. This is the week of reelection for the Democratic Czar and his liberal cronies who have constantly manipulated the media headlines to suppress the truths about their wrongdoings, be it their offerings of tax breaks to the rich and the corporate bailouts for the very financial institutions that crumbled the economy, or their warmongering foreign policies that have taken thousands of innocent lives worldwide, or their incompetent domestic policies that perpetuate the jobless scene for the twenty-three million Americans in home, their refusal to admit absolute inefficiency in passing favorable laws during the first two years when they were in majority while waiting for the second half of the term to blame oppositional politics for their own failures, or their suppressing the truths about gun-control and their aiding of drug mafia in the “Fast and Furious” investigations whose truths were so dangerous for the regime that the Nobel laureate Obama had to invoke executive privilege to justify suppression of facts, not to mention their continuous torturing of the truth seekers such as Bradley Manning and those that support transparency. The Democrat Czars outrightly lied about Libya and the killing of the diplomat by citing a Youtube video as the cause behind the violence without admitting that the real causes of the massively orchestrated 9-11 protests worldwide were a result of Obama regime’s failed foreign policies of aggression that have perpetuated warfare abroad with hatred and terror funding. The American government has lied to its people about Muhammad Gaddafi and conveniently depicted him as an Islamic terrorist to gain a manufactured consent for his atrocious murder while the Obama regime was constantly funding the reactionary fanatic groups in Libya to oust the secular regime with an aim to create geopolitical imbalance in the region that would proliferate the needs for continued wars. Guantanamo Bay is still wide open and Iran is the next battleground for this regime that must win this electoral bidding once again to continue its onslaughts world over. The US administrations have historically thrived with lies and deception, most of which targeted towards their own citizens. Be it the legacies of anti-Soviet hysteria which a war hawk Kennedy made money and power off, or the epochs of Korean and Vietnam War, the US presidents have constantly lied to the American people with help from their media establishments. But what has remained a constant are the popular oppositions to the White House be it in forms of antiwar movements or anticapitalism demonstrations on the streets. What sets Barack Obama aside is the brilliant manner in which he has continued the legacies of suppressions with an ease of a successful liberal. He has perfected the skill of sabotaging peoples’ organized efforts against systemic failures and furthered it to the point where the people are silenced – with their own will. And as a result the very antiwar movements that brought Obama to power today languish in anonymity while the war-president proudly adds names to the unprecedented kill-lists and indefinite detention rolls that would make even the infamous “Patriot Act” (timely upgraded each year by Democrats) look like a highschool skit.

Occupy Wall Street movement could have perhaps sustained and even gained grounds under another administration, but the Democrats quickly seized the moment to hijack most of the dissent by depicting the White House power itself as the victim of American capitalism. The word hypocrisy lost its original meaning under Obama administration as the biggest bailouts and governmental supports to the greedy corporates of the world were successfully projected as the most desirable necessities. Deliberately manipulative statements of Hillary Clinton regarding Libyan crisis was brushed aside as the result of uninformed intelligence officers and when the emails surfaced to the contrary, both the Vice President and the President lied to the American public with such enormity that the citizens have now started dismissing Libya as “just a four deaths” casualty.

And with Sandy appearing like “just a few hundreds mess” despite devastating millions, the administration has started suppressing facts related to misgovernance and bureaucratic red-tapism. When five nursing homes in Rockway beach were directed by government officials to not evacuate even as they clearly fell within the Zone A, no one is mentioning about lack of governance. When two siblings, aged two and four, died in the storm, reporters questioned why their neighbor did not open the doors, but there is no question asked as to why the entire region was so inaccessible for officials and relief workers all these days. If media can reach nook and corners of flood affected areas to declare “breaking stories” every now and then, what possibly has been preventing the government officials from reaching out to the affected people with basic food, clothing and shelters? How long are the victims of American capitalism supposed to remain grateful towards their perpetrators for the false reassurance that they are being taken care of?

Hundreds of patients silently suffered the storm because they believed in the government for weeks that everything was being taken care of. Even after days have passed since the storm worst-hit the areas, people are still silently believing the government when the President says that everything was being taken care of. Tens of thousands of “public housing” residents were forcefully evacuated because power needed to be disconnected in lower Manhattan and yet within two days the rich started functioning again amidst cheers and whistles at the Stock Exchange right in the middle of the Sandy’s eye. And the people following their dreamy pied piper are believing the President when he implies that in taking care of the Stock Exchange, the dead will find justice. The lying President and his unprepared team suddenly turn teary-eyed and appeal to the neighbors to help each other in times of crisis while they merrily resume the services of Wall Street capitalism with generators and drinking water and food supplies without a blink. When millions of people continue to brave the winter nights without heat and fill plastic bottles with water from fire hydrants, the Obama administration loses no moment in providing electricity to the “Freedom Tower” right in Lower Manhattan catering to the wealthiest of the lot in this country.

Contrary to how the Obama regime paints the picture, the hurricane Sandy was not an unfortunate event. It was an inevitable one. What is unfortunate is the embarrassing administration in Washington DC today and the capitalistic economic system that it supports and furthers, the farcical elections that it holds by spending $6 billion of taxpayer money towards an extravaganza at a time when hundreds of men, women and children are found dead and thousands missing owing to governmental apathy and administrative inactions.

If the corporate honchos at Wall Street can get power back and running in two days, there is no telling why grieving mothers and dying toddlers must remain without power and suffer without food; communities devastated and neighbors estranged; while the government turns its focus towards “swing states” to plead for votes while condemning the victims of its administrative disaster to the whims of charity.

But then, in this strange world of Obama and his liberal cronies, the Stock Exchange has more “power” than its “natural” victims.

Saswat Pattanayak, 2012