The Cruelty of Separations


Governments seem to take pleasure in separating even young children from their parents, with no plan to eventually reunite them. I am referring to the border crossing across the Mexico – U.S. border, wherein thousands of migrants have crossed over into the U.S. territories. These migrants are from various South American countries which are impoverished, plagued by violence, or having other serious problems, pushing their long-suffering citizens out of their respective countries. Many of them seek political asylum, fleeing from political persecution.

While this kind of migration into the U.S. is not unusual from across its southern borders, the Trump Administration’s vigorous opposition to admitting even asylum seekers, and to allowing the migration to continue unabated has stunted the migration. The push towards building Trump’s favourite border wall, the strengthening of border security operations, and other actions have frightened the would-be migrants. Trump constantly attacks the migrants and the migrant convoys as we have seen over the past year or so.

However, what is really cruel is the forced separation of young children from their parents at the border by U.S. border officials. Apparently, there is no proper accounting or tracking of these children, scaring off the parents as to their whereabouts and well-being. The intent seems to be to scare the parents as such examples would completely put off the would-be migrants on the way to the border. The idea behind the separation is to initiate proceedings against the parents for their illegal entry into the U.S., while their children are kept somewhere under foster care.

While Trump has since rescinded this cruel family separation policy in June 2018 under intense public pressure and judicial scrutiny, separations continued for a few months after this official suspension. More than anything else, multiple official agencies of the U.S. government have not been able to account, reconcile and reunite the children with their parents.

This very cruel practice of separating children from even asylum seekers (who should enjoy a higher status than just any illegal migrant seeking better economic status) is very unusual and does not reflect the high-ground moralistic American values. We know that such values have been taken to the laundry by the Trump Administration’s rather inconsistent policies and incoherent policy execution by rather incompetent Cabinet secretaries.

I am reminded of the Nazi Concentration Camps and the herding of children into rickety trains carrying all of them to the camps. Such a comparison is not appropriate, but I am not able to remove the images in my mind from some of the gruesome movies that I saw, after I saw pictures of “cages” in which the separated children were kept at the U.S. border. How can you cage children? Where is the conscience of the border protection people? We of course, know that Trump’s Cabinet members mostly lack conscience. Comparisons are inevitable unfortunately, and it is a huge irony to compare the actions of the U.S. Government with the most cruel government that ever existed on this planet. But then, intentionally separating a migrant family fleeing their own country and thereby causing much more fear and anxiety in that family is a very serious international crime. Further, there might be no possibility of the family reuniting with their children, due entirely to the fault of the U.S. government agencies, for which they need to be prosecuted. In combination, the blame needs to fall squarely on the big shoulders of President Trump, who intentionally aggravated this unnecessary crisis at the border with his poorly conceived zero tolerance policy.

There is no other country in the world which is facing such a huge immigration problem as the U.S. faces today. Most of the migrants are from Central American countries which are impoverished with hardly any economic opportunities for their people. Parents want a better life for their children, and so they undertake the arduous, long journey to the Mexican border with the U.S. Not unusual, but the scale of migration has stepped up over the past couple of years.

Whatever be the reason, it is not proper for a government to separate children from their parents, whether the separation occurs at the border or elsewhere. Parents will be totally desperate and completely anguished when their children are forcibly taken away, and the children will be confused, hungry and messed up totally due to lack of access to their parents. One does not need to learn human psychology and sociology to figure this out. Simple common sense will be adequate.

Things seem to be getting better at the Mexican border with less and less number of separations happening. However, the Trump Administration needs to ensure that each and every child is reunited with his/her parents as mandated by a federal court order. No child should be left alone in foster care or in a federal shelter in a cage.

Governments can be firm and tough, but they cannot be harsh, they cannot be mean, and they cannot be heartless. It is a simple policy which the Trump Administration officials can learn to adopt as they run their government.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

20th May 2019

The “rogue” nation?


Is the U.S. becoming a “rogue” nation?

Unbelievable, but not out of the ordinary, as the U.S. still remains the only real superpower in the world, and possesses immense capacity to “twist” facts as per its convenience, and to the detriment of everyone else. Most of us would recall how Colin Powell, then Secretary of Defence, “proved” to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 that Iraq possessed WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in a totally false manner, which allowed the U.S. to invade Iraq. The U.S. could pull this off on even a rather suspecting UNSC; it did not matter in the end. The U.S. was anyway preparing to attack Iraq under a false pretext that Saddam Hussein was preparing to unleash WMD on Western nations. It sounded eerily similar to the false pretext (in the form of a fax received from a U.S. warship off the coast of Vietnam) that precipitated the hugely destructive Vietnam war in the Sixties. Over 400,000 lives have been lost in the Iraq war and the U.S. spent some couple of trillion dollars (don’t have the exact number, sorry!).

All this to prove a point, which was false anyway to start with.

Now we are seeing a similar scenario being enacted in preparation to wage a war against Iran. As before, there are war hawks in the U.S. Cabinet who are precipitating the crisis. It is primarily the most hawkish blood-thirsty John Bolton, the National Security Advisor to President Trump, who wants to attack a series of countries – North Korea, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Iran,………He is ably supported by the bully who is Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Both of them hate the Middle East, except the close allies such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the U.A.E.

The phrase “international community” is often used by U.S. Government spokespersons in support of whatever actions being contemplated – however, in the current situation, not even the closest ally of the U.S., viz., the U.K. wants to support military action against Iran. France, Germany, Russia, and China are totally opposed to any kind of military adventure. It is entirely possible that a pre-arranged set of actions will be conceived and executed by the U.S. and its Middle Eastern allies, to precipitate military action against Iran.

While Iran is not entirely guilt-free, as of now it appears that it is not engaged in any military ventures against the U.S. or its allies. Till recently, it was keeping its compliance to the joint nuclear deal intact, though the U.S. walked out about a year ago from the deal which was concluded amongst the major powers. The U.S. then imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran (not approved by the UNSC), and issued waivers to countries like China and India so that they could continue to import oil (at a cheaper price) from Iran. Recently, those waivers were withdrawn.

So, here we have the world’s only superpower which does not wish to conform to international treaties and agreements, does not wish to respect the wishes of the UN or even its close Western allies, imposes unilateral sanctions aimed at choking Iran’s economy (it is doing so on North Korea as well), threatens countries which do business with Iran, has moved its mighty ships very close to Iran, and has been issuing threatening statements intended to provoke Iran.

Of course, Israel is quietly enjoying the show. Israel wants to finish off Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities once and for all, they have made no secrets about it.

Now we are challenged. Who is indeed the “rogue” nation? Is it Iran or the U.S.? Who wants a war? And that too, another Middle Eastern war in a region which is totally fatigued with conflicts over the past couple of decades. Who is going to benefit from such a war with Iran? Who is going to be affected? Why is all this happening when we have other powerful nations and the United Nations? Why is almost every country keeping to their counsel and maintaining radio silence?

The reasons are not too difficult to find.

The U.S. has had an antagonistic relationship with Iran from 1979. It does not matter what Iran does or does not do – successive U.S. administrations have questioned the rationale for the Iranian theocracy as a responsible member of the international community. Except President Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry. The joint nuclear deal was the result of their intense focus on finding a solution to the Iranian nuclear imbroglio. They succeeded. But within 3 years, the U.S. walked out of the deal due to the fact that President Trump hated whatever Obama had accomplished.

Of course, Iran played its hand in Yemen, Syria, and several other countries, and has been pitched against Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony. That conflict cannot be resolved.

With a big population of 81M people, and a strong military on the ground, Iran will not be a walk in the garden even for the U.S. which will rely predominantly on airpower and its naval forces. But then, the world will seriously question its rationale for the war when Iran has not committed any egregious act attacking U.S. interests or its allies. Further with its population density, thousands of people will die even during the first week of war. And, to what purpose? Apart from testing its latest ammunition and missiles, and feeding its arms industry, what is that the U.S. is planning to accomplish in a war with Iran?

Nothing.

No regime change which seems to be the sole objective of John Bolton. If there are no U.S. boots on the ground in Iran, how will regime change happen? The U.S. has to invade and occupy Iran in order for it to throw out the theocrats ruling Iran. That is not going to happen. The U.S. will not have the appetite for such an occupation. Neither will the close allies of the U.S. support such a war and an invasion of a sovereign country. The collective international community will rebel against the U.S., whether there are sanctions or no sanctions. The Security Council will veto U.S. resolutions on Iran. The U.S. Congress will vote against the war.

In a nutshell, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are herding President Trump towards an unwanted and hugely destructive war with Iran, and they both need to be stopped in their tracks. Only President Trump can do that, as there is not much wisdom and not any wise men left in the White House, and the U.S. Congress seems to be on the verge of impotency against the constant railings of the Trump Administration which is refusing to cooperate with the Congress on many issues.

So, our bet now is on President Trump!!!

Can you simply believe the irony???

Let us see how he plays this game – his missteps could have a huge negative impact on the world and destroy world peace forever.

Cheers, and have a good weekend,

Vijay Srinivasan

18th May 2019

The Venezuelan Conundrum


Let me share my conclusion right at the beginning of this post. Given my original reading that foreign military forces should not invade Venezuela and kick out the current President Nicolas Maduro, my current conclusion is surprising. Though the recent elections which Mr Maduro won were considered to be heavily rigged, Venezuela still continues to be a socialist democracy, and my thinking was that it is not appropriate to intervene militarily in a democratic nation just because you do not like the current leadership.

So, what is the rationale for my revised conclusion that it would now be OK for a military overthrow of a democratically elected government?

Well, it is strange, but one cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis that has plunged Venezuela from one of the richest Latin American countries to the poorest country in about a span of two decades. Further, its economy has shrunk by half in the past 5 years. More than 10% of the population has fled from the country. Children are dying of malnutrition and shortage of essential medicines. Venezuela has the distinction of the first country ever to cross a million % inflation. People are not able to sustain their livelihood. Oil exports have fallen dramatically after the imposition of sanctions by the U.S., which was also Venezuela’s biggest oil consumer.

I do not agree that the way to punish a country is via sanctions which are designed to punish the government, but instead punishes the poor citizens. The U.S. has again erred in its judgement on sanctioning Venezuela. The sanctions have worsened an already very bad situation, while the government and the rich folks seem to be sailing along.

Juan Guaido, the self-appointed President, has been unable to secure the support of the military which appears to remain loyal to Nicolas Maduro. Guaido has the support of the U.S., Canada, the EU as well as many other countries.

But Maduro has the support of Cuba, Russia and China.

Venezuela is becoming the next flashpoint in the proxy war between the U.S. and Russia. Looking at what Russia was able to achieve in Syria, it is only natural that the U.S. should be concerned.

So, what is my conclusion?

Nicolas Maduro should go and there should be an interim government installed under the auspices of the United Nations. Russia and the U.S. should not play their hands in the manner in which Venezuela will be run or governed (though it is a tall order, as Juan Guaido has been open about his alignment with the U.S.). The United Nations should take immediate globally supported actions to address the humanitarian crisis, and provide food, medicines and other essential items to the long suffering Venezuelan people.

So, again, how is Maduro going to be dislodged?

That would require military intervention by the U.S., or a joint effort by the UN Security Council. Nicolas Maduro should be let go, instead of bombing him and his leadership – may be Cuba will receive him with honours. Russia should be able to protect its massive oil investments in the country without being dictated to by the incoming Venezuelan government. The sooner this happens, the better it is for Venezuela. Continuing the status quo, punctuated by weak protests organised by the Opposition and lack of support of the military, will only compound the crisis and make it the worst humanitarian disaster in the world itself.

So, this would require cooperation between Russia and the U.S. (China will just follow Russia’s lead), which would not be difficult to secure if both parties negotiate in good faith. The U.S. Congress should be ignored as they are totally against any form of cooperation with Russia. We are not talking about the U.S. here, we are talking about Venezuela and its humanitarian crisis, so let there not be any hurdles in the process of resolution.

This is what I think is the right approach given the ground situation, which remains unsolvable. Nicolas Maduro has to be told by the Russians to leave, and the military generals should be given an opportunity to work for the new government, or else they can go as well. A military intervention could just be a show of force supporting the Russian actions on the ground – no bombing or foreign boots on the ground might be necessary. This is not like Syria – people are not fighting against each other. The current government should just pack up and leave peacefully.

Looks like a big deal. May not happen at all.

But, there might be no other option.

Think about it – Juan Guaido is not going anywhere. Nicolas Maduro, however, can be “persuaded” by the Russians, instead of the U.S. who hate him and his guts. He can then survive an inevitable coup attempt which could occur in the future and the resultant incarceration.

Let us see how this develops in the next couple of weeks. It should be precipitated by intervention, no other choice.

Have a great week ahead, folks,

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

5th May 2019

The Sri Lankan Massacre


It was totally avoidable.

What happened on Easter Sunday 21st April 2019 at several locations in Sri Lanka is a prime example of how governments and law enforcement authorities ignore actionable intelligence on impending terrorist attacks. 253 people were dead and over 500 injured due to the Sri Lankan government’s apathy towards valuable and credible intelligence provided to them by the U.S. and Indian intelligence agencies.

May be the Sri Lankan government thought that they knew better about their own citizens. May be they thought that military style terrorist attacks were not possible in Sri Lanka after the total elimination of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamile Eelam) movement in 2009. May be they thought that their country has now reclaimed its spot as one of the most tranquil and peace-loving tourist destinations of Asia.

All such assumptions were totally shattered last weekend when several churches and five star hotels were attacked by unconscionable terrorists. Some of them were known to Sri Lankan intelligence and the police and ought to have been closely monitored and tracked. But obviously they were not.

It is not about the clash of religions or civilizations anymore. It is pure terrorism against common innocent citizens who pursue their daily chores in the most routine, mundane, peaceful manner in any society. It is the total responsibility of an elected government to protect its people from such mindless violence. If the government fails in this most critical duty, there is only one thing to do – resign. The Sri Lankan government should have immediately resigned once it was established that they had received actionable intelligence but on which they did nothing – they abdicated their most important responsibility. Incompetence should not be tolerated by the citizens who elect their governments in a democracy (they have no such freedoms in an authoritarian form of government). Citizens pay taxes and fund the government, so they have the right to expect performance from their government.

However, as an external observer, I should commend the Sri Lankan government for certain quick actions it took in the aftermath of this sad attack. It imposed dusk to dawn curfews, suspended certain civic rights, aggressively moved against certain places known to be harbouring terrorist agenda, sent out the right kind of messages to the citizens who were panicky and anguished, arrested scores of suspicious people, refused to announce their names even, and declared a national emergency. It also suspended social media like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc., which is considered an unprecedented step. These are the actions which a determined and very upset government will and should take.

Suspension of civil rights of suspected terrorists is entirely acceptable given the innocent victim toll that has occurred, which is at least partially attributable to the sympathies and support of sections of society, thereby encouraging the perpetrators to commit such mindless atrocities. However, all these governmental actions do not let the ministers and the bureaucrats off the hook. Their total inaction is what led to this massacre in the first place.

Given that Catholic Churches were targeted on a Easter Sunday, the religious implication cannot be missed. However, I believe that it would be futile to emphasize religious conflicts as the basis for this tragedy. As long as there are many different kinds of religious faiths, tensions are bound to exist. But we as human beings first, should try to celebrate our differences rather than exacerbate the differences and get into a conflict. After all, everyone has got to live. The inalienable right to live is more critical and much more important than a simple allegiance to one’s own faith which could lead to monumental blunders due to blind teachings, which the victims cannot even contest.

No religion is going to condone violence against fellow humans who have an absolute right to live the way they deem fit. No one can be forced to follow a way of living or a way of religious faith. That should be left to individuals. Anger and irrational thinking driven by extreme forms of faith should not be allowed to flourish and should be nipped in the bud. This would mean some sacrifices of personal and religious freedoms, which are a better way to resolve potential conflicts and violence.

And, finally, an elected government can never abdicate its responsibility towards protecting the lives of its citizens. The Sri Lankan massacre tragedy has proved beyond doubt that government should eternally be vigilant, monitor its own citizens, watch religious schools which tend to impart some kind of extremist thinking, take foreign intelligence seriously, strengthen its own intelligence apparatus, invest more on law and order, etc.,

Of course, there will be loss of privacy. There will be some inconvenience. There will be some restrictions in free speech and movement. There will be push back from powerful global social media companies. There will be some loss of freedom. There will be more government controls on what is happening in society.

But then, who is responsible for national security? Social media companies or the government?

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

27th April 2019

The Shattering of Peace


It is now 14 years since our family visited New Zealand. We loved that country, its fine people, its air and water purity, its clean roads and rivers and mountains. We drove all the way from Auckland in the North Island to Queenstown in the South Island, a distance of over 3,000 KMs in just about 2 weeks. It was a fabulous family vacation, and even today if we take a vote at home about where we want to go for the next vacation, it is unanimous – New Zealand! Though we do not always follow that vote as we go to other places for different experiences!!

We had a great time travelling around New Zealand, interacting with its great people, drinking some fantastic wines, and enjoying the volcanoes as well as the fast rivers and forests and mountains. Outstanding experience!

So, I was so sad when I learnt about the White terrorist from Australia wreaking unimaginable havoc on a peaceful country (he could have done that anywhere, but choosing New Zealand was an abominable decision) and murdering 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch (we had been to Christchurch during our holidays), on a Friday. As we know, Friday is a holy day for Muslims and they go to mosques for lunch time prayers.

While I do not wish to taint this murderous attack as a religious one (Christian Crusaders attacking Muslims) or a racist one (Whites against immigrant Browns), it is inevitable. There is no point in hiding the fact that White supremacy is on the rise around the Western nations of the world (given a positive push by the Honourable President Donald Trump of the U.S.), and could soon emerge as the chief contender for global terrorism trained against immigrants and Muslims specifically, as opposed to ISIS. Both are very bad for the world; while ISIS can only be defeated militarily, White supremacy is better controlled by nation states and their enlightened leadership.

A fantastic example of leadership was on display over the past one week, and that is Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She demonstrated total empathy with the survivors and the victims’ families, and came through as a leader who would also make fast and rapid changes to her country’s gun laws in the aftermath of this disaster, without listening to special interest gun lobbies and wasting time. She was seriously wounded at heart that this attack could happen in her peace-loving and immigrant-welcoming country, and the whole country (including the immigrants and all the Muslim community) rallied around her leadership. They could sense and feel that she was in their midst, truly suffering the consequences of this attack on her “own” society.

I admired her mingling around and sympathizing with the plight of the survivors in a headscarf (similar to a hijab, worn by Muslim women), as a mark of respect and empathy towards them. Thousands of ordinary folks came out in support of the Muslim community around the mosque yesterday (Friday) during prayer time with silence observed, and hands entwined. And, the Prime Minister was there in attendance!

All this shows that a predominantly White country could do positive things towards immigrant victims and survivors who are not White, with the sheer willpower and commitment of the country’s leadership. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet, the Parliament and also the gun owners and gun shops came around in support of the new ban against assault rifles which was quickly implemented. Will this ever happen in the U.S., especially under Trump’s watch? Trump or no Trump, it is not going to happen in the U.S. Thousands of Americans are shot and killed using military-style weapons (which should have no place in a society) every year, including children and innocent bystanders, and the government does nothing except uttering vanities and both parties getting into a fist fight on TV shows in a totally partisan manner.

So, the peace is finally shattered in New Zealand. I am not sure that a country of just 3M people can recover from such a murderous attack. I would argue that apart from banning weapons of mass destruction like assault rifles with high capacity magazines, NZ should also carefully examine who comes in from Australia and other countries wherein White supremacy is firmly in place (though the supremacists might never win a public election). Imagine the reaction if a Muslim terrorist had killed 50 Church goers on a Sunday. The beauty of NZ is that it demonstrated that there is no difference between two such murder attacks. NZ will not go with one or the other – both attacks would eliminate peaceful folks who just turned up for worship and prayers. How would Trump react if it was the latter occurrence – all hell would have broken loose.

In a nutshell, there is no escape from close police monitoring, immigration checks, and gun control – all developed countries are learning that these factors play a very big role as we have seen in the Netherlands, France, the U.K., and Germany. Law enforcement needs to take an aggressive and serious view of individual freedom which transgresses into the larger good of the society. Individualism and religious conflicts cannot be excuses for murdering innocent civilians who play no part in such conflicts, and are after all, normal citizens going after their lives like any of us do.

I wish to salute Prime Minister Ardern for her resolute defiance and sombreness in the face of this attack on her country. Her empathy with a small immigrant community in her nation has captivated the hearts of all positive people around the world.

Hope NZ recovers from this disaster with a lot of healing. My best wishes to Kiwis of all colours,

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

23rd March 2019

Moral Decadence


It is a well known fact that most of the rich countries have committed huge sins and transgressed the moral boundaries of ethical living on this planet. Numerous examples of trampling on the rights of other countries and people can be cited in evidence.

Most European countries, the chief among these being the U.K. and France apart from Denmark and Germany have colonized distant nations and subjugated the people of those countries in horrible manner through several centuries. I am not leaving Japan off the hook – the Japanese committed innumerable sins across Asia which included killings and raping innocent folks. The list of sins committed by developed countries is very long, and that would include even the U.S. which has been responsible for countless deaths and disappearances caused by their invasions and regime change policy.

The focus of this blog post is not on these countries or their past sins. It is on the continuing sad story of the Blacks in the U.S. who are being tortured both by law enforcement and the common people due to the colour of their skin, which implies only one thing – deeply ingrained racism, and the very strong feeling that the Blacks are no better than slaves. This is abominable, and the racist feeling seems to be widespread across the U.S., going by almost weekly reporting of incidents whose subjects are Blacks going about their lives in the most innocuous manner possible. If a White person does the same simple thing – such as clearing trash in his own backyard, or waiting to swim in his own condominium’s swimming pool, or just taking a walk along a tree-lines boulevard, etc., no one would even bother to look. But if a Black person were to do any of these daily chores of life, it is absolutely reasonable for a police officer to stop the person and ask for his ID or engage in aggressive questioning. The evidence is mounting every day about such seemingly harmless occurrences, which are shot using phone cameras of bystandes and instantly posted on social media.

Were such things happening in the past?

Absolutely.

The difference now is the instantaneous publicity that is available via social media. And that makes such happenings come through as extremely ugly and damaging to the reputation of law enforcement.

What does it show when such things continue to happen? What does it say about the society in which Americans live? What does it say about the government which runs the country? What does it say about the police?

Only one thing – a precipitous decline of moral values, a huge drop in the perspective of Whites about Black people in general, lack of religiosity in the outlook, lack of influence of the Church or the Synagogue as the case may be, and so on. The moral decadence is stunning. I am not talking here about lack of morals such as indulging in mindless violence or prostitution. What I am talking about is the value of any human being on this planet which cannot be measured in dollars and cents, and cannot be considered as higher or lower than any other human being. White cannot have a value higher than that of the Black, and that assertion applies to Brown and Yellow as well. All colours need to be equal at all times.

Americans and the U.S. government cannot dismiss these law enforcement problems as unusual or rare occurrences – these are surely neither unusual nor rare in today’s America.

It is easy for the Whites and the Browns and the Yellows to attribute the cause of inner city violence to the Blacks. Violence in the U.S. exists all across the colour spectrum and across all sections of the society. One cannot affirm Blacks only to be the chief cause of violence.

Given the poor state of ensuring moral equivalence of human beings in the U.S., the country can hardly claim to be the beacon of freedom and justice for the free world. The “free” world does not exist for the Blacks in the U.S. – they are getting shot at by the police for doing their daily chores. Many Black lives have been taken away over the past year due to arbitrary and excessive use of force and total lack of reasoned judgement on the part of the police. You might have seen the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Across the U.S., well-meaning Whites are very concerned about such atrocious human rights violations, when the U.S. government is screaming hoarse on such violations elsewhere in other countries.

But then, other countries do not care anymore.

Why?

They can clearly see for themselves that the U.S. is one of the worst perpetrators of human rights violations against its own citizens.

So, why bother to change bad behaviour?

No need, let us continue violating the rights of our poor vulnerable citizens – even the mightiest nation in the world does it – isn’t it?

Such is the strong influence of the most powerful nation on earth which purports to be the most honourable country with respect for freedom and justice and democracy, with a Constitution which enshrines individual rights of citizens.

Would you want to chase your dreams in a country with moral decadence as the core principle in differentiating its own citizens? Think carefully. The Blacks have to get Dr Martin Luther King’s dream back in their heads and fight for their freedom which they are increasingly in danger of losing.

Participate in the CNN #MyFreedomDay on the 14th March against modern day slavery.

Cheera folks, have a good weekend,

Vijay Srinivasan

9th March 2019

The pro-life argument


On this one thing of life and death, I am proud to be termed as a “conservative”.

I know that I am liberal (in U.S. terminology I am “left of centre” or left-wing liberal – which I do not agree with as I believe I am a centrist on most issues) in my views (both political and social), as opposed to right-wing conservative views. Being a liberal or a conservative comes from personal experiences and an understanding of what is good for the society as a whole, not just for oneself. It takes some analysis of the environment, politics, and society. It is not easy to “assume” a pole position because that is how the world sees your position. Irrespective of what the world thinks of you, you do have an absolute independent right to think what you want and position yourself in philosophical terms as a thinker in your own right. Who can challenge that?

So, let us now analyze one thing on which I side with the so-called conservatives. We do not have this kind of discussion in Singapore or India, but unfortunately the world gets influenced by what happens in the U.S. on most things. Though both India and Singapore are more conservative on social issues than the U.S., I have not seen such matters discussed in public or court of law, thereby prudently avoiding social disputes which could be rather disruptive.

However, in the so-called first-world great power of the U.S. there are many things being discussed which depicts a society in constant conflict with itself, such as racism against blacks, hatred towards immigrants, vindictiveness against people who hold opposing views, and amongst many such issues, abortion.

Abortion is an extremely sensitive topic in the U.S. My readers would be aware of the landmark Roe vs Wade judgement of 1973 by the Supreme Court of the U.S. I am not going to delve into it, except to say that ruling legalized abortion rights of women. If you have been following U.S. politics of late, you would have witnessed the U.S. Congress members questioning judicial appointees if they support the above judgement. In general (though not always), the Democrats support the abortion rights of women, and the Republicans do not support. President Trump has indicated that he is pro-life, which is another way of saying that once conceived, women lose the right to a legal abortion.

As I said earlier, we do not discuss abortion in our part of the world. However, I felt compelled to write about this topic as it applies to the U.S., as I read about “late-term” abortion laws enacted by some states in the U.S. I personally believe that once you hear and record the foetal (fetal) heartbeats, then any abortion amounts to taking the life of the foetus away from this world without its consent. I am not going to be liked by the abortion proponents in the U.S., as this subject matter is close to the heart of the left-wing liberals as opposed to the right-wing conservatives. I do not wish to colour this matter as a religious topic on which the Church, for example, would have a say. That is not the case (though the Catholic Church opposes abortion, to be sure). In my mind, what matters is the decision-making power of the individual woman who has conceived, and is staring at the possibility of abortion.

This is a hot topic in the U.S. as you can imagine, especially in the light of the change in the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court towards the addition of more conservative judges by President Trump over the past couple of years. Both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavenaugh are ambiguous on the Roe vs Wade judgement which is acting as precedence for the Supreme Court – given a strong case, they could tilt the court towards an anti-abortion judgement. The liberals are mortally scared of that possibility.

Notwithstanding that possibility, my contention is simple: does a human have the right to take away the life of an unborn (or going to be born) human, once it is unambiguously proved that the would be new-born is having heartbeats, and breathing like any other human? do we misconstrue this issue as the “inviolable right of a woman over her body” rather than a life & death matter, which needs to be investigated further? This is not about legal precedence or religious opinion. It is about making the right decision when that decision involves a new life. How can we compartmentalize this issue as women’s constitutional right only? What about the rights of the unborn baby?

There are ongoing multiple challenges to Roe vs Wade in various state courts in the U.S., such as in Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, etc., While these challenges would be vehemently opposed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union, various womens’ and medical associations, the point is that this is not about securing or re-securing a constitutional right, this is not about liberals vs conservatives, and this is not about the Democrats vs the Republicans.

This issue is much larger.

I am not going to conclude on this matter here with my own prescription to solve the problem, I am just positioning the same in my own light, as I felt strongly about foetal heartbeats occurring in general six weeks into a pregnancy. So, now we are faced with a huge human challenge, which only humans can address and resolve. Not the politicians, not the courts, not any religion. May be Roe vs Wade will go unchallenged. May be women will continue to enjoy their constitutional right to aborting their foetuses anytime irrespective of the heartbeats. But one thing is for sure, Americans need more education on this topic than what has been offered to them in schools.

I know that abortion is a very sensitive topic – an extremely touchy subject to most women. I am not against their legal rights. I am just wondering if we have missed the pro-life argument posed by a heart-beating foetus, if it had a chance to present its case in a court of law?

Some critical thing to think about, right?

Of course, I welcome brickbats and strong retaliation from my women readers. As a generally neutral centrist, I welcome their feedback – positive or very negative, no problem with that. If I have to change my views, then there has to be an extremely strong rebuttal, for sure.

Cheers, and have a great week ahead, folks,

Vijay Srinivasan

3rd February 2019