Friday, 21 December 2012

Obama's crocodile tears

Almost immediately after the massacre of children and teachers in the US by a madman and Obama's tearful speech, there was an ensuing floodgate of analysis and responses. A lot of it had to do with with the US' love affair with guns and, the mounting toll of random killings that occur in the US. 

One of my favourite comments I read on Facebook about the issue of guns was "It's a constitutional right to bear arms but access to health care is a privilege." It really drove the point home in terms of what American civil identity and rights are about. So much for being the bloody "greatest nation on earth." Ah, what politicians say when they want to be endearing and patriotic. 

Although I definitely agree with all those who want a gun-free civilian US, I wonder whether that would actually prevent very disturbed individuals from randomly showing up in schools, places of worship and cinema theatres to commit random massacres. They almost all seem to follow a bizarre one-off psychopathic pattern which many times ends up in a suicide. There seems to be something else going on in the great American society.

Besides this, what happened immediately in response to this incident was the calling out of American self-pity especially since they are indiscriminately killing children elsewhere.

To anyone who objects to the comparison clearly he or she has no sense of perspective. In fact, it is important to bring up the unknown massacre of children by American guns, planes and war precisely at this time when Americans grieve over a mere 20 children while at least over 60 Pakistani children have been murdered by Americans since Obama came into office. Of course, the comparison needs to be made! Over and over again until Americans realise what goes on in their names while they enjoy their turkeys and holiday sales. Moreover, besides the statistics there is untold misery and suffering that those communities are undergoing. 

Read Newtown kids v Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions? It passionately explains the different reactions to murders in the US by a random killer versus active American foreign policy of targeting and killing so-called terrorists. It also explained to me why exactly I felt an unexplainable sickness at seeing Obama, head of state of an imperialistic power, wiping crocodile tears over a random and rather minor domestic shooting, at least compared to the millions killed by the Americans in the so-called War on Terror. Greenwald argues there are two critical issues at work: 
"The first is that is underscores how potent and effective the last decade's anti-Muslim dehumanisation campaign has been. Every war - particularly protracted ones like the "War on Terror" - demands sustained dehumanization campaigns against the targets of the violence. Few populations will tolerate continuous killings if they have to confront the humanity of those who are being killed. The humanity of the victims must be hidden and denied. That's the only way this constant extinguishing of life by their government can be justified or at least ignored. 
"There's one other issue highlighted by this disparate reaction: the question of agency and culpability. It's easy to express rage over the Newtown shooting because so few of us bear any responsibility for it and - although we can take steps to minimize the impact and make similar attacks less likely - there is ultimately little we can do to stop psychotic individuals from snapping. Fury is easy because it's easy to tell ourselves that the perpetrator - the shooter - has so little to do with us and our actions. Exactly the opposite is true for the violence that continuously kills children and other innocent people in the Muslim world. Many of us empowered and cheer for the person responsible for that. US citizens pay for it, enable it, and now under Obama, most at the very least acquiesce to it if not support it. It's always much more difficult to acknowledge the deaths that we play a role in causing than it is to protest those to which we believe we have no connection. That, too, is a vital factor explaining these differing reactions."

There is also No Obama tears for children killed by drones in Pakistan. It makes one equally helpless and angry but at least, one knows one's sense of fury is justified. 

Fish Portraits

I went to the Shedd Aquarium for a second visit with Haresh. He got back to be with me on the 13th and since then we've been doing some sight seeing. I got us 2 Chicago City Passes even though some of the places will be repeats for me like the Shedd but I don't mind since it is quite impossible to see everything during one visit. So, I get to see some places for a second time, take some more cool photos and just soak up the atmosphere. 

Almost all animals have very distinct personalities and amusing expressions. If you look closely enough you can project human moods and temperaments on our fellow species. And Disney has been cashing in on this for decades, as we know.  

And you can do the same with fish. 

Some of my recent photos reveal that fish love to pose. See evidence below:

Is she pouting or is she pouting? 

What a stern but dashing uncle figure...

It's a bad hair day for me, please!

I'm busy - can't you see - call me later...

Stop taking my pictures, putting up dumb captions and go to hell!

I'm a neon pink thing of beauty and a joy forever!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

10,000 page views!!

Potato Greens has had 10,000 views! 

This calls for a mini celebration which entails making a piping hot cup of tea to beat the Chicago cold and me posing for a photo, like when my blog reached 5,000 hits back in November, 2011: