MTV Youth Icon and former president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam shows his web 2.0 savviness by asking an online audience a seemingly innocuous question.
As someone who’s been subjected to far too many fictionalised forwards about Mr. Kalam, a poster child for secularism, an immensely saleable character in the all India free markets BPO brochure for foreign investment, his last hurrah offended me as much as his ineffectual position and posturing in the parliament. He’s using George Bush’s evil-doer rhetoric before he throws the gauntlet for this high school debating contest: “When evil minds combine, good minds have to work together and combat. In this context, what are the out-of-the-box solutions to free the planet earth from terrorism?”
More offensive was the award winning entry by Sugato Mitra, who uses every cheap high school sycophant trick, like thanking the judges, teachers, countrymen for this glorious opportunity to win some brownie points. It’s really annoying to see this asshole win, I’ve seen guys like these win all their life. This guy is better than a medieval bard at a royal court at fellating egos:
“First, let me wish Your Excellency a very happy and prosperous new year. I am Sugato Mitra, a 41 year old man from Durgapur in West Bengal. As a very ordinary citizen of this great nation, I consider it an immense privillege of mine to be presented with an opportunity to answer a question which happens to cross the mind of someone who is not only the Honourable President of India but also happens to be one of the greatest intellectual minds of this country.“
I can imagine Abdul Kalam stifle a joyous tear and mutter to himself, “You had me at Your Excllency.” For emphasis, our award winning entry uses it thrice.
In spite of this carefully worded bootlicking, he misses a few operative words, totally twisting the meaning: “When the World Trade Center came crashing down, the whole world condemned. But sadly, such reactions of universal solidarity are seen when terrorism kills innocents in India.“
I guess he meant aren’t seen. Hey, I know I’m being pedantic. My blog is full of typos which can be used to humiliate me, but what I really wanted to rail against, was the triumph form against content.
Look at his suggestions: “Voices should be raised when a powerful nation tries to bully a weak nation into submission and thereby open another front for terrorism. Such nations, however powerful, should be shunned by one and all.”
Hey asshole. Guess what, we had protests all over the world from people, massive crowd rallies against the war in Iraq. We all forgot about it and went back to our jobs. Didn’t do a goddamn thing. Shun these nations? You mean shun America? That PC you’re using, that’s primo American R&D that you took a bank loan for. What exactly do you mean by shun anyways? They’re on the other side of the globe, and if you don’t mean economic shunning, what other voice do you have for your dissent? Consumerism is your only vote.
He follows it up with a very Arundhati Roy exposition, drumming up a reply that translates to, “Yes, terrorists are a very bad thing, but the US is very bad too. Development. Education. Employment. That should solve everything.” Look at his closer here:
“A check on the population growth, quality education and living standards, development and employment opportunities for the youth and respect for humanity and universal human values will ultimately wipe out terrorism one day.“
Here’s a history lesson for you. The Shah of Iran was the most pro development progressive leader that Iran ever had. He put all that oil surplus money right back into the system, introduced land reforms, industrialized the country, gave rights to women, improved literacy rates, gave free and compulsory education, introduced reforms that would allow members of Iran’s non-Muslim minority to be elected or appointed to local offices. He was overthrown in 1979 and replaced by an Islamist theocracy.
But let me break each and every optimistic hope one by one.
A check on the population growth – Never gonna happen. Unless this implies nuking vast regions of this planet. The catholics are still pro-life and anti-abortion, the shiites think the same way too, the two big monotheistic religions are against buggery, so nyet. No chance.
Quality education and living standards – Living standards are directly correlated to energy abundance. One gallon of fuel has the energy equivalent of one man year of work. We’ve officially hit peak oil now. So not everyone’s gonna be able to jump on this bandwagon, cause the bandwagon is short on gas.
Development and employment opportunities – Again, energy. Not enough to go around. If you mean sweatshop and slave labour, we will have more of that in droves, for sure.
Respect for humanity – Humans have a strange way of defining who is human. There were serious arguments by the scientific community a couple of centuries ago whether black people were human or not. Religion teaches us to love our neighbour and help the poor, but if he doesn’t worship the same god as you, his humanity is highly subjective.
and universal human values – What?