An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The 2nd Threat To World Stability in 2014

Twelve-year-old Maruf lives in a shanty in Nayanagar, close to a Dhaka suburb. He works at a nearby car workshop, fixing luxury car engines for about six dollars a month. He shares this meagre income with his family of four. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Twelve-year-old Maruf lives in a shanty in Nayanagar, close to a Dhaka suburb. He works at a nearby car workshop, fixing luxury car engines for about six dollars a month. He shares this meagre income with his family of four. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

According to a new report by the World Economic Forum,  income inequality will become the 2nd major de-stabilizing threat to world stability. Apparently, 'elite capture' or a lack of social mobility is the root cause of this problem. The problem is exacerbated by poverty being entrenched in families so generations of the same family are unable to break free of the cycle. What is the solution? Will fiscal measures be enough? Are structural changes needed to governance structures and the capitalist system itself?

I say that it starts with us. If the wealthy people who bring their posh cars in to be fixed by this boy pictured and others like him then does it not occur to them that they could give him a few more dollars as a tip? Do none of them have a social conscience or is that too old fashioned a concept to ponder upon? How long before we have capitalist terrorists who are just so fed up of doing soul destroying and back breaking work that they take up arms? In many parts of Asia and Africa there are already capitalist criminals who are bag snatchers, burglars and car jackers and I do wonder how long it will take before these criminals become terrorists? I don't think I am being far fetched in my analysis.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Strange Facts About JFK and Lincoln

The following are strange comparisons between JF Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln:

1. Both were elected to the House of Representatives in '46.

2. Both were elected as President in '60.

3. Both had a son die during their presidency. 

4. Lincoln was shot by Booth at Ford's Theatre. Kennedy was shot by Oswald in a Lincoln automobile made by Ford. 

5. Lincoln's secretary warned him not to go to the theatre. Kennedy's secretary warned him not to go to Dallas. 

6. Lincoln was shot by someone from a warehouse who was arrested in a theatre. Kennedy was shot by someone from a warehouse who was arrested in a theatre. 

7. Both were succeeded by their vice-presidents who were called Johnson. 

8. Lincoln was killed in Monroe, Maryland. Kennedy was with Marilyn Monroe. 

Strange but true. Fate or coincidence? 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

What Is The Tamil Plight?

Being a Christian Tamil blogger I feel a moral imperative to write about the Tamil Sri Lankans whose plight is currently under the world's media spotlight because of the Commonwealth Heads of State meeting being held there. I don't come from Sri Lanka myself but my ancestors did. I have only visited Sri Lanka once and that was over 40 years ago but I have developed an ethnic kinship and concern since reading about the war and hearing at first hand personal stories of hardship from those who fled the country.

If there is one thing I understand about wars now it is that the headline grabbing news that we watch on TV and read about is made up of the single voices of all the victims. There is a wealth of evidence backed fact about the torture and persecution of Tamils in the country but the history of it all is not well known. This is hardly surprising given that when a war rages over decades - 25 years with Sri Lanka - interest is centred on the number of deaths, who is winning and world opinion of it. Also, since the end of the war in 2009 there have been mounting allegations of war crimes against the Sri Lankan government which overshadows the history of the war.

Sri Lanka is a country made up Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslim people. The powers of the country are concentrated in the hands of the Sinhala people. Sinhala is the official language. Tamils and the Muslims were marginalised by the majority masses and it led to resentment and, eventually, a fight back. The Sinhalese government passed a law in 1956 called the Sinhala Only Act 1956 which enshrined in law favourable status for the Sinhalese. While there was no talk of war at this stage it is important to note that ethnic inter-relations were simmering at this stage. By the 1970s a series of incidents only served to make a bad situation worse

The commonly documented reason for and history of the Sri lankan war starts in 1971 when the government introduced a policy of standardisation to increase the numbers of Sinhalese students going to university. The Tamil students fought back through demonstrations and the first armed act took place in 1971 when a hand bomb was thrown at a politician's car. It failed to kill him but sparked the armed struggle which eventually led to the setting up of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE). The leader of the LTTE was Velupillai Prabhakharan (above) whose first political victim in 1975, ironically, was the politician who had escaped the car bomb.


The LTTE were fighting for a separate and independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for the Tamils. The LTTE leaders were determined to gain autonomy for the Tamil people whom they thought had suffered enough persecution through the normal layers of life in Sri Lanka i.e education, work, redistributive policies. The LTTE is known as being the most successful terrorist group in the world because it commanded foot soldiers, planes and boats (Sea Tigers photo above) and invented suicide bombing. The organisation killed two world leaders - Rajiv Gandhi (former PM of India) and Ranasinghe Premada (President of Sri Lanka). It was a ruthless organisation that was singled minded in its' pursuit killing civillians and politicians in its' wake. They also recruited child soldiers but ceased this practice after international condemnation.

It is hard to put a figure on how many were killed by both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE but it easily runs into tens of thousands. The war finally ended in 2009 when the Sri Lankan government managed to destroy much of the LTTE's manpower and firepower. However, questions have since been raised at UN level and among international countries about the conduct of the government in the final stages of the war and since then. Many LTTE members who surrendered went missing or were found dead with visible signs of torture on their bodies. Many Tamil women who were female Tamil Tigers were found dead afterwards with their clothes in disarray suggesting that they had been raped either before or after being killed.

This is why there has been so much criticism of the Commonwealth Secretariat for choosing to host this year's meeting in Sri Lanka. David Cameron was asked by the Tamil Disapora to abstain from attending but he chose to attend instead and seems to have been successful in drawing world attention to the plight of the Tamils. There is still no light at the end of the dark tunnel for the Tamils who continue to look for loved ones, who have had their land taken away from them and who have suffered torture themselves.

Please pray for truth and justice to prevail for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.