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June - July 2005

Political News

From Far & Near: Topics of Interest

by Bhupendra Gandhi

It seems well orchestrated; violent anti Japanese riots are taking places almost on a daily basis throughout China. Although government denies any involvement, hardly any event, major or minor ever takes place in China without official seal of approval.

Yet these are the biggest, most destructive demonstrations since the Tiananmen Square student uprising in 1989 which was so brutally put down by the Chinese government, using tanks against unarmed students.

The whole world knows how brutal the Japanese occupation of China was, from 1939 to 1945. Who could be ignorant of the Nanking massacre, one of the worst war time atrocities ever committed, when women, children, elderly and disabled were so brutally murdered. Indeed no one was spared. These atrocities were in the same league as that of Hitler’s against Jews, Gypsies and the disabled people and Stalin’s against his own Russian people.

Not only millions of Chinese died at the hands of Japanese soldiers but hundreds of thousands of Chinese women were raped on a nightly basis. These Chinese women, known as “Comfort Women” were grabbed by the army and kept as sex slaves until they get pregnant, then replaced by young Chinese virgins.

In an ultra conservative Chinese society, not only these women but their half Japanese off springs were shunned and made an outcast for the rest of their lives.

Having suffered such atrocities at the hands of Japanese, one would have thought China would never go down the same path. It should have made Chinese people humble, kind and considerate.
But in 1949 Chinese army just walked into Tibet, a peace loving country with rich cultural and religious heritage but without an army or even police, as Tibetan people are so peace loving. They meant harm to no one and were under the misapprehension that no one would want to harm them.
Not satisfied with the occupation, Chinese army systematically destroyed thousands of years old religious and cultural heritages, destroying monasteries or converting them into military barracks, taking monks, the most respected and revered members of the community, as slaves, to work as cheap labourers to build roads and railways, connecting China with Tibet, to open up the land for colonization.

Millions of Chinese were encouraged to settle down in Tibet, giving them free land, grabbed from the indigenous people. The Godless Chinese burnt, looted and committed such atrocities that Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama fled the country, followed by millions of his followers, since the Chinese occupation.

Now there are more Tibetans living outside, especially in Nepal and India than in Tibet. Moreover the Chinese now form the majority of the population in Tibet and control practically every aspect of life. The ethnic cleansing is so brutal that Tibet will never be an independent country inhabited by indigenous people.

With this track record, I do not think China has the moral right or the authority to lecture Japan on her past record, however terrible it may be. The introduction of books that down grades the Japanese atrocities in China may just be an excuse.

The real reason is to stop Japan applying for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, along with India. I wonder whether there is a single book in China that records her misdeed in Tibet. In fact more people died at the hands of their own Communist political leaders, especially under Mao Tse-tung than under Japanese occupation. China should put her house in order before lecturing Japan or any one else.

While sitting on a hair dresser’s chair, having my hair trimmed, I had an interesting conversation with my hair stylist, that is how they would like to call themselves and rightly so, whom I would like to call Tony. As I have been going to his salon on a regular basis for more than a decade, we have become good friends. He knows I am a journalist and reads my various articles in local papers.
As such I have earned his respect and the right to talk to him on any subject. I must admit Tony is a proud man. He would not enter into conversation on delicate or intellectual subject unless he feels that you are worthy of it.

As we all know, these hair stylists are more knowledgeable than most of us, as they talk and listen all day, six days a week, with every one, from a peon to a Prime Minister and Tony is no exception.

In view of the tsunami disaster which has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, it was inevitable that we talked about justice, fairness and whether there is a God or a divine power, a super power who looks after us, punishes the guilty and rewards the good, honest and God fearing citizens, as God is supposed to be omnipotent, all-mighty, omniscient, wise and all-perceiving divine power. As such, it is his duty to look after the sick, disable, old, infirm and the poor people who can not look after themselves, protect them from the rogue element in our society.

However, we all know that it is not as simple as that. After all, some of the most kind, gentle, generous, charitable and saintly people like Lord Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many more died a violent death. Modern day saintly personality, Mr. Nelson Mandela spent twenty six years in a stinking jail on the Robin Island (Robben Island) an isolated outpost far removed from the hustle and bustle of the mainland South Africa. These were the best years of his life, while evil Satan like rulers that include Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Idi Amin and Pol Pot, to name but few, who murdered millions had a relatively easy and comfortable life.

Toni who is a devoted, church going Christian, a philosopher and a practical person. He can reason on all fronts. He reasoned that Jesus and Gandhi died for our sins, to save us, save the humanity. There is always some cause, some reason, some meaning behind what happens in our topsy turvy world and far beyond. One has to dig deep, search hard, to examine our conscience to find the answer. Some times the answer may be just round the corner and at other times it may take us a long time to make sense of an event like Tsunami.

To keep the conversation going, I tried to counter his reasoning but it is difficult to gain upper hand with some one like Tony who had answers for all my questions. In the end, although Tony won the argument hands down, he took me outside. A couple of minutes later, we came to a sheltered spot where a young man in dirty clothes, and long unwashed and untidy hair, was playing guitar to attract the attention of passers-by.

This was his way of earning a living. Some may call him a hippy or a beggar but he would like to call himself a street entertainer, a musician. As he was a mild and a polite man and a university graduate who had opted out of the rat race, talking to him, I felt I was in the company of an intelligent and honest person. Even Tony had respect for him.

Tony put a five pound note in his begging bowl or rather a collection box which readily attracted his attention, as there were only coins, mostly ten and twenty pence coins. Tony asked him why he does not go to a barber to get his long and untidy hair trimmed.

He looked up and gave us a weary smile. “My friend, are there any barbers in this town worthy of their profession? If there are, I have yet to meet them.” I got my answer.

The moral of the story is that GOD is not a one way traffic. We have to make an effort to find HIM. Seek and thou shall find but we have to be worthy of His attention.

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