Monday, April 19, 2010

Jawohl, mein Pope!

Oh sorry, the original line goes "Jawohl, mein Fuhrer", which, of course was a salutation given to the one and only Adolf Hitler, during the heights of Nazism. I just learnt that Prof. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are consulting lawyers in England whether the Pope can be arrested during his visit to the country later this year. The charge? Crimes against humanity, of course. To be more specific, the Catholic Church's covering up of the sex scandals involving priests and the rampant sexual abuses of young children that has scarred their lives forever, so in essence, allowing sex offenders to be guarded against the course of law.

So can the Pope be arrested? For one, the Vatican put out a lousy and feeble defense by saying that he's (Pope) a head of state (The Vatican) and so cannot be arrested during a state visit. Well, Prof. Dawkins and Mr. Hitchens are contesting that claim as well, and don't believe that he is an actual head of state, and given a chance, would have him branded as a tin-pot dictator of a fiefdom filled with men dressed in fancy costumes.

So what's Papa Ratzi's fault in the whole sex scandal and the raping of the young children you may ask, especially since he certainly didn't commit any of those crimes (at least, none that we know of). True, but then, as the boss, you're responsible for your subordinates, the buck stops with him, so there's the question of moral responsibility involved here. But hang, trash moral responsibility, there's direct complicity in the cover-up of these sordid affairs, and in helping with the cover up (specific letters bearing his signature and seal asking for the priests to be let off), the old man is guilty of helping criminals who raped children to go scot free. Now that, dear reader, is a crime. Old man Adolf (yes, Hitler) never really pushed into a gas chamber or shot any Jew himself (again, none that we know of), although I'm sure he'd have loved to, but he gave the orders and was the boss and didn't prosecute any of the foot soldiers who committed the crimes, ergo, guilty as hell. I know the analogy isn't 100% accurate because in the Pope's case, he didn't order the priest to rape children, or have sex with women and father their children (in some cases, the foetuses were aborted - something the Church is actually vehemently opposed to - or the women were payed hush money to keep quiet in case they had the child). But since he was directly involved in the cover-up and in helping the accused get away without any punishment, he can be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal in avoiding criminal prosecution.

So for all the fans of the Pope reading this as well as those of you who may not be a fan but don't mind if the Pope continues in his merry ways, here's some food for thought: do we send out a signal to the world that if you have a title like priest or cardinal or Pope (in this case, I've mentioned only titles associated with the Church, but you get the point), then you can get away with raping children? I wonder if, as a species, we can show some collective testicular fortitude and say 'No' to the question asked above and go ahead and prosecute the man. I guess that's what happens when you have a former Nazi running your affairs! And on a side note, I wonder if the Pope or any of those priests who are guilty would like taking it up their ass when in prison. If the answer is 'no', they should have thought about it before sticking their penises into the rectums of young children.

Another post detailing the 'crimes' of the Vatican and the former Nazi Ratzinger can be read here, from the CBC News Network.. It's got a nice title: Sex, Crimes, and the Vatican. ROTFLMAO!!!

Below is a YouTube video of Hitchens explaining the deal.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The die is caste

Last week, a court in Haryana gave the death penalty to 5 members of a family and sentenced the panchayat to life in prison. This indeed was a landmark judgment of sorts as it was the first (if I remember rightly) where honour killing was condemned where the local panchayat and the family members were involved. I'd have been happier if the panchayat were also given the death penalty as in every other walk of life, we also hold the head who gave the orders equally guilty of the crime - be it a Dawood or a Hafiz Saeed or a Raj Thackeray.

The larger point in question here is the role caste still plays in 21st century India. Critics of this blog and closeted supporters of the caste system will point out that this case happened in a rural, backward village in Haryana (OK, when we say rural village in Haryana it's a given that it's going to be backward) and we can't equate the mindset of the people living there who continue to live in a feudalistic society, with the mindsets of those living in urban India. Well, if you're willing to buy that crap, I've got a dog that lays eggs that you might be interested in buying.

Caste is prevalent in almost every section of society and isn't exclusive only to the rural societies. Ask most of your friends and colleagues around you about marriages that happen to their relatives, and if it's arranged, then caste and horoscopes are matched and only if a 'perfect match' is found, will the parents on both sides agree to get down into discussing the nitty gritties of the marriage. I know of people here at work who actually shudder (you can see them shake) when asked if they would marry someone of a different caste, so when that kind of a mindset is prevalent even amongst the urban, English educated in our society, why is it that we only assume that the problem lies with the uneducated or the undereducated folks in the countryside? Is this an inherent hypocrisy that we've accepted as 'natural' for those living in the cities and driving cars and watching English news channels and claiming to be part of the great Indian middle class?

Now I'm not saying that just because you would want to get married to someone from the same caste makes you like the panchayat who ordered the death of the couple, but ask yourself whether the initial point of origin of the problem is the same or not in both cases. The way people choose to deal with the issue of couples marrying out of caste may vary - in some cases (very rare, but I'll go on to call them the model citizens) parents and family have absolutely no problem and the couple are allowed to be live their lives happily, but even in most urban households (usually orthodox ones), either the boy or the girl or both are threatened (physically, emotionally, or both) and/or there is outright opposition because the other person is from a different caste, and finally the orthodox rural folks who believe in the system of family honour trumping all individual rights and opt for 'taking out' the vermin from their midst. I also know of people who sugar coat the 'caste-based marriages should be the norm' argument saying that it's the only way they can ensure that there would be no conflicts after the marriage because of different traditions and practices owing to their different backgrounds. What a silly excuse that is - almost like saying that I have a bad habit and you have a bad habit, and I can't let you continue with your bad habit because, well, it's bad!

Why am I calling these 'bad habits' is probably the most obvious thing going around in your head. Simple - if whatever conflict arises from traditions because of a difference in caste (or religion), conflicts that are bad enough for people to change/choose different persons to make their spouse, means there's a problem in the thinking of one (or both) of the parties involved. So my point is, do you really want to marry someone who is of such a mentality, where he/she cannot accept someone else because that person was born to parents who belong to a different caste, a birth where they really had no say in? And if you do agree that the weird superstitions, beliefs, and practices that religion and caste bring along (I'm not talking about cultural traditions here, only the unproven beliefs and practices), then why is caste such a big deal to you? Think hard and objectively, and you may realise that deep down, it probably is ingrained into you just by the way you were brought up. And if that is true, why do you send your kids to schools where it is taught that religion and caste shouldn't matter and shouldn't be used to differentiate between folks? You might as well send your kid(s) to a madrassa or some such religious/caste-based seminary and at least save yourself from being called a hypocrite.
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