Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

Google and Map of India

The government has told Google that its version of map of India is not correct and remove all such maps. When there are territorial disputes between countries, maps become controversial.

Parts of Jammu & Kashmir are under Pakistani and Chinese occupations. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its territory and protests when Indian ministers or Dalai Lama go there. Google follows three maps policy. In India its India map shows India as the government wants it. In China its map shows Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin and parts of Uttarakhand as part of China. Its world map shows Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and parts of Uttarakhand and disputed territories.

Many publications and sites show maps as they are. When showing Jammu & Kashmir some show the Line of Control, territory under Pakistan and territory under China. It is no use blaming publications, sites or TV channels for showing reality.

India has diplomatic relations with China and Pakistan. If it feels bad about maps it should ask China and Pakistan to return the territories occupied by them and give up claims on Indian territories. There was time when Indian passports used to be stamped “Valid for all countries except Republic of South Africa and Colony of Rhodesia”. Later Rhodesia became Zimbabwe Colony of Rhodesia was deleted. With the end of apartheid the passport became valid for all countries. Till China and Pakistan return India’s territories Indian passports can have the words “Valid for all countries except China and Pakistan”.

Out of Iraq

On 19/8/2010 last American combat unit left Iraq. Around 50,000 American troops remain in Iraq “to advise and assist” Iraqis.

After seven years and five months of American military presence Iraq is worse than before. American invasion resulted in unnecessary deaths. Christians are targets in many parts of Iraq. Women have less freedom in many parts of Iraq. There is shortage of electricity and water. Corruption is rampant and in some cases 95% of the money has disappeared. Bomb explosions take place in Iraq.

American soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners. Abu Ghraib was one instance of abuse. Some soldiers were punished for abuses but not proportionately.

Some blame faulty intelligence reports for invasion of Iraq but forget or overlook the fact that intelligence agencies prepare or fabricate reports according to the needs of their masters.

When George Bush visited Iraq for the last time an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at him. It began a trend.

Five months after election no government has been formed in Iraq. Instead of democracy there is anarchy. It would have been better if Iraqis had opted for presidential system.

By 2008 Iraqi occupation had become unpopular in USA and Barack Obama’s opposition to war was a major reason for his victory in presidential election.

American military industrialists and contractors made lot of money. Americans have left Iraq worse than before.

Trial of Charles Taylor

Trial of Charles Taylor by Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague is in the news for testimony by Naomi Campbell and Mia Farrow. It seems the trial has become a farce and summoning of Naomi Campbell and Mia Farrow as witnesses if for publicity. Naomi Campbell’s then agent Carole White also testified but she is not famous like the other two and did not have much publicity value. Charles Taylor was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. He is accused of selling weapons in exchange for diamonds, known as blood diamonds, to Sierra Leone rebels. The trial began in June 2007 and did not have much publicity.

Leaders of small countries get arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Leaders of big countries who commit greater crimes are safe. Many civilians have died due to bombing by American planes in Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No American President has been charged with any crime.

Carole White has sued Naomi Campbell for breach of contract and her testimony is questioned by defence lawyer. Naomi Campbell did not want to testify but was subpoenaed. She said she received small diamonds. She did not know they were from Charles Taylor. She gave them to Jeremy Ratcliffe, director of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, for charity. Mia Farrow said Naomi Campbell said she received a huge diamond. The event took place in 1997. They had attended a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela.

While mentioning people present Mia Farrow referred to Imran Khan as a soccer player. Imran Khan was a cricket player. Either Mia Farrow was wrongly told Imran Khan as a soccer player, or she did not remember correctly or she did not know the difference between cricket and soccer.

If the prosecution did not prove anything for three years and now wants to prove Charles Taylor gave a blood diamond to Naomi Campbell it has a done a poor job. UN Security Council should have gathered evidence against Charles Taylor before proclaiming him a criminal.

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