Monday, July 14, 2003

Back to Reality

Well, I have finally returned. It was hard. Actually, it was really, really hard. My travelmates and I were really close to changing our minds about coming back to DC -and work- before we departed from Honolulu. It was hard to leave, but the vacation was amazing. I will try and post pictures soon, I just have to pick the right ones I guess--We walked on lava and an active volcano on the Hawaii-or the Big Island--as it is also known. We went hiking in Kauai's Kalalau trail, snorkeled and swam with endangered sea turtles, hung out on the beach, read, ate really good food, including some of the best papaya I have ever had, and of course, listened to some good music, obiously involving America, and Hip-Hop's newest idol, Panjabi MC (link is for a rather in-depth peice in the Washington Post), and a new CD by DJ Cheb i Sabbah, both of which I really enjoyed.

Here are links to PMC's and Cheb i Sabbah's amazon pages in case you want to purchase either's work. You should buy them both--you gotta represent for the Des.

Incidentally, I have been reading a lot of articles lately on PM--also known as Rajinder Rai-- and everyone seems to use Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" as a point of reference for South Asian sounds in American hip-hop. My understanding was that Missy Elliot too got the now-famous beat from Panjabi MC, who uses the same refrain in his more drum-and-base song "Mahi."

American Claims regarding the War on Iraq

It also seems that American claims regarding the war on Iraq are also being scrutinized by the press (finally.) I returned to find this Rumsfeld quote only in the Washington Times (surprise, surprise)

The United States went to war in Iraq not because of new intelligence about banned weapons but because Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's previously known programs were viewed differently after the September 11 attacks, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told senators yesterday. "The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "We acted because we saw the existing evidence in a new light, through the prism of our experience on September 11th." In a wide-ranging hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Rumsfeld defended the war and the U.S. intelligence used to justify it.
"The objective in the global war on terror is to prevent another attack like September 11th, or a biological, nuclear or chemical attack that would be worse, before it happens. We can say with confidence that the world is a better place today because the United States led a coalition of forces into action in Iraq," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

I think that alone is call for wider scutiny, not just of the Uranium from Niger, but other reasons that were purported as fact.

No Indian Troops for Iraq

A surprisingly strong and independent decision today by India with regards to sending Indian troops to Iraq, reports the Washington Post.

After weeks of high-level discussions with the United States, India today rejected an American request to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq, saying it would only consider doing so under an "explicit" U.N. mandate. The announcement following a cabinet-level security meeting this afternoon was a setback to the Pentagon's efforts to bolster its forces in Iraq with contributions from allies. For the past several weeks, India has been seriously considering the deployment to Iraq of a full army division -- about 17,000 men -- which would have been the second-largest foreign contingent in the country after that of the United States. Some senior ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had argued that such a contribution would advance India's economic and strategic interests both in the gulf and in terms of its relations with the United States. But the proposal has generated intense opposition in India. Public opinion here was solidly against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and with national elections looming next year, ruling-party strategists feared the political consequences of sending troops to help occupy the country, particularly if they started dying in significant numbers. In the end, Indian officials said, they could not afford to take such risks without the cover of authorization from the U.N. Security Council."

I am curious to see what, if any, the fallout of this decision will be with regards to India-US relations.

More Bollywood

For those of you able to catch the Bollywood special on Turner Classic Movies last month, and enjoyed it, and those that missed the special series altogether, the Sundance Channel is going to have a bollywood Festival of its own, starting on the 18th of July at 9 PM. Hailed as "Bollywood Boulevard" three new films that push Indian Cinema, the Sundance Channel will show MF Husain's Gaja Gamini (as a side note, I was in Bombay at some of the shooting for this film), Agni Varsha, and also, Bollwyood Bound, a story of Indo-Canadians wanting to make it in Bollywood. I am really looking forward to this one.


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