Saturday 13 September 2014

It's A Rich Man's World

"All the things I could do

If I had a little money

It's a rich man's world"
                                                        ~ ABBA, Money Money Money

Early today, a car thief was caught red-handed breaking into a vehicle in the basement parking lot of the building where I have my clinic.

He wasn’t much of a thief to look at. Not more than 14 years old, if that, with a remarkably innocent face. The security guard employed by the building management caught him, and he was under citizen’s arrest when I got there, awaiting the arrival of the police.

Now, I want to say right away that this wasn’t one of those cases where poverty had driven a child to crime. As it turned out, the kid was from a middle class family, and was out for a fast buck. Whatever a fence would pay him for the car (or a CD player or anything else he could steal from it if he couldn’t manage to get away with the vehicle itself) could finance a lot of electronic equipment and cool clothes.

In fact, until the last few years, juvenile crime was almost unknown in this part of the country. However, ever since “economic liberalisation” and the rise of the Great Indian Muddle Class, moral values have taken a battering, and kids are taking shortcuts to wealth more and more. We aren’t quite at the point of child gangs like those of City of God, but we’ll get there eventually.

 As far as this particular young criminal was concerned, he was lucky. Nobody lynched him or even laid a finger on him. If he’d been in parts of North India, he mightn’t have been quite so lucky.

I mentioned this little, and quite unimportant, episode because it dovetails with a major “scandal” which has the Indian media all agog at the moment. A former child actress, one Shweta Basu, was caught by a sting operation doubling as a high-priced hooker.

As the salacious details of this young woman’s fall from grace were splashed all over the media – and she’s not alone – the magazines all noted that she had turned to prostitution because her movie career had gone nowhere, leaving her desperately short of money. Some of them also spoke of how prostitution could be legalised as a way out of the undoubtedly ludicrous employment of police energies in stalking adults engaging in private sexual activity.

Now, this is not a discussion about the legal status of prostitution, a topic on which I have very mixed feelings. On the one hand, legalisation would undoubtedly reduce the harassment of prostitutes by police for protection money, would make it a regular, official and taxable business, and would go some way to reducing the colossal hypocrisy which puts all the blame for the sex trade on the prostitute herself. On the other, even in nations with legal prostitution like the Netherlands, women from Eastern Europe are still being sexually enslaved – and in our hypercorrupt environment I have no doubt that things would be no better.

In any case, that’s a topic for another day.

Now, while the magazines drooled salaciously over Basu and made references to the casting couch, they left one topic alone. What they emphatically did not say was that she had no other avenue for employment for the simple reason that she – like the others – had thrown way her childhood in acting rather than education.

It’s actually a depressingly common phenomenon here; parents push their kids to succeed at all costs, to the point where the kid becomes little more than an automaton. I personally knew at least two teenagers who committed suicide because they couldn’t take the pressure their parents put on them (and I was, as those who know me personally are aware, very nearly a third). And if the kid has any chance at all of earning money as a child actor or model, why, a lot of educated parents suddenly decide education isn’t so important after all, and that immediate earnings are much more important.

It’s the same get-rich-quick impulse of a consumerist society which drives car thieves like the one from this morning. Ad it comes crashing down a well, when one day the child, now grown, finds herself with no job, no education and no prospects.

If this had been a society which cares for its children, it would have had laws forcing parents to educate their children, and in the case of child actors and the like to limit their time in the studios to vacations. At the moment, the only limiting factors are the child’s ability to land roles – and the parents’ greed.

Of course, the parents never blame themselves. It’s never their fault for not teaching the child the difference between right and wrong, or for not thinking of the star-of-the-moment’s long-term future. Either way, they're prostituting their kids, in one way or another.

It’s only the money, and what it can buy, that matters.

 I wonder what will happen to Ms Basu, and to the car thief. I'd like to think they'll straighten out their lives.

But, given the realities of how these things go, I doubt it very much.

Friday 12 September 2014

Evil Empire versus Evil Caliphate: an analysis of the lies of the Nobel Peace Prizident

This article will probably not be for the admirers – insofar as there are still any – of Barack Hussein Obama, also known in these pages as the Nobel Peace Prizident or Drone Man.

I repeat: supporters of the blood-soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama should not read this article. If you are offended, you have only yourself to blame.

Rather than watch the spectacle of Drone Man actually speaking, I’ve read the transcripts of his speech to the American people regarding the absolute and urgent necessity of declaring an immediate jihad-cum-crusade against the Islamic State, or Caliphate, or whatever it chooses to call itself on any given day of the week. If you have a strong stomach for lies, you can read it here.

Now, of course I wouldn’t trust Drone Man as far as I could throw him (always assuming one of his drones didn’t blow me away while I was in the act of throwing him). But, though I made allowance for the fact that Drone Man is (a) a politician and (b) even for a politician, an inveterate liar, I was struck not so much by what he said as what he didn’t say in announcing what Justin Raimondo of called Operation Doubletalk. I took away at least ten different points where he stayed silent – because silence, of course, was his only way of avoiding the clear facts.

1. The Nobel Peace Prizident didn't say that the American Empire still can't control Afghanistan, and, in fact, is retreating in defeat. In fact, this used to be a Western joke – repeated even in the sitcom Yes Minister – once upon a time; “The Russians can’t even control Afghanistan!” Well, the Americans have proved unable to control Afghanistan, or Iraq, or anywhere, really, though they pretend to a global empire. Going by the actually record of American force of arms since the Korean War against any determined and motivated enemy, the prospects for America’s Third Iraq War are pretty dismal.

2. Our favourite war criminal crowed about the “killing” of Osama bin Laden. What he avoided talking of, naturally, was that it was after bin Laden's alleged "killing" that al Qaeda underwent a hitherto unprecedented expansion in territory and power. In May 2011 it was still a series of cells scattered through a few backwaters. Today it controls important territory in Libya, Mali and Yemen, not to mention in Syria, and is still expanding in places like Lebanon.

3. Talking about Yemen, Drone Man did mention that unhappy country, where as we all know his eponymous flying killer robots have been active. What he didn't say was that his drone attacks, which include the murder of people who go merely to help the victims of his first strikes, have drastically increased support for al Qaeda in that part of the world. 

4. The Evil Emperor spoke approvingly about "killing the leader of al Shabaab". Actually, as I’ve said here, the killed man, Godane was a factional boss of a divided movement, and had had several of his rivals murdered in the past. In fact, Godane’s extremism had alienated a lot of Somalis who might have had a better opinion of al Shabaab but for him, and murdering him could very easily increase the appeal of the movement. Such a nuance, of course, is far too much for all but a miniscule minority of Americans to even begin to comprehend, and I’m not faulting the Prizident for not mentioning something which would fly far above the heads of almost all his listeners anyway.

What I noticed, though, is that the Dronemaster avoided talking of how al Shabaab arose only because of the American and Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 in the name of "fighting al Qaeda". In fact, but for that invasion, Somalia would never have had a radical Islamic insurgency. And, of course, even then, al Shabaab had nothing at all to do with al Qaeda until much later when the latter had established itself in Yemen, which again was facilitated by American support to the venal government and its drone campaign.

5. As for Syria, the Dictator of the United States said that he had

“... ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition.”

and would

...strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL (sic)”.

He avoided mentioning two interesting facts. First, that his "moderate opposition" is just as much a collection of cannibal headhunters, rapists, child-killers and slavers as ISIS itself, and in many ways worse. And, secondly, said “moderate opposition” – such of it that still exists – now makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is, actually, allied with ISIS and shares weapons and finances with it. 

Talking about killing children, can one swallow the instinctive nausea rush over Dronester’s silence over his Zionistani allies murdering the children of Gaza? Can even Americans ignore that?

6. Still on Syria, according to the Warmonger in Chief, Assad has “lost legitimacy”. This statement, of course, is nothing new as far as Washington is concerned, but makes two fascinating omissions. The first one is that ISIS didn’t exactly appear out of thin air. The conditions for its rise were created precisely by the American Empire itself, by stoking the embers of the terrorist campaign in Syria, by arming and training the so-called opposition. And we’ve seen in Libya – which the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was careful not to mention – what happens when the “moderate opposition” takes over.

The other omission he makes is the clear fact that the only force capable of beating ISIS is the Syrian Arab Army, the same government army which he claims has “lost legitimacy” and “terrorises its citizens”. The ultimate aim of the Empire is the overthrow of the government of Syria and the disintegration of that country into a Libya-like conglomeration of bitterly opposed ministates, which can be exploited or ignored as convenient.

Since the American Empire intends to bomb Syria – again, something I predicted months ago – without the Syrian government’s permission, it’s only a matter of time before it moves over to bombing Syrian military targets. The groundwork is already being laid. One justification will be that Assad must not be allowed to “grow too strong” and so must be attacked. The other justification will be that if Syrian army installations on the front line are not destroyed, they will be overrun and their equipment captured by ISIS, so they have to be bombed and obliterated in advance.

If Syria refuses to allow unilateral American bombing of its territory, it will be bombed anyway, and directly – because it’s stopping America from bombing ISIS. In other words, the Nobel Peace Prize Awardee’s final plan is to bomb Syria, whatever happens.

7. The Emperor of Evil spoke of how ISIS

...In acts of barbarism... took the lives of two American journalists - Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

I wonder if the hypocrisy meter – even by Drone Man standards – broke on that point. Even if we assume the beheading videos of Foley and Sotloff are genuine, something which is very far from a foregone conclusion, neither of these two was exactly a journalist in the traditional sense; they were, as I mentioned here, just combatants under another name. Both had embedded themselves with the so-called “opposition” (in the case of Foley in Libya earlier as well), and Sotloff, for one, was photographed playing around with a DShK heavy machine gun on the back of a “rebel” truck. 

Sotloff’s own family has stated that he was sold to ISIS by the same “moderate opposition” Drone Man is so eager to arm, train and fund even more than he already is; the same “moderate opposition” whose “vetted members” go straight from CIA camps to join ISIS. As for Foley's mother, she said she was threatened with prosecution if she attempted to pay a ransom to get her son freed.

You'd almost think the Empire wanted these two men beheaded.

8. If the hypocrisy meter wasn’t broken by that statement, it surely must have taken another hit from the Nobel Peace Prizident’s claim that

we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding

 I’d love to see him start by cutting off his own funding of the “moderate opposition”, and by, say, attacking the primary source of jihadist funds in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Want to bet when that’s going to happen?

9. Though it didn’t feature in his speech, it seems from other sources that apparently the Owner of the Planet Earth intends to launch a three year war against ISIS. This figure interested me. Why "three years"? Who came up with this time frame? I could think up only one answer. This: in two years, unless the law is changed in some manner to allow him to continue (far from a remote possibility in today’s Amerikastan), the Emperor will have to demit office. So –  whatever mess is left after that in the War on ISIS will be his successor's fault. 

10. There were a few other lies along the way, of course, because if Barack Hussein Obama can find an opportunity to tell a lie he can’t possibly pass it up. So, we have:

“It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples' right to determine their own destiny.”

That must have gone down very well with the Eastern Ukrainians who were being shelled by Obama’s Nazis, and with the Western Ukrainians who have seen their pensions cut in half under the oligarch regime installed in the EU/US organised coup in February. Of course, it also fails to mention that the Evil Empire has, actually lost, and lost hugely, in Ukraine.

Like it or not, though, the Dronemaster gambled in Ukraine, and lost. He needs a war to appease his military-industrial complex backers, and also distract his people's attention. Since the latter, in any case, have the attention span of a mayfly with ADHD, in three months' time they won't even remember Ukraine exists...until it’s time to remind them.

Another lie-in-passing was this:

‘ When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here's what one of them said. "We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people."

Quite naturally, the truth was somewhat different. There were only a few people on “that mountain” and, far from falling over themselves praising Amerikastan, they said they had no intention of moving, thanks.

Let me issue another warning: the "war against ISIS" can be used to cook up invasions elsewhere in the globe against other groups which can be called ISIS. Like, say, Boko Haram, for instance, in Nigeria; and Ebola, which Obama also threw in a mention of, is a handy excuse for sending forces to “protect personnel” in Africa. 

And once they are there, they’ll stay there as long as the resources to be exploited last.

Of course Drone Man’s war plans will not succeed. But they are not meant to succeed. In the schemes of the Warstate, it’s only a perpetual war that matters.

That’s where the money lies, and money is the only thing ideologically blank war criminals like Barack Obama follow.

Thursday 11 September 2014


We Indians are world champions at inventing feelgood crap about ourselves.

I’m not joking; even the Americans, for all their industrial-strength hypocrisy and mythology-making, are nothing to us.

Email forwards and, these days, WhatsApp messages are crammed to the brim with forwards mythologising alleged Indian accomplishments, and sent along further without the slightest attempt at verification.

Some of these have been passed around for so long that they’ve achieved almost semi-official status and can even be found framed and hanging on government office walls. For instance, while I was working for the air force I remember coming across the claim (which I once called the greatest joke Indians have ever thought up) that India has “never invaded another country in its ten thousand years of history”. Another equally pernicious claim is that 36% of NASA scientists are of Indian origin, as are 38% of American doctors and 34% of Microsoft employees.

Now, of course, this is not true. And, if it were, it would have been a profoundly negative statement on the conditions of this country, which produces scientists and engineers who leave to work for the most evil empire in the history of the world.

But Indian feelgood forward factories don’t give a damn for thoughts like that.

Now, at this time, there are floods going on in the state of Kashmir. Yesterday, in the morning, I got sent this photo, with a claim that it shows Indian soldiers evacuating trapped civilians by making a bridge with their bodies.

Very Indian-looking soldiers and civilians, aren’t they?

Now, not only am I suspicious of any and all feelgood forwards regarding India, I’d recalled that this photo wasn’t new to me. Sure enough, last year when there had been floods in the state of Uttarakhand, one of two things happened: either the same soldiers, in the same postures, rescued the same civilians there as well, who were dressed identically and photographed in the same poses, or...

Or,  the same photo was used then as well.

And ten seconds’ Googling proved it was.

Of course, that didn’t mean anything either, since reused feelgood crap is merely feelgood crap warmed over, so I did thirty seconds’  further Googling, based on the uniforms and the appearance of the people, and,,,

...Voila. It’s the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

In fact, not only did I find the source of the image, I even found the video from which it was taken.

So, I passed the links and the information back to the person who put up this photo on my college’s alumni group. This morning, he finally replied, in these words:

“(Bill), you should not have any doubts in anything nayional (sic) interest.”

I responded in these words:

“So, spreading lies is in the national interest, is it? I’d rather be an anti-national then.”

But I’m a card-carrying traitor anyway. 

So what’s new?

Raghead: 11/9 Special

If the Nobel Peace Prizident's Crusade against the Islamic State is as successful as his predecessor's Crusade against al Qaeda was, we can all expect to be living under the caliphate in a decade or two.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

Tuesday 9 September 2014


Note to reader: One purpose of being a writer is to try and put oneself into the position of a person one normally would never have had any sympathy with; a killer cop, for example, or a Nazi concentration camp guard, or a Rwandan genocidaire

Of necessity, stories such as this need a mental balancing act which is often difficult to pull off.

It is for the reader to decide whether I have succeeded.


These last few hours of my life seem to stretch on interminably, much longer than all the years that have gone before.

For the fifth time I walk outside into the night, to stand awhile under the stars and sniff the air. Far away, a car passes, a momentary flash of pale headlight washing over the top floor of a building across the street. The building is only half-finished, concrete pillars and raw brick.

I doubt anyone will ever finish it.

If I were to look to the right, I would see the car I’ll be driving tomorrow, parked as close to the house as I could get it. I won’t look at it now, though. All evening I’ve been working on it, and now it’s got seventy kilograms of plastic explosive stuffed under the rear seat and in the trunk. The detonator is connected to a switch I’ve taped to the gearshift.

I’ve done it all myself, so that I know it’s going to work.

Somewhere not that far away, I can hear a machine gun stuttering. Soon, the mortars will join in, hard slaps followed by the explosion of bombs landing. I’ve grown so used to it that I hardly even notice it any longer.

It’s a long, long way from where I grew up.

I lean against the wall a while, and take a deliberate moment to bring my family to mind. My father, no doubt at this moment – I check my watch and calculate the time difference – just getting ready to leave work for the day. My mother, who steadfastly refused to get a job even though she was offered one many times, probably cooking dinner and listening to music on the radio. She never actually hears the songs, though. The music is just the way she fills up the silence.

And there was a lot of silence, in the house, all the years I lived there. My father, far too busy at work to talk, far too busy proving himself a model citizen of his new country. My mother, wanting a large family, and having to settle for one child, found refuge in her own thoughts. And there was I, whom my parents never could admit openly that they loved, and who in turn stayed silent for fear of offending them.    

I wonder what my mother would think if she could see me now.

If I close my eyes, I can bring to mind her face, as I saw her last. She had aged suddenly in the last two years, deep lines settling in around her eyes and mouth, and the silver strands shone bright in her hair. She would never dye, of course – the thought would never even occur to her.

“I worry about you so much,” she had told me. “Isn’t it time you started thinking of finding a nice girl and settling down?”

I hadn’t replied, thinking of the girls I’d known and bedded. How would she react if I’d told her about them? Emily, for example, the hoop earrings in her ears flashing when she turned her head, her teeth bright between her red lips when she laughed – what would my mother have thought of her? Or Afia, the good Muslim girl by day, who even wore a headscarf to work – and who drank herself half-insensible on weekends. How would my mother have reacted to her, and to the others – and to Rini?

Rini. I had vowed to myself that I would never even think of her again. And yet, in these last hours of my life, there’s no reason why I can’t cast my mind over her for a little while at least; if only because she’s the last person I met before I left, and the only one I told what I was going to do.

She hadn’t understood, of course. I knew she wouldn’t, yet I felt driven to try.

“Why?” she’d asked, her face bewildered.  “You have a job, you have a good life. You have...” and the bewilderment in her face had deepened to pain. “”

How could I have answered her? Should I have said that she wasn’t nearly as important as the thing that called to me, to travel halfway across the world to a country I’d never seen, that even my parents had never seen? Should I have told her that she was part of the problem, that she was part of a lifestyle that I’d come to hate?

After all, what did the life I had offer? I had a job as a graphics designer that brought me money but no satisfaction. I had a life of night clubs on Friday evenings and Saturday hangovers. I had a girl who wanted to get married and have babies. And I had the prospect of growing older with nothing more than that to look forward to.

That had never been enough for me.

I don’t remember the exact words I’d used in self-justification. “It’s not about you,” I think I said. “It’s about fighting injustice, about fighting for a cause I believe in.” And as the words stumbled over my tongue, I’d watched the pain in her face settle in, like a mask, and the tears come trickling out of her eyes.

“I’ll come back when it’s over,” I remember saying. At least I think I remember it. “I’ll come back for you, when it’s all over.”

“No you won’t,” she’d replied. “Once you go, you’ll never come back again.”

I’d looked at her, and not attempted to deny it. “Don’t tell anyone,” I’d said. “Not until I’m gone.”

“Don’t worry,” she’d replied. “I won’t tell anyone – ever.” And she’d turned round and walked away, leaving me to wonder what she’d meant by that.

I’d never seen her again.

Shaking my head to get rid of the memories, I rub my face. I’d grown a beard during training, but today I’ve shaved it off, leaving just a stubble of a moustache. A bearded man is automatically a suspect to those on the other side. My face feels naked now, the cheek smooth like that of a woman.

Far away, framed by the pillars of the half-completed building across the street, a flare arcs down through the night, sparking and sputtering. It’s the soldiers in the base, trying to push back the darkness of the night.

I could have told them they don’t need to bother. They won’t be attacked tonight.

They’ll be attacked in the morning, and I’ll be leading the assault.

Someone laughs in the room behind me, a short bark of a laugh which I recognise. It’s the Turk, Suleimanoglu, whom everyone fears. I’ve seen him do things that I can’t even conceive of. But Suleimanoglu and the others, the Jordanian from Amman and the Indian who calls himself Abu Hamza al Hindi, or the Chechen and the Albanian, they’re all my brothers. Tomorrow, at this time, if we’ve taken the base, they’ll be sitting talking about me and celebrating my martyrdom.

At that moment I feel a great rush of affection for them.

I suppose I ought to have been inside right now, reading the Quran, but, truth to tell, I never did have any time for religion. It’s not for religion that I’m doing this, and I have no illusions that I’ll end up in Paradise. I’m half-convinced anyway that there is no such thing as Paradise. I’m not even certain that there is an Allah.

Some of the things I have seen in these last months would be impossible if there was an Allah.

Nor, despite what I’d told Rini, am I convinced of the cause I’m fighting for. In fact, I’ve become absolutely convinced over the last months that there is no such thing as a cause worth fighting for.

That realisation came slowly. It came in the mud of an execution where the ground was wet with blood, not water. It came in the moans of a man lashed by his wrists to a crude crucifix and left to die in the noonday sun. It came in the shock wave of a barrel bomb that blew down a building, crushing a family in the rubble. And it came in the nightmares that followed me down, into the dark.

I have grown to know them, those nightmares. Perhaps in one of them I am standing behind a line of men, with bowed heads, kneeling before a trench they have dug, and which will be their graves. Sometimes I am whipping another man, for not reciting the suras in the prescribed way. And sometimes I am watching children being put to the sword, and I am laughing, laughing.

But never – not once – have I dreamt of myself as a victim. And this, somehow, bothers me a little.

I have told nobody about the dreams.

Perhaps I should have read more books, I think, and walk over to sit down on the tiny patch of grass which serves as a garden. The grass is dry and stiff, and it crackles under my shoes. Momentarily, I remember the thick, spongy green turf of the parks of the distant city I’d once thought of as home.

 If I’d read more books, I might have had a few other avenues of thought, more ways to take my life forward than a dreary middle age of PTA meetings, evenings in front of the television, and worries about income and mortgages.  Maybe there would have been ideas I could have found, principles that I might have adopted to suit my life. Perhaps I might have written poetry.

I smile at that thought, and compose a verse in my head.

White blossoms smell sweet
But they wither and fall
At the end of day.
Only the perfume endures
And only in memory.

It sounds trite, and I dismiss any thoughts of writing it down. In fact, I’ve already decided not to leave any last message, either in writing or on video. It would be silly, and I don’t even have the slightest idea what to say.

“Sami,” someone calls from the room. “Come in and eat.”

“Later,” I call back, but I already know I won’t eat again in this life. Food is no longer a thing I have any interest in, and in a few hours I will not need it anyway.

So. I don’t believe in the cause, I don’t believe in Paradise or Allah, and sure as hell I don’t believe in the Caliph Ibrahim. I ask myself, once more – as I have done many times, over the last weeks and months – why I am doing this. And back and again I come round to the same answer.

I am doing this because there is nothing else left for me to do. I don’t want to grow old and die slowly, looking out of the window at a grey street and mourning what might have been.

Maybe there are different paths I could have taken, but this one has pushed me into this one road. At least my brother mujahideen will be happy.

And if I can make them happy, that’s more than I can say for anyone else whom I’ve been with.

I get up off the grass, walk over to the car and get in behind the wheel. I lean back and think of the first time I’d ever driven a vehicle, and the rush of pleasure, the power it had given me.

It’s nothing to the power I’ll have now in my last death ride, I think, checking the detonator switch once again. In a little while, the gates of the base will be growing larger through my windshield, and the bullets will be flying around me. If the soldiers don’t shoot me or blow me up first, I will show them what power is all about.

I feel a little sorry for the soldiers. I don’t hate them either. But I’ll be saving them, too, I tell myself – saving them from the monotony of having to grow old and fade away.

I will make my brothers proud of me when the time comes. Or I will fail, but it will not have been for want of trying.

“Sami,” the Turk calls. “Come in, Sami.”

I don’t say anything. I don’t have to say anything any longer that I don’t want to.

I can, I realise, see outlines more clearly now. The sky is beginning to lighten ever so faintly in the east, and the stars are fading.  I must have been out here longer than I thought.  

My time is coming.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2014