dr anonymous's blog

And The Award For The Stupidest Move By An Appointee Goes To...

By: on 17 Nov 2007

Note to self:

If ever working hard to convince Congress that I'm qualified for a job, don't f#$k it up by giving the "Best Costume" award at the agency Halloween party to someone in blackface with a prisoner's costume and dreadlocks.

Not the wisest of political moves. But then what do you expect from someone who wants to run U.S.

Staggering Towards Gender Democracy: The Case of The Indian Judiciary and Rape

By: on 14 Nov 2007

I. I attended a talk yesterday by a sociologist or sociology student from Delhi who was discussing the testimony in the trial of a 10-year old girl in India who was (allegedly, but let's be honest) raped by her stepfather.  The speaker translated one of the defense attorney's questions, during at least 4 hours of questioning of the girl, as the following.  I paraphrase for lack of notes:

"You're not answering the questions!  The sooner you do, the sooner this will be over!"

The questions referenced were, to the best of my recollection, about the girl's ability to tell time and how long she had been raped for.

The example is illustrative of a long trend in South Asian "justice" of the failure not just to address rape seriously, and not just to victimize the victim, but to absolutely turn the tables on them.

II.  Let's first recount some of the post-Independence history of Indian rape cases. In Moti Ram (All India Reporter, 1955 Nag 121), a 1950s case, 3 police officers' convictions for rape are held, but primarily for abuse of power and the court didn't trust the woman.  In the late '70s, Pratap Mishra (All India Reporter, 1977 SC 1307), Pratap Mishra V. State of Orissa (AIR 1977 SC 1307), a woman who was five months pregnant was raped in succession by three people.  According to the report of a meeting by High Court judges (pdf) "The Supreme courts held that the absence of any injuries either on the accused or the prosecutrix clearly showed that she did not put up any resistance to the alleged rape committed by the accused. The only irresistible inference therefrom was that she was a consenting party and that was reinforced by other circumstances in the case."

Beta, Why Don't You Become A Lawyer?

By: on 13 Nov 2007

Lack of good role models.

Interesting article about a 2nd generation South Asian who is U.S. Attorney based in Minneapolis.

Open Thread: Everything That Has A Beginning Has An End, Neo

By: on 3 Nov 2007

Musharraf declares Emergency rule in Pakistan, constitution suspended, provisional constitution declared, Bhutto returning to Pakistan (I thought she already had?). Text of proclamation (pdf) from Dawn. Judges removed, at least some opposing figures detained. Musharraf to address Pakistani society by state television at 6 p.m. GMT, according to media.

See Chapati Mystery for details and background. See Paklawyer, Teeth Maestro, Metroblogs for Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad for possible updates.

Articles (Dawn, Agencies via Al Jazeera, Guardian, Washington Post (registration or bugmenot required), NY Times)

If anyone’s looking for a basic text, Ian Talbot’s Pakistan: A Modern History is what I was assigned.

Two thoughts: Charitable reading--things are getting out of control in Pakistan and Musharraf thinks this is the only way things will remain minimally stable; More honest reading--just politics, and dictatorial politics at that.

Please add what you want in the comments--if I have time, I'll move it into the main body of the text. See below for updates.

Outsourced Help Available

By: on 1 Nov 2007

Hello. Are you an American?

I read an article in the New York Times today about how people in India are making money off of your inability to do basic tasks for yourself like tutoring your children or making reservations.

Apocalypse Now

By: on 23 Oct 2007
The potential collapse of Austria-Hungary was important not only for the Vienna government, but for Austria's German ally, for the other Great Powers and for the balance of power system. Because the clash with Serbia in 1914 affected an issue of such magnitude, it is not surprising that all the Powers soon became involved: all of them had interests at stake. The specific steps to the World War, and the division into two sides, reflected local considerations from Poland to Belgium: but the risk of world war, and not just war, entered the equation because of the larger ethnic issues behind the Sarajevo crisis of 1914.

Interrupting arguments in progress, I recommend you all read "In Iraq, Conflict on a Second Front". It might be a clear break for a historian looking back, a point at which he might declare that World War III had really begun. See here:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 22 — Deadly raids into Turkey by Kurdish militants holed up in northern Iraq are the focus of urgent diplomacy, with Turkey threatening invasion of Iraq and the United States begging for restraint while expressing solidarity with Turkish anger.

Yet out of the public eye, a chillingly similar battle has been under way on the Iraqi border with Iran. Kurdish guerrillas ambush and kill Iranian forces and retreat to their hide-outs in Iraq. The Americans offer Iran little sympathy — Tehran even says Washington aids the Iranian guerrillas, a charge the United States denies. True or not, that conflict, like the Turkish one, has explosive potential.

Perhaps I'm being alarmist. I hope so. Reading Seymour Hirsch and some background in world history (see above) seems to suggest otherwise. That Kurdish nationalism--which I've always been somewhat sympathetic to--might be the trigger is not shocking. But it is ironic, given that the Manichean battle posed by the Bush Administration between Good and Evil is in the form of the West and Islam; the Kurdish autonomy movement has always seemed to be a secular movement to me, though I don't profess any great knowledge about it. That the U.S. is now (allegedly) arming communist feminist Kurdish nationalists to fight Iran is pretty much the height of surreality.

But, I suppose things have to come to a head somewhere, and this is as good a place as any. And perhaps it makes sense.

American BJP Wins Louisiana Governorship

By: on 21 Oct 2007

That was just to draw your attention, which in journalism we call "sensationalism" or "a good headline" depending on your perspective :).  No, Bobby Jindal is not a Hindutva--and he's not Hindu.  I would guess he's more a technocrat than anything else.  Nonetheless, some interesting similarities to the BJP agenda for the conservative desi:

1. anti-corruption as a message.

Open Thread: Ding, Dong, The Deal is Dead!

By: on 17 Oct 2007

...and I, for one, couldn't be any gladder.

It's not often that I find myself agreeing with the CPI(M) except about the most noncontroversial of topics, but on this one, I agree that India was coming dangerously close to cementing ties with the United States in a perverse way. And with Bush of all people!

That's now all but over, as the deal for nuclear fuel and technology transfer and blah blah blah is declared dead by some, though signals are still decidedly mixed from the mainstream media as they try to find out what's going on.

Here is some on what I think about all this:

Travel Writing Should Be Banned

By: on 14 Oct 2007

Okay, I exaggerate a bit, but not by much. These types of pieces are always on the most e-mailed of the NY Times website, which tells you something about...something, I guess. Maybe the failure of market forces to produce adequate results?

Hey Look--A Shitty Article About Asia!

By: on 22 Sep 2007

Robert Kaplan, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly, considers American imperialist concerns in Asia in the Times.

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