My latest Huffington Post piece examines democracy in the modern world:
Democracy is dead, long live democracy. Modi has won by a landslide in India. Touted everywhere as the world’s largest “democracy,” India will be ruled by a man who has never repudiated or apologized for the slaughter of Muslims in his state’s riots while he was in charge, a man who is the force behind the most ultranationalist and bigoted Indian political party in modern history. Right here in the USA, Princeton University demonstrates that most every policy and every piece of ‘democratic’ legislation is supporting the rise of an oligarchy and the disappearance of the middle class. From Russia to India to Israel, we have a problem with elected ultra-right leaders who basically embody what John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest modern architects of democracy, referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’
In every case majority …
A REPORT BY DR. KATRIEN HERTOG
International Women’s Conference Celebrates Women’s Leadership
Bangalore, 6-8 February 2009
“If the Lehman Brothers would have been ‘Lehman Sisters’, would we be in the same mess as the one we are in now?” This provocative question characterizes the lively atmosphere of the Third International Women’s Conference, organised by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Bangalore at the beginning of February. The Conference was dedicated to ‘The Light of Leadership: Integrating Global Perspectives’ and brought together 700 women from 68 countries and the most diverse cultures. All these women have taken up a leadership role in the world, whether on grassroots level or at the top, and this in the most diverse areas, such as health, politics, business, media, education, art or science. A top manager of the World Bank was sitting next to the first …
Millions of Muslims across India have decided to temper or even cancel festivities on their most cherished week of holy yearly celebrations, the Eid, in protest of crimes committed in the name of Islam by the criminals who murdered so many in Mumbai.
They wore black ribbons, carried placards of peace, sent out emails and SMSes reiterating harmony, and put up banners saluting those who died in the 26/11 terrorist attack. From Chennai’s Thousand Lights Mosque to Delhi’s Jama Masjid, from Khwaza Banda Nawaz dargah in Gulbarga, to the mosques of Mumbai – Bakr-Eid celebrations were subdued, in a symbolic declaration of Muslim protest against terrorism.
“At every dargah, prayers were said for the grieving families in Mumbai. In Ajmer Sharief, Kaliyar Sharief (Uttarakhand) and Barabanki’s Deva Sharief, the community came together burying their differences to focus on one thing: communal harmony. By showing our unity, we have spoilt the
I have tried to concentrate on putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript to hand into the publisher. I was looking forward to the exquisitely quiet isolation of writing days when I got a phone call from a young person at Al Jazeera English here in DC on Wednesday. “We need you to talk about the violence in India tonight.” I thought that she meant the ongoing issues between Hindu militants and Christians and so I said, “Sure.” I was just on their station about that subject a few weeks ago. I had no idea. Then I got a call two minutes later, voice agitated, “We need you sooner, like in two hours.” I said, “Sure, send me what you have in the latest updates to my email.” Another phone call, “How fast can you get here?!” I started to smell the horror of something terrible.
I stayed at …
The shocking story of Christian persecution in India in recent months has all the markings of a politically motivated campaign. The atrocities are across several provinces, and now there is footage of soldiers and police engaged in the persecution, in the regions where BJP is in control. It is clear that BJP supporters are utilizing hatred and fear of Christians as a way to gain political power. There are certainly conversions to Christianity, especially by aggrieved lower castes in India. This is nothing new, and at 3% the Christian population is absolutely no threat to anyone, but they are an interesting scapegoat.
The Nazis did the same thing. Appeal to the basest instincts of a wounded majority, get them to persecute a tiny minority, scapegoat them, and then take over the country based on concocted grievance rather than on substantive issues. Once in power, invent reasons for wars with neighbors …