Haiti Aid Scandal

Here’s a few links relating to the Haiti Aid Scandal, which was triggered by Mary Beard’s comments on Twitter about aid workers-you can read the story here. As the article explains:

After reports emerged about aid workers in Haiti sexually abusing women and children, the Cambridge University professor took to her Twitter page asking how hard it must be to sustain “civilised” values in a disaster zone. She wrote: “Of course one can’t condone the (alleged) behaviour of Oxfam staff in Haiti and elsewhere. But I do wonder how hard it must be to sustain “civilised” values in a disaster zone. And overall I still respect those who go in to help out, where most of us wd not tread.”

This led to some strong criticism of her position and comments. Read this piece here on what has been called the ‘genteel racism’ behind it, as well as a blog on Medium by her fellow academic Priyamvada Gopal, who challenged her stance and talks about how ‘it is about what is still acceptable and, indeed, valorised in public discourse in Britain and as such needs to be examined with a degree of detachment’. You can read her whole post here.


The Indian Diaspora


Here’s a few articles of interest on the Indian diaspora. This one looks at inequality in the Indian diaspora in the US

If you have heard ad nauseam talk of the highly skilled Indian American community with its hordes of doctors, software engineers and whiz kid entrepreneurs, who love to make tons of money, help the diaspora get the tag of wealthiest in the US, be prepared for that trend to continue for decades to come.

But here’s the seamier side which doesn’t surface that often: the income inequality among the Indian community in America is the worst, surpassing even the Hispanic and the Black community.

See the article here. There’s a more positive overview of the diaspora itself here.

This article looks at why the Indian diaspora has been seen to ‘succeed’ in America, challenging some of the myths:

Recently, I participated in a roundtable event with high-ranking educators from India and successful Indian-American business leaders. The topic we discussed was, “Why are Indians who immigrate to the United States more successful professionally than those who remain?”

The question makes two significant assumptions. First, it assumes that Indian immigrants are more successful than those who don’t immigrate. And second, relevant to this blog, at least part of the explanation is believed to be psychological (which is why I was invited to participate in the event).


Read the blog post here.

India prompts protests with unveiling of world’s biggest statue

Here’s a few pieces about modern India.

See this story about a new statue (the world’s biggest) in India, that has provoked controversy https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/31/india-unveils-worlds-biggest-statue-sardar-patel-amid-protests

The 182-metre sculpture of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, known as the Statue of Unity to commemorate his efforts to corral hundreds of princely states into the Indian union after independence, was revealed on Wednesday by the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Huge crowds and more than 5,000 police officers gathered in a remote corner of Gujarat state for the ceremony, which has also sparked protests from local communities who say they were not compensated for the land used to erect the statue.

Modi said the structure, which is twice the size of New York’s Statue of Liberty, was “an answer to all those who question the existence of India”.

“The height of the statue is to remind the youth that the future of the country will be as huge as this,” he said, and is symbolic of “our engineering and technical prowess”.

See more images here https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2018/oct/31/celebrations-as-india-unveils-worlds-tallest-statue-in-pictures

You can read more about Hindu nationalism and how the current government (led by Narendra Modi ) have used it https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/03/02/narendra-modi-and-the-struggle-for-indias-soul

Here is some background concerns about vigilante violence https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/a-free-pass-for-mobs-to-kill-india-urged-to-stem-cow-vigilante-violence

Is the US a hidden empire?


This long read in the Guardian By  looks at the United States and its ‘hidden’ empire.

The United States likes to think of itself as a republic, but it holds territories all over the world – the map you always see doesn’t tell the whole story.

The proposition that the US is an empire is less controversial today. The case can be made in a number of ways. The dispossession of Native Americans and relegation of many to reservations was pretty transparently imperialist. Then, in the 1840s, the US fought a war with Mexico and seized a third of it. Fifty years later, it fought a war with Spain and claimed the bulk of Spain’s overseas territories.

Empire isn’t just landgrabs, though. What do you call the subordination of African Americans? Starting in the interwar period, the celebrated US intellectual WEB Du Bois argued that black people in the US looked more like colonised subjects than like citizens. Many other black thinkers, including Malcolm X and the leaders of the Black Panthers, have agreed.

Or what about the spread of US economic power abroad? The US might not have physically conquered western Europe after the second world war, but that didn’t stop the French from complaining of “coca-colonisation”. Critics there felt swamped by US commerce. Today, with the world’s business denominated in dollars, and McDonald’s in more than 100 countries, you can see they might have had a point.

Read the whole piece here