Saturday, July 10, 2010

An important request to ALL our readers

Dear Readers of all our blogs,

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that we will now have to make all our major blogs accessible only to those who register with us.

The subjects we have covered over the years include the wrestler Dara Singh (probably the most popular and controversial blog entries, ever), St. Stephen's College, Delhi,  Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, Bishop Cotton School, Bangalore, the UN, talk Shows in the USA, politics, the Kandathil and Maliyakal families, Kampitie, Vesaisentie, Annikki's creative art, achievements of our children and grandchildren, CHAFF (Chamber for Assistance of Finns and Foreigners), Findians, our numerous friends, relatives, our travels, recipes, and life in general. Above all, t they contained the nostalgia the people love.

Due to circumstances far beyond our control, which affect the lives of many of our loved ones, we have to create the SETTINGS of our blogs so that only those whom we invite can read them. This is very sad as our blogs have reunited many friends across the continents.

With over 120000 readers around the world, some reading more than one of our blogs, for a decrepit old blogger and his wife sitting near the North Pole, this will prove to be a Herculean task, but one which has to be done for the safety, security and well being of many of our loved ones.

Please take the time and effort to send us an email telling us which of our blogs you want to be added to so that you can access them freely.

Our sincere apologies to each and every one of you lovely readers who have kept us going for almost a decade and a half by your readership, your inputs and your outputs!

Yours in great sadness as technology besides being a positive aspect of life can also be a very negative one.

Annikki and Jacob Matthan
Oulu, Finland

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Secularity in Educational Institutions

(Posted on all my main blogs as this is one of my more serious postings meant to get the broadest reach.)

I learnt from the Times of India of 25th March 2010, Bishop Cotton school principals to resign, that my second alma maters, the Bishop Cotton's Schools in Bangalore, both the Boys and Girls schools, are going through a huge upheaval. The alleged interference of the Church in their running and the seemingly marginalisation of the Principals (also known as Wardens) into puppets, possibly all in the greed for the rich pickings associated with running a well-known educational institution, appear to have taken these two schools from reality into a fantasy world. Accusations are flying left, right and centre.

Sitting 7000 km away from that base, I do not know who is right or wrong, but it is such a shame to see the schools where my late father (he was also the Old Boy's Association Chairman for many years) and all his siblings, and a greater part of my generation of Matthan's, including my four children, being destroyed by these bickerings and the unfortunate media stories being put out.

A similar situation of the differences between the Church and the Principal is causing the rot of the fourth of my alma maters, St. Stephen's College in Delhi. The Alumni in different part of the world are taking actions, but that may not stop the rot.

However, my Mumbai alma mater, The Cathedral and John Connon School, seems to have overcome this problem, or it probably has not yet come to the forefront.

Trying to remember my days in each school and college, I knew I was in a Christian Institution in all these three cases (and also my first, The Good Shepherd Convent School in Mysore).

In Bishop Cotton's Boys' School we had to go, being a Christian by birth, to the Chapel for morning service before the start of school, every single day.

In Mumbai, we had School Assembly every morning with the reading of the Bible by one of the Prefects and singing of hymns. But it was not grossly evident that it was a Christian school.

My 59er class consisted of Atheists, Christians (a handful), Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Parsis, Sikhs, Sindhis, and probably various other sects and sub-sects. Not once did it cross my mind that my classmates were from different religions.

The only time I was aware the difference was we took our shirts off for PT. I noticed a few of my classmates wore quite different vests - the Parsis, as they had a sleeveless type muslin (?) vest quite different from the rest of the class. Other than mentally noting this difference, and I never even bothered to find out or understand the reason for this, we were all equal in every other respect during our hours in school.

The only differences were those imposed by the time table, as the Christians had to do Scripture as a subject while the non-Christians were exempt from this.

These secular values, and the continuation of the same which I imbibed in St. Stephen's College of the early 60s, has stood me in good stead through my life. I learnt to respect people for what they do and achieve and not because of their religion, caste or creed.

I wish this would be the universal philosophy across the world, as the wars that plague us today are based on these stupid artificial values, called as faith - be it by any religion anywhere in the world where the religious hierarchy fights for power and prestige, misguiding the masses along the way.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Doha Debate at St. Stephen's College in Photographs

The Premises: Auditorium, St. Stephen's College, Delhi

The Moderator with the Panel

The Proposition: 'This House beleives Muslims are not getting a fair deal in India'.

The Moderator Tim Sebastian

The Speakers

Seena Mustafa

Sachin Pilot

Teesta Setalvad

M. J. Akbar

The Questioners


The Audience

The Vote

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

John Yoo - a modern day Nazi

Any of you who watched the Fareed Zakaria interview of John Yoo, the author the Bush Torture Memo, would have seen sheer evil.

This man, Yoo, is great at hiding behind words. In the interview, I am grateful that Fareed, in his own inimitable way, pressed Yoo to the point get his views.

Dodging, twisting and turning were the tricks followed by John Yoo.

The fact that he was willing to give up the Geneva Convention to gain control of all power for the WAR pResident, showed he had no other objective.

He was at no time trying to prove any political or legal point. He was after sheer power to do anything to anyone who did not follow the pResident. His legal views on warrantless searches, domestic surveillance, enhanced interrogation torture and expansive executive power show the brain of a true Nazi! (After all, were not the German Jews, and Jews per se, only Hitler's enemy combatants? Of course, they would not have been able to be granted protection under the Geneva Convention!)

Would Yoo give the same advice he gave pResident Bush to the present incumbent?

i do not think so, as he will find many fine words and legal arguments to specify what Obama can and cannot do.

Would it be lawful for Obama to imprison John Yoo and torture him?

And that too just on MY suspicion that he is an enemy combatant?

I am a bit peeved that Fareed did not have the courage to ask John Yoo that question.

To brand anyone an enemy combatant at the will of the pResident is the height of Nazism!

And to see it expressed so eloquently by an American University Professor was positively frightening!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

"I'll do it again" says Blair

The Chilcot Inquiry is looking at events between 2001 and 2009, covering the decision to go to war against Iraq, whether troops were properly prepared, how the conflict was conducted and what planning there was for its aftermath. It is claimed that the terms of reference are unprecedented in their breadth.

Inquiry Chairman, Sir John Chilcot, says he will not shirk from apportioning blame where he sees fit. 179 British service personnel were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. Many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians died over the period.

The inquiry began in July 2009. Sir John and the four other panel members met some of the families of the 179 UK personnel killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 as well as former and current serving personnel. During the meetings, several relatives of those killed criticised the decision to go to war, saying the British people had been lied to about the threat posed by Iraq.

Sir John and his fellow panel members also spent weeks examining thousands of relevant documents from across government. Some documents have not been declassified, meaning that although the inquiry can view them they cannot be made public.

The report of the result of the inquiry is being delayed till 2011. This shows it is a partisan one as the result should have been before the British people before the next General election.

So not much good can be expected out of this. The time frame says it all.

This man, Tony Blair, should be put away for life. He is a psychopath!

Tony Blair told the Chilcot Inquiry the he was prepared to do the same again! That is - To kill thousands of innocent people!

What Tony Blair wants to do again is kill many hundred thousand innocent women and children to fulfill HIS belief that there are weapons of mass destruction anywhere where someone whom he does not like is in power.

This man, Tony Blair, is a war criminal on par with Bush, Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin.

There is only one place for the likes of him.

A secure mental institution, where his arrogance, stupidity and poodle-like behaviour are never again unleashed on this world.

In front of the Inquiry, yesterday, Tony Blair was arrogant and unrepentant about all the unnecessary killings of innocent Iraqis. He linked the Iraq war to 9/11, which is simply not true. Not a single Iraqi was involved in 9/11.

Blair claimed falsely that Saddam Hussain was not allowing the Weapons Inspectors to do their job. This is simply not true. There is ample evidence from both Dr. Hans Martin Blix and Dr. Mohamed Mostafa ElBaradei what was the situation on the ground in Iraq. They were pleading for just a little more time to confirm their findings that there were no WMD in Iraq.

That would have been unacceptable to Bush and Blair as they wanted to spill blood - innocent blood, not caring whose blood it was!

Blair wanted, like Bush and Margaret Thatcher, to go down in history as a man in shining armour carrying his country to victory(?). Tony Blair destroyed the lives of several British men and women and their families to try to go down in glory in the history books.

A tragic victory (?) for whom?

Not for the innocent civilian women and children Iraqis that Blair and Bush have mutilated and murdered!

Tony Blair certainly goes down in My history book as a WAR CRIMINAL!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama cried "Foul"! Interesting!

President Barrack Obama's State of the Union speech was interesting in that it was full of contradictions.

He said he is phasing down the US military agenda abroad, whereas all he has done since is coming to the office is to ramp it up, continue the policies of the previous administration and show no direction in world politics, except rhetoric.

However the most glaring statement made by him was the criticism levelled at the US Supreme Court, which in its recent ruling, stated that Corporations had equal rights as individuals as to their role in election financing!

Obama may stand today for something different. He may have been supported by mass popular appeal.

That was because he had a great spin machine.

Let us look at the composition of the US Supreme Court today:

Chief Justice John Roberts

Associate Justices
John Paul Stevens
Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer
Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor

Do you note anything in particular?

The Roberts Court (2005–present) began with the confirmation and swearing in of Chief Justice John G. Roberts on September 29, 2005, and is the current presiding court.[58] The Roberts Court is seen as more conservative than the previous court.[59] Some of the major rulings so far have been in the areas of abortion (Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood,[60] Gonzales v. Carhart);[61] anti-trust legislation (Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc.);[62] the death penalty (Baze v. Rees,[63] Kennedy v. Louisiana);[64] the Fourth Amendment (Hudson v. Michigan);[65] free speech of government employees and of high school students (Garcetti v. Ceballos,[66] Morse v. Frederick);[67] military detainees (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld,[68] Boumediene v. Bush);[69] school desegregation (Parents v. Seattle);[70] voting rights (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board);[71] the Second Amendment (District of Columbia v. Heller),[72] and campaign finance (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).[73]

Do you remember when Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito were appointed? 2005 and 2006!

These two radical fundamentalist Justices were appointed under the previous administration when Obama was in the Senate.

What was he doing then?

Although he did not support the appointment of these two people, what was he doing in the Senate?

When Bush had no 60 vote majority, did Obama stand up and filibuster these appointments? Did he lobby his fellow Democrats and convince them of his belief of what lay ahead with the appointment of these two people to the Supreme Court?

Obama showed no leadership then, just as today he is swinging with the wind!

Obama can cry foul today, but he was a short-sighted Senator jockeying his position to power when these crucial appointments were made.

The rest of the democratic world could see what lay ahead.

If the man had no vision then, can you expect him to have any different vision today?

Obama can cry "FOUL" all he wants, TODAY. But he is the one, by his irresponsibility and lack of courage of convictions, that made what occurred in the Supreme Court last week, happen!

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

What about Western Democracy?

Yesterday, I gave the reasons why I thought American Democracy, as it stands today, is pure crap.

Some of you have written to me about what I thought about Western Democracies, as a whole.

I am not an expert about Western Democracy, but I certainly know the Finnish System.

What would you say if one Government is a co-habitation of the Conservative Right with the Centre Party. In the next, it works out as a co-operation between the Conservative Right and the Socialist Left. The following Government turns out as a co-habitation between the Centre and the Socialist Left.

This is the outcome of the proportional system of election.

In short, there are no moralities or party positions in this form of election system. And that has been what the Finnish Democratic System is all about.

Would you, therefore, trust a politician who gets elected on a party platform and then, to get power, throws all his / her "principles" to the wind?

I would not.

In addition to this form of horse trading, the Police, the Judiciary and the Bureucracy are corrupt to the core in Finland. And the corruption is at the very top, not at the bottom, where there are just paid employees doing their job and carrying out orders.

Further, the entire legal system, administered through a bunch of self-serving lawyers, ensures that this corruption continues unabated. The Finnish Lawyer's Association (Suomen Asianajajaliitto) , supposedly to investigate any actions of their brotherhood which are questionable, exists purely to protect the brotherhood and the fair name of their corrupt profession.

A complaint to the Chancellor, or the Ombudsman, usually gets short shrift. They too form part of this corrupt power base.

Why would they want to shake it?

In such a situation, there can certainly be only one conclusion that the Finnish Democratic System is not a workable model.

Yes, it does work beautifully for the Oligarchic elite which rule the country and those hand-maidens who live of the crumbs that fall from the Master's Table.

But as far as the general public is concerned, Democracy means nothing except to accept what their Feudal Masters decide is in "their" best interest.

(Based on the text contained in the new book "Inheritance Nightmare" written by Jacob Matthan. This is a true story of how the Finnish corrupt systems continues to function with no checks and balances as of today!)

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