Category Archives: Sri Lanka

Daily Oddities: Monday World Edition

There’s a lot to talk about in the World today, so lets jump right into it. You know about Tehran and you know about Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, so we’re skipping that and getting straight down into the stuff you didn’t hear.

Russia_06_11_09_Elder_Oligarchs

GLOBE:
More than a billion people go hungry, says the World  Food Program. That’s about as many people who will contract malaria this year, a statistic that’s broken down masterfully by the country in a multi-part feature for the Global Post. Check out India. As long as we’re chatting about weird statistics, who knew that traffic was hazardous to your health? Well, ok, everybody, but who had a study to scientifically prove it’s hazardous to your health? The World Health Organization, that’s WHO. (hahahaha). Finally, a UN commissioned study with empirical evidence that climate change is effecting human migration. Which, if you’ve never heard of Tuvalu, might be news.
In other global news, the Cuban Five, whose pictures were emblazoned across whitewashed walls of local groceries and in the posh lobbies of upscale hotels when I visited Cuba in 2003-04 will not have another day in court, after what is at least five years (one for each of them!) of trying. The five stand accused of spying for Havana.
On the opposite side of the earth (and also in Brooklyn) the Guardian has a retrospective of female suicide bombers, more coverage of the refugees post-Tiger surrender and The New York Times has 4 Brooklynites (none of them M.I.A.) arrested and convicted of sponsoring the Tamil Tigers to the tune of millions. From Flushing or Staten Island, we might have expected…but this!
Some interesting stuff out of Russia: Global Post notices absurdly ostentatious oligarches reining it back. John Vinocur at the Times has some advice for Obama in Moscow next month. In sum: your shit will not work with the Russians, Mr. Smiley Pants President.
Finally, China still defies explanation, US Asians hate girls and Al Gore is once again the butt of a hilarious joke. (Guest Apperance by Rahm Emanuel.  Continue reading

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Daily Oddities, June 9th/10th

We’re starting this round of Daily Oddities with something everybody wants–a job! Today’s odd job listings include counting bees in New York City and catelouging controlled substances for the NYPD. Awesome much?

Now that you’re gainfully employed, lets take a quick gander around the globe.

GLOBE: Things are getting ridiculous in Russia, where the racing collapse of the post-Soviet economy (again) is producing the largest anti-Putin uprising ever, as even Russians admit Medvyedev has nothing to do with it. In other news, is this the fattest crime reporter you’ve ever seen? Is Moscow the best place ever to major in police blotter?

In India, small time farmers may soon be eligible for micro-insurance policies protecting against climate change. After much whining in at the UN, Sri Lanka has some revised numbers of this year’s war dead (cue streamers). It’s a lite news week for Mexico, where only one horrific, deadly event seems to be capturing headlines. Finally, even more  weirdness emerges on the Cuba front: today, we learn that a US couple in their 70s has been spying on the US for Havana for the past  several decades, before they were duped by American intelligence with Cuban cigars. Really? Continue reading

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Terror Couture

Recently, I’ve become obsessed by terrorist chic- not the kind defined so brilliantly by bradtriescriticaltheory – the sort that’s already been coopted and comodified to the point that Palestinians should be embarassed to wear the kaffieyeh, but things you could only hope to buy abroad or in the untouched pockets of outer borogh New York. After all, isn’t that what drives fashion? Having stuff others can’t? Terror chic are things I would wear if i lived in nihilist, party-obsessed Berlin, where no one gives a fuck about being PC and my friend Anna walks around in a fox stole and suspenders over a wifebeater. Granted, I’ve never been there, but if i were i think this is what i would don.

La Santa Muerte medal:

Two years from now, this will be on Vice Mag’s DOs/DON’Ts list. Today, I could only begin to start to tell you where you get it. Santa Muerte is the sculled and hooded figure of death, the patroness of narcotraficantes. Wear it on a gold chain, either over your cleavage creasing text-tat or in that bear-patch you’ve so artfully groomed to  sweat in full public view  over the collar of your V-neck 50-50 tee.

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Sri Lanka vs Darfur: How We Read Conflict

*(reader note: since lots of my recent traffic seems to have an infants sense of irony, I’m marking anything I said ironic  with asterisks. ****)

I was asked in an interview recently why the Sri Lankan conflict (which has about 1/2 the deaths + 1/3 of the refugees of the Darfur crisis – 95% of the international attention) doesn’t get more press. Upon realizing that I knew the answer and could articulate it, I felt at once elated, depressed and fucking nerdy. I also felt a deep and abiding need to share.

1) Sri Lanka has precisely  * zero * strategic interest for anyone, ever (except India).
The island, though rich in culture, history, and foliage, lacks the natural resources of a place like, say Burma. As an island it borders nothing, and so threatens little. The only people Sri Lanka ever menaces are Indians, though they do that to great effect, since at least the time of the Ramayan, when the demon Ravaana came up out of its jungles to wreck Bible-style havoc. The Tamil refugee crisis has sparked civil unrest in India’s southernmost state, where the entire parlament resigned late last year to protest Delhi’s not doing of things. Then again, Tamil Tigers killed Rajiv Gandhi, so maybe it was, like, a thing. On the third hand, India’s protracted elections will probably reflect, at least in part, Tamil Nadu’s increasing distress at Delhi’s cold shoulder.

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Check Out my Awesome Slideshow

miagrenade

I am consistantly amazed at how much i get to do whatever i want.

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the things i like to write about (are weird)

From time to time, when I am writing, I have this thought—which I occasionally post on FB:

“sometimes i sit down and i write some shit and i think, holy mother of G-d i am a sick, terrible person. at least i’m thin”

Usually in those exact words . Anyone who knows me knows that i write a lot (despite not having posted here in about a week—srry!), both for a living/school and in my free time. It’s like that quote from Karn’s piece about cigarette smoking in NYC—”I won’t be able to quit. It comes from inside me”

I’ve gotta tell you, the shit i write for work is bad enough (Tamil Tigers, stabbings, rape/murder and a measles epidemic, and that’s just this week), but in spite of or because of this, the shit i write after work is even worse. Sometimes I read through what I’ve written for the night and then i think, motherfucker, i need some valium or a quarter of a xanax or something. Because of course I’m really not writing about these things—I’m writing about a doomed love affair and a laundromat chain and some IED taxi cabs—and yet they come out of me. Which is why if the Kindle ever generates a tag-cloud for fiction, I’ll have to throw myself from the Verrazano Bridge.

Observe

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A history of the conflict in Sri Lanka, from Guardian.co.uk

Chronicle of conflict

• Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948. The country has a population of 21 million, of whom about 3.2 million are of Hindu Tamil origin.

• Tamil is one of the principal languages of the Hindu Dravidian dialect, with more than 200 million speakers across India.

• Ceylon Tamils are ethnic Sri Lankans and constitute approximately half of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. They are concentrated in the north of the island, are relatively well educated, and many hold clerical and professional positions.

• Other Tamils, so-called Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka, were brought there by the British in the 19th and 20th centuries from southern India to work on the tea estates.

• Though both predominantly Hindu, Ceylon and Indian Tamil are organised under different caste systems and have little to do with each other.

• In the 1970s, growing tensions between the Hindu Ceylon Tamils and successive Sinhalese Buddhist majority governments broke out into a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the central government by Tamil militants demanding a separate state in the north-east.

• The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s conflict with the government has killed an estimated 70,000 people since it began, and left thousands more displaced.

• Violence increased in 2005 after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign, when he ruled out autonomy for Tamils in the north and east and promised to review the peace process.

• Both the military and the Tigers have been regularly accused of gross abuses of human rights by organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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