( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Some of the worst of humanity, serial bomb blasts in the Indian city of Jaipur, killing 80, injuring 200:
Asia Times Online attempts to analyze the event, including the possibility that this is state-sponsored terrorism used as a type of cheap negotiation tactic.
Intelligence contacts have told Asia Times Online that while there is “no direct cause-effect link” between the incidents on the border and the Jaipur blasts, the former indicate that “infiltration from across the border in Pakistan will increase as summer progresses and more attacks like the ones at Jaipur can be expected”.
The contacts point out that in a week from now, Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee goes to the Pakistani capital Islamabad for his first interaction with the new government there. The “composite dialogue” between the countries, in cold storage for several months, will be revived.
The possibility of elements in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) seeking to disrupt this process with terror attacks in India cannot be ruled out. The ISI is known to have acted in the past to weaken initiatives by democratic governments in Pakistan to normalize relations with India. Pakistan only ended nearly eight years of military rule with parliamentary elections in February.
TIME magazine notes another reason why yesterday’s date may have been of importance to terrorists, who most experts agree are attempting to stir up animosity between the local Hindu and Islamic communities in this area:
Yesterday’s blasts came on the 10th anniversary of New Delhi’s nuclear weapons tests in Rajasthan – tests that confirmed India as a nuclear weapons power and led to an escalation of tensions with Pakistan, which subsequently tested its own nuclear bomb.
Timed to occur when devout Hindus were at worship in the temples that were targets of the consecutive bomb blasts, the recent violence illustrates a further problem with India’s security services:
“The IB [Intelligence Bureau] can’t be everywhere – they’re spread really thin,” says M.K. Dhar, who worked at the agency for 30 years and retired as its No.2 top operative in 1996. “The bigger problem is state police intelligence is almost non-existent. The state police are not training and not deployed to deal with terrorism and to gather intelligence. All of this must be mended, and a comprehensive strategy must be devised.”
In China, with the death toll from this week’s earthquake escalating and currently at 15,000, local people are showing the strength of compassion and the best of humanity:
Chinese volunteers trooped into quake-hit areas on Wednesday on foot, bicycle and in their cars in an outpouring of generosity toward those left homeless and grieving by Monday’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake.
At the edges of the worst-hit region, many who narrowly escaped disaster themselves descended on the Sichuan city of Mianyang, where about 10,000 survivors gathered at a sports ground seeking food and shelter.
“We just have to help,” said one woman, dishing out rice porridge to anyone who asked from the back of her pedicab. “We live just around the corner from the stadium,” she said.
Taxi drivers also joined the rescue efforts.
“I dropped everything to get over to Dujiangyan,” said driver Ran Ruimin, referring to the town about 50 km (30 miles) from the provincial capital Chengdu where some 900 students were buried in the rubble of their collapsed school.
“I took water up there and brought back survivors to the hospital (in Chengdu). The person I took to hospital was covered in blood,” he said.
In neighboring Burma (Myanmar), the military junta daily reminds us of the most criminal aspects of humanity, even while declaring themselves devout Buddhists:
In the days since the cyclone hit, homeless refugees have gravitated toward the Buddhist temples seeking help. The monasteries have become the Superdomes of the disaster, one scholar observed, comparing the sturdy pagodas to the New Orleans stadium that sheltered victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Monks and nuns have been sharing their modest stores of rice and rainwater, and providing floor space and whatever medical care they can offer.
But even these humble acts of kindness appear to be taken as a challenge by the Burmese junta. News reports coming out of Burma in recent days suggest that soldiers are blocking the doors to some temples and warning abbots they must turn out the storm’s refugees.
“Unfortunately the regime sees their compassion as a threat,” said McDonald.
The San Francisco Chronicle goes onto describe how even a religion like Buddhism, which has practicing compassion as its central doctrine, can be perverted by folks who just want to justify their pursuit of power at all costs:
“The regime is trying to control the aid distribution because they want to be the ones to offer it ceremonially, partly to show they have legitimacy,” said University of Wisconsin anthropologist Ingrid Jordt, who has lived in Burma as a practicing Buddhist nun.
“They are the patrons, the distributors of largesse,” said Bruce Matthews, a Burma expert and professor emeritus of religion at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. “What anybody gets is what the military wants you to get. Theoretically, they are Buddhists. They care about their Buddhist image.”
Meanwhile the deck of suffering has dealt another deathly blow to the people of Myanmar in the form of another potential cyclone that could hit the country within days:
Citing an alarming new forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, the United Nations disaster response arm has warned that a new cyclone may currently be forming above Burma and could make landfall within the next 24 hours.
The Hawaiian based JTWC indicated that the storm was forming over the Burmese capital, which is acting as the nerve centre for whatever outside aid work has been sanctioned by the junta.
Although the UN spokeswoman stressed that the forecast does not guarantee a second onslaught of devastation, she described the threat as “terrible”.
Please keep the people of Burma, China and India in your thoughts, prayers and meditations. I’d also like everyone to try to actively practice one small act of compassion today in their honor, in a small, spontaneous grassroots effort of spreading peace.