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This morning (2006 December 30) 6PM local time in Iraq (8.30 IST or 11PM EST, 2006 December 29) the imminent execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was carried out. It is reported (all the news channels were busy covering this news) that, a few Iraqis witnessed the execution inside a building at an Iraqi compound known by the Americans as Camp Justice, a secure facility in the northern Baghdad suburb of Khadimiya. Perhaps for the first time in the history, this celebrated execution went deferred live on air, which is baffling. Some would say that, this video taping and subsequent release of the footage to the world over is necessitated by “seeing is believing” policy promulgated by some. It is ironic that this execution was chosen, perhaps deliberately on the first date of Muslim festival. Footage of him being led to the gallows was later shown on Iraqi state TV and subsequently by the likes of CNN, BBC etc.


I strongly believe that, Death penalty is no solution and certainly no choice as justice, under any circumstances. It becomes doubly brutal, when it comes to well advertised executions in public. It is an open murder in some way. Killing a human being is the greatest crime so does to seek revenge on another heinous crimes by taking their life, and that too in celebrated manner. This is as much a crime against humanity as the unquestionable crimes of a murderer. No one in the world disputes for the fact that Saddam Hussein is directly or indirectly responsible for many atrocities in Iraq and Iran. But we also know that Saddam Hussein is not the only kind of specimen who lived on this planet. How about the atrocities carried out on Nelson Mandela and the blacks in South Africa. Did Nelson Mandela killed any of those responsible? No! To me, Nelson Mandela showed the world how one can amicably resolve an issue without taking revenge. He made the world know, who the actual culprit is and that itself is the justice. The whole world knows that the invasion on Iraq was meant for something else. But then, that is a different story in itself.

This case is all the more worrying because, the judicial process was briskly setup by the American led coalition forces, which itself shamelessly committed a heinous crime by attacking a sovereign nation without provocation. The very truth that, the coalition force’s illegal invasion and eventual occupation resulted in the killing of a whopping 550000 (more than half a million!) human beings, didn’t help to open the conscience of the coalition leaders. Some reports even suggests that this number is far below than the actuals. (A study in The Lancet estimates 654,965 Iraqi deaths (with a range of 392,979 to 942,636) from March 2003 to July 2006, based on national surveys of mortality [1][2][3])It is sad indeed. United Nations! what the heck is that for? It is proven again and again that UN is not respected by the supreme powers, most notably by the United States. Less privileged folks in the Africa gets easily commanded by the UN, whereas the formers repeated pleading goes unattenuated through the rich countries ears. What a pity!

Saddam Hussein without doubt has made thousands of people to suffer. Many of his actions where brutal and callous, but then the sufferings poured by the coalition forces are equally, if not more evil. End of the day, the one who suffers are the poor people, including women and children. For them, the complications of the diplomacy and the economics of oil are rocket science. Being at the last end of the economy chain, they have to pay the price in the form of their life.

We should learn a great deal from Nelson Mandela’s gesture. He has been the symbol of suffering, and a living legend. Apartheid was the worst thing which could happen to the black people in South Africa. When he came to power, he didn’t order the Apartheid white leader’s execution. That is the greatness of the man. He never let anger and enmity to come in the way of peace. That indeed should be the way. Enmity and blood for blood policy have no place in civilized society. We would love to see the supreme nations and its leaders to be little more sensible. If that happens, then the world would be a better place to live. On the other hand, if we continue to have the tit-for-tat policy, bloodshed will only continue. What is even more worrying is the fact that terrorists and fundamentalists may take this as an opportunity to carry out more attacks on civilians. Eventually yet sadly the innocent people around the globe suffers for no fault of theirs. Either way their calls are unheard by both parties.


References:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War#Casualties
[2]
“Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey”PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts. The Lancet, October 11, 2006
[3] “The Human Cost of the War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006”PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Shannon Doocy, Elizabeth Dzeng, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts. A supplement to the second Lancet study.


Nandu (Nandakishore Santhi) married to Kavita on 27th December 2006 at Cherpulasseri, Palghat (Palakkad), Kerala. I went with my friend Soni PM (in the photo, Soni is at right hand side of Nandu and yours truly is seen to the left side of of Kavitha) to this beautiful part of Gods own country!

Paghat is a beautiful place, known for its natural setup aside the western ghats. The green paddy fields are a scene worth many a click. You could see many fields all around (all over Kerala for that matter, but Palghat has little more to its credit, historically). Music is one another thing you would associate Paghat to. The Tamil Brahmin’s population in this area (this place is also in the close proximity to the city, Coimbatore) credits to a rich history of music (Carnatic music).


Monday, 2006 December 18
Mangalore

On 18, December 2006, I could attend wedding of my good old friend Sukesh Pai. Sukesh and I are known to each other from my higher secondary school days at Kanhangad Nehru arts and science college (those days..early 1990s we used to have a two year pre degree course, in place of the 10+2). Sukesh married to Archana on 18th December at Mangalore.

On 17th December night, I set out for an overnight trip to Mangalore, along with Narayana Pai. Maya and Nivedita couldn’t join since they were caught under the weather. Even though, I wasnt feeling all that well with the viral fever, I somehow wanted to make it to this occasion. In fact my hometown is very close to this port city (Nileshwar in Kerala’s Kasargod district is less than 60 miles from Mangalore). With Pai (Narayana Pai is known as Pai in the friends’ circle) it is always fun, because he has this huge ability to make you feel very comfortable, anytime, with the worldly discussions on any topic. No matter, where we start, with Pai, it will never get completed without discussing about cars and automobiles (and not to forget the Cisco goodies, they give it to employees with a certain regularity!). As one would expect, we also talked about cars. We talked about the new BMW cars being launched in India and to the torque adjustment mechanism of the latest Mercedes S series. Travel can never be boring with Pai and it was no different this time. I enjoyed every moment of this Volvo trip to Mangalore. The Bangalore-Mangalore highway was so messed up after the monsoon, that buses these days go via Mysore-Madikeri route.

Anyway, we had a comfortable journey (barring the condition of the road itself; I for one, didn’t feel it to any extend, thanks to the sound sleep on the journey). We reached Mangalore Jyoti circle at 6am . Mangalore as you would expect was relatively warm (even in winter it is quite not chilly there) compared to Bangalore.

Sukesh looked gorgeous in his wedding dress. The wedding was reminiscent of typical Konkani GSB Brahmin’s function. The pooja’s and other rituals would start from the previous day and would continue till the next day. It was quite a pleasant, and well organized sort of function. Both Sukesh and Archana looked very happy and it was indeed a pleasant sign. With Sukesh, you would always find a pleasant smile, the very sign of it could make anyone happy. Sukesh’s parents are known to myself and my wife Maya for a long time (may be longer with my wife because she is also a Konkani). They must be very proud (and a little relieved) that he found his very suitable better half.

I am very happy and feel proud of him. He is one guy, to whom I have tremendous respect as a good friend, as a simple human being who cared for his family and friends, and also a role model for any youngster with the sheer dedication and hard work he put in. I wish him all the very best for a continued, happier times in life.

happy married life Sukesh and Archana

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