Outraged with ugly head of racism.

Recently, we have seen a couple of  racist comments in Australia and NZ which had bothered us. Indians were the targets in these cases.

First was the example of the ill-mannered journo named Paul Henry from TV NZ [National TV of NZ] making grossly offensive comments and laughing at the surname of Delhi chief minister, Mrs Sheila Dixit. Even his colleagues were uncomfortable with his comments. I have no doubt that his comments were uncivilized and racist in nature. It showed quite clearly that his upbringing was less than perfect. Indians and Indian Govt were justifiably outraged with his comments. Indian Foreign Minister, Mr SM Krishna was right to summon NZ High Commissioner to his office and convey India’s displeasure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QVzKihKiYI&feature=player_embedded

That Paul Henry is racist against Indians is evidenced by his further utterances. NZ’s Governor General, Sir Ananad Satyanand is of Indian heritage. He was born in Auckland. Despite that, Henry did not think Sir Satyanand was a true New Zealander. How so? Is he not a true New Zealander because he is not White or PAKEHA as Maori people call White people in NZ? It just makes one wonder about Henry’s thinking.

If this was not enough, a NZ radio host, Michael Laws, made some disparaging comments about the Governor General [GG] of NZ, Sir Anand Satyanand’s body size and mentioned something about India and begging. He too showed his racist thinking. His comments were particularly uncivil  as they were about the Head of NZ Government. I would have expected that the GG would be held with high regards by the citizens of NZ.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/indians-abroad/NZ-radio-host-apologises-for-calling-Gov-Gen-Anand-Satyanand-fat-Indian/articleshow/6728766.cms

Look, I have some personal experiences in NZ. While a vast majority of  New Zealanders are decent people, I found that a small proportion of  New Zealanders are ignorant and openly racist. They have a superiority complex over Non-White people. Is it due to the fact that they have subjugated indigenous people [Maori] for centuries and until recently, they were not used to the people from all over the World who would not allow anyone to treat them unfairly? To such ignorant and racist people, I say “grow up”. They need to be confronted assertively.

While we were fuming over misbehaviour from New Zealanders, we get the news of racist comments by some officers in Victoria Police. They were making insensitive comments via emails on a video depicting electrocution of an Indian man over the roof of a train in India and suggesting that it might be a method to fix Melbourne’s Indian students’ issues. Indians and India Govt were again outraged. Indian Minister, Mr Krishna was right to call Australia’s High Commissioner, Mr Peter Varghese to his office and express India’s outrage. He was right because he was concerned about the behaviour of  some from Vic Police force which is supposed to help every one irrespective of the race, gender and nationality of those who are seeking help. Racist views among Police officers will not generate a sense of confidence among people. I was somewhat heartened to note that Victorian Premier and Police commissioner have condemned these police officers, some of whom have been sacked, and some have been fined upto $3000 and placed on a good behaviour bond. Some have quit the Victoria Police themselves, sensing problems in ongoing investigation by Vic Police.  Investigation is on against some more. Vic Police and any other Police force must have ZERO TOLERANCE to racism and racist views among anyone who is part of the Police force.

There are many more examples which I can give but the point has been made. The point is that there are some racist people in Australia and NZ. I do say it with confidence however that a vast majority of people are fair-minded and not racist. This is true of Police forces too. I don’t want to create an impression that we are living in a racist society. Unfortunately, we have racist people all over the world. No country is the exception. India is no exception either. Raj Thakeray is a very clear example. We must remain rational and balanced. We must react proportionately. This is very much applicable to Indian media too.

The scourge of racism is not going to be removed from the world any time soon. There will always be mentally sick people who think their race to be superior to other races. We can’t do much about what people think as long as they are not acting on their beliefs. This is obviously not permitted for those who are in the Police and security agencies. Racist beliefs are a big “No” for Police officials. Police agencies should run campaigns among their personnel to educate them against racism and racist views. Police agencies should be on a look out for any such tendency and Police officers should dob racist officers in, simply because decent and fair-minded Police officers [vast majority] must not allow a small minority among them to tarnish their image. I would like to remind people that Police officers are consistently graded as one of the most trusted people in Australia. This image must be maintained and like Vic Police, they should take firm and severe actions if any one is found to hold racist views or acting in a racist manner.

In case of  NZ  journos, they should be sacked from their jobs by their employers as they are not suitable for their positions. A broadcaster can’t be allowed to behave the way these two cretins did.

I have liked what Minister SM Krishna has done. It was clearly warranted.

As far as we, Indian Australians, are concerned, we should make our concerns and displeasure known in no uncertain terms. We will need to network with other communities and fair-minded Australians [and they are in majority]. We will also need to identify people among ourselves who have a clear capacity to think, lead,  network with others, and communicate. These issues are clearly of national in nature and we will therefore need a national structure to deal with these issues.  We will need to be more organised. The very same strategy should be applicable for NZ or any other country.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/12th October, 2010

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ABC Media Watch blasts Channel 7 report on Delhi CWG’s security scare.

mediawatch_2010_ep34.wmv

http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3023099.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=2810604#/view/646211

Someone has just sent this link from ABC Australia’s Media Watch which has apparently done a thorough investigation [as it claims] and exposed the report by Channel 7 on Delhi CWG’s security arrangements. Channel 7 journalist reported that he could enter the JL Nehru stadium with a suitcase full of explosives. As Media Watch programme reports, not everything he said turns out to be correct. Media Watch raised some doubts about his claims whether he was even at the stadium gate. Channel Seven is standing by its reporter and reports. I understand that Ch 7 has now asked Media Watch to remove this programme  from Media Watch website but I see that Media Watch has not removed it [at 7PM, 29th Sept]. It is difficult to know for sure as to who is right and I therefore leave it to you to judge for yourself by visiting Ch7 and Media Watch websites.

Media Watch reports that there was a lot of manipulation and falsehood in Channel 7 report. Scare-mongering appeared to be the main game, according to Media Watch.

I am disgusted with media sensationalism generally. Some of the recent reports on Delhi CWG are grossly exaggerated and manipulated with the intension of harming India’s image.

I am noticing a trend in at least a segment of Australian media to depict Indians and India in negative light. This has become more apparent after the students’ issue last year. This is not good for Indian Australians. We will need to deal with this trend smartly and assertively.

People have often wondered whether this new trend in Australian media is a payback to hysterical, exaggerated, imbalanced and unfair reporting against Australia by a segment of Indian media last year. We did not agree with Indian media then just like we do not agree with Australian media now. Fair is fair and unfair is unfair, irrespective of who is the target of reporting.

Generally speaking, crap reporting will remain just that-crap, irrespective of who does it!

Yes, India has problems and CWG Organising Committee has not done everything right and in a timely fashion [thus bringing some shame on itself, India and Indians all over the world including India] but Media needs to be more balanced and must give credit where it is due.

I am wondering about how low Media will go to sensationalize an event. I am wondering about the real agenda and motives of this segment of Media.

Yes, I have Indian heritage and am proud of it. I love India exactly as  I love Australia. India is my “MATRI BHUMI” [my place of birth] and Australia my “KARM BHUMI” [my place of work and my home]. Both deserve my gratitude and love. My disgust with unfair reporting against India is not just because I am of Indian background but it is also because I find this report to be very unfair. Similarly, we found the reports from a segment of Indian media on Australia last year disgusting because they were unfair. I believe that all fair-minded Australians [from any background] will share my views on unfair reporting about any person, race, religion or country.

Fair and proportionate criticism of India is fine, justified, desirable and acceptable, but false, disproportionate, unfair, selective, exaggerated, distorted and manipulated is not.

Channel 7’s report has been branded by Media Watch as “Shocking beat-up”!  There are only two options. Either Ch7 defends it or it accepts the criticism. If it is the former, then it should do what generally happens in Australia. If it is latter, an apology will be due to India and Indians.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th September,2010

T: www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh E: singhyadu@gmail.com B: www.yadusingh.wordpress.com

PS: This is an evolving story. I am going to follow the spat between Media Watch and CH7 closely and will report any new development. Please keep an open mind and follow this story. We do have an interest in this story because we have an unbreakable bond with India which is much more than just a country for us.

About Delhi CommonWealth Games [CWG] 2010.

Obviously, there is a lot of media coverage in Australia about Delhi Commonwealth Games [Delhi CWG] which will start on 3rd October, 2010.  Both, Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph have coverage on this today.   ABC also had coverage on this yesterday. 

Dani Samuels [Discus champion] has decided to withdraw from the Games but I was very pleased and indeed, encouraged to read that our swimmers and divers [Alex Croak, Matthew Mitcham and Geoff Huegill] have declared their intention to go to the Games. They made this very clear via a Blog [  http://tinyurl.com/273cb7k ].  I also know that the Sports Minister, Senator Mark Arbib will also be going to Delhi.  I say “good on you” to participate in the Games in Delhi. 

I know that some sports authorities from certain countries including New Zealand have made a lot of alarmist comments about the Delhi CWG which seems to be creating panic and hysteria against the Delhi Games.   A firing at a tourist bus near a mosque a couple of days ago has of course fuelled  concerns about the security around the Games. A few building work problems, which have been characterised as minor by Indian officials, have received prominent reporting in the media.

Having come from New Delhi myself where I lived for several years, I do believe that some of the comments in the media are actually very unhelpful because they are creating hysteria against the Delhi CWG.    Something similar was floating around in the media about Athens Olympic Games only a couple of years ago.  Despite that, Athens Games were greatly successful. Similar concerns were raised in the media against South African soccer world cup but they were all proven to be incorrect.

My belief is that India would be able to deliver a successful Delhi CWG.  My belief is based on following: 

 The firing on the tourist bus a couple of days ago happened in the old part of Delhi which is grossly congested and has narrow lanes.  That part is not particularly safe even in the best of times.  I do not think we would have the same situation in the Games arena or the places where sports people will be staying. Games are not happening in Old Delhi. Of course, it is important for all people including sports people to be mindful of the security environment before they venture out to areas which are generally a “no go” area in any city anywhere in the world.  I myself would not go to Old Delhi unless it is extremely necessary.  

 The Games facilities will be ready by the time the games start on 3rd October 2010.  They still have 10 days before the commencement of games. Only minor work, mostly cleaning, is yet to be done. The athletes village will be up and running with all the facilities by the time the games start.  The organisers and workers are working round the clock to get things done within days.  It is of course disappointing,  and to some extent embarrassing for us as Indian Australians to see the delay in getting the facilities ready.  Unfortunately, Delhi had 60-70% more monsoon rains this year which of course has added to problems but all stadia are already ready.  I have seen the photographs and comments of this fact. 

 India has had terrorist attacks and they have mostly originated and been masterminded from across the border.  Just like London, Bali, New York or Madrid, New Delhi will not be immune to a terrorist attack.  Having said that, I do not believe there is a very high chance (contrary to the claims in various media outlets) of a terrorist attack during the Games. I argue that the chance of a terrorist attack is minimal.  The reason for this is the fact that India has conducted IPL games without any untoward  incident for a couple of years.    In IPL games, there were many non-Indian players.  The Indian security apparatus including Indian army will provide a fool proof security for the venues and places where the games will be conducted.  People should not forget that India holds two big national events every year, namely the grand parade on the Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) when the whole political leadership including Prime Minister is present in the Parade venue, without any incident.  India can provide guaranteed security for a demarcated place or places but like any country in the world, it can never guarantee every place from terrorism. Sports arenas and athletes village will be demarcated places and Indian security apparatus is fully capable to do its job to protect them.

There have been concerns raised about Dengue fever in Delhi.  These concerns have created an unnecessary alarm.  Delhi is not the only city in the world which has Dengue fever.  Dengue fever is a problem in congested places such as slums or shanty towns but I do not believe sports people will be visiting or staying in those places.  The athletes village will, I believe, not have the situation where sports people will be  impacted by Dengue fever. Of course, they have to follow the advice about avoiding mosquito bite which will be given to them  by their own medical advisors as a matter of course. I and my family visit Delhi every year and have never suffered from Dengue fever. Preventive measures, of course, are crucial for every visitor.

There is a tendency in the international media to hype up and often exaggerate the issues in India which tends to create an unnecessary alarm among those who are going there.   The issues are there but they are not insurmountable. India will prove the alarm creators wrong and will hold a successful CWG.

Undoubtedly, India should have been ready with the construction and building works at least three months before, but this did not happen, leading to  much embarrassment for everyone including India as a nation and Indians all over the world.  There is a culture in India which we often call “Chalta Hai” which basically means that everything will be alright even when it does not appear to be the case. Before the D day comes, we create unnecessary chaos but  however still deliver the outcome.  This culture needs to change with some significant speed. We need to start following targets in a timely fashion. We need to start delivering outcomes in a planned and timely manner. 

There is no doubt that the credibility of India and Indian Government is on the line but having known India so well and having spoken with high ranking officials from the Government, I believe that India will deliver a very successful CWG. 

Jai Ho to Delhi  CWG 2010 and Jai Ho to all the participants in these Games!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/22nd Sept, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

singhyadu@gmail.com