Which side to root for ?


I am a cheerleader at heart (definitely not physically). An objective observer is supposed to look at an issue dispassionately—and that’s something I sometimes have a hard time doing. Like it or not, I do implicitly take sides on any issue and the Gujrat riots of 2002 is something you cannot be neutral about . The problem is that I do not know, even after 2 years, which side should I be rooting for ?

There are the obvious villians—people in whom I see no redeeming qualities. Narendra Modi—who as the CM of Gujarat oversaw and passively abetted the massacre of hundreds of Muslims. Praveen Togadia , Ashok Singhal and their gang—rabble rousing , vitriol sprouting demagogues. I knew I wasnt on their side….there were some points I agreed with them on but in the final analysis I would never be caught dead in their camp.

I thought I knew whose side I was on–Zaheera’s. A lone victim raising her voice against the perpetrators while all around her, others had been intimidated into silence. Even when she recanted her evidence in front of the Gujrat High Court (which led to charges being dropped against her tormentors) I still sympathized with her—it was obvious there were limits to her courage. Then things changed. The Supreme Court, in one of the biggest and most courageous judicial decisions in independent India, overturned the High Court judgement and shifted the case to Mumbai observing that the environment in Modi’s Gujrat would never give Zaheera justice.

Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism Combat then took Zaheera under her wings and then she again turned hostile this time accusing Teesta Setalvad of forcibly co-ercing her into falsely accusing people in addition to keeping her prisoner. Subsequent investigations showed that Zaheera left Mumbai three times unescorted by Teesta or her associates and so there was no question of her being kept forcibly confined. And now everyone’s favorite hidden-cam specialists, the folks at Tehelka.com have come out with a bombshell—–Zaheera has taken 17 lacs from the BJP to accuse Teesta Setalvad ! The innocent victim actually started bargaining at 25 lacs and settled for 17—not a bad bargain. If Zaheera was really that afraid of the Hindu fundamentalists (as we initially thought she was ) I am sure she would not be bargaining—if Dawood Ibrahim calls me on my cell and asks me to sell my car to him for $100 (which I would be glad to do considering the state of my car) I really wont say “Hmmm how about $400” !

So is the hero of the story Teesta Setalvad, the fearless campaigner who has championed the cause of an ingrate victim ? Alas that is not to be also—Ms Setalvad belongs to a highly blighted, anti-Hindu, India-bashing organization (sabrang.com) whose credits include having a map of India with Kashmir “not there” and running a magazine “Communalism Combat” which has consistently taken a sensationalist, biased stance against Hindu nationalist parties. Let’s look at some instances:

Her comments about the original Godhra incident:

Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that ‘while I condemn today’s gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilisation to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.’ [Washington Post]

Doesnt this sound exactly like the justification of Modi and Togadia whose main argument was that “Muslims deserved it” and who justify violence with the theory of “prior provocation”! What’s the difference between that and the above statement which drives home the point that Kar Sevaks deserved to die !

Tavleen Singh, in an article on Indian Express, launched into Sabrang which prompted an equally robust retort from Ms Setalvad. In response to the allegation that she always sees one half of the problem, Ms Setalvad points out that her magazine “Communalism Combat” has carried articles about atrocities on Hindus (Kashmiri Pandits) in Kashmir and elsewhere in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as the persecution of Sikhs in 1984 . To strengthen her argument she furnishes the titles of articles in her magazine that relate to these issues.

But one look at her archives is enough to convince one of the speciousness of her arguments. For every one article on atrocities on Hindus, there are 20 others on atrocities on minorities in India. Let’s look at some examples of her unbiased reporting:

“One year later, the Genocide in Gujarat continues through social and economic boycott of Muslims in atleast 10 of the 24 districts of the State and a politically vindictive state headed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi seeks to subvert all criminal investigations into the incidents of violence last year.”

Genocide??? Hello….social and economic boycott used to be known as Gandhian struggle—when did it come to be known as genocide ? Can any Indian bleeding heart liberal look me in the eye and tell me that one year later there is genocide going on in Gujrat where the word genocide is used in the same meaning as it is used to refer to the holocaust and the Khmer Rouge atrocities ? Another”headline” from archived articles: “India– Where Mass Murderers Go Unpunished”: ummm Jaikishen the Ripper must be very happy !

Secular magazine —let’s look at another extract from an archived issue :

Why don’t Muslims and Christians unite?
The coming together of the country’s largest religious minorities – both targets of Hindutva – is in their own and the nation’s interest, says a Christian priest.

…….. From the scriptural and practical angles, there are more compelling reasons for these two religious communities (Islam and Christianity) to come together than to remain separate. For one thing, unity is of the essence for these two faiths. That is what supposedly distinguishes them from other religions — Hinduism, for example. As a matter of fact, this has been the main point of resentment against them.

Over here, “Communalism Combat” makes an impassioned appeal for Muslims and Christians to join hands against Hindus whom they are “distinguished from ” with the underlying assumption being there is no “unity” inside the Hindu faith— does this seem to you to be a very objective, non-judgemental article with no religious bias?

Now lets look at the articles Ms Teesta Setalvad refers to as examples of her balanced handling of issues. “Talibanization of Kashmir”—just the name conjures up a piece on the growing Islamic fundmentalism in the state fostered by ISI-Saudi money and foreign-trained Jihadis. Wrong ! The article opens with this:

Post-Kargil, imported mujahideen are pedalling a Talibanised Islam in the Valley. And succeeding in good measure, thanks to the unholy nexus between the BJP-led government at the Centre and an unscrupulous National Conference in the state”

And another:

The nearly 8,000 Kashmiri Pandits still living in the Valley and determined to stay put there feel bitter that the rest of India — the J&K and the central government, fellow Pandits who have migrated in large numbers, the sangh parivar and the Shiv Sena which pretends to speak for them and Indians in general — are insensitive to their predicament”

Yes thats it ! The BJP and the National Conference are to blame for the Talibanization of Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandits are actually angry at the BJP and Shiv Sena rather than the kind hearted people who drove them away from their homeland! Something I had suspected all along. Elsewhere:

“This weakness of the Kashmiri movement that is fast-losing its Kashmiri identity — and, for this a variety of factors are responsible — is more than compensated on the other side. RSS and even more extreme brands of Hindu nationalism are gaining currency among Hindus in Jammu, as elsewhere in the country.”

So the way things stand: Kashmiri “terrorism” is a “movement” and “social and economic boycott” is “genocide”—their own words condemn their facade of impartiality.

One of the things Sabrang has been less than transparent about has been the source of their funds. And they have never denied nor confirmed that they are funded by Saudi money (yes the same people who fund extremist madrasas in India) and by Christian evangelists. If you go to sabrang.com (today is Dec 22) you would see a link for “Our Sponsors”. Click on it and you get a 404 error—need I say more !

I could go on forever highlighting the doublespeak of Ms Teesta Setalvad and her cronies. But the point I want to make is that the “victims” in the Best Bakery Case are in many ways even more dangerous than the perpetrators. Praveen Togadia and their ilk are easily-identifiable madmen whom you either follow blindly or you dont–they do not claim an intellectual basis for their arguments. But the victim and the honest , secular crusader are different kettles of fish altogether—they easily win your support because “they are in the right”. Only in this case the victim is a blackmailing, scheming turncoat and the crusader has a hidden agenda. Whom do you trust ? Whose side are you on ? Who is the victim ?

There is no truth anymore—only compromises.


Why Oh Why !


I wonder why nobody don’t like me
Or is it the fact that I’m ugly?————Harry Belafonte

I wonder why noone ever reads my blog. There isn’t a single comment anywhere. Of course that gives my blog an untrampelled virgin forest look. Which needless to say I don’t much care for. It’s not that I have not tried publicizing my blog—–I have sent the URL to my friends, casually brought it up in conversations, carelessly left the address in my email signature, put it on orkut—-but no matter what I do, the comments section remain as bare as a Somalian granary.

And yet I see other people’s blogs. Chock full of comments —-for inane posts that you would think anyone would find tough commenting on ! And here in my blog I do not usually concern you with boring details of my life , instead concentrating on items culled from the headlines—issues that everyone would , in all probability, have some opinion on. People write about their dreams, what they had for breakfast, how much work they have pending (and yet of course having the time to blog), whether they are afflicted with a bad case of flatulence—things which I cannot conceive would be of any interest to anyone other than yourself. Yet I see that it works—even strangers are interested in your hobby of “having coffee at desolate coffee shops” while noone cares much for my musings on sensational issues.

Is it because people find my blogs offensive? Even then people would flame me–which I am quite happy with. At least I am not getting ignored–getting a bad name implies that you got a name for yourself. Are my blogs poorly written ? Now I cannot comment on that (well yes I can—I think I am Pulitzer material) but some of the blogs that get heavily commented can by no means be called high art. Am I not the right person ? I think the answer lies here—from my exhaustive research into what makes blogs work and what not my conclusion is that I am not the “One”. If I was I would have to be:

1) A few years younger. I am too old to be hep: at 28 becoming 29 in a few days I am becoming a “has-been”. I saw India win the World Cup , Mithun Chakraborty jiggle to “Everybody dance with Papa-pa , everybody dance with Mama” , went for a holiday to Kashmir——-in short I have had experiences which today’s youth cannot empathize with. Blogging and reading blogs is essentially an young man’s activity and it does not help that almost none of my same-aged friends from school/college are bloggers.

2) Be a woman. It’s a fact. Guys (even girls) are so interested in the small details of a woman’s life that any utterance, however inane, acquires the status of profundity.

3) Be a woman who uses men’s words. By that I mean swear a lot albeit in a feminine way. Call yourself a “bitch” , ” a slut for love” , ” attention whore”——-and you got yourself a ready-made audience lapping up every pearl of wisdom from your lips (or as they would call it—“verbal vagina”)

4) Be an intellectual woman who uses men’s words. Nothing attracts and intimidates men for like the chick with brains. Do some namedropping—–and guys will be falling over themselves to show that they appreciate your refined tastes.

5) Be an intellectual woman who uses men’s words and smokes. A picture of a girl smoking a cigarette is always cool. While in the world of Hindi movies this symbolizes the villain’s immoral moll, in the world of blogging it means “Don’t mess with me—I can swallow smoke”. Be prepared for a flood of “May I do friendship with you” postings.

6) Be an intellectual woman who uses men’s words and smokes and professes to be bisexual/bicurious. Yes the definite showstopper. There is something about bisexuality in women that conjures up all kinds of emotions in guys. This is not an “emotion” by my wife’s definition but suffice to say that this is the deepest emotion most guys are likely to feel. Plus a confession of bisexuality is the symbol of ultimate hepness—–with one little word you are now a liberal, a fearless closet-breaker and an honest and upfront humanist . At the very least you are hot. A fan following soon follows.

I suppose I shall have to be content with shouting in a dark room with padded walls.

The Dhamaka Never Stops

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I had vowed not to write about the DPS Dhamaka thing again. But everyone knows how good I am with promises and secrets. In any case, the recent happenings triggered off by that infamous” romp in the hay” is too significant not to be commented upon. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would already have known that DPS Dhamaka has been sending people to the slammer faster than you can say “Delhi Public School” —-first an IIT kid who tried to peddle the smut on Baazee.com (an e-Bay India affiliate), then the guy who was in the tape and who distributed it in the first place and then the tour-de-grace — the CEO of Baazee.com, Avnish Bajaj. What began as two schoolkids experimenting with each other (sounds very “researchy”) has now snowballed into an international incident with Condy Rice taking up the case of the jailed CEO with the Indian government.

No wonder India has become an IT superpower—sell smut online on an auction site and the cyber-savvy cops will round you up in the blink of an eye. However if you go the “bricks-and-mortar approach” and sell the same thing at Pallika Bazar the cops cannot touch you. Well let me correct that: raids are often conducted at Pallika Bazar —it’s just that the shops open the next day a few rupees poorer. However none of the sagacious law-enforcement officials think of arresting the Delhi mayor or the local corporation councillor for the smut sold at Pallika Bazar; after all if the CEO of Baazee is arrested so should they be. If he was making money off smut, so is the Delhi municipality by taxing the shop selling smut.

Don’t the cops in our country have anything better to go on a arrest orgy for something that is ultimately nothing more than a morality issue ? When will the government learn the difference between parenting and administration ? If the cops have nothing better to do or are just in the mood of arresting people let me show them something that they can do.

An issue which is far more alarming than any Dhamaka or Dhamal or whatever they choose to dub the whole sordid mess—-25% of government school teachers do not go to school (except to draw their paychecks obviously). This is the second worst teacher-truancy percentage (after Uganda) and is far worse than the truancy rates in Bangladesh and Zambia. How about a few arrests there –eh guvnor ?

The man, the machine….Laloo


I called up my good friend Laloo Prasad Yadav, a modern day icon who just happens to be selflessly devoting his time nowadays as the Railway minister. Before I tell you what we discussed, I must say that the sacrifices this man has made for the nation simply amazes me: letting his wife forgo her conjugal duties to be the chief minister of Bihar, depriving himself of an education for the larger good of fostering Dalit power, fathering eight kids to strengthen the country, endeavouring to make Bihar a cricketing powerhouse by himself becoming the president of the State Association and making his son the captain of the junior cricket team———in short a man of action for whom personal benefits and the well being of his family are of no concern.

So as I was saying he was rather surprised to get my call. …….he said that virtually all the people on the caller list on his cell phone had their cellphones recently confiscated thanks to the raids conducted at different jails. Right away the greatness of the man came to the fore: full of the milk of human kindness, he takes calls from cell inmates on their cells—while other states punish offenders by putting them in harsh conditions in jails, Bihar under his guidance has elevated itself to a higher plane of humanity where the crime is punished and not the criminals.
The tragedy with crime is that one small mistake tarnishes your life forever and it is impossible to be accepted in society or get a job once convicted. In true visionary style, Laloo has embraced these fallen souls by making them ministers and MLAs/MPs and shown society that it is possible to rehabilitate criminals. Four walls do not a prison make and nowhere is this more true than the land of Taxila and Nalanda.

Laloo pointed out that the high court mandated raid on Bihar prisons was one more manifestation of the conspiracy hatched by the “communal forces” to defame the “pipul” (which is how Laloo-ji refers to himself) [Webster spells it as “people” but Webster was part of a clique of Bramhin conspirators]. Why shouldnt people in jail be allowed to smoke some joints, a cigarette or two, chew gutkha, drink a bottle of whisky and more importantly what right does anyone have to snatch away things people paid a lot of money to procure? After all as he jocularly pointed out: if we let these people rule the country where they can ruin other people—why do we even bother if they ruin themselves with some addicitives ? Laloo does have a sense of humor !

I said I had called him because some of these elitist papers were saying that Bihar is becoming even more a hell-hole with its recent spates of kidnappings of doctors and engineers. Things have reached such a stage that Bihari doctors are now asking for guns. Laloo listened to be patiently and I heard a soft musical laugh at the other end—-he pointed out that he sees nothing wrong in that…all the doctors in the hospital he and his family go for health checkups have always had guns or at least could legally have one. I was not prepared for that one—so I asked him where is that? He said “Arre buddhu (stupid) dont you know its legal to have guns in Texas?” Of course I had forgotten that Laloo in his infinte wisdom does not put pressure on the overworked health administation in his own state for the care of himself and his family—he selflessly comes all the way to US. [A lot of other politicians do this of course but as we all know “what Laloo thinks today, India thinks tomorrow and the world just scratches its head day after tomorrow”]

He continued with his brand of irrefutable logic. Kidnapping means stealing kids who are napping–doctors and engineers are grown-up men. So this talk of kidnapping is again, you guessed it, a conspiracy by communal forces. It’s just that many of his friends who are in jail want to express their love and admiration for doctors and engineers (our nation builders) ; that is why they have made arrangements to pick up doctors and engineers from their place of work and take them on surprise trips. Laloo quipped that doctors and engineers are overworked, overstressed people who need some alone time away from patients and family so that they can recharge their batteries and that is exactly what his friends want to provide them—the element of surprise is what makes these soujourns even more enjoyable. And Laloo pointed out that this sudden whiff of freedom has so electrified the medical community in Patna that they are enmasse getting their phone numbers changed and not seeing patients after 5:00—–that way they have more alone time.

To be honest I had not looked at the problem like this. But then again I always thought that plastic was more convenient in trains than kulchas. Of course I was wrong ! The thriving kulcha making community in Bihar is an example of the social change small selfless decisions can make in even large corporations like the Indian railways. Laloo of course was also miffed at the High Court decision to ban nude dances at cattle fairs—it seems everyone wants to kill the Bihari tourism industry—-he pointed out the hypocricy engaged in by the upper-class intellegentsia–a boy and girl (underaged) engaging in lewd acts is “hot”while a lower class girl liberating herself of clothes in bovine surroundings is “not”. Point taken.

I pointed out a news article which reported that many politicians claimed that they had also gotten death threats and yet people felt that this was just a “fake ruse” to divert attention from their involvement in the whole fiasco. Laloo fell strangely silent and says that he has also received death threats on his cell. But refused to elaborate. I felt that was mightily strange considering the fact that his cell is configured to accept calls ONLY from people on his contact’s list.

I was planning to ask him about bombs exploding in Patna schools but I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the handiwork of communal forces. So I let it pass. I told him that a few of my friends felt that the overall violence and lawlessness of Bihar has permeated into the minds of Biharis–how else would you explain a noted surgeon in Patna being beaten up by his wife and son (returned from US) with hockey sticks? At which point Laloo asked me the name of the doctor.. I said Dr Jankidev Prasad, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon. Laloo was silent for a while and said renowned surgeon you say—I hummed my ascent. He thought aloud–must be pretty rich….then his voice suddenly became hurried and he said ” I will call you later” and cut me off before I could say anything. I am still awaiting his call. I am sure Dr Prasad isnt.

Mad Cow Disease


I studied in the Computer Science department of Jadavpur University in Calcutta where in our year there were 52 guys and 1 girl. Other departments like Mechanical Engineering had 100 guys to 1 girl. Hooking up with members of the opposite sex outside one’s social/educational circle was much more difficult than it is today— chatting and SMS-ing was unheard of in those dark ages (1995-1999) . Testosterone-driven desperation hung thick in the air —some became hooked onto “palm piloting” , some sought solace in same-sex experiences, some stayed awake at night for the non-deterministic half-hour of Playboy TV on TB-6, many watched Sun TV’s After Dark with the sound off , the adventurous few jumped the red light. The more academically inclined, ambitious people used their frustration to motivate themselves by fantacizing about what they would do once they landed in USA after a kick-ass GRE score—straight off the plane and straight into the set of “MTV Grind”.

Even the kind of volcanic stirrings we felt were nothing comparable to what must have prompted these two fine men from Tughlaqabad (yes from a city named after a mad emperor–how appropriate) to rape a cow and stab her. I shall not go into the sickening details of this bestial act but I cannot help but wonder as to what level of desperation would make human beings stoop to this level. I do not support this dastardly act–not in one bit.(A measure of how civilized we are is how we treat animals) But on a level…yes I understand.

I remember from sociology that most people commit suicide in summer rather than winter (intuition would say that winter makes one depressed and hence winter should see higher number of suicides) because the way a depressed person looks at it is that everyone else is having fun and feeling good (this is obviously a Western summer) while I am miserable. The same sentiment is beautifully echoed in “As Good As it Gets” where the following exchange takes place.

Carol (Helen Hunt): “OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you—”
Melvin(Jack Nicholson): “It’s not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.”

With so many young people in India now indulging their basic instincts (see my post DPS Dhamaka) , the gap between the haves and the have-nots (in this case the “getting-it” and the “getting-it-not”s) becomes even more unbearable for the people in the second category. And this cow incident is just a manifestation of that “unbearable heaviness of not getting”.

A question that intrigues me is : given that such a woeful incident has happened ,how will the moral guardians react? Well they could have reacted in a wrong fashion–like the big guys at DPS do. Their latest boo-boo is the moral stricture imposed by the principal which makes girls compulsorily wear “flannel trousers” (Trust me sir that won’t help matters any) . For once however the moral guardians have got it right with respect to the cow incident….and it needed the sagacious government of Bihar to show us the light. [After all if the Yadavs do not look after cows who will ?]

The Bihar judiciary (technically not the government but law and Bihar, as we all know, are oxymorons) has banned, yes sir banned, naked dance shows at cattle fairs. Now this is the kind of jurisprudence I always approve–plain and simple common sense striking at the root cause of problems. Naked ladies dancing near cows is an aberration of nature and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. It puts cows at further risk of molestation and I am surprised that this was allowed to continue for so long. But at least once the authorities have gotten it right and I am sure all the cows will heave or should I say moo a sigh of relief at this example of judicial activisim. Not so lucky the girls of DPS who shall have to slip in (and out ) of flanneled trousers for some time to come.

DPS Dhamaka


A friend (who declined to be indentified), a beacon of high morality, always used to tell me that the students of DPS (Delhi Public School) are , by and large, debauched rich kids who go to school for merry -making. Which in my opinion is exactly how a school should be—Riverdale, the school at Beverly Hills 90210 , DPS and of course my alma-mater South Point High School (which rocks yo !) have all strived to impart knowledge without forgetting ” a little bit of Erica on the side”.

My friend’s worst notion about DPS was confirmed this week by the sex -tape (or clip cause its very brief and retails for Rs 40 at Palika Bazar) that has become the rage all over the nation. (As an aside, this sex-tape has made the MMS market in India just like Halo made it for the XBox). Of course the moral guardians are shocked—–as if the fact that this class 11 couple were engaging in lewd acts was not enough, the boy and girl were unrepentant —the boy sold this clip for Rs 100 each to his pals (a profit of 150% over the market price–good business sense) and the girl told the principal that she found nothing wrong in it and everyone was doing it closing her argument by asking the principal–“Don’t you” ? Touche.

The school retaliated in the same way institutions usually do—by expelling the concerned students. What puzzles me is how it is the school’s call to expel two students engaging in consensual “exploratory” acts —-it’s just another case of institutions acting as moral guardians . This is just a manifestation of a wider malaise: of governments, schools and other institutions getting their “briefs” wrong—-each of them try to transcend their primary responsibilities (governance and education) in order to impose a code of morality on their subjects.

As an example of this , the Indian government has enshrined in the Indian Penal Code the definition of “acts against Nature” (which includes homosexuality and many of the stuff that make sex enjoyable) which empower them, theoretically, to arrest anyone engaged in such lewdity even when it is consensual and private. [Recently a Supreme court judgment ruled that homosexuality cannot be accepted as normal and should remain an “act against Nature”—the way a venerable judge is allowed to impose his own personal bias on the entire country is scandalous]. Similar is the government’s viewpoint on pornography and prostitution : it goes on everywhere and we all know that it does (just like school sex) —but it is technically a crime.

And so the newspapers have gone to town blaming this incident on the increasing promiscuity of our culture. Which is a load of crap. The desire to do “illicit” things is basic human nature (from Eve partaking the apple)—something that does not change with age. It’s just that chat and cellphones have made it easier for girls and guys to find like-minded versions of each other and indulge in stuff which our generation could not. And that was not because we didn’t want to but because we didn’t have the opportunity.

Coming back to the controversy, DPS banned the use of cell phones inside the school after the incident…….Hello? It’s the camera inside the cellphone that took the pictures not the cellphone. And the acts were not on school premises—-how will the school prevent camera phones/digicams at home? As usual in their obscene hurry to do something (about which nothing can be done) the DPS authorities did something that makes no sense.

In conclusion , the boy and the girl in question do not deserve to be punished. One of them has shown good business sense in selling something (over which he does not have exclusive ownership) at a premium and laudable business ethics. While management usually sits and lords over the workers and eats off their labor, here is one who is doing the “dirty” work himself. The girl has shown true scientific temper in wanting to experiment (a latter day Madame Curie). One has to remember it’s not just sex (which is ho-hum) but sex in front of the camera like Paris Hilton and Pam Anderson. If the sex video boosted the careers of these fine ladies why is it that this girl now stands a pariah ? It’s notjust getting horizontal that she should be remembered for but for the fact that she stood up for her convictions in front of the principal and won a point—now if that’s not courage under fire pray tell me what is? I say to these fine examples of youth : may your tribe increase. As old George Bush would say: victory to the coalition of the willing ! Amen.