Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.

–DC Holocaust Museum

There are few things that horrify us nowadays, inured as we are to the pain and suffering of others. Exposed to movies like SAW where people are shown having their arms pulled out of their sockets and to television images of men with half their brains blown off, a whole generation of violence zombies have been created for whom cruelty to human beings leaves as much effect as that of watching the blood of aliens being splattered in video games.

Of course there are times when people are able to rise above their apathy and ennui as in the case of the Priyadarshini Mattoo case and force the hand of justice despite the attempts of the high-and-the-mighty to twist it for their advantage. Those are indeed, empowering moments—-when we as a people realize that we are not as powerless as we like to believe and that the sons of politicians and policemen are not as above the law as they like to think.

Of course these moments come few. And far in between.

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The Howitzer


As the year comes to a close, it is time for awards. And I am pleased to announce that the Greatbong Award for Excellence in Journalism (The Howitzer), 2006 goes to IndiaDaily for the high quality of news coverage, innovations, ethics and flowing English prose that has come to be associated with it.

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The Greatbong Fashion Line


Inspired by Frans Johansson’s “The Medici Effect” with its theme of how innovation can be made to happen by mixing disparate cultural influences in unusual ways, I have decided to unleash the Greatbong signature line of clothing, a heady cocktail of Mithunism, voodoo art, intellectual bankruptcy and the desire to make a buck.

Frankly the need to get into the garment design industry is something I have felt for long—the world desperately craves for a line of fashion that appeals to an alternate aesthetic, apparel that pokes you in the eye with a statement, a collection of garments that cry out “This IS me”, a force of nature that does to the “Gandhi” penstroke and the Che-Bob Marley T-shirt design what Attila the Hun did to the Roman Empre.

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The Urbane Murderer


The HBO documentary “The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl”, that premièred this Tueday is the story of two people: very similar to each other in terms of having had a privileged upbringing, having being high achievers in school and having achieved success in their respective professions at a very early age.

One of them is Daniel Pearl, a “rising star” journalist with the Wall Street Journal— a musician, a humanist and a true “liberal”.

And the other: Omar Sheikh, an urbane British-public-school educated Muslim fundamentalist who had made a name for himself in the world of Jihad with his masterfully executed kidnappings. [Yes the same Omar Sheikh who was released by India (along with his spiritual guru Azhar Masood, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed) during the IC814 crisis.]

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