Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Beggars: A Case Study

Beggars were put on Earth as a source of our amusement. They may go by other names such as homeless or hobos,  but they all exist solely to have fun poked at them. It is a scientific fact established by the Beggar Study Institute of England. In the mid-1960s, the Institute dissected several beggars, each coming from a separate country. All the subjects shared some common properties. No souls were found within the bodies. A thin layer of insult-absorbing membranes were found just below the skin. None of the beggars had tear-ducts. A unanimous conclusion was reached; the lack of soul made it morally acceptable to poke fun at beggars while the insult-absorbing membranes and the absence of tear ducts meant beggars were well suited to being made fun of.

One scholar even came up with the theory of devolution, that beggars actually devolved from poor people (a lower class of human being) through a process of natural selection. This theory received a lot of attention and was both praised and criticized.
It says so clearly in The Holy <insert name of fictional book> that beggars were put on Earth as a source of our amusement. This theory is blasphemy." "There is no way the beggar's perfectly adapted anatomy occurred simply by chance." "The theory of devolution is brilliant and will revolutionise the way we study beggars." "It is just a theory. I mean, if beggars came from poor people, then why are there still poor people?" "It is human nature to not stray from our comfort zone. We need to understand that the theory of devolution does not push us out of our comfort zone but rather expand it. The Earth is not the centre of the Universe, the world is not flat and beggars came from poor people.
The theory of devolution is still being debated but one thing is very clear - beggars, homeless, hobos or whatever you choose to call them are lesser beings than us and it is only natural to make fun of them.

Now that you possess the background knowledge, I would like to introduce you to some of the different species of beggars which I come across regularly in my neighbourhood.

The Stick Beggar:  This beggar hoards sticks in a hidden stockpile preparing for the Armageddon (after the bullets finally run out) so it can be a polygamist warlord when disaster strikes. This beggar is both the Alpha and the Omega. No beggar dares to question its authority because it always carries a stick and also because it has no authority and doesn't care.

The Shouter: Mostly female, a shouter uses its loud voice to issue commands to beggars in every corner of its territory in the absence of the stick beggar. Shouters are very territorial. If a rival shouter walks into another shouter's territory they will shout, yell and scream at each other until one of their lungs give in. Shouters are also used to communicate over long distances.

The Rollers: Rollers have less than two legs. Their legs were taken as payment by sadistic loan sharks when they failed to return the money owed. As a result they have to ride around in tricycle-wheelchair hybrids, thus earning the name of roller. The roller is a social beggar. There are several in my street. They stay close to each other and share their earnings.

The Stripper: This beggar knows all the classic stripper moves and would someday like to 'work it' in Las Vegas. Until then she crawls an all fours like a cat stalking her prey and climbs up all sorts of poles like lamp poles and telephone poles. Or it might be because her muscles have atrophied and her legs alone are not enough to support her body weight.

That one beggar who rapes deaf chicks: Not joking. This guy is for real.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A Thousand Words for Farce Part 1 : The Trial

[Disclaimer: This will post views that will most likely oppose yours. If you have a problem with that, and will get your panties in a bunch after reading this and proceed to swear at me mindlessly, stop reading.]

Flashback to 1971. Pakistan and the then East Pakistan are at war. Bangladesh has declared independence and it's nine month struggle towards that goal is ongoing. On the side of the Pakistani soldiers are some collaborators, terming themselves shanti committees (peace committees). These peace committees are Bangladeshis who want a united Pakistan. They are Muslim. And before someone starts saying this is me ranting about religion, no. Hindu-Muslim divides were the basis on which Pakistan and India separated. These shanti committees were against the independence of Bangladesh as the war was about language and oppression and they viewed this as fighting Muslim brothers. The shanti committees carried out heinous crimes. They murdered, raped and ordered complete annexes of villages. For 40 odd years, they got away scot free. Hell they even had political stands as the fundamentalist political party Jamaat-E-Islami, making ministers and leaders of the collaborators of the Pakistani army. The current govt., after screeching about it for years, finally took it upon themselves to bring the war criminals to justice. And so, various leaders (including former ministers) of Jamaat and BNP, the main opposition party who were in coalition with Jamaat, were rounded up and brought to trial in front of the newly formed International Crimes Tribunal (ICT). The International Crimes Tribunal may have International in the name but it's a wholly national matter.

Mass protests have erupted after the ICT delivered it's second verdict. The first, of Abul Kalam Azad, was a death sentence. The second one was not. Kader Mollah got off sentenced to life in prison. After that, if you'll excuse my French, shit hit the fan. Or actually, things were starting to boil even before that. Jamaat had called hartals (strikes) multiple times before the verdict and at one point, even threatened civil war. After this verdict, they went quiet. But what no one anticipated was the uproar of the general populace. Thousands flocked to Shahbagh, which has now been termed "Projonmo Chottor" (Generation Circle) after a brief stint as Shahbagh Square. They've been there since the day of the verdict. They say they'll stay there till the sentence is changed to a death sentence. When I went there on Wednesday, the first thing I saw was an ominous effigy, hanging silently from the traffic lights. In the main circle, speeches, chants and songs sound out (since then, they've added microphones and speaker systems), Some of these chants included "Kader Mollah jobai chai" (I want the slaughter of Kader Mollah) and the crowd favourite, "faashi chai" (I want a hanging).

Not the effigy I was talking about, couldn't find a picture of that, but you get the point.

Now as to my standpoint on this. I have never advocated capital punishment. I still do not. I never will. That's just me. I cannot under any circumstance bring myself to go there and scream "faashi chai". In fact, what I saw at Shahbagh repulsed me. Bloodlusted animals. That is what we've become in that square.

Let me explain further; the ICT is a farce (and this is a word I shall use often). I'll break up why the ICT is a farce into three parts.

1) The judiciary is not independent. It claims to be but come on, Bangladeshis know better than that. And there's a certain Economist article which seems to suggest my accusation might be right. Govt. pressure was definitely there on the tribunal. Whether they caved to it or not, is another issue and I will not say for sure they did.

2) The evidence is farcical. Hell, they're lucky they got a decision at all. Most of what happened in these courts was hearsay. Hearsay. How does hearsay EVER have any weight in a court of law? There were "eye-witnesses" sure. Most contradicted themselves by giving different versions of their stories on the stand and in the interview with the Investigation Officer. The others were unreliable, mostly Awami League (the ruling govt.) supporters. That is of course not to say their statements should not be counted. As eye witnesses they are the key, heck, the only pieces of evidence in a trial 40 years overdue. But if this were a court adhering to international standards, yeah, no. Nowhere near sufficient evidence.

3) And speaking of international standards, the ICT was nowhere near it. When the foreign minister came out after the verdict of Abul Kalam Azad and said that the trial met "the requirements of fair trial in compliance with the standards invoked in other trials of international crimes committed around the globe and historically", it was laughable. Witness intimidation was rampant, the number of defence witnesses were randomly curtailed, summons were not given out for defence witnesses, defence cases closed before they got the chance to summon a witness, etc. One witness was even abducted outside the courtroom. Forget international standards, this doesn't even live up to Bangladeshi standards.

Lets assume that the ICT did resist govt. pressure. According to a friend, who's father is a judge at ICT-2 (the court where Kader Mollah was tried), Kader Mollah was not tried for first degree murder whereas Abul Kalam Azad, or as he is better known now, Bacchu Razakar, was. Bacchu pulled the trigger himself. Kader didn't. Kader handed out orders. Thus he cannot be tried for first degree murder and was thus instead charged as having "complicity" to murder. When someone is charged for this, they, by law, cannot receive a death sentence. The highest level of punishment available to them, is life imprisonment and thus Bacchu received the death penalty while Kader was sentenced to life in prison.

Let's now assume that the govt. did get their way (which is not all that unlikely). Why would they want to lower his sentence? If anything this govt. desired more than stuffing cash down their pockets (or sarees), it was to get this war crimes thing done and dusted. One theory is that they caved to Jamaati pressure. Jamaat is a fundamentalist party. Fundamentalists are generally synonymous with fanatics. So when Jamaat threatened civil war, they could very well carry it out. So to keep them happy, they could've lowered the man's sentence.

The guilty party
Now thousands upon thousands have invaded Shahbagh to scream for his blood. I will not call this a well orchestrated govt. plot. They're not smart enough for this type of foresight. But what they want, a death penalty, is quite unattainable. The man was tried as complicity not as first degree murder. You can't give him death for that. For the govt. to overrule this would be to overrule the entire justice system, the law and democracy itself and embrace totalitarian fascism. For them to overrule it would set a dangerous precedent that might well come back to bite them in the ass one day. Completely possible in the vindictive world of the two dynasties of Bangladeshi politics. They cannot appeal this decision, by law. The only possible appeal the prosecution have is on the one charge Kader was acquitted. But that crime seems no worse than the rest, and to increase his sentence based on it, would be unjust. Don't get me wrong. The guy is guilty, I don't doubt that. He's a bastard and he deserves the highest punishment. But the verdict that the court has given should not be overruled on sentiment and emotion. If it is, why did we bother with a trial at all?

Corrigendum and Updates:
 I had stated that a death penalty was not possible for his charges. That is wrong. Under the ICT act, a judge has discretion to give anyone any punishment they deem is worthy of the crime for which that person is convicted. Not only that, for charges 5 and 6, he was convicted of more than complicity. Now, to give him death on the first three charges would be insane. They don't even have proof that the man was even at the scene of the crime. Normally, first degree murder and terrorism are the only charges for which one gets death penalties so we eliminate those three. For the next two, as has been pointed out to me and to which I agree, he COULD have gotten a death penalty. As to why he didn't, my thoughts are that it is because of failure on the part of the prosecution. To both cases, he was proven to have been at the scene of the crime, to have given moral support, to have been involved in planning and to have played a larger part than complicity. Now, for this, a death penalty could have been given out. But the prosecution could neither prove that he himself carried out any crimes at the scene nor that he had given orders for these crimes to be carried out. Three judges, then based on the evidence, unanimously convicted him guilty and handed him life imprisonments. To have given him a death penalty, would have been acceptable, but highly questionable and probably a bit extreme. I apologize for my mistake, but have not made a change in my standpoint of this entire farcical affair and it's fallout. 

Also, an update on a statement I made regarding whether the govt. could appeal this conviction. The law ministry has confirmed that it will be proposing an amendment to the ICT act so that they may appeal for a higher sentence.

For more reading in the meanwhile:

Bangladesh War Crimes Blog - British journo David Bergman has been following the trials from start to finish (though has been inactive since Bacchu's verdict). Read more on the witness intimidation and things I mentioned here.

Verdict summary of Kader in the Daily Star - Each case is talked about in detail here.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Vassar, cripples and some other pointless nonsense


I’m tired. It’s 2:23 AM, and I want to sleep. Yet I’m sitting here, writing inane gibberish for absolutely no good reason. I do like blogs. I like how they never completely vanish. They just sit there, tucked away in some desolate, forgotten corner of cyberspace, waiting for its writer/admin/whoever to come back to it. I’m not back by the way. I’m just saying hi. If I post again this month, then maybe consider this a prolonged visit. Like malaria. Which by the way is no laughing matter. Especially with all these annoying mosquitoes all around me. Third world problems and whatnot.
You know what else is a third world problem? Laundry. No, I’m not going to say the stereotypical, douchy thing and say “the lack of I mean”. No, here in the third world, with our long standing practice of slavery in the form of domestic help dragged from villages to clean houses, children here don’t learn how to wash their own clothes. I have no idea how to do laundry. If I had to, I’d probably end up mixing the colours with the whites, rubbing it down with shampoo and leave it to dry in the bathroom. And then my clothes would be ruined. I already have self esteem issues, I don’t need to add to it by blaming myself for destroying my cheap, child labour produced garments.
So the reason I’m thinking of laundry so much nowadays is because I’m applying for college this month. If all goes well, I’ll leave my comfortable life here in the flood-infested heart of the Third World and head for the recession-plagued pastures of Umrika, the greatest and bestest country in the world, ever. But all never does go well. As each day passes, it seems more and more likely I won’t get in anywhere, I’ll end up staying back. And to be honest, at this moment in time, that’s not such a bad thing. Over the last year, I’ve come to love Dhaka more than ever. I think it’s because I’m somewhat gotten over my crippling social awkwardness. In fact, it doesn’t cripple me so much as it does cause an uncomfortable limp now. And there’s also the question that; would education here really be that terrible? And more importantly, do I care?


        Dhaka’s evolving, and it’s happening in front of my eyes. There’s so many cool things people my age and slightly older than me are doing in Dhaka. Hell, I’m even trying to be a part of it. And so, would I really be too upset trading in Vassar for the local, Brac University? Mind you, the chance of getting into Vassar is insanely miniscule. And I do know this pretty girl at Brac.

      Well, regardless of the some 300 words before this sentence, I will still apply. And if I don’t get in, I’ll probably try again next year. And I’ll still be very upset.

      This was so pointless. I'm sorry if you actually sat through all of this. I'll go back to making fun of poor kids next post, whenever that may be. 

    That Guy

    Sunday, 6 May 2012

    If you're under 18, don't let your Mom catch you reading this

    WARNING: The following shit is made of material you would not want to use to tailor your kid's money suit. Continuing to read means you lose all rights to complain, also, you suck.

    What is it with airline food? I mean, it tastes pretty shit but surprisingly enough you don't puke, which is doubly astonishing because you're on an aeroplane. And why are they the subject of so many incomplete groan-inducing stand up jokes?

    Another thing I don't get is why vaginas (and genitalia in general) are censored in Japanese porn.That's right, I'm 18, I can (legally) watch porn now, fuck you That Guy, fuck you conservative readers and fuck you Pakistan government (for banning porn, more on that later)! So, Japanese porn. Do Japanese men fear the VJ? Are they disgusted by it? Is it in the models' contract? Is there a law about it? Or do that have some mutual trust with porn companies which go along the lines of "We trust that under the blur there is indeed a vagina, you do not need to show it to us." The same way national banks and the public have a mutual trust regarding currency - "We will give you this amount of gold for that piece of paper, so long as you never ask for the gold ... ever!"

    I think sometime last year porn sites were banned in Pakistan. Now I didn't feel the effects of this until a month after the ban for some reason. There was talk of it in school, how people started staring lustfully at their neighbor's cats and how the mule which was previously used to pull the teachers to school in a cart was now available for 'after hours' services. I did not indulge in any of these activities because I still had my porn.

    Sorry about the crappy recent posts. Maybe That Guy will make a second part to this? Meh.

    Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Not anymore

    It would seem That Guy has been infected with I-enjoy-sympathy virus. I am sure you have all heard of it. It is this virus in action when the hot girl puts her picture online and then, illogical as it is, suggests that she does not look attractive in it. If we delve into how the body works after being infected by the IES virus, there will be no immediately visible changes. Upon closer inspection however one can begin to notice rather disturbing activity. Like that virus fucking with your cells an’ shit.

    Yeah, so That Guy’s cells an’ shit couldn’t take the abuse anymore and decided to deal who we both thought to be no-one a low blow by holding hostage the thing of highest value he could from them. For what? Some comments.

    Well, it would be pretty stupid if I posted just to criticize the last post (sorry dude). I mean, I didn’t think there were any readers either, I just didn’t care enough to make a post about it. So here’s some extra crap. Let’s see now …

    I’m listening to Rammstein a lot nowadays. Their songs are in German except for some which are sung partly in English (Pussy, Amerika) and one that I know of which is in Spanish (Te Quiero Puta!). They could be classed as Metal or Industrial Rock. I also like Buckethead, he is a guitarist. His songs are simply mind-fucking; check out Planeta. No, seriously, do it now. It is unlikely you will dislike it. If you want to know the names of some good Rammstein songs then ask in comments.

    Hmm, what to do now that that space-waster is out of the way? I could talk about anime but since none of you care about that I will put it in a later post so you can ignore it altogether.

    Oh, what minor superpower would you like to have? A minor super power is what the name suggests but I will elaborate, for two reasons:

    • I still think most of the world is too stupid
    • Space waster, hehe, but then again, what isn’t a complete waste of space on this blog? I’ll tell you what; the Cowgirls Comedy Award. Because you don’t have one of those and we take pleasure in your displeasure

    So, minor super powers. Something out of the ordinary but probably not something that would inspire you to don a cape or get clothed underwear last, that is assuming you’re a DC follower. No offence though, the only thing Marvel’s got on DC are The X-Men and with every new movie they’re dying. On one hand (of Comic Book Guy presumably) we have Batman who is a rich angry shit. On the other hand, we have Spiderman who is a lucky loser and Thor who is a magic bastard. Wait, Ironman’s a rich fuck too. Does that mean they balance out? Nope, DC’s got Watchmen. Don’t take my opinion too seriously though, the only comics (manga not included) I’ve read are ‘The Sandman’ and ‘Asterix and Obelix’. That Guy’s more into comics than me. How did it get from minor superpowers to this? Evidently I have an attention span as poor as Kenny’s family from South Park so I’ll just put up a poll for you to vote on which minor super powers you want.

    Actually, it won't be me putting up the poll, it will be That Guy, so this may take a while ...