NEA calls for Bush to fire education boss
- NEA calls for Bush to fire education boss
By Ben Feller
The National Education Association (NEA) asked President Bush yesterday to
fire Education Secretary Rod Paige for calling the union a "terrorist
The White House said Paige's job was safe.
Paige, who made his comment in a private meeting with governors Monday,
apologized for his choice of words but maintained that the union uses
"obstructionist scare tactics" in its fight over the nation's education law.
Reg Weaver, president of the union of 2.7 million teachers and other school
workers, said yesterday that those members deserve more than "unfair labels
and mean-spirited apologies."
"We have heard from thousands of educators who came home from their schools
on Monday to hear themselves and their professional organization referred to
as terrorists by the top federal education official," Weaver said.
"Our members say that, once again, this national leader has insulted them,
this time beyond repair, with words filled with hatred � and merely because
they raised legitimate concerns about the president's so-called No Child
Left Behind law."
Diana Garchow, a special-education teacher at Highland Elementary School in
Bakersfield, Calif., said: "It's scary that you can't voice an opinion in
this country without being called a terrorist. ... I don't care if it was a
joke or what it was, that was a totally inappropriate comment."
Weaver asked Bush "to express his regret to the nation's educators and
demand that Secretary Paige step down."
Paige said he is not leaving.
"I have a job to do, and that is to make sure that we remain steadfast in
our efforts to provide a quality education to all our children � every
single one," Paige said.
Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said, "The president wants the secretary to do
his job, which is to improve public education for America's schoolchildren."
Championed by Bush, the new education law calls for expanded standardized
testing, top teachers in all core classes, school choices for many parents
and several other reforms.
The NEA says it does not oppose the law but wants Congress to change some
provisions. And it wants to recruit states to sue the Bush administration
over a lack of funding for the law, a move Paige has equated to assembling a
"coalition of the whining to hold kids back."
Included in the 100-word statement that his staff characterized as an
apology was Paige's assertion that "the NEA's high-priced Washington
lobbyists have made no secret that they will fight against bringing real,
rock-solid improvements in the way we educate our children regardless of
skin color, accent or where they live."
At least two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Jim McDermott, of Washington, and
Betty McCollum, of Minnesota, called for Paige to resign or be removed from
But otherwise, Paige's comments did not seem to cause immediate fallout on
- US Slams Bangladesh for Poor Human Rights Record
The US State Department has given Bangladesh a very low score on human
rights, spotlighting the high rate of violations -- especially custodial
torture -- and the government's inaction in punishing the guilty.
"The government's human rights record remained poor, and it continued to
commit numerous serious abuses. Security forces committed a number of
extra-judicial killings," says the 33-page, annual 2003 Human Rights Report
released last week.
During the year, 81 persons died due to the use of lethal force by the
police and other security forces, while another 113 persons died in prison
and police custody. It quotes the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center for
Trauma, which recorded that there were 1,296 victims of torture and 115
deaths due to torture by security forces in 2003.
"The government rarely charged, convicted or punished those responsible, and
a climate of impunity allowed such police abuses to continue," the report
emphasizes, adding that more than 436 persons were killed and 6,281 injured
in politically motivated violence throughout the year.
However, the government rejected the State Department report as it has
earlier reports by Transparency International and Amnesty International,
which also complained of widespread corruption and human rights violations
Says Law Minister Moudud Ahmed, "We do not accept this stereotyped report as
it fails to consider the realities facing the country. They should have
included the government version."
Apart from abuses by security forces, the report refers to press reports of
vigilante killings by mobs. At least 53 bandits were lynched in 2003,
reflecting a breakdown of law and order.
Quoting the Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights, it
states that 910 people were kidnapped during the year.
The report found that Bangladesh's lower judiciary was widely involved in
corruption, leading to denial of justice for the public. But the report
points out that the higher judiciary still commands respect.
"Police were often reluctant to pursue investigations against persons
affiliated with the ruling party, and the government frequently used the
police for political purposes. There was widespread police corruption and
lack of discipline," the report states.
"Efforts to improve governance through reform were largely unsuccessful, and
often blocked by bureaucratic intransigence, vested economic interests,
endemic corruption, and political polarization," it continues, reflecting
what watchdogs like Transparency International, civil society and the local
press have been saying all along.
"The police routinely employed physical and psychological torture during
arrests and interrogations. Prison conditions were extremely poor and were a
contributing factor in some deaths in custody," the report says.
Extortion from businesses and individuals by law enforcement personnel and
persons with political backing was common and on several occasions,
businessmen went on strike to protest the extortions.
"Child labour and abuse of child workers are serious problems," it points
Referring to the army-led crackdown on crime across the country from October
16, 2002 to January 9, 2003, the report states that in February, the
Bangladesh parliament adopted legislation shielding security forces from any
legal consequences of their actions, which included "numerous abuses."
The report says 31 cases of rape by either policemen or other officials were
reported during the year. There were reports that policemen "facilitated or
were involved" in trafficking women and children.
"Violence and discrimination against women remained serious problems, as did
trafficking in women and children for the purpose of prostitution and at
times for forced labour," says the report.
Although the government has rejected the report, the country's main
opposition party, the Awami League, considers the report to be a reflection
of the government's misdeeds. Human rights watchdogs like Odhikar,
Manabadhikar Sangstha, and Ain-o-Salish Kendra believe the report reflects
Quips Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina, "It reflects the realities of
present day Bangladesh."
The architect of Bangladesh's constitution, Dr Kamal Hossain, who was
recently attacked by a gang of criminals, believes human rights violations
have been institutionalized. "In each sector we can see violation of human
rights and the constitution," he observes.
- India, China and the `London club'
By C. Raja Mohan
In a few weeks from now, the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will admit
China as a member and open a dialogue with India on non-proliferation. This
differential treatment being offered to India and China will no doubt cause
some heartburn in New Delhi.
India should have no objection to China becoming a member of the group of 40
nations that coordinate their policies on exporting nuclear materials and
technology in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. India seeks an
entry for itself and not deny it to others.
China had formally applied for the membership at the end of January. For
sometime now there has been talk of the need for a conversation between
India and the NSG, also called the London Club.
Entry into the NSG is based on two main criteria. One is the record on
preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and the other is the membership of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On the first count, India will claim that its record on non-proliferation is
far superior to that of many who swear by the NPT. India would also want to
underline the fact that many European members of the NSG have either
wantonly or through negligence facilitated nuclear weapons proliferation.
The extensive involvement of the European companies in spreading the nuclear
goodies first to Pakistan and then to other countries has been glossed over
in the recent focus on the activities of Abdul Qadeer Khan, self-proclaimed
father of the Pakistani bomb.
The other criterion, signature on the NPT, is meaningless from India's point
of view. At a time when it is being widely recognised that many members of
the treaty � both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states � have cheated on
it, making membership of the NSG conditional on joining the NPT makes little
To have Latvia and Slovenia as members but not India, whose capacity to
export nuclear materials is substantive, shows how the London Club has moved
from being a pragmatic gentlemen's agreement on non-proliferation to a
France and Russia have been arguing within the NSG, the importance of
revising the rules to admit India. But there is obviously a lot of
resistance. But dialogue might be the first step towards overcoming the
opposition to India's membership of the NSG.
* * *
The Foreign Secretary, Shashank, has reasons to be happy that his quiet
initiative in West Africa last year has taken off. This week Foreign
Ministers from eight west African countries will sign up with India to form
the so-called ``TEAM 9'' to promote economic cooperation. These are Burkina
Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali,
While Africa has generally been neglected in India's foreign policy over the
decades, west Africa was virtually a blind spot in New Delhi. In the last
few years India has begun to apply corrective measures. India's renewed
engagement with west Africa is no longer built on political rhetoric but on
the prospects for mutually beneficial commercial cooperation.
West African nations are looking for Indian transfer of intermediate
technologies across a broad spectrum, skilled manpower and finance. India
will, in return, gain stronger political links and access to rich markets.
Mr. Shashank was the first senior official to visit west Africa in years and
was received with enthusiasm. In the past India got in touch with west
African chancelleries only when it needed votes in international fora. Now
India and west Africa are eager to get a move on.
* * *
Out of the eight west African countries now joining India, there will be
special focus on Equatorial Guinea. For this tiny nation on the West Coast
of Africa is now at the heart of a great oil boom.
The Gulf of Guinea is believed to have oil reserves amounting to 24 billion
barrels, and could emerge as one the world's leading offshore production
centres. The U.S. oil companies have head-start as they pour billions of
dollars into the region.
Equatorial Guinea has given out scores of contracts for hydrocarbon
prospecting and could emerge in the coming years as Africa's third largest
oil producer after Nigeria and Angola.
For Washington, the oil lying across the Atlantic Ocean offers many
advantages. Many African oil producers are not members of the Organisation
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that is dominated by producers from
the volatile west Asia. With much it offshore, West African oil is also
insulated from internal turmoil.
* * *
India, which is looking to diversify its petroleum supplies, does not want
to be left out of the race for oil in Africa that now holds eight per cent
of world's crude reserves. After investing more than a billion dollars in
Sudan, India is now turning its eyes to Angola.
It has been reported that ONGC Videsh, external arm of Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation, is trying acquire a stake of $2 billion in a major oil project
off the Angolan coast. The Gulf of Guinea is not beneath India's radar
But for now mum is the word as India elbows its way into the west African
oil scene dominated by the United States.
- If pride causes envy, it's nothing to be proud of
By LIN FENG YING
SIN CHEW JIT POH
'ARE Singaporeans arrogant?'
This topic was widely discussed in the press after former Chinese ambassador
to Singapore Chen Baoliu criticised Singaporeans when she spoke at the
China-Singapore Business Forum in Beijing last November. The issue died down
soon after but was rekindled two weeks ago, when another forum on the same
topic was held.
Someone said at the forum that judging by the high turnout at the event, it
could be seen that Singaporeans were not arrogant, because arrogant people
would not be bothered to defend or examine themselves when others labelled
them as arrogant.
Ms Chen mentioned that Singaporeans had much capital, for they could speak
English and were experienced in dealing with foreign countries.
Of course, just as Ms Chen has said, this is something that they should not
be arrogant about. Following China's development in the last few years, more
and more Chinese are now able to speak English and have some exposure to
foreigners. They do not lose out to Singaporeans.
There is no doubt that many Singaporeans are arrogant merely because they
can read and write English. They look down not only on people from China but
also the Chinese-educated in Singapore.
There have been many instances where Nantah graduates who were poor in
English were jeered by their colleagues and scorned by their superiors.
The times have changed. Today, English is still the dominant language in
Singapore, but as the use of English becomes universal, this capital, as Ms
Chen put it, has been devalued.
Aren't there other areas that Singaporeans are proud of?
Singaporeans do not need to blow their own trumpets. Singapore has an honest
bureaucracy and its private institutions are intolerant of corruption.
Everyone knows that this is Singapore's pride.
Trivial matters such as violation of traffic regulations are taken
seriously. Big-time transactions are above board, court cases are not heard
secretly, costs are not hidden and goods change hands transparently.
These things constitute the capital of Singapore, which must not be allowed
to be devalued by foreign factors, unless we ourselves become corrupt.
HOWEVER, it is also because of such a system in Singapore that Singaporeans
are deemed to be detached and to go according to the law. Once they stray
from the law, they are at a loss as to what to do.
A Singapore girl has been known to look aghast at her Chinese client should
he light up a cigarette in an air-conditioned restaurant, and blurt out that
smoking is prohibited in Singapore's restaurants.
Singaporeans are so used to being law-abiding in Singapore that they
instinctively expect people from other parts of the world to do likewise.
Naive arrogance on the part of the Singapore girl has bred, in her Chinese
client, contempt for Singaporeans, rather than respect for Singapore's love
of the environment.
Indeed, Singapore should be proud of the many things that it has achieved -
for instance, the ability of most Singaporeans to speak the international
language, English. However, if its pride does not add value to the country,
and instead makes foreigners dislike and envy Singapore, then it is nothing
to be proud of.
- Asian tale of two technologies
By RONALD MEINARDUS
MANILA -- Media developments influence not only our private lives, but also
affect the way our societies and politics are organized. Before coming to
the Philippines two years ago, I spent nearly six years in South Korea. In
both countries, I observed the impact of media on political and social
The differences between the Philippines and South Korea are striking in many
ways, particularly regarding the use of modern means of communication. While
the Philippines prides itself on being the "text-messaging" capital of the
world, South Korea is the global leader in Internet broadband connectivity.
The ascendancy of the Internet in South Korea is the result of a joint
effort by the private sector and the government to get every household and
public building wired. I am not aware of any other country in the world
where this objective has been pursued so systematically and successfully as
in South Korea.
In the Philippines, on the other hand, a lack of resources and the
geographic conditions of an archipelagic nation with thousands of islands
have prevented the proliferation of digital technology. To this day, many
Filipinos have no access to ordinary telephone services, and merely 5
percent of the population uses the Internet.
To a large extent, cost and availability of a given technology determine
their usage and popularity. In South Korea, personal computers today are
considered standard appliances in almost every household. In addition, South
Koreans spend many hours in the ubiquitous Internet cafes.
On the other hand, Filipinos spend a great amount of time on their cell
phones, in large part sending and receiving text messages. In a way, this
mode of communication has become a way of life in the Philippines. Here,
everybody seems to send text messages -- bankers, policemen, nurses, maids,
Cabinet members and even the president.
According to a recent lifestyle survey commissioned by a leading European
cell-phone supplier, 77 percent of the Philippines' tens of millions of
cell-phone subscribers check their phones constantly if they don't receive
any messages for about an hour. Users also send an average of 150 text
messages a day. According to the same survey, nearly two out of three
Filipinos would rather spend a day without computer access than without
their cell phones.
While modern media has affected our personal lifestyles, it also has wider
implications for the societies we live in and the respective politics. In
democracies, this observation becomes particularly apparent during election
times, when politicians are out to mobilize the votes of the people.
Important elections will be held in the near future in both South Korea and
the Philippines, allowing us to compare the usage of communications
technologies in the two countries.
Nowhere else in the world has the Internet such a substantial political
impact as in South Korea. "In a country where 73 percent of homes enjoy
high-speed Internet access, the battle for National Assembly seats will
likely be won in cyberspace," a correspondent in Seoul recently reported.
Political analysts agree that Roh Moo Hyun would probably not be president
of South Korea today had it not been for a countrywide campaign of
"Netizens" supporting him in the runup to the elections in 2002.
Importantly, the rise of what is often termed "digital politics" or
"e-politics" in South Korea has not only changed the way the candidates
conduct their campaigns. Some observers argue that the technological
developments also have substantial societal implications: Lee Eun Jeung, in
a recent volume titled "Asian Cyberactivism," writes, "Quite apart from
parties and political organizations, citizens have learned to use the
Internet as a new forum for political participation." In Lee's eyes, this
has even led to a "certain renewal of Korean political culture."
A renewal of their political culture is something many disenchanted
Filipinos are still waiting for. Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether
mobile phones will ever have the same beneficial political effects on
Philippine politics as the Internet has had in South Korea.
No doubt, cell phones have played a significant role in political
mobilizations in recent Philippine history.
"The notoriety of cell phones as devices with the capacity to cause a 'coup
d'text' is most closely associated with the downfall of President (Joseph)
Estrada," writes Raul Pertierra and his associates in a book titled "Txt-ing
Selves: Cellphones and Philippine Modernity."
But the authors, who highlight the mobilizing power of cell phones in the
mass protests that led to the ouster of a disgraced president, hasten to add
that texting is used mainly for personal and private communications, and has
no significant positive impact on "the public sphere and public life."
While cell phones are potentially an exceptionally effective channel for
mass communication in a country like the Philippines, none of the major
political candidates in the ongoing electoral campaign appear to be
Unlike the Internet, cell phones are generally not considered to belong to
the public sphere. "Many people treat their mobile phones as private space,"
says Ramon Isberto, head of corporate communications at Smart, the leading
mobile phone company in the Philippines. "You don't invite just anybody into
your bedroom," says Isberto, who argues that sending unsolicited messages to
mobile phones usually provokes a negative response from the recipients.
A comparison of South Korea and the Philippines regarding the usage and the
political impact of modern communication technologies reflects what is
commonly known as the digital divide. There are indications that the gap
between countries that are advanced and others that are less developed
regarding the usage of such technologies is growing.
The ongoing merger of Internet technology with cell-phone technology may
help close this gap. According to the industry, it is merely a matter of
time before mobile phones that let users surf the Internet and use e-mail
become widely available at an affordable price.
I would argue that for the Philippines, the eventual proliferation of this
integrated technology will have greater societal and political impact than
text-messaging has had thus far.
- A son's dangerous passion, in the name of the father
Mel Gibson did not win an Oscar this time round. But the release of his film
The Passion of the Christ on Ash Wednesday certainly focused attention away
from the familiar Hollywood glitz - for a while, at least. The director and
co-writer of The Passion of the Christ is an accomplished artist and this is
a great work - irrespective of whether or not you agree with its message. As
such, the film is capable of doing good and evil - and of inflaming
When I saw The Passion of the Christ last Thursday, along with a
predominantly young audience, there were audible arguments during the
screening - followed by a punch-up near the exit at the end of the film. The
antagonists seemed to come from groups of young Christians and Jews. It was
as if the excessive screen violence had an impact on at least some of the
Since Gibson dominates this film - as principal financier, director and
writer - it tells us much about its creator, as well as his view of the
Gibson was born in the US in 1956 and arrived in Australia in 1968 with his
father Hutton and his mother Ann. He was educated at St Leo's on Sydney's
North Shore (near Hornsby) which was then run by the Christian Brothers.
Gibson attended St Leo's in the late 1960s and early '70s. This was after
the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which had overseen significant
theological and liturgical reforms including, in the latter category, the
abandonment of the Latin Mass and its replacement by a vernacular service.
The teachings of Vatican II included a decree condemning the view that Jews
were collectively responsible for Christ's death.
For the most part the Australian Catholic Church accepted Vatican II - with
only a few clerical and lay dissidents. During his time in Australia, Hutton
Gibson rejected Vatican II. In more recent times, this position was adopted
by his son.
Now, Mel Gibson would not have picked up this influence from the Christian
Brothers, or from the likes of Cardinal Norman Gilroy, then Archbishop of
Sydney. But he is old enough to remember the time before Vatican II when the
Catholic Church, in Australia and elsewhere, focused more on Christ's
suffering than on his resurrection.
Some time after leaving St Leo's, Gibson gave up what some Catholics term
the "Faith of Our Fathers". When he found God again, circa the late '80s, it
was to the faith of his father to which Gibson returned.
The revolt within Catholicism against the Papacy and Vatican II was led by
the Frenchman Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (1905-91) who visited Australia in
1972 and again in 1985. In 1969 he founded the Society of Saint Pope Pius X.
Pius X (1835-1914) was known for his opposition to modernism (that is,
liberalism) within the Church, so he had a certain appeal to Lefebvre and
his fellow Vatican II rejectionists.
It's just that Lefebvre and his supporters had an agenda which went beyond
religion. He was part of that section of French Catholicism which supported
an extreme right-wing ideology and which nurtured anti-Semitism. As Michael
Curtis says in Verdict on Vichy (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2002), it was
Lefebvre's followers who gave sanctuary to Paul Touvier for many years.
Touvier was an avowed anti-Semite who tortured and murdered French Jews
while serving as a senior police officer in the fascist collaboratist Vichy
regime during World War II.
Anti-Semitism was not the dominant tradition within the Catholic Church but
it played a role in Catholicism in continental Europe. There were a few
anti-Semites in English-speaking democracies, most notably the English
writer Hilaire Belloc and the American priest Charles Coughlin. But
anti-Semitism did not feature in the Catholic Church in Australia, Britain,
Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the US For example, Daniel Mannix (the
Irish-born Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 to 1963) was very friendly
The Australian-educated Mel Gibson is not an anti-Semite. But his American
father is a Holocaust denier and seems to have been influenced by the
minority movement in the American Church led by the late Coughlin. And the
son will not renounce his father on this issue. As Mel Gibson recently told
interviewer Diane Sawyer, who raised Hutton Gibson's view that the Nazism's
murder of the European Jews was mostly "fiction": "He's my father; gotta
leave it alone, Diane."
This was a radically inadequate response.
The concept that Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Christ
was seldom articulated in Australia, but prevalent in parts of continental
Europe and, as such, was a factor in the failure of many Christians to speak
up against the Nazi genocide of the Jews.
The Passion of the Christ is not explicitly anti-Semitic. It is possible to
view the film without feeling one way or another about Jews. However, it is
also possible that Gibson's work of art will inflame the prejudices of real
and latent anti-Semites.
In view of the evident rise of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe and the
Muslim world, this is potentially dangerous. It is possible that a high
price will be paid for Gibson's apparently well-intentioned, but manifestly
self-indulgent, need to purge his guilt for the role he now sincerely
believes his past excesses as a sinner played in Christ's suffering and
Gerard Henderson is executive director of The Sydney Institute.
This story was found at:
- China issues 2003 US human rights record
China issued the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003 Monday
in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 issued
by the U.S. on Feb. 25.
Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the Chinese
report listed a multitude of cases to show that serious violations of human
rights exist on the homeland of the United States.
"As in any previous year, the United States once again acted as'the
world human rights police' by distorting and censuring in the'reports' the
human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions across the
world, including China. And just as usual, the United States once again
'omitted' its own long-standing malpractices and problems of human rights in
the 'reports'. Therefore, we have to, as before, help the United States keep
its human rights record," said the report.
The report reviewed the human rights record of the United States in 2003
from six perspectives: Life, Freedom and Safety; Political Rights and
Freedom; Living Conditions of US Laborers; Racial Discrimination; Conditions
of Women, Children and Elderly People; and Infringement upon Human Rights of
This is the fifth consecutive year that the Information Office of the
State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to answer
the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued annually by the State
Department of the United States. Enditem
- Full text of Human Rights Record of the US in 2003
Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States
in 2003, released by the Information office of China's State Council Monday.
The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003
By the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of
March 1, 2004
On February 25, 2004, the State Department of the United States released its
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 (called the "reports"
thereafter). As in previous years, the United States once again acted as
"the world human rights police" by distorting and censuring in the "reports"
the human rights situations in more than 190 countries and regions across
the world, including China. And just as usual, the United States once again
"omitted" its own long-standing malpractice and problems of human rights in
the "reports". Therefore, we have to, as before, help the United States keep
its human rights record.
I. On Life, Freedom and Personal Safety
The United States has long been in a violent, crime-ridden society with a
severe infringement of the people's rights by law enforcement departments
and with a lack of guarantee for the life of people, their freedom and
The United States is a country plagued most seriously by violence and
crimes. According to the statistical figures released in June 2003 by the US
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a total of 11.9 million criminal
cases were reported in 2002 in the United States, including homicides,
rapes, robbery and theft. Of these cases, 19,940 cases were reported in
Detroit, where 2,073 people committed crimes in every 100,000 people. In
Baltimore, where 2,055 people committed crimes in every 100,000 people. With
regard to personal offenses, cases of murders and rapes rose by 0.8 percent,
and 4.0 percent, respectively, over 2002(see The Sun, USA on June 18, 2003).
On Sept. 15, 2003, US Surgeon General Richard Carmona admitted at a workshop
that the United States has always ranked first in the world in terms of
homicide incidence. In August 2003, the US Department of Justice
acknowledged in a report that a total of 15,586 homicide cases occurred
around the country in 2000, as against 15,980 in 2001, and 16,110 in 2002,
indicating a rising trend yearby year (see the edition of USA Today on Aug.
In a report released by the FBI in December 2003, the FBI said the overall
incidence of offenses in the U.S. somewhat dropped, whereas the number of
people murdered across the country grew by 1.1 percent during the first half
of 2003 (see the edition of USA Today published on Dec. 16, 2003).
From January to August of 2003, 166 homicides were reported in Washington
D.C., up 5.1 percent year on year. In Chicago, which is known as America's
"homicide capital", there were 648 homicides in2002, compared with 599 in
2003, or an average of 22.2 people victimized in every 100,000 residents (AP
dispatch from Chicago on Jan. 1, 2004). In New York, the number of people
murdered in 2003 amounted to 596 (AP dispatch from Chicago on Jan. 2,
2004)). In California, the number of murder cases for 2002 went up 11
percent. The US Justice Policy Institute held that the existing legal system
could not ensure the safety and health of community residents.
The United States ranked first in private ownership of guns, resulting in
drastic rise in gun-related crimes. According to a survey of crime victims,
350,000 criminal cases involving the use of guns were reported in the United
States in 2002, and guns were used in 63 percent of the 15,980 killings in
2001. On Aug. 27, 2003, a jobless man carrying a gun broke into a car part
supplying company, killing seven of his former colleagues. Statistical
figures from US National Center for Health Statistics showed that 56.5
percent of Americans who committed suicides in 2000 with the use of guns,
involving 16,586 people (see Gun Violence, Related Facts.
Improper management of firearms led to the frequent occurrence of juvenile
offenses involving the use of guns. At least 18 people in American public
schools were reportedly killed in violence with50 others wounded in mid Aug.
of 2003. According to data from US Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, more than 50 percent of the murderers in campus shootings in the
United States used guns owned by their families or friends, while over 80
percent of the guns used by students for suicides came from their families
or friends (Most Guns Used in School Shootings from Family, Friends, www.
Unrestrained evil social forces and widespread drug abuse endangered the
people's life and safety. According to a report released by US National
Youth Gang Center, there were altogether 21,500 sinister gangs in the United
States in 2002 with a combined membership of 731,000. In April 2003, an
innocent woman was killed in a gang shootout in New York. Police had to
impose a state of citywide emergency in the summer of 2003 due to frequent
gang-related violence (see the edition of USA Today on Dec. 16, 2003).
Drug-related crimes have been on the rise, with new characteristics
involving a growing number of gangs, intensified violence and trans-national
smuggling and collaboration with terrorist groups. The rate of crimes
induced by drug abuse has risen year by year. Relevant data released by the
US Department of Justice showed that over half of the inmates in federal
jails have something to do with drug-related crimes (see Washington Post on
July 28, 2003).
According to the outcome of a survey released by Washington D.C.Mayor
Anthony A. Williams, 60,000 people out of the 600,000 population in
Washington used drugs and indulged in excessive drinking, causing an annual
economic loss of 1.2 billion US dollars. Half of those people arrested on
charge of violence in Washington D.C. took drugs (see Washington Post on
Dec. 2, 2003).
In recent years, the number of AIDS patients has also increased partly due
to the widespread drug abuse. Statistical figures released by the US Center
for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the number of people
diagnosed as AIDS carriers across the United States in 2002 rose by 2.2
percent over the previous year to reach 42,136 (see Washington Post on July
The infringement of lawful rights constitutes a malignant obstinate disease
of American society. Random assaults committed by the police resulted in the
frequent occurrence of tragedies with heavy casualties. The New York City
Police was reported for several willful shooting cases when chasing suspects
in January 2003. Four people were killed by the police in the city from Jan.
1 to 5 last year. In Dec. 2003, a black man named Nathaniel Jones was beaten
to death by six policemen in Cincinnati, causing a great uproar against
police brutality across the country.
According to an AP report, a woman in the city of Detroit had one of her
fingers cut off and another finger injured by the police simply for a
dispute with them in a parking lot. The report said the police also boxed
her ears and tore her hair.
The United States issued the Patriot Act in name of land security and
anti-terrorism after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and many substantial
contents of this act encroached upon rights and freedom of citizens,
especially the people of ethnic minorities. Under the authority of the
Patriot Act, the government departments are empowered to wiretap phone calls
of citizens, trace their online records, read their private mails and
e-mails. The FBI is even allowed to keep a watch on people's reading habits.
They check the booklists of what people borrow from libraries, so as to
judge whether they have been influenced by terrorism. A resolution passed by
Cambridge, Massachusetts, explicitly noted that the civil rights of the
American people are being jeopardized by the Patriot Act and, therefore, the
Sun in Aug. 2003 set forth an appeal for "freedom to read" (see the Sun on
Aug. 18, 2003).
The United States claim itself as a paradise for free people but the ratio
of inmates in the United States has remained the highest in the world. The
number of inmates in the country exceeded 2.1 million in 2002, a
year-on-year rise of 2.6 percent, according to the statistical figures
released by the Department of Justice in July 2003. The jails nationwide
receive 700 new inmates every week in the U.S. where 701 out of every
100,000 people are in prison (see Washington Post on July 28, 2003).
Inmates have received inhumane treatment in the overloaded jails. An
International Herald Tribune story said the states of Virginia, North
Carolina, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas and Arizona had lowered the food supply
standards of inmates so as to curb the huge government budget deficit. They
reduced the calorie of each meal in jail and cut three meals a day to two on
weekends and holidays. According to a report by Amnesty International, more
than 700,000 inmates were held in high security prisons and there they are
compelled to stay in wards for 23 hours a day and even longer, subjected to
ruthless and inhuman treatment and humiliation. Last year, at least three
inmates were hit to death by prison guards with guns of high voltage
electric prods (2003 Report: United States of America, Amnesty
Sexual harassment and encroachment are common in jails in the United States.
A report issued by Human Rights Watch in Sept. 2003said that one in five
male inmates in the country had faced forced sexual contact in custody and
one in 10 has been raped. For women inmates, they are objects of sexual
assault of jail guards, and one fourth of the women inmates are sexually
assaulted in a few jails (see Editorial, Doing Something about Prison Rape,
http:// www.hrw.org, 26/09/2003).
Nine girls in a juvenile delinquent center of the state of Alabama accused
the guards of assaulting and raping them and compelling them to have forced
abortion. They also said male guards watched girls take bath and unclothe
themselves for so-called frisk. They had to have sex with male guards in the
hope for better treatment, for instance, to get a can of cola or food.
According to another Human Rights Watch report, one in six US inmates suffer
various kinds of mental illnesses. Many of them suffer from schizophrenia,
bipolar disorder and serious depression. The proportion of inmates with
mental illness in the prison population is over three times higher than in
the general population (see United States: Mentally Ill Mistreated in
Prison, www.hrw.org/2003/10/US102203.htm). The total population of these
patients has reached as high as 200,000 to 300,000. "Prisons have become the
nation's primary mental health facilities," said Human Rights Watch. The
prisoners with mental illness are likely to be picked on, physically or
sexually abused and manipulated by other inmates. For example, a female
inmate named Georgia, who is both mentally ill and retarded, has been raped
repeatedly in an exchange for small items such as cigarettes and coffee.
II. On Political Rights and Freedom
The presidential election, often symbolized as US democracy, infact is the
game and competition for the rich people. Presidential candidates have to
raise money far and wide for their expensive campaign cost and most of the
donors are big companies and millionaires. President George W. Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney had raised as high as 113 million US dollars in their
2000 presidential campaign, a record in US history, and the fund raising is
expected to reach 200 million US dollars for this year's re-election
campaign (see Britain's Independent newspaper on Jan.20, 2004).
Statistical figures from the Center for Responsive Politics showed that
Lockheed Martin Corp., the country's biggest arms dealer, has been the
biggest political donor. The company had donated 10.6 billion US dollars for
political campaigns in the United States from 1999 to 2000 and has been the
main donor to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of
Representatives as well as one of the top ten donors to the Committee on
Appropriations of the House.
The so-called "freedom of press" in the United States has also been brought
under intensive criticism. According to an investigative report of the
Sonoma State University in the United States, freedom of press, speech and
expression of opinion in the United States is amid a crisis. An increasing
number of US media organizations are getting involved in false reporting or
cheating scandals. On June 5, 2003, two chief editors of the New York Times
resigned after their role in a plagiarism scandal was exposed. John Barrie,
head of Plagiarism.org in Oakland, California, claimed that "every newspaper
in this country is not doing due diligence" and "everybody's got this
Meanwhile, the US government has exercised an extremely tight control over
news media, which went to the extreme during the 2003U.S.-led war against
Iraq. During the war, the US government had tried every means to prevent the
press from getting timely and true information and had wielded its hegemony
to override the journalistic principle of "faithful and unbiased reporting".
PeterArnett, a veteran reporter with the US National Broadcasting Company
(NBC), was fired simply because he voiced some of his personal views on the
Iraq war. News coverage by international media in Iraq also often fell prey
to US restrictions and crackdown. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders
(RSF) has accused US troops in Iraq of frequent "obstruction of journalists
trying to do their jobs in Iraq" and described the number of attacks on
press freedom there as "alarming" (see Reuters story on Oct. 20, 2003).
In January 2004, the U.S.-installed Iraqi Interim Governing Council issued
an order to ban the Al-Qaida-based Al-Jazeera TV station from covering any
activity of the Council's members between January 28 and February 27. A book
named "Black List", co-written by 15 American reporters, has warned that
America's press freedom is facing danger. In an interview with the French
newspaper Le Figaro, Kristina Borjesson, one of the book's authors and a
former reporter with the CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) and CNN (Cable
News Network), said that US authorities had controlled all information to be
spread by the media while journalists had degenerated into the government's
stenographers (see French newspaper Le Figaro on May 8, 2003).
The US has also time and again launched attacks on news media organizations
and journalists in Iraq. In one of such attacks on April 8, 2003, the US
troops bombed the Baghdad branch of an Arab TV station and killed one
cameraman on the spot.
III. On Living Conditions of US Laborers
Although the United States is the world's No. one developed nation, the US
government has to date refused to ratify the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Itis apathetic to the rights and
interests of ordinary workers in economic, social and cultural aspects,
leading to serious problemssuch as poverty, hunger and homelessness.
The disparity between the rich and the poor keep widening in the United
States. A 2003 report by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the
US Congress acknowledged that the gap between the rich and the poor in the
country today is wider than anytime in nearly 70 years, with the wealth of
the country's richest one percent population exceeding the overall
possessions of the needy, who account for 40 percent of the total
population. In 2000, the rich people's wealth makes up 15.5 percent of the
country's overall national income, as against 7.5 percent in 1979 (according
to BBC report on Sept. 25, 2003).
A report by the US Federal Reserve also showed that between 1998 and 2001,
the wealth gap between the country's richest and poorest had widened by 70
percent (see Britain's Guardian report on Jan. 24, 2003).
Certain policies of the US government, instead of helping narrowing the
country's wealth gap, have aggravated the rich-poor disparity and led to an
unfair distribution of wealth. According to a report by the US Environmental
Working Group in 2003, the agricultural policy of the US government has
ensured 70 percent ofthe government subsidies go to ranch owners, resulting
in a yawning income gap between ranch owners and ordinary farmers and
pushing many farmers to the verge of bankruptcy (ABC report on Oct.9, 2003).
The population living in need and hunger in the United States has been on a
steady rise. According to statistics from the 2003 economic report of the US
Census Bureau, the impoverished population in the United States had been
increasing for two consecutive years, reaching 34.6 million, or 12.1 percent
of the total population, in 2002, up 1.7 million over the previous year. The
country's poverty ratio in 2002 had risen by 0.4 percentage points over the
previous year. Among the impoverished population, the number of extremely
needy people had risen to 14.1 million from the previous 13.4 million, and
the proportion of children in need had gone up to 16.7 percent in 2002 from
16.3 percent in 2001.Since 2001, the number of needy families in the United
States has been growing at 6 percent a year, and there are now 7.3 million
impoverished families in the country, which means 31 million people are
facing the threat of hunger. In the 25 leading metropolises of the United
States, the number of people who need emergency food aid has increased by 19
percent on average, while the number of people who live on charity food
coupons, or those who have to queue up for free food distributions, has
surged to 22million (see Spain's El Mundo on May 19, 2003).
In October 2003, the US Department of Agriculture released a report, which
showed that in 2002 there were 12 million American families worrying about
their food expenditures and 3.8 million families with members who actually
suffered from hunger. On December 18, 2003, an annual survey report released
at the US Conference of Mayors showed that in the 25 cities surveyed, the
number of people seeking emergency food aid in 2003 had increased by 17
percent on average over 2002. Moreover, 87 percent of the surveyed cities
believed that the number of such people would continue to rise in 2004.
The homeless population continues to rise. According to information released
by the US National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, more than 3
million people were homeless in the United States in 2002 (Homeless and
Poverty in America, www.nlchp.org). Washington D.C. has the highest rate of
homelessness of any city in the United States, with an estimated 20,000
people having experienced homelessness and nearly 400 families having
applied for emergency shelters in 2002 (A snapshot of Homelessness in the
Metropolitan, www.naeh.org). In April of 2002 alone, 38,476 people in New
York spent their night in aid centers, including 16,685 children. According
to a survey released by the US Conference of Mayors in December 2003,
requests for emergency shelter assistance rose by an average of 13 percent
in the past year; 88 percent of the cities surveyed predicted that the
situation would be even worse in 2004.
Recently, the US Christian Science Monitor reminded the United States that
it should regard "a home for every American" as the most rudimentary human
right. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless said the government was unable to
provide the basic subsistence guarantee for people, and that the local
government had violated international human rights law by forcibly taking
over 8,000 local residential houses in five years.
There is a lack of work safety. According to US laws, only the accidents of
industrial injuries resulting from "intended" violation of safety rules by
the employers are eligible to be submitted to the judicial authorities. Even
when alarming cases occur, the employers are seldom confirmed as "intended"
and rarely face public prosecution. The New York Times quoted a surveyed
report of the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration as saying that
in 20 years from 1982 to 2002, there were 1,242 cases involving the death of
workers caused by the employers' "intended" violation of safety rules, yet
93 percent of the cases were not brought to the court. In these two decades,
there were a total of 2,197 accidents caused by employers' violation of
safety rules and resulted in death of the workers in the United States, and
the combined prison terms for employers involved were less than 30 years.
The situation of health insurance worsened. According to a report released
by the US Census Bureau in September 2003, the number of Americans without
health insurance climbed by 5.7 percent over 2001, to reach 43.6 million in
2002, the largest single increase in a decade. Overall, 15.2 percent of the
Americans were uninsured in 2002 (see Washington Post on Sept. 30,2003).
Based on a survey, the ratio of employees uninsured in big US companies rose
from seven percent to 11 percent during the 1987-2001 period (see Wall
Street Journal on Oct. 22, 2003). More and more people cannot afford medical
treatment. In Nebraska,250,000 single mothers lost free medical care they
previously enjoyed, and in Arizona, approximately 60,000 children were no
longer covered by free medical care (see Spain's El Mundo on May 19, 2003).
IV. On Racial Discrimination
Forty years have elapsed since late civil rights leader Martin Luther King
made the famous speech "I Have a Dream", yet the equal rights pursued by the
American blacks and minority ethnic groups remained an unattainable dream
Racial discrimination in the United States has a long history with age-old
malpractice. It has been permeated into every aspects of society. According
to an investigative report released by the United Nations, the blacks and
colored people received twice or three times more severe penalties than the
whites for the crimes of the same kind; the number of black people who
received death penalty for killing white people was four times that of the
white people for killing black people. In state prisons nationwide, about 47
percent of the inmates were black people, and the 16 percent were people of
Latin American ancestry. The blacks accounted for 13 percent of the total US
population, yet 35 percent of the people arrested for drug abuse crimes were
blacks and 53 percent of the people that were convicted for drug abuse
crimes were blacks.
At present, more than 750,000 black inmates were in US jails, or over 35
percent of the total number of inmates in the country; approximately 2
million black people were disciplined or put under various forms of
surveillance; 22 percent of black males in the 30-34 age group had jail
records, while the white inmates only make up three percent; 36 of 1,000
black females have possibilities of being jailed in their lives, while only
five of 1,000 white females have such a possibility.
The poverty rate and joblessness rate of the US blacks remained high.
According to statistics of the US Department of Labor, the white people's
unemployment rate in the U.S. was 5.2 percent in November 2003, while the
rate was as high as 10.2 percent for the blacks, almost twice that of the
whites (Employment Status of the Civilian Population by Race, Sex, and Age,
According to statistics of the US Census Bureau, poverty rate among the
blacks reached 24.1 percent in 2002, up 1.4 percentage points over the 22.7
percent rate in the previous year; 20.2 percent of the blacks were without
health insurance; average annual income of median black families was 40
percent less than the ordinary median US families (see USA Today on Oct. 3,
Racial discrimination exists on the US real estate market, too. In 2002, the
US federal government received a total of 25,246 discrimination accusations
on housing market, 72 percent of which were from the families of black
people, disabled people or those families with children, according to a
report released by the National Fair Housing Alliance in April 2003.
Discrimination over the birth place nationality of house purchasers rose
from 10 percent in 2001 to 12 percent in 2002 (see the Sun newspaper, USA on
Aug. 17, 2003). Black people usually spend more money than white people on
housing purchase, but their houses are not as good as those of white people
and they have to accept loans with higher interests. The market value of
houses bought by black people with same amount of money is only 82 percent
of those of white people, and houses with high mortgage interest rate in
black people communities are five times more than those in white people
communities, the Sun newspaper quoted the US Department of Housing and Urban
Development as saying in on July 3, 2003.
Apartheid recurs at school. More than one third of American students of the
African origin are studying in schools where over 90 percent of students are
non-white people, according to an investigation made by Harvard University
in 2004. Since 1988, many schools abandoned the compulsory racial
integration in class due to a series of court verdicts and changes in
federal policies. According to a verdict passed in 1991 by the Supreme
Court, the resumption of community schools was allowed and it was no longer
mandatory to carry black students from other communities by school bus,
which led to the disappearance of black students in white people's schools.
Meanwhile, wealthy white people in some southern areas withdrew from
publicly-owned school systems and sent their kids to private schools where
most students were white. Racial differentiation in US middle and elementary
schools is serious, noted a commentary of the New York Times on Jan. 21,
2003. Those black students in schools where most are white students often
feel unwelcome, discriminated or even scared (The New York Times on Jan.21,
Less proportion of colored races can go to universities than white people.
According to a report issued by the America Council on Education in Oct.
2003, 40 percent of black people and 34 percent of Hispanic-Americans of the
age group from 18 to 24 can go to university, while 46 percent of white
people can go to university
According to the census result in March 2003, the income of black people
with bachelor degree was 24.5 percent lower than white people with same
degree, that of black people with master degree 21.2 percent lower than
white people with same degree, and that of black people with doctoral degree
28.1 percent lower than white people (see USA Today on Sept. 9, 2003).
The US discrimination toward immigrants tends to become serious. After the
Sept. 11 incident, the US congress adopted anti-terrorism act containing
items infringing on human rights. The act permits the arrest of immigrants
with indefinite duration, checks on all secret files, inspection in public
and private occasions, wiretapping of phone conversations and secret
investigations. In June 2003, US Procurator-General Glenn Fine revealed in
his investigative report that after the Sept. 11 incident, US authorities
detained 762 foreign immigrants for an average of about three months in
excuse of violation of immigrant law, but later investigation showed they
had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 incident (see Washington Post on June 3,
In the Operation Landmark launched in Chicago from Dec. 2002 toMay 2003, the
backgrounds of some staff working in public places such as airports and
high-rises were surveyed secretly, with some immigrants being detained and
deported without criminal acts, and the government refused to publicize any
details of this special policy toward immigrants and information about the
detainment and deportation of immigrants. According to the report, this kind
of "secret policing" activity in excuse of national security infringedon the
civil rights and freedom of millions of immigrants in the United States (see
Los Angeles Times on May 29, 2003).
Another report shows that 1,200 immigrants were detained in the United
States with no indictment, and at least 484 people are still in custody. To
date, the US government still refuses to reveal the identity of these people
(see a report by Britain's Independent newspaper on June 26, 2003).
Immigrant children are maltreated. According to a report from the Amnesty
International, at least 5,000 children going to the United States to find
relatives, or avoid abuses and mistreatment, wars and recruiting by domestic
rebels were put into custody in the United States. These children were
jailed together with adult inmates, and were abused in ways of frisk by
being unclothed, handcuffed and flogged. These children aged one to ten
years from all over the world were often imprisoned for months, or even for
years. A kid jailed in a detention center in Pennsylvania was beaten up for
minor faults such as saying "Can I use the toilet" instead of "May I use the
toilet." Staffs in a detention house in Texas will take back blankets and
mattress and switch off air-conditioners just because children make faults
(Reuters dispatch from Miami on June 18, 2003). The United States reportedly
jailed a number of prisoners regarded as illegal fighters, three of whom
were 13 to 15 years of age (see Britain's Guardian newspaper on April 24,
V. On Conditions of Women, Children and Elderly People
Little can be spoken of the human rights record in the US in view of
protecting the rights of women, children, elderly people and other special
disadvantageous social groups.
American women cannot enjoy the equal rights with men to take part in
government and political affairs. Statistics from the Center for American
Women in Politics indicated that in 2003, women hold 59, or 13.6 percent of
the seats in the House of Representatives, and 14, or 14 percent of the
seats in the Senate. Despite an increase in the number of women seated in
state legislatures in 2003, they made up only 22.3 percent of the total
7,382 state legislators in the US. (Women in Elected Office 2003 Fact Sheet
Women are not entitled to equal treatment with regard to employment and
income. American women are still largely pigeonholed in "pink collar" jobs,
such as secretaries, saleswomen and restaurant attendants, according to a
report released by the American Association of University of Women in May,
Statistics from the US Department of Labor indicated that in 2002, the
average weekly income for women aged 16 and above were 530 US dollars, or
77.9 percent of the 680 dollars for their male counterparts. Analysis by the
department noted that there were twice as many as women whose earnings were
below the Federal minimum wage, compared with men. Among the whites and
Hispanics, women are more likely than men to become low income earners
(Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, www.bls.gov)
There has been serious domestic and sexual violence against women. According
to figures released by the White House in October2003, a total of 700,000
incidents of domestic violence were reported in the U.S. in 2001. One-third
of women murdered each year are murdered by their current or former husbands
or partners (National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2003, by George W.
According to a survey conducted by the US National Coalition Against
Domestic Violence, 92 percent of American women cite domestic and sexual
violence as one of their top worries. One out of every three women
experiences at least one physical assault during adulthood, and only one out
of every seven cases of domestic violence, however, drew the attention of
the police. A report by the US military on sexual harassment scandals in the
US Air Force Academy showed that 109 out of the 579 female cadets, or almost
20 percent, that were interviewed said they had been sexually harassed and
assaulted in different ways and to varying extent.
The protection of children provided in the U.S. is far below the
international standards. The United States is one of the only two countries
in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the
Child. Since 1980s, all the states in the U.S. have lowered the age of
criminal culpability against juvenile offenders, and in some states,
juvenile offenders aged 10 even stood on trial in courts for adults.
According to the Department of Justice, 27 out of the 50 US states have set
minimum age of criminal culpability. Most states such as California set the
age at 14, states like Colorado at 12 and two states including Kansas at 10.
In states where there is no minimum age of criminal culpability, judges can
decide to try juvenile offenders in juvenile courts or transfer them to
ordinary criminal courts according to the seriousness of the crimes. In
2002, a 15-year-old student, who killed two of his classmates in a shooting
rampage, was sentenced to 50 years in prison. In the same year, Brian
Robertson, an 18-year-old student in a high school in Oklahoma was arrested
for his writing a novel with "extraordinary violent" plots on a school
computer and if convicted, he faces upto 10 years in prison.
The US is the country that has handed most of the death penalties to
juvenile offenders and carried out the executions in the world. According to
a report released by the Amnesty International on Jan. 21, two-thirds of the
documented executions of juvenile offenders in the world occurred in the US
in the past decade and more. Since 1990, there have been a total of 34
documented executions of juvenile offenders worldwide, and 19 of them
happened in the US (an AP dispatch from London on Jan. 2, 2004).
While many countries around the world are abolishing executions of minors,
some politicians in the U.S. are asking to lower the minimum age for death
penalty, and the Federal Supreme Court has even set the age at 16. Up to
date, there are 80 such juvenile inmates on the death row waiting to be
executed (a Prensa Latina from Havana on Aug. 4, 2003).
Among the developed nations, the United States ranks the first in terms of
the number of children living under the poverty line and the last in the
life expectancy of its children (Britain's Guardian newspaper on Nov. 3,
2003). According to statistics released by the US Census Bureau in September
2003, 10.4 percent of all US minors lived in poverty by the definition of
income in 2002 (Poverty: 2002 Highlights, www.census.gov), up to 13 million
people (Britain's Guardian newspaper on Nov. 3, 2003).
Of all the children, 11.6 percent could not afford health insurance. Of the
millions of homeless population in the United States, kids account for a
considerable proportion. The US Conference of Mayors said in its 2003 annual
report that of all homeless families, 40 percent were families with
children, and among all the families applying for food subsidies, 59 percent
of them had at least one kid. And according to the United Nations Children's
Fund, of the 27 well-off nations in the world, the United States ranks the
first in the number of deaths of its children as a result of violence and
negligence (see Reuters dispatch from Geneva on Sept. 18, 2003).
The under-aged population are under threat in terms of physical and mental
health. According to statistics from the US Federal Government, of all the
kids under the age of 18, 10 percent suffer from psychological illness to
varying extent, some to the point of committing crimes. But only one fifth
of them have been provided with medical treatment (see the edition of USA
Today on Oct. 26, 2003). Violent acts plaguing the US public media are
bringing adverse impact to the minors. Statistics show that before coming of
age at 18, kids and youngsters could be exposed to at least 40,000 murder
scenes and 200,000 other acts of violence in various public media (an AP
dispatch on Feb. 5, 2004). They are so accustomed to fist fights, bloody
killings that some have been worshipping for violence, which gives rise to
more malignant acts of violence in the country accordingly.
Children are often the victims of sexual assault. In recent years, more and
more scandals have come to light that children were harassed, molested and
raped by priests in the U.S.. In June 2003, USA Today reported that in the
past 18 months, of all the 46,000 clergymen in the United States, around 425
were dismissed by churches for crime allegations involved, including the
crime of sexual assault against children (edition of USA Today on June 17,
2003). According to other reports, at least 1,000 people were arrested in
the United States for accused acts of eroticism targeting at kids since June
2003. Of all the arrested, 400 were charged with the crime of making and
spreading erotic materials relating to children via the Internet.
The senior citizens are prejudiced against and mistreated, which led to a
higher rate of suicides among them. In the United States, people aged over
65 account for 13 percent of the national population, and of all the people
who committed suicide, the senior population make up 19 percent. According
to a report of the Christian Science Monitor, of every 100,000 people
between the ageof 15 to 24, 10.3 such people killed themselves in 1999, and
the number rose to 15.9 for the elderly people above the age of 65, which
was nearly 50 percent higher than the national average level.All the numbers
boiled down to the fact that more than 6,000 senior citizens committed
suicide in the United States in 1999.
VI. On Infringement upon Human Rights of Other Nations
In recent years, the United States has been practicing unilateralism in the
international arena, indulging itself in military aggression around the
world, brutal violation of sovereign rights of other nations. Its image has
been tarnished by numerous misdeeds of human rights infringement in other
The United States tops the world in terms of military expenditure, and is
the largest exporter of arms. Its military spendings for the 2004 fiscal
year reaches 400.5 billion US dollars, exceeding the total amount of defense
budgets of all other countries in the world in summation. The New York Times
reported on September 25, 2003, that the United States export of
conventional arms accounted for 45.5 percent of the world's arms trade
volume in 2002, ranking the first in the world. And according to a Capitol
report, the United States sold 8.6 billion US dollars worth of conventional
arms to the developing nations, or 48.6 percent of all the arms procured by
the developing world in 2002.
The United States has been active in sabre-rattling and launching wars. It
is the No. One in terms of gross violation of other countries' sovereign
rights and other people's human rights.The United States has resorted to the
use of force against other countries 40 times since 1990s. Well-known US
journalist and writer William Blum said in his recent book "Rouge State: A
Guide to the World's Only Superpower" that since 1945, the United States has
attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, suppressed over 30
national movements, in which millions of people have lost their precious
lives and many more people been plunged into misery and despair.
In March 2003, without authorization by the United Nations, the United
States unilaterally waged a large-scale war on Iraq based on its claim that
the Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In its wanton and
indiscriminate bombing of Iraq, many bombs of the US army were dropped on
residential areas, shopping malls and civilian vehicles.
According to an article carried by Britain's Independent newspaper in
January 2004 titled "George W. Bush and the real state of the Union," in the
war on Iraq by then, more than 16,000 Iraqis had been killed, of which
10,000 were civilians (see the edition of Britain's Independent on Jan. 20,
2004). On April 2, 2003, the US armed forces attacked a Baghdad maternity
hospital installed by the Red Crescent, a local market and other adjacent
buildings for civilian use, claiming a lot of human lives and injured at
least 25 people. Five cars were bombed and drivers were burned to death
inside their cars (see the edition of San Diego Union-Tribune, U.S. on Aug.
Based on a report by Britain's Independent newspaper on Feb. 8,2004, more
than 13,000 civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed so
far by the US army and its allied forces in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in
the wake of Sept. 11 incident in 2001, "making the continuing conflicts the
most deadly wars for non-combatants waged by the West since the Vietnam War
more than 30 years ago." Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to
former US President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, said "it is a serious matter
when the world's Number One superpower undertakes a war claiming a causus
belli that turns out to have been false." (Washington Post on Feb. 2, 2004).
Depleted uranium (DU) shells and cluster bombs were used recklessly during
wars in violation of international laws. In December 2003, the Human Rights
Watch disclosed in a report that the 13,000 cluster bombs US troops used in
Iraq contained nearly 2 million bomblets, which have caused causalities of
over 1,000 people. The "dub" cluster bombs that did not blast on the spot
continued to menace the lives of innocent people. The US troops also used
large quantities of depleted uranium shells during their military operations
in Iraq. The quantity and residue of pollutants from these bombs far
exceeded those of the Gulf War in 1991. Through a spokesman for the Central
Command, the Pentagon acknowledged that ammunition containing depleted
uranium was used during the Iraq war. Indeed, Doug Rokke, ex-director of the
Pentagon's depleted uranium project, former professor of environmental
science and onetime US army colonel, said after the Iraq War that the
willful use of DU bombs to contaminate any other nation and b ring harms to
the people and their environment is a crime against humanity (see Spain's
Uprising newspaper on June 2, 2003).
Another investigation report said that in the Iraqi capital Baghdad alone,
numerous places were found to have the amount of radioactive materials that
exceeded the normal level by 1,000 times. The US troops also used "Mark-77"
napalm, a kind of bomb banned by the United Nations, in Iraq, which
negatively impacted on environment there. On July 7, 2003, Dato'Param
Cumaraswamy of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, openly voiced
his shock at the fact that the US Government did not abide by international
human rights rules and humanism in its counter-terrorism military actions.
(United Nations Rights Expert "Alarmed" over United States Implementation of
Military Order, United Nations Press Release, July 7, 2003, www.un.org)
The United States put behind bars 3,000 Taliban and Al-Qaida inmates in
Afghanistan, 680 alleged die-hard Al-Qaida elements from 40-odd countries in
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and an undefined number of prisoners in the US army
base on Diego Garcia island on the India Ocean leased from Britain. All
these prisoners locked upby the U.S. were not indicted officially (Britain's
Independent newspaper on June 26, 2004). The New York Times quoted a
high-ranking official from the US Department of Defense on February 13,2003
as saying that the United States planned to jail most of the prisoners
currently in Guantanamo for a long time or indefinitely. The US Government
said the detainees in Guantanamo were not "prisoners of war" and therefore
not subjected to the protection of the Geneva Conventions.
"The main concern for us is the US authorities ... have effectively placed
them beyond the law," said Amanda Williamson, spokeswoman for the Washington
office of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.
(Overseas Chinese newspaper in U.S., Oct. 11, 2003). A report entitled
People the Law Forgot, carried on the British Guardian in Dec. 2003,
depictedthe plight of the 600-odd foreigners detained by the US in
Guantanamo Bay. These people had been detained in Guantanamo Bay since
January 2002, where they were tortured both mentally and physically
(Britain's Guardian newspaper on Dec. 3, 2003). The detainees were given
only one minute a week for taking shower and only through a hunger strike
did they win the weekly five-minute shower time and the weekly ten-minute
break for physical exercises. At a clandestine interrogation center of the
US troops in Bagram of Afghanistan, prisoners were even more tortured. They
were forced to stand or kneel down for hours in varied awkward positions
while wearing hoods over their heads or colored glasses. Exposed to strong
light 24 hours a day, they could not go to sleep(Britain's Independent
newspaper on June 26, 2003).
The US is the nation with the most troops stationed overseas, about 364,000
troops in over 130 countries and regions. The violations of human rights
against local people frequently occurred. In 2003, the US military authority
received 88 reports about "misbehavior" of its overseas troops. On May 25,
2003, a soldier of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa of Japan wounded and raped
a 19-year-old Japanese girl. The soldier was sentenced to three and a half
years in prison. In the past dozen years, such cases occurred frequently in
Okinawa and up to 100 US soldiers have been reported of committing crimes.
On February 7, 2004, Australian police detained three soldiers of the US
Marine Corps suspected of committing sexual harassment of two Australian
women.In September 2003, three officers and soldiers from the US Kitty Hawk
aircraft carrier robbed and seriously wounded a taxi driver in Kanagawa-Ken
of Japan. The three officers and soldiers were sentenced to four years in
prison. In October 2002, a female engineer in Baghdad of Iraq was handcuffed
and made to stand in the scorching sun for one hour because she refused to
be snuffed at by police dogs as she was taking a copy of Alcoran with her.
The case sparked large-scale protest and demonstration in Iraq.
For a long time, the US State Department has been publishing "Country
Reports on Human Rights Practices" every year. It presumes to be the "Judge
of Human Rights in the World" and, regardless of the differences and
disparities among different countries in politics, economy, history, culture
and social development and strong opposition from other countries, denounces
other countries unreasonably for their human rights status in compliance
with its own ideology, value and human rights model. Meanwhile, it has
turned a blind eye to its own human rights problems. This fully exposed the
dual standards of the U.S. on human rights and its hegemonism. The human
rights record of the U.S. is absolutely not in accord with its position as a
world power, which constitutes a strong irony against its self-granted title
ofa big power in human rights. The United States should take its own human
rights problems seriously, reflect on its erroneous position and behavior on
human rights, and stop its unpopular interference with other countries'
internal affairs under the pretext of promoting human rights.
- President vs. precedent on same-sex marriage
By Cass R. Sunstein
In declaring his support for a constitutional amendment that would forbid
same-sex marriage, President Bush is repudiating more than 200 years of
American theory and practice. His proposal is radically inconsistent with
the nation's traditions. Whatever it is, there is one thing that it is not:
Since its ratification in 1789, the Constitution has been amended only 27
times. Nearly every amendment falls into one of two categories. Most of them
expand individual rights. The rest attempt to fix problems in the structure
of the national government itself.
The first 10 amendments, ratified in 1791, make up the Bill of Rights, which
guarantees liberties ranging from freedom of speech, assembly and religion
to protection of private property and freedom from cruel and unusual
In the aftermath of the Civil War, three new amendments were ratified: to
prohibit slavery, guarantee African Americans the right to vote, and assure
everyone the "equal protection of the laws." During the 20th century,
several amendments expanded the right to vote � granting that right to women
(1920) and to 18-year-olds (1971), forbidding poll taxes (1964) and allowing
the District of Columbia to be represented in the Electoral College (1961).
Many other amendments fix problems in the structure of the government. An
early amendment, ratified in 1804, specifies the rules for the operation of
the Electoral College. In 1913, the Constitution was changed to require
popular election of senators; in the same year, an amendment authorized
Congress to impose an income tax.
A 1951 amendment, responding to Franklin Roosevelt's four terms as
president, bans the president from serving more than two terms. A closely
related amendment from 1967 specifies what happens in the event that the
president dies or becomes disabled while in office.
Do any amendments fall outside of these categories? Just two, and they're
not impressive precedents. In 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibited the sale
of "intoxicating liquors." The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.
What accounts for our remarkable unwillingness to amend the Constitution
except to expand rights and to fix structural problems?
The simple answer is that from the founding period, Americans have prized
constitutional stability. We have agreed that the document should not be
amended merely to incorporate the majority's position on the great issues of
the day. For those issues, we rely on the federal system and on democracy.
We fear that large-scale constitutional debates could lead not only to
ill-considered change but could also split and polarize the country. When we
differ, we use the other institutions that we have, not constitutional
American presidents have shown a remarkable appreciation of these points,
and of presidential responsibilities to the founding document itself. Though
repeatedly rebuffed by a right-wing Supreme Court, Roosevelt did not favor
amending the Constitution. In defending his New Deal, he appealed instead to
Congress, the public and the states. Lyndon Johnson argued for dramatic new
laws to protect civil rights and to carry out his "war on poverty," but he
left the nation's charter alone.
Although he was appalled by a left-wing Supreme Court, Richard Nixon
emphasized not constitutional change but ordinary political processes to
steer the nation in the directions that he favored. Ronald Reagan may have
been the most influential president of the second half of the 20th century,
but he didn't seek to change a single word of the Constitution.
In fact, Nixon and Reagan repeatedly emphasized the importance of relying on
the federal system for resolving the most contentious issues. They often
criticized "activist judges" for protecting criminal defendants and taking
over school systems. But when Nixon and Reagan did so, they meant to protest
the use of the national Constitution, by either left or right, to forbid
experimentation at the state and local levels.
In our history, there is no parallel to Bush's call for a constitutional
amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Prohibition is by far the closest
analogy.) And even if we agree that such marriages are objectionable, what
is the problem for which constitutional change is the solution? No federal
judge has said � not once � that the existing Constitution requires states
to recognize same-sex marriages.
At the state level, there are ample channels for continuing deliberation and
debate. True, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has ruled that the
state constitution forbids Massachusetts to refuse to give marriage licenses
to same-sex couples. But even there, well-established processes are now
under way for amending the state constitution, if the citizens wish, to
overturn the court's decision. In the overwhelming majority of states, there
is no effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
Although acknowledging that constitutional amendment "is never to be taken
lightly," Bush tried to disguise the radicalism of his proposal by
announcing, blithely, that the "amendment process has addressed many serious
matters of national concern." But our tradition has been far more specific,
wise and careful than that.
Almost all "serious matters of national concern" have been handled through
ordinary processes, not through constitutional change. Bush has proposed a
reckless departure from our deepest traditions.
Cass R. Sunstein teaches law at the University of Chicago and is the author
of "Why Societies Need Dissent" (Harvard University Press, 2003).
- Conference on Islam Evolution in Russia Begins in Moscow
Russian and American scholars and public figures take part in the conference
An international conference "Reformism in Russian Islam: history and the
present" started at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental
Studies on February 27. Main goal of the forum is to analyze history, find
out the importance and essence of reforming Islam in Russia, consider
contemporary reformatory Islamic projects and estimate their
perspectiveness, RIA Novosti news agency was told at the Institute.
At the conference, experts are to discuss the internal evolution of Russia's
Islam during the epochs of the Russian Empire, the USSR and democratic
Russia, the dogmatics, the law and relations between the authority and
Members of the Russian Mufti Council, officials of governmental structures,
embassies, Russian and American Islam researchers and public figures are
taking part in the conference.
The forum is organized by the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of
Oriental Studies and the
Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.
Reference: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies is a structural
subdivision of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The
Institute was founded in 1974 by three outstanding public figures:
Ambassador George F. Kennan, James Billington (then-director of the Wilson
Center) and historian S. Frederic Starr who became the first director of the
Institute in 1975.
The Institute was named after a relative of George F. Kennan, George Kennan
Sr., a well-known American traveler, publicist and explorer of Russia and
Siberia in the 19th century.
Main goal of the Institute is to contribute to US's knowledge about Russia
and former Soviet republics; to develop scientific researches and reports on
the issue; keeping up a dialogue between American scholars and experts from
governmental institutions concerning relations between the US, Russia,
Ukraine and other former republics of the USSR; increasing contacts between
scholars from the US and the CIS.
(Cited as based upon information from USA.Polpred.ru)
- Proshika chief�s pet dogs in lap of luxury
Proshika president Qazi Faruque Ahmed spent Tk 113,000 for his pet dogs in
one year from donors� fund that was meant for the marginal people�s poverty
alleviation, revealed an official audit.
This was one of the unusual heads of accounts on which the foreign-funded
NGO �misused� about Tk 110 crore in five years from 1996 to 2001.
�Spending from Proshika�s fund on housing, feeding, treatment and care of
personal pet dogs of the Proshika president is contrary to financial
discipline and a financial irregularity as well,� said the 160-page audit
report with 10 volumes of annexure backing the findings.
Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman formally apprised the
donors of such irregularities, but some of them seemed sceptical of the
findings and suggested commissioning of international auditors to
double-check the allegations.
The official audit, headed by a senior bureaucrat, detected 83 heads of
expenses that also included sending dependents abroad on scholarship,
depositing 2 per cent of the aid money against the foreign currency account,
and exceeding the permissible limit of budget by Tk 75 crore.
Besides, irregularities in purchasing motorcycles worth more than Tk 1.28
crore have also been detected by the audit.
�In the name of poverty reduction, Proshika in fact is burdening the poor
people with debt. The poor people are rather being exploited in this way,�
the report said.
�Proshika is lending money it gets as grants from donors to the poor and
charging high service charges from them to make profit,� it said.
Each of the �fortunate� dogs was allocated Tk 111 to Tk 121 daily as food
allowance while Tk 18,300 was spent for construction of a shed for them and
Tk 25,570 for electrification of the shed.
Two German shepherd dogs were bought at Tk 19,700 for the Proshika boss
on July 30, 2001.
The rest of the money was spent on vaccination, treatment, cleaning and
some other heads for the welfare of the dogs, the audit report mentioned.
A sum of Tk 210,000 was spent on celebrating the birthday of the Proshika
chief and other family anniversaries from the NGO fund, the report said,
adding that spending such an amount of donor�s money, which is meant for the
poor, for pets and birthdays is gross violation of terms and conditions.
Installation of a water pump at the Proshika chief�s residence cost Tk
79,481 and net grille Tk 56,375, while about Tk 650,000 was spent for
furnishing his office and residence with security glass, the audit further
The NGO�s fund was also misused on rates like paying residential
electricity bills of Tk 40,051 against four vouchers between March 2000 and
Installation of a security grille at the top floor of Qazi Faruque�s
residence cost Tk 107,034.
Proshika also spent Tk 744,535 as salaries and allowances for 10 ansars
deployed at Faruq�s residence between April 1999 and June 2001, which the
report termed a serious financial irregularity and a gross abuse of power.
The Proshika president and his spouse spent Tk 1, 19,744.97 for treatment
at the National Hospital, Singapore, without any advice of a specialist
doctor, said the report, and termed it �corrupt practice�.
Qazi Faruque borrowed Tk 10,73,401 from the provident fund unlawfully,
the report further said, adding that the Proshika president took the loan by
abusing his power.
- Jihad at Karbala
By Prof. Dr M.A. Soofi
The �Jihad� stands for strive in the name of Allah the Creator; this could
be done with wealth or soul as sign of Love to Creator and His Apostle,
Propher Muhammad (PBUH). It is fight for Allah�s cause. To control oneself
against the evil is also Jihad. Jihad is expressed, when desire is
restricted to avoid, what is prohibited by Allah. Honest earning and
striving for clean living is too a Jihad and Hussain Ibn Ali�s (RS) Jihad is
for humanity against evils forces at Karbala. Islam lays a great emphasis on
sacrifice and Jihad. And Islam lays a lot of emphasis on Jihad in the name
The western societies, blame Islam on this issue. This is, because of their
little understanding of its meaning. It involves cultural and historical
factors in the name of the Creator. The west lacks this knowledge. However
Prince Charles of the UK, while addressing (October 27 1993) at Oxford
University�s Islamic Study Centre on �Islam & West, Past, Present and
Future�, mentioned there is growing lot of better understand of Islam in
West and Islam is being recognised as religion of nature, which stands for
understanding, expansion of knowledge and control from Sins. He gave very
impressive information about the position of Islam in the western society.
He told that there are now 500 Mosques in UK and l0 lakh Muslims live there.
Islam is gaining its strength in France and Germany and in Europe as well.
It is estimated that there are 22 lakh Muslims in France and Germany as
well. France has got more Mosques too. Western Europe is increasing with
population of Muslims.
Prince Charles admitted that Muslims, Christians & Jews, all are holder of
divine books, and there should not be major separation because all believe
in Day of Last. He appreciated the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and
quoted his Hadith �The ink of the scholars pen is more sacred than the
marty�s blood�. This indicates the trend of Islam towards learning and
knowledge. Islam prefer preaching against fight.
It was Islamic civilisation/knowledge possessed by Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) who
acknowledged the letters and requests of Kufi�s for caliphate. It was his
pursuit of practice of Quranic knowledge and Hadith of his granderfather
(Muhammad PBUH) to give consideration to the sufferers or the needy against
caliphate of Yazid. It was his glorious journey from Madina to Mecca and
from Mecca to Kerbala aong with family members. Imam Hussain left the
impression of Action and sacrifice for ever.
His �Shahadat� is an evidence of sacrifice against unlawful Caliphate.A
small Carvan of 72 without proper war equipment had overcome a much bigger
army of Yazid led by Abdullah Ibn Ziad. Having true spirit of Islam justice
and truth and integrity of his family, Hussain (RA) adventure has become as
a heroic act of global of history. The blunder played by Shamer�s, has
resulted into act of shame and weakness. Because out of fear Kufi�s have
become prejudice and emotion of worldly attraction originated in their false
action which have not even destroyed them in this world but in the Day of
Last. Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) guided by Almighty stood not to admit wrong, they
will be sufferer �even ye may have to suffer�. He was in grips of danger,
darely he accepted the challenge to set an example for generations i.e.
truth is to remain in order. His acted, what he inherent from his father Ali
Ibn Abo Talib (RA) the Lion of Allah, and Pious mother Fatima (RA) and
grandfather, the Muhammad (PBUH). The last of Prophets, in whose laps
Hussain has been brought up. Hassan and Hussain (RA) both the brothers were
dear to their grandfather. The Prophet of God said �those, who will love
them they shall be close to me in the Heaven�.
The crude action of forces of Yazid , was no match in any catalogue of
history to what Hussain (RA) reminded them in his address. It was full of
wisdom and learning but their established misdeeds could not follow human
value of the spiritual sermon. Though Imam Hussain had not surrendered to
their dictation, he showed his cooperation to avoid bloodshed by saying:
- �Let me see Yazid Ibn Maviya for negotiation�
- �Let me go back to Madina for my religious duties�.
- �Let me go to the territories to fight in name of Allah�.
�I have not come to you on my own. It was you, who had sent me letters and
letters of request from your city of Kufa and in your response I am here. I
have not come with military necessity rather, ours is a religious family.
But you can�t give me force me for bait to Yazid,� Said Hussain to the
troops. �Your army can�t keep me away from right path of my decision in the
light of Quran and Sunnah. You can�t pursuit me against Quran.�
The extremist having forgotten the traces of love for Hussain slaughtered
him. Thus they were doomed for ever. His resistance has become reality, and
he is living example forever whereas Yazid and his army is dead and
disgraced. Muaviya made a lot of achievement during his time of rule.
When he was on the death bed, he deputed his heir Yazid to perform this
Abdullah Ibn Ziad and Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) could not agree, as other
accepted Yazid as ruler. They were pressed for Bait, but Hussain (RA) did
not agree to it in principle. Abdullah lbn Zubair declared his Caliphate in
Mecca and Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) has to march on, from Madina to Kufa having
not admitted Yazid as a ruler. He stopped at Karbala about 50 miles north of
Iraq. Obaidullah son of Ziyad asked Hussain (RA) to surrender. But he did
not. Thus his camp was surrounded and put on fire. They became desperate and
managed to strike a sword on Hussain�s neck; he head was chopped on Abdullah
Ibn Ziad�s order; his body was trampled and mutilated.
The heroic death of the Imam provides us a chance to fight against evils in
the society and refuse to obey those who don�t deserve it in accordance with
the Islamic dictates as well as the Constitution of Pakistan. Until, we
review ourselves in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, we can�t stand
against ills of society. Our line of action in life should be the right
path, right thinking and the action devoted to the interest of Islam and
Muslims. We should act as a bond of love between ourselves and fight against
enemy of Islam. If we could not practice preachings of the messenger of God,
our claim of being his Ummat, is not fulfilled.
The Quran formulates (Chap. II verse 5): �Those who follow revelations from
God, that is, religion given them by God, are on the path of Guidance,
coming to them from the Creator, Nourisher and Evolver and they will become
successful.� Hussain acted upon and therefore stood successful. It was his
broad vision that he adhered to the Quran and faced sword. This is called
complete submission to the Divine Laws and uplifted status of humanity,
justice and right action. He has accomplished task, for glorification of
Islamic teaching and this has raised human edification. After alms giving
(Zakat) to needy and Pilgrimage to Mecca, once in life if one can afford,
Jihad is of paramount importance.
Imam Hussain had not accepted wrongful decision of Yazid, being in
possession of Rightful will and he willingly volunteered himself for
sacrifice.His spirituality and his potentiality against all odds produced
marvelous results of Bravery. Quran Says (S.II 154/56):
And say not of those
Who are slain in the way of
God: �They are dead�.
Nay, they are living.
Though ye perceive (it) not.
Be sure we shall test you
With something of fear
And hunger, some loss
In goods or lives or the fruits
(Of your toil), but give
Glad tidings to those
Who patiently persevere
Who say, when afflicted
With calamity: �To God
We belong, and to Him
Is our return�