Saturday, January 07, 2006

Benn Gunns in Kashmir

UN suspends Pakistan aid flights:

The UN, according to a BBC report, has discontinued its aid flights to the earthquake survivors stuck in the Himalayas. They had to do this since many people desperate to get out of the region stormed the aid choppers thus putting the chopper crew at risk.

I can't imagine a more desperate and hopeless situation. People there, are stuck without food or shelter, in an increasingly cold climate, hundreds of miles from any refuge. When I first read Treasure Island as a child the most horrifying parts weren't Silver or Capt. Flint's deeds, it was the concept of being marooned, like Benjamin Gunn on a remote island without a soul.

Now, I realise, this situation is infinitely more depressing. Benn Gunn had his salted goats to eat and a warm climate to enjoy. The Kashmiris stuck on the mountains are in a far worse state. They have no food, no shelter(in sub-zero temperatures) and to top it people who can, aren't helping.

One can hardly blame the UN when the Pakistani govt., the primary aid-giver is not doing much. A country that is willing to spend billions on nuclear weapons and F-16s (postponed...but for how long) can't feed or provide shelter to the thousands who are starving and freezing to death?

Put yourself in that situation, alone in a crowd, hungry, freezing, waiting to for a ride out...that's never going to come. You can either stay snug in Karachi or NY or wherever you are and helplessly accept the fact that its too difficult or "expensive" to save them or you can get off your ass, ask Musharraf to spend whatever it takes (or do it yourself) to either evacuate all the trapped people or at least provide them enough food, blankets and warm tents to help them last the Himalayan winter. There is no other way.

Mass execution with AK-47s is genocide but death by indifference isn't? What logic is this?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

To drink or not to..or to...or not to...

A recent study showed that the long held notion of "a glass of red wine a day keeps plaque in the arteries away" is pure hogwash. What interests and amuses me intensely is that immediately another study pops up touting the obesity-control benefits of moderate drinking. Now, I might be paranoid but I feel that some vineyard sent a few cases of the best bubbly, if not a few Woodrow Wilsons, to the researchers.
Moral: Always put "study" in double quotes.