Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We need better observers!

Some thoughts I had after reading this news article on TN parliament members visit to IDP camps. Interestingly some guy commented as "Sri Lankan IDP camps are better than the Indian shanties (huts). That's why the Tamil Nadu delegation have expressed satisfaction. So for them this is like heaven." There was a nice photo too, one of TN MP is offering a traditional gesture of friendship to the president. (Now, who would have thought of this few months ago!)

It's all about how you perceive things and in the end everything is relative.

Do IDPs having a good life out there ? you bet not. Then again with what kind of a situation you can compare their situation with ? Can you compare that against Tsunami camps we had once ... or should we compare it against (as some would like to suggest) Hitler's concentration camps? Can we compare their situation with ordinary village life and come to conclusions, or should we compare this to any other refugee camp in the region ? Whatever it is, it is very important to identify and categorise the situation correctly and select proper comparable situations to compare this event with. For human beings always perceive events by comparing or in relation to some other events. If we choose incomparable events, we may easily come into wrong conclusions.

There is another angle to this, our conclusions are also relative to our own personal experiances and standards. A homeless guy living on a street may call a welfare center a heaevn but a top diplomat who lives a luxury european life may even find even the normal urban life in Chennai or Colombo as appaling!

So there are already two obvious factors which look as useful considerations when forming conclusions on events and situations. First one is that we should try to compare that with similar situations (as close as possible), then the observer should be in a similar perspective or having a closer outlook to the ones who are actually involved in with the situation. If we are in a complete different background, we should try our best tp get in the shoes (get a feeling of the culture, standards of living in similar situations in the region, specific challenges, limitaions etc) of those who are really involved in the situation and try to make our conclusions with the perspective relative to those people.

Now, let's take the scenario of IDP camps and various Europeans, NGOs commenting on the living condition in those. Do they sereisly consider that the Sri Lanka is a 3rd world country which is struggling to cope (financially and resource wise) with 250 000 of displaced people just after a bloddy war in a economic recession? Do they understand the standard of living in poor parts in this region ? Do they understand the devastation happended to these areas and people in 3 decades of war and put that into the context ? Finally, Are they aware of how these very same people had to crowded up in a narrow beach front against their wills by LTTE and amidst a war under horrific conditions, how they ran into government lines risking their own lives (braving LTTE fire) just to escape from that situation..

In the case of Tamil Nadu politicians they are at least very aware what the normal life standards are in usual refugee camps in the region, How the living standards among poor parts in the region and among people who has to undergo various hardships for decades. Above all they are having first hand experiance about their own refigee camps in TN housing SL refugees fleeing the war. In this context it is not surprising at all that the delegation finds the situation at camps are not so appaling as the western media and diplomats have reported! True, we are struggling to cope with the large crowd and to attend their needs, but we are trying. Good freinds would be (like India in this case) helping us to cope with the immense task.

This brings us to an interesting question : Just what we can expect from letting more and more western media and diplomats into these camps and letting them interpret the situation relative to them ? On one hand, there is the unpleasant case of organizations/individuals/lobbyists sympathetic to LTTE or to Ealan course using the situation as a spring board for their propaganda activities. On the other hand there is the situation of some angry western powers trying to teaching a little lesson to the SL goverment on it's 'failing' to act accordign to their advices/wishes/interests while wiping out the LTTE in the final battles. Isn't it much better and sensible to instead have organizations/individuals from our reagion to inspect these camps and come up with their own suggestions/interpretations for improvements ?

We could let Indian, Bangladeshi or pakistani observers/social workers to visit these places and to come up their thoughts/ideas on how best we can improve the situation and how best our friends can help us in this. Our regional friends will understand lot better on how to compare this situation with similar situations in the region and would know better how to define words like 'appaling', 'life threatening', 'acceptable', 'adequate measures taken' etc... It wouldn't do us any bad to have some constructive criticism in the name of helping these people while making their difficult stay in these camps as short as possible.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's raining hard (as in tropics) and dark outside. What a show of force the rain is... It makes one feel so humble against the power of nature, yet at the same time it make one feel full of awe and respect towards it.

All your plans, schedules, are forced to get re arranged. Like our ancestors we too have to submit to the nature and allow it to go along it's wonderful ways. For a moment we become (or rather forced to) just an observer of this amazing display.

The wind is constantly blowing hard and you can hear the rustle of trees only to be interrupted time to time by a gigantic thunder. Suddenly there is light in the middle of the night! but only for a short fleeting moment of time. Once again the regular noise of the downpour against the roof and the wind against the trees take over. Despite it's magnitude and the monotone, what a enjoyable moment! Sometimes it feels so good just to surrender and observe the mighty nature.....

How small are we really when pitted against this... slowly the rain changes our mental mood as well. One instinctively get an inkling to cuddle under a sheet and to be on a comfortable bed. Just how lovely it would be to sleep right now... Inside the house it is dry yet there is overall mental feeling of wetness. Or can we actually feel a mist ? tiny little water drops somehow finding their way inside mixing with the air ? It's chilly. cold and lonely. Even if there are people around, it is as if you are alone with your self. Rain is doing all the communications. Only it does the talking, all other sounds are insignificant...

Once one get accustomed to the music of the rain, one identifies components within it. Water smashing onto the roof tirelessly, water then dropping down from the roof, flowing on the ground as it forming into little springs.. The wind howling into the dark night. Trees swaying around, rustling it's branches and leaves... Whole world has stop it's activities and had given way to the rain to have it's say. For now, it has total domination of every thing.

One eventually get reminded of similar past experiences hidden in the forest of past time.. Everybody has at least one clear memory either in childhood or in adolescence on rain. About a particular time one was as helpless as now and being reduced to an observer in front of the rain. Yet, once one totally surrenders to it and after stopping fighting against it, the experience become almost a pleasure. Relaxing and listening to the chore and its symphonies... How the wind, trees and water get their act together and become parts of one integral act.

Its a gift! nothing less, how fortunate are we to have an event like this visiting us once in a while to remind us of our littleness in the vast nature.

The rain in a cold damp night!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A theory on the conspiracy theories on UFO's

Well, actually the content of this article may not be as sexy as the title suggest.

Just wanted to say few things on one fascinating observation. First of all, let me say that I'm not an obsessed UFO fan or someone who believes there are aliens before actually seeing one. I also do not belongs to the opposite group. Ok, here we go :

There are so many conspiracy theories on governments (mainly the US government) trying to cover up evidence on aliens, or trying to make us believe that there are no UFO etc. Now, UFO fans are taking these theories pretty seriously while others are well... ridiculing them. I belong to non of these categories, yet there are many valid reasons as to why a government may actually try to cover up stories (or 'evidence' as the say) on aliens and UFOs if they exist!

Now, don't get carried away! just because someone having a good reason to not like the idea of public believing in something does not mean that thing actually exist (or do not exist for that matter). Still, this is quite interesting.........

Think about the religion. There are loads on this earth. Let's take 3 main ones. Christianity, Islam and Judaism. (In alphabetical order and apologies for Hindus, Buddhists and Flying Spaghetti Monster followers etc) Now, all main 3 has one thing in common : yea you guessed it right, The God. He is omnipotent, the one and only one and the creator of everything. Also, he has created this universe, our earth and (this is little important in here) made the man out of his own image. On the other hand there are atheists who believe that there is no God.

Again, it is not the intention of this article to discuss about the religion or to make sides. Like mentioned earlier, just pointing out an observation which I find as fascinating....

Now, let's just imagine for a second that UFO, aliens and little green (or any other color) 'men' actually do exist! This will have some series implications for most of religions wouldn't it? How can we suddenly face up with the prospect of there is some other race (not human) which is far superior (from the simple fact that they found us before we found them) to us? After all we are supposed to be the preferred race created by god's own very image, and there can be only one almighty god as well! For the creationism in general, something like this has the potential to become the hardest hit after theory of evolution and/or the finding that the earth actually goes around the sun and not the other way around. Let's think about this scenario a bit... it (presence of another race superior to us) will shatter lot of things in our belief systems.

If the UFO's are true and aliens do exist... will the Vatican be eager to accept that fact? Will they like to see rest of the world believing that the aliens do exist? Most countries on earth have tight relations with religion as majority of people (specially politicians) are firm believers. So we should not be surprised to see US or some other government decide to silence things down even if there are evidence for the existence of aliens. Like it or not, organized religion do help towards controlling the masses and there by making things easier for the governments. Also, there are religious lobbyists with money....

Phew! lucky aliens have not appeared on TV yet!

Now, once again ... this of course does not constitute an evidence for the existence of the aliens. It is not even an argument for conspiracy theories, since it does not making the claim that governments are actually holding the truth. It only says that governments do have a good enough reason to cover up evidence 'if there are any'.

Come to think of it, there can also be reasons as to believing in the existence of aliens. Think of an atheist who like to prove (once and for all) that there is no god. Well, for such a cause, a little green man (has to be a little green creature in this case!) would be a nice gift indeed....

Are there any surveys or polls done to investigate the religious beliefs of UFO fans ? Or the beliefs of non UFO fans ? Can it be possible that there is a co-relation.....

what do you think ?