This is the blog of Sukumar and friends.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Illegal Immigration

I came to this country without papers, admits the illegal alien
But I did not steal the land of the people who were here
Nor plunder your houses nor rape your squaws
Nor wage war on your tribe nor exterminate your people
As did your valorous forefathers...
I guess that makes me illegal.
We came from far and near, you and I
But I seek not to destroy your Gods
Nor to liberate your souls
Nor civilize ye savages
As did your learned forefathers...
I guess that makes me illegal.
We came uninvited, you and I
Fleeing poverty and oppression
But I brought no slaves
And I brought no guns
To ease my life in this nation...
I guess that makes me illegal.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The power of irrational ideas

I just returned from a performance of The Passion of Joan of Arc by Albany Pro Musica at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Albany. The movie was simultaneously shown on overhead screens. Yesterday was the announcement of the closure of Abu Ghraib. The coincidence was not lost on me. Has anything really changed? What I came away with was that this uneducated peasant threatened the power that important people wielded upon the minds of others. Whether it is the authority of the Church as the sole arbiter of salvation or the authority of the President to spy on citizens and wage an illegal war or the authority of mullahs to barter 73 virgins for jihad, when this authority is challenged, the establishment comes down heavily. Girls are burnt at the stake, fatwas are issued on authors and cartoonists, spies are outed, scientist fired, hapless folk found at the wrong place at the wrong time are waterboarded. Today Joan is a Saint in the Church and a holiday is observed on the birthday of Martin Luther King, but the institutions that perpetrated these injustices are intact. A century later they apologize for their role in the inquisition, the trial of Galileo, the holocaust, Japanese internment, slavery, the extermination of Native Americans, one day maybe for the dropping of the bombs, the creation of the Taliban, the arming of Saddam with chemical weapons, the School of the Americas, the shredding of Geneva. Sorry if I'm mixing metaphors and actors, but life is mixed up. We wage a so-called "War on Terror" when we should be waging one instead on fundamentalism, because it is irrational ideas and respect for irrational ideas that maintain us in our state of ignorance and terror and maintain the power of tyrants over the rest of us. Only the truth shall set you free. But there is no truth, only "truthiness". In our brave new world, science is merely one point of view, yielding equal time to fundamentalism, fact is spin, dissent is treason, racketeering is a state secret, protest is "ecoterrorism".