Thursday, March 17, 2011

Raymond Davis freed

Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor arrested in Pakistan for murdering two people, has been freed by the payment of blood money. Two things worth mentioning:
  1. The sheer hypocrisy of the American government; on the one hand, Davis was part of the diplomatic corps (no matter that this claim was torn to shreds quickly, which probably led to the whole blood money option -- which, you have to admit, was a stroke of evil genius), and therefore enjoyed immunity against prosecution even for as heinous a crime as murder, while on the other hand:
    In 2004, Mrs. Clinton and the senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer, presented a Bill that advocated cutting foreign aid to countries who owed unpaid parking fines to the City of New York. Senator Clinton was obviously incensed by the fact that diplomats were abusing their privilege. Diplomatic immunity was never intended to allow diplomats to violate traffic laws of the host country, or for that matter, commit murders.

    She registered her discontent with diplomatic immunity and argued that it was not “acceptable for foreign diplomats and consular officials to hide behind diplomatic and consular immunity to park in illegal spaces in New York City and avoid paying parking tickets. It is my hope that this legislation will ensure that the City gets the money that it is owed.” Senators Clinton and Schumer were successful in amending the 2005 congressional Foreign Operations Bill in the Senate that froze foreign aid to countries by amounts they owed New York City in parking ticket violations and unpaid property taxes.


    In 1987, a car driven by the ambassador of Papua New Guinea, Kiatro Abisinito, hit four other cars in Washington, DC. The ambassador invoked diplomatic immunity. However, the US Attorneys prepared a criminal case against the ambassador for operating a vehicle while being intoxicated.

    Consider the case of Georgian diplomat, Gueorgui Makharadze, who in 1997 killed a 16-year old girl in a fatal traffic accident in the US. The diplomat invoked diplomatic immunity and was ready to leave when the Georgian President, Eduard Shevardnadze, ordered the diplomat to stay in the United States and face criminal charges. Mr. Makharadze was convicted by a court and served time in an American prison.

  2. The supreme irony of using Sharia Law to save Davis.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Lawyers protest against examination

From The Hindu:
Hundreds of train commuters on the Tambaram-Chennai Beach section were stranded on Sunday for over an hour as lawyers squatted on train tracks between St. Thomas Mount and Guindy Railway Stations... The agitators, who had come to the city from various parts of the state ahead of the All India Bar Examination, were protesting against it.

The nation-wide open-book objective-type qualifying test was held in English and several regional languages across the country.


Soon after the examination began, disgruntled candidates stormed out of the exam venue, assembled on the railway tracks and roads outside.


[The president of the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association] said that a test of this nature would expose the lack of knowledge of students from local law colleges when compared to those from schools of excellence.
Why am I not surprised? The so called local law colleges breed some of the most politicized and virulent forms of Collegius studentus in the city, specimens whose actions would make the Bus Day celebrators seem like five year old schoolgirls. Getting a strong grounding in law is the last thing on their minds, and expecting them to clear the exam is probably a bit too much. Here's what happened: they enrolled for the exam, paid the fees, and so on, and turned up at the exam center, and a cursory look at the question paper (I'm not even going to comment on the fact that it was a frigging open-book exam) was all it took to convince them that the money paid for the exam would have been better spent on, I don't know, booze and movie tickets.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bus Day

The yearly ritual of hooligans college students commandeering buses and causing mayhem on the streets of Chennai is not just a law and order issue. It's a symptom of a deeper problem: the government's desire to keep the youth off the list of job seekers for another three years by getting them enrolled in worthless degree programs (not to mention building a support base for political parties). Everyone knows that these degrees lead to nothing except dead-end jobs as sales representatives and collection/verification agents zooming around recklessly on two wheelers -- on the same streets that bring bring back nostalgic memories of beating up bus drivers and stoning passersby and policemen -- but people still enroll themselves in these programs. The pittance that is charged as fees probably contributes to this, but a more important reason is the disdain for blue collar work. The same three years, if they had been spent acquiring vocational skills like plumbing, auto repair, refrigerator repair, and so on, would provide them with a solid career with decent wage potential, but no, they would rather study a bachelor's degree in economics, get barely passing grades (if at all they don't retain a set of 'arrears' in perpetuity) and go to work selling Eureka Forbes vacuum cleaners.