Saturday, 20 September 2014

Indian Programmer Gets ID Card For Monkey God

Lord Hanumana's ID card (source)
God's been found in India -- they even have his cell phone. Monkey god Lord Hanumana, that is.
It means that the god is now an official resident of India’s north-western Rajasthan state and even has a 12 digit ID number. The card also records his mobile phone number and his address, and the picture shows the monkey god himself wearing a crown and a string of pearls.
A computer programmer, Vicky Kumar, who was sick and tired of going through India's hellish bureaucracy to get himself an ID card, decided to apply for a card via the blackmarket to demonstrate just how messed up things are in India.

His card was expedited and, because the government outsources to private companies to issue the cards, there wasn't enough oversight to catch this rather obvious error. Or else the relevant employee who issued the card actually believe Hanumana was really applying for a card. I mean, you don't want to deny service to a monkey god now do you?
Kumar said: “My card not only exposes how corrupt the whole system is, but how efficient these touts are. My card has all of the security marks and is 100 percent genuine.”
One hundred percent genuine, indeed.

Man Is Like A Lobster

Queen Silver (source)
Paragraph from her talk Pioneers of Freethought, delivered by Queen Silver at age of 12 (1923).
Man is like a lobster, or a crab, anyway. When a fisherman catches a bucket of these shellfish, he does not have to put a cover on it to keep them from escaping. As soon as one crawls up to the top of the bucket, and seems about to gain his freedom, all the other crabs and lobsters proceed to, grab hold of his legs and pull him back down into the bottom of the bucket. In this way they are all kept safe for the fisherman. They save each other from freedom, and ultimately all of them get boiled alive, because they did not have brains enough to help one another. Have you not seen men act just exactly like these lobsters? When a man, or a woman, or a child, advances a step further toward free development of the mind, are there not plenty of other men, and women, and children waiting, watching and trying by every means in their power to drag down the one who has made the upward advance? Why, that is what William J. Bryan is doing, what the preachers are doing all the time. The lobster nature, inherited from their shellfish ancestors, who lived a hundred million years ago, makes them try to drag down their fellow men into the mire of superstition, from which they themselves do not want to escape.
 I'm reading up on her, so expect more later.

Friday, 19 September 2014

CFI Speaking Out And Challenging Saudi Arabia On Their Lousy Human Rights Record

CFI's Michael De Dora delivering statement calling on Saudi Arabia to release prisoners of conscience. (source)
The CFI totally rocked back in June when they called out Saudi Arabia on their crap human rights record right to their faces at the UN Human Rights Council back in June. The world needs more of this -- what with world leaders getting all shy and sheepish and mute whenever Saudi Arabia seems to waive their money and oil all over the place. Mouths too busy salivating perhaps?

Unsurprisingly, the Office for Religious Freedom here in Canada said sweet nothing back then.

Well, the ORF is not breaking with tradition now that we know that Raif Badawi is going to start enduring the torture of 1,000 public lashings -- 50 each week -- right in front of a mosque, after evening prayers for all to see. They're keeping mum and so is the government that appears to control them. Shhhhhh... we just sold the biggest contract of armoured vehicles to Saudi ever -- and they're just great for suppressing protesting Saudi citizens as well. Don't want to blow that contract over human rights, now do we?

Well, the CFI has done good again! They are once again calling for the unconditional release of Raif Badawi and also Waleed Abulkhair. They are once again questioning just why Saudi Arabia is a member of this Council -- given their abysmal record. Great job reading by Michael De Dora!

The meat of the statement. You can read the full text at the CFI website.
This is unconscionable. Every modern human rights accord recognizes the central importance of the individual right to freedom of thought. It is unfortunately true that Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to many of these accords. However, as an elected member of this Council, Saudi Arabia is obliged to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Accordingly, we once again call on Saudi Arabia to release Badawi and Al-Khair immediately and unconditionally, and drop any pending charges against them.

We also urge the country to reform its laws to protect the rights to freedom of religion, belief, and expression, and cease the brutal use of lashing, which violates the Convention on Torture. No human being should be imprisoned, let alone physically beaten, for their beliefs, or for their criticisms of religious or political ideas.
Bravo to the CFI on getting the word out.