H C Singh

HAITI- Its origin and Recent Tragedy

Almost a month back one of the worst tragedies occurred in Haiti, a small country with less than 10 million population. The disaster of January 12, 2010 killed more than 2 lakhs inhabitants, mostly poor farmers and workers. It is reported that for almost one week there was no food and medical aid from anywhere from Spain, USA and France, in particular, as they have been ruling directly or indirectly over Haiti. France ruled Haiti for a long after Spanish control. Accordingly the official language of Haiti is French.

Aid has trickled thereafter. But many thousand unfortunate remained under debris for more than a week. Instead of direct and substantial help to Haitians, particularly the orphans, there was attempt to take away or kidnap, many orphans by missionaries for adoption at a price or conversion. Some missionaries were even caught and jailed for sometime. Even after a fortnight of disastrous quake there were “Thousands of criminals on the loose and reports of rape and violence” and all types of crimes. USA could send hundreds of soldiers and volunteers to help in all spheres. But USA did not. Had USA or UN taken emergency measures and aid, there would have been some immediate relief to the poor victims of worst earthquake.

It will enlighten many to know the origin and history of Haiti in brief, as Haiti though founded in 1492 by Columbus, is now “oldest black republic in the world and second oldest independent in the world.”

Columbus, as is well known, was trying to reach India, but reached Haiti in 1492 a part of West Indies. Columbus thought that he had reached West of India, i.e. Haiti and adjoining areas, south of Cuba and touching Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea. Haiti is an Indian word meaning high ground. There are two chains of rugged mountains in North as well as in South, so it was named as Haiti and is known as Haiti since the time of discovery by Christopher Columbus.

During 500 years of its known existence, Haiti has met with many tragedies because of greed of Western Powers, particularly Spain, France and USA. Haiti was conquered, destroyed and re-conquered a number of times.

Columbus himself discovered gold and built a small fort of timber in Haiti. He left behind some of the crew, to guard the fort and get gold from the gold mines. But the aboriginals known as ‘Arawak Indians’ destroyed the fort and killed all those whom Columbus left behind. Haitis estimated population in 1991 was about seven million and it would be about 10 million in year 2010 before the worst tragedy struck killing as per latest estimate more than 2 lakhs inhabitants.

Because of the discovery of gold, many more Spanish settlers came to Haiti. “They forced the Indians to mine gold and raise food for them. They treated the Indians so harshly that by 1580 only a few hundred Indians were alive. The Spanish settlers brought slaves from Africa to “work for them” Spain continued to control Haiti and Dominican Republic till the French, English and Dutch pirates stationed in small island of Taruga made the life of spainiocals miserable. Accordingly king of Spain ordered them to leave Haiti and Dominican Republic and go to Mexico and Peru where Spain established new settlements. Haiti in due course, became a French settlement. French became the official language. France had brought almost 5,00,000 slaves from Africa in contrast to 60,000 French. French made Haiti more prosperous than even their colony in part of Canada.

However during French Revolution of 1791, the so called slaves became conscious and rebelled against the French. Though Napoleon had sent French soldiers to recapture Haiti and make it French colony but it was short lived. The rebels defeated the French and General Jean Jacques Diesoline, leader of rebels, proclaimed Haiti an independent country, thereafter recognized all over the world.

In Haiti more than 80% are farmers and live in villages. They grow sugarcane; coffee which are processed there and exported to USA and other countries. Besides Haiti grows cotton. There are cotton mills and craft workers handicrafts that they have woven. Only 5 to 10 percent know French and rule the country, Republic of Haiti.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, Cold War, Political Commentary, Religion, USA, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Failure in Afghanistan and Iraq Imminent

It is not Obama alone the current President of USA, but chiefly his predecessors, particularly George Bush who is to be blamed for imminent failure of USA’s intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems to be writing on wall. America is almost committed to withdraw its and NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan and possibly in Iraq before the end of 2010. American intervention to finish violent Taliban had become necessary because the very Taliban who were creation of USA with the assistance of Pakistan, to push out Russian Communists who had converted Afghanistan into a communist state. Withdrawal and expulsion of Russian troops was mainly due to courage and fighting capacity of dedicated Talibans. Thereafter Taliban turned to capture power in Afghanistan and push out the Americans, too. With a view to establish pro-American and Anti Communist government in Kabul American intervention got intensified. Talibans did not and could not tolerate that in place of Russian dominance there should be American dominance in Afghanistan.

Talibans not only resisted American and so called NATO troops, they started killing all those Afghans who were pro-American or had become power hungry to rule Afghanistan with American support and without Taliban participation or help. Thus besides thousands of US and NATO troops having been killed, lakhs of Afghans, many women and children, have perished in this fratricidal war of Talibans against their own Afghans, through suicide bombing and other war like attacks.

Even when Americas war of intervention in Afghanistan was going on, George Bush, US President decided to intervene in Iraq on the plea that Iraq was preparing nuclear weapons. Though this view of George Bush had no validity. Even the UN sponsored team that was sent to Iraq did not support this view of George Bush. Yet George Bush in 2003 sent American Army to Iraq to destroy their military and nuclear capability. As a result in 2003 USA sent its troops to finish Iraqi President Sadan and establish a pro American Government in Baghdad. America succeeded in their aim but the war in Iraq has continued for seven years.

Consequences of both the interventions of USA under the aegis of NATO, earlier in Afghanistan and in 2003 in Iraq, seem to have been utter failures in achieving American purpose of establishing with American help so called democratic governments. Both the attempts have failed and so USA is facing imminent failure.

It is surprising that USA has not learnt lesson from its gigantic failures in China and thereafter in Vietnam. In China, against Mao Tse Tung’s communists, America supported Chiangkai Shek who ultimately ran out of mainland China and with American support became ruler of Chinese off-share island of Taiwan.

Similarly Americans refused to learn lesson from their utter or worst failure for intervention in Vietnam against Ho Chi Minh’s government. For quite a long time America used all types of weapons and scratched earth policy, and carpet-bombing but ultimately USA had to quit when eighty thousand American soldiers had died. The humiliating end was marked by America taking away its last soldiers and diplomats through Helicopters from the roof of American Embassy.

 The above review points out that though, as a last resort Americans are trying to integrate with Karzai Government in Kabul the so called, comparatively non-combatant Talibans. This policy of dividing Talibans is likely to meet with failure. Thus American intervention in both Afghanistan and Iraq faces imminent failure.

On January 30, 2010, Hillary Clinton US Sec of State gave a disappointing statement about possibility of good Taliban getting integrated. She said “we are not going to really (get) bad guys, because really bad guys are not going to renounce violence and agree to re-enter society.” Such a firm statement is likely to discourage even those who were expected to leave Taliban Al-Quaida and join Karzai.

 Washington Post and ABC News had asked a simple question as to how much confidence they had in President Obama for making right decisions for the American nation. ‘A majority 53% gave two dismal of the four responses. “None at all “had tripled in just one year from 9 percent to 27%”. In addition democrats had lost Kennedy’s seat in senate after almost 70 years. These were two bad omens for Obama and his Presidency, after one year.

Thus in Afghanistan America’s hope of dividing Talibans and getting a section integrated in Karzai’s government in Kabul has been falsified. In Iraq, too, there is no hope of America succeeding and firmly establishing pro-American democratic government in view of almost daily suicide bombing. Latest being in Karbla where a woman suicide bomber killed more than 50 and injured more than 150. Thus failure of American intervention both in Afghanistan and Iraq seems imminent.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Cold War, Terrorism, USA, USSR, World, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Problem of Kashmir and Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits

Jawaharlal Nehru, though he himself was a Kashmiri Pandit the first Prime Minister of Independent India proved to be a weak PM particularly as long as Lord Mountbatten was Governor General of Dominion of India. He continued to be ineffective and docile till Sardar Patel, iron man of India,was alive. Nehru committed many blunders in the case of Kashmir as outlined by Vidya Bhushan in South Asia Today:

The first and biggest blunder was to make Jawahar Lal Nehru PM instead of Sardar Patel and another blunder was to assign Deptt of Kashmir Affairs to Nehru while all the other State Affairs were under Ministry of State under the charge of Sardar Patel.

Another blunder was to name the head of government of Kashmir as Prime Minister and not Chief Minister as was the case of hundreds of other Princely States. Also to name Srinagar Radio as Radio Kashmir and not All India Radio Kashmir.

But the greatest blunder was to let Mountbatten include a clause on the Instrument of Accession on Kashmir to India, that “will of the people” will be taken into account, which led to one crises after another viz referring the Kashmir question to UN, agreeing to cease fire when entire Kashmir could be conquered by Indian Army within a week and finally agreeing to plebiscite.

It is unfortunate that all these blunders on Kashmir were committed by Pt. Nehru, directly or indirectly which cost India thousands of valiant Indian Army personnel’s life and also of Kashmiris besides lakhs of crores of rupees during 62 years besides 1965 war with Pakistan Kashmir and also Kargil war, without any solution to Kashmir problem.

Before the conquest of Kashmir by Muslim Afghans, entire population of Kashmir was Hindu. But now there is absolute majority of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley but in Jammu area majority is of Hindus and in, Ladakh Buddhist before and after independence. It was Maharaja Ranjit Singh in early 8th century who conquered and ended Muslim (Afghan) rule after about 700 years. Just as he captured NWFP from Afghans, made both Kashmir and NWFP part of his (Indian) empire. B.N Sharma’s views in this context are touching so these are reproduced below:

” Have we ever tried analyze the course of almost complete demographic swing in favour of Muslims as the ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Pandits was going on under the benevolent gaze of the previous secular government at Delhi so aptly described by a Kashmiri Muslim Khurshid Vani—‘when bullets, blood and fundamentalism made their first inroad into the valley, 1.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits left their paradise in fear, but 3000 families stayed back to fight, to survive and to live or die in their homes.’ Sadly more than a decade and a half later, the staying power of these gritty Pandits stands diluted by joblessness, anxiety and loneliness, not to talk of nagging fear. There are no grooms for daughters, no relatives to share family with, no hope of the return of exiled and, of course distress sale of ancestral properties. And the plight of Those who stayed back against all adversity.”

During Ranjit Singh’s reign over Kashmir and there after British rule by Dogra rulers Kashmir was quiet—no apparent Muslim dominance. But since independence because of Nehru’s follies and Pakistani indirect and direct intervention Kashmir problem has arisen and has got intensified. It is true and shocking but the secular government of India could not prevent it or do anything for return of Kashmiri Pandits which seems a remote possibility now. It may be possible, either after final agreement in black and white with Pakistan or after disintegration of Pakistan (NWFP becoming an independent state or joining Afghanistan) or when the Taliban menace is over either by peaceful settlement or by intensified war by USA as US President Obama has claimed by mid 2011 when all US Forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. If one of this possibility becomes reality, as it is hoped and peace returns to Kashmir after few years then and then alone it may or will be possible for Kahmiri Pandits to return to their homes in Kashmir and become integrated Kashmiris as before independence of India.

December 25, 2009 Posted by | Cold War, India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Disintegration of Pakistan

Ayesha Jalal, a celebrated historian of Pakistan even admits that for the last 62 years since its creation, Pakistan has been battling for the survival, though being a Pakistani she does not admit or say that Pakistan is facing disintegration. Though she has written about Taliban, their creation by USA and Pakistan to communist from Afghanistan, which had virtually become a communist country for a number of years. “US and Saudi Arabia” gave billions of dollars to Pakistan Army to east communist from Afghanistan and Afghan comments who supported Soviet Union and established communist government in Muslim Afghanistan. Pakistan Army funded the substantial amount of this money to Madrassas in NWFP and tribunal areas….. these madrassas become assembly lives fro militants who were considered to be an asset to the Pakistan Army’s quest for strategic depth om Afghanistan. Once the Russians left the Army continued to ‘Jehad’ in Afghanistan and Kashmir to the determinant of Pakistan’s internal security. 

          Being a Pakistani she has not concluded or mentioned in the article that NWFP which had been part of Afghanistan would want independence from Pakistan and be an independent  country or join Afghanistan. Pakistan is battling for survival because of Jehadi’s led by Talibans of NWFP and not Jehadis of any type in Punjab or Sindh.

           Similar is case of Balochistan, where militants are fighting for independence. Another Pakistani writer Omer Farooq Khan says about Swat, there is no guarantee of success and a few India of success for so troubled a region.. What happens in Balochistan where seportist movement has waged its own war since 2004? What happens then ? Does a new fault line taking failing   Pakistan to the point of no return? It will be observed that both the prominent Journalist of Pakistan are of the opinion that Pakistan has reached ‘point of no return’ so far as unified Pakistan with NWFP and Balochistan as its provinces is concerned, its fate depends on the fate of USA’s failure or success in Afghanistan. If USA fails in Afghanistan as it failed in Vietnam war against communists then Pakistan cannot remain unaffected. It may face disintegration as flow of billions of dollars from USA and Saudi Arabia will stop and Pakistan’s Army may not get incentive to fight or even get normal pay and allowances.

 

          India has suffered for almost 62 years from Pakistan’s menace and its sending armed Talibans or other tribal from NWFP to Kashmir. This criminal folly of Pakistan has cost heavy tall of Army and para military personnel as well as Kashmir’s peaceful citizens. Pakistan’s encouragement, financing and arming of Taliban and other terrorists  led to many attacks in India, to name few, attack on Parliament, attack on Bombay train and latest attack on Taj Hotel killing many, including foreign citizens. Thus India would be anxiously watching when NWFP secedes or becomes calm and quiet. Whether Pakistan remains intact or disintegrates.  

Even in 1952 when Pakistan was well established and there was no tribal problem, if any, it was being ignored, LOVEDAY PRIOR in his book Punjab Prelude, writes: “A substantial portion of Pakistan revenue is allotted to trans border tribes to buy them off, all the same both these are being stirred up by Afghanistan to claim the secession of NWFP and other tribal areas from Pakistan.”

           East Pakistan i.e. East Bengal now Bangladesh has already seceded from Pakistan because Pakistan tried to impose West Pakistan Army and Urdu language on Bengalis. This had failed and with the help of neighboring India it seceded and came to be known as Bangladesh, an independent country. Similarly Pakistan, all these 62 years has been trying to impose Urdu, the national language of Pakistan on Pashtu speaking Pathans nut has failed.

           Intervention in Afghanistan to finish the Taliban rule and eliminate Talibans, there are daily attacks by American Air Force on tribal Taliban in Baluchistan  border and even in NWFP. Already Swat Valley in NWFP virtually declared independence and it was reluctantly recognized by Zardari Government as it had signed Peace Agreement with violent Talibans then. But Talibans continued to fight. Pakistan is in dilemma if it is too tough on Talibans, it will face their wrath more ferociously. On the other hand, if Pakistan is lenient, it will lose American support and money to survive. Thus dismemberment of Pakistan is now a greater possibility than ever before. Talibans, a creation of Pakistan and USA so as to oust Communists, in which they succeeded, and Afghanistan became free of Communists. NWFP has become Talibans and other terrorists breeding ground and headache for USA, Pakistan and even India. How long Pakistan with help from USA will be able to control by war and bombing Talibans? This war cannot go on forever and even for long. Accordingly, further dismemberment of Pakistan seems a possibility, after East Pakistan having seceded. Americans cannot go on fighting in Afghanistan for decades to save Pakistan from Taliban’s and its eventual dismemberment.

           Pakistan, in this unprecedented turmoil, is not in a position to enter into any agreement on Kashmir with India. It is therefore better to see which way the wind blows: whether NWFP remains part of Pakistan or not.

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Cold War, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics | , , | Leave a comment

Berlin Wall – Its Erection and Demolition

After the Second World War, USSR conquered, besides Eastern Europe, half of Germany. Accordingly after Allied Victory and defeat of Germany there were two Germanys- Anglo American conquest of West Germany and USSR conquest of Eastern Germany, Western Germany under Capitalist democracy and East Germany under Communist type of democracy. There was lot of hue and cry on the division of Germany into two parts. But in 1945 defeated Germans were helpless. They could not demand anything. They could not get anything. They were a defeated country that had gone to war to conquer entire Europe including USSR.

During Second World War Germany under Adolf Hitler, the Fascist dictator, committed many crimes against humanity, besides launching a war on East and West of Germany, killing millions, six million Jews were killed in gas chambers.

Now let us see how, when and why Berlin Wall was built to segregate West and East Germany, the artificial division of a country with one language and one culture. Berlin Wall was constructed by Soviet Government in 1961 because Germans, in thousands were leaving their homes and hearths, were crossing the so called boundary and going to West Germany where they were welcomed and where there was, now, real democracy neither Hitlerite Fascism nor communist type of thought control. West Germany had, in a few years, after the end of Second World War became real home of all Germans. About 100 Germans from East had died while crossing and trying to escape from East Germany.

Berlin Wall was built to stop this emigration form East to West Germany which was defaming USSR and telling not only West Germans but whole of World that USSR was itself not worth living.  This emigration was having far-reaching effect on Eastern Europe which after war was under communism. Poland in particular resented so much that its leaders were thinking of revolting against so called USSR occupation of their country.

During World War II almost half of Berlin had been destroyed by Allied bombings. As a result population of Berlin declined from 43 lakhs in 1938 to about 28 lakh in 1945. As British, French and US forces were far off, Soviet Union shipped “about 85 percent of city’s undamaged industrial equipment” to its own country as British and American troops reached Berlin in July and French troops entered Berlin in August 1945. Though Berlin was completely under Soviet Union, Western Powers demanded free passage which USSR did not accept. So the Berlin City was also divided into two parts East Berlin under USSR and West Berlin under Allies control, as earlier they had divided East and West Germany into two parts.

Division of Berlin, which was virtually on paper, did not work. Particularly it failed to satisfy Soviets as lot of East Germans and East Berliners were emigrating to West Berlin and West Germany. So  the USSR, in 1948 blocked all routes rail, road and water from East Berlin to West Berlin. Western powers, not to be left behind air lifted supplies to West Berlin for about 2 million residents. Thus the Soviet blockade failed and Soviet Union lifted the blockade in May 1949 but City Hall located in East Berlin was occupied by Russians. So the West Berlin had to have its own government in West Berlin. Within four years of the end of War, West and Russia became almost hostile over Berlin issue.

In 1958 Nikita Khrushev asked for demilitarization of West Berlin and converting it into free Zone. To this Western powers disagreed and rejected the proposed solution. As everyday more than 1000 East Germans were crossing into West Berlin and West Germany Russia in 1961 decided to build a strong wall to prevent any emigration to West Berlin/ West Germany. Thus in August 1961 strong Berlin Wall was built which was 4 meters in height and 40 kilometers in length. Berlin became an isolated city.

Bitterness in relations between Western Powers and USSR continued unabated for a decade. Only in 1971 USSR and West realized the  folly of segregation of Germans into East and West German’s. History is never static. History moves in all countries, all cultures and all civilizations. Thus in 1971, USSR and Allies (France, England and USA) signed an agreement on the status of Berlin. Representatives of East and West Germany sat together for months and finally worked out details agreeable to both the parties. So the agreement of 1971 came into effect in 1972. Relation with East and West Berlin and East and West Germany improved in 70’s. In 1989 there were wide spread demands for unification of East and West Berlin. East German government considering the time ripe for unification of East and West Berlin, removed all restriction on November 9, 1989 and as a result 29 year old Berlin wall was ‘opened’ and in due course demolished. It was a great day for Germans after defeat in World War II it was a first taste of victory. Though unification of Berlin and in due course of East and West Germany becoming once again an important country of Europe Germany.

Historic celebration of 20th anniversary of Demolition of Berlin Wall were attended by/besides million of Germans, all the leaders of the countries who fought war against Hitler’s Fascist Germany and defeated him after loss of millions of lives. Leaders who attended the historic function included German President Horst Koehler and Chacellor  Angela Merkel  British PM Gordon Brown, French President Nicolos Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Polish President Lech Walesa, and Hilary Clinton U.S Foreign Secretary. Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev was a special attraction as it is Gorbachev whose reforming attitude persuaded Soviet leadership to the reforms. According the German crowd gathered to celebrate chanted “Gorby, Gorby, Gorby.” British PM Gordon Brown said “Two Berlins are one. Two Germanys are one. Two Europes are one.” This marks the significance of 7th November 1989 and so such almost world wide celebrations of 20th anniversary of Berlin Walls Demolition.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Cold War, USSR, World, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold War Between USA and USSR

Since the end of Second World War in 1945 entire Europe including UK and entire South East Asia were thrashed and thus politically and diplomatically became ineffective, rivalry between USA and USSR commenced for legacy.

USA supported with all its might Chiang Kaishek against communist MaoTse Tung so that China does not become communist under Mao and does not become ally of communist USSR. The fight between Chiang supported by Macarther and Dulles went on for many years killing Lakhs of Chinese whether supporters of Chiang or Mao. Ultimately Mao used the strategy of long March, taking all the communist supporters to safer north west from where there could not be attack by allied forces. Very soon Chinese communists with back to the wall started advancing and eliminating Chiang Kaishek’s forces. In a couple of years Chiang was thrown out of mainland China and confined to Taiwan and a few islands like Quency and Mastu. After the victory over Germany during Second World War it was USA’s first defeat.

The weakness of Dulles-Eisenhower policy over Berlin is clear to many west Berliners who, as the American ‘Newsweek’ admits, are arguing, “we are not sure the allies are willing to back us all the way this time. Sure, they have promised but is it worth it to them” ( I December 1958). There is not much doubt that the West can stand firm in Berlin, perhaps as firm as it could ten years before, but that would mean, warns Paul Johnson, that “we must recognize that we are abandoning, perhaps for ever, the hope of reunifying Germany (New Statesman, 29 November 1958).

To consolidate their respective positions in the spheres of their influence, USA created NATO and SEATO. On the other hand, not to be left, USSR took strong action against dissenting communist countries like Yugoslavia and Hungary. Soviet intervention in Hungary was very cruel. It led to the execution of Imrey Nagy and his cabinet colleagues. There was hue and cry against Soviet activities in socialist Hungary. In retaliation, USA landed marines in Lebanon and British paratroops occupied Jordan.

USA despite being on the other side of Atlantic and despite the professing of Munro Doctrine got scared of USSR attack as is evident from American expert on diplomacy and world affairs Mr. George Kenan’s remarks on 2 December 1957 on BBC.

“I have never thought that the Soviet Government wanted a general world war at any time since 1945 or that it would have been inclined for any rational political reasons of its own to initiate such a war, even had the atomic weapon never been invented. We must get over the obsession that the Russians are yearning to attack and occupy western Europe and this is the outstanding danger.”

My both articles viz Quemoy in world politics as well as significance of Berlin crises are based on the cold war, American fears of USSR because of defeat in China and soviet fears of Americans intervention in Yugoslavia and Hungary as well as in Berlin and German area under USSR occupation after the end of second world war. This brief review of cold war is based on these observations.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Cold War, USA, USSR, World, World History | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment