Love for an educator is more powerful than the ignorant can understand

Dawson Tamatea had been a teacher at New Zealand’s Palmerston North High Boys School for nearly 30 years when he passed away suddenly of natural causes at the age of 55…The boys’ performance is a version of a “haka:” a traditional dance of the New Zealand aboriginals, called Maori. Originally performed to intimidate enemies, the haka is a powerful symbol in New Zealand culture and a fitting tribute to Mr. Tamatea’s impact.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Lawyer for Delhi gang rape defendants says victims are to blame

Manohar Lal Sharma – is this the most disreputable lawyer in India?

The lawyer representing three of the men charged with the gang rape and murder of a medical student aboard a moving bus in New Delhi has blamed the victims for the assault, saying he has never heard of a “respected lady” being raped in India.

Manohar Lal Sharma’s comments come as Indians have reacted with outrage to the opinions of politicians and a religious preacher who have accused westernized women of inviting sexual assaults. Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23- year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.

Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court in India’s capital. “Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”

Sharma’s comments highlight frequently aired attitudes toward women in India. Activists say reporting of sex crimes and police investigations of rape are hindered by a tendency to blame the victim for not following the traditional, conservative social roles ascribed to women.

“This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately,” said Ranjana Kumari, director for the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research. “That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility.”

A spiritual guru, Asharam, sparked an outcry earlier this week when he said the New Delhi victim was equally responsible and should have “chanted God’s name and fallen at the feet of the attackers” to stop the assault.

Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the pro-Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that underpins the country’s main opposition political party, said rapes only occur in Indian cities, not in its villages, because women there adopt western lifestyles…

The defendants were brought into court today protected by more than 20 police for a brief hearing. Sharma said the court was adjourned after he had filed an application requesting the charge sheet be given to the men in Hindi rather than English…

The gang rape of the woman on Dec. 16 provoked a sustained and charged debate about the safety of women in the world’s biggest democracy. The brutality of the crime and allegations by the male friend of the victim that it took police 45 minutes to respond to calls outraged the nation.

Advocates for the worst of reactionary culture in India, gurus like Asharom, scumbag lawyers like Manohar Lal Sharma are engaged in a race to the very bottom of a backwards lifestyle. It is absurd to call India a democracy when the safety of women has no guarantee from the police or the state. Half the population has no rights.

The government says it is investigating ways and means of speeding justice for women. I’d be amazed if this pursuit has anymore effect than the annual pantomime investigations of corruption – which lead only to changing partners in the dance of deceit in Indian politics.

Filial piety as law

An editorial in the current issue of China Daily

Everyone agrees that people should visit their aged parents regularly if they are living separately. But whether this requirement should be written into law is a controversial matter.

The proposed amendment to the law on elderly people has a clause that says independent children should visit their aged parents regularly and should not ignore their need for love and affection.

If the amendment is adopted, parents will be able to sue their children in court for not visiting them for a long time. The number of elderly couples not living with their children is rising, and the amendment could provide them with a legal weapon to defend their rights of being looked after – at least emotionally – by their children.

Some people call the amendment ridiculous and meaningless, because a legal code should not be aimed at mending broken relations between children and parents. They contend that most children try their best to take some time out of their busy schedule to visit their parents and most parents excuse their children for not being able to keep them company for long or regularly.

Hence, they say that even if the amendment is adopted very few parents will take their children to court for not visiting them for a long time or not fulfilling their emotional needs.

But such a legal provision will serve as a reminder to young couples that they have the obligation to meet the emotional needs of their aged parents irrespective of how busy they may be. Parents could even remind their sons and daughters of their legal obligation. Contrary to some people’s fear that such a law will have serious consequences, it will only help consolidate the bond between most parents and children.

My parents would have voted for a law like this. Especially with all the years I spent wandering the globe, missing holidays with the family.

Leaders of 2 major political parties in the UK are atheists (gasp!)

Two Red Devils together after the Labour Party conference
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

New Labour leader Ed Miliband does not believe in God, he has said.

Mr Miliband had previously said his religious views were a “private matter”, and his declaration means two of the three leaders of major British political parties are self-proclaimed atheists.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also confirmed he does not believe shortly after being named Liberal Democrat leader, while David Cameron last year said religious faith was “part of who I am” but admitted he did not go to church regularly…

In an interview on Radio 5 Live, Mr Miliband was asked by presenter Nicky Campbell: “Do you believe in God?”

The Labour leader replied: “I don’t believe in God personally, but I have great respect for those people who do. Different people have different religious views in this country. The great thing is that, whether we have faith or not, we are by and large very tolerant of people whatever their view…”

Despite spin doctor Alastair Campbell’s famous comment to reporters that “we don’t do God”, Mr Blair has confirmed since leaving power that his religious faith was “hugely important” to his premiership. He said he did not speak publicly about his belief while in office out of fear voters would think him a “nutter”.

Since leaving Downing Street, he has converted to Roman Catholicism, and in his recent memoir, A Journey, he wrote: “I have always been more interested in religion than politics.”

Confirming that he is a nutter.

Here in the States, of course, cowardice is the better part of valor. If any potential candidate for president didn’t prattle on about “God bless you all – and God bless the United States of America” he or she would probably be shot at sunrise.

They certainly wouldn’t be elected to any office requiring intellectual honesty, knowledge of science or insight into history. Fortunately, none of these is apparently needed for Congress or the White House.