Dear Heather Timmons: Duh!

Given Timmons’ background at the august New York Times and the famous Atlantic, I felt that I was supposed to agree: yes, she must be right.

Many people have said many things about [email protected], both positive and negative, about what he has accomplished, and whether they are disappointed in him or happy or whatever. Most of this was predictable, depending on who was doing the analysis.

But the most creative verdict came from one Heather Timmons at quartz.com, a digital initiative of the Atlantic magazine from the US. She goes by @heathat on Twitter. The name sounded familiar, so I looked her up – she was a New York Times reporter in India for some years, and now lives in Hong Kong, writing for quartz. So she knows both India and China (although one might argue that New Delhi and Hong Kong are not exactly India and China), and so one has to pay attention when she speaks about the rulers of the two countries.

This is what she said: “The Rohingya crisis is proof that Xi and Modi are not global leaders” and I have taken the precaution of saving a pdf file of the same, just in case it disappears.

Given Timmons’ background at the august New York Times and the famous Atlantic, I felt that I was supposed to agree: yes, she must be right. Especially when @saliltripathi, who tells me I am jealous of him and another Indian-origin journalist retweeted this in evident agreement.

salilBut on second thoughts, it occurred to me that there was something seriously wrong with the logic. There were several possible logical conclusions to what Timmons said:

1.If there are any humanitarian disasters in Asia, then Xi and Modi cannot be global leaders

a. Corollary: Since there is a humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean with boat people from North Africa, then Angela Merkel of Germany and Francois Hollande of France cannot be global leaders; the fact that the American invasion of Iraq has led to the genocide of Yazidis means Barack Obama of the US cannot be a global leader.

2. Alternative reading: only if you cause humanitarian disasters all over the globe, can you truly be a global leader

a. Corollary: American Presidents have caused humanitarian disasters in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and earlier in Vietnam, Cambodia, and therefore they are global leaders.

3. If a Muslim group (Rohingyas are Muslims from Myanmar) has problems, then it is incumbent on bystanders such as China and India to solve it.

a. Lemma: The problems of Tibetan Buddhists, Kashmiri Hindus, Sri Lankan Hindus, Pakistani Sikhs/Hindus, Cambodian/Hmong Buddhists, Yazidis in Iraq/Syria are not the problems of China and India.

Any of these conclusions is strange, but nothing else can be deduced from Timmons’ radical essay.

The first two alternatives are easy: it is typical of Americans to hold themselves to a different standard than anyone else (“American exceptionalism”). So the fact that American Presidents have either caused or presided over humanitarian disasters of the first order is no reason for them not to be considered global leaders: My Lai, the carpet-bombing of Cambodia, napalm, Agent Orange, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, firebombing of Tokyo. That’s fine, I suppose, for you have to make some concessions for the world’s sole hyperpower.

But the third logical conclusion is more interesting. It suggests that the problems of Muslims (and only the problems of Muslims) worry the Atlanticists. And that only these should occupy the minds of Asia’s leaders. Taking it one step further, given that Muslim Uighurs are ill-treated in China, then the conclusion is simple: India’s Modi must rehabilitate the Rohingya Muslims! QED.

Not that Rohingyas should look to fellow-Muslims in the vast empty lands of the Persian Gulf or to refugee status in empty white countries such as Australia, but in India! And where is Timmons’ bleeding heart when Hindus and Sikhs are massacred and ethnically cleansed in Jammu and Kashmir, Afghanistan, Bangladesh?

What does Modi have to do with the Rohingyas? They are Bangladeshi-origin Muslims whom the Burmese consider illegal immigrants. (By the way, the Burmese earlier ejected Indian immigrants in large numbers). The Rohingya’s fate is, at best, an issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar. At worst, it is no worse than what Pakistan is doing to Baloch. Why are they, I repeat, Modi’s problem?

But then Timmons is only following in the footsteps of Manmohan Singh who said, “minorities [read: Muslims] have the first right to India’s resources”. When MMS said that, it was probably an impeachable offense for violating the Constitutional right to equality. When Timmons says it, she’s being obtuse.

Rajeev Srinivasan is a writer and well-known columnist from India.
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  • Rajalakshmi J

    TV cameras exclusively focus on the faces of many men & women , boys & girls not just of these Rohingya muslims but did the same when Tsunami struck India.

    Why is it the same cameras OBDURATELY refuse to capture on cameras DAILY beaming DAILY the gruesome torture inflicted on Cows , Calves , Buffaloes , Fish etc etc etc. At least Indian TV channels should routinely show how lots of cattle are getting transported to meet the calories , protein requirements of bangladeshis. From Kerala. Human rights blah blah do not CARE.

    In Bangladesh two bloggers were killed by bangladeshi muslims. They justify by telling their religion commands them to do so.

    Our Vedic Hinduism does NOT endorse torture & slaughter of Cows , Calves , Buffaloes etc etc AT ALL. Why do we Hindus lack the gumption to ENFORCE what our Vedas command us to ? During Tsunami , many of the “victims” threw away FREE food packets of rice & vegetables ( lemon rice , curd rice etc) demanding FREE greasy mutton & fish along with rice. This was justified & defended by one IAS female officer in Tamil Nadu.

    I was shocked to hear allegedly “ஆன்மிக பேச்சாளர்” suki sivam who claims to have read this & that asserting
    (sic) “Brahmins used to slaughter lots & lots of Cows etc in their Oblations…..it is only Buddha who first introduced ahimsa into India…..”

    The AUTHORITY is Kaanchi Paramacharya. Who has long pointed out the mendacity of such outrageous spiel. He has written in detail about Buddhism & Jainism .

    Today , the tragedy is such one cannot point out the mistakes by these “famous” பேச்சாளர்கள். My comments would get deleted as spam. Lots of பட்டிமன்றங்கள்(debates) also get conducted on Ramayanam etc etc. Political correctness has afflicted them too so much so the moderator while introducing one woman speaker (doctorate) praised her telling all “…I like her presentation as she is not at all communal”. I was APPALLED. She is well read , gets invited to France , America etc etc I admit. She happens to be a muslim. That does not mean whatever she blabbers is to be accepted as gospel. A simple story of The Crow & the Fox was altered & retold by her in such a convoluted way to glorify “communist ideology”. She said this was the version she heard from “communist China”. And went on to say “if only india had been communist country would have become one sooooooperpower”.

    It is such “பேச்சாளர்கள்” who unabashedly say ” Lord Ramar ate …..given by Guhan….Sage Agasthyar ate vathapi…..so all can eat anything ….do not bring religion .” Today these are the powerful opinion makers to the detriment of TRUTH.

  • Rajalakshmi J

    In Gulf countries the ARABS themselves face lot of problems caused by bangladeshi muslims. It is lot of criminals from bangladesh that enter many Gulf countries. These bangladeshi muslims invariably take to brewing of illicit liquor, abduction of women forcing them into prostitution , abduction of many boys forcing them into camel racing etc.

    In West Bengal too , the Hindu Bengalis know too well how criminalized these bangladeshi muslims are. Most dacoities , abductions etc are by these bangladeshi illegals. Who enjoy the patronage of various politicians.

    Those who have lived in Calcutta might recall how Forward Bloc’s kalimuddin shams orchestrated the gruesome torture & murder of Calcutta Port Trust’s Mehta & his Gorkha Bodyguard in Kidderpore area. All with the connivance of jyoti basu’s gorement. The culprits were never punished.

    Henry Kissinger & Richard Nixon were ABSOLUTELY justified when they asked indira gandhi to stay neutral during 1971 civil war in Pakistan. Instead she wrought HAVOC for us Hindus by “liberating” & creating one bangladesh.

  • Rajalakshmi J

    Blame the rohingya muslims for their problems. It was only through bbc I came to know about them.

    Initially bbc was focussed ONLY on ” lack of democracyeeeeeeee boo hoo” in Myanmar forever mentioning the name aaaan saaaaan sooooo cheeeee allegedly under ” house arrest”. At that time bbc cleverly AVOIDED mentioning anything about rohingya muslims.

    Ample Kudos to Smt.Sandhya Jain who exposed the fact aung san suu kyi has a british husband & children through him who have long settled down in uk itself. She asked the right question ” why did she not join them in uk like any normal married woman would do”. It is the same dreary weary evangelicals’ ploy. Destabilize finding “lack of human rights lack of democraceeee” , overthrow the Government , plunder the Forests & various resources therein calling them “development”.

    At that time congress gorement was in power in India to the delight of bbc & uk. No wonder aung san suu kyi came to India meeting sonia gandhi & both praised india ( read Hindus ) as one “mighty tolerant secular entity”. After dumping lots of rohingya muslims as “refugees” inside India who spread all over India in states like Andhra Pradesh , Delhi procuring aadhaar cards , ration cards becoming bonafide citizens exactly like illegal bangladeshi muslims have long been doing assisted by ex president fakhruddin ali ahmed , prakash karats & various communists of india. prakash karat is from Burma. A born & bred communist born trouble maker. These do NOT bother yalda hakims , mishal hussains of bbc.
    As uk’s only agenda is annihilation of Hindus. After dumping them aung san suu kyi went to some European country to grab one “peace prize”.

    It was during that period bbc showed a solitary rohingya muslim being lynched in Myanmar shedding copious faux tears for him. And blaming ALL Buddhist Monks. Inadvertently that bbc reporter blurted ” we do not know why aung san suu kyi
    is silent about this atrocity”. He also said the well known truth that these rohingya muslims have always been taking more than one wife ( four wives as their religion allows them to) , breeding irresponsibly adding to a lot of problems in resources
    sharing. Insisting on eating BEEF etc etc. Their own bangladeshis REFUSED them entry into their country thus proving Islam becomes operative as a binding force ONLY while attacking Hindus.

    Why should India accommodate them ? Already we are struggling with unjust demands for quotas , reservations , water scarcity , electricity scarcity with precious Land available for agriculture etc etc. Churches have long gobbled up precious LAND in Hindus’ India. We STILL have not been able to ENFORCE total ban on Cow slaughter ( include all cattle , fish , birds etc). It is these bangladeshis & muslims in addition to secularists & christians who are the CAUSE behind slaughter of Cows & Calves.

    பேச்சாளர்கள் like suki sivam etc craftily avoid advising the muslims to mend their ways. Instead pontificate to us the Hindus. Keep coming up with a solitary abdul kalam , Judge Ismail who are vegetarians. Abdul Kalams remain deafeningly
    SILENT on these core issues. Lecturing “dream dream ” instead.

    Sri.Narendra Modi & us Hindus should NOT cave in. BJP ought not to care for good conduct certificates from uk , America etc etc. Learn from CHINA.

    Let yalda hakims of bbc scream as much as they want to. Deport all these rohingya muslims , bangladeshi illegals to uk.
    This alone would bring lasting peace to yalda hakims , david camerons , entire uk.

  • Dr. MS

    Why is it when I see some of the comments I am reminded of the leering and jeering around lynchings and beheadings of women or liberals, that some cowardly men, and not so smart men, mistake for “smart to-the-point critique from conservative capitalists”. Words or terms like, “nicely slap her”, “that liberal bigot”, etc. do not give power to those who are critiquing, opposing and fighting against falsehood.

    I agree with some of what the author says, but find his critiques a bit lame…lacking a punch. But the comments show a different kind of communication and personalities.

    When language shows “sexism”, “crudity” and “pleasure or excitement in verbal abuse”, even to a woman you oppose or criticize intellectually or politically, your power to promote your views fails.

    Indian men’s English is still very much like the illiterate feudal village idiot. I am not talking about the author.

  • Jithu

    A very well written response to a Liberal bigot!

  • shrikant talageri

    Apropos your comment “When MMS said that, it was probably an impeachable offense for violating the Constitutional right to equality” I have always wondered why not a single one of the Hindutva politicians and organisations, who resort to agitations and civil/criminal suits over comparatively much more trivial issues, have ever bothered to take this extremely vital issue to its rightful legal conclusion. Perhaps for the same reason why politicians seemingly inimical towards each other never really care to pursue issues of corruption against each other to their logical conclusion?

  • P. B. Josh

    Rajeev at his best once again.

  • cool

    Dangerous History of Rohingya’s ….

    “Burma’s Western Border as Reported by the Diplomatic Correspondence(1947 – 1975)”

    http://www.networkmyanmar.org/images/stories/PDF13/aye%20chan%20bwb.pdf

  • Dr. MS

    How is it the same Indian men who use abusive or harsh or over-the-top language over trivial issues against their own women (like some commentators on this website)…when it come to goree wallees our men’s criticisms come across as a motherly “na, na, na”? Was this a hard to the point critique, or a kind of pulling the hair of a third grader by another third grader?

    • ccc

      I’ve read your comments and I respect you.

      • Dr. MS

        So where were you to stand up against rude abusive men on this net? And if my memory serves me right you did not come to my defence and speak against their net behaviors…did you? Abusers, inside the country and outside the country, inside the web and outside the web, get away with their awful inhuman disgusting behaviors because cowards stand by and do nothing.

        India has too many cowardly men who allow their male peers to get away with abuse: verbal or emotional. When I see this up close in 21st century…I am so glad I married a non Indian. There are female colleagues who will not post a single line on these websites, and some will never put their initials. They tell me I am amazingly bold and worship me for it….but they also are free of the headache and heartache of this kind of awfulness .that I experience. These male behaviors also makes me worried about the kind of men this country produces and the kind that will get good at attacking their own, while handing over the land to some outsiders whose sweat they will drink.

        Many Indians, both inside and outside the net, abuse democracy….They behave despicably with their co-citizens. It is shameful. They do not deserve this country, and I feel ashamed of them.

        Next times stand up and speak up against verbal abuse in the net or outside the net. Show respect with action, courage and honesty.

        • ccc

          I don’t follow you, I’ve read some of your comments but I don’t agree with everything you say but that doesn’t make me disrespect you, that’s it.

          Besides stop being so melodramatic, its unbearable.

    • Slasher

      Dr. MS: Agree with you wholeheartedly on the larger issue you make. For example: The way some of the posters replied to your “Ayyas” comments was beyond racist and vile: it was downright violently abusive. However, I don’t think the writer of this article should be clubbed with those posters.

      • Dr. MS

        They have been attacking me using awful violent abusive language for so many comments on so many other articles, not just the Ayya article. And if my memory serves me right you did not come to my defence and speak against their net behaviors…did you? Abusers, inside the country and outside the country, inside the web and outside the web, get away with their awful inhuman disgusting behaviors because cowards stand by and do nothing.

        India has too many cowardly men who allow their male peers to get away with abuse: verbal or physical. When I see this up close in 21st century…I am so glad I married a non Indian. There are female colleagues who will not post a single line on these websites, and some will never put their initials. They tell me I am amazingly bold and worship me for it….but they also are free of the headache and heartache of this kind of awfulness .that I experience. These male behaviors also makes me worried about the kind of men this country produces and the kind that will get good at attacking their own, while handing over the land to some outsiders whose sweat they will drink.

        Many Indians, both inside and outside the net, abuse democracy….They behave despicably with their co-citizens. It is shameful. They do not deserve this country, and I feel ashamed of them.

  • pradeep

    slap was good, but it should have been even more tighter and with more blunt words.. superb article.. kudos..!!