Monday, January 20, 2014

Khobragate: Notes to Self and Importance of context

US View:
  1. A case of violation of rights to fair and equal pay, and a case of mistreatment of domestic help 
  2. Tough to sympathize with the high flying diplomat that breaks US laws 
  3. Indicative of social inequality in India 
  4. Cavity search: Standard Procedure

Can't argue against that. However the view in India is different. 

India view 
  1. Case of a powerful nation throwing the book on an Indian national
  2. Hard to sympathize with someone (the maid) who gets paid more than an average IT programmer in India 
  3. While Indians have faults (which need to be discussed separately), but they definitely need to draw a line on humiliation, even if it comes from the most richest national in the world 
  4. Cavity search as humiliating as Rape (Just as calling someone 'Monkey' be branded as being racist in another famous situation) . US cannot get away with it hiding behind 'Standard Procedure' tag. To further rub salt into (emotional) wounds, it was supposedly for Khobragade's own protection. Cavity search is de-humanizing for anyone, let alone a self respecting woman, who thought that through education and hard work, had left behind the tag of being untouchable and being low caste in India and come to United States, the land of equality and supposed fairness for all.  
  5. US diplomats get away with murder (remember what happened in Pakistan last year, where a diplomat shot dead 2 Pakistanis and was allowed to go back to US), while here another diplomat is being charged for visa fraud. If this is not double standards then what it is. 
  6. Can think of several big wigs in the US corporate world who mis-represented facts (US sub-prime crisis) who have never been touched or arrested, let alone cavity searched. Seems there is an alternate set of laws and 'Standard Procedures' for them. Ironically, a certain Preet Bharara is a vocal, local champion crusader against such people, who should have empathized with Khobragade's angst and humiliation as he hails from India, is believed to be acting 'whiter than white' and going after a few famous Indians in his quest for a political office. 
  7. The same Preet Bharara which vouches for US legal system and champions US laws, is seen as being implicit in breaking laws in India  and seemingly does not think it is a crime to do so. 
  8. Last while US lectures Indians on morals and ethics, it needs to see itself in the mirror and remember it is home to racism, atrocities and distrust against minorities at even the swankiest of places (against mexicans, african-americans, asians, Pakistanis, even the chinese are not spared and are stereotyped) and regularly justify religion and racial profiling of people. Its history is littered with crimes against humanity. Still not convinced, think Hiroshima. 

Anyway's my note to self is to be mindful of the context. What is okay in one place and time may not be okay in at another place or even same place at a different time. 

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