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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 29-Sep-2014
29-Sep-14 World View -- India's rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden

Web Log - September, 2014

29-Sep-14 World View -- India's rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden

Pro-democracy protests bring Hong Kong to a standstill

This morning's key headlines from

India's rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden

Narendra Modi in Madison Square Garden on Sunday (Reuters)
Narendra Modi in Madison Square Garden on Sunday (Reuters)

India's prime minister Narendra Modi received rock stars cheers from the 18,000 people, mostly Indian-Americans, in Madison Square Garden on Sunday, as well as the thousands more outside who had been unable to gain entrance.

Modi's one-hour speech drew cheers of "Modi! Modi! Modi!" and rock-star ovations. According to Modi:

"I got here selling tea... I am a very small man, a common man. I am small, so my heart lies in working for the common man. But I want to do big things for the little people."

At the heart of his speech, he was asking the wealthy and skilled persons of Indian origin to give back their talent and experience to India.

Promising that "I will make the India of your dreams... together we will serve Mother India," he highlighted his avowed (Hindutva) Hindu nationalism. Narendra Modi won a stunning and historic overwhelming victory in May of this year that surprised the world, but his Hindu nationalism has made him a controversial figure. Much of the controversy comes from his association with an incident of Hindutva violence of February 27, 2002, at a time when he was governor of Gujarat province. An attempt to molest a Muslim girl triggered several days of sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, killing hundreds and displacing more than 150,000 people, of which the majority were Muslims, who have since been living in refugee camps in dire humanitarian conditions. Modi himself was cleared by a court of culpability, but he's blamed by Muslims and political opponents for not taking a more active role in ending the violence.

Because of the Gujarat incident, Modi was denied entry into the United States by President Bush's administration in 2005. That ban is still in effect, but he was granted a diplomatic visa for this week's visit to the United Nations. Times of India and Time

Saudi Arabia warns that Yemen coup could threaten global security

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Saud al-Faisal says that Yemen is facing "unprecedented challenges" threatening global security, after last weekend's government coup by the Houthi rebels from northern Yemen. The Houthis are members of the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam, and it's believed that Iran has funded the Houthis and provided weapons for their takeover. Southern Yemen is the headquarters of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and it's feared that the AQAP branch Ansar al-Sharia of Sunni jihadists are regrouping for a counterattack against the Houthis.

According to Prince Saud:

"Yemen faces accelerating and extremely dangerous conditions that require us all to look and propose the necessary solutions to confront these unprecedented challenges.

[Yemen’s violence] will no doubt extend to threaten stability and security on the regional and international arena that could prove difficult to put down regardless of the resources and efforts that may be exerted."

The broad news coverage of the war against the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS) has made the news from Yemen almost invisible. However, Prince Saud said that all forms of terrorism must be addressed:

"We face a very dangerous situation today. Terrorism has evolved from cells to armies and from threatening specific spots to nations. The war on terror requires serious and continuous work that may go on for years, and must not stop at partial victories against limited organizations. We must continue until all terrorist organizations are destroyed, wherever they may be."

Yemen Online and Arab Times Online

Pro-democracy protests bring Hong Kong to a standstill

China's Communist Party government in Beijing is facing a government crisis as tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens staged pro-democracy protests on Sunday, the fourth day of protests. These were the worst protests in Hong Kong in decades, bringing central Hong Kong to a standstill. Beijing is now faced with the choice of allowing the demonstrations to go on, which would encourage protests in mainland cities, versus a bloody crackdown on the protesters.

Tensions have already escalated sharply, as Hong Kong police in riot gear unleashed volleys of tear gas on protesters early Monday morning, and first rubber bullets into the air. This is the worst police violence since Britain gave up its Hong Kong colony in 1997, returning it to Chinese sovereignty.

There are "credible reports" that China has activated the Hong Kong garrison of its People's Liberation Army (PLA), putting 6,000 soldiers on alert. This would revive harsh memories of Beijing's Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989. It's forbidden for anyone in mainland China to even talk about the 1989 massacre, but on June 4 of this year, over 100,000 people gathered in Hong Kong to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the massacre. A new Tiananmen-style massacre in Hong Kong in the next few days could have unintended consequences for Beijing. LA Times and BBC (4-Jun-2014)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Sep-14 World View -- India's rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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