Sunday, December 30, 2012

How Some Cartoonists See Gun Violence in the USA

Cartoon courtesy: The Toronto Star (Dec. 27, 2012)
Cartoon courtesy: The Economist (London: Dec. 22, 2012)

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The Quotation of the Week (December 30, 2012 - January 5, 2013)

A quotation of Leo Tolstoy on 'writer,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo of a dance of light (Toronto: April 5, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Mary with baby Jesus
Doodle (Dhaka: January 1, 1993) © Jerome D'Costa

Today is the Christmas Day, the day of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. 

On this day, may the joy and love of Christmas be with you and your near and dear ones!

To read more on Christmas, visit my past blog posts at: Today Is the Christmas Day!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (December 23 - 29, 2012)

A quotation of Dale Evans on 'Christmas,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Cartoon I Like

A cartoon on the National Rifle Association (NRA) of the USA and the children and teachers shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut
Cartoon courtesy: The Toronto Sun (December 18, 2012)

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (December 16 - 22, 2012)

A quotation of Lady Mary Wortley Montague on 'civility,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
A doodle of butterfly (Toronto: 2011) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Domestic Terrorism Hits Connecticut Elementary School

We offer this white space surrounded by black border as a symbol of death that visited 20 innocent school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, USA, on December 14, 2012
Graphics (Toronto: Dec. 14, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa
After shooting his mother dead at home, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, reports the Associated Press. He entered two classrooms in the school and shot them dead. More than 600 children, ranging from kindergarten to Grade 4, attend this school, which is located in one of the wealthiest counties in the USA.

President Barack Obama expressed his grave sadness and called for action against such inhuman actions. 

The USA is notorious for easy availability of all kinds of guns in the name of freedom and individual rights. As a result, besides legitimate owners, many criminals, mentally-imbalanced persons and domestic terrorists can acquire arms under the existing liberal gun laws. 

The US politicians of different parties need to rise up and break the shackle of numbness and take a bold action against easy availability of arms in the country. When one or more persons kill others, it is domestic terrorism bringing in a lot of bleeding of hearts. It must be tackled head on. This violent culture must be stopped for the greater good of the Americans. There was a time in the long past when Americans needed to bear arms for expanding their frontier. Those days are over. In the new situation now, if the politicians still fail to rein in the gun culture, shame on them. They will be failing badly in their responsibility of saving American lives in face of domestic terrorism. We do hope that the American public also will demand of their politicians to make their country safe from senseless gun violence.

We offer our sincere anguish and condolence to families of the victims -- both school children and adults. May their souls rest in peace.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today is the 12-12-12

Today is the 12th day of December, 2012

 Artwork (Toronto: Dec. 12, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

Today is December 12, 2012. This day of 12-12-12 is being considered most auspicious by some who want to do something today that will bring good or good fortune to oneself, to the family or to the society.

Some have already fixed this day as the day of their wedding. Others have kept this day to inaugurate their new business ventures.

We sometimes get obsessed with certain numbers and think that those numbers will bring a good fortune or a bad one.

I have seen some Chinese who buy lottery tickets if they find the tickets have certain numbers. They avoid tickets having certain other numbers. The Chinese usually consider 8 as the very lucky number. That’s why they started the Bejing Olympics on August 8, 2008 in the evening (p.m.) at 8 hours, 8 minutes and 8 seconds!  They also consider 3, 5, 6, and 9 as lucky. To them 4 and 13 are unlucky numbers.

The Bible has numbers that occur frequently in it. Some of these are: 3 (the Trinity; Christ rose from the dead after three days), 7 (on the seventh day God rested from his work of creation; seven Sacraments given by Christ), 9 (nine gifts of the Holy Spirit), 10 (the Ten Commandments of God), and 12 (Twelve sons and twelve Tribes of Israel; and 12 (the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ).

Numbers also play a vital role in different other religions, horoscope and palmistry.

The numerology has been playing a great role in the lives of peoples.

Do numbers have any real effect on mankind?

I don’t think so. It’s only a state of mind, it’s only a matter of attitude we have toward numbers. One number is good and another is bad – how can that be? If there wasn’t a number (whether good or bad/lucky or unlucky), how could the other number be there?  Numbers are not magnets that they will attract good luck or bad luck towards them!

Are those, who are born on lucky-number days, the most clever, intelligent, rich or free from any problem? Do those, born on unlucky-number days, face disasters and failures all their lives? Is it worth wasting one’s time in worrying about or avoiding the unlucky numbers? You find the answers for yourself.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (December 9 - 15, 2012)

A quotation of Saint Don Bosco on 'doing good,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eight Scholastics of the Brothers of Holy Cross in Bangladesh Take the Final Vow

(L-R) Brothers Nicholas Tolentino CSC, Provat Placid Purification CSC, Placid Rebeiro CSC, Shimul Andreas Rozario CSC, Sanchoy Mathias Rozario CSC, Sumon Joseph Costa CSC, Toren Joseph Palma CSC and Chayan Victor Corraya CSC -- eight scholastics of the Brothers of Holy Cross in Bangladesh -- took their final vow on November 23 at St. John the Baptist Church of Tumilia
Photo @ the courtesy of Brother Binoy Gomes, CSC

Eight scholastics of St. Joseph’s Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross in Bangladesh took their final vow on November 23 at St. John the Baptist Church of Tumilia in Gazipur District, Bangladesh.

Bishop Subrato Lawrence Howlader, CSC, the auxiliary bishop of Chittagong, concelebrated the solemn Mass, where dozens of priests, Brothers and Sisters of Holy Cross as well as some other Congregations participated. Several hundred lay men and women, including parents and relatives of the scholastics, were also in attendance. A cultural show and banquet followed the Mass.

On the previous day, scholastics from the parishes of Rangamatia and Nagori came to join their compatriots at Tumilia with their relatives and well-wishers, who sang and danced on the way. After an hour of the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, all the scholastics underwent a gaye-holud (turmeric-smearing) ceremony according to a local custom. This ceremony symbolizes the purification of the body and soul. 

Presently, 92 Brothers of Holy Cross are labouring in the vineyard of Bangladesh. They mainly run and teach in schools in the Archdiocese of Dhaka and the dioceses of Chittagong, Dinajpur and Mymensingh.  

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (December 2 - 8, 2012)

Three quotations of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 'freedom,' 'change,' and 'dying for an idea,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (November 25 - December 1, 2012)

A quotation of Kerry Washington on 'showing up,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

La Affaire of General David Petraeus and the Hypocrisy of Matters Sexual

General David Petraeus takes an oath of office as the CIA Director from US Vice President Joe Biden (left: his wife Holly holding the Bible in a White House ceremony, Sept. 6, 2011)

The affair of the four-star U.S. General and CIA Director David Petraeus and its domino effect on others are not surprising in the light of the amount of exposure US armed forces personnel get to sex and sexuality.This affair made the General resign from the CIA.

The US is famous for its record of individual rights over societal rights, freedom of expression, freedom of information, and human rights. Because of these, pornographers are allowed to produce unabatedly, swinger and swap clubs (where one can exchange sex-partner or one’s own husband or wife with another willing woman or man) proliferate, high sexual content in entertainment programmes (TV shows, movies, comedy clubs) in day or prime time are on the increase and online soft-core and hard-core pornography is available at home and work. Fornication, adultery and homosexuality are generally tolerated. Strangely, extramarital sex and homosexuality among some high positioned persons are frowned upon. The same thing happened with the case of General Petraeus.

When in the first year of my Master’s course (we used to have evening classes at that time) on journalism at the University of Dhaka in 1969-70, we had a subject, called Current Affairs. We had to know the history and latest situation on important hot-spots of the world, such as the Vietnam War, Kashmir situation between India and Pakistan, Middle-East crisis, and so on. The regular coverage of the Vietnam War was in newspapers and magazines. With much curiosity and interest I would read about it in local as well as US newspapers and magazines. On my way to the university, I would stop for an hour or so at the United States Information Service (U.S.I.S.) library on Topkhana Road opposite to the Dhaka Press Club. I also would visit the British Council Library on Fuller Road near the University of Dhaka. The news coverage  -- especially photographic images -- of the war that ended in 1975, is still vivid in my mind even after 37 years.   

One US army veteran, who returned from Vietnam duty, joined the University of Portland, in Portland, Oregon, where I was also a student on the University and Congregation of Holy Cross scholarship. When I came to know that he was a veteran, I used to talk with him about his war experience. One day he asked me if I would like to go with him to a US armed force base outside Portland. I was too eager to go as I was interested in seeing how army personnel live and work. At the camp, my friend returned his uniform, caps, boots and other items. The person in charge of the depository asked me if I was interested in joining the army. I said, “No, thanks. I am a foreigner here. Moreover, I don’t want to kill anyone!” The gentleman laughed uproariously. Then my friend took me to a large recreation room to meet with some of his acquaintances. Some army personnel were watching a pornographic film there. I was surprised because, coming from a conservative society in Bangladesh, it was beyond my imagination that someone could watch pornographic movie so openly. On top of that, how could, army people, who were supposed to be so self-disciplined, respectful and dignified, could stoop so low? Later, on our way back, I asked my friend why the army allows pornography to be viewed so openly.  He replied that armed forces personnel live such a tense and stressful life that they need recreation for a release.  Anyway, I was wondering, in one year or in their stint at the armed forces, how much pornography they get exposed to regularly and what the effect of these would be on them and their families.  Later, wouldn’t they see women as cheap shots and easily available to feed their fantasies?

During my readings on the Vietnam War, I came across of the news of groups of US armed forces personnel, after serving a period of time in the war fields, being shipped to Thailand for rest and recreation. Their main destination was the Bangkok’s red light areas and night clubs. The notoriety of the US Naval Base at the Subic Bay in the Philippines in relation to the exponential growth of the nearby Olongapo red-light district is well known. Anyone can guess what happened in those two places.

According to the Wikipedia, during World War II, swinging (exchange of sex-partners between two couples, but at that time called ‘wife-swapping’) began among US Air Force pilots and their wives for having a close bond among them so that in case of death in war, the other couple could take care of the dead pilot’s wife and children. In the 1950s, some armed forces personnel kept up this practice and later it spread to US city suburbs among other citizens. Gradually, swinging spread to different western countries.

Rape and other types of sexual violence and assaults are on the increase in the US armed forces. Women are coming forward to protest and demand a redress of this sad environment. The costs of sexual violence in these forces are immense.

The divorce rate among the military personnel is on the increase, too. Reasons for divorce among the veterans are stress from the war front, mental issues and infidelity.  Many of these veterans are more likely to have emotional affairs or extramarital sex. Over 30% of the veterans are said to have sex outside marriage. This is the double the national rate for US civilians.

There’s a common saying: “You are what you eat.” Similarly, it is also true that you are what you feed your mind. A lot of pornography, sexuality and sex have their natural effects on military men and women and their families. These effects are not positive, of course.

The affair of General Petraeus is the culmination of the duplicity maintained in the armed forces regarding rest and recreation and increased sexualized atmosphere within.The US government will do a great service if it gives a serious look at the the problem of too much sexualization and redresses it.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (November 18 - 24, 2012)

A quotation of Abraham Lincoln on 'labor,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
A farmer is carrying his load at Rangamatia Village in Gazipur District, Bangladesh
Photo (Janurary 11, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today Is Canada's Remembrance Day

Canada remembers its fallen soldiers who valiantly served or gave their lives for world peace
Painting (Toronto: November 11, 2012) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

Today is Canada's Remembrance Day. Canadians observe this day every year in honour of Canadian soldiers who served and are still alive and those who died in World War I, World War II, Korean War and Afghanistan War.

The Canadian contributions to these wars have been recognized throughout the world by peace-loving people. Other Commonwealth countries and the USA also observe this day in a solemn manner. 

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The Quotation of the Week (November 11-17, 2012)

A quotation of Jesus Christ on 'behaving with others,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
A framed metal replica of Jesus' Last Supper
Photo (Toronto: December 30, 2009) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

President Barack Obama Wins Re-election

 President Barack Obama, Democratic Party nominee, got re-elected in 2012 election
Mitt Romney, Republican Party nominee for President in 2012 election
Artworks (Toronto: Oct. 22, 2012) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

U.S. President Barack Obama in the country-wide election yesterday has been re-elected for the next four years defeating his opponent Republican nominee Mitt Romney. In the neck and neck election campaign, President Barack Obama received 303 electoral college votes and Mitt Romney 206 votes. According to the CNN, so far, the President received 60,451,292 popular votes while Mitt Romney received 57,646,397 votes.
The election came to an end after a bitter partisan fight between these two parties, a lot of acrimony, and attack advertisements in the media.

Now both the President with his democratic party and the opposition Republican party need to work together to redress the economic downturn and take the country forward. President in his victory speech promised to reach out and work together with the Republicans. Mitt Romney, conceding, defeat, also promised to work with the President and his party for the greater good of the country.

To know more about the election, you may read the following:

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