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31/05: Sharon Stone's folly

How foolish can a person be? Or even so heartless as to trying to gain political mileage out of a catastrophe?

It goes to show how dumb (in the stupid sense) people can be. I wrote about the Chinese earthquake previously on my blog here and expected that such a tragedy would bring people across the world together in helping China. In fact, I didn't even knew of Sharon Stone until she opened her moth to say that the earthquake in China might be bad karma due to China's alleged treatment of Tibet. And I quote her:

"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else,"..."And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?" - source

Does she also think that Katrina was a result of bad karma from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan where millions of lives have been lost due to American policies? Or maybe Basic Instinct 2 with $70 million production cost resulted in less than $6 million in ticket sales is also due to karma?

I applaud the Chinese nation who unanimously condemned Stone and are trying to hurt her where it hurts the most: monetarily. Many Chinese cinemas (under UME Cineplex) have refused to show movies in which she has performed (and will perform in the future) and Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone's image were also dropped from all ads in China amidst the public uproar. Even on previous controversial issues (e.g. cartoons of Prophet Muhammad), I have urged the people from not partaking in violent protesting. Instead, boycotting the products and making the perpetrators suffer economic loss is the best way to go around showing your protest. After all, in a capitalist world, what hurts most is an economic loss.

I also learned today that she has apologized for her comments but I strongly believe that the apologies are not sincere and are just the result of bad publicity she is getting now. So, for what it counts, her apologies are falling on deaf ears across China. After all, slapping deliberately and then saying 'sorry' is just not enough. I urge the Chinese government and the people to keep implementing the economic boycott where Sharon Stone is concerned.

28/05: War on Terror: The Issue of Reimbursement Payments

The issue of WoT payments that the US has made to Pakistan has been a hot issue in government circles, especially in the US. Often enough, the Pakistani government is criticized for not properly spending the money. It is difficult for any sane and logical person to understand why the US has any say in how the reimbursement payments are spent. That's right! Reimbursement payments.

What the US government sends the Pakistani government is mostly payment for expenses that Pakistan has already incurred in deploying and maintaining troops on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Last I read, a couple weeks back, Pakistan has over 100,000 troops deployed on that border - far higher than the total number of ISAF/NATO forces inside Afghanistan. Does the US government and particularly the US Senators creating all this noise over this issue think that stationing such a large number of troops on that border is cheap?

If so, they should consider the expenses of the NATO/ISAF forces inside Afghanistan which are far lesser in number but still have higher expenses than those reimbursed to Pakistan. They must not forget that Pakistan is a developing nation that doesn't has such large amounts of funds to invest in maintaining troop presence on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In fact, there was very little troop presence on that particular border before the war on terror started. Thousands of Pakistani lives have been lost in this war for American interests- one of the reasons amongst a whole pile of reasons for the Pakistani publics disenchantment with America.

It is sad and disheartening to see the frequent mention of ISAF/NATO casualties across the border in Afghanistan but practically no mention of Pakistani lives lost right across that border on the Pakistani side when both sides are fighting the same war. Is the life of a Pakistani soldier so worthless?

On that note, I leave you with a thought provoking article from Dawn. I have marked specific parts of interest in bold.

‘Pakistan gets less than half of what it spends’: Anti-terror efforts

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, May 27: What Pakistan gets as reimbursement for its efforts to combat militants along the Afghan border is less than half of what it spends, diplomatic sources say.

Under a programme known as the Coalition Support Fund, the US military reimburses Pakistan for terrorism-related operations, particularly by the army and the air force.

A US Government Accountability Office report issued last week said that of $5.8 billion in US support for anti-terrorism efforts in the Fata between 2002 and 2007, about 96 per cent had gone towards reimbursing the Pakistani military, three per cent on border security and one per cent on development aid projects.

Talking to Dawn, sources said the $5.8 billion Pakistan received from the CSF was reimbursement of what the country had already spent.

“It is not easy to deploy 100,000 troops in a troubled area,” said one diplomatic source. “Look, how the Americans are spending billions of dollars on maintaining troops in Iraq. If the Americans feel that the Iraq war is draining their resources, imagine how it affects Pakistan.”

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