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The Red Wrath on Ask David

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Indonesia is deeply concerned with the situation of Rohingya Muslims

In the image above: (R) Ms. Esti Andayani – The Honorable Ambassador of Indonesia to Norway with Hatef Mokhtar Editor in Chief The Oslo Times (L)

Honorable Ambassador of Indonesia to Norway, ‘The Oslo Times’ welcomes you to an exclusive interview with its Chief Editor and Editorial Board panel.

 

It is indeed a privilege to be with you and exchange views with you on a range of important global issues.

 

TOT: To start with we shall start with Indonesia-Norway ties. Not long ago, your predecessor, Ambassador Retno Marsudi said that, “Indonesia and Norway have had a very intensive relationship in the last couple of years. What makes this relationship to appear so busy and fruitful, and what should we anticipate in the future?” We would like you to dilate on this in detail so as to enlighten our readers worldwide?

 

Ms. Esti Andayani: The long standing bond of friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two countries have always been good and grown stronger. Several instruments of cooperation were signed during the tenure of Ambassador Retno Marsudi in Oslo. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Norway twice in 2006 and 2010 during his tenure. In reciprocal, the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made a state visit to Indonesia in 2007.

The bilateral relations between Indonesia and Norway have been strengthened and enhanced following the signing of Dynamic Partnership (November 2010) which is not only on the framework of bilateral cooperation but also multilateral dimension.  Most of the bilateral issues are interlinked with multilateral issues such as human rights, climate change and environment, energy, security, global health, MDGs. To this end, Indonesia and Norway enjoy continuous close cooperation on Dialogue on Human Rights; cooperation in REDD+ (Reductions of Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation); Security Policy Consultation; Foreign Policy and Global Health; MDG 4 and 5 and other international issues.

Whereas in the areas of economic cooperation, the ongoing negotiations on Indonesia – EFTA Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IE-CEPA) are running smoothly where up to now five rounds of negotiations have taken place. The bilateral relations focus also on increasing trade and investment and energy security. With rapid changes in global situation, these issues would be fundamental for future cooperation.

 

 

 

TOT: What are the key strategic areas where Indonesia and Norway can function together as successful partners and cooperate together for the development and improvement of existing bilateral ties with each other? While answering this question we would like you to speak also on the areas that can provide a boost to Indonesia’s economic prospect vis a vis Norway?

Ms. Esti Andayani: The strategic area of cooperation between Indonesia – Norway is the REDD+ cooperation. This is one of core bilateral issues between Indonesia and Norway, which has been highlighted during the meeting between President of the Republic of Indonesia and Prime Minister of Norway, in the margins of Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, 26 March 2012. Indonesia and Norway Partnership on REDD+ cooperation should serve as a model of bilateral cooperation in the multilateral dimension. Indonesia promotes that kind of partnership in the sidelines event of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)/Rio+20, 20-22 June 2012.

 

Besides the cooperation in the field of environment, there are more sectors that are potential to be enhanced such as energy, maritime, fisheries and infrastructures. Indonesia is now become more attractive for foreign investors due to its enhanced investment climate and recent upgrading  of Indonesia’s investment grade by two global and well-known rating agencies, ‘’the Fitch’’ and ‘’Standard and Poor’’. The Indonesian fundamental economy remains strong, showing resilience growth coupled with low government debt and prudent policy. This is a promising and saleable factor in the middle of increasing concerned on the prospect of global economy.  Therefore, it is a high time for Norway and Indonesia to improve their trade and investment activities.

 

As you might already be aware of, that in 2011, the bilateral trade volume reached                USD 309.5 million. This number is still considered small compared to the potentials of the two countries that still can be explored by setting target and focus on particular commodities or sectors. I warm-heartedly welcome Norway’s decision to reopen the office of Innovation Norway in Jakarta in 2012.  I expect that Innovation Norway could not only encourage Norway’s business sectors to expand their cooperation with Indonesia’s counterparts but also acts as a matchmaking agent for bridging business opportunities between big companies and small medium enterprises for both countries.

 

 

 

TOT: Now, expanding our vista here, let us come to what your Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono said on the 19th of July – as reported in almost all the Indonesian newspapers and also aired by the BBC — Indonesia has been selected to host the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management which will operate starting this year. “The heads of state/government of ASEAN member countries have agreed that the AHA Centre should be set up in Indonesia this year” …We would like to have your concise and precise response and views on this statement by your minister?

 

Ms. Esti Andayani: According to Synthesis Report on Ten ASEAN Countries Disaster Risk Assessment (December 2010), the region reported 1,211 occurrences of disasters with over 414,900 casualties over the last 40 years (1970-2009). These numbers could be higher as there were also unreported cases. Most of ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, are prone to disasters. Disasters affect on ASEAN countries’ economies, and the lives of millions of people in the region.

In the light of constant disasters and humanitarian situations in the region, ASEAN agreed on a legally binding pact to establish national and regional structures to deal with disasters, and endorsed the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in July 2005, which mandated the establishment of AHA Center. The center is the hub for disaster information, coordination of relief mobilization, coordination of joint emergency response, administration coordination, and disaster research and study. In fact, AHA Center has started its operation in June 2011.

Having experienced the biggest disaster in the 2004 with the Aceh’s tsunami, Indonesia has learned about disaster management and made it a government priority by establishing the National Agency for Disaster Management and its regional offices through the Act No. 24/2007 on Disaster Management. Many countries have recognized and also learned from our experiences and successes in dealing with disaster management and disaster risk reduction.

Given the above facts, I can reaffirm Indonesia remains committed to actively participate in enhancing international cooperation in disaster management and humanitarian situations. Those facts also show that we are more prepared and ready with the infrastructure and human resources to host the AHA Center. Indonesia welcomes cooperation in the field of disaster management at all levels: bilateral, regional, and multilateral. Although we understand that cooperation among the ASEAN member states and other states or parties can be in form of bilateral cooperation, such cooperation should not overshadow ASEAN cooperation, internally or with a third party, in the regional level through AHA Center.

TOT: Your country has had a traditional history of ties with Australia and this long range of bilateral relationship and cooperation was highlighted by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech on a seminar held on Australian-Indonesian ties sometime back (Reported by the press and electronic media of both the countries and also available on Youtube on the Internet). Mr. Rudd also spoke on both the countries bonding with ASEAN member states and also on the scope of further cementing of ties between your country and his. Do explain this to us in detail for the benefit of our readers?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Yes, I remembered his speech very well. Indeed, Indonesia and Australia has a long history of friendship, and what used to be a love-hate relationship is now a mutual love for each other. I myself see that the care and attention given by Australia and the people of Australia after the Bali Bombing in 2002, and later at the event of tsunami in 2004 as a turning point, and from there on our relationship never looks back.

Australia is our biggest neighbor, not only in term of territory but also cooperation. Our cooperation ranges from political, to economic, development, security, education, health, and you name it.  We are now partners, we benefit from each other, and one’s problem or suffering is also of the other’s interest. Therefore it is important for us to maintain this good relationship.

And that is also the reason we support and welcome further cooperation with Australia through ASEAN. Australia is also one of ASEAN’s biggest neighbor, and having always supporting ASEAN, I think involving Australia as ASEAN’s dialogue partner was the correct path. Australia has also been included in East Asia Summit since the very beginning in 2005. In 2010, the ASEAN-Australia Summit was held in Hanoi, and it highlighted ASEAN – Australia relations and cooperation, including in trade, in which the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) entered into force in January 2010.  But not only in economy, on that summit we also underlined cooperation in ASEAN’s other pillars, that is in political-security cooperation, and socio-cultural, which I think is good for both parties.

TOT: It is also a known fac

t that both Norway and Indonesia are energy sufficient and oil producing nations, even though the former after being an observer and the latter having left the OPEC in 2008, on the grounds of becoming a net importer. Delve on this and tell us as to how you will assess the possibilities of further joint cooperation between the two countries and also tell us about what has been done and achieved so far?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Although Indonesia is no longer member of OPEC, it does not mean that we do not have anymore energy potential. Indonesia is one of the fastest growing country in the world and our interest now is more to fulfill domestic needs. We still have many unexplored potentials and we see that Norway has technical experience and capability to help us in exploring our energy potentials.

 

Energy cooperation between Indonesia and Norway in the form of bilateral consultation on energy has been regularly conducted following the signing of MoU between the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Indonesia and the Ministry of Industry and Energy of the Kingdom of Norway Concerning Cooperation in the Energy Field in Jakarta, 1995.  In the last bilateral energy consultation held in Yogyakarta, 6-7 October 2011, Indonesia and Norway were committed to implementing concrete cooperation in the future.

 

Indonesia is highly interested in further promoting bilateral cooperation in renewable energy to support its green economy policy, including to materialize concrete cooperation in renewable energy sector. This sector is believed to become the priority of future cooperation among others in hydropower, geothermal dan off-shore wind.

 

I would like to share you an example of one finished projects, which is the Baron Technopark Project in Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta funded by Norwegian Development Cooperation           (NOK 6.5 million, equivalent to US$ 1 million). This project is a prototype of new and renewable energy (solar, wind and geothermal) which not only is purposed for research and development of renewable energy, but also as a center of education and social activity in the energy sector for the general public. Norway also invest in mini hydropower in Manipi, South Sulawesi valued at USD 22 million and is currently investing in other hydropower projects.

 

Besides renewable energy, there is also a cooperation on oil and gas sector. For your information, Statoil has operated in Indonesia since 2007 and currently has been appointed as operator in Karama and Kuma block in Makassar Strait and six other locations in eastern part of Indonesia.

TOT: The President of your country, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said on the 22nd of this month that Indonesia will never leave ASEAN despite its growing role in the Group of 20 rich and developing nations (G20). Being an important member of ASEAN and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), could you explain the position of Indonesia in promoting the significance of your country and also highlight the cause and vision of its being in the two groupings?

 

Ms. Esti Andayani: What I can share with you is that ASEAN is our root. We grow up together, as family. And just like members of family could live or work elsewhere, they will always come home. That is what ASEAN to us. Indonesia is one of ASEAN’s founding fathers, and also one that initiated that there should be an ASEAN Community. Indonesia also has its role in envisioning the ASEAN Vision 2020. Not only that ASEAN States grow together and ASEAN nurtures us, but we also nurtured ASEAN, making it big and strong as it is today. And I believe that it will getting stronger.

 

In terms of statistics, ASEAN covers an area of 4.46 million km2, with a population of approximately 600 million people, which is about 8.8% of the world’s population. That is a big number, not only in terms of human resources but also potential market. Most of us have similar state of development and it is growing rapidly much to the world’s envy. For ASEAN, being united provides better chances in growing than if we are on our separate ways. And Indonesia wants to keep it that way.

As with APEC, all members of ASEAN are also the member of APEC. ASEAN states do not leave their root in APEC, and we walk together. Every decision taken should be beneficial for all ASEAN members, not only for one. Together we are stronger, and having more bargaining power, which we hope in the future are comparable with super powers such as China and the US at the APEC Forum.  Indonesia wants to be and is committed to be the driving force for that to happen.

We are proud of our active role in the G20. It really signifies the recognition of our growing economy and our potentials to grow even further and faster. But then again, being in the ASEAN is also one of the reasons we got so far.  I think Indonesia’s admission to the G20 will not only strengthen Indonesia’s role and position in the world, but will be beneficial for ASEAN as well, as we can say that being the only ASEAN country in G20, Indonesia represents the region in the forum.

TOT: Now, Honourable Ambassador, highlight and explain to us the significance of being a country with the largest Muslim population in the world and tell us this too – for the benefit of our readers worldwide — about your country’s take on human rights violations which are being committed in Myanmar/Burma by the Rakhine Buddhists against the Rohingya Muslim community? Being the world’s largest Muslim nation in terms of population what do you think about the genocide being carried out under the very nose of the Burmese military junta as well as in front of Nobel Peace Winner Aung San Suu Kyi?

Ms. Esti Andayani: We are deeply concerned with the recent situation in Rakhine, Myanmar. We understand that that kind of situation could happen everywhere in a world of multi-ethnic society. Without more detailed information, I would not engage myself for further comments. However, I believe that the Indonesian government will take any necessary measures through various mechanisms in settling the issue, including bilateral, regional ASEAN, OIC and the UN.

 

TOT: Our next question is a continuation of the previous one. Give us your views on the recent press and electronic media reports (Newspapers and television channels of India, Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh and also published prominently by The Oslo Times a few days ago) some of the escapees/ survivors of the Rohingya Muslim community were saved by the Indonesian Navy. The Rohingyas were left as stranded people right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Did your country do something or intends to do something positive to take an account of this fleeing of a people belonging to a segregated and downtrodden community of Myanmar and yet without doubt happen to be, beyond the shadow of a doubt, its citizens too? Give us your answer in a nutshell?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Indonesia always withholds its national law in dealing with refugees and asylum seekers with respect to various ratified International Human Rights Conventions, in cooperation with the UNHCR.

Indonesia treats every illegal migrant including refugees and asylum seekers equally regardless of their nationalities, including the Rohingyas. Although there are a number of Rohingyas refugees to Indonesia, their numbers are insignificant compare to those coming to Malaysia.

Indonesia is not a party of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees; therefore it is the duty of the UNHCR to independently determine the status of illegal migrants. The Government of Indonesia basically supports the decisions of the UNHCR and promotes durable solutions through 3 alternatives i.e. voluntary repatriation, resettlement in third country, and local settlement in Indonesia.

 

TOT: Now, respected Ambassador, coming to your ties with Australia, do share your views on the growing refugee crisis which has been fueled by the Australian immigration policy, in which human traffickers are taking advantage to provide asylum to people fleeing your country to Australia by illegal methods?  If your country has been affected gravely by this activity then what is it doing to cope with it and curb it? Also, what has been the Australian response and cooperation with the authorities of your country in this regard?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Indonesia notes the increasing numbers of refugees from Middle East countries (Afghanistan and Iran) and from neighboring countries (Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka).  The numbers of illegal migrants heading for Australia via Indonesia has multiplied since 2008 and this has become the concern of the Indonesian Government. In dealing with this matter, Indonesia and Australia has established cooperation by signing the Lombok Treaty in 2006.

At regional level, the Bali Process is a regional forum co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia. This forum discusses the solution for people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational organized crimes in the region. The activities within the Bali Process are technical, voluntary and non-binding with the focus on capacity building.

In recent development, the members of Bali Process agreed to continue the cooperation through Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) which in operational level is conducted by establishing the Regional Support Office (RSO) in Bangkok.

TOT: Now coming to the human rights situation in the West Papua it is important to mention the latest Amnesty International report on Indonesia which says that there is a critical situation in West Papua– a humanitarian crisis – which needs to be addressed and resolved at the earliest possible. We shall be delighted to have your thoughts on this situation in West Papua and the problems which are threatening to build up more and more with each passing day?

 

Ms. Esti Andayani: First of all, I would like to make sure that we refer to the same definition when we address West Papua. Currently, we have two provinces in Indonesian Papua, namely the Papua and the West Papua. We recognized that there are some incidents of violence happened recently in Papua and West Papua. I would like to ensure you that the incident and the issue of Papua are not issues of sovereignty, but rather a political, social, justice and welfare issue.  There is no such humanitarian crisis as reported by the Amnesty International.

Since 2005, the Indonesian government has promoted welfare and justice approaches in developing Papua and West Papua. Both provinces have received special autonomy, including a policy allowing them to accelerate development in a special budget allocation. Furthermore, the implementation of the master plan for accelerating and expanding the development of Indonesia’s economy (MP3EI) has made the region, along with Moluccas, a potential territory in the economic development strategies with concrete project, budget and agenda.  The Indonesian government has also established a Special Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), to help resolve development problems that might arise. From political side, the government has actively engaged in dialogues with various stakeholders in the region to deal with various problems.

To further accelerates the improvement of human capacity in both Provinces, the Indonesian Government implements several affirmative actions, such as quota for education i.e. in police forces and the position of ‘’putra daerah’’ (people of local ethnicities) in the local government. Meanwhile, the government also continues to intensify efforts to build and promote a more conducive situation in both Provinces, among others, by making various efforts to increase welfare, law enforcement and respect for human rights and continues to develop a more democratic political life.

The fundamental policy of the Indonesian Government concerning Papua and West Papua has undergone a significant transformation, altering the security approach applied previously into prosperity and justice approach, within the context of Indonesian territorial integrity. The implementation of special autonomy has shifted sweeping powers and authority from Jakarta to Papua and West Papua allowing them to regulate and manage based on their own interests. However, the acceleration of economic and social development is still a challenge ahead. This is due to the least developed infrastructure and public services caused by geographical aspects as well as different traditional legal systems. Therefore, the focus of the Government is to deal with these challenges with various measures.

TOT: Now, let us inform you that quite recently The Oslo Times met with Benny Wenda, a representative of West Papua movement in Oslo — who was invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2012. Benny Wenda explained to us about the situation in West Papua and the discrimination which Papuans face in Indonesia especially at the hands of the Indonesian Army. Please clarify on this?

Ms. Esti Andayani: As I have mentioned before, the Government has altered the security approach applied previously into prosperity and justice approach. Since then, the Government has pulled out military units that were no longer necessary in Papua and West Papua, and kept only a small number of units that are essentials to maintain security and protect the people. Nowadays, the police have more roles in maintaining order. The various incidents happened in Papua and West Papua recently were more of criminal acts, which were handled in accordance to Indonesian laws and regulations.

The people of Papua and West Papua have never been discriminated. They are even given special treatment to sit in various positions within the local government that only they can withhold, which people of other ethnicities are not entitled.

TOT: Reverend Ambassador, Indonesia, as is known to the world is a country which, despite being the world’s largest Muslim nation in terms of population, is resilient and tolerant to the people belonging to all faiths, cultures and historical genesis. It is indeed highly appreciable. We would like you to tell us on the struggle going on against extremism in the world and highlight Indonesia’s stand and efforts directed against fundamentalism of all kinds, extremism and fanaticism as well as militancy. Our question assumes more relevance as it is clearly visible that since some time in the past extremism and militancy are threatening the stability of your own country?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Indeed Indonesia is the country with largest Moslem population in the world, but Indonesia is not a Moslem country. We respect differences and hold the values of tolerance. Differences indeed exist. The emergence of groups with extreme-right views has posed a challenge to Indonesia, such as acts of terrorism and militancy. Globally, this kind of trends also emerges in other democratic countries.  I believe you share the same opinion, that in several Western countries, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam groups are in the political mainstream, and they have positions within the Parliament which could be influential. In comparison, such groups and activities are not recognized in the political mainstream in Indonesia.

The problems arise from the practice of religions you hear here in Norway and many other Western countries are actually quite minor. Unfortunately, international community is not very well informed about religious harmony exists in Indonesia. Regrettably the minor scaled problems receive more media coverage, nationally and internationally, as if the voice of that minority affected represents the voice of the majority.

Through you, I expect that the media would be able to deliver a more balanced coverage so that the public in the country and abroad would have comprehensive and contextual understanding about religious life in Indonesia.  At the same time, I do hope that the majority in Indonesia, who have been silent all along, would express their views and opinions to better represent the voice of Indonesia.

Meanwhile, in combating terrorism, extremism, and militancy, the Indonesian Government, since the 2002 Bali Bombing and 9/11 terrorist attack in New York, has engaged actively in many cooperation to improve capacity building in countering terrorism. We are now even considered as a role model for other countries in combating terrorism.

TOT: After having tackled the sensitive yet most significant problem of recent developments in the world comity of nations – threats of extremism and unbridled militancy – we would like to have your impressions and opinion on the role Indonesia has played so far in terms of promoting democracy, freedom of speech and human rights on the regional as well as on the international level?

Ms. Esti Andayani: Indonesia has always put forward constructive efforts in the cooperation of promoting and protecting human rights, through various dialogues and international cooperation. Indonesia has a role in bridging different views and positions regarding human rights which are often vary between the developed countries and the developing countries. Indonesia, on one hand, supports the efforts to promote civil and political rights carried out by developed countries while on the other hand, continues to promote economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development which are the priorities of developing countries.

At the regional level, Indonesia puts forward the cooperation through ASEAN and supports the democratization process of the ASEAN member countries in accordance with the principle of non-interference. At the global level, this commitment is reflected by initiating the Bali Democracy Forum which convenes annually since 2008.

Democracy is a home-grown process, emerged from within the community in each country, and is a process that cannot be imposed by others. That is why Indonesia is of the view that democracy should deliver, meaning that it has to be accompanied by development which will be beneficial for the people’s welfare.

I wish to reiterate that democracy is reflected by the freedom of expression, which in Indonesia is guaranteed by Constitution and related laws. Bearing this, the Indonesian people are aware that the freedom of expression is not absolute as it cannot infringe the rights of others.  We, Indonesians, adhere tolerance and rule of law and putting the principles into practice when we exercise the right to freedom of expression.

 

 

In the image above: US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama (L) meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani Yudhoyono (R) at the State Palace Complex Istana Merdeka in Jakarta Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

TOT: In a lighter vein Reverend Ambassador, you too must be quite informed and aware like most of our readers are about present US President Barack Hussain Obama’s growing up in Indonesia especially as an adolescent and a youth. Thus Obama has a bond with your motherland. Anything remarkable that you can share with us in this regard?

Ms. Esti Andayani: President Obama lived in Indonesia only for four years during his early childhood. However, he is still bounded with Indonesia and its people. He knows full well about Indonesia, its culture, values, motto, and he even could still speak Indonesian. All of these were well reflected within his lecture before the students of the University of Indonesia.

In that lecture, he compared the values of the United States and the values of Indonesia that turned out to have a lot of similarities.  In the United States, E pluribus unum — out of many, one – has similar meaning with Bhinneka Tunggal Ika — unity in diversity. The United States and Indonesia are bound together by shared interests and shared values. Just like in the United States, the spirit of tolerance is also written into Indonesian Constitution; symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other.

He reminded us again about the Indonesian values which we ourselves sometimes often forget, Pancasila. Hearing that coming from such a prominent figure has really made us appreciates our own values even more.

 

He also mentioned that development is inseparable from the role of democracy. This is what our government is now doing, promotes development while at the same time building democracy. With all those shared values, we hope to further increase our close cooperation in various fields.

 

Other thing that impressed me and most of Indonesian people, is when President Obama mentioned that he was surprised to see how far Indonesia has developed ever since he left Jakarta. There was only one 5-starred hotel and a mall at that time, but now he saw many skyscrapers and malls in every corner of the city. I was also caught by surprised that President Obama still well remembered his Indonesian favorite food, satay and baso (meatballs).

TOT: Finally honourable Ambassador, would you like to give any message to the readers of The Oslo Times, who are constantly on the rise worldwide with each passing day?

Ms. Esti Andayani: The Oslo Times is an online media that is easy to be accessed by people all over the world. Online media has various timeliness, accuracy of the content and ability to deliver to the readers about various information, news and reports. Therefore, the readers should be smart and have a broad and open mind in choosing and digesting the news they are reading. I believe The Oslo Times have such good quality for an online media, just as its readers have good understanding towards the context of information contained. I hope by reading this article, your readers would have a better understanding and interest about Indonesia.

Thank you respected Ambassador. We think that this session has indeed been informative and beneficial for The Oslo Times and its readers. Thanks yet again!


 

©The Oslo Times – All Rights Reserved.

While fully committed to serious and objective nuclear talks, Iran calls upon 5+1 to reciprocally manifest their commitment

Hatefwithiranambassadornew

Exclusive Interview with the Honorable Ambassador of Iran to Norway –

Seyed Hossein Rezvani

First of all we would like to thank you on behalf of The Oslo Times for accepting our invitation to share your candid views on the present situation of Iran’s position on nuclear programme and on the events arising in relation to it.

It is indeed a privilege to have you on The Oslo Times panel of exclusive interviews and we feel truly proud in welcoming you here.


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TOT: Recently the talks between Iran and P5+1 took place in Moscow. Is the outcome of talks was satisfactory to Iran and its interests? 

In the name of God, the Companion-ate, the Merciful

Iran’s Envoy: While fully committed to serious and objective nuclear talks, Iran calls upon 5+1 to reciprocally manifest their commitment.In recent talks between Iran and 5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) in Moscow, both sides agreed that a technical group should discuss in detail the proposals by each side and hammer out a framework or a road map for the continuation of the talks. So a technical group is going to have a new round of talks on Tuesday in Istanbul.
It is clear that some members of 5+1 for whatever reasons apparently political ones, are not forthcoming and serious enough for finding a solution. If the talks do not proceed as it should be, another standoff in the talks can be expected. Therefore, this could be considered as a critical point in Iran’s talks with some members of 5+1.

TOT: With worsening Iran’s nuclear case with the international community, especially; with the West and the constant failures of the series of talks has resulted into more energy insecurities in the world. How Iran view these recent developments and escalations in the nuclear policy debate?


Iran’s Envoy:
The USA and certain Europeans have said that they are going to increase their pressure and sanctions against Iran and this by itself indicates that they are not willing to engage with Tehran in a meaningful dialogue.
It is to be reiterated that , oil embargo against Iran leads to further disruptions and insecurities of world energy market and consequently adds up to financial crisis in Europe . The 1+5 non-compliance with guiding principles of nuclear talks established during Istanbul II talks and absence of cooperative approach on their side is the primary cause for unsuccessful Baghdad and Moscow negotiations. Therefore it is necessary to address this issue and shed lights on the latest developments and to analyze the issue from the view point of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What are the major obstacles or issues faced by Iran during talks with P5+1 group countries?
The main obstacle in Moscow talks as well as in Iran’s previous talks with 5+1 in Baghdad was the issue of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. This right stems from International law and Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). According to NPT developing, research, production and use of nuclear energy and having full national nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes are among the inherent and inalienable rights of each sovereign member state.

One major issue during discussions with 5+1 in recent rounds of talks was an attempt to work out a framework for a comprehensive and targeted dialogue. Iran strongly believes that talks should not be for the sake of talks. Rather they should be conducted on good will, mutual respect and in a spirit of cooperation which can lead to tangible results. Therefore attitude and actions that go contrary to good will, spirit of cooperation and mutual respect are counterproductive and should be avoided.
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TOT: How Iran views the consideration or inclusion of NPT in the talks? And the kind of advantages which it brings with it for Iran?

Iran’s Envoy: NPT should also be considered as the benchmark for talks and all parties have to commit themselves to the rights and obligations specified in the NPT. Iran is strongly opposed to any preconditions particularly when they are outside the framework of NPT. Genuine commitment and cooperative approach are essential tools to enable both sides to successfully embark upon a new process of fruitful talks, which are comprehensive, sustainable and constructive. Iran is willing to have a mutually agreed long term solution. This could only come through tangible actions and on the basis of step by step approach, based upon principle of reciprocity. Iran is of the opinion that the legitimate rights as well as concerns of both parties should be fully recognized and addressed in an objective and comprehensive manner.

The main Iranian objective in the negotiations as well as cooperation with the IAEA is removal of any misunderstanding regarding its peaceful, transparent and legal nuclear activities within the framework of NPT. The Fatwa of the Supreme Leader is indeed supporting these facts. Iran believes that confidence building is a two-way street. In this regard Iran wants to normalize its nuclear file at the Board of Governors of IAEA by total termination of politicized and illegitimate Security Council as well as unilateral sanctions.

Iran is entitled to full enjoyment of its inalienable rights to peaceful nuclear technology as stipulated in the NPT and in compliance with regulations of the IAEA. While looking forward to achieve a sustainable nuclear cooperation and transfer of advanced technologies,  Iran also wishes to conclude a comprehensive agreement on collective commitments in the areas of economic, political, security and international cooperation.
Is there any proposal that has been submitted by Iran in the recently conducted talks?
In recent talks, the 5+1 presented a proposal as a road map to bridge differences and fined a diplomatic solution for Iran’s nuclear issue, but they said proposal is suffering from some shortcomings both in context and in the substance. The said deficiencies would be elaborated in following paragraphs.

Iran in turn proposal  “a framework for comprehensive and targeted dialogue for long term cooperation among 7 countries”  which consists of guiding principles, objectives, issues ,  structure of the process and reciprocal steps that would be explained. Furthermore, there will be a review of the right to enrichment in various international treaties and conferences such as NPT, the Special Session of General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978, the Review Conferences of the NPT in 1975 and 2010 and the statement of the Non-aligned Foreign Ministers Meeting in May 2012 in Egypt.

TOT: What are the facts that have remained unheard or which the people are unaware about ‘Iran’s Nuclear Program’ and its policies towards it? 

Iran’s Envoy:               Some Facts on Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Issue

•The Fatwa of Iran’s Supreme leader on nuclear weapons, 19 February, 2012:
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons, because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”
•Under International Law, “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy, to have full national nuclear fuel cycle, and to enrich Uranium for peaceful purposes” is an inherent and inalienable right of each sovereign State.
•Taking into account the importance of diverse portfolio of energy sources, each State also has the “sovereign right to define its national energy policies, including fuel-cycle policies, without external pressure or interference.”
•These rights are based on the principle of “sovereignty of States” and also have been reaffirmed in particular by the NPT.
•Neither the NPT nor the IAEA Statute or Safeguards agreements and even the Additional Protocol, prohibit enrichment.
•In exercising these rights, NPT Parties have legal “obligation” “to prevent diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons.”
•Iran is firmly determined to exercise its inherent rights in all areas of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and fully committed to its obligations.
•Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA and the Agency’s inspections in Iran are unprecedented in the history of the IAEA.
•Continuous inspections in the most robust and intrusive manner, more than 4000 man-day routine inspections, and over 100 intrusive inspections are only some examples of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
•To date, no single evidence of diversion to military purposes has been found.
•Latest IAEA report corroborates Iran’s cooperation with Agency and peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. It states: “the Agency continues to conduct verification activities under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement” and “continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and Locations outside facilities declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.”
•According to the report, despite sanctions, Iran’s nuclear activities, in particular in the area of enrichment and enrichment related technology are progressing.
•The said report states as well that Iran is not implementing Additional Protocol. The answer is clear: Additional Protocol is voluntary in nature and Iran has no obligation to implement it.
•To accept the Agency’s request to visit Parchin military complex does not fall within Iran’s legal obligations with respect to the NPT.
•Despite this, according to the IAEA’s November 2011 report, “the Agency was permitted to visit the site twice in 2005 and did not uncover anything of relevance.”
•As a confidence-building measure, Iran stands ready to provide access to Parchin, only when the agreement on modality is reached with the IAEA.
•Iran’s Natanz and Fordow facilities have been declared to the IAEA well in advance of the due date and in accordance with the Iranian obligations under IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Their activities continue to be under the IAEA constant monitoring.
•Earlier this year, the IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards visited Natanz and Fordow as well as other Iranian nuclear sites, including Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Reactor and Heavy Water Production Plant at Arak, and the conversion and fuel fabrication facilities at Esfahan.
•Iran also provided the IAEA Deputy Director General access to an installation where Research & Development on advanced centrifuges was taking place, which is beyond Iranian obligations and also unprecedented in the history of IAEA inspections.
•In spite of the fact that the IAEA did not fulfill its obligations including delivery to Iran of the documents on the “Alleged Studies”, Iran did submit to the Agency its assessment in a 117-page document.
•As during recent talks with P5+1in Moscow demonstrated, Iran is determined to a faithful negotiations on interested issues to both parties based on mutual respect and a win-win solution.
•Iran proposed a road-map for negotiations which includes guiding principles, structure, issues and steps, according to that any step by one party should be responded by a homogeneous and simultaneous step by the other party.
•Iran made it clear that ambiguous and unrealistic proposals are counterproductive and may lead to more uncertainty between the parties.


©The Oslo Times – All Rights Reserved

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Communism has remained destructive for the Society – says ex Romanian President Emil Constantinescu

At the last day of Oslo Freedom Forum our Chief Editor of The Oslo Times had an exclusive meeting with former President of Romania Dr. Emil Constantinescu who was here as one of visiting delegate and an invited speaker to this forum.

In his meeting with The Oslo Times Chief Editor Hatef Mokhtar, he unveils his vision and would throw some light in brief by explaining about him being supporter and promoter of democratic reforms in Romania.

 

Here is the brief about him and his stand against Communism:

Today, after two decades Romania has changed a lot in political and economic terms. The state which was purely communist is now growing and one of the shining role models in post communist era which has brought prosperity, equality at par and humanitarian crisis in the country at its minimum. The greatest role to bring transform Romania from a communist state to a free and democratic state was played by Mr. Constantinescu, a liberal academic with impeccable anti-communist credentials was an important reformer between the years 1996 and 2000 when he served as President to his country Romania.

With the violent collapse of the Nicolae Ceausescu regime at the end of 1989, Constantinescu became an important figure in the creation of a democratic Romania.

Along with many other Romanian academics and intellectuals, he became involved in the movement for democracy; in particular through his support for human rights, the defense of individual freedoms and the creation of a Romanian civil society.

After entering the leadership of the RDC, Emil Constantinescu was put forward again for the presidential election in 1996, and this time was successfully voted into power. He became the third President of Romania and the first non-communist President after Ceausescu and seven years of elected communist rule. Once in power, Constantinescu went about quickly reforming the Romanian system and moving it towards a market-based economy. He slashed government spending, privatized government-run businesses, liberalized prices and attempted to tackle the problem of corruption.

Furthermore, Constantinescu attempted to improve Romania’s global image and its relations with other countries. This involved bilateral agreements and the improvement of relations with many countries. Constantinescu also understood the importance of joining the EU and NATO, and worked hard to improve relations between Romania and these institutions, pushing hard for membership in both of them. In 1999, Romania became a key ally for NATO in the Kosovo conflict, allowing NATO to use its airspace and paving the way for stronger ties and future membership. Constantinescu also opened up talks with the EU over accession.

In 2000, as his Presidency was coming to an end, Constantinescu opted not to run for a second term, fearing that Romanians believed that he was only attempting to join NATO and the EU for political gain and not due to national interest.

When asked of what his opinion was on the war torn country Afghanistan, Mr. Constantinescu was quick to respond [that] “the Soviet invasion and forced implementation of communism destroyed much”.

As a well known anti-communist, Mr. Constantinescu did not hold back on the negative aspects of communism and its devastating legacy on not only Afghanistan but on many other countries. It brought death, weakness, loss of values and starvation of the resources of the service sectors.

This view might come from the legacy the former dictator Nikolai Ceausescu left when he served from 1965 to 1989 ruling the country with an iron fist with the Marxist-Leninist regime.

Even in 1992, Mr. Constantinescu, 53 years old had a clear vision of a democratic Romania.

During his campaign he said that he wanted to speed market changes and rid the Government of Communists.

His strong opinion and dislike for communism can be noted in his statement in April when Gabriela Tepelea, an anticommunist dissident who spent six years in gulags and later played a key role in Romanian political life when communism collapsed, Mr. Emil Constantinescu sent his condolences saying:

“Romania has lost another moral and intellectual compass that marked the rebirth of the traditional political elite after the collapse of communism.’’

At last he mentioned [that] “he is confident about Romania’s future and its economic prospects”.

According to him ‘Communism has remained destructive to the society by and large’.

 

©The Oslo Times

My words and my answer to those who hate me

I am a brave person with a power of confidence and knowledge who have always accepted risk in his life and I have enjoyed standing against extremism. Do what you want to do, do whatever you can do. I am a lion whose nature is to die like a soldier and live like a leader.

Two Faces of One Coin: Extremism and Fascism

The world has known, for centuries, extremism where the norms are breached by those who wish to carry on with their un-adjustable approach in the society. It flourishes where there is no acceptance to the national political system or the existence of suppressive local customs. As the human civilization progresses and develops complexities in terms of territory, race, linguistic, tribe, culture, religion and many such things which were created and formed by man to make his own world of creations and justice.

Extremism has existed in each and every corner of this world since ages. No matter which religion you follow or believe, you will come across a stream of generation which believes in going beyond the defined norms of that sect. Earlier when the world was witnessing revolutions headed by the numerous prophets in every age of the angelic era the extremism was defined on the religious terms and was being termed as the religious extremism whose motive was to just spread their religion on to others. Then as the world moves and various distinct religions established their sphere this divided the entire generations of the human race into world of racism and discrimination. The new forms of once a single meaning word of extremism whose definition used to be just one and on one ground now was on the path of the transformation where the differences in the ideology which the various religions brought with them started to create the fault line between the personal norms and the norms of others who do not follow your norms. The most long serving example of this divide which goes beyond the lines of every norm set by the human society is between the Jews and the other global religions which has given rise to countless forms of extremism along with their own senseless and inhuman reasons. In today’s world which has survived the worst wars, genocides and natural disasters has now come to a point where it faces the threat of extremism in various forms and it kinds.

Modern and Historical forms of Extremism as defined by many scholars:
1.) Racial / Ethnical: This form is one of the forms of extremism which was developed in the era of imperialism when powers from around the world were fighting wars to establish their foothold and when they started to indulge in the slave trade. This form over the years has developed into a much common and wide spread form of extremism where it too has developed many sub categories of its own like: racial extremism against foreign immigrants / developing of gethos or restricted neighborhoods for specific community / organized racial or ethical gangs like Skin Heads of UK specifically in London, Nazis of Russia specifically in Moscow.

2.) Cultural Extremism: Cultural extremism happens when a community / state or a person forces others to accept its culture and its norms without giving or recognizing targeted community / society / group/ person its culture and values. The laws related to Blasphemy sometimes shows and present the picture of forcible and unacceptable behavior of one’s culture and acceptance to it which are mostly designed to curtail it and suppress the rise of others other than the state. Just like the laws related to Blasphemy in Pakistan.

3.) Religious Extremism: When a religious group of fundamentalists supports an ideology which goes beyond the set and accepted norms of religion and when other religions and neutrals within their own society start to feel their unwanted enforcement the modern examples where it has existed throughout in the countries are: Arab Jewish conflict, Pakistan Republic and Fundamentalists, Taliban etc.

4.)  Theological Extremism: When a particular religious faction imposes its belief or tries to suppress another of its kind with a different theological setup nevertheless this kind of large scale wide spread extreme perceptions and unaccepted suppression can be seen in the more organized political and recognizable framework of a new political distinction of extremism which is fascism.

The countries where one can witness these kinds of extremities of distinct theologies. Shiaite Iran suppressing Sunni minority, Alawite Minority regime suppressing and enforcing norms on Sunni majority and Kurds in Syria, Kurds and Shia minorities being suppressed by Sunni majority in Iraq, various ideological factions in Pakistan and Afghanistan suppressing each other’s and enforcing their ideologies in forcible manner by implementing extreme measures to spread their cause and mindsets.

Theological differences in Hinduism and Sikhism in India, Various existing ideologies among Buddhism and Buddhist majority countries like the one among Chinese Han and Tibetans, Mongoloids and Chinese, Differences between and un-acceptance in Indian – Chinese.

5.) Political extremism: It belongs mostly to a much more advanced form of extremism known as fascism where the leader and his regime has national interests at large for the entire country instead of self-satisfying public interests as in democracies. This kind of extremism exists in the societies and flourishes where public is upset with the national form of governmental setup and policies, extreme national isolation in the state, high level of suppression and discrimination among various communities in the state and enforcement of unacceptable laws which hinders and endangers their communal or linguistic or religious identities. The best real life examples of it can be seen in history as well as in today’s world like Nazism in Germany which gone against the existence of Jewish community which faced a horrible holocaust at the hands of state. Syrian Alawite regime of Assad and his son Bashar, Late Col; Gaddafi and his rule of fist in Libya over other tribes and communities, Iranian Shiaite regime in Iran suppressing other minorities like Sunni, Bahai, Zoroastrian. Burmese Military Junta headed government, China’s communist government and its suppressive policies over its people and other communities living in autonomous regions and even sometimes goes beyond the national boundaries of it like affecting Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Japan, India, Russian far east, Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang. Serbia – Bosnia crisis, Kosovo crisis, Belarus, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy famous for its beheading convictions and other extreme judicial measures. Suppressive policies of North Korean regime and its Kim family.

6.) Militancy / Terrorism / Revolutionaries: This is the most modern form of extremism which has now evolved as one of the most sophisticated forms of extremism challenging the entire global political, economic, bureaucratic setup of the global community. These kinds of extreme existence and buildup works like a parallel government and system to the national framework where the national domain exists within the purview of the state but has no control and jurisdiction over the social setup and accessibility to the affected region sometimes even the government too gets involved in taking the extreme measures like by implementing draconian laws which provides much larger role to the defense forces and its paramilitaries.

This has now become the most visible and practicable form of extremism which has lured and is attracting millions across the globe to carry out its revolution through destructive means. The examples of this kind can be easily seen and monitored in various countries which too includes some of the most prosperous and developed countries like: Chechnya in Russian Federation, Naxalities / Maoists / North – East Separatist Groups / Khalistanis / Kashmir freedom movement in India, Maoist movement in Nepal, erstwhile LTTE in Sri-Lanka, Separatist movements in Indonesia, Baluchistan freedom movement, Waziristan – FATA regions, Gilgit – Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Sind freedom movement in Pakistan, Kurdistan freedom movement in Iraq, Separatist movement in Yemen, IRA in Northern Ireland – UK, PLO movement in Palestine and Israel, Turkistan freedom movement – Xinjiang, Tibetan movement in China, Militancy affected Northern Burma, Somalia – terrorist ruled state, DRC and ROC in twin Congo’s affected by prolonged civil war, militancy and revolutionaries movements and their buildup can be seen in throughout African continent the countries which are affected are: Liberia, Somalia, DOC, ROC, Central African Republic, Chad, Western Sahara – Morocco, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda who witnessed history’s worst genocide, Sudan – South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast. ETA armed campaign in Basque province of Spain. FARC, ELN, Para military in Columbia, Chechnya crisis in Russia, Hindu – Sikh – Muslim terror outfits and organization activities in India.

7.) Lingual extremism: This basically reflects the un-identification of other spoken languages in the state over the national lingua-franca chosen or decided by the state. It is also one of the most ancient form of extremism where state forcibly implements the policy of on other lingual communities and their stream of dialects spoken by them are denied the national recognition and importance as an accepted workable script. The state imposes and forces the alien communities to learn and accept officially the national language or other as chosen official by it on the specific community or tribe. The examples of its kind are: republics or communities of central Asian and eastern Europe under Soviet control were forced to adopt Russian as their mother tongue while their local dialects or even practicing of it or studying were banned or in some areas restricted to a confined quarters. Autonomous regions and communities living in these regions in China face the same, many tribal areas and the communities living in these regions in India also witness the extreme enforcement policies or authoritarian behavior by the local authorities to accept Hindi as their language. Most of South Asian Pacific countries too witnessing the same kind of extreme measures taken by their respective governments sometimes in the shape of judicial framework, sometimes through research policies in the national or local language in the name of making it more compatible to outside world. The most extreme behavior was seen during the imperial era or the age of colonialism when European powers took some extreme measures and gone beyond the human norms to force the acceptance of their national languages like English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish etc to be accepted by their slave and the communities living in their captured / invaded colonies as their mother language. The example of European colonial era’s lingual extremism can be seen in the countries of Africa where French is the most widely spoken language of many countries as their national language, Some countries of Asia like India and other South Asian countries where English has become the second official language after their national language, Oceania – Australia and New Zealand where English is treated as the mother tongue even of the natives who have lived there since the early years of human civilization, South and Latin Americas where on one hand Brazil has become the largest country outside Portugal to speak Portuguese as the national language and with the rest of countries in the continent adopted Spanish as their mother tongue hence; shredding their national and cultural identities defined by their extinct lingual patterns, North America where English has become their mother tongue and in some quarters being a French exception like Quebec in Canada.

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India, the country ruled by a number of colonial powers has seen it happening in its own boundary where in one part Portuguese is still widely spoken and is an official language of many states ruled by Portugal, French also has an official status in some states which were once ruled by and got independence from France and it is the second most widely spoken European language in India after English.

As discussed in these points Fascism also reflects the organized form of self-styled governance by the state where nationalism is of the outmost importance and personal priorities has no space in the national agenda.
These kinds of regimes and ideologies are popular and exist where national spirit is very high and parties gains the support by large national majorities. Its major and sole aim is to live up to its nation and increase the level of national identity in the international arena against the more democratic and public favored policies.

Fascism can never stand against the regimes which support democracy and where demand for values of human rights is more important for the public. Fascist regimes practice the single party form of government where only the ruling party has vested powers for its interest prioritizing the national interests of the country while being expansionist in nature. Fascism introduced no systematic exposition of its ideology or purpose other than a negative reaction against socialist and democratic egalitarianism.

Many says mostly Europeans that Fascism was born during the pre-world War II era but my point is to bring to the notice of all those who have shrunken its definition and its origins. Fascism does not belong or was born during Hitler’s time even though the term got originated by then but if we have look at the history the old form of fascism has always remained in the kingdoms or sometimes we call it more popularly monarchies. Both the systems have many similarities in functioning, in terms of nationalism, rulings, suppression and even in its authoritarian nature like in absolute monarchies there is only a family who rules the nation and its people, which has the vast interests of the supreme national priorities going beyond even the borders of its own kingdom.

Fascism became advanced during WWII when Hitler and Mussolini came to power and gave the new definition of a rule which, though, was directly controlled by a leader and single party but has the reference towards the kind of royal functioning just like in many existing absolute monarchies for example of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain where people have no say or control over their rights and their choice but have the acceptance of the suppressive policies formulated by their direct rulers or the dictators. In the same manner Fascism is a term which gives an organized and sophisticated meaning to its older version of monarchy.

The major difference between the two is that in fascist regimes people are from general background or are revolutionaries who have large national agendas for their people and nations but has no values for human rights as if the people has their rights then the nation cannot be united at one front to serve the common interest of the country for which the leader who is leading a fascist state has much larger role to play for building the nationalism. Fascism though is an umbrella word for most of the direct single party regimes which though have the characteristics of fascism but also differentiate on many grounds with each other as these regimes are mostly based on self-styled rule of their respective leaders where the difference lies in terms of the kind of ideology being followed and the nature of their national interests. However these regimes no matter how much they differentiate with each other’s similar format they have at least some characteristics in them always and these are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Gender bias-nous – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often is the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police is given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Overall when we say and have a look extremism and fascism no matter how differentiated they look but both these terms are just the two faces of one coin which has only hurt and wounded the human civilization since the time unknown sometimes in the name of religion, sometimes in the name of culture / community and sometimes just for their own personal interests. These terms are not and nothing to do with any religion or community or culture it exists everywhere and in every community or religion no matter whether it is Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or anyone.

The media and the responsible agencies must take the responsibility to come out of their stereotyping nature and vision. & stop propaganda about which has nothing to do with humanity and justice. I request on the behalf of The Oslo Times team and network that media should stop making the villains heroes and the heroes into villain. Media is an eye of the public and ear of its nerve so, if it plays the irresponsible role then who the public would trust and believe.

Balkanization of India – Dividing Indian Provinces

When we talk about UP – Uttar Pradesh many things come in our minds, Politan took a look into the ongoing political turmoil. This state has always remained a backbone of Indian politics and its politicians but what it faces today and always from decades was only the exploitation of its resources and its talent. Once called most shining state of Indian Union is now dragging its feet in the murky waters of corrupt politics formed by the hives of greedy and third grade politicians like mafia lords, castists, illiterate leaders who not even have a moral and ethics to speak properly for their one selves.

This state has given great leaders to the Indian society and the most number of prime ministers but it never receives its share for development. Decades of exploitation and negligence has taken toll on the prosperity of its people and their generation’s prolonged poverty and unemployment left its people no choice but to migrate to other states or just search for other options for their survival on meager incomes?

The state since British times have remained united has been facing the division on the grounds of development, community or tribes just on to satisfy either their political or communal aspirations. As far as economics is concerned of smaller provinces no doubt these stands have better chances of focused development and better approachable administration. Due to the vast expanse of state of Uttar Pradesh has resulted in acute poverty, slow development, divided politics, labor migration, and fewer opportunities for educated youth. Because of the much larger divide in the regions of Uttar Pradesh which comprises of Braj, Rohilkhand, Purvanchal, Avad, Bundelkhand has dis-similarities in terms of social and economical importance in the terms of widely changing political scenario.

With nearly 200 million inhabitants, Uttar Pradesh is not only the most populous state in India but also the most populous sub-national entity in the world. Only five countries which are: the People’s Republic of China, India itself, the USA, Indonesia and Brazil have higher populations. It is also one of the most economically and socially backward states in India.

On virtually every index of social development, whether literacy, infant mortality or unemployment, Uttar Pradesh ranks among the lowest in India; the situation is compounded by the fact that figures for females is invariably much lower than for males on every parameter. In sheer magnitude Uttar Pradesh is half the size of France, thrice that of Portugal and four times of Ireland. Seven Switzerland and ten Belgium’s could easily fit in this mammoth state. A little bigger than England, Uttar Pradesh has one out of every 36 persons in the World living here. The travel time from Ghazipur to Ghaziabad or from Churk to Chamoli within U.P. will easily exceed a cruise across the oceans. Uttar Pradesh represents the heart of India.

The state which used to be the one of the most industrialized and resource rich state has fallen short in the race of economic development in competition with other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerela, Tamila Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and even states as small as Punjab, Goa, Haryana and Delhi which are shining tall as the glittering corners of the Indian growth story. However many good policy implementation have taken place in the past but none of those schemes or any revolution marked its impact of the entire state population just like the partial effects of Green Revolution which only benefitted the farmers and agri-business of western UP region whereas the other region especially Eastern UP and Bundelkhand lacked behind and get hardly benefitted from this super successful revolution in the field of agriculture which gave the new dimensions of prosperity and economics to the people of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP.

Though larger states have much larger sources of revenue and are more economically in dependent but in case of Uttar Pradesh the whole scenario is completely different and got affected not because of slow economic progress but due to the corrupt politics and destructive wrong policy making by the state politicians.

By declaring the state division Mayawati clearly stated that she has full political intentions for the upcoming state assembly elections which due in next year 2012 so in order to span her wings as a national party and meet the growing economical demands of people in the affected regions of the state she passed a resolution to divide into four separate states without even considering the opinions of the opposition and conducting the fair voting procedure in the state assembly instead of all this she cleverly passed the bill by the voice vote which means that the vote is awarded to the side which gets the loudest chorus of support. She has unveiled her hidden face of being a true follower of Jinnah who divided India and now the results are in front of everybody.

Votes were not cast electronically or by paper. Hence opposition’s unpreparedness to the presented draft and the voice raised by the angry opposition parties against the draft and the Mayawati’s check mate which stumble the entire political vision for the upcoming elections of all the political parties got the clean sweep passing for her triumph card played by this behemoth rising leader.

Whether or not whatever the central government decides on this sudden shift in the state politics and the related separation issue but this intentional move has now send the shock waves to all those states and their ministries which too are facing the same rising demand of the separation like the most violent and recent ongoing one of Telangana where it will be difficult for the federal government to concede to the demand as it is already facing protests over the demands for the formation of a new state of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh.

Nevertheless if the draft related to Division of State of Uttar Pradesh would get a green light by then the benefits which the people who are lacking behind in the India’s growth story will have a chance to stand and have a say of their own in the national arena. There will be increase in the job opportunities at all levels, economic development in all those regions where till now except the word of development nothing has come to their reality, poverty in these regions can be eradicated and administration can focused more deeply on the root causes of the under development and can work closely with all the communities while becoming more accessible to the local public and making them represented by the native communities / tribes.

Nevertheless recent and earlier examples of state partitions like of Bihar (Bihar – Jharkhand – Orissa), Madhya Pradesh (MP – Chhattisgarh), Assam division into various North Eastern States. Only two separation cases stand apart the one of Punjab and Haryana, Gujarat from Maharashtra & one of the Uttarakhand.  Others say new states remain works in progress – among them Uttarkhand and Chattisgarh, despite the latter’s current woes and a strong Maoist presence. It has taken some four decades for Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to turn into successful states.

Clearly, there are other identities in India which are not founded in language – caste or more importantly, a shared cultural identity, are some of them. Some states in the north-east were carved out to assuage tribal anxieties at being swamped by more resourceful and advantaged outsiders.

You have to visit the Telangana region to see how different it is from the rest of the state although people share the same language. Also, many say if you have nine “Hindi-speaking” states, why can’t you have two “Telugu speaking ones”?

Others say new states don’t serve any purpose. They end up benefiting entrenched local elites and the middle class, and leave the poor in the lurch. They point to Jharkhand which was carved out of southern Bihar in 2000 – nine years on, many of its people have turned to Maoists, and its politicians are embroiled in some of India’s worst corruption.

A number of north-eastern states carved out of Assam are accused of becoming fiefs of local elites or kleptocracies. The issues of lack of development and growing corruption are untouched. Creating financially unstable states, critics say, can lead to even more problems.

Shorter divisions are more prosperous and are more sustainable in the long term with focused governance and direct policy implementation. However the growing divide in the Indian Union where the two worlds of Bharat and India exists side by side pose challenges and obstacles to the rising Indian domain and the future politicians. Will all this lead to the Balkanization of India, as some fear?

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