lunes, 14 de agosto de 2017

PENSAR EN EL DESPUÉS ▼ Referéndum 1-O: Los catalanes, la fraternidad y España | Opinión | EL PAÍS

Referéndum 1-O: Los catalanes, la fraternidad y España | Opinión | EL PAÍS

Los catalanes, la fraternidad y España

La inquietud y el hartazgo que produce lo que va a suceder de aquí al 1 de octubre no son nada comparados con el desasosiego ante todo lo que vendrá después. Los políticos deben tomarse en serio la complejidad del país que gobiernan

Los catalanes, la fraternidad y España

RAQUEL



 No hace mucho, una amiga me pasó un video con Boadella disfrazado de mosso d’esquadra disertando sobre el “hecho diferencial” catalán. Confieso que dejé de verlo a los dos minutos. Las risas de los asistentes me deprimían tanto como la sarta de lugares comunes que el viejo comediante iba hilvanando. Le respondí, en broma, que no había podido verlo entero porque no quería exponerme al riesgo, a estas alturas, de volverme independentista. Pero luego, hablando con mi amiga —una madrileña que pasa una temporada en Barcelona—, le dije que yo echaba de menos la época en que Boadella llenaba los teatros barceloneses burlándose de Pujol y del abuelo de uno de los supuestos cerebros grises del procés,el hasta hace nada presidente del consejo asesor de Endesa en Cataluña. Luego Boadella se hartó y se marchó, y no se lo reprocho. Pero tampoco me reprocho a mí mismo que lo que aquí resultaba todavía un signo de buena salud política allí me parezca ya un escarnio más doloroso. Y ay del bufón que pide castigos “ejemplarizantes” al señor de los armados. Lamento ser tan sensible, aunque confieso que lo soy ahora y no lo era nada hace unos años. Todos tenemos piel, y quien crea que en esa piel no hay zonas vinculadas a identidades o es un marciano o se lo hace. Pero cuidado con presuponer demasiado sobre esas identidades. ¿Cuántas veces no hemos oído hablar de “los catalanes” en términos peyorativos? ¿Saben por lo menos de quiénes están hablando? No creo que tengan ahí las ideas más claras que Oriol Junqueras cuando habla del “pueblo catalán” y en realidad sólo quiere decir “los míos”.
Nada hay más detestable que las simplificaciones xenófobas inspiradas por un patriotismo de baja ralea. Si salto en cuanto las percibo por parte de algunos catalanes hablando de “los españoles”, ¿qué decir de lo que viene del otro lado? A estas alturas, el odio y el hartazgo que suscitan “los catalanes” me alarman tanto como la fanática obcecación del Gobierno de la Generalitat, que con su política desquiciada y sectaria apenas representa ya a “los catalanes”.
Pero es cierto. La complejidad de lo que se esconde debajo de este conjunto llamado “los catalanes” hace tiempo que se ha despachado para dejar paso a un clisé irritante o manipulable. Hay una historia reveladora que va del gran Sazatornil haciendo de empresario catalán en La escopeta nacional (1978) a la declaración de Jordi Pujol Ferrusola ante el juez, antes de ser mandado a Soto del Real, invocando a este personaje de ficción —no al actor— para explicarse a sí mismo. No me cabe duda de que los 23 años de pujolismo tienen mucho que ver con ese clisé. Y cuando todavía hay quien busca salvar el legado político de Pujol siempre me pregunto lo mismo: ¿cuál fue realmente ese legado? ¿Favorecer una cultura empresarial que tuvo en Javier de la Rosa a su tipo modélico? ¿Hacer una política particularista en Madrid envuelta siempre en una calculadora “responsabilidad de Estado”? ¿Favorecer y proteger a tipos como Millet? ¿Convertir la integración de todos los ciudadanos residentes en Cataluña, viniesen de donde viniesen, en una operación de fomento permanente de la identidad catalana y de segregación de todo lo “castellano”? Nada de eso le impidió ser el español del año para el diario Abc. O que el primer Gobierno González le salvase del pufo de Banca Catalana. O convertirse en el gran cacique de una sociedad en la que demasiados ciudadanos se comportaban como clientes suyos. Creo que su legado se reduce a eso: hizo ridículos o detestables a “los catalanes” y luego nos avergonzó.
Recuerden el Parlament rodeado en 2011 de manifestantes y a Mas llegando en helicóptero
¿Y el legado de su sucesor? Ninguno reseñable, excepto haber arrasado con casi todo y la proeza de haber logrado que se acabasen las manifestaciones contra los recortes y sus políticas neoliberales y en su lugar comenzasen las manifestaciones en favor de la independencia y el derecho a decidir. Recuerden el Parlament rodeado de manifestantes y a Mas llegando en helicóptero en junio de 2011. Se habla del Estatut recurrido al Constitucional como del origen de todo. Yo pienso también en el helicóptero y en el miedo que se sintió aquel día. Que después se le reconociese tanto poder a la CUP es sólo una forma perversa de justicia poética que Mas tuvo que pagar por sus genialidades políticas. Esperemos que esas genialidades no lleguen al ridículo de un Maidán barcelonés.
Puesto que la inquietud y el hartazgo que produce lo que nos espera de aquí al 1 de octubre no son nada comparados con el desasosiego ante todo lo que vendrá después, mucho me temo que no tomarse en serio esta dificultad de decir algo consistente al decir “los catalanes” puede acarrear consecuencias nefastas para España y para Cataluña. Tomársela en serio no significa que el Gobierno central suelte unos euros, o prometa por enésima vez el corredor mediterráneo, o que se “blinden” competencias en lengua y cultura. Quizás en lugar de “blindar” tanto por aquí sería mejor congeniar más por allá. Pero sería iluso pretender que por fin esa crisis de los últimos años servirá para darle un “encaje” definitivo a un problema que parece hacer inacabable el siglo XX español.
La historia hace tanto que dura que sería iluso darle un “encaje” definitivo al problema
Aunque el problema quizá no sea tal. Es la realidad de este país, es la realidad de España, eso que, visto con mala fe u oportunismo, permite hablar de un “Estado fallido”, negándole toda posibilidad de reforma y progreso. Pero también hay un modo más creativo y alentador de ver esa complejidad como algo cuyas posibilidades todavía no se ha sabido reconocer.
De modo que sería bueno tomarse en serio lo que se esconde debajo de “los catalanes” y sus “diferencias” en este país, debajo de la idea de “España” y de la historia de su largo siglo XX, demasiado aciaga y espantosa como para jugar a estas alturas con ese ardor que nos lleva al desastre final. Tómense en serio la complejidad del país que gobiernan, señores políticos, los de aquí y los de allá. Tómense ustedes mismos en serio: sus deberes, sus capacidades y también sus fracasos. Y si conviene renuncien; no se empeñen en el error, no regresen de sus vacaciones, no emponzoñen más. No piensen que somos unos idiotas que vivimos al día. Hay memoria. Hay hemerotecas. La historia que se puede reconstruir desde, digamos, 2003 es una historia que vuelve a dar miedo. Deténganse. Abandonen. Pongamos la cuenta a cero. Recordemos que lo que nos ha de unir es la fraternidad, aquí y allá, la aceptación de las diferencias, aquí y allá, y mezclarnos entre nosotros, ligar y casarnos mucho entre nosotros, viajar y visitarnos mucho, acabar con esas endogamias tan autonómicas y reconocernos como lo que somos, y así querernos: libres, diferentes y fraternalmente solidarios.


Jordi Ibáñez Fanés es escritor y profesor del Departamento de Humanidades de la Universidad Pompeu Fabra.

domingo, 13 de agosto de 2017

The Hidden History Behind the Doklam Standoff: Superhighways of Tibetan Trade | The Diplomat

The Hidden History Behind the Doklam Standoff: Superhighways of Tibetan Trade | The Diplomat

The Diplomat

The Hidden History Behind the Doklam Standoff: Superhighways of Tibetan Trade

A lake close to the Nathula pass in East Sikkim.
Image Credit: Aadil Brar




The Hidden History Behind the Doklam Standoff: Superhighways of Tibetan Trade

 
 
As China and India enter the seventh week of their military stand-off in Doklam, both countries are putting forward facts and treaties to make their case. But neither has acknowledged the mutually shared histories of trade and commerce across their borderlands, routes that used to connect Leh to Lhasa and Lhasa to Kalimpong. The Radhu family’s story is one of the forgotten aspects of Himalayan trade; the semantics of the current stand-off do everything to preclude claims by the diverse ethnic communities that once traded between historical Tibet and India.
Abdul Wahid Radhu was the last of the generation who could freely traverse the borderlands from Ladakh to Lhasa and from Lhasa to Kalimpong in India. Radhu was a scion of a wealthy Tibetan Muslim trading family based in Ladakh and Lhasa. In a recent reprint of Radhu’s memoir, the world of Himalayan trade comes to life; a world that had existed up until the occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the 1960s. This is a history of cross-cultural exchange carried out by Tibetan, Ladakhi, Sikkimese, Bhutanese, Uyghur, Nepali, Indian, and Chinese traders across the vast sways of Inner Asia.
This is not just a multiethnic history but also a multi-religious one, including Tibetan Muslim traders, who were the pioneers of trade on trans-Himalayan highways. The trading communities of Muslim heritage in Ladakh were known as Akhon Pa, which is a reference made in Ladakhi villages to mullahs or religious teachers of Islam. In his memoir, Abdul Wahid Radhu recounts leading the biannual Lopchak trading mission between the kingdom of Ladakh and historical Tibet. This mission brought merchandise from various Central Asian markets to Lhasa and made offerings to the Dalai Lama for his support of this trade.
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Doklam, the region currently hosting the standoff between China and India, was part of this rich history of trade. Doklam is in the Dromo region and sits at the heart of Chumbi Valley. It historically had three trading agencies: Yatung, Gyantse, and Gartok set up by the British in Southern Tibet.
Yatung Trading Center is the closest to the Doklam region where the current conflict is playing out. This trading center, before the PRC occupation of Tibet, was a nodal point for the caravan traders traveling between Lhasa and Kalimpong. The Indian government owned a building at this location, with a substantial staff of Tibetan and Indian heritage, who were expelled from the building after the occupation. Claude Arpi’s documentation of the affair has clarified that the PRC had agreed in 1958 to let India maintain this building via a lease from the Chinese side. The PRC later changed its position and ended India’s access to the Yatung Trade Agency in Chumbi valley. After Indian officials were asked to leave this agency, Indian trade agent J.S. Jangpani reported that instructions were given to the local Tibetan families to mistreat any Indian traders that they came across and remind them that Chinese army is ready to counter any challenge that the collaboration between United States and India could pose.
A glimpse of India’s Yatung Trading Agency building in Chumbi Valley. Photo by Yuvraj Singh.
On March 11, 1963, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs blamed the Indian officers who had passed through Yatung on their way from Beijing to India for destroying parts of their own trading agency’s building. India’s Ministry of External Affairs denied any such act and blamed the local Chinese authorities for inciting local community to attack the agency building. India was never able to pursue any claims to this property in Chumbi Valley, bringing to an end a long history of trade and cultural exchange. A vague idea of borders began to emerge and people forgot about the ancient super highway of the Himalayas.
Yet the remnants of this history are spread across the eastern Himalayas, if one knows where to look. Hotels and tour agencies in Sikkim and the Darjeeling region named “Yatung Hotel” or “Yatung Tours” remind visitors about it. The city of Kalimpong has multiple remnants of that era; the offices of trading corporations that used to function in Kalimpong are falling apart, but they testify to critical histories of trade and culture in the Himalayas.
The Yatung affair between China and India has important parallels to the current Doklam stand-off. From a historical perspective, it can be argued that the crisis in Doklam has been incubating for decades. Both countries have never been able to fully acknowledge the historically porous nature of this border, or acknowledge the existence of communities who used to live and trade through these lands. Buddhist and Muslim Tibetans have a long shared history of cultural and religious exchange, but both communities now live in exile across the Himalayas.
If the PRC wants to imbibe the ideals of trade and commerce with its One Belt, One Road plan, it would need to revisit the networks that used to connect people across the trans-Himalayan world. It is the mobility of people that made ancient trade possible across the Himalayas, and not a showcase of military strength.
Aadil Brar is a  a National Geographic Young Explorer fellow based in Gangtok, Sikkim. 

Israel fence systems, quick response team at Pakistan, Bangladesh borders - Defence News India

Israel fence systems, quick response team at Pakistan, Bangladesh borders - Defence News India




Israel fence systems, quick response team at Pakistan, Bangladesh borders




India is deploying along its volatile border with Pakistan a smart Israel-developed fencing system having a ‘quick response team’ mechanism which strikes when the CCTV-powered control room detects an infiltration attempt. The BSF is implementing an ambitious project called the comprehensive integrated border management system (CIBMS) as part of the Narendra Modi government’s plan to completely seal the Indo-Pak and India-Bangladesh borders in the next few years.
The BSF is tasked with guarding the over 6,300-km-long two borders and its chief, in an interview to PTI, said the new frontier guarding systems will bring a “sea change”, for the first time, in this domain. “There is going to be a paradigm shift in our operational preparedness. As of now, we patrol from point-A to point-B (along the border). What we are now planning is to shift to a QRT (quick reaction team)-based system and a number of new technologies which have not been tried so far are being tested,” said K K Sharma, the director general of the 2.65-lakh personnel strong force.
Sharma, a 1982-batch IPS officer, explained how the new border guarding mechanism, first along the “volatile” Pakistan border and then at the Indo-Bangla frontier, will work. “The new equipment and technologies will be integrated and a feed, from CCTV cameras, will go to the border out post where there is a monitor installed.”
“This will be monitored round-the-clock by two or three men. Now, we have softwares which are in a position to detect any intrusion or any change in the scenario and create an alarm,” the DG said. An automatic alarm will indicate the exact place where this intrusion (at the border) is taking place or an attempt is being made or something is being seen, he said.
“Once we get the alarm, we will zoom our night vision cameras on that and when we come to know what is happening, we will be able to neutralise the threat. This is the idea,” Sharma said. The BSF, raised in 1965 for border guarding roles, is running two pilot projects of 5-km each in Jammu in this context and this, the BSF boss said, will subsequently be set up at four more porous patches: One each along the Indo-Pak IB in Punjab and Gujarat and one each at Tripura, West Bengal and Dhubri (Assam) along the Indo-Bangla border.
The DG said the new system will see that instead of his troops patrolling day-in-and-day-out along the border, they will be sitting in the border outpost ready to move if there is any threat. “This will be a sea change. We have leap frogged in terms of gaining technology. From the patrolling mode to the QRT mode. This is the CIBMS. This is a paradigm shift in what we are going to do now,” he said, adding however, the patrolling will not be totally done away with.
Sharma, who took BSF’s charge in February last year, said the “human intervention (armed troops) will come to neutralise (terrorists) only. “The technology will guard the borders for us. The technology will not have the weakness or frailties that humans have,” the DG said.
He said the systems, of smart fences and surveillance methods, is from the state-of-the-art technologies being used in Israel. “In fact, we will have the latest versions of all those things that are being used there (Israel),” he added.
The DG said it was his firm belief that the future of border guarding lies in technology and not in increasing the manpower. “This is what I also told a Parliamentary panel that please give me money for technology. Don’t give me more manpower. I am happy to say that the present government is very positive on this proposal,” the DG said.
The government has given us the mandate of sealing the borders with the help of technology where there are gaps initially and then increasingly deploy this by gauging the vulnerability at the borders, he said. Sharma, who has spent about five years in the BSF, said the new border fencing and surveillance system will be a multi-tier protocol.
“There cannot be a thing like 100 per cent fool-proof. But, this new system will be more effective than the existing system and we will have multi-layered security systems. If one fails, then the second system will detect it. This will be nearly fool proof… as fool proof as it can be,” he said. The BSF boss said the pilot projects put under trial are by the way of ‘proof of concept’ method, where an experiment determines if a concept for a particular task is feasible or not.

Amid Doklam row, MoD seeks additional Rs 20k crore for combat readiness of armed forces - Defence News India

Amid Doklam row, MoD seeks additional Rs 20k crore for combat readiness of armed forces - Defence News India






Amid Doklam row, MoD seeks additional Rs 20k crore for combat readiness of armed forces




The defence ministry on Tuesday sought “urgent” additional allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for military modernisation as well as day-to-day operating costs from the Centre, in a move that comes when Indian and Chinese troops continue to remain locked in a tense standoff near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction since mid-June.
Sources said MoD officials led by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra told their finance ministry counterparts in a meeting that the Rs 20,000 crore was urgently required in addition to the Rs 2.74 lakh crore allocated for defence in the 2017-2018 budget.
“MoD officials said almost 50% of the capital and 41% of the revenue outlays in the defence budget had already been utilised in the ongoing fiscal. Moreover, the new customs duty on arms imports had also burnt a big hole in the defence budget. The finance ministry said the MoD request will be examined at the earliest,” a source said.
As it is, the Rs 1,72,774 crore revenue outlay for dayto-day costs and salaries by far outstrips the capital one of Rs 86,488 crore for new weapon systems and modernisation in the 2017-18 defence budget. Moreover, the bulk of the capital outlay is earmarked for “committed liabilities or instalments“ for deals inked earlier. Incidentally , the Rs 2.74 lakh crore outlay works out to just 1.56% of the projected GDP , the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China.
As first reported by TOI last month, the armed forces have projected a require ment of Rs 26.84 lakh crore ($416 billion) over the next five years under the 13th Defence Plan (2017-2022) to ensure military modernisation and maintenance to take on the collusive threat from Pakistan and China as well as to safeguard India’s expanding geostrategic interests.
The armed forces, in fact, want the annual defence budget to progressively reach at least 2% of the GDP for their operational requirements.The actual defence budgets, however, have shown a marked trend towards declining modernisation budgets, unspent funds and a skewed revenue to capital expenditure ratio, which have meant the Army , Navy and IAF continue to grapple with critical operational gaps on several fronts.
If the Army has operational deficiencies in artillery guns, infantry weapons, light helicopters, nightfighting capabilities and the like, the IAF does not have enough fighters, midair refuellers, AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and drones. The Navy is struggling with shortages in the number of submarines, multi-role hel icopters and minesweepers.
Given the “operational military hollowness”, the defence ministry after the Uri terror attack in September last year had delegated emergency financial powers to the three Services to procure ammunition and spares to ensure they had enough reserves for “10 days of intense fighting”.
This had led to contracts worth Rs 23,700 crore being inked with countries like Russia, Israel and France so that the armed forces could maintain adequate stockpiles and combat readiness for “short and intense wars”.
The Army , which did not even hold one-third of its authorised war wastage reserves (WWR) for 40 days of intense fighting, had identified 46 different types of ammunition, 22 armaments, half a dozen mines as well as spares for 10 weapon systems ranging from tanks to artillery guns as “critical requirements“. This together would amount to roughly Rs 35,000-40,000 crore, as was reported earlier by TOI.
Since then, the Army has inked 19 contracts worth Rs 12,000 crore, which includes 11 kinds of ammunition.

India's military has increased operational readiness along border with China: Sources | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

India's military has increased operational readiness along border with China: Sources | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Daily News and Analysis

Indian Army

India's military has increased operational readiness along border with China: Sources



Fri, 11 Aug 2017-09:19pm , Reuters
"The army has moved to a state that is called 'no war, no peace'," one of the sources told Reuters.
India's military has increased operational readiness along the eastern Indian border with China, sources said, as neither side shows any sign of backing off from a face-off in a remote Himalayan region near their disputed frontier.
Indian and Chinese troops have been embroiled in the seven-week confrontation on the Doklam plateau, claimed by both China and India's tiny ally, Bhutan.
The sources, who were briefed on the deployment, said they did not expect the tensions, involving about 300 soldiers on each side standing a few hundred feet apart, to escalate into a conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours, who fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962.
But the military alert level had been raised as a matter of caution, two sources in New Delhi and in the eastern state of Sikkim told Reuters on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The crisis began in June when a Chinese construction crew was found to be trying to extend a road in the Doklam region that both China and the mountainous nation of Bhutan claim as theirs.

India should be prepared for war with China, says Baba Ramdev amid Sikkim stand-off | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

India should be prepared for war with China, says Baba Ramdev amid Sikkim stand-off | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Daily News and Analysis

Baba Ramdev



India should be prepared for war with China, says Baba Ramdev amid Sikkim stand-off

Sun, 13 Aug 2017-01:40pm , ANI
Amid the escalating strain in the relationship between India and China, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Sunday reiterated that India needs to be prepared on all fronts for a possible war with China, if they don't reciprocate on peaceful terms.
Addressing the World Peace and Harmony Conclave, Ramdev said, "If China was open to the idea of peace, then the Dalai Lama wouldn't have been here."
He said that China has retaliated with a war threat every time India approached on peaceful terms, and asked Indians to answer them on the same front.
"We should be ready with any kind of answer they seek. If they don't understand peace, we should answer them with war," he said.
He also said that China is an epitome of 'promoting war' and hatred in the world, further reiterating his appeal to boycott Chinese goods.
"All the Indians who feel for their country should boycott Chinese goods immediately."
Earlier, Ramdev had asked all the people in the country to ban Chinese products which would reduce their market in the country.
"Indians should strictly ban the purchase of Chinese products. This will reduce their market in our country and they would be compelled to step back," he said.
Ramdev further asserted that Chinese companies have captured Indian market with their electronic goods, automobiles, toys and several others.
Meanwhile, Indian and Chinese troops are still locked in the month-long standoff in Doklam and both sides have moved additional troops, ammunition and military equipment to the area.
The stand-off emerged after Chinese troops were stopped by the Indian Army from constructing roads at the Doklam border.

BioEdge: German interest in racial theories foreshadowed in WWI

BioEdge: German interest in racial theories foreshadowed in WWI

Bioedge

German interest in racial theories foreshadowed in WWI
     
Although the interest of some German scientists in now-discredited racial theories is best known as a World War II phenomenon, archivists have discovered that at least one POW camp in World War I was also a centre for racial research. According to a feature on Australia’s ABC, an Aboriginal soldier, Douglas Grant, was captured at Battle of Bullecourt in April 1917. Eventually he ended up at Wünsdorf, a POW camp south of Berlin.

The POWs of Wünsdorf were an extraordinary bunch, for they were mostly Muslims. One of the more bizarre schemes of their German captors was to whip up fervour for jihad among Muslim POWs and send them back to India and the Middle East to stir up trouble for the Allies. The 5000 POWs were given luxurious treatment and an elaborate mosque was built in the camp. It was Germany’s first.

With captives from around the world, German researchers also realised that this was a golden opportunity to investigate racial differences. Grant was a full-blood Aboriginal from the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland who had been adopted by a white couple from Sydney.  "He was measured all over, and upside down and inside out," Grant told an historian later.  According to the ABC:

While the scientists argued there was a scientific basis to these studies, there was also a clear agenda to create a picture of German superiority and racial purity. It was the beginnings of attempting to prove that Germans were the "master race". One German scientist argued that the POW camps were "a Völkerschau [people show] without comparison"...
Bioedge
Bioedge

Sunday, August 13, 2017

In a recent article in the American Journal of Bioethics, bioethicist Art Caplan and three colleagues call for a complete overhaul of the venerable Belmont Report (see below). This is the 1979 US government report which set out three famous principles which have governed human research ever since: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.
Most government reports are already gathering dust within a few months after their publication. But the Belmont Report’s influence has been enormous, as it shaped the bioethical framework for clinical and research decision-making in the US and many other countries as well.
Caplan & Co make a good case for revising the standards in the light of experience and changing times. But it comes at an awkward moment: the Trump Presidency.  What kind of commission would Mr Trump create to study this issue? Perhaps a noisy and truculent one, a bull in the bioethics china shop. Be careful what you wish for? 


Michael Cook
Editor
BioEdge



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BioEdge: German interest in racial theories foreshadowed in WWI