Three days to go before the doom that is third year of medical hits me in the face; here’s hoping I survive another year.

MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile I have catching up to do with Prison Break, Bones, and Season 3 of Veronica Mars. 


No, not really. But that would have been interesting though, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, he lied to Americae. GASP! Knew that already? Well, I bet you didn’t know:

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.


 Sigh. Ah well. Here’s to third year.



“Village society in India is loaded against women. It refuses to educate them, marries them off too early, barters them for money. Village women need to study and become independent to sort it out themselves,”

Sampat Devi is the leader of the “gulabi” (pink) gang.

Gulabi Gang

 All I can say is: It’s awesome. Pakistani and Indian lives are very similar, especially in villages hovering over the poverty line. As always in such circumstances, women get the short end of the stick. The gulabi gang, however, pull an incredible “Lone Ranger” stance and fight against it on their own. They don’t want money, donations, or pats on the back. They want their dignity.

Gutsy. Now if that happened in Pakistan I guess you wouldn’t be able to see for tear gas. Not that the majority bothers much. Compare the bashing of a policeman in revenge for arresting a poor man below:

Bashing a corrupt policeman 

To the eerie man handling of Imran Khan’s sisters here.

  As any movie buff will tell you, a standard horror movie scenario involves a lonely town where a bunch of survivors band together against an army of zombies. One by one, each falls victim and becomes part of the zombie army. Eventually only a few remain. And then…you’ll have to watch the movie till the end to find out.  

 We live in a world where no matter how immoral or depraved something is, somewhere someone has either already done it or is just rolling up their sleeved to get started. We watch the news and read the headlines. Some of us drool a bit before lapsing into our natural state of apathy. The more energetic of us shake our heads in what we hope is a suitably dismayed manner. Every now and then our conscience lifts its head up and asks “How did it go so far? Who allows this? Who lets it happen? What are you waiting for?” If the sound of crickets in the background indicates anything, our collective response as a nation is “Huh?”  

What we need to do is to make a system where, for example, if our young people hear the words “suicide” and “bomber” together in a sentence they should froth at the mouth in revulsion. They need to be taught the difference between self sacrifice, a noble and humane act and suicide bombing which is homicidal and not condoned by any Islamic teaching. Perhaps some Pavlovian conditioning could be applied. After all if they could be brainwashed into doing this, they can be conditioned to be an actual contributing member of society. Maybe we could even find a way of arming them with a smidgeon of what really constitutes Islam. 

 Brainwashing may be as old a way to manipulate someone since Iblis convinced Adam and Eve to eat the Forbidden Apple, but the word entered the English language in the 1950s to explain the phenomenon of U.S. soldiers defecting to the communist side. It is defined as a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation. The term “mind control” is a better alternative considering the vagueness of what brainwashing involves. An obvious way to control someone is to find out what they want, promise to give it to them and then manipulate them from there.

Religion is the easiest way to exploit anyone. People pour their heart and soul into it, making it a way of life. Unscrupulous leaders, since time immemorial, have selfishly used this channel to get the masses to do what they want them to do. This can be done consciously with “malice aforethought” or perhaps the person himself or herself is delusional.The mind controller often claims to be innovative and exclusive, bringing exciting new solutions to solve the world’s problems. The followers are deluded to feel like they have a special mission. Double standards are often involved. For example love, kindness and respect for human life may be preached but alongside of that suicide bombing and similar terrorist activities will be disguised as similar Islamic acts by these frauds. Mind controllers exert power over their minions (because that’s what they amount to) in similar ways. These ways were summarized by Robert Jay Lifton in his “Eight Point Model of Thought Reform”1.      


All outside activity is strictly restrained. All contact with the outside world is cut off and despised. Television, newspapers, visits from friends, family are OUT. This seriously limits the victim’s ability to remember the other things in life and makes him/her easier to influence.


This is when the victim is repeatedly assured of how the leader/mind controller has had miraculous contact with God or some spiritual figure through a dream or vision. This gives the victim the delusion that what they’re doing is not only correct and in order, but also of very special importance.


 The mind controller will continuously say that everything in the world is black or white, right or wrong. Nothing in between. He/she will also claim that only their group is on the right path and that it is their duty to bring about a change. “Save the world” is a common theme which is used to persuade gullible young people. They are convinced that it is through them and them alone that salvation can be achieved.


Encouraging the members of the group to “confess” helps the leaders discover who isn’t succumbing to the mind control. They can then work on the doubter in time before they leave the group.


The mind controller will tell them that the group’s ideology is perfect and not open to doubt. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. Any such questions are promptly labelled blasphemy and then all hell is let loose. Also the ultimate authority is within the group. Outside authorities like the government, police etc are not to be considered.


A new vocabulary emerges within the context of the group. Prejudiced terminologies such as “infidels,” “hypocrites” etc restricts the victim from thinking in an objective manner.


All experiences are to be interpreted through the doctrine. Even when the experience is in direct contradiction to what the mind controller is imposing.


The victims are convinced that leaving the group will doom them, whether by physical threats by the mind controller or on a spiritual level where they believe they will go to Hell.

Don’t ignore the danger signs. Lives could depend on it.



By Martin Patience
BBC News, Anata, West Bank

A Palestinian peace activist whose 10-year-old daughter was killed during a clash between Israeli police and stone-throwing Palestinians says his daughters death will not stop him from working with Israelis to promote peace.

Bassam Aramin, 38, is a co founder of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian organisation of former Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers who are now working for



As a teenager during the first Palestinian uprising, Mr Aramin says he believed military force was the only way to achieve full Palestinian rights.

Sentenced to seven years in an Israeli jail, from 1986-1993, for possession of a weapon and membership of the Palestinian political organisation Fatah – illegal at that time – Mr Aramin came to reassess his position.

“I realised that there was no military solution to this conflict,” he says. “It just meant that more Palestinian and Israelis would die.”

Earlier this month, Mr Aramin’s daughter Abir received a serious head injury outside her school in the West Bank town of Anata.

She never regained consciousness and died three days later in a Jerusalem hospital.

Palestinian youths had been throwing stones at Israeli policemen patrolling in jeeps outside the school. The Israeli police fired rubber bullets and tear gas.


Abir’s friends say she was hit by a rubber bullet fired by the Israeli police.

An Israeli police spokesman, however, says that an autopsy showed that Abir had not been hit by a rubber bullet “but by a sharp object – perhaps a stone”.

But this is disputed by the Israeli lawyer representing the Aramin family, Michael Sfard.

He says another pathologist appointed by the family and present at the same autopsy says that Abir’s wounds were consistent with the girl being hit by a rubber bullet.

Hebrew Lessons

As the investigation into Abir’s death continues, Mr Aramin insists his work is now more than important than ever.

“I want Abir to be the last victim,” says the father-of-six, sitting in his flat surrounded by his wife and some of his other children.

“I will still be working for peace despite my suffering, but it will be very, very difficult. But we must protect the lives of children and civilians.”

He described his daughter as “clever, with big hopes and big dreams” and a budding peace activist.

Abir had started learning Hebrew. She attended two summer camps that brought together young Israelis and Palestinians.

One young Israeli girl who knew Abir from a camp wrote a letter to the family expressing her sadness over her friend’s death.


Mr Aramin says that he has also been comforted by Israelis involved with Combatants for Peace. The organisation has 300 members, about half Israeli and half Palestinian.

“They stayed with me all the time in the hospital,” he says.

“They called every day to see that I was alright. I saw them crying, and they were crying about my daughter.”

Mr Aramin insists that he wants the Israeli policeman he says fired the rubber bullet to be brought to justice.

“They look at our children as targets and not as children,” he says.

But Mr Aramin also says that he is willing to forgive the Israeli police. Reconciliation he believes is the only way forward.

“For the sake of my children, I want them to know another life. I don’t want them to live the same miserable life as I have led.”