Tag Archives: Vietnam

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Veteran who found his way circles back to help others

By Petula Dvorak

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.

A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.

In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.

He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”

“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.

Continue reading Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Peace, Johnnie, peace. Salaam. Shalom. Shanti.

By: Anwar Iqbal

He is gone, disappeared among the waves. And I am looking for him. Has he disappeared though? He may have gone to another beach, perhaps on the West Coast, away from Hurricane Sandy.

Moving from one place to another was never a problem for him. He lived out of his suitcase, rather a large bag that he carried with him. He ate little, morsels of bread with coffee in the morning and some bread, with coffee and cheese at night. And he carried these with him too.

I met him at Ocean City, Maryland, where I also watched him playing his guitar. He played well. So when the session ended, he collected about $30, put his guitar back in its case and said: “Enough for the dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. Now I will go back to the waves, they are calling me.”

His name was Johnnie, Johnnie what, he never told me but he did tell me that he was a Vietnam veteran. I met him on the beach when one of my sons wandered away. He saw him far from us, brought him back and said: “You are from India, right? I know you people, you believe this country is crime free, so you let your children wander away. Let me tell you, it is not crime free. He can be kidnapped from anywhere.”

I told him I was from Pakistan, not India, thanked him and offered him a sandwich. He accepted the offer but put two sandwiches in his bag and said “This means less work and more time for the waves.”

He then said he only works to make enough for breakfast and dinner and never eats lunch. “And who pays your bills?” I asked. “No bills, I do not own or rent anything.”

He said he had a friend in Ocean City, and was living in his basement. But there are places where he does not have a friend and in such places, he has to work a little more to pay for sleeping somewhere. For him working a little more is playing his guitar a little more.

We became friends when I told him I was a war correspondent. “In Vietnam?” he asked. “No, in Afghanistan, during the Soviet occupation,” I said. “Do you sing?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Then what do you do? Those who have seen wars always do something other than what they do for a living, like singing, painting, writing poetry,” he explained.

I said I love poetry. Although I am not a poet, I do sometimes write a little poem. He asked me to read a poem about my war experience. I said I did not have one with me but I had one about terrorism in my cell phone and could read it out for him. He agreed.

“No, no, this is not how it happens, when crops of pain are reaped. Nobody beats drums, when village youths return home in body bags. Women do not dance, people mourn, they do not rejoice,” I read the poem.

“Their coffins are brought home, drenched in tears. No, no, this is not how it happens. You cannot sow seeds of hate and hope for flowers. When a storm lands, when a fire rages, homes burn, people cry. They do not rejoice, cities of pain do not thrive, flowers do not grow in fields of hate. No, no, this is not how it happens,” I finished.

He asked me if I wrote it in English. I said no, in my language, Urdu. He copied the English version in his diary and then asked me to recite some lines in Urdu. I did. He noted them too.

“You gave me a lot of work,” he said and disappeared.

Continue reading Peace, Johnnie, peace. Salaam. Shalom. Shanti.

Pakistan maintains top slot in Google search for ‘sex’

By Web Desk

With over 20 million internet users and growing fast, Pakistan has managed to secure the number one slot for searching the term ‘sex’ globally for all years.

According to a 2010 Fox News report, Pakistan had outranked all countries in Google searches for pornographic terms last year. Narrowing the analytics for the search term to just 2011, Pakistan maintained the number one position, followed by India and Vietnam. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

India Vietnam Sea oil exploration deal

Time to teach those around South China Sea a lesson

By Long Tao

No South China Sea issue existed before the 1970s. The problems only occured after North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1976 and China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands then became the new country’s target.

Unfortunately, though hammered by China in the 1974 Xisha Island Battle and later the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, Vietnam’s insults in the South China Sea remained unpunished today. It encouraged nearby countries to try their hands in the “disputed” area and attracted the attention of the US so that a regional conflict gradually turned international.

China, concentrating on interior development and harmony, has been ultimately merciful in preventing such issue turning into a global affair so that regional peace and prosperity can be secured.

But it is probably the right time for us to reason, think ahead and strike first before things gradually run out of hands.

It seems all the countries around the area are preparing for an arms race.

Singapore brings home high-end stealth aircraft while Australia, India and Japan are all stockpiling arms for a possible “world-class” battle. ….

Read more » Global Times

We are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and inferiority

Let’s stop blaming America

By DR. KHALID ALNOWAISER, ARAB NEWS

I AM a proud and loyal Saudi citizen, but I am tired of hearing constant criticism from most Arabs of everything the United States does in its relations with other countries and how it responds to global crises. No nation is perfect, and certainly America has made its share of mistakes such as Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq. I am fully aware of what happened when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the unprecedented abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. However, what would we do if America simply disappeared from the face of the earth such as what happened to the Soviet Union and ancient superpowers like the Roman and Greek empires? These concerns keep me up day and night. It’s frustrating to hear this constant drumbeat of blame directed toward the United States for everything that is going wrong in the world. Who else do we think of to blame for our problems and failures? Do we take personal responsibility for the great issues that affect the security and prosperity of Arab countries? No, we look to America for leadership and then sit back and blame it when we don’t approve of the actions and solutions it proposes or takes.

For instance, if a dictator seizes and holds power such as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Qaddafi, fingers are pointed only at America for supporting these repressive leaders. If the people overthrow a dictator, fingers are pointed at America for not having done enough to support the protestors. If a nation fails to provide its people with minimum living standards, fingers are pointed at America. If a child dies in an African jungle, America is criticized for not providing necessary aid. If someone somewhere sneezes, fingers are pointed at America. Many other examples exist, too numerous to mention.

I am not pro-American nor am I anti-Arab, but I am worried that unless we wake up, the Arab world will never break out of this vicious and unproductive cycle of blaming America. We must face the truth: Sadly, we are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and cultural inferiority. We have laid the blame on America for all our mistakes, for every failure, for every harm or damage we cause to ourselves. The US has become our scapegoat upon whom our aggression and failures can be placed. We accuse America of interfering in all our affairs and deciding our fate, although we know very well that this is not the case as no superpower can impose its will upon us and control every aspect of our lives. We must acknowledge that every nation, no matter how powerful, has its limitations.

Moreover, we conveniently forget that America’s role is one of national self-interest, not to act as a Mother Teresa.

Continue reading We are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and inferiority

‘China ready to go to war to safeguard national interests’

Beijing: Terming US attempts to woo India and other neighbours of China as “unbearable”, an article in a Communist party magazine has said that Beijing must send a “clear signal” to these countries that it is ready to go to war to safeguard its national interests.

The article published in the Qiushi Journal, the official publication of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said China must adhere to a basic strategic principle of not initiating war but being ready to counterattack.

“We must send a clear signal to our neighbouring countries that we don’t fear war, and we are prepared at any time to go to war to safeguard our national interests,” the article said, suggesting an aggressive strategy to counter emerging US alliances in the region.

“Throughout the history of the new China (since 1949), peace in China has never been gained by giving in, only through war. Safeguarding national interests is never achieved by mere negotiations, but by war,” it said.

The piece said countries like Japan, India, Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Korea are trying to join the anti-China group because they either had a war or a conflict of interest with China. …

Read more : ZeeNews

John Lennon : You can’t murder a legacy

Imagine there’s no heaven.

It’s easy if you try.

No hell below us, Above us only sky.

Imagine all the people Living for today.

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too.

Imagine all the people Living life in peace.

– John Lennon

***

John Lennon was a musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to his family, but re-emerged in 1980 with a new album, Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.

Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writing, his drawings, on film, and in interviews, and he became controversial through his political activism. He moved to New York City in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon’s administration to deport him, while his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement. It’s 30 years ago, shockingly and unexpectedly on 8 Dec. 1980, John Lennon was murdered in Imagine there’s no heaven.

You Tube Link

Sending the fanatics a clear message – By Saleem H Ali

Tribune

I am writing this article from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where the news of the tragic attack in Lahore has just reached me via CNN. Although I had plans for another topic for this week’s article, the tragedy compels me to tackle the subject head-on. Such intolerance has existed in other faiths as well but they have gotten over it. Christians have learned from their indiscretions during the inquisition and Hindus have also learned from their theological fractures after the assassination of Gandhi. Yet Muslims remain unable to deal with pluralism.

Continue reading Sending the fanatics a clear message – By Saleem H Ali