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Archive for June, 2018

The Baron’s household will not be complete without introducing Candide’s tutor Pangloss, who lived under the roof. He was sure the Baron’s castle was a symbol: it was the best of worlds for he lived in it. He was sure it was indeed the case for he could move among the life upstairs and also among the life downstairs. He was once surprised by Candide with a wench, a scullery maid and without batting his eyelid he explained, “I would like to be surprised now and then.” “But master,” Candide asked, isn’t it what you call low life?” Oh no! boy,” When you lie low all you see are stars and while I look down I tell my self, ‘Lucky dog, I live in the best of both worlds.”
Of course Candide believed it was so.
Benny

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Baron Thunder-ten-Tronck built his castle for view and his household for his will and pleasure.The baronness weighed three hundred and fifty pounds and she brought thirty million gold pieces, which pleased him. Her daughter, Cunegonde, aged seventeen and son taking after his vanity and bad jokes, were their chief joy. Baron told jokes point of which escaped all but at the way the servants laughed it was plain that he was a man of wit. He was the lord of the manor and he doted on Candide whose parentage was somewhat lost in translation. But no matter the boy was mild and honest. He as guardian had taken him under his wings.
Benny

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In Westphalia was the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh and Candide who lived there thought it was the best of the worlds. For the impressive youth it was gospel truth since the daughter of the baron made his heart flutter. Whenever she surprised on him he knew the signs. The lines he was reading swam and the book he was reading from became blank and his heart beat faster and he blushed. Love he was certain made the world move, and he could no more read when the maid of seventeen came near him. What sighs what yearning overcame him!
The grounds Cunegonde walked belonged to his guardian Baron Thunder. Decidedly he lived in the best of the worlds. He could well understand what his tutor said,’Lucky dog! I have it best of both worlds!”

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Candide is for all ages. His story could well be the story of an immigrant going to the west imagining the goodness of man. As professed by the doctor, the church and the politician, their institutions are altogether different from what really faces him at every turn. Rascality of man is only demonstrable when called to a given situation. Let us see how far I can go on with Candide and as I believe, no one shall tell how unless one really gets down to it. So I shall in the coming weeks post as and when I get the artwork and story get moving.
Benny

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A child growing in an environment of domestic violence becomes a victim as well as the perpetrator.”This adage applies to individuals as well as nations. We read stories of caravan of migrant families seeking refuge in the US. They are escaping failed states whose failure begins with the US itself.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service,” an American veteran named Smedley Butler once wrote, “and during that period, I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.”

Butler had fought in the so-called Banana Wars of the early 20th century, when the American military sent their troops south into Central America to keep their business interests there intact.

It was a time when mistreated workers across Central America were getting fed up with working long hours in harsh conditions for less than a living wage. Workers started grumbling. Some went on strike. Some threw together militias and waged full-on rebellions to fight for better conditions.

But for the American government, all this fighting for freedom was bad for business. Companies like the United Fruit Company had a vested interest in keeping their Central American plantations stable and so they called in the American Army to crack down on those who were disrupting the system.
Butler and other soldiers like him were thus sent to Central America to fight the Banana Wars. When a rebellion in the Dominican Republic, for example, damaged an American-owned sugar cane plantation, American troops were sent in, starting in 1916. They took over a small castle called Fort Ozama, killed the men inside and set up a military presence to protect their business interests.

Troops also moved into Haiti to quell the Cacao Rebellion in 1915, partly to protect the interests of the Haitian-American Sugar Company. The U.S. Army stayed behind even after the war was over, patrolling the streets of Haiti and making sure that no one got out of line.

And in Honduras, where the United Fruit Company and the Standard Fruit Company were worried about their banana sales, the American Army marched in on seven separate occasions throughout the early 20th century. Sometimes the army was called in to crush strikes, other times to stop revolutions — but every time, it was to keep business booming.

Hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of locals died in the Banana Wars. Strikes and revolutions were crushed and put to an end – all while the profits of a handful of companies were maintained.
“I might have given Al Capone a few hints,” Butler said. “The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”(All-thats-interesting/The Banana Wars- Mark Oliver.Septt.14,17)

Bananas and politics collude and as Melania Trump’s coat says it succinctly ‘I really dont care, do U?’The US collected their profits but moral culpability shall pursue them even if they fly to the space to found a colony there.

Benny

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Two princes Siddiq and Yousef were like two peas in a pod but their fathers found them so contrary in temperament and approach to life. Siddiq the son of Emir of Ajmer was quiet contemplative while Yousuf the son of the Emir of Pathankot very impulsive and headstrong. Their kingdoms small and contiguous to one another the princes grew up together. Siddiq one day saw a dream and he told his playfellow. “Imagine being knocked over by the sun! It disappeared right through the ground.” The prince was so impressed and added,”Imagine all that remained was a stone tree where the sun had disappeared.” Next it was the turn of Yousef who told his dream. He said he had tied his chariot drawn by two horses but it was all gone when the sun shone brightly. As though the horses were carved of ice!”

Years went by. Siddiq was more immersed in scholarly works and Sufi teachers and thought the earth was as one pond in which the kingdoms were so many leaves flowering and fading. Slowly his interest in governing his kingdom became of less interest to him. Mercifully Yousef who was all for power descended on Ajmer and sent Siddiq into exile.
In a way Siddiq was relieved. He went with one of his trusted friend as a monk. He was intrigued by his dream that now and then recurred mostly the same images, the stone tree, the sun and it signified something to him.
One day Yousef as the first lord of the realm would authorize the union of Ajmer and Pathankote into one state.

During the coronation an earthquake split the spot where Emir Youse was seated. No more of him. Siddiq after hearing the calamity told his companion looked up and said, “Had I not relinquished the throne, I would have been the casuality.” Now that I have life left I shall sit under that strange tree and spend my life in quiet contemplation.
All that Siddiq hoped for was being enlightened as to mysteries of life. He saw in the sun as a source that made it all possible.
Benny

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At the animal farm once a question came up: which animal served Farmer Joe most? The cow said she gave milk and its goodness kept the farmer strong and healthy. The porker wallowing in mud said,’The cow only said part of the story. She makes bones of Joe strong but my meat makes his muscles ripple with goodness so he may work whole day, without tiring’. The goats added their story and said, ‘A good butt from my horns has made the boss exclaim,”When ever I want the Bank to increase my credit worthiness I can well thank you for showing how.”‘ The rooster added how he served the hens in the farmyard so Father Joe has everyday something to break up. “Besides egg story has not anyone here something better to tell?”the animals asked one another
A frog who came there asked,”Please will you decide our case?” At this point the mosquito also appeared, “Please settle our argument”
The animals did not know what to make of it all.
The frog said, “This mosquito s malaria case while my poison is instant death.”
Mosquito by name Xi said,”Give me a chance to prove it on Farmer Joe, He shall die the most horrible death slow agonizing death.” While Donny the frog said, “Novichok in Salisbury was nothing compared to what I got. No collusion, no dilution but pure evil”. They were both asking the animals a chance to practice on Farmer Joe.
Oh boy were the animals so enraged! This is how tariff war is played at the expense of the whole world.
Benny

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Past Imperfect-2

Considering our middle state we do not begin our lives on a clean slate; instead we are carrying a world of genetic information along. Where it began or where it shall all end we cannot say. Human condition sets limits to our knowledge. For a Christian only God is endowed with Power and Wisdom in absolute sense.
With cosmic impacts shaping events on the earth we might say man is caught in the middle not realizing some parts of our globe are helped while some are destroyed. Atlantis is a case in point. So how do we settle on to anything? In our solar system we have planets orbiting around the sun. Meanwhile the sun the Milky Way has its own orbit. With so many objects moving about we require a rest frame to study motion of celestial objects relative to us. This is a frame of reference. It is thus we affix God as Absolute, ‘I changeth not.’ Our moral values and history keeps shifting so what we see now is a new normal and truth is transactional. We may say a lie is permissible but it is set in context of God. Thus we have God and his Word as the frame of reference.
From many passages in the Bible we are shown how God shall set up his kingdom. It signifies the end times.
The Book of Daniel narrates that King Nebuchadnezzar in a dream saw an image of world kingdoms. Head of the image was of fine gold, the breast and arms were of silver and so on. The quality of these governments progressively is shown inferior. The feet made up of iron and clay. Naturally the world powers are, by very design set up on a weak foundation. A stone is dropped out of nowhere smashing the image and nothing of it was to be seen. Instead the stone became a mountain filling the earth. Of this let us only take up the stone, which is dropped out of nowhere. A meteor striking like any cosmic impact is otherworldly, is it not? This dream interpreted by Daniel is a clue to the manner God shall set up his kingdom.
In the Bible we have several references of such impacts directly affecting historical events. In the Book of the Judges we have almost an identical event. On the eve of a war with the Midianites one soldier is narrating his dream to another and Gideon is overhearing as arranged by God. One barley cake comes out of nowhere and tumbles into the enemy camp smashing them. As intended Gideon is ready to fight. Gideon became a hero as a result. This leads us to what happened to one of his sons Abimelech, the son from a maid. He had to kill his brethren, 70 of them before he could reach this position. Because of his treachery and wickedness his end came in a most dramatic manner. He came before a tower and he was there to punish those who held out. One woman dropped a millstone on him. He died. (Jud.9)
This event is identical with the millstone thrown by an angel to punish Babylon, which is a label for any great harbour city. It could be New York, Shanghai, Singapore or Dubai. The point is the manner it is done. “And a mighty angel took up a great millstone and cast it into the sea..(Rev.18:21)” triggering the end of the city. This is how we make sense of the word of God. Narrative passages from beginning to the end are consistent in spirit. Man without God is heading for disaster while man who follows peace shall be secure in the kingdom of God as and when set up.
It is news while some would say it is fake news. Man is at liberty to choose what he will but one day all the lies shall be called out.
Benny

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