Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How the U.S woos us...

The India cables leaked by Wiki Leaks have given another reason for India to worry, apart from the series of scams it is plagued with. The cables confirmed what people already predicted. India's 'diplomatic' ties with the U.S, Pakistan, Bangladesh and every other country were exposed and are currently at stake because of the cables' startling revelations. 

While the confidential information was leaked by Bradley Manning, an American soldier and a whistle blower to Wikileaks, what one has to critically analyze is how our politicians and dignitaries put out extremely important information of Indian government to U.S Embassy officials through clandestine meetings. For example: One of the cables said M.K. Narayanan, former National Security Advisor (NSA) in 2009 revealed to Timothy Roemer of U.S Embassy that PM, Manmohan Singh and his advisors differed in policies regarding Pakistan. Not only did Narayanan scoff the PM but also disclosed crucial matters amounting to breach of national security.

An editorial on Hindustan Times said that Narayanan retorted to the PM: "You have a shared destiny; we don't." The editorial also quoted Roemer's cable which said: "Narayanan noted that all matters related to nuclear and space issues, defense and foreign policy, should be directed to him."

Our politicians and dignitaries lose their minds when they talk to U.S officials, still considering themselves as those from a subverted class. Congress member, Satish Sharma, showed the U.S official Rs.50 crore to 60 crore to explain how he was bribed to vote for the Congress government in order to win the confidence vote in the Parliament. In such conversations, they do not realize that they are letting out information crucial for India to maintain its relations with other countries and deriding the country.

However, the diversity also brings up differences in any way it can. And, this time, the cables have brought out how we (Indians) are easily wooed by Americans and what we do in order to impress them every single time we meet them. While Condoleezza Rice said " We (U.S) will make you (India) great," our politicians obliged to madame's powerful lines  and nodded their heads like a bunch of yahoos, but never thought that it was not possible.
Why is there a need to impress the superpower at the cost of the country's national security?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weed out the weeds

During this turbulent phase where India is plagued by a series of scams, corruption looks like an indelible scar deeply ingrained in every part of the country. Leaders who look like simple bunch of inept clowns spend massive amounts on elections and amass money for contesting the next elections. If corrupt practices become a way of life, political stability is endangered and society degenerates.

Indian ranked 87th out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception index in 2010. The below poverty line (BPL) households paid Rs.8830 million as bribe in 2006-2007. The poorest households of India paid Rs. 2148 million to police as bribe in 2006-2007. These are some startling facts about how corruption has penetrated into the interiors of India. 

We cannot hope to weed out corruption completely but can minimize it. Though we have government organizations like the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), officials belonging to these organizations themselves are corrupt. On the other hand, we have very less or often, no convictions on the charges of corruption. The situation is dire.

There are umpteen number of ways to tackle corruption at the central, state and the local level. Outmoded laws like the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 have to be reviewed at the state and the central level. Amending a law is a tedious process and requires a lot of cooperation among the members of the parliament to accept the changes, after which it would be sent for the president’s consent. Amendments in essential laws are not accepted by most members of the legislatures because they are the primary law breakers. Unenforceable laws cannot be enacted because they become levers of corruption.

Nehru’s remedy for politico-electoral corruption was to clearly demarcate the functions of the executive and judiciary bodies at all levels. He also recommends an autonomous role for the bureaucracy so that civil servants would perform their duties without interference of politicians.

Poor salaries compel lower officials to be corrupt. When senior officials are questioned about lower officials taking bribes, they condone the act because they pity their subordinates’ financial position. Public servants should never be allowed to control commercial activities like licensing or placing defence contracts.

Citizens should be well-informed about their rights so that the officials do not pretend to have the power they do not possess. The right to information act of 2005 enables every citizen to obtain information and question the government. If this is used as an effective tool, there will be some amount of transparency.

The much awaited Lokpal bill should be passed. Lokpal at the central level and Lokayukta at the state level will initiate investigation and prosecution against any officer or politician without needing anyone’s permission.  Within a year, investigation and trail have to get over and the corrupt has to be convicted. Punishment should be given depending on the level of corruption.

A separate public grievances cell should be established and public’s grievances should be resolved in a particular period of time, not exceeding six months. Whistle blower protection is a must. It is the job of the police to protect the one who complains against corruption.

And, an audit should be conducted every week in every village to ensure that misappropriation of funds doesn’t happen at any level. Finally, the press as a “watchdog” should discharge its duties honestly in reporting unbiased information to the public.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The poverty line is a superficial measure of food security

In fiscal 2008, India produced 250 million tons of food grain—the highest amount in recent years. But on the flip side, we have food grain rotting in godowns and cannot even store half of it. While India struggles to provide food to 320 million people who go to bed hungry every day, it also needs to find ways to get out of this mess it is entangled itself in.
The very definition of food security is based on how India has defined its poverty line. Whether this has worsened the hunger and poverty levels in the country or improved the state of affairs remains a question unanswered. While poverty looks like an ostensible entity and superficial measure of hunger, it ends up perpetuating it further.
Food security, as understood internationally, involves physical, economic and social access to a balanced diet, safe drinking water, environmental hygiene and primary health care.
M.S. Swaminathan, a renowned agricultural scientist, explains that “such a definition will involve concurrent attention to the availability of food in the market, the ability to buy needed food and the capability to absorb and utilize the food in the body. Thus, food and non-food factors (i.e., drinking water, environmental hygiene and primary health care) are involved in food security.”

The Supreme Court has interpreted Article 21 of the Indian Constitution to mean that access to proper food is a basic human right. But millions in the country are denied this right through no fault of their own.  This contradicts the whole concept of democracy, which India proudly boasts of, because a basic right of people has been denied.
Causes for food insecurity in India
Understanding the causes of food insecurity is as vital as understanding food security. Large-scale displacement of people, migration from rural to urban areas and suppression of the lower castes and tribes (based on caste hierarchy) are identified as key factors for the same.
The reason for large-scale displacement of people is mainly due to construction of dams, which has displaced almost 8 million people, mining and land grabbing as the archaic Land Acquisition Act, 1894, has compelled people to become landless laborers.
Displacing the indigenous people from their natural habitat itself forces hunger to become a part of their lives. Rehabilitation remains a mere promise. Neither compensation for land nor any financial assistance to the ones displaced is provided, leaving them vulnerable and reducing them to a state of destitution and helplessness.
Migration is one of the repercussions of displacement. Other reasons for migration include lack of adequate health care services in rural areas, no proper water and sanitation facilities, and massive crop failure due to the advent of genetically modified crops. As a result, the population of the urban poor is on the rise in towns and cities, which by extension, requires providing more resources to more people. This has ultimately led to unequal distribution of resources that also increases the gap between the rich and the poor.
Adding to the problem, caste has always been an impediment to development in India. Given the history of subversion and oppression of lower castes in India, the caste factor crops up every time poverty and hunger is discussed. Untouchability is a part and parcel of the caste system, which is practiced even today and deprives the Dalits and tribes of their rights.
The government’s role
Meanwhile, the government has come up with many proposals for the National Food Security Act. It states: “The act would be formulated whereby each below poverty line (BPL) family would be entitled by law to get 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3/- per kg. The above poverty line (APL) population will be excluded from the targeted public distribution system (TPDS).”
Another draft of the act which was prepared by a team headed by Jean Dreze in 2009 said that the entitlements were all in place through eight food and nutrition-related schemes.
The NAC’s recommendations on the bill said that “in the first phase, food entitlements should be extended to 85 percent of the rural population and 40 percent of the urban population. Full coverage of food entitlements as enumerated above should be extended to all by March 31, 2014.”
The obscure poverty line
While the government has set up various committees which came up with alternative recommendations for the National Food Security Bill, the division of families into APL and BPL itself looks unclear. In one of his articles, P. Sainath, an eminent rural affairs journalist, says that “the government has seen people in the APL category as the enemies of those who are BPL.”
The government calls a family a BPL family if its members consume less than 2,100 calories a day. If a single member’s consumption exceeds 2,100 calories a day, it is categorized as an above poverty line (APL) family. But, most BPL families in rural areas live on Rs.17 per day per person and Rs.20 per day per person in urban areas, which cannot buy anything that equals 2100 calories. However, in the process of watching calorie intake, we have forgotten the importance of nutrition in enabling people to lead a healthy, productive life. At this point, we need to question whether 2,100 calories would make a person healthy.
If providing rice and wheat at subsidized rates meant nutrition, why does India have half of world’s malnourished children? Why do we rank 128th in the Human Development Index among 185 countries? Why do a majority of women in more than 10 states suffer anemia during reproductive age?
PDS and its problems
In the backdrop of food security, a universal Public Distribution System (PDS) was proposed as it promised food security to every citizen in the country. According to the Eleventh Five Year Plan, under the PDS, “the central government is responsible for transportation and procurement of food grains.”  However, small amounts of food grain are pilfered and sold on the black market.  Thus,  corruption is on the rise that is marring the purpose of the system proposed.
The PDS has not been instrumental in curbing poverty and hunger in other parts of India except for Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The irregularities in the PDS are the biggest drawback of the food security bill. Estimating the amount of grain required to sustain a universal PDS, the National Commission on Farmers (2006) said that 60 million tons of food grain would be required.  
Possible solutions
To tackle food security, there are various models we can follow. Brazil’s “zero hunger” program is one of them. This measure involves steps to enhance productivity of small land holdings and the consumption capacity of the poor. Our farmers will produce more if we are able to purchase more. Emphasis on agricultural production, particularly small-farm productivity, is a single step which makes the largest contribution to poverty eradication and hunger elimination.
In Kenya, BAACH (Business Alliance against Chronic Hunger) has partnered with 30 companies to tackle chronic hunger. These companies bought local farmers’ products and helped them find new markets to add value to their produce. This eliminates middlemen enabling the farmers get the market value for their products.
Swaminathan suggests that “combining universal and unique entitlements, the four-pronged strategy indicated in Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s budget speech should be implemented jointly by gram panchayats, State governments and Union Ministries speedily and earnestly.”
Transparency, decentralizing the procurement and distribution of food grain to local-level bodies, allowing farmers to directly sell their produce in the markets at fair prices and conducting a monthly social audit in every village on PDS are some of the few steps we can follow in tackling food security.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Macro problems with microfinance

The whole concept of lending money has just got a makeover and re-branding through the new set of institutions called microfinance institutions (MFIs). These are welcomed overwhelmingly by a few people who make money out of this too. It is seen as a darling of development, a step that could control inflation, alleviate poverty and open domestic markets to imports and multi-national corporations.

Micro finance institutions have replaced the traditional money lenders. The poor, often tagged as beneficiaries, were exploited by money lenders previously and now, by a set of educated class of people who run these MFIs. Exploitation of the poor has just gotten easier and more organized in this way.

In the recent years, though money lending through MFIs has become a major financial activity in the villages, barbaric and inhuman methods such as harassing borrowers, intimidating, abusing, mentally and physically harassing them have been incorporated into the whole process of money lending. The borrowers are always under the pressure to repay the loan (on a weekly basis) at a heavy compound interest for petty loans they take.

Another argument is that MFIs lend money at exorbitant interest rates which range from 20 percent to 40 percent. This ugly face of MFIs gives us a vivid picture of the dark underbelly which is now making its way into the media.

In the name of empowering the poor, this form of organized exploitation has given many reasons for businessmen to make money at the cost of the poor, who are often seen as “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.” Previously, money lenders lent money at higher rates of interest because it was the individual who was lending money, but now, it is an institution comprising of a group of individuals who are lending money and in turn, pocketing extra money from the poor in the name of interest rate.

For example: In Andhra Pradesh, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) wanted to de-recognize many MFIs that were indulged in compelling women from Khammam, Warangal, Mahbubnagar and several coastal Andhra districts to enroll themselves to be beneficiaries at MFIs.  Caught in a debt trap, many borrowers committed suicide. In the name of loan recovery, human rights were grossly violated.
When the policy makers say that MFIs are a medium of financial inclusion of the poor, one must read this example published in the Economic Times to know whether MFIs are including or isolating the poor from the society.

A woman who takes Rs 10,000 loan from a microfinance institution has to pay Rs 225 every week. If she is unable to make this payment or has another emergency in the house, she will take a loan. The existing lender will not give you a fresh loan till the old one is at least 35 weeks old, so she will borrow from another MFI.

That's another Rs 225 every week. Weighed down, she will take a third loan in a matter of months. Now she has to pay Rs 675 every week! And so, a fourth loan. Such women are forever wondering where their next installment will come from. Some are working as far labour to repay loans. If they are unable to fully repay, they sell cattle, land or jewellery."
While we analyze how MFIs are more or less like slow poison to these “beneficiaries”, what one has to look at is that the RBI allows MFIs to reach those places where banks cannot make their way. But, under certain norms, which are often changeable or overlooked at the cost of poor people’s lives, MFIs have set up shops.
But, there have been models of lending money through MFIs in Indonesia and Pakistan, which have been successful. In Indonesia, 13 banks under the Central Bank, 12 NGOs have lent money to 420 self-help groups (SHGs) in which internal lending among the beneficiaries was allowed and no credit would be granted to an SHG without savings by the individual members of SHG. This helped every member save money to repay the loan as well as to save it for them.
In Pakistan, an organization called “Akhuwat” provided loans to beneficiaries at zero percent interest, except that the time period for repaying the amount was fixed. This led to the creation of pool of money for the poor and has attracted more than 50,000 honest people to be a part of this.
Now, if we compare MFIs with rural banks (public sector banks), rural banks give loans to members of SHGs at 14 percent interest rate and can increase the loan repayment period, considering the economic status of the beneficiary. Also, rural banks provide the beneficiaries with extra loans to clear other debts (if any). But, the SHG members have to save money every month in order to deposit it in the bank as their savings. These banks also allow internal lending of money which enables each member to save money, apart from generating income.
So, if financial inclusion of the poor is the main agenda, then increasing the flow of funds to the informal sector would be an advantage because the profits will reach the low income group borrowers.  Access to the flow of funds in the formal sector would facilitate competition within informal sector and increase the efficiency.
Secondly, participatory budgeting model followed in Venezuela exemplifies how people participate in a community’s activities and plan the budget according to the requirements of the members in the community who are represented by elected leaders. Money lending is a part of this structured process in which a member of the community is appointed to check the flow of capital. This brings in transparency and gives power to the people to make decisions based on their needs and necessities and also to generate income.
An institution that would combine the strengths of an NGO and that of a financial institution would be beneficial to a community. But, the reliability factor on such institutions is always questionable because there is a risk of these institutions becoming like the regular MFIs which petrify the beneficiaries to repay loans. So, this model should enable members of a community to have access and control over the financial resources.
Finally, it all boils down to a question which tests the credibility of these suggested solutions. Corruption, lack of proper implementation and misuse of funds have dogged everything in our society till date, so why wouldn’t these suggestions be victims of such cruelty? Transparency is the only way out.
If we think that only the traditional money lenders are guilty of such heinous crime, so are the micro finance institutions.

A boost to organic farming

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, B.S. Yedyurappa has allocated Rs. 200 crore for Organic Farming Mission in the Rs. 17, 857 crore agriculture budget announced for the state.

Under the Organic Farming Mission, each taluk has about 500 farmers who practice organic farming.  Farmers of Bagepalli Taluk who were watching the CM present the agriculture budget, said they had expected about Rs.500 crore for Organic Farming Mission.

According to Suryanarayana Reddy, president of Gummanayanaalaya Savayava Krushi Trust, organic farming is the best way of farming because the crop produce is consistent.

“The funds allocated last year for our taluk were Rs.16, 6900 and we expect more than Rs.25 lakh funds for Organic farming for our Taluk,” he added.

According to L. Krishnappa, a farmer who has been practicing organic farming from three years said that, using chemical fertilizers and pesticides for farming is very dangerous. “It is like a lottery, either we get a great crop produce or we are at a total loss.”

The agricultural growth in Karnataka has remained as low as 0.5 percent in the last decade. So, when the agriculture budget was announced, about ten thousand farmers applauded at CM’s allocation of funds to organic farming.

According to A.S. Anand, chairman of Organic Farming Mission of Karnataka, previously 100 crore was allocated under the mission and the amount allocated is double the amount allocated last year.

“I hope that the prices of horticulture products like onions and tomatoes have to be fixed because if the prices of these products are low in the market, then the farmers should be provided incentives or subsidies,” he added.

Explaining that many farmers fear taking to organic farming, Manjunath.T, said that it takes three years for a farmer to recover how much ever he or she spends on the crop input.

“If the harvest for the first year is less, the produce in the second year is more and the third year gives a good produce. Because, the chemical content in the soil will gradually be gone, after three years of practicing organic farming, the crop produce will be equal or more than the cost spent on the input,” he said.

Chukki Nanjundaswamy, member of Karnataka Riathu Raksha Samithi (KRRS) described the agriculture budget as a welcome change.

“Zero budget natural farming also should be included under the Organic Farming Mission because farming should de-link the corporations from farmers,” she said.

But, in the budget, when the CM spoke about allocating agriculture projects under the public private partnership (PPP) model, the relevance of an exclusive budget for agriculture is lost because this involves corporations.

The CM said that each Taluk should enroll at least 3000 farmers under the organic farming mission and he will be a part of this every week.

“Most of these Savayava Krushi Trust committees in the taluk level are controlled by BJP and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) members and therefore, there is interference of politics and corporations, even here,” said Chukki.

In the agriculture budget, 50 crore was allocated for “Bhoo Chetana" programme which creates awareness on reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

“Awareness on the dangers of using chemical pesticides and fertilizers has to be created in the farming community. Farmers do not produce food for themselves anymore, but for the people,” explained Chukki.

What we also have to look at is that the agriculture budget forms the basis of the Agriculture Expo that is going to be held in June, she added.

Monday, March 7, 2011


This is a post on my first flight experience on 14/1/2011 which happened to be one of the best days in my life. I have never traveled  in a flight before or rather never felt the need to fly. For this, I have to thank my best friend who has made it a good experience.

How it all began...
At 2.30 a.m.on 14/11/2011, I got a call from this best friend of mine who was compelling me to take a flight from Bangalore (where I'm currently staying) to Hyderabad (my home). I denied. But, as he always manages to convince me, he did it this time too. He booked it and send me a copy of the ticket on my e-mail.

My journey to the airport:
Because I stay in one corner of Bangalore city (almost on the outskirts of the city), I had to start 4 hours before the flight's departure time. I took an auto from college around 11.45 a.m. to get ot the main road and then took a bus to Kengeri and reached the bus depot by 12.15 p.m.

I did not wait for long at the bus stop because of greater frequency of buses from Kengeri to Hebbal (where I was supposed to go). But, I didn't know that getting into this bus was like inviting trouble for myself. The idea behind taking that bus was to reach early, which couldn't have happened if I had listened to the bus conductor who was more obsessed with women around him than answering their questions.

I was traveling for the first time in that bus route and it wasn't problematic at all, until a point. I thought there wasn't much traffic in the city because it was already afternoon. But, I realized it was the biggest premonition I had about Bangalore, which has horrible traffic congestion at every corner of the city at any time of the day.

We reached a place and I thought we almost reached Hebbal, which was about 10 stops away from where the bus was. I was waiting desperately to get down and go to the airport. And, this was what created more tension and my anger levels on Bangalore traffic, the bus driver and conductor were escalating. I was frustrated, annoyed and was in a haste to reach the Bangalore airport. It seemed like I am never going to reach the airport. Atleast at that point I wish I became Superman (woman) and had the power to put all the traffic on the other side of the city. Alas! I was stuck!

Finally, I managed to reach the after I got a taxi to the airport. I reached 2 hours before my flight's departure. I was excited and at the same time very impulsive about how my first flight travel would be. I started contemplating. I had various thoughts running across my head. I boarded the plane. I was travelling alone and this gave me more reasons to be happy.

Fortunately, I had no one sitting beside me. I was alone. This made me happier. then came the drama. Kids crying, mom yelling at them, air hostesses trying to get everyone in their place and the Captain announcing that the flight was about to take off. I enjoyed every single bit of it. A beautiful air hostess dressed in red, came up to me and asked if I was comfortable, I felt good and smiled at her. After 2 minutes, she gave instructions on how to fasten the seat belt and not to use electronic gadgets during our journey. (I do not know the exact logic behind that, but I knew that the wavelength would interfere with that of the flight's and cause some problems).

So, I had to switch off my mobile (I was being a good passenger). I started reading "The age of Kali" by William Dalrymple. But in a few seconds, the flight took off with a loud sound. It was speeding through the runway. The pace increased and I realized I was up in the air, in no time. It was great. For a while, I did not feel like the flight was in motion, but it was. I heard people saying objects look smaller when you reach a certain altitude, but experienced it 20 years after I was born. I smiled and kept quiet with so many thoughts running through my mind. 

I stopped reading. Was looking through the clouds, admiring nature's beauty. Everything looked beautiful. I was sitting at the window seat  which was close to the right fan (whatever you call it) of the plane. The sound it made was louder than ten elephants shouting at a time. At that moment, I was thinking of how  humans invented the flight. I was thankful to Wright brothers. and, then slipped into those pages lettered with black ink. The journey time was about an hour and half.

Then came the landing. Most of my friends always told me that it is scary. But, I wasn't scared like they mentioned. It was pretty fine and I loved that too. In fact, I thought that's the most thrilling part in the entire journey. It was lovely. The journey, the experience and my first flight ticket. Feels good to travel alone......All the time :):)

And, my day ended with my bestie picking me up at the airport and it was a happy but, adventurous day, altogether :)

Thanks Precious Kalia :)


“A disgrace to the world” is what these dictators are, to millions of protestors in the Middle East. Dictatorship is probably the worst form of government and this has been proved time and again through the recent spate of upheavals in the region. Freedom has knocked their doors, violence has instilled hope in them, protests have given a boost to their confidence and their fight against tyranny has brought them together on a single platform.

Colonel Maummar Gaddafi, a self-proclaimed “guide of the revolution” who has ruled Libya for 41 years is considered as the most oppressive despot in Africa and the Middle East. The sound of gunfire, mortars and continuous bombings in Benghazi has extended to Tripoli. The callousness of the army in Benghazi, which shot live rounds at people on the street, has not stemmed the determination of people to continue protesting. The hospitals seem to be out of beds to accommodate those who are injured in the shootout. Dead bodies are a common sight in the cities.

At the same time, doors are shut for international journalists to cover the unrest in Libya. Local journalists are more or less threatened and intimidated by the Libyan authorities, and therefore, the news that the international journalists should rely on is mostly in favor of the tyrant’s regime. Everything is controlled by the government authorities, including the Internet.

There were reports that Gaddafi clandestinely flew to Venezuela when the cataclysm was taking shape. But, Gaddafi dismissed the allegations conveniently saying he was very much in the country. BBC reported that “Libya's diplomats at the United Nations in New York called for international intervention to stop the government's violent action against street demonstrations in their homeland.” The violence in the country has helped oil prices to shoot up.

In the unrest index in the Middle East analyzed and published by BBC recently, Yemen tops the list with unrest index being 86.9 percent followed by Libya which is at 71 percent and Egypt at 67.6 percent.

While news from Libya hogged the headlines, Bahrain also had a vital role to play in the Middle East’s unrest. In the euphoria of the moment, people in Pearl Square wanted to throw out monarchy and bring in reform. Some got onto their knees to plead, pray and join hands. It almost turned into a place of worship. The opposition demanded a shift to democracy with an elected government. The police continued their atrocities on a peaceful group of demonstrators and created a ruckus.

The power is vested in the hands of King Sheik Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and his close aides now. But this dynamic could change at any moment. While the government seems to be wavering between withdrawing security forces and attacking protestors, it managed to release many protestors who were imprisoned. Some returned home limping, few with bruised bodies. One boy was blind in the right eye.
In Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh seems unyielding in giving up his three decades of authoritarian rule. The Joint Meeting party, which is a group of opposition parties, has joined the young protestors and is condemning Saleh’s acts of repression.

“Why do the protestors want to return to chaos?” asks Saleh instead of stepping down. The encampment of people in Sana looked well organized and seemed like they took their cues from the revolution in Egypt. “Saleh must resign not govern. We want our freedom and our lives back” said one of the protestors.
What is happening in the Middle East is not something that was planned on Facebook by a group of outrageous youngsters, nor is it a movement of Islamist zealots who have planned to hijack a plane. It is a movement against being looted by thuggish policies of pompous countries like the U.S. People have been hungry and unemployed and have become tired of western powers’ constant interference in their country’s affairs. As an Egyptian journalist said “This is the real story of the revolution that’s sweeping the Arab world.”

For more information on turmoil in the middle east : Click Here