Newsbytheway's Blog

January 30, 2010

Talibanisation of Goa

Filed under: Musings — Rabea Khan @ 3:59 pm
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Goa is marred by yet another rape. After Scarlett Keeling, it is a 9-year-old Russian girl.  But this rape has instigated a different  debate altogether. Are women to be blamed for being the victim?

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

“You can’t blame the locals; they have never seen such women. Foreign tourists must maintain a certain degree of modesty in their clothing. Walking on the beaches half-naked is bound to titillate the senses.”

This statement is not by a Taliban but the Goa’s deputy director of tourism, Pamela Mascarhenas, (Mail Today newspaper, New Delhi).

Appalling, more so, since it comes from a woman. How can I woman think the way one dresses leads to rape? Should women be asked to wear burqas?

It is a classic case of passing the buck. And what she probably forgot to consider that the girl was merely nine years old. It is insane even to think that she could have ‘titillated’ the wrong doer in any way.

And saying that ‘locals have not seen such women’ is implausible.  Goa is the ultimate beach destination not just for Indians but the foreigners; more so for the latter. Goans are used to foreign women roaming on the beach and on the streets in bikini. It has become part of Goa’s backdrop now.

Ban on govt ads with bikini

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

The goa government was quick to spring in action and announced scrapping of all ads displaying bikini babes. Times of India quoted the state tourism minister saying ‘Goa is a family holiday destination and not a sex tourism destination. We will make sure that bikini babes do not symbolize Goa tourism”.

Accepted, but how on earth will this superficial move do to dissuade rapists? Shouldn’t security the top agenda. Whether goa government accept it or not, Goa is a beach destination not a family holiday spot. There are families who go for holidays in Goa, but the numbers of youngsters, college, 20s and early 30s crowd outnumbers them.

Goa government should look to make the beaches safer without letting it lose its identity. And something should be done without more ado lest the paradise is lost.


December 5, 2009

I’ve a right to vote in UK… But WHY??!!

A phone call has never been so significant in my life.  It gave me a right. It was from the British Electoral Registration Office.

Copyright: Mongo; Source: Flickr

A woman asked for my details to update the electoral list.  Surprised I told her, I don’t think I am allowed to vote. I am not British. She ignored my ignorance and replied impatiently,

“ Yes you are allowed to vote, you are from a Commonwealth    country. Can you please spell your name now.”

I obliged reluctantly, still not sure why am I allowed to vote. Is it because Britishers ruled India and now they are returning the gratitude by letting us vote? But I seriously doubt that the guilt feeling has anything to do with it.

Not only does it sounds strange, it’s dangerous as well.  I have been in this country for only few months. Before I landed in London, I didn’t even know who David Cameron was. I still don’t know much about Nick Clegg. (It’s a different story that he is non-existent for many Britishers as well.)

I am not aware of the history of the political parties here.  On what basis am I expected to decide whom to vote for?  It’s not a beauty contest where I can just pick someone on the basis of his or her cuteness. If that’s the criteria, David Cameron will win my vote, hands down.

And it isn’t a local council election where I can judge the candidate on the basis of his development plans for the county.  It’s a national election for God sake’s! My vote will decide who will the next PM of United Kingdom. The man will play a crucial role in international politics for the coming years.

Bias on nationality basis

And why exactly I have been given the right to decide? Just because I am a UK resident for a year belonging to a Commonwealth country I would have enjoyed the same right if I were from one of the European union countries.  But not USA. That means if one happens to be American, and has been working here for even 4 years, he/she can’t vote, unless he is a UK citizen.

Why such partiality? What are the basis for allowing some countries and not the others?  I am yet to find a reason. To have good relationships with these countries can be an argument but not a very good one. Will you give the ownership of your house to a guest who has just come for a night stay? No sane person would.

No other country gives this right to outsiders, unless they have the citizenship. Residency can’t be good enough.  Not good enough for me at least.  That’s why I am yet to cast my vote on whether I should be voting in the elections next year.

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