Thursday, October 20, 2005

Of 11/9 and 9/11


I recently read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. He speaks of the reasons the world became flat and first reason is 11/9 (11th November 1989) when the Berlin Wall fell. I grimly remember that day in history, I was 6 yrs old, and color TV (notice the missing 'u' in color) had triggered a sort of neighbourhood competition as whose TV is the best, when Prannoy Roy's The World this Week covered the event . During that time I somehow recollect the coverage of the fall of the Berlin wall and the ceremonial removal of Felix Dzerzhinsky staue in Moscow that occurred after 2 years (December 1991), shown on the now defunct Doordarshan. Then I used just see the pictures in India Today (The copies are still lying in the raddi of my old house) and I had felt somewhat bad that East Germany was no more. (That was because I hated West Germany because they had beaten Maradona and I hated Steffi Graf for no particular reason - any guesses which F1 racer I don't like ???). But that was then.

I reread these articles of India Today when my mom made me clear the age old 'raddi' sometime when I was in 10th or 11th and saner. I realized that the media was really unaware of the reasons that caused the breakdown of Communism. Freidman in his book, mentions three major reasons that the "evil empire" collapsed - The Afghan War, Reagan's Arms Race and Buildup of forces in Europe and most importantly the Information revolution (the early Internet). Also there is a mention of how Mikhail Gorbachev's failed Glasnost and perestroika. In that same December 1991 Issue of India Today I remember having seen a cartoon Harkishen Surjeet, Jyoti Basu and Somnath Chaterjee (Hon'ble LS Speaker) as Gandhiji's three simians with the hammer and sickle stuck in their mouths. Also I have seen the 2 phenomenal shows by Discovery and BBC - Days That Shook The World.

Now back to the main point, 11/9 was really historical. It was the victory of freedom and the best part was that this "UNREVOLUTION" was mostly peaceful and was an implosion where the people themselves overthrew the Commies. Not only was it a victory for Individualism but it was an example of how Globalization was impacting the world. Today while, it is so easy to communicate with any email user in the world (barring North Koreans) it is really amusing to know how politics had kept minds apart from each other during the cold war. My Multimedia book described how PAL, NTSC, SECAM were developed in such a way that Eastern Bloc nations people wouldn't be able toreceive any other TV channels than their state owned ones. Actually the black markets in the Communist countries were selling Video cassettes of all Western Shows, which contributed to the demise of the State run media concept. Later on computers which ran DOS and Unix (even in the East Bloc) also helped work against the totalitarian top-down regime. The stories of freedom were there for the people to see and beleive and they demanded their share.

I have gone through a lot of stuff about the fall of Communism, most striking detail is that the CIA which worked day and night to bring down the "Evil Empire", had no clue of both 11/9 and Yeltsin's victory. The war they fought for aver 40 years ended on their TV sets. Thus, globalization hit the world in a big way making the world flat (according to Friedman). Even now everytime anything about these events is shown on TV, I watch it wth intrigue.


The seeds of "terrorism" were sown way back during 1945-49, first when Ben Gurien was supported by America after the MiddleEast mess leftover by the Brits and the Holocaust causing the Jews to flee to their promised land. Another seed was the US collaborating with the Shah of Iran and the King of Saudi Arabia. The third seed was the Afghan Mujahideen and strangely US support to Saddam wasnt directly causing any sort of terrorism. Thus global terror networking began. Today terrorism is rooted all over the world, epicentre - Pakistan Kashmir, Ireland, Indonesia, Half free Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Saharan Africa, Spain, Chechnya, Latin American Druglords, African Minelords, Nepali - Indian Leftists, Sri Lanka and so on. Unlike the old days when ideology was of major concern terror nowadays is mercenary activity. While brainwashing is the cause of suicide attacks, deadly weapons are easier to get now.

Global terror is a real problem but nobody is there to stop terrorism. America's war on teror is just a shameless way of justifying America's hunt for OIL. As world oil prices soar, maybe alternative fuels will emancipate man from the dependancy on arab oil. But one thing is for sure Globalization has helped incease terrorism than reduce it.


anish said...

Is the book good ? Coz his articles in the exress keep on oscillating.. Just saw a sidewalk copy yesterday, a not so paltry 200 bucks !

Shriniwas Kulkarni said...

Book not worth buying. However its good to read if you are a comp or IT guy. Mainly bcoz the author keeps repeating how much the computer revolution has helped globalization...

Pratik said...

did u know tht Thomas Friedman, has actually credited Nandan Nilekani of Infosys for the original idea of the world getting flat. Well i am dying to read the book, it's cost has kept me away from it, perhaps gonna ask a friend to gift me this birthday. got to know of his theory from his articles in the indian express, interviews, walk the talk on NDTV24/7 etc.
I have post on this too, can check it out.

regards pratik.

Pratik said...

I read ur comment, tht was exactly what i was saying, inspite of the fact tht the british ruled most of america, the people of british origin is not as much as one would think.
yes and the french did control parts of canada, and spanish actually held most of the region to the west of the rocky mountains ,almost the entire western coast upto washington state!

Vinayak said...

Your blog on the "left" lead me to think of India and our image in the world arena. Do Indians lack organizations that promote India in the International arena, that boost our public image ?

India, a multicultural society, contributed immensely to Society (say our Dharma), Knowledge (right from Ship Building, Sashtras to Mathematics, Avaita), and political science (Arthashashtra for e.g.), medicine (ayurveda) over 2 millennium

However, thanks to the invasions and colonial legacy, we were stuck with a curry and snake charmers image for a few 100 years. Even now we seemed to have shaken that thanks to Info Tech and IT pros.

Not just outsiders. Be it politics or social issues, Why do Indians whip ourselves in public ? Look at the Ramdev Issue

Are we turning into a self hating civilization or is our media Left and anti Indian ?

More at
Gudia, a Muslim girl and Ramdev ji, a Hindu male !!