Stop all animal torture

Source : Google photo of a sad caged lion

Synopsis : We need to be aware that all animals are precious whether domestic or wild so they should be loved and protected . This awareness should be taught to every child in every school in the world so that the future generation will learn to love the animals and protect them. Many species will become extinct unless we do this.

There is a park in the town of El Obeid in Sudan where there are a number of steel cages that keep wild animals for people to see. People who visit the park have all seen the wild lions in the cages and ignore them but the kids poke the animals with sticks in their ribs knowing full well that they cannot fight back.

The adults do not stop the kids from torturing the lions because torturing animals in their culture is not an issue that occupies their mind. I have seen the same thing in Mascara where I used to work in Algeria. There the tethered animals were routinely tortured by the children who poked their anus with sticks but their parents never told them that it was wrong to torture animals so they should stop.

Now you can imagine that those children have grown into their adulthood after so many years so what they will teach their children who also torture tethered animals for fun? They did it themselves when young. Children must be told what is right and what is wrong.

I saw the tortured lion in its cage in El Obeid that roared in anguish and slammed its body into the cage in rage but this torture never stopped. I stopped and saw the pain, the hopelessness and the rage in the eyes of those lions who were still fighting it not knowing that they will never be free and will surely die in captivity.

All over the world we are responsible for the animal torture even if we do not torture them personally. It is because we do not stop our children who torture wild animals or even domestic animals so we are complicit. We have all seen the wild bears in India that are made to dance for you for a few pennies by their handlers and surely we have seen the wild monkeys with rope around their neck to dance and make people laugh. The handler makes the monkeys dance with the threat of beating so the monkeys are afraid of the punishment.

The bears suffer the most because their handler pulls the bear with a rope through its nostrils that are very sensitive and painful so they cry out in pain and submit. People watch the bear dance, throw a few coins at him and pass on but never ask the handler to stop the torture of a wild animal that has never meant any harm to anyone. Once I saw at least 18 bears on the road from Agra to Jaipur but stopped counting because there were more. All these bears are tortured the same way by the nomads who eek out a meagre living. The bears have torn nostrils filled with pus and infection but who cares? If they die of infection, they are thrown away like garbage and soon replaced by new bears caught in the forest so this horrific trade continues.

In China they put the bears in small cages and milk their bile that is used in the Chinese medicine. The extraction of bile from a living animal is a very painful process for the animals so they howl in pain but who listens?

The baby elephant that was used as a mascot during the Asian games in India was tortured to make him learn how to sit on a ball and do other tricks but the people did not see the torture the poor elephant was subjected to away from their eyes but the baby elephant shed tears of pain. They are very sensitive animals who show a wide range of emotions.

In Florida a whale called Orca that used to swim in the huge tank and entertain paid visitors to the Sea World one day dragged its trainer under water and held her until she died because the animal was greatly angered by the captivity. The wild animals are only happy when they are free. They refuse to be domesticated like dogs or other animals.

I think it is inherent in all living being that they value freedom more than anything else. You can see it in their eyes. There is no animal as sad as a caged bird that seeks freedom but knows that it cannot fly away. Some cruel people clip their wings so they cannot fly away someday.

We think that the animals are there to entertain us so we put them in cages and teach them to mimic some words to make us laugh. There are millions of parrots and mynahs in cages that can never escape and feel the air under their wings but I am sure a small hope lingers in their tiny heart that someday may be they will become free.

When I see the tortured tigers and lions in circus, I feel very disturbed. Here is a video of a tortured tiger who looks pitiful so watch this video to feel his pain. That should be enough for you to stop going to circus forever. If all the circus goers feel the same way, the circus owners will go out of business and perhaps release the animals into the wilderness.

Source : U tube video

There is another video that shows a tortured lion that was saved from its death almost by a miracle.

Source : U tube video

In India some NGOs have started a rescue process for the bears and buy them from their handlers to put them in an animal shelter they have established near Agra where the bears get proper veterinary care, good food the company of other bears they can play with.

These tortured bears show their gratefulness for the help they get by embracing the shelter workers and shedding tears of joy. They do not harbor ill feelings toward the humans that have tortured them and show forgiveness. We have a lot to learn from them about forgiveness because we too treat our fellow humans with utmost cruelty.

Watch this video here on how the bears are tortured in India by their handlers.

Source : U Tube video

Source : U Tube video on dancing bears in India

In Kenya there was an elephant that escaped from its captors in the circus and went on a rampage killing many people and destroying property. Sadly no one understood the reason why the elephant was so enraged and the cruel people shot him dead.

We humans have always been cruel to animals both wild and domestic. The domestication of wild animals was started by early humans who tamed them to plough their fields or draw water from the wells among numerous other chores so they did not treat their animals badly. They were fed and sheltered properly because they were useful animals that helped them in their agriculture.

The domesticated chickens laid eggs for them and the cows gave milk. Later people raised the animals for meat or wool so a new industry developed where millions of animals of improved breeds are now raised in massive operations in many countries to satisfy the need for eggs, meat or wool. People have set up modern factories where the meat or wool are processed that are then exported to other countries.

My blog today focuses more on wild animals that are being killed for sport  or are captured and sold to people who mistreat them in circus or private homes. Beautiful wild animals are killed for their pelt or ivory or horns like in rhinos just because of greed for money so rare animals are on the verge of being extinct.

The Romans slaughtered thousands of wild lions and tigers during their sport fests that sometimes lasted many weeks. People cheered in the coliseums when a lion killed a gladiator or the gladiator killed the lion. Either way they did not care as long as someone or the animal died in a horrific manner. Romans encouraged this blood lust .

The enraged bull tries to gore the matador in the bull ring where thousands go to see the bloody battle saying Ole Ole every time the matador makes a score meaning stabbing the poor bull. The bull eventually bleeds to death in the name of sport.

Recently a wounded bull bleeding heavily stopped in front of the matador as if asking why he was being tortured this way. It did not attack the matador but just stood there bleeding so the matador was in tears, kneeled down in front of the bull in supplication and asked for its forgiveness for his sins. He vowed to never fight a bull again and retired from the sport. Now there is a demand from animal lovers in Spain and in Mexico to ban this blood sport forever. It remains to be seen if it will happen and the sport will be banned by law forever.

I have previously written about the mass slaughter of dolphins in Japan where they like to eat the meat. You can buy a chunk of whale or dolphin meat in any Japanese supermarket where they will fry the meat for you to take home. They kill the whales and other sea mammals in the name of “research” and harass the Green Peace ships that try to protect the whales. No amount of international pressure to stop the slaughter deters the Japanese whalers. It is just a business for them the same way the shark hunters kill thousands of sharks to slice off the fins that they sell for soup.

There was a time when Europeans and other hunters shot thousands of bisons from their train windows just for fun and let the animals rot in the sun. The Native Americans never understood the penchant of the white man for such slaughter in the name of sport. The tribes killed only those animals that provided them with meat and the skin. They never wasted animals like the white people did.

I still believe that we can live in harmony with the wild animals that normally do not harm us and want to be left alone. The wild animals fight back when we encroach on their territory but we should try to understand it from their point of view. The human encroachment on their territory puts their existence in danger so they fight back. The nature reserves are shrinking worldwide because the human population is increasing around the nature reserves so animal- human conflicts occur frequently resulting in the death of precious animals.

I think we should teach our children that all animals are precious and should be loved and protected so that when they grow up, they will become the activists to run NGOs to protect them or become important officials in the government to promulgate laws to do so. Our generation has not done enough to protect all wild animals but perhaps our children will be able to do so if it is not already too late for some species.

I thank my eldest sister who freed the pigeon I had put in a cage when I was young. She told me that all animals need to be free and not in a cage. I have never forgotten this lesson.

James Anthony Froude quote: Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the  only...

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media

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What is justice?

depositphotos_41648917-stock-photo-justice-scale-and-gavel

Source : Google photo 

Synopsis:  A slow and cumbersome judicial process that is corrupt creates enormous backlogs in the courts that result in the delay in the deliverance of the justice people seek there. The blog looks at the origin of this system and suggests ways to reform it so that speedier justice is available to all the litigants. 

There was a king in India who was known for his fairness in judging people who went to his court with their problems and sought justice. One day two women went to his court with a kid that both claimed as their own so the king had to decide who the real mother was. This was long before the advent of DNA testing. The king patiently listened to the arguments put forth by the two women and finally came to his conclusion.

He asked his executioner to split the kid in two with a sword and asked the two women to share the kid this way but the real mother begged the king to spare the life of the kid and said that she was willing to give the kid to the other woman. The king now knew who the real mother was and gave the kid to her custody. The other woman was then punished with lashes for falsely claiming the kid.

There are many such stories that fill the annals of history before the modern day court system was introduced and a breed of immoral, inept and greedy lawyers in black gowns filled the hallways of the courts everywhere. They look more like vultures that prey on aggrieved people who seek justice for the wrong done to them. They file their papers, are given a docket number and a date for their hearings, pay the required fees and seek the counsel of the vultures who now descend on them in large numbers.

They see a client as a source of money for years so they keep on postponing the hearing date each time the client comes to the court seeking justice. The lawyers on both side of the cases do the same so a case can linger for years and the litigants may even die but their cases do not come up for hearing that frustrates the litigants. But the lawyers get paid just the same in the meantime so they take advantage of the system that permits them to postpone a case for years just so that they can make money. They are not interested in the justice but want to keep their cash cows as long as possible.

The Kings and Queens of the past gave swift justice without charge and punished the guilty so how did they dispense justice quickly and fairly? They were not lawyers but they depended on their own intuition and were very smart to figure out who was telling a lie and who was not. Sometime a king ordered a case to be reviewed in a few days’ time while his agents sought new information by seeking witnesses and facts.

220px-jamal_al-din_husayn_inju_shirazi_-_two_folios_from_the_akbarnama_-_walters_w684_-_detail_a (2)

Source : Google painting of the execution by elephant in the Court of Akbar in Sikri

In Fatehpur Sikri near Agra where Emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar established his capital, there is a huge peg of stone where a monstrous elephant was kept tethered. After hearing a case often the king ordered the guilty party to be brought forth to be executed by the elephant that was trained to put its leg on the chest of the culprit. This was swift justice that needed no appeal in lower court, higher court or the Supreme Court because the king was the law and his order was final.

The justice system now requires large number of jails but it is the tax payer who foots the bill for making the jails and keeping the prisoners there for years while they await a final verdict. The entire penal system has developed into a massive business that some private companies make huge amount of money from. They build massive jails, maintain them, supply the food and clothes for the inmates and maintain security at a high cost to the tax payers while constantly bidding for more contracts to build more jails nationwide.

The law schools in the meantime keep on producing more graduates who become the black robed vultures in the hallways of numerous courts looking for their preys. How did this corrupt system come into being and who was responsible for it?

To understand the entire legal system, you have to go back a few hundred years in our modern day history and find that the legal system that most countries practice had its origin in the United Kingdom of Great Britain that ruled its colonies. The Indian court system was set up by the British so the laws promulgated were just copies of it that were used in the British court system. They set up the courts, enacted the laws, set up the law schools, built massive court buildings and brought the whole colony under their legal system that kept on getting more and more complicated.

To make the legal system very complicated they insisted on paperwork, records and docket system that buried the cases for years under the mountain of paperwork before a case even came up for hearing. It made people wait endlessly for justice, made them bankrupt feeding the greed of the lawyers and the voracious appetite of the courts for fees and more fees so it made the system inherently corrupt.

It was said that the justice delayed was the justice denied but the system became too cumbersome to make any reform although many justices have tried and failed. To make the matter worse, they introduced the jury system as was practiced in England. The jury system was based on just asking the common people to sit at the court and examine the merits and demerits of any case without any legal training whatsoever and decide as a whole on the verdict that they presented to the judge. No one could excuse himself or herself from the jury duty once summoned by the court so this system still continues today. It was under the reign of Henry’s son, King John, that the first example of the western world’s modern jury system was created. The jury system dates back to the 12th century in England. History of the jury system.

The_Jury_by_John_Morgan

Source : Google photo of a trial by jury

A jury is a group of persons selected from the community that is charged with hearing a legal case and delivering a verdict on it. Juries are used in both civil and criminal cases, and they base their decisions on testimony and other evidence that is presented at trial. In death penalty cases, they may be charged with imposing a sentence on a criminal defendant.

The concept of the jury system can be traced to Athens, Greece, around 400 B.C. These earliest juries heard arguments in legal cases but did not apply law. According to author John Gunther, quoting Aristotle, juries in Athens instead decided cases based on their “understanding of general justice.”

The vast empire of ancient Rome rejected the idea of juries, opting instead for a professional court system in which ordinary citizens had no role. The dark ages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire had little use for law, not to mention juries, and the jury system of justice lay dormant until the twelfth century. Around that time, Italian scholars revived the rule of law in Europe with the force of their arguments.

In Great Britain, the jury system was not used until the twelfth century. Prior to that time, the Catholic Church dominated the legal system with its ecclesiastical courts. Judgment and punishment were carried out by the Church through the “ordeal,” a form of torture in which a wide variety of physical pains could be inflicted on an accused criminal.

Random crimes could be resolved with the “hue and cry,” a process in which a person publicly called for a posse to hunt down and thrash a suspected criminal. Civil disputes often were solved by “compurgation,” a method that required each party in the case to bring several friends, or “compurgators,” for verbal support; the party with the most compurgators won the case.

In the twelfth century, English monarch Henry II formulated the earliest British version of the jury system when, after a struggle with the Papacy in Rome, he ordered that a group of regular citizens would decide disputes over land in secular courts. However, Henry II also utilized inquisitions and ordeals and the hue and cry remained the foremost system of justice.

It was under the reign of Henry’s son, King John, that the first example of the western world’s modern jury system was created. For Lord Denning it was also “the bulwark of our liberties”. In Ward v James a civil appeal, he stated that “whenever a man is on trial for serious crime, or when in a civil case a man’s honor or integrity is at stake, or when one or other party must be deliberately lying, then trial by jury has no equal.” Yet, he went on to conclude that in personal injury cases trial by jury had given place to trial by judge alone, because, I quote: “trial by a judge alone is more acceptable to the great majority of people. …judges alone, and not juries, in the great majority of cases, decide whether there is negligence or not. They set the standard of care to be expected of the reasonable man.”

In the criminal courts, it is the jury who set the standards of the reasonable man and woman and decide issues of negligence. They decide far more complex issues than simple dishonesty. Is the distinction between criminal and civil trials one of principle or pragmatism? ( Wikipedia

Bill of rights and Magnacarta: 

Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for “Great Charter of Freedoms”), commonly called Magna Carta (also Magna Charta; “Great Charter”),[a] is a royal charter[4][5] of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.[b] First drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.

Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War. After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest which was issued at the same time.

Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes. His son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England’s statute law. The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling Parliament of England passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance.

At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus.

Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles. The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century.

It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the United States Constitution, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.[c] Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.[6] In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, two at the British Library, one at Lincoln Castle and one at Salisbury Cathedral.

There are also a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia. The original charters were written on parchment sheets using quill pens, in heavily abbreviated Medieval Latin, which was the convention for legal documents at that time. Each was sealed with the royal great seal (made of beeswax and resin sealing wax): very few of the seals have survived. Although scholars refer to the 63 numbered “clauses” of Magna Carta, this is a modern system of numbering, introduced by Sir William Blackstone in 1759; the original charter formed a single, long unbroken text. The four original 1215 charters were displayed together at the British Library for one day, 3 February 2015, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. ( Wikipedia

The bill of rights, the Magnacarta itself and the establishment of courts to hear the criminal as well as civil cases through the judge and the jury system thus became the foundation of the modern day justice system that is now found in most democratic countries. Kings and queens no longer dispense justice although some have powers to forgive a person who suffered the miscarriage of justice . Almost all the heads of states have this power as well that they can use to save the life of a person through their act of clemency who has suffered enough.

Today I would like to focus on what is really wrong with the justice system as practiced in many countries that is under scrutiny because of corruption. Recently a noted criminal in Uttar Pradesh state of India who was responsible for the death of 8 policemen and many more injured in a gun fight fled the crime scene. A massive man hunt was initiated and the fellow was caught a few days later in another state. He tried to escape the policemen who then shot him dead but he had plenty of time to reveal his secrets to the police.

He openly bragged that he had many policemen, important politicians and even judges in his pocket who gave him protection from prosecution in exchange for large sums of money. He sounded like a mafia boss that he indeed was.

Frustrated with the corrupt justice system, many countries have developed a parallel justice system that punishes the guilty with expediency and very little cost to the litigants. In Haiti, they have such a system that is illegal but brings justice to the poor that is far more effective than their court system that is full of corruption.

Similarly in India all villages offer justice through their elected village council that is a legal body to those who seek justice that may usually involve land disputes or water rights but may include cases of rape or domestic violence or inheritance issues. In Africa many countries have a similar set up in their villages where the village council settles their land dispute or other civil cases but refers the criminal cases to the courts. Many justices of the Supreme Court in India have tried to reform the criminal justice system but made no headway until now.

Now the government of Mr. Modi has begun the process of reform by first abrogating  more than 1200 laws that had become obsolete and is determined to abrogate all the old laws of the British Raaj that are still being used. The Parliament makes new laws that address the current situation of the law and order.

Secondly the corruption in the judiciary and among the lawyers is also being tackled and the guilty are being punished but to succeed, the reforms must be deep and longer lasting. Only a corruption free judicial system can dispense justice quickly and fairly so small steps are being taken to overhaul a deeply entrenched system that was left behind by the British colonialists.

Lastly a modern system of computerization of all the laws, cases and important documents are urgently needed to speed up the cases and reduce the immense backlog that chokes the courts everywhere. This will be a major step in the speedy delivery of justice to all who have the misfortune to go to a court for whatever reasons.

A paperless court that has digital records of all cases and the interrogation of a litigant via webcam from any part of the country can reduce the enormous cost of a physical presence in a court room and speed up the judicial process. In the digital world, a jury can be assembled from any part of the country to deliberate on a case through a virtual meeting thus reducing the cost and speed up the process.

In fact all the courts in a country could be interlinked digitally for a referral on a similar case so their verdict and all the pertinent documents can be instantly transmitted. It is a fact that swift money transfers directly to someone working for the government has eliminated the middlemen thus reducing corruption in India but more can be done in the judicial system as well.

It is the age of technology that we should all take advantage of. The whole world will be better off if it can be achieved and the guilty can be punished swiftly without resorting to the tethered elephants. One must not forget that the crime rate was very low in those days when people knew what punishment awaited them. 

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media

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Mis blogs en espagnol 

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Blogs in Japanese 

My blogs at Wix site 

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com Medium.com 

Anil’s biography in English.

 Biographie d’Anil en français 

La biografía de anil en español. 

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch 

Anil’s biography in Japanese 

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Note : The previous blog called Reform the justice system is related to this blog but this blog gives greater clarity on the evolution of the justice system in England and the Magna Carta and the bill of rights.

Reform the justice system

Source : Google photo of the justice system needing reform

Synopsis : The reform in the justice system worldwide to make it easier for the poor people to get justice at a minimum cost and hassle is long overdue but it faces many challenges due to vested interests of non-reformists. The blog looks at many issue that need addressing as well as the parallel justice system prevailing in some countries that serve the poor better.

Once I was in a court room not as a litigant but as an observer where the hearing on a case was in progress. There was a poor man who had been summoned to be present for the hearing.  He obviously had come from a distance spending a great deal of money that he could ill afford and was showing great signs of distress and discomfort but it was just the start of a circus that was being played in the name of justice so I was shocked.

The lawyer who was grandstanding and repeating words like “ I must remind you that you are under the oath “quoting from Perry Mason in English that the poor man could not understand. So the questions thrown at him were first translated into the language he understood so that he could answer them that had to be again translated back into English so the whole process became very tedious and lengthy.

To make the matter worse, the court stenographer who did not know stenography kept interrupting the procedure because she could not write in her yellow bond paper fast enough with pencil and frequently asked how to spell some words. It was quite obvious that she did not speak, read or write English so why was she employed to be the court steno?

Why was English the court language when it was not spoken or understood by anyone including the lawyer who was only quoting what he had memorized from the Perry Mason movies? Why the judge did not order the lawyer to speak only in the vernacular so that the hearing could proceed speedily? Why the court had appointed a woman as a steno who did not know stenography and who could not understand, read or spell English words? I was not amused and felt sorry for the poor man fidgeting and sweating in that court room that was poorly ventilated and was hot.

I was very annoyed by the comic nature of the proceedings and thought that the whole thing reeked of a farce that the poor man was being subjected to in the name of justice wasting everybody’s time doing injustice to the justice that the court was supposed to deliver.

The corruption of the justice system whether criminal or civil is a worldwide phenomenon that has created a backlog of cases in every court in any country where the litigants may have to wait years for justice that they in the end may or may not get. It ruins them completely because the tremendous cost of litigation and the years they have to wait for the justice that may still be denied to them if the crooked lawyers have their way takes its toll..

It is said that the justice delayed is the justice denied but looking at the court proceedings I wondered if the poor farmer who was dragged to the court will ever get the justice and how he will pay for all the cost.

The criminal justice system that had its roots in England in the past centuries was imposed on its colonies like India and other countries by the colonialists that still remains in place using laws that have become obsolete and meaningless but the court says that they do not make the laws. They just implement them.

It all starts at the local police station where a person may go and register a case against someone who had committed a crime like rape, murder or assault so a First Information Report or FIR is lodged by the attending policeman citing violations of many laws. A judge may then issue an arrest warrant so that the offending person may be put in jail waiting for a trial to begin so that a verdict may be reached on the case.

But if the complainant is a poor person in shabby clothes seeking justice or a poor woman who says that she was gang raped by many men will often be ignored and the policemen may not register an FIR from her. It changes if the person reporting a crime is well dressed and comes in a fancy car then he may even be offered a cup of tea. This prejudice against people of lower caste who are mostly poor is widespread in India.

So I will go back to the time in England when a poor starving boy who stole a loaf of bread was arrested and dragged to a court room without the representation of a competent lawyer was sentenced by a tough judge after a preliminary hearing and sentenced the poor child to be transported meaning sending him in a slave ship to Australia that had become a penal colony for England. Thousands of poor men, women and children were thus transported to Australia where many perished under extremely harsh conditions. Those who survived the long sea voyage, scurvy and diarrhea were forced to work to build prisons and other buildings. Here is a video to watch on the subject.

Source : U Tube video on transportation of convicts to Australia

Transportation had been used as a form of punishment since 1717. Under the “Bloody Code” , courts were looking for a punishment which was not as extreme as hanging, but tougher than a fine. In the absence of proper prisons, transportation seemed the answer and was used for over a hundred years. In the 18th century convicts were transported to America. After US independence in 1776, however, this option was closed and the British government looked for another destination. Australia had been mapped and claimed as British territory in 1770, so convicts began to be sent there. From 1787 to 1857, 162,000 British convicts were transported to Australia. Seven out of eight of these were males; some were as young as nine or ten; some were over eighty. Many political prisoners were transported, including Luddites, Chartists, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and Irish Nationalists.

They were sent first to the “hulks” -disused warships. Conditions on these rotting vessels were often terrible, with death rates of one in three. The long voyage to Australia could take six months. Many lives were lost among the convicts, locked in iron cages below decks in insanitary conditions, although by the end of the transportation era more care was taken and loss of life on the voyage was minimised.

Once in Australia, convicts lived in barracks and worked in gangs, building roads and bridges or working on farms or quarries. Some were sent out to work for farmers. If they behaved themselves, their sentence could be reduced by a “ticket of leave.” The majority of convicts decided to stay in Australia at the end of their sentences, recognising that they could make a better life there than returning to Britain and, probably, poverty and crime.

By the mid-19th century, however, opinion was turning against transportation. The “Bloody Code” had ended. It seemed wrong to offer convicts a free passage to build a new life in Australia when some people were paying to go. Removing criminals to another land did not seem to have had any effect on the crime-rate. Prisons were now considered a better method of punishing and/or reforming criminals and many new ones were being built. Most of all, Australians began to object strongly to their country being used as a dumping-ground for Britain’s criminals. ( Source : Wikipedia )

The courts in England were filled by lawyers in black robes in every corridor who looked important carrying voluminous documents with very sinister looks on their face because they literally were responsible for the fate of those who had broken the law in some way. The punishments were so severe for stealing a loaf of bread that even a starving child was not spared.

The courts are now filled with dockets that are given a number that the court clerk decides to present or not to present to the judge depending upon the severity of the crime or when the docket was filed but it has led to massive corruption in the justice system making the court clerks very rich.

Those who cannot pay the clerk may have their cases languish for years and never see the day when a verdict is reached. Some litigants may die, witnesses may vanish, documents may be forged, some people may be threatened or intimidated by the offending parties so there may be many reasons why a case is delayed for years.

The lawyers benefit for this delay because they get paid each time a case comes up for hearing so they always try to postpone it to a future date causing severe anguish to the people seeking justice.

A court is a horrible place filled with fear, anxiety, trepidation and a sense of finality that can destroy a person even if he is not guilty of any crime. We hear of numerous cases of miscarriage of justice when an innocent person is put in jail for twenty years for a crime he did not commit so who pays for his lost twenty years? Does a simple apology suffice? Why were innocent and hungry children sent to Australia and not given few loaves of bread and sent home? Was there no social service for them?

Now a days literally any person can be put in jail on trumped up charges that he has to fight in court and spend a great deal of money and time in jail just to prove that he is innocent.

I will now go back to the time when the king presided over a case and decided swiftly if the accused was guilty or not and gave the verdict accordingly. His court was not filled with back robed lawyers hovering over the accused like vultures but filled with dread and a sense of finality just the same because the king decided the fate of the accused without lengthy deliberations.

Source : Google photo of the elephant executing a convict in Akbar’s court

I have seen myself how justice was done during the time of Emperor Akbar. In his new capital Fatehpur Sikri , Akbar had a massive elephant chained to a peg of stone. This elephant was trained to execute a person who was given the death penalty by the king by stepping on his chest. The king was a very busy person and had many duties to fulfill as a ruler so his time was precious. This swift method of justice worked so well that very few people violated the laws. No one could be bribed in the King’s court.

Now many justices of the Supreme Court in India have demanded the reform of the justice system because they being lawyers have experienced the corruption that delays the justice but they have come up against a deeply entrenched system that maintains the status quo.

The lawyers benefit from the delays and the courts benefit from the income they get from the fees the litigants have to pay so people suffer. The lower courts are filled with cases filed there on frivolous grounds that do not merit court’s time. You will frequently hear of cases filed by people who want to sue someone for defamation even if they are known to be criminals. This has created a huge backlog of cases that wait for years to be heard.

To complicate the matter, there is a shortage of judges everywhere while the number of lawyers keep multiplying. Many universities churn out Law graduates in record numbers who want to become lawyers.

I will now write about a parallel justice system that exists in some countries even today so I will start with Haiti where I used to work as an agronomist. The Haitians often take their grievances to a court run by Houngans or voodoo priests who meet secretly or often not so secretly to deliver justice. You can hear their drum beats late at night when they gather somewhere to perform some voodoo rituals that are attended by a large number of people. These rituals are of religious nature that are not approved by the Bible thumpers but its origin is rooted in the African tribal culture they brought to Haiti long ago.

Source : Google photo of Haitian voodoo priests who run a parallel justice system

The houngans or the voodoo priests prepare a very powerful toxin they derive from the puffer fish and mix it with some other secret stuff. If someone steps on the powder unknowingly, he loses all control over his body and becomes like a corpse but does not lose his consciousness. This is how they punish a person who has committed a serious crime by making him a zombie They do not rise from their coffin but wander around after losing their mind.

In Africa where I have worked in many countries, I have learned that in all their villages, they have their village councils headed by their village chief. The chief and all the members of their village council are elected freely by the villagers so they serve free of charge for a certain period. If a member or the chief dies, they elect a new chief or the member again. The village council hears of cases of land dispute, domestic issues, petty crimes, thievery, sex related abuses and all such matters that they try to solve.

Source : Google photo of a village council in Africa for justice

Often the punishment can be in the form of a few goats or cows that the offender must give to the offended party or some money. They also serve as a counsel in the case of domestic violence or disputes. There are no jails for the accused but people generally respect the verdict of the council in any case so I found that their system really works in rural areas. The urban area crimes are a very different matter that are handled by the police and the courts.

This parallel system of justice at the village level in many countries in Africa and in other parts of the world serves the poor better than their court system rife with corruption and inefficient docket method delaying justice.

In any civilized society, we are supposed to be governed by laws that are promulgated by the elected members of the parliament or congress if the country has a democratic system. There are thousands of laws dating from antiquity while new ones are made all the time. There are thousands of old and obsolete laws that are no longer valid today but no one dares to remove them.

Now the present Minister of Law in India has been given the task of removing all the obsolete laws made during the British rule in India but it is a daunting task for any one person so I am sure he has a team of experts working on the subject.

One proposal that has been around for a while in India is to bring a mobile justice system to the poor where they live where a judge can solve the case quickly and move on to the next village. How it will be implemented remains to be seen. Most of the cases in rural areas come from land dispute that may often lead to violence. Then there are rape and sexual domestic violence cases so mobile system can bring relief to the poor people.

In the Philippines, they have the barangay ( barrio) courts where small disputes can be resolved often amicably without expensive lawyers and court fees. I have taken some offending people to the barangay office myself who had behaved badly.

The serious reform the justice system needs and demands worldwide has many obstacles thrown at it by the people who have vested interest in keeping the status quo.

Meanwhile people seeking redress to the injustice they suffer are waiting.

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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What is beauty ?

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Source : Google photo of the beauty the whole world appreciates

Synopsis : Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder as the cliché goes but true beauty is universal as exemplified by Miss Spain who was judged to be the Miss World. However different people have their own ideas about beauty and will go any length to promote it so this blog looks at the notion of beauty among different people.

Note : This blog is the new updated version of it published 5 years ago.

Human beings are obsessed with this question since they evolved from their primitive life so long ago and always disagree when it comes to define what beauty is. People say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you are the beholder and happen to be a strict orthodox Moslem or Jew then your definition of beauty will be wildly different from someone in another society. So how people define beauty essentially depends upon his religion, his ethnic background, his cultural background, his tribal heritage, his customs and taboos, his upbringing and lastly his education and social awareness.

The Caucasians for example like women with strong and pointed jaws and call such women beautiful while in Asia a woman with softer facial features, oval face and almond shaped eyes would be considered beautiful so there is no standard that is universally agreed upon because there is a strong cultural bias involved when it comes to calling someone beautiful. This cultural bias is inherent in all cultures because people are taught from their childhood what should be or not considered as beautiful and are loathe to accept anything contrary to their beliefs.

There was a time in China when a woman with very small feet was considered very beautiful so they bound their feet from their childhood very tightly .It resulted in agonizing pain all through their miserable lives because walking became so painful due to the enormous deformity that feet binding caused yet the practice continued until Mao Tse Tung banned it forever. You may not like Mao Tse Tung because he was such a monster in his personal life yet he did something good by declaring that men and women are equal and this abominable practice of binding the feet must stop. Some time it takes a strong person of ruthless courage and audacity to dictate to people who must give up certain practices that are inhuman and so painful.

I remember Kamal Ataturk who banned the practice of wearing Turkish Fez and veils for women in Turkey that was a very traditional Moslem country so women for the first time in their life felt the freedom from the oppressive veils that their men forced upon them and have never looked back since then. Turkey is considered to be one of the few Moslem countries where the women have been able to liberate themselves from the past taboos and norms through education and asking for equal rights thanks to Kamal Ataturk setting up an example of moderation that other less liberated women can aspire to. But Mao Tse Tung and Kamal Ataturk were called revolutionaries for a reason who decided that men must not judge women and dictate to them what they should or should not do and left a lasting legacy that changed their nation. Fidel Castro is another such legend who changed Cuba forever through his bold moves to make women equal to men in every way possible.

I include now a video on what is considered beautiful in different countries that you may not totally agree with but in each culture, people decide what is beautiful and what is not so some of them go to extreme measures as shown in the video to make themselves beautiful.

Source : U Tube video

When we come back to the notion of what is beautiful, we come back again to people who paint themselves into a corner in defining what is and who is beautiful so two people will never agree on this subject. Dark  people crave for lighter skin and fair people roast themselves in body tanning beds with ultra violet rays even if it is known to cause skin cancer. Women lie naked in beaches around the world to get a tan even if it is known to cause cancer.  You will read in the Indian newspapers matrimony section any day the ads for a bride who has wheat complexion by which they mean a woman of fair skin although some wheat varieties are quite brown in color.

In Burma the tribal women wear neck rings from a young age to extend their necks because long necks are considered beautiful by their men. They do it by adding rings each year that press down the collar bone with their weight and deform it permanently. The pity is that they can never take the brass rings off because the extended neck would collapse without it and bring about a quick death. In Africa especially in the Southern part of Ethiopia and Somalia, there are tribes that consider women with lip disks beautiful so these poor women cut their lips and insert a flat disk in it that they gradually increase in size over the years. I still do not understand how they can eat or drink anything with such disks on their face but the tradition continues.

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Source : Google photo of an African woman with braided hair.

In other parts of Africa, the Dinka people in South Sudan consider their women pretty who wear facial scars. These scars are made by cutting the skin regularly and putting on the poultice of herbal paste to heal it. Some tribes wear the scars on their face and body to distinguish themselves from other tribes who may develop a different pattern of scars like cattle branding in some countries. Among the Fulanis of West Africa, men wear make up with paint, beads and other means to attract females during festivals where women gather to select their mates. This is not so different from the birds that try to attract females with colorful plumage or by decorating nests with feathers and pebbles.

You will notice that in the animal kingdom, usually it is the male that is more beautiful and gorgeous than the females where the males fight it out to win their mates. The females then get to choose the strongest and healthiest males who will then sire genetically strong offspring.  Now it is scientifically proven that humans do the same although it is done subconsciously. When a man looks at a woman for the first time, he checks out how wide is her hips and how tall she is, how large her breasts are etc. because he is wired to think that way in order to decide if the woman will produce healthy kids. Women too are genetically wired to think of their male partners from the point of view of breeding although it may sound a bit crude but such are the laws of nature that guide us through this process even without us realizing it consciously. They are impressed by the tall, athletic looking male with broad shoulders, narrow hips and strong physique. This is called the first impression that may lead to some patent pick up phrases men like to use to impress the girl.

But in all societies, they place more emphasis on female beauty than on male so it is a boon to the industry that produces mind boggling array of products that will turn an ugly woman into a beautiful one instantly. There are creams to whiten the skin, creams to make the breasts bigger and fuller, elevator shoes to make a woman taller when nothing else works, hair colors of numerous  shades , special bras to uplift the breasts, special jeans ( at a  special price for a limited time) to hide the bulges. So women low in self esteem fall for these gimmicks and have helped make the cosmetics a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. These snake oil peddlers see no limit to their income as long as some women feel that they are ugly and need their dubious products. The TV is full of commercials of this type of ads 24, 7 so you can imagine its effect on people.

We know from the history books that Cleopatra took a milk bath in a gold bath tub everyday to make her skin soft and beautiful but she was a beautiful woman albeit vain as most women are  but don’t worry . The cosmetics industry has something better at a cheaper price. Who said women are not suckers? The traditional society depends more on its resources than the commercial products because of economics so it is a practice among the Hindus for example to scrub a woman with a paste of milk cream and turmeric before the all too important marriage interview. They swear by their Holy book that it works and turns dark skinned and unlovely women into someone more presentable. If they fail the interview then they must try again such are the rules of the traditional society.

The western woman on the other hand is more gullible to the snake oil peddlers and will try anything to look better. It may include Botox injection or cosmetic surgeries or who knows what else? The wise people say that a beautiful woman does not need Botox or surgery to look better but it falls on deaf ears of women who think they are not pretty and want to improve their looks by cosmetics and clothes. Women more than men are influenced by what others think of them and not by what they think of themselves. Then there is peer pressure. If wearing very tight shorts cut to the crotch is the fashion then they all run to buy the shorts. If wearing jeans cut in shreds at the knee is the fashion then they buy such jeans and the razor blades. No woman wants to be accused of not being  in tune with the current fashion be it the hair color, tight shorts or shredded jeans. The fashion is a fad worldwide but like all fads, it changes every now and then.

I see this craze here in the Philippines where some women over 60 forget their age and wear inappropriate clothing that are more suitable for teen agers and even go to church like that to the dismay of the padres. A great deal of what you see as fashion starts overseas somewhere and is brought to you through the TV and the movies  so it becomes the thing to do unless one wants to be labeled as old fashioned and not with the current vogue.

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Source : Google photo of an African woman of Fulani tribe in Mali

Now let us go back to the tribal societies of Africa and try to understand why they do what they do to make the women look pretty and what is it they consider pretty. Again it all comes down to what men think of them because their make ups, beads and paints are meant to impress their potential mates so it is more biological than anything else. They did not have the beads before the Westerners came to “discover” their land and the tribes. The traders brought with them beads, paints and mirrors, clothes, trinkets and tools and lastly guns so that the tribes could massacre each other paving the way for the whites to settle on their land. So the tribes used seeds of plants to make necklace, natural colors made from plants and earth to paint their body, animal teeth as decorations, animal hides to make clothes and women braided their hairs. This braiding is an art and time consuming but it does make a woman look very pretty. You only have to see how the Malian women braid their hair in so complicated and beautiful ways.

Scooper - Mali News: Dear Ladies, See The Latest Hairstyles We Are  Currently Eyeing This Christmas

Source : Google photo of hair braiding in Mali

Our daughter was so impressed when she went to Zambia that she had her hair braided the African way that took her hours to untangle later but such is the price women pay to look pretty. I am not talking about cutting the skin to develop scars because that is too extreme but there are ways a woman can look better without spending a lot of money. The African women know this so they go for the intricate hair styles that do not cost money but a lot of time. They say they have all the time in the world so who is complaining?

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Source : Google photo of women with henna design

Another thing women in some countries do is to paint their hands and face with henna to look pretty. In India henna is known since a long time but you have to see the Egyptian or the Sudanese women how artfully they paint their hands. It is also used widely among the women in the Middle East when they are at peace which is seldom.  Then there are the nose piercing, ear piercing and belly button piercing that many women do to wear ornaments. The hippies started even piercing their eye brows and put rings there but what do they know?

The puritanical societies in the United States still look down on any kind of piercing and are shocked if their daughters pierce their ears and wear rings. As I have written earlier, the likes and dislikes are rooted in their beliefs, their tribal customs, their upbringing and many other things so what is considered beautiful in one country may not be considered so in another. I am partial to women who have oval face, soft jaw bones, almond shaped eyes that are big and expressive , good skin, tall, black lustrous hair that is long and well groomed, good posture, long neck (without the rings) and regal poise. Only Amparo Munoz comes close. I do not consider Hollywood movie stars pretty although some have sunny personalities  but then I may be biased in favor of Asian or Middle eastern women because I was brought up to appreciate beauty in women in a certain way only.

So my last word on this topic is what makes a woman beautiful is not necessarily her pretty face and all the other attributes that I mentioned earlier but her inner beauty that shines through if she is a loving, caring, moral, very educated, with empathy for others, not vain, not selfish, helpful, generous, gifted with artistic abilities, sharp mind and a loving heart. Such a woman is a lovely woman anywhere.

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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