Jefe's House

Tag: muslims

Remnants of Jewish Kolkata

by on Jan.31, 2015, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe






A Shaheb’s Guide to India

shaheb – (India; also saheb, sahib; from the Hindi and Urdu sāhab, master; from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion; participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends) 
1. formerly, a term of respect for any  male landowner
2. formerly, a term of respect for white European men during the British colonial era
3. (modern) any white man
Temple Beth-El built in 1856.

Kolkata’s oldest synagogue, Beth-El, built in 1856.

There only 25 Jews left in Kolkata but three large, old synagogues speak to their former vast numbers. They were Baghdadi Jews from the Middle East. Getting into these synagogues as an outsider is no easy feat. The Kolkata cabbies haven’t a clue nor do most native Kolkatans you ask.

You have to go to a certain bakery on the first floor of the historic New Market bazaar, get a phone number and call it, speak to a certain Jewish woman who’ll give you directions, then you go to the sites and mention her name to the groundskeepers so they know you’re legit, then they let you inside where you must be accompanied by a guide at all times. Suggested donation is 100 rupees (about $2.00).  I jumped through all of these hoops and it was well worth it.

We first step inside the Magen David (slideshow) synagogue built in 1884 and the guide, a slight Indian in his 30′s with a boyish face, sticks a yarmulke on my head. He barely speaks English. I barely speak Bangla. It goes like this: (continue reading…)

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US Paramilitaries* Ordered to Principal’s Office to Get Slap on Wrist

by on Mar.23, 2010, under The Truth Is In Here

Originally posted 3/16/10 by Jefe Von Stanley on  *UPDATE 7/26/10:  When I first posted this, some took issue with my use of the word “paramilitary” to describe US Special Forces in Afghanistan.  Well, just 4 months later the infamous Afghanistan archive has been leaked by Wiki-leaks, and lo and behold, the summary of its contents according to the New York Times includes the fact that “the Central Intelligence Agency has expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan.”  The AP also tells us this week that “some American military commando operations may have amounted to war crimes.”]  Happy now?  I rest my case.

 No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Except that one’s a “reign of terror” and the other’s just a li’l misunderstanding. But you know I would never make an incendiary remark, so you decide whether US Special Forces often operate an awful lot like Bosnian Serb paramilitaries* in the 1990s when it comes to their regard for the Muslim civilian populace.

New York Times, 3/16/10
Special Operations forces have been responsible for a large number of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan and operate by their own rules…These special forces were not accountable to anyone in the country… Last year…there were 596 civilian deaths attributed to coalition forces, according to United Nations figures. Afghan and United Nations officials blame Special Operations troops for most of those deaths.

“In most of the cases of civilian casualties, special forces are involved,” said Mohammed Iqbal Safi, head of the defense committee in the Afghan Parliament.

“These forces often operate with little or no accountability and exacerbate the anger and resentment felt by communities,” the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan wrote in its report on protection of civilians for 2009. [No UN charges have been brought against any US military personnel because they apologized, and therefore they're not guilty.]

UN News Centre, 7/23/07
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has decided that, in the interest of justice, two Bosnian Serb paramilitaries charged with multiple crimes…will be tried jointly [at the Hague].

Continued at .


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