Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Nelson Mandela is symbol of struggle. He is still leading the fight against apartheid with extraordinary vigor and resilience after spending nearly three decades of his life behind bars. He has sacrificed his private life and his youth for his people, and remains South Africa's best known and loved hero.

Mandela has held numerous positions in the African National Congress (ANC): African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) secretary (1948); ANCYL president (1950); ANC Transvaal president (1952); deputy national president (1952) and ANC president (1991).



A Brief Biography

He was born at Qunu, near Umtata on 18 July 1918.
His father, Henry Mgadla Mandela, was chief councillor to Thembuland's acting paramount chief David Dalindyebo. When his father died, Mandela became the chief's ward and was groomed for the chieftainship.
Mandela matriculated at Healdtown Methodist Boarding School and then started a BA degree at Fort Hare. As an SRC member he participated in a student strike and was expelled, along with the late Oliver Tambo, in 1940. He completed his degree by correspondence from Johannesburg, did articles of clerkship and enrolled for an LLB at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 1944 he helped found the ANC Youth League, whose Programme of Action was adopted by the ANC in 1949.
Mandela was elected national volunteer-in-chief of the 1952 Defiance Campaign. He travelled the country organising resistance to discriminatory legislation.
He was given a suspended sentence for his part in the campaign. Shortly afterwards a banning order confined him to Johannesburg for six months. During this period he formulated the "M Plan", in terms of which ANC branches were broken down into underground cells.
By 1952 Mandela and Tambo had opened the first black legal firm in the country, and Mandela was both Transvaal president of the ANC and deputy national president.
A petition by the Transvaal Law Society to strike Mandela off the roll of attorneys was refused by the Supreme Court.
In the 'fifties, after being forced through constant bannings to resign officially from the ANC, Mandela analysed the Bantustan policy as a political swindle. He predicted mass removals, political persecutions and police terror.
For the second half of the 'fifties, he was one of the accused in the Treason Trial. With Duma Nokwe, he conducted the defence.
When the ANC was banned after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, he was detained until 1961 when he went underground to lead a campaign for a new national convention.
Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC, was born the same year. Under his leadership it launched a campaign of sabotage against government and economic installations.
In 1962 Mandela left the country for military training in Algeria and to arrange training for other MK members.
On his return he was arrested for leaving the country illegally and for incitement to strike. He conducted his own defence. He was convicted and jailed for five years in November 1962. While serving his sentence, he was charged, in the Rivonia trial, with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
A decade before being imprisoned, Mandela had spoken out against the introduction of Bantu Education, recommending that community activists "make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning".

Robben Island, where he was imprisoned, became a centre for learning, and Mandela was a central figure in the organised political education classes.

In prison Mandela never compromised his political principles and was always a source of strength for the other prisoners.
During the 'seventies he refused the offer of a remission of sentence if he recognised Transkei and settled there.
In the 'eighties he again rejected PW Botha's offer of freedom if he renounced violence.
It is significant that shortly after his release on Sunday 11 February 1990, Mandela and his delegation agreed to the suspension of armed struggle.
Mandela has honorary degrees from more than 50 international universities and is chancellor of the University of the North.
He was inaugurated as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa on 10 May 1994 - June 1999
Nelson Mandela retired from Public life in June 1999. He currently resides in his birth place - Qunu, Transkei.
Mandela accepted the Nobel Peace Prize as an accolade to all people who have worked for peace and stood against racism. It was as much an award to his person as it was to the ANC and all South Africa s people. In particular, he regards it as a tribute to the people of Norway who stood against apartheid while many in the world were silent.


WINNIE MANDELA (nee Winnie Madikizela-Mandela) is one of the world’s most prominent women of color. She was widely admired as being a symbol of anti-apartheid. She suffered many transgressions because of her husband’s (Nelson Mandela) political beliefs and persecution. Here the newled is pictured above in 1957. No new bride could ever imagine her happily ever after would last only five weeks before the world would cave in. NELSON MANDELA was imprisoned for 27 years after their marriage.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific similar to madam for older, revered women, literally meaning "aunt". She was born on 19 June 1945 in Rangoon. Her father, General Aung San, who is considered to be the father of modern-day Burma, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma's independence from the United Kingdom in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo in Rangoon. Then the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where she met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions. Suu Kyi was educated in Methodist English High School (Now known as Basic Education High School No.1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages. She is a Theravada Buddhist.

Suu Kyi's mother, Daw Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960,

and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, graduating from Lady Shri Ram College with a degree in politics in New Delhi in 1964.
Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh's College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1969. After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend and worked at the United Nations for three years, primarily on budget matters. In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Dr. Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Following this, she earned a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She was elected an Honorary Fellow in 1990. For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas. Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997. Suu Kyi was unwilling to depart to meet  Aris, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the junta's assurance that she could return.

Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She also remains separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom.

In 1990, the military junta called a general election,
which the National League for Democracy won by an overwhelming 82% of the votes. Being the NLD's candidate, Aung San Suu Kyi under normal circumstances would have assumed the office of Prime Minister. Instead, the results were nullified, and the military refused to hand over power. This resulted in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue  in Rangoon. During her arrest, she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990, and the Nobel Peace Prize the year after. Her sons Alexander and Kim accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi used the Nobel Peace Prize's 1.3 million USD prize money to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people.

Periods under detention

  • 20 July 1989: Placed under house arrest in Rangoon under martial law that allows for detention without charge or trial for three years.
  • 10 July 1995: Released from house arrest.
  • 23 September 2000: Placed under house arrest.
  • 6 May 2002: Released after 19 months.
  • 30 May 2003: Arrested following the Depayin massacre, she was held in secret detention for more than three months before being returned to house arrest.
  • 25 May 2007: House arrest extended by one year despite a direct appeal from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to General Than Shwe.
  • 24 October 2007: Reached 12 years under house arrest, solidarity protests held at 12 cities around the world.
  • 27 May 2008: House arrest extended for another year, which is illegal under both international law and Burma's own law.
  • 11 August 2009: House arrest extended for 18 more months because of "violation" arising from the May 2009 trespass incident.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lamas have functioned as the principal spiritual guide to many Himalayan kingdoms bordering Tibet, as well as western China, Mongolia and Ladakh. The literary works of the Dalai Lamas have, over the centuries, inspired more than fifty million people in these regions. Those writings, reflecting the fusion of Buddhist philosophy embodied in Tibetan Buddhism, have become one of the world's great repositories of spiritual thought.

In religious terms, the Dalai Lama is believed by his devotees to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus who descend from the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Traditionally, His Holiness is thought of as the latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the director of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence.

Between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lamas were the directors of the Tibetan Government, administering a large portion of the area from the capital Lhasa, although the extent of that lineage's historical authority, legitimacy and claim to territory has been recently contested for political reasons. Since 1959, the Dalai Lama has been president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, or Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

During 1578 the Mongol ruler Altan Khan bestowed what would later become the title Dalai Lama on Sonam Gyatso, which was also later applied retroactively to the two predecessors in his reincarnation line, Gendun Drup and Gendun Gyatso. Gendun Gyatso was also Sonam Gyatso's predecessor as abbot of Drepung monastery. However, the 14th Dalai Lama asserts that Altan Khan did not intend to bestow a title as such and that he intended only to translate the name "Sonam Gyatso" into Mongolian.

List of Dalai Lamas



The 14th Dalai Lama's Nobel Lecture 

Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989 

Brothers and Sisters:

It is an honour and pleasure to be among you today. I am really happy to see so many old friends who have come from different corners of the world, and to make new friends, whom I hope to meet again in the future. When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.
Thinking over what I might say today, I decided to share with you some of my thoughts concerning the common problems all of us face as members of the human family. Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy. I speak to you as just another human being; as a simple monk. If you find what I say useful, then I hope you will try to practise it.

I also wish to share with you today my feelings concerning the plight and aspirations of the people of Tibet. The Nobel Prize is a prize they well deserve for their courage and unfailing determination during the past forty years of foreign occupation. As a free spokesman for my captive countrymen and -women, I feel it is my duty to speak out on their behalf. I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.

The realisation that we are all basically the same human beings, who seek happiness and try to avoid suffering, is very helpful in developing a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood; a warm feeling of love and compassion for others. This, in turn, is essential if we are to survive in this ever shrinking world we live in. For if we each selfishly pursue only what we believe to be in our own interest, without caring about the needs of others, we not only may end up harming others but also ourselves. This fact has become very clear during the course of this century. We know that to wage a nuclear war today, for example, would be a form of suicide; or that by polluting the air or the oceans, in order to achieve some short-term benefit, we are destroying the very basis for our survival. As interdependents, therefore, we have no other choice than to develop what I call a sense of universal responsibility.

Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. We not only know what happens elsewhere, thanks to the extraordinary modern communications technology. We are also directly affected by events that occur far away. We feel a sense of sadness when children are starving in Eastern Africa. Similarly, we feel a sense of joy when a family is reunited after decades of separation by the Berlin Wall. Our crops and livestock are contaminated and our health and livelihood threatened when a nuclear accident happens miles away in another country. Our own security is enhanced when peace breaks out between warring parties in other continents.

But war or peace; the destruction or the protection of nature; the violation or promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; poverty or material well-being; the lack of moral and spiritual values or their existence and development; and the breakdown or development of human understanding, are not isolated phenomena that can be analysed and tackled independently of one another. In fact, they are very much interrelated at all levels and need to be approached with that understanding.

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighbouring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace. The other phenomena mentioned above are similarly interrelated. Thus, for example, we see that a clean environment, wealth or democracy mean little in the face of war, especially nuclear war, and that material development is not sufficient to ensure human happiness.

Material progress is of course important for human advancement. In Tibet, we paid much too little attention to technological and economic development, and today we realise that this was a mistake. At the same time, material development without spiritual development can also cause serious problems, In some countries too much attention is paid to external things and very little importance is given to inner development. I believe both are important and must be developed side by side so as to achieve a good balance between them. Tibetans are always described by foreign visitors as being a happy, jovial people. This is part of our national character, formed by cultural and religious values that stress the importance of mental peace through the generation of love and kindness to all other living sentient beings, both human and animal. Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. In that state of mind you can deal with situations with calmness and reason, while keeping your inner happiness. That is very important. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed or unhappy because of circumstances.

Clearly, it is of great importance, therefore, to understand the interrelationship among these and other phenomena, and to approach and attempt to solve problems in a balanced way that takes these different aspects into consideration. Of course it is not easy. But it is of little benefit to try to solve one problem if doing so creates an equally serious new one. So really we have no alternative: we must develop a sense of universal responsibility not only in the geographic sense, but also in respect to the different issues that confront our planet.

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually. Peace, for example, starts with each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighbouring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.

I am very encouraged by the developments which are taking place around us. After the young people of many countries, particularly in northern Europe, have repeatedly called for an end to the dangerous destruction of the environment which was being conducted in the name of economic development, the world's political leaders are now starting to take meaningful steps to address this problem. The report to the United Nations Secretary-General by the World Commission on the Environment and Development (the Brundtland Report) was an important step in educating governments on the urgency of the issue. Serious efforts to bring peace to war-torn zones and to implement the right to self-determination of some people have resulted in the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the establishment of independent Namibia. Through persistent nonviolent popular efforts dramatic changes, bringing many countries closer to real democracy, have occurred in many places, from Manila in the Philippines to Berlin in East Germany. With the Cold War era apparently drawing to a close, people everywhere live with renewed hope. Sadly, the courageous efforts of the Chinese people to bring similar change to their country was brutally crushed last June. But their efforts too are a source of hope. The military might has not extinguished the desire for freedom and the determination of the Chinese people to achieve it. I particularly admire the fact that these young people who have been taught that "power grows from the barrel of the gun", chose, instead, to use nonviolence as their weapon.
What these positive changes indicate, is that reason, courage, determination, and the inextinguishable desire for freedom can ultimately win. In the struggle between forces of war, violence and oppression on the one hand, and peace, reason and freedom on the other, the latter are gaining the upper hand. This realisation fills us Tibetans with hope that some day we too will once again be free.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize to me, a simple monk from faraway Tibet, here in Norway, also fills us Tibetans with hope. It means, despite the fact that we have not drawn attention to our plight by means of violence, we have not been forgotten. It also means that the values we cherish, in particular our respect for all forms of life and the belief in the power of truth, are today recognised and encouraged. It is also a tribute to my mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, whose example is an inspiration to so many of us. This year's award is an indication that this sense of universal responsibility is developing. I am deeply touched by the sincere concern shown by so many people in this part of the world for the suffering of the people of Tibet. That is a source of hope not only for us Tibetans, but for all oppressed people.

As you know, Tibet has, for forty years, been under foreign occupation. Today, more than a quarter of a million Chinese troops are stationed in Tibet. Some sources estimate the occupation army to be twice this strength. During this time, Tibetans have been deprived of their most basic human rights, including the right to life, movement, speech, worship, only to mention a few. More than one sixth of Tibet's population of six million died as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation. Even before the Cultural Revolution started, many of Tibet's monasteries, temples and historic buildings were destroyed. Almost everything that remained was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. I do not wish to dwell on this point, which is well documented. What is important to realise, however, is that despite the limited freedom granted after 1979, to rebuild parts of some monasteries and other such tokens of liberalisation, the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people are still today being systematically violated. In recent months this bad situation has become even worse.

If it were not for our community in exile, so generously sheltered and supported by the government and people of India and helped by organisations and individuals from many parts of the world, our nation would today be little more than a shattered remnant of a people. Our culture, religion and national identity would have been effectively eliminated. As it is, we have built schools and monasteries in exile and have created democratic institutions to serve our people and preserve the seeds of our civilisation. With this experience, we intend to implement full democracy in a future free Tibet. Thus, as we develop our community in exile on modern lines, we also cherish and preserve our own identity and culture and bring hope to millions of our countrymen and -women in Tibet.

The issue of most urgent concern at this time, is the massive influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet. Although in the first decades of occupation a considerable number of Chinese were transferred into the eastern parts of Tibet - in the Tibetan provinces of Amdo (Chinghai) and Kham (most of which has been annexed by neighboring Chinese provinces) - since 1983 an unprecedented number of Chinese have been encouraged by their government to migrate to all parts of Tibet, including central and western Tibet (which the People's Republic of China refers to as the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region). Tibetans are rapidly being reduced to an insignificant minority in their own country. This development, which threatens the very survival of the Tibetan nation, its culture and spiritual heritage, can still be stopped and reversed. But this must be done now, before it is too late.

The new cycle of protest and violent repression, which started in Tibet in September of 1987 and culminated in the imposition of martial law in the capital, Lhasa, in March of this year, was in large part a reaction to this tremendous Chinese influx. Information reaching us in exile indicates that the protest marches and other peaceful forms of protest are continuing in Lhasa and a number of other places in Tibet, despite the severe punishment and inhumane treatment given to Tibetans detained for expressing their grievances. The number of Tibetans killed by security forces during the protest in March and of those who died in detention afterwards is not known but is believed to be more than two hundred. Thousands have been detained or arrested and imprisoned, and torture is commonplace.

It was against the background of this worsening situation and in order to prevent further bloodshed, that I proposed what is generally referred to as the Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. I elaborated on the plan in a speech in Strasbourg last year. I believe the plan provides a reasonable and realistic framework for negotiations with the People's Republic of China. So far, however, China's leaders have been unwilling to respond constructively. The brutal suppression of the Chinese democracy movement in June of this year, however, reinforced my view that any settlement of the Tibetan question will only be meaningful if it is supported by adequate international guarantees.

The Five-Point Peace Plan addresses the principal and interrelated issues, which I referred to in the first part of this lecture. It calls for (1) Transformation of the whole of Tibet, including the eastern provinces of Kham and Amdo, into a zone of Ahimsa (nonviolence); (2) Abandonment of China's population transfer policy; (3) Respect for the Tibetan people's fundamental rights and democratic freedoms; (4) Restoration and protection of Tibet's natural environment; and (5) Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people. In the Strasbourg address I proposed that Tibet become a fully self-governing democratic political entity.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain the Zone of Ahimsa or peace sanctuary concept, which is the central element of the Five-Point Peace Plan. I am convinced that it is of great importance not only for Tibet, but for peace and stability in Asia.

It is my dream that the entire Tibetan plateau should become a free refuge where humanity and nature can live in peace and in harmonious balance. It would be a place where people from all over the world could come to seek the true meaning of peace within themselves, away from the tensions and pressures of much of the rest of the world. Tibet could indeed become a creative center for the promotion and development of peace.

The following are key elements of the proposed Zone of Ahimsa:

- the entire Tibetan plateau would be demilitarised;
- the manufacture, testing, and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other armaments on the Tibetan plateau would be prohibited;
- the Tibetan plateau would be transformed into the world's largest natural park or biosphere. Strict laws would be enforced to protect wildlife and plant life; the exploitation of natural resources would be carefully regulated so as not to damage relevant ecosystems; and a policy of sustainable development would be adopted in populated areas;
- the manufacture and use of nuclear power and other technologies which produce hazardous waste would be prohibited;
- national resources and policy would be directed towards the active promotion of peace and environmental protection. Organisations dedicated to the furtherance of peace and to the protection of all forms of life would find a hospitable home in Tibet;
- the establishment of international and regional organisations for the promotion and protection of human rights would be encouraged in Tibet.

Tibet's height and size (the size of the European Community), as well as its unique history and profound spiritual heritage makes it ideally suited to fulfill the role of a sanctuary of peace in the strategic heart of Asia. It would also be in keeping with Tibet's historical role as a peaceful Buddhist nation and buffer region separating the Asian continent's great and often rival powers.

In order to reduce existing tensions in Asia, the President of the Soviet Union, Mr. Gorbachev, proposed the demilitarisation of Soviet-Chinese borders and their transformation into "a frontier of peace and good-neighborliness". The Nepal government had earlier proposed that the Himalayan country of Nepal, bordering on Tibet, should become a zone of peace, although that proposal did not include demilitarisation of the country.

For the stability and peace of Asia, it is essential to create peace zones to separate the continent's biggest powers and potential adversaries. President Gorbachev's proposal, which also included a complete Soviet troop withdrawal from Mongolia, would help to reduce tension and the potential for confrontation between the Soviet Union and China. A true peace zone must, clearly, also be created to separate the world's two most populous states, China and India.

The establishment of the Zone of Ahimsa would require the withdrawal of troops and military installations from Tibet, which would enable India and Nepal also to withdraw troops and military installations from the Himalayan regions bordering Tibet. This would have to be achieved by international agreements. It would be in the best interest of all states in Asia, particularly China and India, as it would enhance their security, while reducing the economic burden of maintaining high troop concentrations in remote areas.

Tibet would not be the first strategic area to be demilitarised. Parts of the Sinai peninsula, the Egyptian territory separating Israel and Egypt, have been demilitarised for some time. Of course, Costa Rica is the best example of an entirely demilitarised country. Tibet would also not be the first area to be turned into a natural preserve or biosphere. Many parks have been created throughout the world. Some very strategic areas have been turned into natural "peace parks". Two examples are the La Amistad Park, on the Costa Rica-Panama border and the Si A Paz project on the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border.

When I visited Costa Rica earlier this year, I saw how a country can develop successfully without an army, to become a stable democracy committed to peace and the protection of the natural environment. This confirmed my belief that my vision of Tibet in the future is a realistic plan, not merely a dream.

Let me end with a personal note of thanks to all of you and our friends who are not here today. The concern and support which you have expressed for the plight of the Tibetans have touched us all greatly, and continue to give us courage to struggle for freedom and justice: not through the use of arms, but with the powerful weapons of truth and determination. I know that I speak on behalf of all the people of Tibet when I thank you and ask you not to forget Tibet at this critical time in our country's history. We too hope to contribute to the development of a more peaceful, more humane and more beautiful world. A future free Tibet will seek to help those in need throughout the world, to protect nature, and to promote peace. I believe that our Tibetan ability to combine spiritual qualities with a realistic and practical attitude enables us to make a special contribution, in however modest a way. This is my hope and prayer.

In conclusion, let me share with you a short prayer which gives me great inspiration and determination:

For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

Thank you.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Irwin Abrams, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1997

Sunday, March 21, 2010

8 Effects of High Gas Prices on Small Business Owners

Direct Cost Increase

Whenever you drive for a business purpose – even to and from work – you are paying more then you did a year ago. This direct price increase may only be slight for wage earning employees, but small business owners typically drive a lot more. Between trips to the local Office Depot, frequent visits to their place of business, trips to the bank, and trips on behalf of customers, that extra $0.50 - $2.00 per gallon can really add up.

Increased Shipping Costs

One place the cost of fuel has had a direct impact on is the cost of shipping. This increase is passed-down directly to the consumer. This means that the price of everything is going up (i.e. price of supplies, inventory, merchandise, etc.), and the overall cost of running a small business will continue to reflect this problem.

More Reliance on E-mail and Fax

Due to the direct increase in shipping costs, small business owners are increasing their usage of e-mail and fax machines. Paying to ship large documents or contracts just costs too much these days. A lot of businesses are also turning to virtual fax machines that let you scan documents to fax out and receive faxes through one’s e-mail address.

Less Employee Candidates

Due to the high cost of commuting, people are beginning to only seek employment near their homes. This can drastically reduce the number of applicants who will apply for a position. It is especially troublesome for restaurant owners or stores that frequently hire teenagers.

Higher Wages for Employees

When you do find and hire employees, it is likely that you are going to have to pay them higher wages to compensate for the higher commute expenses. This is especially true for businesses located outside of a dense city and your employees must drive long distances to get to work.

Less Face to Face Meetings

Pretty much everyone in the country is looking to reduce his or her gas consumption and save money. This means business owners will need to adapt to more virtual means of communication that avoid the gas of driving to face-to-face meetings. Expect to conduct additional business calls, and even videoconferences. These forms of communication are less personable, thus reducing the chances that you will “win” a contract or a customer based upon your people skills.

Higher Prices for Prime Locations

The housing boom a decade away led the path to sprawl, where middle income Americans moved to the suburbs in record numbers. However, with record fuel costs, they are driving less. This means the cost of prime locations is likely to skyrocket. Consumers are no longer willing to drive long distances to get a good deal. In addition, advertising will waste money if your store is a long drive for potential customers.

Less Drive by Traffic

As consumers drive less and seek-out alternative modes of transportation, the importance of drive by traffic and advertising is going to be less and less effective. Instead, owners of brick and mortar stores are going to need to adapt to more results-driven forms of advertising.

(ArticlesBase SC #501401)

Fast Cars and Sports Cars

Sports cars are automobiles that have the ability to generate high top speeds. They are generally light weight with a low center of gravity and possess powerful engines to propel them to high speeds. Aesthetics have formed an important aspect of modern sports cars as they are known for their sleek design. Rear-wheel drives are designed for more precise handling, an important need of these vehicles. However, there are other layouts available as well. Race cars are types of sports car but they are not an all inclusive type for example Lamborghini does not build racing cars and solely produces sports car for the consumer.

The history of sports car traces its roots to the early 20th century where touring cars were used in early rallys such as the Monte Carlo. The 3 liter 1910 Vauxhall 20 hp (15KW) and 27/80 PS Austro-Daimler, designed by Porsche, can be regarded as the first true sports cars, even though they were not called that. Austin with the 'Seven' and Morris Garages (MG) with the 'Midget' were two of the first companies to offer reliable sports cars.

Sports cars need to have precise handling and different layouts are employed to ensure that. The layout of having a rear-wheel drive with the engine at the front has survived in sports cars. Other layouts such as the RMR layout deployed by manufacturers like Ferrari and Lamborghini have the added advantages of improved handling and better weight distribution. In the RMR layout the motor is located in the center in the chassis behind the driver.

Porsche still uses the traditional rear-engine, rear-wheel driver layout that provides excellent traction but has the disadvantage of being more prone to over steer. Porsche has tried to add electronic aids to driving and intelligent designs, as well as features, to combat these problems inherent to the layout. The front-engine, front-wheel drive layout is used by some sports car manufacturers to provide the advantages of being smaller and light weight.

Four-wheel drive was not traditionally used in sports cars but after the success of Audi Quattro, the four-wheel drive has been adopted by many sports cars manufacturers such as Porsche, Lamborghini and the Buggati Veyron. These cars need high power hence the use of a four-wheel drive makes sense.

Sports cars have the advantages of reaching high speeds and acute handling but they usually fail as far as practicality is concerned. Most sports cars are extremely expensive and have a poor rate of fuel consumption, adding extra costs for the consumer. People who seek adrenaline need to pay a hefty price. Most sports cars are 2 seaters hence they are not practical for a family as well. Some of them have integrated small back seats which can be used for luggage or small children. The likes of the Mazda RX-8 can better accommodate extra passengers thanks to its two small backward opening doors. Lamborghini even flirted with the idea of placing the driver in the middle of the car with two passengers on either side. The idea was considered for the Lamborghini Miura but abandoned ironically for its impracticality. Increasing the seating room is one of the ways through which manufactures have tried to increase the practicality of sports cars. Sports car manufacturers have also looked to improve fuel efficiency and reduce prices to increase popularity.

Fuel oil handling Systems (FOHS) and storage tanks

Fuel Oil Handling:
Thermo System undertakes complete Design, Engineering, Supply, Fabrication, Installation, Erection, Testing & Commissioning

of FOHS for different type of fuels (HFO, HSD, LDO, Naphtha etc) to be stored. Complete mechanical, electrical and

instrumentation is covered.

Typical Fuel Oil Handling System consists of unloading hose, decanting and transfer facilities, pumping and heating unit (if applicable), bulk storage tank, day tank and the process utility piping.

Unloading Skid:
Used for unloading the fuel from tankers / wagons through hoses
A typical unloading skid consists of
Suction strainers
Pumps with drives
Instrumentation (pressure, temperature & flow)
Interconnecting piping with valves mounted on a common base frame

Bulk Storage Tank:
Designed to API 650 and IS 803 standards to accommodate the Fuel Oil unloaded from tankers / wagons. These can be vertical

fixed / floating roof tanks with material of construction of SS 316 / SS304 / Carbon steel.
A typical storage tank consists of
Electrical / steam heaters
Flame and lightings arresters
Breather valves
Instrumentation (level and temperature)
Thermal insulation

Transfer Skid:
Used for transferring the fuel from storage tanks to the day tanks
A typical transfer skid consists of
suction strainers
pumps with drives
instrumentation (pressure, termperature & flow)
interconnecting piping with valves
inline heaters on the pump discharge line mounted on a common base frame.

Day Tanks:
Designed to accommodate the day’s requirement of fuel and located near the utility point.

Pumping & Heating (PHF) Unit:
PHF unit is used to transfer the fuel from day tanks to the utility point i.e. boiler firing, furnace firing, engine etc at a required pressure, temperature & flowrate.
A typical PHF unit consists of:
Inline Heater.
Instrumentation (pressure, temperature, flow, viscosity etc)
Pressure regulating / control valves

The balance scope as described in the transfer skid.

The total process utility piping (CS/SS) - starting from unloading point to utility point along with the necessary

accessories and instrumentation.

This comprises of power distribution from control instruments like RTDs, thermostats etc. for control and monitoring of

various parameters in the system.
To know more, Visit: Fuel Oil Handling

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Karachi A Time Bomb

The growing unrest in Pakistan is raising many alarming questions about the integrity of this troubled Islamic Country.

Recent development in Swat region and the restoration of “System of Justice” or in local language “Nizam-e-Adal” brought some satisfaction to the residents of this area who witnessed the development with a hope that peace would return soon. Unfortunately after some days fake video clips started pouring in the international media and most unfortunately these reports were not verified by any responsible media people before airing them and using them as tool to trigger negative propaganda to sabotage the deal between ANP Government and the Local Talibans. It is bad luck of the people of Swat that their happy days could hardly see some stability. One can witness that no body is ready to rescue them from the ugliest situation but are pointing fingers about the agreement between Taliban and the Government of the Frontier Province. In the situation when even the Army and the Paramilitary forces were failed to bring any peace to that region, our friends (but masters) like USA and UK still want us to shed more and more blood for the so called war on terror.

It must be seen that Northern Areas of Pakistan cannot be controlled without gaining support of the local residents who are following a very old system which was helping them run their matters smoothly. Either we had introduced better education and legal system much before the crisis developed or we would have built some courage to accept their own system implemented in those areas with adjustments and improvements introduced with their consent. The present judicial system of the British era is totally parallel to Islam. Islam supports speedy trial and swift punishments to ensure the stability in law and order situation. It is now impossible to impose any other system in that area without consulting the local community of Swat and Northern Areas.

Talibans at this particular point should show restraints and must exhibit their commitment that they are supporters of peace. People like Mehsud who feel no shame in killing innocent civilians inside Pakistan should be dealt with iron fist. Mehsud’s actions alone are hurting the face of Taliban. We have seen many attacks and suicide bombing incidences inside Pakistan and the responsibility of almost all have been accepted by Baitullah Mehsud and his accomplices. Besides all the pressure, it is extremely necessary that blood thirsty game should reach an end and people of the Frontier Province and Tribal Areas should be given fair chance to run the system they have chosen themselves with full confidence.

It is seen very annoyingly that handful of parties like MQM in Karachi and some NGOs are initiating very dangerous propaganda to dismantle the deal in Swat. The videos of beating a girl and shooting a love couple have been found fake and could not be verified by any source. Ironically on the basis of these fake videos MQM tried to create a panic in the country and displayed its full muscle in its constituency to reject such kind of deals anywhere in Pakistan. Most amazingly MQM never knew that the system was running successfully in that region almost 10 years before but was forcefully replaced by conventional judicial system against the will of the local people of Swat and surrounding region.

The hype and fear of Talibans moving to Karachi triggered by MQM is creating new crisis for the coming days. This negative propaganda is hurting Pasktun Community in particular who are engaged in earning their fair livelihood in Karachi since long. We can now smell that we are sitting on the tip of an active volcano. We all know that if forces who try to create problems for Pakistan fail at any front, they quickly shift their focus to Karachi to bring more unrest to this country. Every time the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi hits badly to the stability of Pakistan because this biggest city of Pakistan is an important commercial and industrial hub, paralyzing it makes the whole country disturbed. It can be clearly seen that the peace of Karachi is now being made difficult to maintain by crossfire of words and arms between ANP and MQM and increasing tensions to an alarming level.

One cannot declare only MQM responsible for this deadly situation in Karachi but ANP can also be prosecuted for their actions against the sovereignty of Pakistan inside this city. The continuous cry of Taliban’s presence in Karachi is hurting many Pakhtoons who are living here since decades and have businesses and trades well established and meeting the hard working strong labors requirement of this city. ANP is gathering many Pakhtoons who fear that if they will be categorized as Taliban and they will also see the bloodshed,  the Drone attacks and the Army Action against them in Karachi too.

ANP’s elements are also responsible to create havoc in the city. The present war front is Gulistana-e-Jauhar area and the tensions are also rising around the Sohrab Goth and Surjani Town areas in Karachi where the situation seems more like a new Beirut in the making. We can see gunmen of the rival parties moving freely with heavy arms on their shoulders and taking positions at the roof top of many apartments. ANP is allegedly capturing vacant apartments in many projects in the vicinity of Pehalwan Goth and Gulistan-e-Jauhar and illegally taking custody of many others by settling their activists and their families brought from the tribal areas. Many residential projects are now becoming war fronts of MQM and ANP. Rabia City, Own Apartments, Lakhani Apartments and vast area of PIA Society are visibly under extremely difficult situation.

There is a very serious point to be noted that the Area of Pehalwan Goth is extremely close to the only International Airport in Karachi. The growing confrontation between ANP, MQM, Talibans and Some Baloch factions is making that area an alarming risk for the national security. The writ of the Government is virtually zero in those areas. Most of the bandits, dacoits, terrorists are hiding in the houses inside this huge slum. Any operation in these areas is next to impossible because of extremely narrow streets and huge population of poor people settled there including a considerably big community of Christians too. The main concern is the security of the only International Airport of Karachi which is under nose of suspicious people who could create an unavoidable situation in the near future. One can find that these elements have taken positions over the roof of different apartments surrounding the Airport and may any time cause terrible loss to the Airport or the Passenger Aircrafts standing on the Runway or even flying over these apartments. It is extremely necessary that the surrounding areas of the Airport should be vacated and the residents would be given alternate residences.

Similarly the Kacchi Abaadis (slum Colonies) around Sohrab Goth Area are also becoming a high security risk. Slums like Sikandar Goth, Afghan Basti and similar colonies around Super Highway are extremely dangerous localities now. It is ironic that localities like Sikandar Goth were ordered to be vacated and demolised by the Sindh High Court but when Government tried to vacate that legally but  the illegal occupants went on with violent protest and huge firing which caused death of many Civilians in the year 2006.
Presently MQM is seeing every Pakhtun with a single eye, the eye which sees them as a Taliban. The recent unrest in Karachi especially in the Orangi Town area of Karachi, showed ill preparedness and lack of leadership from MQM’s side when the huge population of their supporters in that region, was thrown helplessly in front of terrorists who were taking advantage of MQM Pakhtun clash!! Many still believe that MQM is deliberately taking the situation to the point of no return. Many Pakhtoons are shocked and are extremely worried about their future because MQM leadership is heading towards an extremely deadly face off.

Today it must be seen very closely that the timing of these actions is extremely dangerous. Pakistan is under pressure in Balochistan region especially after killing of three political leaders of Balochistan’s popular nationalist parties. The recent statement of former Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif indicates the intensity of the problem when he revealed that hatred against Pakistan is at its peak inside Balochistan. At the time when Pakistan is completely surrounded by enemies both from inside and outside working on the bloody agenda to initiate a final blow to our sovereignty and integrity the attitude of MQM shows a different story. It is quite clear that the task has been given to many of the anti Pakistan forces inside this country to create such an atmosphere when people would themselves begin to hate their motherland.

Those who love Pakistan should see with their eyes that now many separatist groups are getting foothold in the past few months. We see an alarming uprising inside Balochistan and those controlling Karachi are also dreaming for their share of cake and have displayed their designs to expel rival ethnic groups from the city on the charge of being accomplices of Taliban. The game is on, but our eyes should be able to see the board which is telling a horrible story.

Presently besides all the allegations and criticism I am seeing that  the Government of Pakistan Peoples Party is fully capable to handle the situation. I must say that President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani’s continuous positive efforts have silenced many critics like me. The ruling party met some tough phases during a very short period and handled them eventually according to the will of the nation. It must be lauded that those matters were not easy to handle which they were facing since coming into power. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is coming out as a clean entity and his approach looks positive in handling the key issues. People of Pakistan are now seeing Mr. Gilani as a glimpse of hope and I must say that if our Prime Minister would be able to handle the issues of Balochistan, Swat and now Karachi, he will be remembered as the most successful Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan. PM’s team in the Cabinet is also seen as quite capable especially when we look at the Foreign Minister and now the well patient Mr. Kaira the Information Minister. PPP Leadership and Mr. Zardari in particular can gain huge respect and honor from the nation if they will be able to handle the alarming issue of growing unrest in Karachi due to dirty designs of those parties who want to gain their peace of land out of a country already tumbling due to enormous pressures from inside and outside its territory.

We have to see also the current development due to shifting of American support towards Nawaz Sharif. It is a shame for the nation that our ex Prime Minister is praising Barrack Obama besides knowing that after his coming into power, the problems for Pakistan are multiplying even more faster that we experienced in George Bush’s era. It is extremely hard to find a face of a person who would be sincere and loyal to this beloved motherland “Pakistan”. It is bad luck for Pakistan that sincere people are now very rare to find.
Only Allah can save us now because our own sins have made us see what we are experiencing now. May Allah Forgive us and  Help this nation to come out of present traumatic situation. Ameen!!
(ArticlesBase SC #881687)

Seismic Energy Dissipation Devices

Seismic Energy Dissipation Devices