a fallen nation


Lucifer, Franz von Stuck, 1890. Oil on canvas. 63 3/8 x 60 1/16 in.          

The National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria.   

“O you, the wisest and fairest of the Angels,
God betrayed by destiny and deprived of praise,

O Satan, take pity on my long misery!

O Prince of Exile, you who have been wronged
And who vanquished always rise up again more strong,

O Satan, take pity on my long misery!”

-The Litany of Satan, Charles Baudelaire


Heroes Commemoration in Wunsiedel 2016 (Video, Photo)

“Only those are dead who are forgotten,” “Your new grave is everywhere” (a line from a famous song by Stahlgewitter “Deine Asche - Dein Grab”), “[The living close the eyes of the dead], the dead open the eyes of the livining,” is written on the banners carried by the participants of the commemorative procession in a “martyr city” of Wunsiedel organized by a German nationalist party “Der Dritte Weg.” A noble cause of honoring the fallen national heroes and defenders of homeland encountered predictable resistance by the police that tried to check an identity of each particular march participant and escorted them to the meeting place, as well as leftists ridiculing the patriotic feelings of Germans and a torchlight tradition in a primitive manner.

Controversy reached its climax in 2011, when the mayor of the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel Karl-Willi Beck ordered to exhume the remains of Rudolf Hess, cremate them and scatter the ashes over an undisclosed location at sea, as well as demolish a tombstone and a grave. The reason for such a decision was an ever growing pilgrimage of German citizens to Hess’ grave who were unhesitantly labeled by the media as “Neo-Nazis.” However, the real situation is more complicated: the extent of Hess’ responsibility is still debated in a German society, and many Germans condemned the exhumation as an act of vandalism from a general cultural and historical point of view. As a result, this step by the local authorities largely reinforced the martyr reputation of the city, and this year, within the all-German Heldengedenken (Heroes Commemoration) action on Nov. 12, up to 300 Germans arrived especially in Wunsiedel to honor the national heroes, defenders of homeland and patriots.

One by one, the organizers called the spirits (“I call…”) of the fallen patriots from different periods of German history (Imperial army, Freikorps, Land Forces of Wehrmacht, Navy, Air Force, elite group members, and so on), and the participants, as their mouthpiece, responded “Here!” (Present!).

To sum up, German nationalists successfully transcended a mere subcultural level of national awareness, speaking on behalf of all German patriots and inviting the society for the further discussion by means of a legally conducted symbolic event, which is a big step forward.


“There’s not mushroom left on here”
A collection of Fungi found on a single fallen tree

Photos taken by Connor Butler - Windsor Nature Park, Singapore


The spoiled, rebellious princess of a fallen nation, Yuffie definitely descends from some popular tropes that fade into the background against the force of her personality. Force ought to be the key word, there - it’s an idea that’s integral to Yuffie and her materia-thieving ways, which itself is an expression of her perspective that the most important thing is being brave, bold and strong enough that no one can tell you what to do.

Despite her apparently selfish attitude, Yuffie is motivated by the state of Wutai. She tells us that after the war Wutai became nothing but a cheesy tourist town, and she’s set out to find materia to make it great again. I think it’s a mistake to read her revolutionary leanings as being solely a matter of sovereignty, dignity, and independence. All of those surely play a role, but Yuffie bears an open disdain for both rules and tradition and feels the problem with Wutai’s leadership is their deference to both. The materia she collects cannot restore Wutai’s culture - they can only restore its might, and that is exactly what Yuffie intends.

Adventurous and proud as she is, Yuffie doesn’t actually value peace or prosperity; she values glory. To Yuffie, not even the well-being of the people can justify such unacceptable cowardice as her father’s surrender. Too young to have truly lived through the war, she romanticizes Wutai’s proud struggle, and has never developed any particular regard for law or order. The thing that bothers her about Wutai being a cheesy tourist town is not a loss of cultural authenticity, but the capitulation and complacency that it represents.

I think it’s this thirst for glory and power that draws and binds her to Cloud and company. The opportunity for powerful materia aside, saving the planet and hunting down a fabled bad-guy is just the kind of romantic notion that would appeal to someone like Yuffie. Cloud’s lack of interest in telling her what to do surely helps - after all, you can only recruit her by appealing to her somewhat contrarian nature.

Yuffie doesn’t appear to grow as visibly as any of the other characters over the course of the game, and neither her perspective nor her desire for power/materia ever really shift. However, in reconciling with her father (through combat, of course), she demonstrates that she has learned to do the thing she finds most difficult in all the world: Compromise.

Key to reviving Punjab lies in revitalising its once industrial cities

The conversation around BJPs electoral win in UP has completely overshadowed the political scenario in the state of Punjab. Political commentators attribute this to Punjab’s small electoral share compared to UP, but there is more to it than mere arithmetic.

Only a few decades ago, Punjab was a poster boy for development – a state that was the centre-stage of the Green Revolution and whose cities were fast industrialising. Ludhiana was a production hub for cycles; Jalandhar had a thriving sports goods industry and Amritsar had its textile industry. Punjab’s economic size made it hard to be side-lined.

Now, the state and its cities have fallen into Detroit-like insignificance. Industries have chosen to exit the state. Between 2007 and 2014, about 18,770 factories have closed down. As a result, employment and economic growth have fallen below the national average. Moreover, the rising menace of drugs has added to the woes.

The strong anti-incumbency shown in the recent elections reflects the desire for change among the people of Punjab and, hopefully, the Amarinder Singh-led government will live up to the expectation of the electorate. Reviving the state needs to begin at the level of its cities as they have the potential to become engines of growth and prosperity. Since industrial clusters across the cities of Punjab were a driving force behind Punjab’s erstwhile growth, it should be instructive to delve into the reasons for their decline.

First, was the availability of cheaper imports of manufactured and intermediary goods from China. For instance, Jalandhar, which was a global supplier of sports goods, lost its competitive edge to cheaper Chinese products. Similarly, the cycles industry in Ludhiana lost its place to cheaper imports of cycle components from China.

The second reason is the loss of competitive advantage to Punjab’s neighbouring states. Tax structures are more attractive in Himachal Pradesh. The state has been offering a tax holiday to industries since 2003 along with other sops. Also, industrial power is much more abundantly available and considerably cheaper in Himachal Pradesh.

Third is the flawed economic policies followed by the state leadership. Punjab’s agricultural sector is riddled with controls and huge subsidies, which makes the state’s fiscal situation highly unmanageable. The state provides free electricity to its farmers. To compensate for this subsidy, arcane duties and cesses are imposed on electricity provided to industries. This makes operations unreasonably expensive.

Another flawed economic policy focus was seen in the recent efforts of the previous government to attract investment into the state. A slew of incentives was announced to attract new big-ticket investors. This was done without providing any support to existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have been failing over the years, owing to continuous exits of big companies around which they have developed. SMEs account for more than 80 percent of the total companies in cities like Ludhiana. Therefore, even though attracting large enterprises is well-intentioned, ignoring a bulk of the state’s industry points to an ill-informed policy structure.

The newly-elected Congress government needs to reverse all these policy errors to revive Punjab’s growth story. Since agriculture is no longer the mainstay of its economy, the best approach that the incoming government can take is to revive the state’s basic units of economic power: its cities. Reviving the industrial clusters that once thrived in the cities of Punjab is its best bet in a failing economy.

Cities can only succeed by attracting talent and talent, in turn, seeks out good places to consume as well as produce. Cities in Punjab have been losing both of these characteristics over the years. A state that was once the most prosperous in the country, now lags behind Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Telangana, while being just at par with Himachal Pradesh. Talent will clearly not seek out a place that is in perpetual decline and nor will companies do so. Therefore, for a city to succeed it needs to provide a decent quality of living to attract talent and a business-friendly environment to lure opportunities for the inhabitants.

However, Punjab would also need to develop talent among its population, which it has lost out over time. To do so, the government needs to balance its books and reduce its fiscal burden by cutting down on its subsidy bill. The resources it gains from this needs to be devoted to talent-building sectors like education and health. Second, it needs to remedy its flawed economic policies that have been making business unviable in the state. These are the two most crucial factors that require urgent redressal to revive Punjab. The Congress government could very well use the faith reposed upon it by the people of the state as a path to its salvation.

(Amit Kapoor is chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at amit@amitkapoor.com and teeets @kautiliya. The article is co-authored with Chirag Yadav)



Survival day (January 26th) marks the start of over 200+ years of genocide, dispossession and degradation It marks the fallen First nation soldiers who died defending their land. it marks the thousands who were stolen from their parents. It marks the thousands who died from Western diseases. It marks the thousands who were raped. It marks the thousands who were tortured. It marks the thousands who were ruthlessly exploited. If White Australia can say never forget for Anzac Day surely it could empathise with its First Nation brothers and sisters and realise how insulting it is to celebrate the invasion of Australia by European invaders. 

tw: ranting about my country's president

I’m so tired of this.

President Pnoy,

When we need you, you’re never there. When there is publicy, you are always there. 

You ditched a funeral for the wedding of two celebrities,

you insult the church in front of the pope, 

you have time for interviews,

when we were SUFFERING from the Yolanda, you did not visit the victims.

NOW you tell us that you decided not to show up at the villamor airbase for the retrieval of the bodies of the 44 TROOPS that SERVED THEIR LIVES for you.

And your excuse is that you went to the inauguration of your new mitsubishi?

I cannot believe that you were the man we voted for.

Honestly, I feel as if you were only given the position because of your mother, former female president Cory Aquino.

Let’s see how your actions would serve you for the 2016 Philippine Elections.

What to Expect

In the last month and a half things had been going well for their family. Two trios had become a quintent. The Talins had fallen from grace, becoming National laughingstocks known for mental instability. Two worlds full of paranormal research beckoned. Everything was perfect.

And now everything was going to change.

“Is everyone together?” Aoi whispered to Missy. The orange ghost nodded.

“Master Arthur just left the bathroom to join the other. I believe he ate too much of Mister Lewis’s spicy food last night.”

Aoi nodded and joined her lovers in the Living Room. Auberon was sitting in the love seat, Artemis by his side. Hunter lay at their feet. and Forte stood behind him.

Lewis was sitting on the main couch, Azul besides him. His glowing eyes were filled with worry.

Aoi took a deep breath. There were so many different ways to sugar coat this, but that was never her style.

“I’m Pregnant.”