When Empowerment is Child’s Play

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

In January this year, many Goans watched a video on social media and Whatsapp of a Swedish acapella group, Vocal Colors, rendering a beloved Goan song Tambdde Rosa. The Swedish acapella group were Goa to collaborate with Child’s Play India Foundation led by Dr. Luis Francisco Dias. The Foundation was set up about 10 years ago with the aim of training underprivileged kids in classical music and continues to do so today. The story of the Foundation’s inception and work provides important lessons for a deeply unequal society as that of India.

 

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Cops and Sentinels

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The ‘Traffic Sentinel’ initiative by the Goa Police has divided public opinion. While both sides, that is, those who support and those who oppose the initiative, have their reasons, most miss the forest for a few trees. Many do not seem to notice the larger issue at stake, which is, public law and order, due process, and the efficient functioning of the state. While there is no doubt that traffic violations need to be curbed, it appears that the authorities have abdicated their role in the maintenance of law and order. And yet, it should also be highlighted that the citizens cannot be expected to fulfill the duty of the state and its agents.

 

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Past and Present for 2019

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Our political condition becomes worse with each passing year. The nature of public debate (rather the absence of it), the deteriorating condition of public infrastructure, and unscrupulous bids have plunged Goa’s into chaos. Thus, taking stock of the bygone year, or reflecting on the past on any anniversaries (such as the recently concluded 57th Liberation Day of Goa), appears to be an exercise in futility. However, can we really afford to ignore the past? If we do, we run the risk of subjecting ourselves to the same political manipulations of the past. It is only by considering the past errors that we are able to avoid blunders in the present and future. However, making sense of our present in relation to the past (thereby charting a vision for the future) is not as easy as it seems.

 

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Fishing in Troubled Waters: Markets and Laborers

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Six months after the shocking revelation came to light that fish imported into Goa is preserved in the carcinogenic formalin, the issue is nowhere close to a solution. Recently, health minister Vishwajit Rane announced that the ban on imports will be in place for six months, except for those traders who comply with health and quality regulations. This apparently unstoppable poisoning (or adulteration) not only brings the governmental authorities under the scanner for being unable to stop such malpractices, but also highlights the manner in which the fishing industry operates in most parts of coastal India. It is important to discuss the labor practices and potential policy decisions that would address allied issues, including the issue of formalin.

 

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Fragile Political Alliances in Goa

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

The political developments in the last 30 days may have surely given Goans a sense of déjà vu. With BJP’s Laxmikant Parsekar appearing to revolt, and two Congress MLAs joining the BJP, Goans may have remembered the decades of political instability from the 1970s. The logical question to ask, therefore, is why has Goa witnessed such fragile political regimes? Is there something deeper than merely opportunism and avarice in Goan politics?

 

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For Past’s Sake: Digitization

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Exactly one month ago, the whole world watched shocking images of the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil engulfed in flames. The destruction of the fire was so severe that most of the museum’s rare and precious collections of fossils, natural specimens, audio documentation, and archives were destroyed. The most devastating image that brought home the severity of the fire was the aerial photo of the hollowed out building, the majestic former Paço de São Cristóvão, the erstwhile residence of the Portuguese royal family. For Brazilians reeling under a series of political and economic crises, the fire was symbolic of all that is wrong with the present government.

 

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The Denial of Dignity in a Casteist Society

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Pratapsingh Rane’s assertion that Goans abroad are doing no better than cleaning toilets, in the Goa State Legislative Assembly in the context of the resumption of mining activity, has received a lot of flak. Many Goans – via video blogs – said that there is no shame in doing any job so long as one brings an honest wage back home. As the anger over Rane’s comment have cooled down, it would be more apt, as I have highlighted in previous columns, to focus on employments opportunities, working conditions and labour justice as issues that Goan society needs to discuss and address.

 

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The Real (Ethical) Challenge

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The high-levels of Formalin, a carcinogen, found in imported fish have caused anger, deep anguish, and frustration amongst Goans. This is because the authorities and the elected representatives have failed to convey the truth to the masses, besides checking the irregularities. Goa’s reliability on external sources for fish (in other contexts also for vegetables and grains) has spawned talk about self-sufficiency. Goa needs to produce its own food, this discourse urges. But it doesn’t say who will produce this food, and there is no talk about improving the existing labor conditions.

 

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Sports, Political Passions, and Peace

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

For those who believe that sport and politics should not mix, the on-going FIFA World Cup 2018 might be a tad bit disappointing. The game between Switzerland and Serbia witnessed tense moments, leading to a few controversies. Switzerland, whose squad had many players of Balkan heritage, appeared to be the perfect team for a mixture of political rivalries in a sporting match. Especially, since the match was against Serbia, which gained independence after a bloody war fractured Yugoslavia into countries like Albania and Kosovo. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independent status, which made the clash between Switzerland and Serbia all the more tense given that Switzerland’s star players, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, have Albanian and Kosovan heritage.

 

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Power Failures and Power Politics

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

From April onwards, there have been several power failures in the state; they are not over yet. At the beginning of June, it became crystal clear that the cause of the power failures was not just faulty and aging equipment, but also gross mismanagement by the electricity department. Goans even learnt that to keep a particular big time corporate builder happy, the department had decided that an entire taluka could suffer a day-and-a-half without power.

 

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