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World View: India's Rock Star PM Narendra Modi Draws Mobs at Madison Square Garden

World View: India's Rock Star PM Narendra Modi Draws Mobs at Madison Square Garden

This morning’s key headlines from

  • India’s rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden.
  • Saudi Arabia warns that Yemen coup could threaten global security.
  • Pro-democracy protests bring Hong Kong to a standstill.

India’s rock star PM Narendra Modi draws mobs at Madison Square Garden

Narendra Modi in Madison Square Garden on Sunday (Reuters)
Narendra Modi in Madison Square Garden on Sunday (Reuters)

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi received a rock star’s cheers fromthe 18,000 people, mostly Indian-Americans, in Madison Square Gardenon Sunday, as well as the thousands more outside who had been unableto gain entrance.

Modi’s one-hour speech drew cheers of “Modi! Modi! Modi!” According to Modi:

“I got here selling tea… I am a very small man, acommon man. I am small, so my heart lies in working for the commonman. But I want to do big things for the littlepeople.”

At the heart of his speech, he asked the wealthy and skilledpersons of Indian origin to give back their talent and experience toIndia.

Promising that “I will make the India of your dreams… together wewill serve Mother India,” he highlighted his avowed (Hindutva) Hindunationalism. Narendra Modi won a stunning and historic overwhelmingvictory in May of this year that surprised the world, but his Hindunationalism has made him a controversial figure. Much of thecontroversy comes from his association with an incident of Hindutvaviolence of February 27, 2002, at a time when he was governor ofGujarat province. An attempt to molest a Muslim girl triggeredseveral days of sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, killinghundreds and displacing more than 150,000 people, of which themajority were Muslims, who have since been living in refugee camps indire humanitarian conditions. Modi himself was cleared by a court ofculpability, but he’s blamed by Muslims and political opponents fornot taking a more active role in ending the violence.

Because of the Gujarat incident, Modi was denied entry into the UnitedStates by President Bush’s administration in 2005. That ban is stillin effect, but he was granted a diplomatic visa for this week’s visitto the United Nations, according to the Times of India and Time.

Saudi Arabia warns that Yemen coup could threaten global security

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Saud al-Faisal says that Yemen isfacing “unprecedented challenges” threatening global security, afterlast weekend’s government coup by the Houthi rebels from northernYemen. The Houthis are members of the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam, andit’s believed that Iran has funded the Houthis and provided weaponsfor their takeover. Southern Yemen is the headquarters of Al-Qaeda onthe Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and it’s feared that the AQAP branchAnsar al-Sharia of Sunni jihadists are regrouping for a counterattackagainst the Houthis.

According to Prince Saud:

“Yemen faces accelerating and extremely dangerousconditions that require us all to look and propose the necessarysolutions to confront these unprecedented challenges.

[Yemen’s violence] will no doubt extend to threaten stability andsecurity on the regional and international arena that could provedifficult to put down regardless of the resources and efforts thatmay be exerted.”

The broad news coverage of the war against the Islamic State / of Iraqand Syria (IS or ISIS) has made the news from Yemen almost invisible.However, according to Yemen Online and Arab Times Online, Prince Saud said that all forms of terrorism must beaddressed:

“We face a very dangerous situation today. Terrorismhas evolved from cells to armies and from threatening specificspots to nations. The war on terror requires serious andcontinuous work that may go on for years, and must not stop atpartial victories against limited organizations. We must continueuntil all terrorist organizations are destroyed, wherever they maybe.”

Pro-democracy protests bring Hong Kong to a standstill

China’s Communist Party government in Beijing is facing a governmentcrisis as tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens staged pro-democracyprotests on Sunday, the fourth day of protests. These were the worstprotests in Hong Kong in decades, bringing central Hong Kong to astandstill. Beijing is now faced with the choice of allowing thedemonstrations to go on, which would encourage protests in mainlandcities, versus a bloody crackdown on the protesters.

Tensions have already escalated sharply, as Hong Kong police in riotgear unleashed volleys of tear gas on protesters early Monday morning,and first rubber bullets into the air. This is the worst policeviolence since Britain gave up its Hong Kong colony in 1997, returningit to Chinese sovereignty.

There are “credible reports” that China has activated the Hong Konggarrison of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA), putting 6,000 soldierson alert. This would revive harsh memories of Beijing’s TiananmenSquare massacre on June 4, 1989. It’s forbidden for anyone inmainland China to even talk about the 1989 massacre, but on June 4 ofthis year, over 100,000 people gathered in Hong Kong to commemoratethe 25th anniversary of the massacre. A new Tiananmen-style massacrein Hong Kong in the next few days could have unintended consequencesfor Beijing, according to the  LA Times and BBC (4-Jun-2014).

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Narendra Modi, Madison Square Garden,Hindutva, Hindu Nationalism, Gujarat,Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Saud al-Faisal, Houthis, Zaydi,Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, Iran, Syria,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,China, Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square massacre,People’s Liberation Army, PLA
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