The Girl Who Changed Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai


by Shehrbano Taseer
Oct 22, 2012

Shehrbano Taseer takes an insider’s look at the 15-year-old girl who may finally turn the tide on extremism.

Malala Yousafzai in 2009 (Photo: Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images)
Malala Yousafzai in 2009 (Photo: Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images)

The teenage girls chatted to each other and their teachers as the school bus rattled along the country road. Students from a girls’ high school in Swat, they had just finished a term paper, and their joy was evident as they broke into another Pashto song. About a mile outside the city of Mingora, two men flagged down and boarded the bus, one of them pulling out a gun. “Which one of you is Malala Yousafzai?” he demanded. No one spoke—some out of loyalty, others out of fear. But, unconsciously, their eyes turned to Malala. “That’s the one,” the gunman said, looking the 15-year-old girl in the face and pulling the trigger twice, shooting her in the head and neck. He fired twice more, wounding two other girls, and then both men fled the scene.

Over the screams and tears of the girls, a teacher instructed the bus driver to drive to a local hospital a few miles away. She stared in horror at Malala’s body, bleeding profusely and slumped unconscious in her friend’s lap, then closed her eyes and started to pray.

As of this writing, Malala fights for her life at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. Her would-be killers have not yet been caught. But it’s clear who bears responsibility. And in the days since the Oct. 9 assault on her, sadness, fury, and indignation have swept the world.

For months a team of Taliban sharpshooters studied the daily route that Malala took to school, and, once the attack was done, the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan gleefully claimed responsibility, saying Malala was an American spy who idolized the “black devil Obama.” She had spoken against the Taliban, they falsely said, and vowed to shoot her again, should she survive.

The power of ignorance is frightening. My father, Salmaan Taseer, was murdered last January after he stood up for Aasia Noreen, a voiceless, forgotten Christian woman who had been sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy. My father, the governor of Punjab province at the time, believed that our country’s blasphemy laws had been misused; that far too frequently, they were taken advantage of to settle scores and personal vendettas.

In the days before my father’s murder, fanatics had called for a fatwa against him and had burned him in effigy at large demonstrations. His confessed shooter, a 26-year-old man named Mumtaz Qadri, said he had been encouraged to kill my father after hearing a sermon by a cleric, who, frothing at the mouth, screeched to 150 swaying men to kill my father, the “blasphemer.” Qadri, a police guard, had been assigned to protect my father. Instead, on the afternoon of Jan. 4, my brother Shehryar’s 25th birthday, he killed my father, firing 27 bullets into his back as he walked home.

My father, one of the first members of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, was frequently imprisoned and tortured for his unwavering belief in freedom and democracy under the harsh dictatorship of Gen. Zia ul Haq.

But in later life, as he spoke against the blasphemy laws, his views were distorted to suggest—wrongly—that he had spoken against Prophet Muhammad—just as Malala’s views were twisted by both her Taliban attackers and opportunistic politicians peddling poisonous falsehoods for their own gain.

One would think the nightmare and the brutality of the Zia regime ended when the tyrant’s aircraft fell out of the skies in 1988 and he was killed. We were so wrong.

These clerics are raising merchants of hatred, believers in radical Islam (Photo: Lynsey Addario / VII))
These clerics are raising merchants of hatred, believers in radical Islam (Photo: Lynsey Addario / VII))

What the attack on Malala makes clear is that this is really a battle over education. A repressive mindset has been allowed to flourish in Pakistan because of the madrassa system set up by power-hungry clerics. It’s a deeply rooted indoctrination, and it sickens me to see ancient religious traditions undermined by a harsher form of religion barely a generation old. These madrassa, or religious schools headed by clerics, are the breeding ground of Islamic radicalism. The clerics don’t teach critical thinking. Instead, they disseminate hate. These clerics are raising merchants of hatred who believe in a very right-wing and radical Islam, to hail people like Osama bin Laden and Mumtaz Qadri as heroes. They train children how to use guns and bombs, and how not to live but to die.

Since my father’s murder, I have often wondered if Qadri would have killed him had he known my father’s actual views and not what they had been twisted into by media anchors and clerics on a hysterical witch hunt. Maybe if he had listened to what my father really said, Pakistan would not have lost its bravest man and I my center of gravity.

After his bloody deed, Qadri was hailed as a hero by right-wingers and fanatics. In a loathsome display in front of the court where he was to be tried, hundreds of lawyers charged with upholding justice instead showered the murderer with rose petals in praise of him taking a sacred life.

But terrorism bears within it the seeds of its own destruction. What schools with a good syllabus can offer is the timeless and universal appeal of critical thinking. This is what the Taliban are most afraid of. Critical thinking has the power to defuse terrorism; it is an internal liberation that jihadism simply cannot offer.

This time, with the attack on Malala, what is different—and encouraging—is the outpouring of support in Pakistan for this young girl. We cannot, and we will not, take any more madness.

Malala was only 11 when she started blogging entries from her diary for the Urdu-language website of the BBC. Her nom de plume was Gul Makai, meaning cornflower in Pashto and the name of the heroine of many local folk stories. A star student with olive skin, bushy eyebrows, and intense brown eyes, Malala wrote about life under Taliban rule: how she hid her schoolbooks under her shawl and how she kept reading even after the Taliban outlawed school for girls. In an entry from January 2009 she wrote: “Today our teacher told us not to wear colorful dress that might make Taliban angry.” She wrote about walking past the headless bodies of those who had defied the radicals, and about a boy named Anis, who, brainwashed by the Taliban, blew himself up at a security checkpoint. He was 16 years old.

Encouraged by her father, Ziauddin, a schoolmaster, Malala quickly became known as she spoke out on the right to an education. Ziauddin had two sons also, but he told friends it was his daughter who had a unique spark. She wanted to study medicine, but he persuaded her that when the time came she should enter politics so she might help create a more progressive society—at the heart of which was education for all. In Pakistan, 25 million children are out of school, and the country has the lowest youth literacy rate in the world.

"For one Malala shot and silenced, there are now thousands of younger Malalas who cannot be kept quiet,” says former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. (Photo: Arshad Arbab / EPA-Landov)
“For one Malala shot and silenced, there are now thousands of younger Malalas who cannot be kept quiet,” says former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. (Photo: Arshad Arbab / EPA-Landov)

“I hope you won’t laugh at me,” Ziauddin wrote in an email to Adam Ellick, an American filmmaker, after Ellick had stayed with the family in Swat for several months. “Can I dream for her to be the youngest to clench a Nobel award for education?”

In the film that Ellick made for The New York Times in 2009, the bond between Ziauddin and his daughter is evident as is his pride in his young daughter’s accomplishment. “When I saw her for the first time, a very newborn child, and I looked into her eyes, I fell in love with her,” Ziauddin says at one point in the film, beaming. “Believe me, I love her.” (Her mother, a homemaker who speaks only Pashto, is also supportive of Malala’s work; she wasn’t depicted in Ellick’s film for cultural reasons.)

At the time, the Taliban had swept through Swat, banning girls’ education and attacking hundreds of schools in the province. But Ziauddin—who, in addition to running a school, is also a poet, a social activist, and head of the National Peace Council in Swat—defied the Taliban by refusing to cancel classes, despite continued death threats. “They were so violently challenged,” says Ellick, who is still close to the family.

As Ziauddin explained his motivation at one point: “Islam teaches us that getting an education is compulsory for every girl and wife, for every woman and man. This is the teaching of the holy Prophet,” he said. “Education is a light and ignorance is a darkness, and we must go from darkness into light.”

Ziauddin “has given Malala a love, strength, and confidence that’s rare,” agrees Samar Minallah Khan, a Pakistani journalist and filmmaker who knows the family. “She has an incredible spirit and a mind of her own because of the confidence he has given her.”

In three short years, Malala became the chairperson of the District Child Assembly in Swat, was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu, was the runner-up of the International Children’s Peace Prize, and won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. More recently she started to organize the Malala Education Foundation, a fund to ensure poor girls from Swat could go to school.

Sharing her father’s eloquent and determined advocacy made Malala a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown said the attack had given rise to a children’s movement, with children proudly wearing “I am Malala” T-shirts and defiantly asserting their rights. “Young people are seeing through the hypocrisy of … their leaders [who] deny millions of girls and boys the opportunity to rise,” Brown said in an email. “For one Malala shot and silenced, there are now thousands of younger Malalas who cannot be kept quiet.”

Ziauddin is reportedly shattered by the attack on his daughter and unable to speak, yet he plans on returning to Pakistan once her treatment is complete. He wants to return to their work on education with renewed commitment and strength. He told Ellick: “If all of us die fighting, we will still not leave this work.”

In order to operate, the Taliban need the acceptance—or submission—of the population. A Gallup poll conducted two years ago shows that only 4 percent of Pakistan’s 180-plus million population views the Taliban in a positive light. But the TTP, as they are known, have capitalized on the mounting anti-Americanism spurred by civilian casualties of U.S. drone strikes. Keen to cultivate favorable public opinion, Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, issued a “new code of conduct” in 2010 that banned suicide bombings against civilians, burning down schools, and cutting off ears, lips, and tongues. On the Web, the TTP rallied against drone strikes, condemned attacks on shrines, hospitals, schools, and marketplaces. In practice, however, the code was spottily enforced and did not necessarily mean a gentler insurgency. Critics claim that any changes were cosmetic—a tactical shift in preparation for a long-term fight.

The assault on Malala seemed a departure from Mullah Omar’s “charm offensive”—a desperate but well-known attempt to spread fear. Even among those who had supported the TTP’s ideological goals in the past, there was revulsion at the attack on the little girl. “The shooting could be an attempt to show that they are still active,” says author and analyst Zahid Hussain. “They want to send a message.”

Instead of being chastised by the popular outrage both in Pakistan and in the West, the Taliban has responded by threatening local journalists who have covered the attack on Malala. The TTP has even threatened cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, claiming he is a liberal and therefore an infidel. The threats surprised many since “Taliban Khan”—as many refer to him—is perceived as an apologist for the extremists. In fact, in the days after the attack on Malala, Khan was strongly criticized for not taking a more forceful stance on her shooting. (Khan said he could not speak too openly against the Taliban because that could imperil the lives of his supporters in the north.)

“Pakistan has arrived at its with-us-or-against-us moment,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of the president, told Newsweek by email. The 24-year-old Bhutto Zardari succeeded his mother, Benazir Bhutto, as chairman of Pakistan’s ruling party after her assassination in 2007. (The family believes that the Taliban killed her, though an al Qaeda commander initially claimed responsibility.)

Even as Malala fights for her life, people continue to twist her views and words to suit their own incendiary narrative. Samia Raheel Qazi, herself a mother and a senior figure in Pakistan’s largest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, posted an image of Malala, her father, and the late U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke on Twitter, adding a caption that falsely claimed that Malala had attended “a meeting with American military officers.”

In Pakistan such character assassinations and conspiracy theories are unfortunately not uncommon—and they benefit the Taliban’s odious campaign. “Liberals would like to believe this is a turning point for Pakistan,” says journalist Najam Sethi. “That’s what they thought when a Swati girl was publicly flogged by the Taliban in 2009.” Pakistanis were at first outraged, but the anti-Taliban consensus soon evaporated, he recalls. Sethi believes that upcoming Pakistan elections will further politicize the attack. “The government will make the right noises but fall in line with exigencies of party politics. No general or civilian will risk precipitous action.”

Pakistan’s government is funding Malala’s treatment and will present her with a national award for courage. It has also promised jobs to the family members of the other two girls who were shot. But many fear that—despite the arrest of almost 200 people—the investigation into the attack will conclude as most investigations do: with a failure to prosecute those responsible. Our antiterrorism courts have a shoddy record of convictions. The judiciary and law-enforcement agencies clearly lack both the will and the means to bring perpetrators to justice. “If we do capture the terrorists who attacked Malala, I do hope they are brought to justice,” says the government spokesman, Bhutto Zardari. But sounding less than convinced, he cautions in the same email: “This is a war zone. Just as NATO or the U.S. will not capture every terrorist in Afghanistan we cannot capture every terrorist in Pakistan.”

Malala’s English teacher, who is close to the family, clicks his tongue when asked if he believes the attackers will get caught and punished. “I don’t think so at all,” he says. “When have they ever?”

There is talk now in Pakistan of further military sweeps of militant strongholds. But it is clear that the solution cannot be purely military. The government must address the root causes of terrorism as Malala argued. “If the new generation is not given pens, they will be given guns by the terrorists,” she said before she was shot. “We must raise our voice.”

Reproduced from The Daily Beast

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Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

Recently, I found the Unicode Technical Notes that provide information on a variety of topics related to Unicode and Internationalization technologies. The website stresses that these technical notes are independent publications, not approved by any of the Unicode Technical Committees, nor are they part of the Unicode Standard or any other Unicode specification and publication and does not imply endorsement by the Unicode Consortium in any way. These documents are not subject to the Unicode Patent Policy nor updated regularly.

Being a Tamil, Unicode Technical Note (UTN) #21: Tamil Numbers by Michael Kaplan, fascinated and impressed me.

Originally, Tamils did not use zero, nor did they use positional digits. They have separate symbols for the numbers 10, 100 and 1000. Symbols similar to other Tamil letters, with some minor changes. For example, the number 3782 not written as ௩௭௮௨ as in modern usage but as ௩ ௲ ௭ ௱ ௮ ௰ ௨.

This would be read as they are written as Three Thousands, Seven Hundreds, Eight Tens, Two; and in Tamil as மூன்று-ஆயிரத்து-எழு-நூற்று-எண்-பத்து-இரண்டு.

௧ = 1
௨ = 2
௩ = 3
௪ = 4
௫ = 5
௬ = 6
௭ = 7
௮ = 8
௯ = 9
௰ = 10
௰௧ = 11
௰௨ = 12
௰௩ = 13
௰௪ = 14
௰௫ = 15
௰௬ = 16
௰௭ = 17
௰௮ = 18
௰௯ = 19
௨௰ = 20
௱ = 100
௨௱ = 200
௩௱ = 300
௱௫௰௬ = 156
௲ = 1000
௲௧ = 1001
௲௪௰ = 1040
௮௲ = 8000
௰௲ = 10,000
௭௰௲ = 70,000
௯௰௲ = 90,000
௱௲ = 100,000 (lakh)
௮௱௲ = 800,000
௰௱௲ = 1,000,000 (10 lakhs)
௯௰௱௲ = 9,000,000
௱௱௲ = 10,000,000 (crore)
௰௱௱௲ = 100,000,000 (10 crore)
௱௱௱௲ = 1,000,000,000 (100 crore)
௲௱௱௲ = 10,000,000,000 (thousand crore)
௰௲௱௱௲ = 100,000,000,000 (10 thousand crore)
௱௲௱௱௲ = 1,000,000,000,000 (lakh crore)
௱௱௲௱௱௲ = 100,000,000,000,000 (crore crore)

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Now I Know Why People Dislike Indian Students.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Why do people dislike Indian students? A convoluted question indeed!

Indian students in Australia presume they happen to be specifically targeted for their ethnicity. However, the Australian government agencies say that non Indians assaulted Indians for their pricey possessions such as cell phones as well as laptops. Both correct to a limited extent.

How do Indian students fare in America?

I came to the United States nine months ago. I have still not come across a non-Indian who totally admired any Indian or India. Moreover, American school teachers, white and Afro, have to endure students from almost every country on earth including India.

Recently, my nephew Manoj sent me an email with an attachment that he said would put a smile on my face. Certainly it did, and it also answered my question: “Why do people dislike Indian students?”

On the first day of school, a new student named Chandrasekar Ganapathy alias Chandru, who had come to the US recently sat in the fourth grade.

The teacher said: “Let’s begin by reviewing some American History. Who said ‘Give me Liberty, or give me Death’?”

She saw just blank faces except Chandru who had his hand up: “Patrick Henry, 1775” he said.

“Very good!” the teacher said. She asked the next question: “Who said ‘Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from the Earth’?”

Again no response came from the class except Chandru. “Abraham Lincoln, 1863,” said Chandru.

The teacher snapped at the class: “Class, you should be ashamed. Chandrasekar, new to our country, knows more about our history than you do.”

She heard a loud whisper: “F*** the Indians.”

“Who said that?” she demanded.

Chandru, his hand raised said: “General Custer, 1862.”

At that point, a student in the back said: “I’m gonna puke.”

The teacher turned around and asked: “All right! Now, who said that?”

Again, it was Chandru who answered: “Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister, 1991.”

Another furious student yelled: “Oh yeah? Suck this!”

Chandru jumped out of his chair and waving his hand and shouted: “Bill Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, 1997.”

Now with almost mob hysteria someone said: “You little shit. If you say anything more, I’ll kill you.”

Chandru yelled: “Michael Jackson to the child witnesses testifying against him, 2004.”

The teacher fainted and fell on the floor. As the class gathered around her someone said: “Oh shit, we’re screwed!”Chandru said quietly: “I think it was Lehmann Brothers, November 4, 2008.”

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Six Word Saturday – October 20, 2012 : PLANT MORE TREES



Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:

AN AD FOR “PLANT MORE TREES”

OR

THE BEST AD CONCEPT ON AFFORESTATION

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Hindustan Times Public Service advertisement for “Plant more trees.”
The best ad concept on afforestation…

Shouldn’t we be worried !

This long queue happens to be one of the problems caused by DEFORESTATION.

Click on the badge above for more details on this challenge.

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Sri Lankan Tamils Are Better Off ….


By Shenali Waduge

When Tamils in Sri Lanka were not eating together, allowing others to educate themselves because of Tamil caste, it was the Social Disabilities Prevention Act 21 in 1957 that enabled low caste Tamils to gain education – this was opposed by all elite Tamils who even wrote to the British Government against this.Sinhala and Tamil are official languages in Sri Lanka and both are declared languages of administration(16th amendment – to communicate, publications, translations, records).

Sinhala and Tamil are the language of the Courts throughout Sri Lanka.In addition, Sri Lanka’s national flag depicts both Tamils and Muslims through the colors orange and green.

All public documents – marriage certificate, death certificate, immigration forms etc. are all in Sinhalese and Tamil, so too is currency and notes.

All public events are presented in all 3 languages [Sinhalese, Tamil, and English].

Tamils have no restrictions on owning property, starting business ventures, obtaining state loans, owning land – whereas Sinhalese and Non-Vellalas are denied from obtaining land in the North (thesavalami a law).

Tamils have access to all state services and public utilities – hospitals, schools, healthcare services, public transport (at no stage did Tamils suffer as the blacks did in the US and in South Africa).

Tamils have access to all forms of sports with Tamils even representing national teams.

All road signs, buses etc. are all in both languages.

While Tamils will not allow low caste Tamils to enter hotels or restaurants of high castes, there is no hotel, restaurant, shop that says “Tamils are not welcome”.

Those that accept false propaganda and lies may like to visit Sri Lanka to realize that Tamils in Sri Lanka are better off than Tamils in any other part of the world.

Can we then please know where Tamils are being discriminated against in Sri Lanka?

As for Tamil Nadu – close to 20% of its population are Dalits and 80% of this number live in villages where illiteracy is over 60%. 62% of these Dalits suffer from some type of abuse ranging from physical assault, sexual harassment, verbal abuse to even rape. This is how Tamils appear to be treating their own in India where the Indian Government is telling Sri Lanka to treat Tamils with “dignity and respect”.

— Excerpt from “Shouldn’t Tamil Eelaam Be In Tamil Nadu? – OpEd” By Shenali Waduge, October 18, 2012.

To read the full article click here —>“Shouldn’t Tamil Eelaam Be In Tamil Nadu? – OpEd” By Shenali Waduge 

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The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome


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Myself .

By T. V. Antony Raj

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In 1954, James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer founded American Releasing Corporation (ARC). They released their first film “The Fast and the Furious” starring John Ireland and Dorothy Malone in 1955.

From ARC, Nicholson and Arkoff launched a film production company, American International Pictures (AIP) in April 1954. Perceiving that other filmmakers were overlooking the lucrative teenage drive-in sector, AIP focused on producing several low-budget, youth-oriented movies. They exploited the up and coming juvenile delinquent genre with movies like Daddy-O, High School Hellcats, Female Jungle, Reform School Girl, Runaway Daughters, and Girls in Prison. Additionally, they distributed independently produced low-budget films bundled as double features, particularly appealing to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In a 1980s talk show, Samuel Z. Arkoff spelt out his tried-and-true “ARKOFF formula” for producing a successful low-budget movie.

Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
Killing (a modicum of violence)
Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Soon after, the AIP promotion division envisaged a strategy known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”:

a) A younger child will watch anything an older child will watch.
b) An older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch.
c) A girl will watch anything a boy will watch.
d) A boy will not watch anything a girl will watch.

Consequently, to capture the largest audience they zeroed in on the 19-year old male.

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Is Bible the World’s Best-selling or Most-read or Most Distributed Book?


READERS HAVE VIEWED THIS POST MORE THAN 11,970 TIMES.

 

 

Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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A few days ago, some friends and I while discussing the Holy Bible unwittingly got divided into three factions. One group claimed the Bible as the world’s best-selling book. Another group upheld it as the world’s most-read books. The third group considered it as the most-printed and most-distributed Book.

Many devout Christians are quick to assert that the Holy Bible is the world’s best-selling book, for all time. They claim that because a great number of people purchased the Bible, it, therefore, has lots of philosophical truth in it.

The Bible, the Quran, and Quotation from Chairman Mao, often reported as the most-printed and most-distributed books worldwide have hundreds of millions of copies to their credit. Exact print statistics for such books are, in fact, not available, or inaccurate because many unrelated publishers have printed these books over several centuries. Many books such as Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Pinocchio, the individual Harry Potter books and much more generally cited as “best-selling books” do not have dependable sales figures.

Obviously, the mere volume of books sold has no relation to their content. Therefore, the Bible cannot be considered as the best-selling book of all time for several reasons:

Firstly, the Bible in its many versions have been in print for hundreds of years, and their number has not been reliably accounted for. Hence, over such a time, we can only estimate the number of bibles sold. Statistically, such an estimate without a measure of confidence with it is useless.

Secondly, not all copies of the Bible fetch money. In fact, many missionaries hand out enormous numbers of bibles free of charge. These cannot be counted in a bestseller list, not only because they have not been sold, but because the person receiving the book may not actually want it. Compare this to the Harry Potter series, where the numbers given away free dwindles into insignificance.

Thirdly, not all copies of the Bible are read, and almost no one reads them cover to cover. On the other hand, if you consider a modern novel, it would be ludicrous and unthinkable for a person to read only a few pages at random and ignore the rest. Do you know that most copies of the Bible placed in bedside drawers in some hotels across the world are never read, and in many cases rarely even seen by any living creature?

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Ellie May Challis, the Little Girl with No Limbs.


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Baby Ellie May Challis

Ellie May Challis born in Essex, England in 2004, was just 16 months old, when struck down with a near-fatal case of meningitis. She survived, but the severe effect of the deadly septicemia bacteria caused both her arms and legs to be amputated.

Originally fitted with standard prosthetic legs, Ellie had a difficult time keeping up with her siblings (twin sister, Sophie and older siblings: Tai-la, 9 and Connor, 11) and other children her age.

Ellie May with her siblings
Ellie May with her siblings (twin sister, Sophie and older siblings Tai-la,9 and Connor, 11)

Ellie’s community falling in love with the little girl, raised enough money for new carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs, same as those used by Paralympic sprinter, Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius. This makes Ellie the youngest person ever to have carbon fiber prosthetic legs. On the first day of her school, Ellie walked on her own in her new carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs.

The lightweight carbon-fiber being extremely strong, has advantages over fiberglass or Kevlar. However, it has a disadvantage too. When bent to a great extent, carbon-fiber can break. The engineers of prosthetic limbs have been working on this issue for some time.

Though Ellie loves her new limbs, they must be replaced every two years as she continues to grow. The director at Dorset Orthopaedic who custom made her legs said: “We were worried that she wouldn’t be able to balance properly on them, but she has made amazing progress. Within seconds of having them on, she was off. It will change her life.”

Ellie’s father extremely pleased with the results said: “Ellie can walk twice as fast on these new legs. She is so full of determination.”

Here’s a video of Ellie learning to walk using the new carbon fiber legs:

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A few months ago, Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man with no legs” met the chirpy 8-year-old Ellie May Challis. They decided to challenge each other to a few races. Pistorius seemed to have underestimated Ellie. Just mere weeks after learning to walk with her new carbon fiber prosthetic legs, Ellie beat Pistorius in all four of their 15-meter races!

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To Get the Job Done Right Give It to a Woman.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Mrs James Bond
Mrs. James Bond

On November 15, 2006, in Colin Murray on BBC Radio 1, interviewed two current operations officers of the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6) which supplies Her Majesty’s government with foreign intelligence. The two officers, a male and a female, with their voices disguised for security reasons, compared their real-life experience with that of James Bond, code name 007.

The officers confirmed their lifestyles as quite glamorous and varied. They had plenty of travel and adventure overseas. They accepted developing compromising relationships with potential sources and their role as primary intelligence gatherers. They confirmed a Q-like figure, head of the technology department, exists and that their director referred to as ‘C’. They stressed that MI6 operated under British law and denied the existence of a “license to kill.” However, I feel that their denial an utter baloney because recently I came across the following intelligence account through my private grapevine.

Recently, MI6 had discreetly made aware that an opening for an assassin existed in their agency, to replace James Bond, code name 007, who is no more. Hundreds of noxious personae applied, discreetly of course.

After completing background checks, interviews, and testing, they chose three finalists – two men and a woman. They blindfolded the three and took them to a safe house.

An MI6 agent led one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a revolver and said: “This final test will confirm that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances be. Are you ready?”

The would-be assassin #1 said, “yes.”

MI6 agent: “Inside this room you will find your wife. We order you to kill her!”

The would-be assassin #1: “Do you expect me to shoot my wife?”

MI6 agent: “Okay. Put on your blindfold. We will take you and your wife back home.”

They gave the second man the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. After five minutes, the would-be assassin #2 came out. With tears in his eyes, he blabbered, “I cannot kill my wife.”

MI6 agent: “Okay. Put on your blindfold. We will take you and your wife back home.”

Then came the woman’s turn. Instructed to kill her husband, she took the gun and went into the room. MI6 agent smiled when he heard shots, one after another and then screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was quiet.

The door opened slowly and there stood the sweating woman. “You gave me a gun loaded with fake bullets,” she said. “So, I had to beat him to death with the chair.”Moral of the story: “If you want a job done right ask a woman to do it.”

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Keep Your Trap Shut!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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One day a farm horse, fell ill. The veterinarian inspected the virus afflicted horse. He prescribed some medicines and told the farmer: “Give these medicines to your horse. If he is not better after three days let’s shoot him.”

The goat that stood outside the stable heard the conversation between the farmer and the vet.

The following day, after the farmer left giving medicine to the horse, the goat entered the stable. “You better get up and walk and pretend you are well; else they will put you to sleep,” the goat said to the horse.

On the second day after the farmer left the stable, the goat came in and said: “Come on you. Get up and walk; else you will die!”

On the third day, the Vet came to the farm. He inspected the horse. Since he did not see any improvement he told the farmer, “No hope. Let’s put him down tomorrow. If not the virus might spread and infect the other horses too.”

After the farmer and the vet went out of the stable, the goat approached the horse and said, “Listen to me my friend. It is now or never! Get up and walk!”

The horse got up with tremendous effort. After some encouragement more encouragement from the goat, he trotted and then galloped.

The farmer and the veterinarian saw the horse running in the field. “My horse, my horse, he is okay” the farmer shouted in joy.

“Yes. My medicines cured him,” blurted the stupefied vet.

The farmer said: “Let us have a grand party. Come, let us kill the goat!”Moral of the story: Do not poke your nose into the affairs of others and keep your trap shut.

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