Archive for November, 2006

What’s going on in India, the world’s biggest democracy?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

It’s reassuring to know that the second most populous nation in the world is a democracy. (Although the largest is not.)

But laboring in the area of human rights, problems tend to come to my attention. And what comes with unfailing regularity is news of religious violence and persecution in India. This often takes the form of Hindu extremists attacking Christians and other religious minorities, and India is regularly included in reports from sources such as Voice of the Martyrs. In fact, the U.S. government listed India as a Country of Particular Concern regarding religious freedom during 2002-2004.

The latest report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom mentions improvements by the new government since elections shifted the political landscape in 2004, but finally admits that attacks still occur continually, especially in areas controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

It seems that Indian authorities and police are not taking sufficient actions to stop the attacks, and in fact, sometimes police harass the victims.

(Of course, not all the news is bad. I’ve also noticed that India has officially recognized Falun Gong, the heavily persecuted religious/meditation group originating from China, and the group seems to be doing fairly well there. That is a positive development to contrast with the other points.)

This situation had set the background for me when a new report crossed my desk. This time it was from a Tibetan pro-democracy group. Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue was forbidden by Indian authorities from leaving Dharamshala, the home of the Tibetan government-in-exile, until after Chinese leader Hu Jintao’s visit to India is over. The purpose was to prevent him from leading effective demonstrations against the Communist leader.

This represents a preemptive crackdown by the world’s largest democracy as it is visited by the leader of the largest totalitarian state.

Despite this, it appears that India had quite a lively protest during Hu’s visit, with hundreds of peaceful demonstrators calling attention to the repression in their homeland. Unfortunately, at one point a student decided to set himself on fire in protest–he was saved, but the desperation of his act highlights the extreme suffering of Tibetans in a largely indifferent world.

Due to the size and success of the protests, activists actually gave an ironic thank-you to Indian and Chinese authorities for trying to silence the well-known activist Tsundue, because “they have now created hundreds more Tsundues.”

India’s democracy is a major asset in a world that is still divided between freedom and tyranny, and protecting human rights and freedoms there is crucial. If you would like to encourage India’s government to take action and improve in these areas, I will include a link for official contact information.

http://goidirectory.nic.in/

Launching a library

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I’m happy to announce ReadThese.com, a new site where I will be personally selecting and introducing books for free online reading–literature that I consider to be of very high quality, and well worth reading. These are books that have given important insights, told great stories, or otherwise offered much to the reader.

My personal introduction to each book will explain the valuable qualities and contributions I see in the work.

The first book I’ve selected is Charles Eastman’s autobiography, Indian Boyhood. Get inside the world of a young Dakota Sioux and discover a treasure of information about Native American life. The experiences and concepts that Eastman shares in this book are nothing short of fascinating. His vivid and thoughtful descriptions bring the Dakota tribe back to life for the reader, with their beliefs and motivations as well as their activities and adventures.

Read this, if you would like to experience an incredible encounter with the Sioux, and bookmark ReadThese, if you would like to find selected outstanding books.

The other facets of Curry Kenworthy (or, I start blogging and expand this site)

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

For many years my web page has focused exclusively on my software. However, as some may have speculated, my life has a few more angles in addition to that one. In the last several years I have become increasingly involved in nonprofit work, and also in the study of human society and well-being.

Besides that, I’ve always had something of the “Renaissance man” in me, delving into a range of interests too numerous to list all at once. My nonprofit work and other endeavors have manifested themselves elsewhere, but they hadn’t trickled back to this website. That was on the to-do list, but it didn’t come to fruition, until now.

I’ve finally taken the plunge. This blog will allow me to share my thoughts and experiences in other fields of endeavor as well as sharing more about my shareware. Additionally, I will be adding links to some new types of content at the curryk.com site.

The end result will reflect more of what I do, and allow me to do more that reflects my priorities–to help individuals and societies solve problems, meet their needs, and improve their well-being; and to delve into and contribute to some of the fascinating and important areas that human experience has to offer. Those have been driving forces behind my efforts in software as well as in activism, and now I’m happy to be able to share more here at curryk.com.

Best wishes,

Curry K.

Enjoying an ancient game

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Lately I’ve been playing Senet when I need some relaxation. The Ancient Egyptians may have started playing it more than five thousand years ago, and they kept going for three thousand years. Having played it quite a bit myself, I can understand their fascination with the game.

Senet is played on a board of three rows and ten columns, and the object is to get your players off first. The game is fairly simple, but the fifteenth square and the last five squares have special rules that make things challenging and interesting. No one knows exactly how Senet was played, but plausible rules have been deduced by historians. I find that playing the game also leads to assumptions (right or wrong) of what rules work best.

I’m actually playing my own implementation of Senet; I am making computer software for the game, which will be available on this site. And of course, I’m playing against the computer.

It’s quite possible to use strategy to gain advantages during the game, but when it comes down to the final piece, it usually becomes a matter of pure luck. (Usually, although not always.) It can be frustrating to have an overwhelming lead on your opponent, only to lose the game due to unlucky throws that force your last piece to move backward repeatedly. No wonder the Egyptians connected success in the game with divine favor. (In fact, it became very significant in their religious beliefs, although it continued to be played for normal entertainment as well.) Senet was even a hieroglyphic character in their writing. They were obsessed with it.

I find it really enjoyable to play a game that made up an important part of people’s lives thousands of years ago. That sense of connection with the past is a welcome addition to the fun of the game. I may become almost as obsessed with the game as they were–although I don’t stake my spiritual welfare on it.

Stay tuned for my Senet game. In the meantime, if you’d like to try a unique arcade puzzle game, different than any you’ve played before, download Ashalii.