Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right

23 10 2011

Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.

Hubert Humphrey

This is a cropped image taken (stolen) from the Herald-Sun’s #occupymelbourne gallery. I was flicking through, & this poster caught my attention. I flicked back & forth & still ended up at the same image.

Why? Because it speaks to me so loudly of everything that I find disturbing about the occupy movement as it exists in Australia. No economics or factoids in this post. Purely visceral.

Firstly, an apology to #occupysydney participants for not fully understanding why the camp was established outside the Reserve Bank of Australia. I was hammering away, railing inside my head & on Twitter as to why camp hadn’t been set up in Bridge Street (drunken aside: #occupybs would be a cool hashtag) given it’s home to the ASX? I asked a question on Twitter tonight (depending on how quickly I write this, maybe last night) and, thanks to @hailants, I learned something. Securency. I thought polymer notes were just a cool invention. I asked politely, genuinely, & I got a polite, genuine, informative answer about something I knew nothing about. That’s pure gold to me.

OK, so back to the poster. This is so fucking far from pure gold to me it’s not funny. Starving African child juxtaposed with obese Western kids eating junk food. Seems like everything capitalism, everything wrong, everything #occupy represents. Not to me.

I am in no way accepting of how totally fucked it is that gross poverty, is delivered in white 4WDs to the Global South by, yes capitalism, but also inept, corrupt governments & non-state actors. The answer (according to me) to a fraction of that starving African child’s problems is not the carte-blanche, lazy finger-pointing at evil capitalism. It is pathetic infrastructure. It is more expensive to transport food to famine-declared areas from a food bowl IN Africa than it is to ship food aid from Europe. As this Massachusetts Institute of Technology project contends, it is only through global actors such as the World Bank that intra- and inter-country roads in Africa can be built and maintained (the example it uses is the Mombassa – Nairobi road project in Kenya). People in sub-Saharan Africa starve not because there is no food, but because transportation costs are so high, making them aid dependent, and if the greedy Global North cannot be arsed, they die. Dambisa Moyo’s seminal work, Dead Aid may not be popular, but her central thesis, that cutting aid will force these capitalist solutions to take hold, is worth study. I do not agree with cutting foreign aid; but I would play with the idea and put forward the following solution – that the member states which signed up to lift aid to 0.77 per cent of GDP under the UN Millennium Goals – make that abysmal fraction higher, and invest in an infrastructure fund that will assist in building transportation routes and enable, empower the most impoverished to trade with their neighbours. It’s a capitalist solution to a problem that exists, that is so obvious, that for the life of me, I cannot understand.

Next: is this problem assisted by a poster in Melbourne? No. Bring forth the person in, Melbourne, or my Sin City of Sydney, this city of 4.5 million, who is not aware, that somewhere in the world, people are starving. Seriously, I will travel to them, I will jam my foot in their front door  & show them this poster if I am wrong. People know famine exists; they may not understand why, beyond natural causes such as drought; but we know it happens. Forgive me, Occupiers, but where are your solutions, where are your ideas, to fixing this unnecessary, base evil, ill? Capitalism Isn’t Working? It’s not an idea; it’s a statement of questionable fact. There is no attempt to make a constructive argument; it’s not even a talking point memo. Where, in the general assemblies or working groups, are the solutions? I know what the problem is. I’m disgusted by it. I’ve been to Dharavi, one of the world’s largest slums. I’ve seen poverty in South London, where I worked in social housing; in Gaza; in Russia; in Redfern – none of which this poster represents – barring one teeny, tiny thing. The fat kids. The ultimate representation, the tool to demonstrate, about the greedy Global North. Shyeh, right on.

Yep, the fat kids eating junk food. What greater depiction of corporate greed could you imagine? Oh, I can. Teeny, tiny mind of mine suggests that the kiddies sat at the Golden Arches of the capitalist piggery of the Global North, are the the poorest percentile, those totally dependent on welfare; the kids who grow up in households where generational unemployment is a fact of life … these kiddies, the fat capitalist pigs gorging on the fries – they are the 99 per cent. Not you, not even me, with my multitude of fucktardness visited, uninvited, on my childhood. Fact: poor families sacrifice, or cannot afford, fresh fruit and vegetables. They eat fried food. They have less playing space. They are the children whose life expectancy is slashed; who will develop NCDs (non-communicable diseases) such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They will die earlier, their lives straining public health systems in between. They will, on average, not go to university. They won’t make these posters & camp in Martin Place or City Square, because they have never fucking been to Martin Place. They are in our rural and regional centres. They are on the fringes of our cities & at there epicentres. They do not regularly attend school. They are supplied with breakfast & taught how to read by the best of the 99 per cent – our under-valued teachers. These are the children Occupiers need to speak to; not Twitter twats like me. These children are growing up poorer than any of us – not in terms of disposable income, the measurable, cold, economic indicators I have written about before but under-educated, not even disengaged. They are the scorn of our ‘current affairs’ programming. Fringe-dwellers, regardless of race. The underclass. The illiterate and innumerate. The kids who set London on fire while we, the lucky 99 per cent of the Land of Oz sat here and watched. Rail against quantitative easing, #occupysydney … give me a small break while I imagine an austerity package, two or three, visited upon us. The truly frightening thing is that these children are not the stereotypical fat, unruly progeny of Macquarie Fields, or Fitzroy Crossing, or Frankston: they are the middle classes of  the BRICs, especially China and India. There are 78 million Indians with Type 2 diabetes. To work these most basic health issues through, we – who are not the 99 per cent – must get off Martin Place and reach Mumbai. Indians don’t see themselves as victims of capitalism. Indians thrive on trade; not just now, but through the ages. They live in a post-colonialist, still caste-ridden and religiously-divided country. They are more powerful than this lazy portrait, the Indians, South Americans, South Africans, Russians than our piss-poor democracy can imagine.

OK, I am drunk, and tired and I have ranted and railed more than enough for the early hours. Please leave a comment or tweet me about what this poster says to you. I am a cranky old woman, sure; but I genuinely want to know, in more than a cut and paste about how we are controlled by the banks, the media, the corporations and politicians, just what this poster represents. I want more of you,from you, as the individuals who claim to make up the 99 per cent. Agree, disagree; just don’t ignore. Oh, and don’t bash the people you have so long admired for kicking against the pricks of the right, and laughed at the idiocy of the Convoy of No Confidence. If you believe that Wayne Swan is going to chuck a Tony Abbott and stand in front of an ‘occupy buildings, abolish gaols’ banner, you are sorely mistaken. Barack Obama is endorsing #ows in his cool, pragmatic style. He wants to save his presidency by appealing to his base. End of Politics 101. Time for bed. Like this, loathe me, just think about it. Please.

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The Jihadist Pimpernel

3 05 2011

‘Osama bin-Laden and his protégés are the children of desperation: they come from countries where political struggle through peaceful means is futile.”

Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

International Herald Tribune, 11 October 2001

As a self-confessed international relations & human security nerd (note nerd does not equal expert in ANY way), news of the extra-judicial killing of Osama bin-Laden is like a really good one night stand. It’s great, sexy, an intense bout of oxygen for my passions, listening to smart people talking about my world view. Like a great one-nighter, it won’t last, despite the smart people; we’ll go back to opinion polls and leadership challenges soon enough. So here are a few thoughts, probably incoherent and a cautionary tale for Fairfax as to why sub-editors are required – without them, newspapers will become foolish blogs like mine.

1/. Osama bin-Laden: ir/relevant?

Many of the counter-terrorism and Middle East experts I greatly respect have already put it out there: bin-Laden is irrelevant; his legacy is not outstanding. Despite its grim successes – embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the strike against the USS Cole and 9/11 – al-Qaeda has failed to achieve its stated aim, to inspire an Islamic caliphate, ridding the oppressed of dictators and false kings propped up by infidels. It is ordinary people demanding democracy who are achieving results, not those carrying bombs in their underpants. Alternately, bin-Laden undoubtedly kept al-Qaeda in the money, not only through his own wealth, but through his extensive contacts. He wasn’t entirely passed his use-by date to the organisation he founded; perhaps the organisation itself is struggling for relevance as Arabs rise up and demand 21st century freedoms, not a 7th century ideology.

2/. Kill bin?

As a Twitter friend of mine, @SenamBeheton wrote tonight:

Are people celebrating #OBL’s death or the end of his possibilities? Reaction if he was arrested not killed? Would have been the same.

It’s a worthy, skilfully put statement. Why kill bin-Laden?

Why do I, a believer in the imperfect, largely unwritten world of international law, not have a problem with his assassination. Is this why I fear NATO is overstepping the mark in bombing Muammar Qaddafi’s compound; yet have few – almost no – qualms about bin-Laden’s assassination? Both are violations of my interpretation of international law – UN resolution 1973 does not entail the extra-judicial killing of a man who, like it or not, remains a head of state. bin-Laden’s death surely violates Pakistan’s sovereignty – I cannot be convinced that anyone in Islamabad had prior knowledge of the kill squad – and is the unilateral action of the hegemonic power. So why am I uneasy about one, and not the other? I have thought about it since I saw President Obama’s carefully worded statement. Killing bin-Laden shuffles the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ leaderboard, but his strategic input to al-Qaeda’s activities after the Battle of Tora Bora is questionable – so was the kill team necessary? His value to the organisation on 30 April 2011 was as a figurehead for al-Qaeda franchises and bogeyman for the West, in particular Americans. This is why I understand President Obama giving the go ahead for his assassination. This is not an episode of “The West Wing’. Given he was first briefed on the potential operation last August, President Obama has had time to consider his options. I applaud him for using his intelligence agencies and military in an ‘old skool’ manner; after 9/11, the reputation and morale of the American intelligence community reached a nadir. The security apparatus of the US could not prevent such an attack. Despite the Revolution in Military Affairs, and his own use of drone aircraft to bomb suspected Taliban-held areas of Pakistan, the POTUS made sure it was he, as Commander-in-Chief watched as Navy SEALS, not an unmanned plane, killed bin-Laden. The photographs from the White House Situation Room do not reveal any sense of jubilation, but white-knuckles; fear for the safety of their own troops, especially after one of the helicopters stalled, and, I dare say, some horror at what those assembled were witnessing. Then, having ordered the kill and witnessed it, Obama wrote a speech, alerted the press corps and gave a compelling, sombre statement and delivered it down the barrel of a camera late on Sunday night. There was little hyperbole, no ‘Mission Accomplished’; yet I cannot condemn the crowds who gathered at Ground Zero and the White House. Sure, “USA, USA” is not the most intelligent chant, but I truly believe it was a cathartic expression, not a celebration. We experience security subjectively. Americans felt violated by 9/11, and they had a long-bearded Saudi jihadist to blame. I don’t remember Americans spontaneously greeting the capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the tactical magician behind the attacks. Americans subjectively experienced terror at the hands of bin-Laden, & people are happy he is dead. Is it necessary for the US administration to release pictures of its dead prey? Difficult call. I was repulsed by the scratchy vision of Saddam Hussein’s execution, taken by a guard on a mobile phone, and yet I circulated a photograph allegedly showing the dead bin Laden on Twitter as soon as I saw it. The photograph was confirmed as a pitiful photoshop job. Embarrassing for me, more embarrassing for the three journalists whose hands it passed through before reaching me. Releasing the photos? Ghoulish? Will it put to rest the ‘deathers’ who don’t believe the President of the United States, or those who insist that he died years ago? I doubt it. There is no putting brains into statues. Release the photos? Will it spark anger, cause reprisal attacks? Probably. Yet the sight of the bloodied body of Ché Guevara, laid out for the world to see in Bolivia is not the Ché first year arts students venerate on their $2 t-shirts – the handsome young Ché of the Cuban revolution. bin Laden’s whippet features already appear on $2 t-shirts; I doubt they’ll be updated to feature his death mask. Is this a neat end to a shadow-caster? Definitely. I am not going to engage in what bin-Laden could have dumped on the US in a trial at The Hague. Buckets of shit that would make Julian Assange look like a flea in the ear of a dog; but Saddam Hussein’s trial didn’t afford the world a real look into the business he had done with the West. Would bin Laden’s have been any different? Does it help Obama politically? Absolutely. The carnival barkers, Palin, Bachmann and Trump look positively idiotic. Does it secure his re-election? Put it this way – his job approval ratings will go up for a month or so. Then, like us, Americans will go back to their real insecurities: unemployment and unending wars. Which brings me to … 

3/. The realpolitik: what now for the Middle East and Pakistan?

While al-Qaeda has publicly declared its support for protestors in Tunisia & Libya, the only rebel or revolutionary force where there are ‘flickers’ of al-Qaeda is Libya, as acknowledged by Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander and Commander of EUCOMM in testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee in March (Reuters, The Telegraph, BBC). The President of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, claims al-Qaeda has snatched SAMS (surface-to-air missiles) from the rebel zone. Of potentially greater import is the future role of Atiyyah Allah al-Libi, one of the few Libyans in al-Qaeda’s central leadership group. Could he drive a greater jihadist influence through the rebel hierarchy? Is that why Libya’s protestors were able to unsheath weapons and fight Qaddafi? I worry because of my perception of security. I fear that NATO has pursued an illogical strategy in Libya, and its only easy ‘out’ is to kill Qaddafi. Air strikes are not preventing the humanitarian outrages in Misurata and other towns. With every dragging day I am more convinced that the unspoken civil war which is being fought in the Maghreb will split and spread and Libya, torn in two, will not draw parallels with Vietnam, but Lebanon. There have already been incursions by Qaddafi forces into Tunisia. The President of Chad is right to fear weapons seeping from rebels and loyalists – his country has been involved in one of those ugly, unknown wars with Libya for decades. And Qaddafi – Qaddafi has been armed to the hilt since the arms embargo was lifted & he was rehabilitated by the Europeans. Arms in the hands of al-Qaeda and its pretenders in Libya means arms in Somalia, Yemen. Arms mean one thing: arma-fucking-geddon. And on that cheery note, we shift east, to Pakistan.

Many, and smarter minds than I have put the US / Pakistan problem down on paper with great eloquence. I will concentrate on what I see as the drivers of insecurity. In short, the gin joint is teetering on the edge of the clichéd ‘failed state’; unlike Somalia, no one can walk away. Unlike Afghanistan, we cannot pull the pin and hope for the best. Pakistan cannot topple over the edge. It dances around handbags with its nuclear-armed neighbour, India. It is terrorist central. It is fairly broken with corruption and human insecurity. It is not a failed state, but it is one ruled by networks of influence which have freed political actors from formal constraints of governance – the rules of representation, accountability and transparency. At the domestic level, informal networks coalesce around influential individuals, and may infiltrate every element of the political process, helping those in power to keep it by manipulating the national polity and cultivating a culture of cronyism, where network allies network receive government positions for personal reward. This solidifies a power base and may make the machinery of government inefficient and susceptible to corruption. Such networks flourish in states where power is not diffused, particularly if the judiciary is not independent and the rule of law breaks down. Influence can extend through families, clans or villages and across these boundaries, reaching out to other key ‘influencers’ and offering mutual benefit. This makes it difficult for opposition voices to be heard legitimately and competitors hungry for authority, particularly if it is accompanied by prestige and access to public wealth. Groups which may once have been confined to local rivalries will seize on a mood of disaffection and extend their networks in states struggling under the weight of government by favour. Hardened opposition networks of influence are less susceptible to dysfunction of that nature; it may prove more difficult to build connections on little more than promises, but success demands loyalty and discipline, norms which are diminished when a culture of entitlement becomes deeply entrenched. The delegitimization of social, political and military structures is a root cause of conflict. Conflict and fear. A University of Maryland report, Pakistani Public Opinion on the Swat Conflict, Afghanistan, and the US (1 July 2009) found the Pakistani public’s views of militant groups operating in Pakistan have become sharply more negative over the last year and a half; very large majorities now see them as a serious threat to the country’s future. A major shift has taken place in Pakistanis’ perceptions of religious militant groups in their country. In September 2007, only 34 percent thought the “activities of Islamist militants and local Taliban in FATA and settled areas” were a critical threat. In the current study this increased dramatically to 81 percent. In 2007, only 38 percent thought “the activities of religious militant groups in Pakistan” were a critical threat; in this study, 67 percent did. There has been a major shift in Pakistani opinion toward al-Qaeda – so far as it regards Pakistan itself. In late 2007, 41 per cent saw al-Qaeda’s activities as a critical threat to the vital interests of Pakistan in the next ten years; 21 percent called these activities an important, but not critical threat; and 14 percent said they were not a threat. In the current study, 82 percent called al-Qaeda’s activities a critical threat to Pakistan—a 41 percent increase. Twelve percent said al-Qaeda was an important, but not critical threat; only 2 percent said it was not a threat. If security is experienced subjectively, the Pakistani people are frayed and frightened. The US has little or no option but to keep the faith (at least in public) and perform a seismic shift against the multiple threats Pakistan faces from the extreme negligence of its government, its intelligence service and military. This is the great challenge facing this cool-headed President. Killing bin-Laden exposes the sores, and will prove to be pivotal in helping Pakistanis claw back their democracy; restore the apparatus of state. Maybe, bin-Laden’s death will bring an ‘Arab Spring’ to Islamabad and prevent non-state actors from pouncing on a state which is simply too big to fail.





Be victorious

6 10 2010

Jai Ho!

(VICTORY TO YOU)

Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale

(COME JOIN ME UNDER THE GLITTERING BLUE SKY)

Jai Ho, Lyrics: Gulzar / Composer A.R. Rahman

“It is pretty shocking seeing the empty seats. Wonder what ticket prices are?”

“1.2 billion people live in India and maybe 40 or 50 of them have turned up to watch the host nation play in a netball game”

“Maybe they should of held the commonwealth games in Perth, there were better crowds at unigames”

“#T1 : Grandma interested in #CWG status of the day, #T2 : Grandma asks when does the next Test Match Start?”

“#cwg 6 golds wow….but y we don’t get more then single gold in Olympics……i always wish,India should be on top of table in Olympics :)”

“That indians have a fascination for gold is not new.. that we can win it in sports and so many of them .. is ! #CWG”

I love India; it’s an incredible and infuriating country to spend time in – & it requires time. India is everything and nothing … you can eat, cross-legged on the floor with thousands of Sikh pilgrims at Amritsar’s Golden Temple; go to the Regal Cinema in Mumbai & throw popcorn at the bad guys in a Bollywood blockbuster; or take a package holiday in Goa, eating full English breakfasts & never setting foot outside Calangute.

It’s incredible: the languages, the food, the people, the diversity of landscapes, architecture, religions; and infuriating: the wild goose chases because nobody says ‘no’, or ‘i don’t know’, spending half a day to send a parcel, the obvious baksheesh deals to get you into the ‘right’ shop, the unbelievable gap between rich and poor. Most of all, it’s intense: the slums, the inevitable illnesses, the Taj at dawn, the ghats on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, Gandhiji’s memorial, the forts and palaces, the impeccable saris, the rituals, the sacred cows.

India is everything the world is – but in one country. Communal violence, corruption, coexistence, TV channels – all on a monumental scale that you don’t understand until you arrive. The crowds buying bhelpuri on a muggy night at Chowpatty Beach aren’t hundreds of people, they’re thousands; Dharavi slum is Asia’s largest, & yet there’s an emerging middle class of 200m plus and 565 million mobile phone connections (and better reception). In 2007, I arrived in Delhi after three months travelling from Kerala to the Pakistani border. From my autoricksaw in freezing December, I saw children sleeping outside construction sites; yet Forbes 2010 rich list names 69 Indians in the world’s top billionaires – two in the top five. It has one time zone – the infamous Indian Standard Time – which is an elastic concept in a geographically daunting country and the accepted price of doing business.

So with every tweet, comment, news update, whatever, that I come across about how badly the Commonwealth Games is going attendance-wise, I want to scream. India is a maddening place to get things done, but when you go with it and see its mighty past and awesome (in geopolitical and socio-economic terms) future, you just laugh. You laugh and you cry and you are moved by the smallest things and the biggest problems. Having seen construction standards, and experienced power failures across the country, the fact that the athletics track is on par with a school playground and the official broadcast centre is a shambles doesn’t surprise me. That people question a country’s pride or place because of a sketchy crowd at a netball game – that just saddens me. I’m obviously passionate about this, but I’m trying to rationalise it. Here goes:

1/. The BCCI (The Board of Control for Cricket in India) refused to reschedule the Australian test series. It is an utter conundrum that the most cricket mad nation I’ve visited can’t fill a 30,000-seat stadium in Mohali for a thrilling test match, but weigh it up – there are entire TV channels devoted to cricket, 24/7 – replaying matches endlessly. A new match = huge TV audiences, product placement and profits. It is no joke that everything moves a little slower when a cricket match is on. It is inescapable, but as a woman who can attempt to bowl overarm, I was all kinds of weird to kids wherever I went, whether it was in the laneways of Old Delhi or an orphanage in Mamallapuram; for my backyard cricket days I remain eternally grateful. The laughs I had with children I couldn’t otherwise communicate with – (unless I handed over my camera – self-portraits are a big hit) made my angst about the overwhelming poverty a little more bearable. I don’t think I have ever cried as hard as I did leaving that orphanage. I had my own Jolie moment, fantasising that I could somehow adopt a child when in reality, I can’t even keep tropical fish alive. Enough: suffice to say that the BCCI is as powerful as the IOC, FIFA and the European Union rolled into one and the Commonwealth Games didn’t stand a chance against it;

2/. Historically, India has never ‘performed’ at the Commonwealth Games (271 total medals won at 14 games attended out of 18) – or the Olympics – 20 Olympic Games medals total since 1920 (6 gold in men’s field hockey). Australians flip their wigs if we finish further down the medal tally than countries larger than us by infinity and beyond; yet the IOC’s head, Jacques Rogge, is there, encouraging an Indian bid for the Olympics. This is a trial run, they’ll get a whole heap of criticism and then get it right in 20 years time. $100 on it now;

3/. Not all countries care. Australian TV promos pitched the entire games as a grudge match between Australia and England. Stuff everyone else. Try listening to BBC World Service. Every time any other nation wins anything, they’re shouting from the rooftops. Last night, every hour, they played a quote from an Australian competitor (sorry, can’t remember name) who described the games as a bit like a training run for a better competition. It comes at the end of the far more lucrative Euro athletics season; the sun has well and truly set on the Empire, so it’s time to ask: is the whole thing an anachronism? Plenty of the Commonwealth’s best athletes are voting with their feet and saying I’m not bothering. Why should Indian spectators pay for the privilege of not seeing many of the best athletes in the world (barring, for example, Steve Hooker who is competing and to his absolute credit, has publicly stated that he doesn’t understand why others have withdrawn) – or even the best athletes in the Commonwealth. This article from the Bangalore Mirror gives a pretty comprehensive list of reigning champions not appearing (some who definitely wanted to go but had to withdraw because of injury); others, like Usain Bolt, who at least said straight up that it doesn’t suit his training schedule; but I’m going to call it as I see it: if it’s safe enough for the Australian cricket team to go, it is safe enough for Canadian badminton player Alvin Lau to get out of uni for 12 days to compete (seriously – I’ve never met a student who couldn’t wangle their way out of college)

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/71/20100929201009292319556674415277b/Pullouts-are-in-at-CWG.html

http://www.smh.com.au/commonwealth-games-2010/comm-games-news/reasons-change-but-result-the-same-as-more-drop-out-of-games-20100930-15z2p.html

4/. There are shedloads of Indians who can undoubtedly afford tickets and get time off. Public servants get approximately 20 days’ holiday a year – 3 secular, national holidays – the rest are (‘local’ holidays according to which state you live in, or religious observances). If you work in the private sector, say for a corporation, chances are you may get the same time – but what if you don’t? What if you’re the hundreds of millions of rural and urban poor? What if you work everyday selling ice from a cart to feed your family? Ticket prices for athletics events range from zero on the last day of competition – the marathon finals to Rs1,000 (AUD 23.22 today)http://www.tickets.cwgdelhi2010.org/cgibin/bv60.dll/cwg/home/schedule.do?sportsname=Athletics. The median salary in Delhi is Rs419,000 (AUD9,729 today): http://www.payscale.com/research/IN/Country=India/Salary/by_City The median salary in Sydney is $65,460. So each Rs1,000 seat would cost a Sydneysider on the median salary the equivalent of $163. Think about it, long and hard: would you fly to the Gold Coast, pay for accommodation and alcohol, put up with maddening security and see the best of who can be arsed turning up when you can watch it on tv for nothing?http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Country=Australia/Salary/by_City

5/. Finally, who the hell are we to talk? ANZ Stadium is hardly ever ‘full’ … a couple of football games a year; it’s never carried the same numbers as it did during the Olympics because they got rid of the extra stands. If people are so incensed by crowd numbers at the netball in New Delhi, then TV ratings and attendance figures at Australia’s stellar women’s comp should double next year.

But most of all, why should any of this deter this inspiring, infuriating country, one of the world’s fastest developing economies, from sinking billions into sporting & other infrastructure? India is a member of the G20; the world’s largest democracy and second largest population. I really hope that Delhi makes similar reuse of facilities as Beijing did with its Olympics venues  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26393878/ns/beijing_olympics-beijing_olympics_news/ and the performances of the stars who will be made  by these games inspire and bring joy. A sincere “Jai Ho” to everyone who loves the Commonwealth Games. To all of the competitors, supporters, TV audiences around the world … “Victory to You”.