Subject: Request from Fr Cedric Prakash SJ to sign this petition
On 01-Sep-09, at 12:56 AM, Mira Kamdar wrote:
Please read. Send back request to sign, if the case, and ID. Circulate as widely as possible!
As you can see from the letter below, we are writing to Marjorie Scardino, CEO of the Pearson Group, which owns the FT group, which owns FDI magazine. As some of you may know from media coverage, FDI just anointed Narendra Modi "Asian Personality of the Year 2009." So much for that.
Please join us by signing the letter below. The louder the reaction to this, the more chance this outrageous action will be sanctioned.
Please email either Mira or Vijay, or both. The deadline to collect signatures is September 1, New York Time 6am. Please circulate this widely. Remember to let us know how you wish to be identified after your name.
Mira Kamdar (mirakamdar@...)
Vijay Prashad (vijay.prashad@...)
Dear Marjorie Scardino,
We are writing to inform you of what we consider a shocking action taken by one of the publications under the Pearson Group umbrella, an action that begs for your attention. The magazine FDI, of the Financial Times Group, has selected Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat as its Asian Personality of the Year (2009). This award gives Mr. Modi, whose human rights' reputation is most troubling, a huge boost of legitimacy where he deserves none. We thought it important that you, as Chief Executive Officer of Pearson Group and as someone associated with organizations that work hard to promote peace and security, including the MacArthur Foundation, know of the damage to FDI's credibility, and thus to the Pearson Group, this award has caused.
India's National Commission on Human Rights as well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have demonstrated the responsibility of Mr. Modi and the government he continues to head for a pogrom against Muslim citizens in his state in 2002 that left some 2,000 men, women and children dead and several hundred thousand citizens homeless. (See the Human Rights Watch report "We Have No Orders to Save You" http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2002/04/30/we-have-no-orders-save-you). On the basis of these and other reports, the U. S. government denied Mr. Modi a visa to visit the United States in 2005. The United States Commission on Religious Freedom subsequently recommended that he be denied a visa when he applied for one again in 2008, at which point Mr. Modi withdrew his application.
In terms of Mr. Modi's financial leadership, FDI magazine seems to have missed the many stories that show how despite the consistently high claims about foreign direct investment into Gujarat, the economy has failed to deliver any significant improvement in the lives of the majority of the people who live there. From 1996 to 2006, despite all the hullabaloo about the economic miracle Modi engineered, Gujarat's position in India's human development index actually fell in the categories of education, health, child mortality, infant mortality and in the weight of children. Moreover, and this is relevant to the award, the 2002 pogrom led by Modi had a direct effect on investment in Gujarat, which fell from 14.45% of all investment capital in 1995 to 8.78% in 2002, and by 2005 to 7.67%. In addition, one should bear in mind that less than 21% of the memoranda of understanding signed by the Modi government have been acted upon. There is a lot of unexamined fraud involved in the way the MOUs have been taken at face value. Writing in Mint, the Wall Street Journal's publication in India, Salil Tripathi notes: "It is odd, therefore, to credit Modi with Gujarat's vibrancy. And it is hard not to blame his government for the colossal failure to protect civilians during the anti-Muslim violence in 2002." The entire piece bears reading:http://www.livemint.com/2009/01/21220308/The-real-Modi-story.html
Given the above, we are naturally stunned with FDI's decision to confer upon Narendra Modi, of all people, the Asian Personality of Award of 2009.
We are fully confident that you had no role in this decision. But we hope that you will, in your capacity as CEO of the Pearson Group and as someone whose presence on the board of the MacArthur Foundation indicates you to be someone dedicated to high ethical standards, take immediate action to insure that this award is rescinded and a public statement of regret is made by the responsible publication.
cc. Robert Galluchi, President, MacArthur Foundation.
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