“I realized that I am super annoyed, and have been for a long time, with this idea that Bill Gates is some kind of ‘decent human being’ for so-called, ‘giving away’ his fortune. Because that is not what this man does, and a good human being is not what this man is. Bill Gates is a fucking monster. And so I just want to kind of explain why I have so many negative feelings towards Bill Gates.
With everything that’s going on right now with the vaccines, and the fact that most of the world can’t get them, can be traced directly back to that one man. Because back in 2020 when this all started, the world was cooperating. And I think we all remember this. The world was cooperating to study the virus. And scientists all over the world were sharing their findings to discover how the virus works, and they were developing methods for treatment and they were also developing these vaccines at an incredible speed. And they were doing this together in the spring of 2020.
And so by the end of the spring of 2020, the World Health Organization had created a global knowledge base, so that the vaccination effort could be a team effort instead of a competitive race. And their global knowledge base was called C-TAP (COVID-19 Technology Access Pool). And that’s when Bill Gates stepped in, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. What they did is, they created a separate process for managing the world’s COVID response. They called it the ACT-Accelerator (Access to COVID-19 Tools), which is a public-private partnership that included patent protections, so that the companies that figured out the tasks, treatments and vaccines, would be able to keep their discoveries to themselves, prevent other companies from copying them, and profit on vaccines as they sell them around the world. That was the goal of the ACT-Accelerator. It was a competition to the team building approach. So instead of cooperation, Gates sets up this separate thing for corporate competition, with the winners being rewarded with monopoly powers over our vaccines.
And so instead of the technology being figured out and distributed around the world, Gates’ brainchild organization instead created something called COVAX, which buys vaccines from the companies with the monopoly powers over the vaccines. And then they pass out some vaccines to poor countries around the world like a fucking cherry. But even the stated goal of COVAX has always been a weak one. They never intended to distribute more than enough vaccines to vaccinate any more than 20 percent of the populations of low and middle income countries. And they have totally failed to do even that. The vast majority of the vaccines would have to be fought for in the private market by the governments. And at the beginning of April 2021, 130 countries, home to over 2.5 billion people, hadn’t given out a single dose of a vaccine to anyone in their countries.
So, as a human race, I know that here in the United States all of us are able to get the vaccine. Like, great for us, right? But we are not the only humans here that are dealing with the virus. And as humans, we don’t have enough supply because only a handful of companies can [afford to] make the damn things. And Bill Gates is personally responsible for stopping other companies from having access to vaccine instruction manuals. Because that’s what they need. In fact, when the director at Oxford—which is where the science behind the AstraZeneca vaccine was figured out—when Oxford wanted to publish the instruction manual for their vaccine to the public domain for the world to use, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used their power to pressure Oxford to instead sign an exclusive contract with AstraZeneca, which now has monopoly rights to that vaccine.
Bill Gates and those who are like him are designing global policy on vaccines, so that the private market decides who gets them. And that’s even when the institutions like the World Health Organization, that are generally on board as the administrators of the global economic system based on privatization of everything—even when those institutions are saying, “This is a global pandemic, and this is a time when we as humans should be making an exception to these rules, we should be sharing the technology to end this pandemic instead of putting patents and profits first.”—even when those institutions are saying that, Bill Gates has enough power as one man, to stop the world from doing it. This economic system has created oligarchs that are so rich and so powerful they can shape the fate of the entire world. And the way that that’s possible? Well, Bill Gates, as the founder of Microsoft, he fought politically to protect monopoly patents. This is something he has been a zealot about for the entire time he’s been in the public eye. He used his own patent protections over computer knowledge to become super rich when Microsoft had monopoly powers over their technologies. And then Bill Gates used his wealth to legally bribe politicians with campaign contributions, who then passed laws that created and continually expanded an economic system that funnels the world’s wealth to the richest people on earth. An economic system that funnels the world’s wealth TO HIM. He had so much damn money, thanks to this system, he got to like $150 billion dollars or so. He started a foundation that would spend his money on the things that HE wanted to spend it on. Billions of dollars. And people think that the sun shines out of his ass for this. Like, he’s some kind of noble human being, giving away his savings. But that’s not what this is. When you’re giving out money by the tens of billions, that’s government—just privatized. That’s society altering money. And the way Gates does it? He’s not funding food banks around the world. He’s chosen to use his billions to shape global health policy in a way that protects PATENTS. This insane economic system lets one dude control $150 billion dollars, and has created a situation where so much of our global health research is funded through him, that any organization or individual in the field that dares to challenge the Gates Foundation on drug monopolies will find themselves iced out of funding. And so everybody’s falling in line.
Right now he’s basically using his fortune to act as a volunteer lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, and he’s been doing this since 1999. He’s using his personal billions—wealth beyond what many governments have—to protect the profits of multinational drug companies, while being branded a hero for donating some drugs to poor countries, to charity wash the entire racket: “Oh he’s giving away all his money! He’s giving away 95 percent of his wealth” … at $150 billion dollars, if he gives away 95 percent of it, he’s still keeping over $7 billion dollars for himself. This guy is a selfish mother fucker. It’s NOT charity. It’s not charity what he’s doing. He’s shaping global policy. He’s governing on his own. His fortune, via the Gates Foundation, stopped the world from sharing information about AIDS treatments two decades ago. And now he’s pulling the same shit with the COVID technologies.
Now this dynamic is being challenged in the World Trade Organization—as it should be—where more than 100 countries, more than half the world is trying to force companies like Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna, to give them the instructions so that they can make their own vaccines and get this pandemic over with. And Moderna is a perfect example of the privatization of government funded science. Because the mRNA technology that is central to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines? That’s been in development since 2016. It’s not new, even though we’re acting like this was invented in the last year. It’s not. They’ve been working on it for years. But it’s an invention of the National Institute of Health, which is otherwise known as OUR GOVERNMENT. So allowing obscene prices and profits for pharmaceutical companies, that did not lead to the research and development that created that amazing technology. It was our tax money that did it. It was our government that did it. We should all be patting ourselves on the back for that because we are the ones who funded it. It wasn’t Moderna, and it wasn’t Pfizer. It was us. The government scientists were working on a vaccine with Moderna for a different Coronavirus, MERS, when they got the information about the COVID virus. And so they were able to quickly tweak the technology they were already working on for 5 years. They gave the instructions for those tweaks to Moderna, and then Moderna did the work of cooking the recipe. But the mRNA technology? THAT’S OURS.
And on top of that, I’ve read every COVID related law, from start to finish. Every word. And starting in early March, 2020, our congress poured billions and billions of our tax money into vaccines. We paid for the raw materials, the clinical trials, we paid for all the renovations needed at the Moderna facilities to make all this happen. Moderna didn’t take on the risk. We taxpayers did. But when the Trump administration signed the contracts with Moderna to be the chefs of the vaccines, they didn’t require Moderna to share the recipes. And so they aren’t sharing. And the Biden administration so far, has sided with the Trump administration and the drug companies, and is refusing to support the effort to lift the patent protections on the vaccines that WE paid to invent. The Biden administration has all the leverage and legal authority it needs to tell these greedy companies, Moderna in particular, to share what we gave them for the good of the world. But instead, the Biden administration is dancing around the edges, choosing instead to donate doses, like a bunch of AstraZeneca ones that we just had stored in some closet somewhere. “Oh we’re donating those! Aren’t we great?” They want to funnel billions of our tax dollars to COVAX, that Gates inspired organization that buys vaccines from the monopoly drug companies, and passes them out to the poor. It’s all charity. But the problem is the monopolies. The problem is requiring the entire world to get the vaccine from these handful of chosen companies, and the ones that can’t afford it have to depend on … charity.
And that’s bullshit.”
17K notes · View notes
Naming a South Asian Character
“I need a name for a South Asian character”
We’re going to need a little more information than that…
Please see the following maps of South Asia:
Image description: Two maps of South Asia. The top map depicts the South Asian region, including Afghanistan with color-coding of different regions by 8 color-coded language groups. The bottom depicts the official state/ province/ languages and scripts for countries in the South Asian region, excluding Afghanistan. See end of post for detailed image description under the cut.
(Links: Top Map, Bottom Map)
That’s a lot of languages, right?
Names in South Asian cultures are primarily dictated by religion and language. While there’s some overlap between cultures, we can make an educated guess of someone’s ethnicity & religion based on their name. For example:
Simran Dhillon … is a Punjabi Sikh.
Priyanka Ghosh … is a Bengali Hindu
Maya Srinivasan … is a Tamilian Hindu.
Harsh Patel … is a Gujarati Hindu.
Amin Usmani … is a Muslim from a traditionally Urdu speaking community.
Teresa Fernandes … is a Goan Christian.
Behind the Name is a good place to start looking as they state the specific language the name is from. As for religion, there are more factors to consider.
Sikh first names are gender neutral. The 10th Sikh guru designated Singh (meaning lion, for men) and Kaur (meaning heir to the throne, for women) as Sikh surnames. These surnames were designed to be equalizers within Sikh communities. However, many Sikhs keep their Punjabi surnames (many of these surnames are now primarily associated with Sikhs) and use Singh and Kaur as a middle name (eg. Ranjit Kaur Shergill, Amrit Singh Cheema). More devout Sikhs use only Singh and Kaur or use the same format legally but do not share their surnames.
Sikh first names are derived from gurbani (Sikh holy texts), so they are often uniform across cultures. Most Sikhs who aren’t Punjabi use Singh & Kaur or cultural surnames in the same format. The latter is usually seen among Afghan & Delhiite Sikh communities. While most changed their surnames to Singh & Kaur, some families still kept the surnames they had before they converted from Islam and Hinduism (eg. Harpreet Singh Laghmani, Jasleen Kaur Kapoor).
If you’re stuck on a surname for a Sikh character, Singh for men and Kaur for women is the safest way to go regardless of ethnicity.
Good resources for Sikh names can be found here:
South Asian Christians naming conventions depend largely on who brought Christianity to the region and when. For example, Christianity was largely brought to Goa by Portuguese Catholics so you’ll see Portuguese surnames, while many Christians in the Seven Sister States didn’t change their names. South Asian Christians will also often have Christian first names, either in Portuguese or in English.
Hindus, Jains, castes and gotras
Hinduism is the majority religion in India and the South Asian region overall. A key thing that many newcomers overlook when writing about Hindus is that rather like feudal Europe, a person’s last name can also tell you what their family used to do because of the caste system. Both Hindus and Jains employ gotras (or lineage systems) designed to keep people from the same patrilineal line from marrying each other. Thus, if your Hindu character is a Vaishya (tradesman/ merchant class), but you have chosen a last name for them related to farming, or if your Kshatriya (warrior) character has a last name that means bureaucrat, you’ve made a mistake. Most Hindus and Jains will have last names derived from Sanskrit, or a language with Sanskrit roots.
A note on middle names: in South India, Hindus will often use the father’s first name for the child’s middle name.
For what it is worth, South Asia is hardly the only region to have these particular features. Japanese society until the end of the Edo era was heavily segregated by caste, and to this day, many families with samurai last names occupy relative positions of privilege compared to other castes, even though the Japanese caste system ended with the Meiji Restoration.
A note of caution: Baby name websites tend to be inaccurate for Hindu names, often confusing Farsi and Arabic-derived Urdu names with the more traditional Sanskrit-derived names. Behind the Name is by far the most accurate website, but it doesn’t hurt to check multiple sources. For Hindu and Jain surnames associated with different castes, regions and gotras, Wikipedia is surprisingly thorough.
Islam is the majority religion in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as the second largest religion in India, but the differing ethnicities and arrival periods of Muslims in South Asia over the course of history can have a significant impact on a character’s name. For example, think of when your character’s family will have arrived in South Asia or converted to Islam:
During the Delhi Sultanate, when Hindustani would have been spoken?
Under the Mughals when Persian was more common?
Are they from Bangladesh and thus speak Bengali?
Do they have ancestors from Afghanistan or Swat Valley, and thus have Pashto last names?
Does the family speak Urdu?
All of these will impact what their name might reasonably be. As a general rule, Muslims will have last names that are in Farsi/ Persian, Urdu, Arabic and Bengali. Bangladeshi Muslims may have Hindu names (both first and last) as well.
When discussing Buddhists in South Asia, we are primarily talking about Nepal and Sri Lanka. The majority languages in these countries are Nepali and Sinhala, respectively. Both languages are part of the Indo-Aryan language family, and like many Indo-Aryan languages, show heavy Sanskrit influence.
Don’t forget that India also has a large number of lesser known minority religions, including Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Tibetan Buddhism and a host of indigenous religions.
Judaism: There are a number of historical Jewish enclaves in India, as the result of specific waves of migration. Like South Asian Muslim names, Jewish last names will vary depending on the ethnicity and arrival period for each particular wave of Jewish diaspora.
Zoroastrianism: People who practice Zoroastrianism are likely to have Farsi last names.
Tibetan Buddhism: Tibetan Buddhists will obviously have Tibetan names and are often a part of the Tibetan diaspora who entered India as refugees during the Chinese government’s invasion of Tibet.
An in-depth coverage of name etymology in South Asia would probably be the size of an encyclopaedia. The above is hardly exhaustive; we haven’t scratched the surface of the ethnic and linguistic variations in any of the South Asian countries displayed on the maps above. We hope, however, that it motivates you to research carefully and appreciate the cultural diversity South Asia has to offer. Just like in any setting where issues of lineage are plainly displayed by a person’s name, names in South Asia tell stories about where a person is from, what language they speak, and what their ancestors might have done, even if this has little bearing on the character themselves. It may seem a little elaborate to try and imagine the ancestors of your character before you even decide who your character is, but the reality is that most South Asians know these things instinctively, and whether or not you do your due diligence will be part of how we judge your work.
Name a thing to fight over, and South Asians have probably fought over it at one point or another, whether it be religion, ethnicity, language, or caste. However, one thing many South Asians have in common is pride in our individual origins. Respecting this love of identity will be invaluable as you plan your story.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for actually talking to people who share your character’s background. We will always recommend having someone from the community you’re writing about check your naming.
-- Mods SK and Marika
A disclaimer for our Desi followers
Detailed image description: 2 maps of South Asia: The top map shows South Asia including the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Different colors show regions associated with 8 language categories. The language families by color are:
Indo-Aryan (Light green)
Iranian (dark green)
Unclassified/ Language Isolates (Grey)
Moving north to south, language distribution is roughly as follows:
Turkic at Afghanistan’s northern border
Tibeto-Burman at the northern borders of India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Iranian for Afghanistan and the western half of Pakistan.
Indo-Aryan for the eastern half of Pakistan, the northern half of India, the southern half of Nepal, and all of Bangladesh.
Dravidian for the southern half of India and the northern portion of Sri Lanka, scattered clusters in central India, and an isolated region in south western Pakistan (Balochistan).
Austro-Asiatic languages are clustered on the eastern side of central India and the Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam to the northeast.
For Maldives island chain to the southwest of India: Dravidian language groups are spoken to the north, while Indo-Aryan groups are spoken to the south.
For the Andaman and Nicobar island chains to the east of India in the Bay of Bengal, unclassified/ language isolates are spoken for the northern half, while Austro-Asiatic languages are spoken in the southern half.
The bottom map shows South Asia, including the states, provinces and territories for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, indicating the languages and scripts of major state/ provincial languages. From Northeast to Southwest, starting from the northernmost point, they are as follows (Format: state or province, language(s), country):
Gilgit-Baltistan, Urdu, India and Pakistan (disputed territory)
Jammu and Kashmir/ Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Kashimiri, India and Pakistan (disputed territory)
Ladakh, Kashmiri, India
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashto, Pakistan
Balochistan, Balochi, Pakistan
Punjab, Punjabi, Pakistan
Sindh, Sindhi, Pakistan
Himachal Pradesh, Hindi, India
Uttarakhand, Hindi, India
Punjab, Punjabi, India
Haryana, Hindi, India
Rajasthan, Hindi, India
Gujrat, Gujrati, India
Nepal (whole country), Nepali, Nepal
Uttar Pradesh, Hindi, India
Madhya Pradesh, Hindi, India
Maharashtra, Marathi, India
Goa, Konkani, India
Bihar, Hindi, India
Jharkhand, Hindi, India
Chhattisgarh, Hindi, India
Telangana, Telugu, India
Karnataka, Kannada, India
Sikkim, Nepali, India
West Bengal, Bengali, India
Odia, Odisha, India
Andhra Pradesh, Telugu, India
Tamil Nadu, Tamil, India
Kerala, Malayalam, India
Sri Lanka (whole country), Sinhala/Tamil, Sri Lanka,
Arunachal Pradesh, English, India
Assam, Assamese, India
Meghalaya, Khasi/Garo, India
Bangladesh (whole country), Bengali, Bangladesh
Nagaland, English, India
Mizopur, Mizo, India
Manipur, Meitei, India
Tripura, Bengali/ Kokborok/English, India
18K notes · View notes