Khaab Khayaal Saraab
Thursday, September 22, 2005here.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
You don't have to care about *all* this, but my main blog is at:
Started another blog a while back that I am in the process of converting to one about life in Silicon Valley:
I dump stray thoughts at:
and, in particular, am thinking of using the following entry as the base for a website:
On the Wiki side, so far, I have convinced the folks at Wikia/Wikicities [spin-off from Wikipedia, I think] to host:
My Wikipedia page is at:
and you can find what I have been up to at:
Thursday, January 20, 2005
War on terror is part of a larger battle within the Muslim world
September 11 was only incidentally about Americans
By Thomas D'Evelyn
Reading Gilles Kepel's new book, "The War for MuslimMinds," challenges one's sense of scale. Crucial, irreversible steps such as George W. Bush's earlydecision not to pursue the Palestinian-Israeli peaceprocess and the neoconservatives' justification for theIraq war, take on new meaning when seen in contextof the enormous geopolitical scope of Islam today. In short, while the US administration believes thatWestern values will appeal to the hearts and minds ofthe Muslim world, the Muslim world is consumed withits own internal debates that dwarf those of the West.In this sense, 9/11 was only incidentally about "us."Kepel, a professor of Middle East studies at theInstitutde of Political Studies in Paris, gathers his earlythemes in the following statement: "The attacks on thetwin towers and the Pentagon were not a thunderboltout of the blue. They were part of a precise, carefullyconsidered program that combined the logic of jihad,the operational tactics of guerrilla warfare, theopportunistic advantages offered by the Arab-Israeliconflict during the second intifada, and the politicalinfluence of neoconservative ideology on US foreignpolicy - all of which worked to the advantage of radicalIslamism."While Kepel's book helps us to see how Americanstrategies influence debates within the Islamic world,we also begin to understand the "war on terror" notas "Bush's war" but as a war waged by militant Islamistsfor the minds of Muslims. Osama bin Laden, he argues,has not won that war yet, but both Russia, with its warin Chechnya, and the US, with its wars in Afghanistanand Iraq, have inadvertently fueled the cause ofradical Islam.In later chapters on "Saudi Arabia in the eye of thestorm," "the calamity of nation building in Iraq," and"the battle for Europe," Kepel describes thecrosscurrents and conflicts that characterize the Muslimworld today.Easy to read (no footnotes but a good bibliographyfor each chapter), this persuasive book challenges theAmerican perspective on the war on terror and, moreimportant reveals the rich complexity of contemporaryIslam.What's more, Kepel's final pages on the integration ofyoung progressive Muslims in Europe hold out apromise for a better world.? Thomas D'Evelyn is an editorial consultant inProvidence, R.I.The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the WestBy Gilles KepelBelknap/Harvard320 pp., $26Full HTML version of this story which may includephotos, graphics, and related linkswww.csmonitor.com | Copyright © 2005 The ChristianScience Monitor. All rights reserved.For permission to reprint/republish this article, pleaseemail Copyright
Monday, January 03, 2005
Reuel Gerecht, in particular, is interesting. He thinks Bernard Lewis has it right; but he doesn't come out sounding as ... shall we say... patronising?
Others include Sageman (numbers, etc.), of course Jessica Stern, Karen Greenberg (Exec Dir. of NYU's Center for Law and Security), Aimee Ibrahim of DFI International, and so on...Paul Eedle, founder of Out There News
Anatol Lieven says (quoting a metaphor used by Lawrence Wright for Saudi Arabia before him) "Pakistan is not exactly a hypnotized chicken, but it is a very depressed chicken." He seems important as a scholar on Pakistan...."The form of Islam espoused by Al-Qa'eda ... is a modern creation."
Kamran Bokhari is at StratFor?
New America Foundation & NYU Law Center Panel on Al-Qaeda - Part 2
The New America Foundation & the NYU Law Center host a day-long conference called "Al-Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11." Authors Peter Bergin & Michael Scheuer (AKA, Anonymous) are among the participants. The panels cover organization, who joins, European presence, rising militantism, U.S. presence, media strategy, and influence in Pakistan & Saudi Arabia.
12/2/2004: WASHINGTON, DC: 7 hr. 45 min.
Inside British Jihad by WBUR Boston's Inside Out:
And their On Point's Islam in Europe:
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
* Pronounciations: "Islum". You get "Muslim" very right. and so on.
Friday, September 24, 2004http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3677984.stm
New Pakistani: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3683186.stm
Ahmed Rashid on 3 Elections: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3676208.stm
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Interesting program at "Demonstration Pilot #2" at:
Friday, May 14, 2004Notes on the other two [besides Irshad Manji] "Prominent Female Muslim Voices":
Asra Q. NomaniIn response to a New York Times Opinion piece by her, someone wrote the following on a Pakistani mailing list [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sv-pak/message/7762]:
> ISNA and CAIR seem to be in the cross-wires !!
I have no doubt that Ashcroft and Co. would have shut them down had they found the smallest of excuses.
And Asra Nomani does leave me a little uncomfortable at times--but as the article implies, that CAIR and Co. were a little more egalitarian in their focus, it would make for a stronger case in standing up for human rights...[I can't seem to find the link to the European document Ms. Hasan mentions.]
Asma Gull Hasan
"only true muslim nation"...and yes, ... but am...
if I wasn't an american, I wouldn't have noticed the democratic elements in islamic history and theory?!!
Brian asked "is there a progressive american wing of islam?" her reply: "it's a sign that there's a healthy discussion going on in Islam" [they were both talking in the context of Asma Gull Hasan, Asra Q. Nomani, and Irshad Manji]. Later brian asks "why bother with religion at all...why bother with organized religion?" To have a sense of good and bad, she said [in paraphrase].
[From a post to another list:
As for Asma GH, I agree with more of what she says. All up to the point where she gets all paternalistic as an American and starts saying things like "because I am an American, I can identify more with the democratic aspects of Islam" [i am paraphrasing], which makes the blood boil in the "Third Worlder" in me who grew up being taught about the Rule of Law and Democracy literally at my father's knee, right after he taught me that there was One God and that Mohammad was his messenger--all while living under more than half a dozen military dictatorships, both in Africa and Pakistan.
Monday, April 19, 2004“We don’t care about being popular, we care about being safe.”
Mary Matalin discussing American foreign policy.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
The Third World War is now
"From Palestine to Iraq, the region is aflame with conflict. Yet the need for dialogue is ignored, says Prince EL HASSAN BIN TALAL..."
Monday, April 12, 2004From The Asia Society's Asia Source:
Talal Asad has conducted extensive research on the phenomenon of religion (and secularism), particularly the religious revival in the Middle East. Professor Asad is the author of Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). His new book, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity will be published by Stanford University Press in February 2003.
Professor Asad is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.
In this interview with AsiaSource, Professor Asad discusses, among other things, religious revivalist movements, human rights, Shariah law and the modern state.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004Blogging Trends
an explosion of Farsi blogs out there
most on moveable type
i think it is the most active domain of blogging right now
i use blogger
the first one I learnt about
a lot of peple use Moveable Type
Blogger is the one Google bought
don't know whether Google has started a new service based on Blogger or just linked to it
It is on "internet time"
anyone that is willing to listen to Azad thoughts
or, more practically,
the social justice crowd
finally set up a blog for myself--hope to dump short thoughts on it
Cool ... I'll check it out.
been meaning to
was sorting out what to do.
I think I will use this for fast and free thoughts
khaabkhayaal... for dumps of raw material
That sounds good.
and then maybe http://wadiwallah.blogspot.com for formal columns
On the Think Tank idea:
Check these out and then lets talk about them: http://www.eudoxa.se/usa/thoughts/comments/february2003.html
The following link seems to be the best:
Tuesday, April 06, 2004Interesting site, both in content and the way it is set up:
Thursday, April 01, 2004The dreams of our elders:
Tuesday, March 23, 2004We have to think beyond the elections in November--do we really think that a President John Kerry and others after him will put a total stop to things like what has been happening in Venezuela, Haiti; like what happened in Iran in the 60s and happens repeatedly in Pakistan?
Monday, March 22, 2004Sab: bhaiya aaj kay dhaur maiN company bhee aap koe lay off karthay nahee soachthee
Sab: thoe how can you afford to think of them?
Sab: as long as you are employed you must be loyal and ethical
Sab: but once you decide to move, it should be gentlemanly, courteous and businessline
Sab: the "breach" part depends on what is in the contract
Sab: and if they put a condition on it that you can leave in a certain time or that you have to give a nottice and so on
Sab: if you can't, you can't
Sab: you tell them you will need time to give notice and so on
Sab: if they can't wait, then you don't take the job
Sab: Dubai or anywhere else I mean
Sab: give time for interview, absolutley
Sab: aaj kal kee dhuniya maiN lifelong employment nahee hoe thee
From Leonard Lopate:
Novelist Chris Abani talks about coming of age in Nigeria in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The protagonist in Chris Abani's novel, GraceLand, is Elvis Oke, a young Nigerian with a tendency to impersonate Elvis Presley.
» Read an excerpt of Abani's book in the Reading Room
» Visit Chris Abani's website
Events: As part of PEN Foreign Exchanges, Walter Mosley will be speaking with CHRIS ABANI. Salman Rushdie will be there, as well, and Alfre Woodard and Bill Irwin will give a reading of the work. March 22 at 7 pm at the French Institute on 59th Street
Wednesday, March 17, 2004Quotes from traditional Pakistani songs:
- "mai ban ka kaboothar maraaN p-hairiyaaN" [Abrar]
- "paa jaaNRgay saanoo nawaa p-hu'aaRa" [quoted/included in Musarrat Nazir's "Meri Pasand"]
Monday, March 15, 2004A Manifesto: http://www.mindspring.com/~kimall/Reviews/manifesta.html
Interesting reading list:
Friday, March 12, 2004http://www.Sarai.Net/
PAKISTAN: 5000 attend social forum
Farooq Tariq, Lahore
The Pakistan Social Forum (PSF) was held on January 12 at Lahore Alhumra halls. More than 5000 people participated in the event, making it one of the largest gatherings of progressive forces in Pakistan in recent times. A rally was also organised afterwards in the centre of Lahore....
Formation of Pakistan Social Forum and Joint Declaration
Tuesday, March 09, 2004On India, Outsourcing, etc.
Blame India Watch http://blameindiawatch.blogspot.com/
prashant kothari http://prashantkothari.com/ [good links on what a blog is]
Viewpoint from India http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/emergingtech/outsourcing/
Living in India http://www.livinginindia.com/
Monday, March 08, 2004PNME
Project for a New Muslim Era
Religion for all times & places
Esssentialization: see blog entry on this issue and LAK quote etc. in other blog entry
Terminology [AH, Hijab, Jih]
Taxonomy [hy there?]: see blog entry on this issue
On the Refusenik
Treaty of Tripoli
Diouf, Servant's of Islam
Allen Austin's Source Book on Islam
MLK and Islam
Marriage and Civil Rights:
State in Marriage; Civil Unions; separation of church and state
Polygamy, Polyamory, and so on
History of marriage as transfer of property
From The Tavis Smiley Show on NPR
Hil St. Soul: 'Copasetik & Cool'
NPR's Tony Cox speaks with Hilary Mwelwa, the lead singer of the British musical group Hil St. Soul, about the band's new album, Copasetik & Cool.
Sunday, March 07, 2004http://www.Pedro Pietri
Puerto Rican Obituary
Thursday, March 04, 2004From The Connection, a program on WBUR in Boston
Martin Luther King and Islam
Story aired: Monday, January 19, 2004
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 75 years old last Thursday and today is the national holiday set aside to remember him. Around the country protests, rallies, and quiet reflection will commemorate the man and his legacy.
Colgate University Professor Omid Safi suggests traditional remembrance my watering down the real King, who may have found a new appreciation for Islam near the end of his life.
Sharifa Zuhur, author, "Asmahan's Secrets: Woman, War and Song"
Leila Ahmed, Professor of Divinity, Harvard Diviniy School, author, "A Border Passage: From Cairo to America--A Woman's Journey."
Wednesday, March 03, 2004:ﺻﺒﺎﺣﺖ
Interesting American Slang:
"Call in the dogs and put out the fires, boys; this hunt's over."
[bring in the dogs, and call off the hunt?]
"All hat and no cattle."
"That dog don't hunt."
... and from the South:
"Very big cotton"
[added March 5] "All over but the shoutin'"
Monday, March 01, 2004This blog is named after a poetic piece by Kashif Yaqoob. Here's some poetry he quoted to me in a conversation recently:
sarapa pay jis ja nazar keejeay
waheen umr saree basar keejeay
kya log thay kay jaan say barh kar aziz thay
un mein say naam mehv to aksar kay ho gayay
Friday, February 27, 2004http://www.webstar.co.uk/~ubugaje/main.shtml
Tuesday, February 24, 2004http://www.pakistanlink.com/Community/2004/Feb04/13/01.html
Monday, February 23, 2004Amy Goodman's interview of Michael Parenti, author and political analyst, caught my attention. His newest book "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome" has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
parallells, parallels, parallels:
Interesting thing is, Christian Churches are banned in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I really wonder about how The Prophet would feel about his homeland not having any places of worship for the community of believeres he thought closest to his Ummah...
Friday, February 20, 2004Views from South Asia:
Thursday, February 19, 2004Art from Pakistan: Links
Sunday, February 15, 2004------------------------------------------------------------------
India mulls curbs on its N-scientists
NEW DELHI, Feb 15: India is considering restrictions on top
experts working abroad, after becoming alarmed at the number of
Indian scientists employed in Libya, a newspaper said on Sunday.
Neighbours concerned over risks of Iraq's partition
By Syed Rashid Husain
RIYADH, Feb 15: Iraq's neighbouring countries, Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain
wrapped up a two-day regional meeting on Sunday, by stressing the
importance of preserving Iraq's territorial integrity and
respecting its sovereignty, apparently concerned over the recent
empowerment of Kurdish and Shia groups and its implications for
the country's unity and stability.....
Saturday, February 14, 2004------------------------------------------------------------------
IAEA for Big-5 move towards disarmament
NEW YORK, Feb 13: The head of the International Atomic Agency
(IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, on Thursday called upon the five
nuclear states recognized under the non-proliferation treaty
(NPT)- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - to
move towards disarmament.
"Recent agreements between Russia and the United States are
commendable, but they should be verifiable and irreversible. A
clear roadmap for nuclear disarmament should be established _
starting with a major reduction in the 30,000 nuclear warheads
still in existence _ and bringing into force the long-awaited
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," he wrote in an article
published in the New York Times.....
Wednesday, January 28, 2004http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speechbank.htm
Monday, January 26, 2004Remembering the last Nizam
Friday, January 23, 2004US Muslims flex political muscle
By Barnie Choudhury
BBC social affairs correspondent
American Muslims could play a crucial part in deciding the outcome of this year's presidential election.
The prince who behaved like a pauper
Thursday, January 22, 2004-----------
can we bear to have one finger pointed a ourselves...
create conversations where none existed before
a personal clash of civilizations...
wake up thanking Allah that i live in all this freedom...
since it comes at 3.0, it is perfect...[not even address this ...]
when abuses happen in the name of our religion we don't know how to respond... [again western muslim...am
[kill an entire j tribe]
honour killing in pakistan with the name of God dripping from their lips; sectarian killing
[critique of Western Muslims's situation...a 2nd Gen...am scare me]
Not easy to have open discussion
Sheema Khan calls out inaccuracies: the dhimmi status
names: Shireen Ebadi;
Further comments on 05/07/04:
I find critiques like Manji's more reactive than constructive. Especially the sound and fury around them. While her...shall we say, reactionary critique...might sound comforting to the Western or Western-Inspired ear, IMHO, they are almost designed not to make inroads in terms of actually getting thru to the audience that *can* make a difference; namely the non-obscurantist, non-fundamentalist Muslim who does believe that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.
http://www.pbs.org/now/society/manji.htmlNotes listening to an interview of Irshad Manji:
On Fri, 7 May 2004 14:33:10 GMT, Umair Muhajir
> THE INDEPENDENT
> Irshad Manji: Islam's marked woman
> Irshad Manji is a lesbian Muslim who says her religion is stuck in the Middle Ages. The outspoken author tells Johann Hari how she became a target for assassination
> 05 May 2004
[Text snipped to save space--see link above]
http://www.pbs.org/now/society/manji.html she says the people she is complaining about are taking it closer and closer to the founding moment
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
The following is a part of this speech I love to quote:
"... we have proved it to the world more than once. We established Pakistan because of our passion for what we call the Islamic way of life. This is no narrow sectarian, or medieval, or theocratic or intolerant conception. It means no more and no less than this: that we believe in God and atheistic doctrines cannot flourish amongst us. That we believe in the equality of men and the equality of civic rights and opportunities for all, irrespective of their religious belief. That we believe in social justice, ... that we believe in democracy, not as a political creed; but as a part of our religious faith ... the way of life that we have chosen for ourselves, [is] not a new concoction, but one that is based on a body of belief and tradition that have been handed down to us by our forefathers"
The speech the Nawabzada gave to Congress [I think it was Congress] was in our English curriculum in High School.
Dr Adil Najam recently mentioned a speech by the Nawabzada to the Constituent Assembly about the Pakistani flag; a speech that mentions what the Pakistani attitude to minorities should be. I have requested him for information on how and where to get a transcript or recording.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
"If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
We need to understand what the Islamic world is saying; where it is coming from; where it is going; and what is being said about it.
The 9-11 Chronicles
The AHC reaction
"Constitutional Islam"—OR Islam is a Constutional Religion
Sidebar: The Spectrum
If you take the spectrum of voices, one way to categorise the voices is into four broad categories:
And then there are voices that I don't consider internal voices/critiques, like Fareed Zakaria.
Then there are academics. Adil Najam, and so on.
Where do the Feminists stand? The Human Rights activists? The ones that are most engaged, like Asma Jahangir, have a lot to teach the rest of us in terms of tactics, language, and so on.
We need to do a collection of these voices:
Pervez H. [could go in 1 or 2]
[documents from history]
Irshad Manji--self-proclaimed "Muslim Refusenik"— see my comments below
Talal Asad [does he belong here?] http://www.asiasource.org/news/special_reports/asad.cfm
[documents from history]
[documents from history]
Syed Koteb [Qutub]
The Human Rights Activists
Shireen Ebadi [connection interview at http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2004/05/20040512_a_main.asp]
Chandra Muzaffar and JUST
ICG: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4458450 for example
"External Critiques" from "Within"
Not yet Classfied
Asghar Ali Engineer
Khalid Abu el Fadhl
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, political sociologist, American University, Cairo
Khaled al-Maeena, editor in chief, Arab News, Saudi Arabia
Rami Khouri, executive editor, The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon
A bunch of links from Charles Kurzman's site: http://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/LiberalIslamLinks.htm
Mahmoud Hamdani: http://www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/catalog/results2.pperl?authorid=58276. His book seems to have a good assessment...
Tariq Ramadan ["Europe's most influential Muslim Thinker", The Connection @ http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2004/05/20040512_b_main.asp
Bruce Feiler, author of "Walking the Bible" and "Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths"
[People from the MPAC meeting in Riverside CA and the New American Foundation moot of 12/2/04]
Academics of Muslim Origin
Rashid Khalidi [examines the western world’s relationship with the Middle East throughout history, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East]
Academics of Non-Muslim Origin
Benjamin Barber [Fear's Empire: War, Terrorists, and Democracy (Norton, 2003) and Jihad vs. McWorld (Ballantine Books July 1996)]
Jessica Stern [Harvard]
Noah Feldman, author of After Jihad
Erik Jensen? [person IOP had]
Shia expert that came to FOSA Ahmadi event
Mary Anne Weaver [Author of Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan and Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam]
Yvonne Seng: http://www.paraview.com/seng/
Angelo M. Codevilla of BU and The American Spectator has a piece in the American Spectator which is very interesting.
Gilles Kepel, professor and chair of middle east studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and author, The War For Muslim Minds: Islam and the West (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004), says we may be doing better than we think
Kenneth Pollack, author of "The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran & America".
Anthony Cordesman, CSIS, on "Iraq: Security & Development"
Anthony Cordesman, CSIS Arleigh Burke Chair in Strategy talks about "Iraq: Security and Development." See: http://ifaqeer.blogspot.com/2005/06/security-situation-in-iraq.html
Academics of Non-Muslim Origin and not sympathetic, either
Yossef Bodansky former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author, The Secret History of the Iraq War (Regan Books, 2004) with a history of the Iraq war [While he says things like flatly asserting that "Jefforsonian Democracy and Islam don't go together in the most profound way.." and so on, he's very frank about facts--rings true. Like going on to say that the Iraqis will do it (adopt democracy) on their own; but not "with us". And "The level of ignorance in Washington about what's going on in the Muslim world is mind boggling."]
Institutions Studying the Issue or Advocating...
Dialogues: Islamic World-U.S.-The West, a program of the World Policy Institute of New School University
Rand Report: Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies, Cheryl Benard
Good round-up of stuff started in the last 2-3 years: http://beliefnet.com/story/92/story_9273.html
AAR Study of Islam Section's Response to the Tragedy of September 11th, 2001
Maybe we need to look at historians? Niall Ferguson, for example?
New America Foundation & NYU Law Center Panel on Al-Qaeda - Part 1
Really good panel; this foundation might be worth looking at in more detail.
The New America Foundation & the NYU Law Center host a day-long conference called "Al-Qaeda 2.0: Transnational Terrorism After 9/11." Authors Peter Bergen & Michael Scheuer (AKA, Anonymous) are among the participants. The panels cover organization, who joins, European presence, rising militantism, U.S. presence, media strategy, and influence in Pakistan & Saudi Arabia.
12/2/2004: WASHINGTON, DC: 1 hr. 50 min.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004Brother, don't be frustrated...
Friday, December 26, 2003women, engineering, gender roles, discrimination, NED, and a walk on the beach...
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
A Muslim View of a "Democratic Society of Laws"
A "Constitutional Muslim" Manifesto
Muslims that believe in laws, principles and constitutions; that can stand up for human rights in our communities and countries and be against genocide and war crimes against it
What I am...
I was brought up ...
What Islam is ...
conversation with ms
conversation with ar
A good day for constitutional democracy in Pakistan.
A banner day for the Mullah's...
Shame on the rest of us!
Thursday, December 11, 2003A few days ago we had the following "Must-Read/Listen" item:
Tariq Ali vs. Christopher Hitchens!
The discussion on the War continues ...
Yes, you read it right:
Discussion of the Geneva Accord:
Monday, December 08, 2003women, engineering, gender roles, discrimination, NED, and a walk on the beach... see above.
Russia is significant...
Friday, December 05, 2003"Any politician that tries to stop you from thinking, ain't your friend. Anyopne that tries to stop you from thinking, ain't your friend."
President Bill Clinton at the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Brady Law. An event is sponsored by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Sar Sa'eeN joe; Vote Bhutto Joe
"I can Flaa'ey!"
Once upon aago, when Al Sharpton made it to the run-off in the Democratic primary for Major of New York, he proclaimed:
I can flaaa'ey!
And back when I used to have a quotation in my e-mail signature, I put that quote under my name and address. I was startle at the reaction it got from some of the folks on a professional group or two I am on.
Then I think of watching the verdict on the OJ Simpson trial in the North End of Boston--in a bar where I was most probably the only non-WASP in the room...you could almost hear the jaws drop ... it took me years to be able to sort out what the point was ... then the article on Sharpton quotes him as saying on the Tiwana Brawley affair:
"How many Americans believe that O.J. Simpson is guilty?" Mr. Sharpton wrote in his 2002 book, "Al on America." "So they have a right to disagree with a jury, but I do not?"
and then ... sar Sa'een joe ...
Tariq Ali vs. Christopher Hitchens!
The discussion on the War continues ...
Yes, you read it right:
Wednesday, September 10, 2003Laloo Prasad. The man stands up for his
"Kaun mai ka lal kehta hai ki yeh Hindu rashtra hai? Usko yahan bhej do,
chhati phad doonga!"
Tuesday, June 10, 2003One might be tempted to dismiss the following as just so much
And I would if I hadn't reached the same kind of conclusion based on my
own first-hand (non-voluntary) research on the matter. I could have
given the poor bureaucrat stuck with entering my data the number of the
credit card I cancelled in 1998 and he would have happy to just finish
the damn process of data entry after three tries and three hours of
trying to populate 5 screens of data.
Collaborations that make it okay for a rabid nationalist to tune into a piece of art, a concert,
etc. are really useful at breaking down barriers. Over the weekend, we went to the Asha Bhosle/Adnan
Sami Khan concert at the Oakland Area. Though obviously an Indian organized and run show with one
Pakistani on the billing--and a person who actually did the Ra-Ra songs for the *Indian* team during
the World Cup--I met one or two Pakistanis there that quickly said "Adnan koe sun nay aayay haiN."
We need more collaborations like this one:
Indian director plans to film love story in Pakistan
Daily Times, Lahore. Wednesday, May 14, 2003
The Good News is...
... I have better standing with the HSA ("Homeland Security
Administration" said the patches on folks upper arms) than a French TV
crew; but that's not saying much:
The lady behind the counter at RDU Tuesday morning disappeared with my
[and my wife's] photo IDs for about half an hour [a chain of events that
lead to a "late check in" and our baggage and car seat getting home a
day late]. She went behind a door that I noticed much coming and going
to and from by people with the TSA and HSA logos on their shirts.
And then I see today's editorial from the Cincy Post:
Welcome. You're under arrest
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security's crack gumshoes
at Los Angeles' airport jailed six French TV journalists for more than a
day; interrogated, body-searched and fingerprinted them; then forcibly
repatriated them to Paris. The six had planned to cover the annual video
game exposition in Los Angeles, a trade show that received worldwide
This kind of bureaucratic overkill could redound against American
reporters overseas, tarnishes our ideal of a free press and makes us
look like idiots. Now we have eroded our moral ground to object to this
sort of Third World treatment when it is inflicted on our own reporters
There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence of people arbitrarily
detained at airports or bumped off flights because of "watch lists."
Getting a name removed apparently means going through a Kafkaesque
France is one of 27 countries whose nationals need no visas to enter the
United States for 90 days for business or pleasure. It is a courtesy
other countries extend to our own citizens, although who knows how much
longer if this sort of nonsense keeps up.
Certainly, a trade show sounds like a legitimate mix of business and
pleasure. But apparently there is an obscure and rarely invoked
requirement for an "I-visa," which attests the holder is "legitimately
engaged in journalism." The U.S. government should not be in the
business of deciding who and who isn't a journalist, in effect
licensing, and certainly now deciding what is "legitimate" journalism.
This was a common technique for the old Iron Curtain countries to try to
control the press. As long as they have a passport and obey the laws,
let visitors write what they want.
Sept. 11, 2001 did a lot of damage to our country, but at some stage we
have to start undoing the damage we're doing to ourselves.
The interesting thing is that, as the article says,
"Some mosques -- although none that are predominantly Pakistani -- have
been linked to fundamentalist clerics."
None of the Pakistani-American clerics are militant; which is not to say
that Pakistanis are not prone to being fanatics and/or anti-American.
Just that the dynamics of what we are up against and what is being done
to "combat" it just don't seem to mesh--remember, it took a DA and then
mayor of Italian descent to take down the mafia.
One day, we will all look back at this and think of it as an
embarrassing detour from trying to build a more perfect union...like we
do the detentions of Japanese-Americans during WWII...or maybe y'all
> what's an american muslim ... a muslim with an american citizenship?
Used to be. But 2-3 generations is enough time to develop a separate
communal identity; with all that it entails. My (developing) thesis is
that the mainstream of american muslims is dominated by a certain world
view and attitudes. And they are very close to the kind of Muslim we--I,
at least--*don't* usually associate with back home; Rationalist/Qutb'ist
and Salafi/Deobandi/Wahabi. I need to organize my thoughts, but that's
You are most probably an exception in not being Salafi, but take
yourself for example. You're not just an muslim who happens to have
american citizenship. (Or an American who just happens to be of Muslim
origin, either.) You've been shaped by the overlapping worlds of
American culture and Muslim as well as South Asian cultures. And by the
experience of growing up Muslim in the US; how your parents reacted to
living here, how you evolved as you negotiated life in the US of A...
Am I making sense?
as an activist, two things scare me: American
Muslims and Deobandi/Salafi/Wahabi influence on the Muslim Main Street
around the world. As an example, here's my reply to a mail I received
about "Bridges TV" [are you following that, btw?]:
"Frankly, American Muslims scare me. Pakistanis don't scare me;
Indian Muslims don't; not even Palestinians or Saudis. But American
Muslims scare me.
Especially when, it seems--for example, from this ad--that the only
reason we should vote is because Jews do--not because Islam imposes upon
us a responsibility to make the community and country we live in a
better place; not because it will help us make a better life for
ourselves and our kids; but because Jews vote and we need to fight them.
Is that all Islam is? As we say back home, always "bughz-e-Muawiya";
frankly, I am getting really, really tired of the self-congralatory intellectual masturbation of Pakistani and Pakistani-American engineers and the rationalist-obscurantist attitudes of American Muslims
Tuesday, May 06, 2003I can think of a dozen titles
This Man Was Not a Graduate
One Ex-Terrorist Remembers Another
did I ever post this
I never tire of pointing out how well The Onion does writing on
cross-cultural issues. If *any* mainstream media [American, Pakistani,
even "alternative"] covered issues like with such attention to detail
and understanding of the nuances of the culture and issue being
described; the world would be a better place.
Monday, May 05, 2003correspondent: OMG, just read the story about the guy who amputated his own arm with a pocketknife
WW: but what *&%$#@ was he doing rapelling in such a place all alone?
correspondent: no idea
WW: and more importantly, sticking his hand where it don't belong?!!
correspondent: but how he knew what to cut and not bleed to death is amazing
correspondent: oh, the boulder moved
WW: that's the kind of thing that scares me
WW: that this country's society is coming to where we're doing weird things like that.
WW: there was a time when Americans in search of adventure volunteered for bravery and courage in faraway lands--The Spanish Civil War, even TR's Rough Riders come to mind
WW: a lot of fuel being used up by helicopters looking for some yuppie that stuck his arm where it don't belong?
WW: you think that's fair to the boys and girls that just lost their lives trying secure our oil supplies from the Gulf?
correspondent: well, I think it's also one of those "it can always be worse -- look what happened to him" things
WW: actually, i had a friend pull that one on me over the weekend
WW: said "Oh, we worry about little things and look at what *he* had to go through."
correspondent: I'll check it out after my nap -- I'm home so I'm going to takae advantage while I can -- is going to be hectic around here tonite
WW: People are dying of hunger; hospitals in Iraq don't have antibiotics; and we're supposed to draw lessons in adversity from some Yuppy that stuck--excuse the repetition--his arm where it don't belong?
WW: the other thing that come sto mind is one of the stories that The Onion did after 9/11
WW: A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again
WW: Actually, come to think of it, the good news is American might be getting back to business as usual.
WW: We might be finally getting to the point where we are lost in trivialities like we were pre-9/11
WW: which might be a good sign of our national pysche healing
WW: i think the way this story about the climber just grabbed everybody's attention is the first sign of normalcy
correspondent: nah, it's gruesome
correspondent: just the kind of thing we like
WW: when we're not distracted by more important things
WW: thanks for listening
WW: i feel much better now
being a South Asian Muslim who was educated in the Western mould and brought up as what I have taken to calling a "Constitutional Muslim". Let me try to explain what I mean by that: we are not "secular"; we are not "fundamentalist". We believe that a multi-cultural constitutional republic is very much something that I, as a Muslim of conscience, accept as a valid social contract, one that not only does not clash with, but which is very much something I *want to* (not I am not saying "can") live under and make a contribution to. My religious principles inform my politics, but I want to (again, not "can", but "want to") work within a system of written laws operating within the framework of a constitution to build a society that looks the way I think it should.
What's the Nassarite political group?
Friday, May 02, 2003[The prolem is that m]ost people that decry Jinnah seem to assume
that he was some mid-century religious fireband. At least in how they
refer to him, even if they *have* read Wolpert.
Think about it. Really, really, think about it. *All* of the people
that were the absolute vanguard of thinking up and implementing
Pakistan--Jinnah and Iqbal come to mind foremost--had, as their first
choice, a united South Asia. Then they changed their minds.
Think about it. Really, really, think about it.
I am not saying Pakistan was inevitable. But, for better or for
worse, it happened for some reasons. And blaming the British is not
good enough. Even if one buys into the theory of (colonial)
manipulation, in situations like this, there *is* always some pre-
existing internal issues that the outside force manipulates to
achieve their aims.
And I am not just trying to make a point to justify my own point of
view. I think that it is only when sane, nationalist, committed
Indians who love their country and want it and its people to have the
best lives they can have think about what it was in the socio-
political mix of British India that caused the creation of India,
Pakistan and, eventually, Bangladesh, that we can really have a
conversation that leads to Peace and Prosperity. The same things that
made it an explosive mix then and made it impossible to create a
singular nation-state to succeed the colonial dispensation make it an
explosive mix today that includes Pakistanis at each others' throats;
Indians at each others' throats; and the two countries threatening
the world with nuclear holocaust.
Here's some food for thought from someone who I, at least, have grown
up regarding as one of India's most ardent nationalists; a Pakistani-
basher amongst Pakistani-bashers.
>Veteran Indian journalist M. J. Akbar wrote very recently in the
context of the anti-Muslim riots in India:
>"We have demonized Jinnah so much because of Partition, that we do
not understand what his career truly represented.
>Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an utterly brilliant man; on that at least
there is consensus. He was also incorruptible, liberal, democratic,
straight, and a thinking politician, as ready to see the faults in
his own community as to criticise anyone else. He wanted at one point
to become an actor and join the stage, but set aside early
romanticism for theater for a life in law and public service. He rose
very quickly to eminence.
More important, he was the most ardent of India's emerging
nationalists. He rejected the Muslim League when it was born, and
only came onto its platform when it promised to be at most a
sectarian rather than a divisive voice. He bludgeoned the League into
the famous Lucknow pact with the Congress in 1916 that could have
formed the basis of a constitutional settlement between the
Hindus and Muslims, a pact that was welcomed enthusiastically by Bal
Gangadhar Tilak as much as C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru, from their
Jinnah broke with Gandhi because -- and this will probably astonish
people -- of his abhorrence for Gandhi's deliberate concoction of
religion and politics. Keep the two separate, Jinnah warned Gandhi at
the last Congress session he attended, in Nagpur in 1920, or this
mixture will explode in your face. Jinnah did so against the tides of
Muslim opinion, because he was ranged against the passions of his own
community, then swept forward by the Khilafat movement. Gandhi
sniffed that Jinnah did not understand Indians, and the Muslims, who
were totally with Gandhi then, threatened Jinnah with violence and
political excommunication. Jinnah preferred self-imposed exile. But
the point I am making lies a little askance. Why did Muslims respond,
first in bits and pieces, and then overwhelmingly, to his call for
Partition in the 1940s? It is when this same Jinnah, the man who had
rejected everything that Muslim fundamentalists had fought for, who
had stood alone and firm against the fire of the Khilafat struggle,
who was in his personal habits and convictions totally secular --
when such a man finally decided that Indian Muslims and Indian Hindus
needed separate nations, then those who were undecided were swayed in
If a Muslim as non-communal as him found it difficult to live in a
united India then what hope was there for the others?"
Need a Blog for Cemendtaur Raw
We need a fiction section in AzSA.
Blogs for Cemendtaur & Zaib?
Thursday, May 01, 2003The old slogan of "Unity in Diversity" and "E Pluribus Unum" can only be successful when we work with people in an accepting fashion of who they are comfortable being, rather than trying to make them all get with the program, so to speak, of a unifying nationalism/community feeling/etc.
On "South Asia"
Here are a few points from the point of view of a Pakistani who works with at least one organization with the phrase "South Asia" in the name; almost a chronology of my experiences with that prh
* Before I started working with an organization called "Friends of South Asia", I was myself *always* suspicious of most things with the phrase "South Asia" in their name; they almost invariably turned out to be Indian organizations either with ulterior motives, or with good intentions but 100% Indian membership and therefore no chance of gaining a truly South Asia-wide perspective.
* The reason we picked "Friends of South Asia" (FOSA) for the name of the organization was that we wanted to protest war drums from the point of view of war being bad for the whole of the region. And the phrase "South Asia" was one with the way to describe
* We promptly found *another* group of people pursuing almost identical aims and activities and who had hit upon the same name (who'da thunk it!) but which was--to give them credit--Indian-heavy, but not purely Indian. We merged to form an organization that has lots of different voices from across India and Pakistan. (We are working on the rest of South Asia--see next point but one.) The interchange has been wonderful for all of us. You can follow up at http://www.friendsofsouthasia.org
* The position I bring to the table in FOSA is this: "I am a pretty nationalist Pakistani/Jinnahite/ who *wants* to work with Indians for the betterment of all our people. We have enough commonalities and common problems (like a nuclear arsenal primed to wipe us all out) for it to be useful. We have a bunch of countries in our region. Had history been different, we might have ended up with one country between the Shomali Plains and Arunachal and between Kashmir and Kanyakumari or we could have ended up with ... how many are there in Europe? Either way, our problems would have remained. Nation-states area fact of life--and in the really long term, they change borders; or people move. Let's talk about how to make a better life for our people."
* One thing I myself am constantly on the look out for within FOSA is to make sure that we had enough of a cross-section of the variety of "voices" within South Asia to make it truly respresentative and live up to our name. For example, for a long while we did not have any active Indian Muslims. The Indian Muslim world view--and I am talking about one that represents views and attitudes held by the mainstream of the 130-150 million people of othat description; not the "voice" of say APJ Abdul Kalam, or, to be frank Umair Muhajir--is *very* different from that of an ethnic Hindu Indian, or a Progressive Indian or Pakistani, or a mainstream Pakistani.
I read the book "Marco Polo, If You Can" recently. It is a spy thriller based in the Eisenhower-Khruschev era. While that might sound trivial, part of the premise of the novel is the discussion that the U2 spy plane will become obsolete once spy satellites come online and therefore the protagonists use the planes to make a point one last time. If you really want to get into both the technical issue and its legal implications, they include:
a) the U2s are still being used for things like monitoring Iraq, bringing up the issue that some "old" technologies don't die, their usage model evolves which is interesting when I see too many Pakistanis saying--or implying--that all we need to do is adopt the latest, hotest, greatest technology and we will become an "Advance Country" and so on.
b) it is very interesting how the legal issue of overflight has evolved in the Space Age. Up to the time of the U2s, overflying a country was a violation of their air space and considered, in every way, shape and form, an act of war. But the first chapter in Space Law was written very differently as soon as the USSR sent up Sputnik without first checking with the multitude of countries it would fly over and most of humanity just stood up and cheered instead of considering themselves at war with the USSR. The other player in the Space game at that point, the US of A, just smirked silently because the USSR had just made it okay for them to send up spy satellites without the USSR being able to complain. Of course, the USSR then did the same.
Amazing what one can get from a spy thriller if you think about it. :D
Wednesday, April 30, 2003http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/29/opinion/29GERE.html
And then I found the following today:
which was a mine of information--for better or for worse. For example, the writer points out that Khomeini was not just riding in on a spontaneous wave; he had spent 15 years--*FIFTEEN* years, people--of grassroots organizing. And that the Left and Khomeini cooperated a *lot* in the 70s.
This last, particularly, is something that resonates very loudly with me right now; having hung around with a lot of Indian leftists lately. Having grown up on the other side of the intellectual spectrum, it's been a long and grudging road to realizing that these guys really know how to organize--and they achieve results. Have you seen http://www.stopfundinghate.org? 4/7 of the people listed in the acknowledgements to the report (http://stopfundinghate.org/sacw/index.html) are local to the Bay Area and I got to meet all 7 over the last week. (You might have heard the name of Biju Mathew--google him if you haven't.) These guys know how to organize and they have a well-reasoned world view.
Need to try and capture the whole discussion on identities
* It is very interesting to see American Muslims be so anti-war and pro-Human Rights and so on when it is a war against a country of their compatriots; and the rights being violated are theirs.
* Another interesting thing is that in a a lot of cases, the people American Muslims used to rail against [like Barbara Boxer] are *against* the war [as are more jews than most Americans) while the people they were in political alliance with (Tom Cambell, for example) have endorsed it.
I cannot believe how many people think that stating their truth as it has become obvious to them is a way of convincing someone.
"Here is my view of reality. Believe it. It is true."
Is not a way to convince anyone.
It is not Da'wa.
"Da'wa" means inviting people to something; not hitting them over the head with it.
Even to The Prophet, Allah and his angels did not say in one go: "Here is a complete system of belief: Listen, there is only one God, and you are his messenger. Say the Kalima, start praying five times a day, fasting for a month every year, give zakaat, and perform the pilgrimage." The message was brought to him in parts he could absorb in meanings he could absorb.
Friday, April 25, 2003test:
Wednesday, April 23, 2003Nationalist
2 generations of confrontation
want to live neighbourhoodly
governments and politicians will do what tgey will
we need to solve problems
we need to understand
Monday, April 21, 2003The post below actually doesn't mention her being the last Empress of India...
Sabahat Ashraf - Apr 2, 2002
Okay, but here's a different one. The amusing thing to watch in the US [okay, so I have basically been tuning out most US media since about October; but some still seeps thru] is that you hear "She was the woman Hitler called 'The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe'..."blahblahblahblah ad nauseum. NO mention of her and Badsha Salaamath's [after all, he *was* the last Emperor of India] earlier much-criticised role as Appeasers ... oh, well...
May she rest in peace. There are so few people from that generation of our grandparents left. It was a very interesting lifetime that that generation spanned. Imagine living from the before automobiles were common to a time of the Internet and instant messaging across the globe...
And, yes, Nadia, my reaction to Diana -- even when she was alive -- was stronger than the one Our-Cousin-Who-Is-Stuck-in-Ireland just expressed. At least in our lifetimes the Queen Mum was a less pervasive phenomenon....
Well, you were the folks that got serious about this topic...
Moon, that's why the saying is "The King/Queen is dead! Long Live the King/Queen!" Little Kitty Cat now has to find a new chair.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003Canadian Flees South
Silicon Valley and Presidential Politics
Turning the tide of Africa's Brain Drain
Naeem Sadiq on secularism:
Hoodbhoy on Hoodbhoy
Tuesday, April 15, 2003There is an assumption expressed repeatedly that we live in an era that is more civilized than previous ones. But consider this: Before this era, there were, you will agree, times and places where people lived without a fear of life and limb. Now consider this: a formal, full-time police force is a pretty recent innovation. So how is it that in this more "advanced" society, we have to have a full-time force to prevent a breakdown of order?
Also, consider this: an Iranian just said to me, "I lived in a country once, where didn't have any government for 6 months. There was no looting."
There is a need to emphasize and be conscious about the difference between being anti-Zionist and being anti-semitic.
Monday, December 16, 2002More about Leadership:
- The way the currently leader of Afghanistan is referred to as "Mr Karzai" reminds me of "Mr Jinnah"...though it would be interesting to find out whether that has caught on in Afghanistan and Pakistan...
Two ways to look at it:
- He seems to have bought into the new personal he was building of doing the right thing.
- The Powell Doctrine ... or is it the Jinnah Principle? And the messages from the KM
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Bringing Up Your Kid