November 21st, 2017

Comment not gone lengthy enough.2

Below is a comment posted in response to this article in Khaleej Times.

This is madness, and a time of reckoning for the Government of Pakistan. The US pursues only its own ends, and the US war on terror is not Pakistan’s war. It is no-one’s war except a deranged cowboy’s who was fraudulently elected to arguably the strongest office held by man on earth. If anything, there must now be a counter war on terror on this ‘war on terror’, since the latter has laid two countries to waste and has designs on God alone knows how many more.

The general sentiment in Pakistan and amongst Pakistanis has gone from dissent to utter fury, and the Government of Pakistan, elected, installed, or self appointed, will do well to remember that the cumulative fury of 170 Million people amounts to more than a routing in elections through street protests.

In response to these blatant and audacious attacks on the sovereignty of the country, Pakistan must pull out of this senseless war, make peace with its own people in the North, cut supply lines via Pakistan to the US, and following the lead of Malik Nasrullah of North Waziristan, who has shown more wisdom, and statesmanship than the puppet regime in Islamabad, categorically present a united front to any invading forces having designs on our sovereignty. The time for diplomacy was long gone when Bush signed on any papers authorizing incursions into our country. Diplomacy and War can NEVER work side by side.

Such moves will be the right step towards healing the self inflicted wounds for the nation, and will be in tune with the wishes of the nation. When the leadership decides to heed the call of the nation, uphold the nation’s pride, the nation will stand behind the leadership. United, we are willing to take the consequences whatever they might be. The politics/diplomacy of fear must be replaced with statesmanship and politics of pride.

Comment Gone Lengthy – Emergency.1

It is unfortunate, isn’t it? When we have to settle for a dictator as a lesser evil, when looking to choose a leader?

But I do think we need to guard against the impression that the economic development which came about in Pakistan had anything to do with Musharraf. We did not see much of that ED in the two years preceding 9/11. Fact is our economy was actually in doldrums precisely because of the sanctions we had been saddled with because of Musharraf usurping power from the civilian Govt. Post 9/11 the west chose to lift those sanctions because it suited their purpose, just as they chose to turn a blind eye to the farce Musharraf had held in the name of elections recently, because it suited their purpose. The lifting of those sanctions, the trickling in of foreign aid – trickling because Musharraf accepted peanuts for putting Pakistan on the front-line of a war which is not ours in the first place, combined with the Arab states deciding to invest their petro-dollar in places other than the west after 9/11 and the ready availability of investment avenues in Pakistan, ironically because of the infra-structure the Sharrif Government had put in place, is what had led to the economic prosperity. Let us not forget that the economic prosperity has come at a great cost – the law and order situation has deteriorated, we are fighting a civil war in our own backyard, and for the first time in our history there are elements in our midst questioning the two-nation theory, the very premise of creation of Pakistan.

I disagree with the notion that there is such a thing as too much judicial interference.  The very purpose of having a judiciary is to ensure that the rule of law is followed, and the rights of a citizen are guaranteed, and every single citizen is innocent until proven guilty. These are basic human rights, which if not guaranteed can allow draconian rule to tighten its grip on a people, a country. The judiciary is well-within its rights to demand an explanation for any arrests, to ask for arrested people to be presented before it and to be charged with an offense, or be released from custody.

The judiciary must be convinced that there was credible proof to black-list those black-listed.

Suicide bombers are a curse, a curse we must rid ourselves of, and a curse we must defend the image of Islam from. But the imposition of emergency has very little to do with controlling the suicide bombings. What makes a suicide bomber, and where are all these suicide bombers coming from are two very important questions, but they are not pertinent to the emergency.

This emergency has been imposed because a dictator wishes to prolong his rule, and because he foresaw the judiciary throwing a spanner in his works, and it must be fought tooth and nail precisely because it threatens and goes against every tenet of Islam, and every standard of humanity.

Bigger countries with greater problems have not only survived crises after crises without emergency, but they have also come out the stronger for it. No one institution knows all the answers – it is only through strengthening all of the institutions, judiciary being foremost amongst them that nations conquer crises and turmoil. What falls outside of judiciary is extra-judicial, and there are few bigger curses than a Government with rampant extra-judicial ambitions.

It is a black black day, when an extra-judicial government bundles the judiciary out for interference in its extra-judicial activities.

We both come from the same premise, we want the best for the country. Quite apparently though we differ in what is better for the country, and that is what is important we must all have our opinion, and we must be able to differ without having to fear that too much differing will take us half a century back in time.

Patriotism… CGL X.6

14th August – Pakistan’s 59th Independence Day. I had made time and logged in to update on the day, and what it meant to me this year. But I got sucked into a discussion on another blog. To Jalali Baba’s chagrin, I am putting my comments on the discussion up here as an update, as Comment gone lengthy. Psuedo-posting you might accuse me of, but you will not find me guilty of not updating in over a month. You might want to read the original post to make head or toe of my comments below though. Here goes:

I wrote my earlier comment when I was angry and offended by the post. Anger seldom, if ever, brings out any positives. I seem to have left a lot of wrong impressions, which another_sister-Irhabiyah has built her response on. I feel I will have left an important task incomplete if I do not clarify my position here, as an Azad kashmiri, as well as a very proud Pakistani.

You ask me what I am proud of? Well, there you have me. Pakistan has done no justice to its potential, and Pakistanis as a nation are a far cry from what our leaders had envisaged us to be at the time of creation of Pakistan. Nonetheless, I fail to understand you when you ask me to shed my pride in my country, or to let somebody propogate misinformation about the ground realities of the country. Patriotism is a natural instinct instilled by Allah in all human beings. All cultures, all people and all history have always condoned patriotism, and the word for one devoid of patriotism in any language is less than flattering. It is a lot like marriage. Allah has made marriage the sacred bond between man and woman, and Islamic or not, every culture has always had its own version of marriage, and a relationship without a marriage is still looked down upon – at least in most of the ‘uncivilized’ world. I pray for all Muslims to stay uncivilized enough to uphold the sanctity of marriage as well as patriotism.

I maintain that a Muslim devoid of patriotism is incomplete. Without patriotism, a Muslim will gravitate to the nearest point where he can practice Islam freely, with patriotism he will make his country a place where he can practice Islam freely. There is a big difference between the two, if you can se it. It is understood that we as Muslims should always be helping out our Muslim brethren when in need, but the fact remains that when our own brother, our own flesh and blood, needs our help our motivation to help him out is more pronounced, more direct and the results more profound. Similarly, as Muslims we are driven to establish the word of Allah, but as Muslims from a certain area we will be more highly driven to establish the word of Allah in our own land, in our own people. This is precisely why people came from afar, embraced Islam at the hand of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW), and went back to their villages, countries and regions to spread the word of Allah. There is also the example of the Mohajireen who looked forward to conquering Makkah, mainly because it housed the house of Allah, but also because it was their homeland. Lets not forget that Ka’aba was not our qibla initially, and it was declared so because the Prophet wished in his heart for it to be the qibla. Denying patriotism is unnatural, and not having patriotism un-Islamic, and if you disagree, let us agree to disagree.

I am not sure if I can go about disecting your response just as you did mine, but if you agree to drop the presumption that I condone what Busharraf ( I liked the name coined by sister Irhabiyah) and his regime have ushered into our media, and the culture they have helped bring in, perhaps I can limit my response to the matter closer to my heart – the relationship of Kashmiris with their fellow-Pakistanis.

It is wrong of you to accuse the Kashmiris of using their ‘Kashmiri card’, because I know we use no such thing. I resent your implication also that I used my Kashmiri card at any point. The fact is that all road-blocks require you to present your identity card, and the policemen would often chat with me nicely after noticing that the address on my PAKISTAN ID CARD stated that I were a Kashmiri, ask me a question or two about what my city was like, and let me pass. Perhaps, you are misguided by your zeal to find fault here.

You have quoted a few examples to infer that Kashmiris and Pakistanis have a love-hate relationship, and I remember you had also remarked that five years is a small time to spend in Lahore and Karachi to make any objective conclusions about the relationship we Kashmiris enjoy with our fellow-Pakistanis. I am from Mirpur Azad Kashmir, an over-whelming majority of the Kashmiris that reside in UK are from my city, an over-whelming majority of my own family resides in the UK, and I have a very fair idea of how well those people are informed about how Pakistan treats Azad kashmir, and how Azad Kashmiris are treated by other Pakistanis. Please do not get me started on them. It is all very well making those inferences and as you call it, ‘mockery’ of Pakistan as well as their ‘azaadi’ for these people, ask them the very basic question about the history of Kashmir and Pakistan and watch them stammer. I know of many whose main intercation with Pakistanis in Pakistan is at Islamabad airport, and whose only exposure to Pakistan is limited to the road from Pindi airport to Dina mod. Ignorance cannot be a premise for informed decisions or opinions. I am not as presumptious as you think I am after five years in Lahore and sometime in Karachi. By the way, I have also spent a couple of years in Mirpur in my childhood, which I do not count towards much, but I visit my folks frequently enough to know just what my fellow Kashmiris are talking about.

The idea behind Pakistan, the ideology of Pakistan is the two nation theory i.e. that there were two nations in the sub-continent. Muslims and Non-Muslims. Pakistan was created for the Muslims of the sub-continent, it was to be made of Muslim Majority areas – this is the ideology that binds – the last time we forgot this binding factor, our country was halved. If we take your premise of Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris, pretty soon we would be talking of Punjab belongs to Punjabis, Sind to Sindhis, Balochistan to Balochis and Frontier to Pathans. Our enemies, within and outside, have already exploited such divisive thinking to create unrest in our country – the last thing we need is well meaning attempts like yours. Oh, and in case you had not noticed, Kashmir has little chance of survival on its own. There are much fewer resources in this land, untless you propose we cut down all the wood, or promote tourism. Cutting the wood has obvious eco-disastrous implications, and tourism for whatever dollars it might bring in carries a cultural price-tag, we Kashmiri Muslims can ill-afford to pay.

God forbid, even if there were to be a separate Kashmir, just how long do you think would it take for our enemies to stoke the fires of Sunni-Shia fueds to split it further. In unity lies strength Madam, and as Muslims we need to be uniting our people, not advocating divisions.

To your examples of apathy in our Kashmiri brethren, I would like to propose you read my uplifting experience with my mostly non Kashmiri Pakistani brethren in the relief effort http://www.knicq.com/archives/hope-for-recovery-cgl-viii/. I also remember ending up on a Kashmiri community on the net, and finding Mirpuris talking about how Pakistan Govt. despite its nuclear arsenal had failed to get aid to the affected areas in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. My question to him was simple: Did he expect Pakistan Govt. to nuke the weather? The point being that sometimes people from our part of the world are prone to unrealistic expectations, owing to their simplicity and sometimes to their ignorance. it does not mean that we take their word on what defines the strong bonds between Kashmiris and their fellow-Pakistanis. You will notice I make an effort to state that Pakistanis are my fellow countrymen. I hope next time around you wish to deduce anything about this relationship, you can factor this in too.

AS for the Quaid “dude” – where ‘dude’ is a word I took and take exception to, I know of no-one who uses the word dude to describe national heroes, let alone the father of a nation – I maintain that he deserves the respect from all Muslims for his endeavours, because he toiled for the cause of millions of Muslims, and as you rightly said, he was an Ismaili himself, which makes it all the more important that he command our respect because he was not even accepted as a Muslim by some of the Muslims he worked for the betterment of. He commands our respect – just as do Mohammad Bin Qasim, Tariq Bin Ziyad, Yousuf Bin Tashfeen, Salahuddin Ayoubi, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and all other heroes of the Islamic World who dedicated themselves to the cause of Islam and Muslims. Even if you do not respect him, give me this courtesy, respect my hero when you talk of him to me.

Last but not the least, my comment that I know Irhabiyah as a good Muslimah was not to elicit an apology from her. You think me too base. My comment was a clarification for why I was trying to be not too harsh.

It is gracious of Irhabiyah to offer that apology though, I humbly accept it. I offer my apology too for flying off the handle like that. I am an Azad Kashmiri, who wakes up every morning and chooses to be a Pakistani – and in that I think me twice as Pakistani as any other Pakistani, because I am not born a Pakistani like them.

Sure there is a lot wrong with Pakistan of today, but mayoosi gunah hai, and I am determined that better sense will prevail one day. I pray to Allah that Pakistan realizes its potential as the fortress of Islam, and I will do my small part in making it the Islamic state it was meant to be. If finally all else fails, and all hope is lost, perhaps I will consider hijra, move my family out of there, and I pray to Allah that such a day may never ever dawn. Short of that, I am a Pakistani, and proud of it – like it or not.

The luxury of hindsight… CGL IX19

I happened upon a couple of lovely blogs written by a teenaged Muslim who writes with more wisdom than most people of not only her own age but much older than her. You will see her blogs linked to your right. In her post entitled Al-Lughah Al-Arabiyah, she has hit upon a discussion that was once initiated in knicqland by brother Maranello -  a discussion that had wondered what might our nation have been like, had Arabic been made the official language of Pakistan. Below is a comment gone lengthy on that post, which I shamelessly put up here as an update, partly because it is pertinent to the discssuion left incomplete here in the past (in that it was left without my exalted inputs), and partly because this place could do with an update.

“Fact of the matter is Urdu always has been the official language of Pakistan. It was the local language in which most Islamic literature was available, and in which more of it was being written. It was the language of those Muslims who were instrumental in the demand for and the creation of Pakistan, the educated lot which hailed mostly from present day India. The areas that constituted Pakistan were amongst the most backward areas in sub-continent with some of the lowest literacy rates.

Urdu was also the language which the elite of the sub-continent had favored sine the times of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar who was himself a distinguished Urdu poet, counted amongst the ‘asatza’ poets. It made sense then to designate Urdu as the National Language. It did not make sense, however, to also make it the National Language of East Pakistan which was several thousand miles to the East with a language of its own, which had a rasm-ul-khat of its own, and a literary history that boasted of the likes of Nobel prize Winner Rabinder Nath Tagore. Why should the Bengalis have liked Urdu better than their Bangla bhasa? Just because the Muslims of West and North favored it? So was sown the seed of discontent and partition.

On the other hand, since Urdu and Hindi, despite their separate alphabet and rasm-ul-khat, are similar enough to the extent where the speakers of either language can hold a conversation between them, all the while talking in their own languages, it was imperative that their cultural history, achievements as well as aspirations have over-lapping areas in Music, and Media.

Of course this could not have been fore-seen then…! The people then did not have the benefit of hindsight that we enjoy today. Who would have thought that the Muslims of Pakistan who created a separate homeland for themselves so they could live their lives according to Islam would usher in bollywood into their drawing rooms and living rooms with such open arms. Who could have predicted the ridiculous care-takers of culture, those ‘artists’ who rush to ignore the vast fundamental cultural differences between the two languages and hence the cultures just so they can emphasize the fact that ‘thumri’ binds the people of India-Pakistan together in cultural bonds!

However, if people had had some more wisdom about them, and if some had considered the very valid points you have made here in support of Arabic, we could perhaps have avoided the East Pakistan debacle. After all the Bangladeshis are Muslims as devout as we like to think we are, and they would have quite likely not objected to Arabic being made their National Language, especially since it could not have been perceived as a language of the big brother.

At the same time, Arabic would have bound us to the Muslim world, and when looking for influences in our ‘art and culture’ we would have had to delve into the Muslim tradition rather than the non-Muslim influences from across the border. You have already covered that ground extremely well – the part about the benefits of learning Arabic. Most importantly, in the last five decades we as a nation could have distanced ourselves from the mushrikana practices that pervade our way of live today, or at least there was a better chance of that happening.

Looking at the possible down-side, however, given our penchant for making the wrong choices, one shudders to think what we would have then ended up adopting from the Arab ‘culture’? The Nahid Siddiquis would probably have taken up belly-dancing instead of bharatnatyam for expression of their ‘art’!

I do seem to be putting ‘art’ and ‘culture’ in inverted commas more and more often…! ”

I have edited above for some spelling errors, and at a place or two to help make it coherent. I strongly recommend, however, that one read the original post to make sense of what I am rambling on about…

I also realize that I might have given the impression that I am one of those India-bashing fanatics, whose Pakistanism is a function of Anti-Indianism. I despise those people just as much as I do those Indians whose Indianism is not complete without Anti-Pakistanism. I am a strong believer in the Two-Nation Thory, however, and do believe that the cultures of Pakistan and India are vastly (and fundamentally) different despite the apparent similarities. I think I had made that point somewhere else also, let me see if I can find where. Here it is.

Hope for Recovery – CGL VIII20

L.O.N.G P.O.S.T

Jazak Allah Khair to Yasmine, whose post Hope for Recovery is the inspiration behind this post. If you have some time on your hands, I suggest you read her post first, and then read this post. If you are short on time, I recommend reading her post alone; for this post is nothing but another comment gone lengthy.

Its the 8th of April today; exactly six months since an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale turned the northern parts of Pakistan upside down, in many instances quite literally so. Entire villages were wiped out, and scores of towns were flattened. Cities that had taken decades to build were reduced to rubble in a matter of minutes. It was a catastrophe no-one could ignore.

The initial reaction was that of shock, which was ensued by a massive outpouring of greif, sympathy, and compassion. As if by a miracle, our country which had lost faith in its people, and our people who had lost trust in each other were transformed overnight. The greif made us all cry, the tears turned the sympathy to empathy, and compassion became the dedication with which the people from the land of the pure came to fore.

I was fortunate to witness some of the most heart rendering scenes at the Pakistan Counsulate, Dubai, which was one of the largest points where the Pakistani community in the UAE, and quite a few other communities including Indians and Philipinos, poured their resources to help with the aid effort. Aid came in all forms, and within a week of the earthquake hundreds of tons of blankets, tents, clothes – generally used and washed, but surprisingly often also new, food items, water, medicines and other medical goods, were piled up in the counsulate; and there was more coming all the time at all four gates of the counsulate. People were coming from far and near, their vehicles overflowing with their tangible compassion, and pretty soon it was becoming a logistical nightmare.

The counsulate did not have to ask for volunteers to help with the logistics. People from every walk of life were ready to offer themselves. Most people will remember that the earthquake had struck during the month of Ramadan, and October is still very hot (and often humid) in the UAE. The work-hours during Ramadan are shorter, and people used the opportunity to dedicate their hours after work to the cause. Before long there was an army of people working shifts till early morning, and bucking each other up as they went about.

It was my stint at that heavenly place which re-affirmed my faith in the generosity of the human spirit, the goodness of my own people, and the courage and strength of Pakistanis as a nation. I am listing below some of the events and some of the people that left an indelible impression on my heart:

I was stationed at the gate once with the responsibility to politely decline goods from people who brought in sacks of rice, flour, pulses and used clothing. The former three were not immediately required, plus there was little hope of air-lifting such heavy cargo when lighter and more urgent cargo like medical supplies, blankets, tents and food items awaited their turn. Part of my responsibility was also to assist with the off-loading of aid goods people were bringing in, and to answer any queries they might have.

Quite often, people would ask if more people were required to help with the sifting, packaging, loading and unloading of aid goods. More people were needed all the time, not only because the amount of goods demanding action was enormous, but also because people who were working tirelessly since 3.00 p.m. needed to be given a break. All I had to say was “Yes”, and almost always, these people would find parking for their cars and come around asking to be stationed somewhere. May Allah reward them all for their spirit.

Once when I was at the gate, two bearded gentlemen arrived in a car, and said they were in the textile business, and would like to donate bundles of warm cloth lying in their stocks – cloth meant to be stitched into men’s suits! I suggested they buy “Kafan” (white sheets used to wrap the dead) instead and donate, to which they said they thought warm cloth was more needed. They said they had brought some in a pick-up and that another pick-up would be arriving with the bundles. They left after that. I was left wondering.

Everyday when I got there, I would find two girls hard at work there already, sifting through items, separating and helping get them packed and doing what else not. In due course I got to know them, Fatima and Afifa, and found out that one was a student while other had a day job, and that did not keep either of them from being there everyday till midnight. They earned great respect amongst their brethren, and soon I saw old men with white beards, who by the way were some of the hardest working men in that group, and young men alike going to them for directions or asking what else needed to be done “Baji”. It would have been hilarious, if it had not been so beautiful, so uplifting. May Allah bless both those ladies, and all the people who rallied around them. Ameen.

On the lighter side, there also used to be this young girl with these two ladies sometimes, clad in a Jeans an a T-Shirt, who would insist on lifting heavy objects by herself and refuse to ask for help. She made a point of telling the other girls that she worked out, and did not need help with lifting stuff.

There was this bunch of young guys, apparently friends since their school days and all in their early twenties, who had already earned the title “Sher” (Lions) because of the energy and speed with which they set out to do a job at hand; be it unloading a truck, loading a container, or simply moving stuff across from one gate to the other because the pick-up on which it had to be loaded was parked at the other end. They were a lively bunch, five or perhaps six of them, and one of them was a doctor by profession, and pathan by accent.

They worked hours on end, jumping off and on trucks, calling out to each other and working as a cohesive unit. They just did not get tired! A couple of days later, I saw them at the same place, and all of them had bandages on all their fingers, and two of them had their wrists wrapped in elastic bandages. Such was the wear and tear their limbs were subjected to, but did it slow them down? Unfortunately, I have forgotten their names, which is not so bad, because I always did call them “Sher”. Jalali Baba, he who is endowed with the gift of making instant friends, got to know them well, and perhaps remembers their names too.

The real hustle bustle would start after Iftari, when the blue-collar Pakistanis would arrive at the scene. They were a sturdier, stronger, and an amazingly loveable lot. They arranged themselves in small groups of ten to twelve and took up the jobs all over the place, relegating us “babu-guys” to telling them what needed to be done, bucking them up, and getting immensely impressed with the sheer strength they packed in those muscular bodies. I remember a bunch of us were trying to lift a sack of grain that must have weighed some 100 kgs, and we were all, with the exception of yours truly, young guys who worked out at the gym and wore T-Shirts to prove it.

Along comes this tall and lean pathan brother, who does not look much of an incredible hulk, takes the sack by the ears, puts it on his back, turns around and asks where it needs to go! Dumb-struck I bring his attention to the fact that he might be injuring his back lifting such heavy objects single handedly, to which he laughs and replies in his gulabi urdu: “Aer-condiotioner is se bo’t baari ‘ota ae” (An airconditioner is much heavier than this). That shuts me up. May Allah shower His blessings on this brother, and all his comrades, and may He make life easier and rewarding for them.

One evening, a truck arrived with some 120 odd large tents in it, and we had just finished unloading some 40 bundles of blankets and were visibly tired. Someone went out and found one of those task-force teams of labourers/taxi-drivers to help us out. They stationed us in the truck and asked us to just pass the tents out to them, and within minutes the truck was empty. They went at it like a school of piranhas. They were led by this babaji, whose beard looked as if it had been sheared off the back of the whitest of sheep, and whose voice boomed with a strength we only hoped we could muster. Everytime, one of us dropped a tent, he smiled indulgently, picked the darned thing up in one arm and walked off. May Allah give him continued good health and many more years of youthful strength.

There were of course Mohammad Ali and Furqan who were the contact points for all activity in that place and who took it upon themselves to take care of the volunteers. They arranged for Iftari, and I heard also for Suhoor for all the people who were working there. They ensured a steady supply of water and tea for the people, and a steady supply of vehicles, containers and what not for the goods that needed to be moved. Later when we had returned to our lives, they continued with the good work, and here is one of the projects they have since been a part of.

    These, and many many more that I have not mentioned or cannot remember, are examples that I was witness to myself in a couple of days of working at that place. These are people and stories that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and remind me what a great nation we are capable of becoming. I was as overwhelmed with these acts of selflessness and compassion as I was by the catastrophe that had made them necessary.

    The effort in Pakistan Counsulate pales in comparison, however, to the phenomenon that we witnessed in Karachi in response to the call for help by Fakhr-e-Alam. Apparently, it had all started out with an sms he had sent out, and it turned into the biggest phenomenon in Pakistan. Thousands of people responded, and they did so minus the chaos and strife that is sometimes associated with this city of 14 million people. Roads leading to the collection point were jammed for hours at end, but the people patiently waited it out, and my own Karachiite friends tell me that there was no honking, no shouting to be heard anywhere. Here is an excerpt from a report on bitsonline:

    On the 10th of October, Fakhr-e-Alam announced that he was overwhelmed by the response of Karachi’s citizens. He had aimed to collect relief supplies to fill one truck but in under 48 hours, 40 C-130 planes worth of supplies had been gathered. WOW! In fact, he requested people to stop sending goods as they were having a dreadfully hard time organizing all the supplies and also didn’t have the means to despatch them.”

    I remember Fakhr-e-Alam sitting in that program, his face swollen with fatigue, and his eyes bloodshot through lack of sleep. I remember tears welling up in my eyes when he had dozed off sitting in his chair. May Allah reward him manifold for his dedication, and may He reward his parents for bringing up a hero in their home.

    I remember Fakhr-e-Alam himself bursting into tears while thanking the people of Pakistan in general, and Karachi in particular, for their self-less devotion to the cause, but at the same time pleading with them not to go over-board in their enthusiasm and lose the steam in later days when the whole world would have forgotten October 8. His was not a prediction, it was a statement of fact.

    In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy the newspaper headlines are hard to miss, but soon the world has moved on to current issues, while the victims of a tragedy two months ago are relegated to the confines of memory. That, as activist after activist kept pointing out, is the time when our responsibility increases, because the devastation brought about by such a massive catastrophe requires years of rebuilding effort, tons of dedication, and oodles of compassion. A sustained effort, even if low-key, is obviously more helpful than bursts of work followed by amnesia. The former takes super-human dedication to the cause, while the latter, with or without amnesia, is a natural human phenomenon.

    We set new examples in our exhibition of the natural human phenomenon. On this day, six months after the tragedy struck, we need to re-affirm our commitment to the super-human dedication required to rehabiliate thousands upon thousands of our brethren in the affected areas, and to help them get their lives back on track.

    May Allah grant us the strength and courage to commit ourselves to our people, and may He bless us with the resources required to fulfill that commitment. Ameen.

Comment Gone Lengthy – CGL VII44

This was originally a comment posted in response to my friend Sohail’s comment on the last post, but it got lengthy, and hence qualifies to be posted as CGL VII.

Thank you for sharing your point of view. Rest assured, I poked no needles into any voodoo doll in response to people’s comments on my blog, but if those people did have blogs, I have commented there…and that, as some will tell you, is not a wholly welcome eventuality. In your case, I shall wait for your blog to come up…

Now, allow me to begin with a little, but hugely pertinent, clarification. The conspiracy part was not meant literally. Having said that, while I agree with quite a bit of what you have to say, I have my own take on some aspects of your viewpoint.

I am surprised when you bracket culture of tolerance along with the American Culture. There are about a dozen countries around the world or what is left of those countries after American tolerance, Afghanistan and Iraq being only the recent additions to the list, which would take exception to those two terms being employed interchangeably. Tolerant America has invaded more countries in the last half century than any other country – the premise, surprisingly, has been one of the cousin buzzwords of tolerance. Democracy, for instance, has often surfaced as American premise to decimate non-democratic countries. Subsequently, however, if the ‘installation’ rather than ‘instillation’ of democracy did not bring ‘the right party’ to power, Americans and their western cronies have shown little tolerance for the democratic rights of the democratically elected reps in that area.

The unexpected wins of the Islamic parties in Turkey and Algeria, and more recently in Egypt and Iraq, have had the Americans stymied (Why are y’all electing these fundamentalist/extremist mullahs? Dontcha know its a democratic election? These guys ain’t democratic!), and often elicited unfriendly conduct from the western powers. So much for tolerance, and so much for democracy. Its the American definition or no definition.

I agree with your second point. However, there are the gossip pages and columns for people who read and enjoy gossip, must the newspapers now convert pages dedicated to real news to gossip pages also? You seem to have assumed my total aversion to any gossip news appearing anywhere, which while not entirely a fallacious assumption, is not the whole truth either. I am tolerant enough to allow a page somewhere inside the paper to the moronic readers and buyers of the papers too. My objection here is to the celebrity-gossip-overdose plaguing our publications. I do not want to read about a gay marriage, an adultrous relationship, or another adultery related newspeice on my front page, which should ideally be carrying news of the highest importance. A newspaper ought to be a newspaper after all.

I am not entirely taken with this if-there-is-enough-demand-there-will-be-a-product theory also. Real world economics is not an exact science, and its undoing is the variable called know-it-all human being. Case in point from the entertainment industry itself is the crap that lollywood churns out every year. If we were to go by the above theory, long long ago, Pakistani film industry would have mended its act…or are we to assume that when it comes to Pakistani cinema, our discerning public’s expectations just take a nose-dive. People continue to miss economic opportunities because their thinking is clouded by pre-conceived notions.

I really hate it when these self styled marketers imply that a majority of us are fools. You of all the people should know that Marketing has come a long way from the days of identifying a need, it has now moved onto creating a want, converting it into a deep craving rather than just a need, and making a sale.

I had made that conspiracy comment as a half jest, but its not entirely wrong. The American public for instance, unlike its government is quite fair and noble. They send their sons out to corners of the world to fight what they are told is a noble war. It takes courage and immense integrity in a nation to fight another’s war. The American people have often shown that courage and integrity. What they do not know is that they are often not fighting another’s war, they are not fighting their own war either. They are fighting the war of their political machine which of late has become quite explicit about its intentions of establishing a hegemony over the world. However, the fourth estate has converted the American public into a herd of sheep. They are led to believe what the American Government needs them to beleive to enable it to carry out its shameful agenda. They are given concocted stories, and when there are not enough concoctions they are fed this celebrity gossip round the clock to keep their mind off of news that holds real importance.

Newspapers here in the UAE print what their counterparts in the west print, not what majority of their readers would like to read. That is what is so pathetic about publications here. They do not have a mind of their own, nor news of their own.

As for those news of discrimination, they are not entirely baseless. The western media itself has documented a rise in anti-arab/anti-Muslim sentiment and incidents arising out of this rise. But that is a different discussion, and I am short on time.

Sum it all up, I am totally averse to celebrity gossip, or any gossip. I think it is an instance of creating a need in the first place. It also breeds the wrong kind of culture, which encourages people to snoop into other people’s lives. It was the drive to satisfy this created need that cost Diana and Dodi their lives. It is the kind of culture that makes the signing of confidentiality contract mandatory on the guests to a celebrity wedding. (See what I mean about nthese news being omnipresent!) It is the kind of behaviour espoused by no civilization, but increasingly being made a part of the modern civilization, just like nudity, homosexuality and other such vices. Celebrity gossip is nothing but eavesdropping and snooping, by the publishers as well as the readers of CG.

And just like Anjum said, who are these people who are labelled celebrities? I can understand sports celebrities, people who win sporting battles for their countries, but I would strongly object to any gossip about their private lives too. Irrespective of who the celebrities are, however, CG is a vice, and should not be encouraged.

There is news and there is gossip. News is good, gossip is bad.

Unfortunately, CG has become too well entrenched as a need now to be totally eradicated, and I can live with a gossip page in the newspaper…but please, spare me the ‘masala’ on the front page, and respect my right to go through my daily life without having to find out that Anglina Jolie has wrested Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston!

Comment Gone Lengthy, CGL VI.0

*Very long post, even by my standards*

(Refernce: Comment box, CGL V.)

BAQ, thank you again for your valuable comments on the previous post. A reply to over 20 fragmented comments would invariably have come in the form of another 20 odd comments, if not more, and for the convenience of the chance reader of this blog, I have decided to post my reply as a new post. You have covered a lot of ground, and I wonder where I should start from?

Shall we start by stating out the objective of the original discussion? Having gone through your comments rather diligently I feel that my premise for the whole discussion was misunderstood, and my comments often completely misinterpreted. I cannot help but agree with almost everything you have had to say, yet because a lot of it comes on the back of misconstrued opinion, it is not completely germane, and I feel obliged to offer a few clarifications.

The objective of this post, or the comments that followed, was never to absolve the US of its crimes against the many peoples of the world. It was to shed some light on the oft criticized propensity of many fellow Muslim brethren to take severe note of, and issue strict reprimand for the actions of the US when they transgress the morals of humanity; but not to show the same fervor when reprimanding similar actions by people from our nation. Quite a different proposition, you will agree, from discussing the merits and demerits of a certain civilization.

Why does a US criminal act against our people elicit a more animated outcry from us? Yet, we hardly ever go up in arms against similar, or sometimes even worst atrocities, committed by our own people, and ironically on our own people. Why does it seem to give the impression that we are more comfortable being wronged by our own people? Isn’t a crime just that – a crime? Does it matter who commits it?

By drawing a comparison between the present day civilizations of both the West and Islam, I had sought to underline the fact that the Americans as well as the Western world are doing at least some things right, while we are not doing anything right. This is the reason they are ahead of us in so many fields. I did not advocate blatant aping of the West, but merely wanted to highlight areas where we could learn from the West. One can, and actually will, always argue that the values, which are instrumental in putting the West ahead of us, are those espoused by Islam, and hence we should follow Islam in spirit. Well, I have two comebacks for that – first of all, isn’t it a given anyway that as Muslims, we follow these values and teachings? Second, how many of our people actually follow those teachings? Worse, how many will follow these teachings after this implied, yet deceptively candid, admission that if we follow these teachings we could excel also?

Because we are talking of the values, which have helped propel these societies into world leadership, we are obviously not talking of the shortcomings of these nations. I know as well as you do that the US is not leading the world, because it has one of the highest crime rates in the developed and developing world, or because a mockery has been made out of the institution of marriage in the country. I do not need to be told that emancipation of women from their clothing; rampant drug abuse, domestic violence and many other ills that plague the American society have had no part to play in the development of the US Civilization. So, if we delve into these details, we are obviously digressing.

Our failures, ADMITTED OR NOT, are failures; failures that continue to haunt our daily lives. They cannot just be brushed aside – not when they can be addressed and rectified immediately. Unfortunately, we are quick to move on to condemnation of others after our own candid admission – as if this admission absolves us from the crime of having failed to follow the way of life we were ordained to adopt. Ironically, what would propel us to prosperity, and pull us out of our misery is not the blind and rhetorical condemnation of others, but an active interest in, and a direct effort at addressing these ADMITTED failures as you call them.

The objective, therefore, was to categorically state on the one hand that there is no justification for our people to treat or react to a crime differently based on the nationality and religion of the perpetrator, thus implying that when the criminals are from our ranks, we should take as much exception to their crimes as we do to US actions against our brethren; and more importantly, to show on the other hand that part of the reason the US actions elicit a stronger reaction from our circles as well as from world over is that the world looks up to the US nation because of the importance this nation attaches to the right ideals (Freedom, Liberty, Equality, Peace, Compassion…)

The world, therefore, least expects this nation to perpetrate such cruelty and such atrocities, especially with such disregard for international opinion. So, when this nation does stoop to bombing of entire nations on fabricated pretences, the world loses a sizeable chunk of hope in the future of the world. The whole world becomes apprehensive, and afraid.

It is simple to see why. If an acknowledged and self proclaimed savior of human values, however dismal its record in defending and upholding these values be, itself regresses into a remorseless monster, there is little one can expect from the already less humane people of the world, people who do not even have any pretensions of being morally correct. If you delve into the dismal record of this nation’s colonial past, you will be surprised to know that even when the US forces were committing the worst outrages in Korea, Vietnam Chile, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name but a few, the Americans genuinely believed that their forces were liberating the very people they were attacking. Stupid? Yes, very.

However, please understand that I am not defending the stupidity of a nation that buys wholesale into the excuses and farces its government presents in defense of its heinous acts elsewhere. I just wish to highlight the fact that as naive as they may be, these people have to be sold the idea that their government is doing the “right thing” before their governments go out and do the “right thing”. The “right thing” the Americans often think their Government is doing is almost always different from the “right thing” the American Government has often actually done.

We are therefore talking about two different topics, hence the mutual feeling that the other digresses. You talk of the American history, the actions of the Americans affecting the world, and the moral decay reflected in rampant marital infidelity, sexual anarchy, domestic violence, and such.

I talk about the fact that the American people do actually believe that they should stand by the right thing, and are willing to offer their sons in doing that right thing for another nation. No American government has gone to its people, and told them the real motive of its latest invasion of a country. Even the crazy cow boy does not just stand up and admit that there is a lot of Oil to be had in the Middle East, that the Jew agenda needs to be carried out by the American stooges, that there will be monetary, financial and commercial benefits (Booty?) for the nation if it goes on rampage on another nation. He wouldn’t be able to sell a war to his people if he did not tell them that they were doing the right thing – standing up for lofted ideals.

We can again throw a tangent here and digress into debating why do the American people buy into such blatant lies. However, it could only be pertinent to discuss if we could establish that the American public actually is discerning and knows the truth, is aware of the farcical pretences presented to them by their government to attack other countries, and yet lends its support to the government’s actions and atrocities. You and I both know this is not true.

I have seen many a fool on Faramin’s and Laura’s blogs who thinks Bush and Co. are doing the noble thing in Iraq in “trying to bring true democracy, liberty, freedom, peace and what not” by bombing the country into oblivion. My discussion is not on how naive and media-affected (read infected) these people are, neither is it an attempt at justifying anything. My discussion is just highlighting the point that here is nation who if led to believe is doing the right thing, will do the right thing, and will be ready to bear the costs. Can the same be said about our nations?

You have often criticized the American nation for giving a second term to butcher Bush, but you have failed to extol the virtue of the nation half of which voted against bB. We cannot point fingers at them when our own people elected the likes of Nawaz Sharrif and Benzir Bhutto twice, and would gladly elect one of them for the third time, despite the fact that each had plundered the nation each time he/she was elected to office in the past.

The discussion, as I have explained was not about the merits/demerits of the American civilization. It was more a comparison of the present day American Civilization with ours. A comparison meant to bring out and highlight aspects where the Americans excel, and because of which are expected to be more responsible, and held more accountable. I do not think I need to defend myself against your charge of wizardry after the above clarifications. You will agree there were no diversionary tactics of the magician employed at any point. I think I have also fairly established that at no point did I wish to present any justifications for any of the US government’s actions.

In the end I would like to sum up the discussion with a few specific clarifications for your comments. To make matters less ambiguous, I have colored your comments in blue, any of my comments you quoted in green, and have stuck to black for my own clarifications.

“Because at the end of the day, their leadership and their media consist of their own people…”

“So, now we have a full implication that the American people and their government and their media are all inherently ONE in this whole drama by any means!”

Not exactly what I had meant. All I was trying to say was that because the American leadership and media institutions are run by their fellow Americans, Americans are not skeptical of what they are told by these people, and that it contrasts sharply with the state of affairs at our own end where we take everything our leaders and media tell us with a pinch of salt, if not a handful of salt. The difference in attitude stems from a people’s view of themselves. You have found a completely different implication in my statement.

“So if that’s the progress we are talking about where the most educated fools are routinely produced from the best universities in the world, we wouldn’t want such progress for our children, would we now?”

The progress I was talking about was one of going from a genocidal nation responsible for wiping out the native Americans to a nation willing to sacrifice its own in the name of upholding the freedom and liberty of others; of a nation unrepentantly “licking” people for their color growing into a nation that is exceedingly watchful of any discrimination on the basis of colour; and of a nation capable of putting its own president on trial for having an illicit affair. You may respectively argue that US actions have seldom brought freedom and liberty to a people, or that racism is still a reality in the US, or that putting a president on trial was more a political circus than anything else. But then you will miss my point again – the point being that the people of America on all three counts could not be found in the wrong. They will lend their genuine support to an action once convinced that it is for the betterment of another people, they will always be watchful of racism, and they were able to put their own president in the stand for what was or was not a crime. I hope you see the distinction I make.

Secondly, you may hold the view that the universities churn out the most wel-educated fools in the world, yet it remains a fact that a seat in these universities is coveted world over, that these universities churn out world leaders in various fields including Sciences, Arts, Literature, Music, Medicine, Economics, Psychiatry and Philosophy. You have yourself admitted these universities do provide an excellent education. If we wouldn’t want such progress for our children, why pray do we continue to strive day and night to get them into these universities?

You make some very interesting observations in your reminders also, and I have a lot to add in that department, but given that this post is already exceedingly lengthy, let me try and limit my queries to just a few lines.

“Ever since, and because of weaker military capacities, at least in part, they lost out their nations one after the other to the inhuman, colonialist movement of the Europeans…”

And what do you think brought about the weakness in our military capacities when we were at the zenith? I would think it was our deviation from the ordained path, infighting, power struggles and distortion of the Islamic way of life. Who is to be blamed for this?

“So much so that it was the science and technology developed by the Muslims that became the guiding light that brought Europe out of the darkness and gloom of its ‘Dark Ages’. “

This, I think, is a flawed argument. Actually, the implications of this argument are flawed. Often, our people present this argument implying that the West’s progress in the fields of science and technology would not have been possible without the contributions of Muslims. Well, a lot of scientific progress had been made by the earlier civilizations too, on whose work the Muslim scholars had based their work. Achievements of Muslim scholars and scientists in no way diminish the progress their western counterparts of later centuries made, just as the advancements in the previous civilizations take nothing away from the Muslim luminaries of the past. My question is much simpler: What kept from Muslims from benefiting from this “guiding light” themselves?

“The vices you mention are not only rampant in the US, they are equally there in our societies. The worst part is those vices are not all vices by definition in the US society, but they are so in ours. Moral and legal transgressions – and yet our societies indulge in many of them en masse.”

“It must be confessed that at no point in Islamic history was there ever an entire community of Muslims who were regarded as immaculate angels by any standards. Not even was this so in the time of the Prophet for he had to contend with the hypocrites and the doubters within the community himself….”

I had not meant to make the unrealistic declaration that the Muslim society is totally free of all vices, though I believe an ideal one should be as close as possible. I am just drawing your attention to the fact that while we are quick to crucify the western societies for the moral debacle, we seem to forget that the very same vices are rampant in our societies. What is more, the western societies have removed the immoral or illegal tag from most of these vices, while in our societies they are still considered immoral and illegal. Hence while they are moral (or at least not morally offensive) and legal in the western society, they are immoral and illegal in our societies, looked down upon officially, yet these same vices are equally rampant in our societies. The emphasis again is on the fact that we are neither moral nor law abiding, so it does not do to point fingers at others.

“Add to this the fact that the western media, in its attractive projection of immorality directly into homes in third world countries, and we have one of the greatest moral catastrophes in man’s history taking place right in front of our eyes. ”

This fact might be mitigated simply by taking the decision not to watch Western media. We are not forced to watch these “Immoral” programs, and the West does not specifically make them for us. The brunt of responsibility thus we must bear.

‘you are the best of communities raised up for mankind, (since) you encourage the Good and prohibit the Evil. And you believe in God.’

So all said and done, while we believe in God as one must, the developed nations at least at the people’s level seem to be doing the encouraging the good and prohibiting the evil part as one must.

Comment Gone Lengthy. CGL V.0

Felicity and Faramin,

I seem to have missed out on a lot lately. The two of you make some compelling arguments, let me try and see if I can help put my perspective across too.

Felicity, you have a very valid point. I will be the first one to admit that it is imperative that we put our house in order as a nation. Yet, I feel you are slightly off course.

Despite our flaws and shortcomings as a nation, we have a right to live – to not be bombed into oblivion, because a very powerful and insecure country two continents away from us has been led to believe that we pose a threat to that country. If this American premise to attack Iraq is justified, then perhaps another nuclear country might be just as justified in nuking US for fear that someday the US might nuke them. The reason no-one has done that so far is not because US has “taken them all out”, but because factually speaking no country would want to get into a war with the super power. Theoretically, however, a country strong enough to “take US out” should take it out, because US poses a threat to it – as does every other country of the world to every other country of the world. Justifying this premise, thus, is plunging the world into war.

Yes, the US name does seem to come up more often than any other, despite the fact that there are actually some countries in the world where man has inflicted and continues to inflict worse misery on fellowmen. Yet, you must make room for the fact that the US is, if only on paper, the most educated, the most advanced, the most democratic, and the most just country in the world. The US has not become a super power solely because it has the largest stockpile of annihilation material, but also because it has led the world for over a century now in all walks of life. It is the seat of learning, the epitome of civilization and the land of ideals and dreams – or at least until very recently was so. That is the real reason for its being at the top. It is at the top, because the rest of the world looks up to it.

When this leader of the world turns into a vigilante, and then into a bully – the rest of the world cannot be blamed for becoming jittery. When the US, as the leader of human rights, attacks and destroys country after country, and actually takes high moral ground for having done so, the task of the smaller bullies becomes easy. The life of an average human being becomes so much more endangered.

By comparison, when in countries with less than 30% literacy rate, and rampant ignorance crimes against humanity are committed, they do not pose a threat to the rest of the world. They pose a challenge. The economic factors that have allowed these extremist outfits to flourish need to be addressed – not by anyone in particular, but by all who care. So that the next generation is not hijacked in the name of religion. Where I know that in the last 20 years media in our own country has had an intolerant rhetoric tilt, we both know that all and sundry revile the attackers of the mosques – be they sunni victims of shia attacks, or shia victims of sunni attacks. The silent as well as the non silent segments speak out against this outrage. But, that is a different discussion. What I mean to say is these extremist factions do not have any pretensions of, or claims to being the champion of the people. So, their crimes, while no less severe, pale by comparison to those of the US because the US and its respect for human rights were to be the epitome of hope.

Also, the power of those extremist factiosn when compared with this bull gone crazy is nothing in terms of the threat it poses to the world. Hence, one sees more people speaking out against the US actions than others crimes. In short, US actions have a deeper, much deper impact on the shape of things to come than anyone else.

I do not present the extremists’ ignorance and intolerance-steeped upbringing as an excuse for their actions – I just hold US in greater contempt because it is better equipped to respect and defend humanity and does not do so. Instead, what one sees it indulging in is the worst kind of selfish manouvers – where a deemed threat to US lives, however preposterous, is reason enough to flatten a country full of people.

The two, Felicity, rooting out ignorance-induced extremism and stopping power-drunk bullyism are not mutually exclusive. However, for the threat it poses to the world, the latter needs immediate attention. Achieving the former might not be of much use, if the latter by then has got out of hands. Addressing the US problem might just make it lots easier to contain the extremism threat. Imagine, even if half the billions spent on bombing Iraq and Afghanistan had been invested helping poorer nations cement their academic institutions and structure, the last three years might have brought a sea chnge in the way the world looked at the US.

Instead, the world looks at this bully gone crazy with fear, apprehension, and despair.

For full discussion, please refer Faramin’s blog.

Comment expected to go lengthy…. CGL IV0

(This post is addressed to Jalali Baba. It is written in response to his comment on the previous post. It is meant to be a token of thanks to his highness for having taken time enough to post a comment on this infidel’s blog. It is also meant to be repentance for impertinence shown by this infidel to that exalted comment in not addressing and replying to the comment properly.)

Jalali Baba, allow me to start by offering half of the hair on my head as an offering so you may look kindly at this token. I am also enclosing a turtle’s egg shell, the left claw’s imprint of the alley’s black cat on the photocopy of my 10th grade mark sheet, a GM brochure of 2005 models, two party size KFC meals, and 24 Snickers’ wrappers with Snickers bars packed in them as an advance repentance offering for any words of insolence that might find their devilish way into this token of repentance and respect post.

Having said that I would like to disclose that my first response to your kind remarks, worded rather unkindly, albeit typically, was to complete and upload the third installment of Introduction to Jalali Baba, which awaits its ending paragraph since the day after installment two was posted. I realized, however, that it was important to first make this offering, which is why I decided to postpone it for one more day. I hope to complete that installment soonest and upload it here for the world to see. I assure you Baba that I have already admitted your greatness in the way you have patronized Yawar over the last couple of years. I shall leave the rest of this topic to be covered in that post.

Coming to your exalted comment, allow me to take this liberty to break your comment into more manageable mini-comments, so I can do justice to the whole comment.

“You forgot to mention another sibling, the one inspired by Yousfi. Bhai meray, amar-e-waqia yeah hay kay mammolay ka shahbaz say awallen takraoo Iqbal nay karwaya thaa. tum nay phir yousifi ko khainch lia.”

Baba, the sibling inspired by Yousufi is not part of the sibling rivalries. He is the good humoured elder brother whose purpose in life is to smile knowingly, to quote Yousufi, and when in doubt about any idea – to attribute to Yousufi. Call it his aqeedat with Yousufi sahab, and his unshakeable belief that it is safest to attribute all literary wisdom and excellence to Yousufi.

There have been inherent draw-backs in this approach, like the time when he had declared to an aghast audience that Yossarian was originally a character in Yousufi’s books, but when Joseph Heller had stolen the idea and the name for his Catch-22, Yousufi Sahab had graciously renamed his character Mirza. In evidence thereof he had elaborated on the phonetic similarities in the two characters’ names. Surprisingly, it was at this point that the aghast audience had changed into a not-so-aghast audience. He continues to believe that this was proof enough that they were convinced of this truth.

There was also the time when he had tried to prove that the only reason Yousufi’s work had not been translated into any other language was that no other language had been gifted with a proponent with such impeccable command on that language, because of which no translation could do justice to the beauty of Yousufi’s work. He still has me sold on the idea. Actually, he has the two rival siblings and me sold on that idea.

It was because of this reason that the Yousifiic sibling did not find mention in that post. Understandably, while the other two siblings fight for personal glory, this sweet soul endeavours to get Yousufi nominated for Nobel prize in Literature, because as he says, if Urdu ever had a chance at Nobel Prize, it was more because of Yousufi than anyone else. In this he conveniently sets aside such legends and geniuses as Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz, Ashfaq Ahmad, Bano Qudsia, … and the scores of others who have brought glory to Urdu. Nonetheless, I hope I have complied with your implicit command, and brought the third sibling to light.

Every one else supporting Yawar: Please have mercy on me. You have read 3-4 “works of art” by Yawar hence you like it. But every time Yawar has a new aamad, it is relayed 150 Kms to poor me on the phone.

Yawar is flattered, Jalali Baba, that you choose to refer to his humble pieces as “Works of Art” and choose to lay emphasis on this term by enclosing it in inverted commas – lest other infidels like yours truly overlook this award. Yawar undertakes to make an offering of 2 Fatayers with Jubna, 1 KFC Family Meal, a dead rat, and two alive lizards as a token of gratitude to you for your graciousness.

I would most humbly like to point out though Baba that the distance between your home and that of Yawar’s is over 175 kilometers and not 150 kms. Actually, it should be stated at a real value of 213.52 kms because of your propensity to lose your way coming here, and mine to do same going to your place.
p.s. There have been times when the aamad had materialized while Yawar was sitting in Ajman, beng given lessons by the legendary Mr. Nazir Khan in newspaper reading in the car etiquette, on which occasions the distance would actually have to be stated at 275 kms, given that Yawar always takes the longer beach-side road coming back from Ajman.

(hmmm… Yawar also seems to be influenced by Yousfi: Professor used to do the same in his bank and relayed poetry to subghay)

Jalali Baba, given that Yawar works for a financial institution I am assuming that he is the Professor in your Yousufiic analogy (the Yousufiic sibling concurs). This would make you Subghay, in which case you have a lot more to worry about than just Yawariyat. You will recall Professor did find his way to glory, (not withstanding his falling for the left ear of his interviewer and his surprise at finding that the other ear was equally beautiful), while subghay was left to Magrudic devices… or the lack of those for that matter. While on the subject may I borrow Sharh-e-Ghalib from you once again….I promise to read it this time (Yawar concurs), and blog about the experience (knicq concurs).

To tell the truth, I have developed a lot of poetry based personality disorders because of Yawar. I have to listen to the latest “Kalam” and also have to say Wahh waah, mukarrar. I implore you: Have mercy!!!

Your sense of humour is caustic Jalali Baba, for you to ask for mercy from infidel blogistanis is nothing short of tafannun-e-ironic. Your greatness in patronizing Yawar is lost on no one Jalali Baba. May Allah reward you for this kindness. Yawar for his part makes an offering of road kill lotas of the motorway brought to note by Momma, doubly sugared cookies baked by Abez, and a 90 minute digital recording of dholki by akvetcher.

Yawar is humbled by your declaration that he has had a part to play in the eccentricities, which make you special and unbearable at the same time. He undertakes to make an additional offering of Dunkin Donuts’ Family Pack, three and a half dried roses, two bottles of Spanish Olive Oil, a 100 stubs of Marlboro Red, and a Soehnle bathroom scale.

For my part, I thank you for your patience and understanding, and as a token of my appreciation, gratitude, admiration, and dissent undertake to make an offering of Introduction to Jalali Baba – III ASAP.

Comment Gone Lengthy. CGL III0

Two posts in a day? Not really. Posted my entry and went on to Laura’s blog, and got started on this reply in this discussion and before I knew it the comment length got out of hands – again. So now I have coined an acronym for comment gone lengthy, CGL. This is CGL 3, which Saima you may want to overlook, and go straight to the post of the day :) .

“James,

You evaded my query about the people of Sodom and Gomorra. The question is not whether or not the Christian states ban or do not ban homosexuality. The question is whether or not Christianity does. The support of an activity, or lack of objection to it, by a Christian state does not necessarily construe support for it in Christianity. The Western world has gone to great lengths to ensure the separation of state and religion, at least until Bush’s recent victory. On the contrary, in an Islamic country the ideal is to work towards a state which implements the egalitarian ideals of the religion, thus making religion intertwined with the politics and the business of the state. Yet, unscrupulous elements amongst us have led to the same situation where everything that an Islamic state does is not necessarily ordained by Islam. In this, the Christian and the Islamic states seem to face the same paradox.

I used the term *almost identical* because we both know they are not identical, or else we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place. We can now choose to stress the similarities, or overlaps as you call them, and work towards peaceful co-existence, or highlight the differences and continue to be the warring worlds we are today. You point out very rightly that Islam does not accord divinity to Jesus, didn’t I say that much already. To us, he is a Prophet/Apostle much like Mohammad (SAW).

As for the Jews, you are right – they were driven out of Madina. You are wrong, however, they were never driven out of Arabia. There were three Jewish tribes in Madina at the time the Prophet established the Islamic Government in Madina, and all three were treated as equal citizens of Madina. However, they continued to conspire with the Makkans, the persecutors and enemies of Muslims, and sided with them each time the Makkans attacked Madina. It amounted to treason, and their further stay in Madina was detrimental to the very survival of the nascent Muslim nation. However, Jews continued to prosper as Dhimmis, the tax paying protected, under Muslim rule for centuries to come. So much so that when the Crusaders took Jerusalem, the Jews found respite from persecution only when Salahuddin conquered it back. When Muslims lost Spain to Ferdenend and Isabella, the Muslims were not the only ones to suffer. The Spanish inquisition persecuted Jews like crazy, and the only place they could find large scale refuge in was Islamic Turkey – then Ottomon Empire. Actually, the earliest footages of Jews arriving in Palestine show Palestinians welcoming them at the harbor with garlands.

Anti-Semitism, my friend, was an alien concept in Islam – it was imported from the third monotheistic faith in late 20th century after the Jews had wrested Palestine away, with explicit support from US, UK and hence the UN. Unfortunately, five decades of violence and hatred following the creation of Israel in Palestinian land has led to a wide schism between Muslims and Jews.

You have often questioned the peace message of Islam, emphasizing some of the bleakest historical facts that blot our historical landscape. The same landscape is bloodied by the blood of millions of Jews gassed by Christian Hitler – am I to deduce that Bible does not propagate peace?

I am no scholar on Quran; I have read it over though, and I know this much that Quran advocates peace and harmony, and tells us that violence can only be a last option when our well-being and survival is threatened by a belligerent enemy. I am not aware of Islam teaching the turn-the-other-cheek doctrine, but it also does prohibit hitting the cheek in the first place.

You seem to be better read than I am, but when reading the Quran you seem to make the same mistake which the extremists and militants make. They take Ayahs out of context, and quote them to validate their own ulterior objectives. I am not sure if they do so out of ignorance about Islam or willfully, and I am not sure about that part about you either.

Perhaps, you could pinpoint an ayah for me, and I could look up the context for you.

For now, I continue to read as well.”

Another Comment gone lengthy …0

This time it was Vora’s blog that got victimized… By the time I was finished, I was too drained to work on an entry of my own, so I thought might as well put it up here. I think it would be best if I stopped going to other blogs – for others’ blogs and for mine. Below was in response to a discussion on EU demanding that Turkey strike off adultery from the punishable crimes list if it wanted in with the EU.

Benjamin, I realize we come from two different worlds, and like you said we obviously subscribe to a different view of as to to what extent can/should a government get involved in the lives of the people. More importantly, coming from different cultures we define adultery differently – not the act, but the implications of the act. To you it is an act that affects a family or two, to me it is a violation of society’s integrity. Most importantly, I believe you confuse two very different aspects of law. One is having a law, the other is enforcing it. However interrelated the two may be, they are different in essence. The success of one is contingent upon that of the other’s. Having a perfect law but not enforcing it justly and properly, as is the case in the examples you quote, is as futile as are rigorous attempts to enforce a flawed law. Yet, we must understand that inability to enforce a law is no premise to scrap the law. The real issue then is to find ways to enforce the law properly. A question Vora raises in her comment. The law as laid down by Islam would take a post of its own, but suffice it is to say that if it were enforced in spirit, there would be very few, if any, convictions for the crime. The harshest penalty attached to the crime is more to underline the severity of the crime than anything else. Like you said, to actually enforce the law we would probably have to have cameras installed in every room – not very practical you will agree. That, however is a different discussion.

We can debate the status of adultery as a social crime or not for ages, and still not mutually agree. Middle East and much of the Islamic bloc is backward enough, thankfully, to not have come up with a euphemism for a bastard child. The repercussions of adultery can thus have far reaching effects on such an individual, and hence his reaction to the world around him. I agree that drunken driving and some other crimes I had mentioned can have fatal consequences, and I can understand why you feel they must be punishable. But then, fraud, theft, tax evasion and many other crimes are punishable by the Government also, even though they do not necessarily lead to fatal consequences. Isn’t adultery the worst kind of fraud? Isn’t it the biggest breach of a contract between two individuals? Food for thought. It is again a matter of what a society attaches more value to. Theoretically, a breach of trust that carries a monetary tag is within the jurisdiction of a capitalist government, while one that carries social stigma might be deemed punishable by a government attaching more value to social well-being than to monetary well-being. (Yes, I know they are not entirely mutually exclusive).

You make a strong point about the need to perpetually question the values of a society, I would add just this: Such questioning should be done with a view to making the values and hence the society better, not for the sake of questioning alone. Development, sometimes I think, is over rated. Development when not in tandem with social well being is not all that desirable.

In the end, I would like to clarify my point about us having to put up with the nudity of our western/westernized guests here in the Middle East. I did not mean to make a sweeping statement, nor do I intend to deride anyone. I am sorry for having sounded so earlier. It is again a question of difference in social values. In a society, where women traditionally cover themselves head to toe, most if not all out of their own choice, deep necklines, short skin baring outfits ARE considered bordering on nudity. Our guests in this country do know that, yet it does not seem to perplex them. The point however I was trying to make was that we accommodate them nonetheless, there are no laws that define any dress codes for anyone. The UAE, though a small country, is home to over 120 nationalities, and it makes for a nice potpourri. Not everything is great about this country, but most things are, tolerance being one of them. The other point was that the western/westernized guests do not respect the local customs and traditions because they are convinced that these are base/outdated/under developed laws inferior to those in their own countries. It is the same attitude that gives EU the cheek to interfere in something as private as a country and hence a society’s stance on what does or does not fall under the penal code of that country.

Frankly, I could not care less whether or not Turkey joined the EU, or whether or not the adultery law is repealed. It is just that I am intrigued by the EU’s demand that implies a lot more than it explicitly says.

Hope to have clarified myself.

Regards

A comment gone lengthy.0

Something I could not post on Laura’s blog because of space constraints, and am running out of time to break same into peices.

This thread made for a good read. I regret that I am too late to participate in the discussion, but then I guess I could never have covered it as well as Faramin did.

No offense to the other contributors to the discussion. I just do not understand how anyone can spend so much energy justifying mass massacres around the world in the name of bringing peace and harmony to the world. There have been many allusions to the cosmic war between good and evil. There have been many songs sung in praise of Freedom, and quite a few times morality was the point of discussion.

No one really came back and explained where is the good in exercising the freedom to kill half a million children of a nation over a decade of sanctions and feel morally correct about it?
The sanctions were levied by the US, the holy, on Saddam, the terrible, and unless he complied he would have to bear with the deaths of half a million children of his country on his conscience. Wonderful. So, if a man is corrupt and mistreating his family, we go in and hold his family ransom until he complies to our demands to be nice to them. And if in the process, the family has to be sacrificed, (Starved or bombed), so be it. Good needs sacrifice.

Nations cannot be attacked on the premise of good and evil, which of late has come to be the justification for ravaging Afghanistan and Iraq. The Taliban were meanies, had no respect for the rights of anybody, and oppressed their own people, and ditto for Saddam. There was no democracy in either of these countries, or for that matter in the other virtually crime free and violence free Oil rich nations of the Arabian Gulf, so that constitutes a reason for sabre rattling, (and soon enough invasion and bombing). What kind of logic is that?

If tomorrow, by some twist of fate these countries become more powerful than the US and the Britian, would they be justified in invading and bombing the latter two into oblivion because the crime rate is too high in their societies, because teen pregnancies are on the rise, because pre-marital sex is rampant in these countries, because alocohol and pork are consumed freely there? Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, so does the premise of freedom and democracy for an invasion to a people who live a peaceful life in the GCC countries, without fear of crime or what is moral degradation to them.

Let the Americans put themselves in our shoes and think – what if a bully came along and dictated his way of life to them. How would they feel living under the threat of invasions, and daisy cutters???

Estes, you have these mysterious people you work with, who give you access to sensitive inside information. You will not buy into credible and specific evidence provided to you because of your own biases, why should your unnamed “sources” be more acceptable?

These are just thoughts that had accumulated as I read through the exchanges. I realize they must sound incoherent. But the facts that led to these thoughts were facts, everyone’s facts. (Didn’t Faramin say this somewhere, something about one’s right to one’s own opinion but not one’s own facts). I hope we can pay more attention to facts as they are, and not put a spin on them. The fact is that millions of people are dead, because of the decisions US governments took on their behalf – hundreds of thousands of children were maimed, starved, bombed and murdered because they had to be “liberated”.

Hundreds die everyday.

Just found something else very funny… The US forces are invading Iraq, and the Iraqis fighting them are called rebels/militants. Why can’t they just be Iraqis, who do not want the US forces on their land? And why can’t the US forces be the enemy? The occupying oppressing force? The Abu Gharib-imprisoning-dogs-unleashing torturers?

Regards to all.

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