Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Dictator Created

then destroyed by America, writes Robert Fisk in the Independent:
Saddam to the gallows. It was an easy equation. Who could be more deserving of that last walk to the scaffold - that crack of the neck at the end of a rope - than the Beast of Baghdad, the Hitler of the Tigris, the man who murdered untold hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis while spraying chemical weapons over his enemies? Our masters will tell us in a few hours that it is a "great day" for Iraqis and will hope that the Muslim world will forget that his death sentence was signed - by the Iraqi "government", but on behalf of the Americans - on the very eve of the Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the moment of greatest forgiveness in the Arab world.

But history will record that the Arabs and other Muslims and, indeed, many millions in the West, will ask another question this weekend, a question that will not be posed in other Western newspapers because it is not the narrative laid down for us by our presidents and prime ministers - what about the other guilty men?

No, Tony Blair is not Saddam. We don't gas our enemies. George W Bush is not Saddam. He didn't invade Iran or Kuwait. He only invaded Iraq. But hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead - and thousands of Western troops are dead - because Messrs Bush and Blair and the Spanish Prime Minister and the Italian Prime Minister and the Australian Prime Minister went to war in 2003 on a potage of lies and mendacity and, given the weapons we used, with great brutality.

In the aftermath of the international crimes against humanity of 2001 we have tortured, we have murdered, we have brutalised and killed the innocent - we have even added our shame at Abu Ghraib to Saddam's shame at Abu Ghraib - and yet we are supposed to forget these terrible crimes as we applaud the swinging corpse of the dictator we created.
Riverbend reflected on the issue prior to the execution:
Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam's execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst.

This is because now, Saddam no longer represents himself or his regime. Through the constant insistence of American war propaganda, Saddam is now representative of all Sunni Arabs (never mind most of his government were Shia). The Americans, through their speeches and news articles and Iraqi Puppets, have made it very clear that they consider him to personify Sunni Arab resistance to the occupation. Basically, with this execution, what the Americans are saying is "Look- Sunni Arabs- this is your man, we all know this. We're hanging him- he symbolizes you." And make no mistake about it, this trial and verdict and execution are 100% American. Some of the actors were Iraqi enough, but the production, direction and montage was pure Hollywood (though low-budget, if you ask me).
I ask, when will we execute those other war criminals who were chaperoning Saddam Hussein when he was committing his worst crimes? You know, those who walk around in suits and ties and throw words like "freedom" and "civilization" into the faces of poor people while shooting them down!?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Defining/Defiling America for European Past

Hat tip to Vote in their poll whether Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim convert, should be allowed to hold the Qur'an in the swear-in ceremony. As you might expect, this has caused immense outrage among talk-show hosts (can't tell the difference between conservative and liberal these days) and fellow Congressmen. We had just got over Dennis Prager's preposterous comments that make a subtle comparison between the Qur'an and "Hitler's Mein Kampf". Now we have Virgil Goode, another ignoramus, attacking Mr Keith Ellison:
Goode wrote that to "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States," an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid "many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran."
CNN reports that Mr Keith Ellison replied that Mr Virgil Goode "would be wise to learn more about Islam". Quite true. But I don't want to just leave you with updates (with which you might already be familiar). What I found common in the comments of both these critics is the trumpeting of what America means: stuff like "American civilization" and "America's culture" and "what America decides". Well, I'm going to take these two at their own game.

1. The Native American culture is the true representation of the US and if we're going to have a single book or text, it is the Native American text people should be holding. David Rovics recently wrote on how "the Arizona Snowbowl Corporation is making plans to build a 14-mile pipeline from the city of Flagstaff to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. They want to expand a ski resort there, and make snow out of the wastewater. These mountains are sacred to 13 different local tribes..." No outrage against sacrilege there.

2. Christians in the US are no more "Americans" than Muslims, chiefly people of African origin. The European origin is simply an equivalent of the African origin unless one subscribes to the theory of the master race. Hence, Mr Ellison is as much as an American with Islam as his religion as the Christian Virgil Goode.

3. Do the American Christian people, the majority, value a Muslim who sincerely takes oath on his religious book and means what he says on committment or a Muslim who for-the-sake-of-it swears on the Bible and makes proclamations which he may carry out but not be committed to?

Conclusion: People like Virgil Goode and Dennis Prager need to read their history. They could start with Alex Haley's Roots and Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The bottomline is that the days of the plantation owners and aristocrats and British imperialism in the Americas are long over.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Freedom of Speech in Iran

One of my favourite blogs, Austrolabe, which I urge everyone to bookmark, has an excellent dissection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust Denial Conference by the writer Amir. The first paragraph is especially telling on what it was all about:

The conference of ex-KKK leaders, trucker’s daughters, contrarian Jews, and innocent Canadian professors with tendencies towards career self-harm recently convened by the Iranian state to “discuss” the supposedly fake Holocaust has been cast by some as striking a blow for “freedom of speech”. (Of course, people promising dissenting views were banned from attending; even Iranian understandings of free speech have their limits).

Later, in the almost surgical procedure, Amir lists a couple of bullet points with explanatory quotes on the habits of Iran pertaining to freedom of speech: "good old fashioned censorship of books", "arrest journalists for criticising the state", "shut down newspapers that criticise the State", "ban students from attending university because they are 'outspoken'”, "blocked the New York Times internet site, Youtube and even Wikipedia" etc. etc.

In short, a mild totalitarian state (but don't jump up and down, George Bush -- this doesn't give you the right to "bring them freedom" as you're fit for the shackles of the Hague, and the Iranian people can manage without your cluster bombs and genocidal sanctions and they've recently shown Ahmadinejad that they dislike blusterers).

I recommend everyone read Does Iran support freedom of speech? in its entirety on the Austrolabe site. This Holocaust Denial Conference in my view is deeply abusive and disparaging to the Jewish minority in Iran who have one seat in the Majlis, and they might feel how Danish Muslims felt when the Flemming Rose attacked them with racism and Orientalism. Any centre which takes potshots at the minorities or slanders another people in the name of virtue and freedom proves nothing but that it is so fattened with all the power and authority that it can't even move to the window to see the Face of Freedom.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fighting Bernard Lewis's Liberty

I've had this on my radar screen for quite a while, but for several reasons: naturally lazy, hesitance on not having widely read Lewis and busy with other stuff, I couldn't write a critique on this intellectual aspersion of scholarship. Rather than go about doing all that, I'll leave you to make your own conclusions. I have now read some of Lewis's writings, but there is not even a mild requirement to equip oneself to tear down Lewis's mask and examine his words in this case, words that haven't been cloaked in subtlety. Instead Lewis makes no bones of the fact that now at over ninety, he can say whatever's on his mind without hints or queues. That's what you do when you're caught several times. I'll just give you Islamophobia Watcher's brief background into Lewis's train of thought. To learn more about the Orientalist, visit the Wikipedia page.

Whether he is asking What Went Wrong? or pontificating on The Crisis of Islam and The Roots of Muslim Rage, it’s all the same – the failure of what Lewis calls "Islam" to acknowledge the success and brilliance of "our Judeo-Christian heritage". The pioneer of the Hitlerian science of the clash of civilizations, much of the world torn by imperialist war and strife, owes its tragedies indirectly to Lewis and the other government-appointed or patronized heirs to the growing international class system of intellectuals like Fouad Ajmi, the proponents of sadistic war and imperialism. It doesn’t surprise some of us that his most faithful disciples are all rabid Zionists.

As he is nearing a century in years, the poison that at times spurted on to the shores is now a routine manifestation. Edward Said once noted that Lewis's "truth" came out when he was on television, but I see that it has also crept into his writings, not that it was "pure" by any chance erstwhile.

Whether he is telling Dick Cheney that the only way to discipline an Arab is to hit him with a big stick right between the eyes or promoting imperialism in Muslim countries as he did for Iraq, the mask of scholarship peels off all of a sudden. After unsuccessfully predicting that Iran would attack Israel on August 22 what Juan Cole called “Lewis’s weird interpretation of his millenarian beliefs”, it turns out Lewis had done a crazy striking earlier on July 16th, in a lecture aboard a cruise ship in the British Isles, what a place for another Lewis prophecy indeed:

Bring Them Freedom, Or They Destroy Us

I won't waste any time dwelling on the points Lewis makes here. You may understand them as bloated versions of the title itself. In my next article, I'll dissect another Neanderthal Orientalist, Daniel Pipes, who has been missing from this blog for a while, on his perspective on Lewis's dangerous trumpery. Well, not for long insha'Allah.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I noticed a few typos in my last post. I must have been in a bit of a hurry. Sorry about that. I'll try to be more careful. I'm serious about spelling and grammar :).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kudos to the Indian Prime-Minister

Hat-tip to an Indian Muslim reader of this blog for pointing out this very interesting news in my email.

Side-note: Apologies to those readers who feel that the Islamophobia prevalent in their countries has not been represented here. This blog aims to be universal in its application without any partisanship, and not centre around a particular country. Feel free to write to me if there is any such development in your community or society. It is a fact that Muslim minorities are facing a daily struggle from China to America. It has also come to shore that pious Muslims are persecuted in the so-called Muslim countries like Uzbekistan and last I read, Egypt was demanding that girls remove their veils in some college if I'm not mistaken. One of the things I had in mind when I ran this blog was to record the experiences of Muslims everywhere. I acknowledge that I have also failed to deliver on another aspect: hypocrisy, which has a firm foot-hold in some Muslim circles. Hence, if Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden think that they should be the next Caliphs, Islamophobia Watcher thinks they should cool it and the Muslim community is in no need of thugs. Believe me, that's the last thing we need -- a band of deranged killers who hide in caves and torture women and children. Muslims have made it clear we don't support lunatics and terrorists who have played a big role in the suffering of innocent people.

Now turning to the news:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the ‘first claim’ on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.

"We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources," he said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in New Delhi.

The Centre's resources, he added, will be stretched with greater responsibility given to states in this regard.

"The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within its overall resource availability," he said.
Cheers to the Indian prime-minister, Manmohan Singh, for this mammoth attempt at recognizing the plight of Muslims and other minorities in his country. This, however, has annoyed the fascists in India, who last we knew were slaughtering thousands of Muslims in a a state called Gujarat:

The RSS and the BJP flayed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remarks that plans for minorities, Muslims in particular, must have the first claim on resources.

"This is precisely the language used by Mohammad Ali Jinnah before the partition," RSS leader Ram Madhav said.

I also found a 1998 article on a Socialist website, during my research on these groups, that one of the persons they admire is Hitler:

While Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee and Home Minister L.K. Advani of the BJP refrain from praising Hitler--unlike their ally, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thakeray--they do insist that India's 120 million Muslims must "nationalize" themselves.

Good riddance that the fascists are out of power, dethroned and howling bad.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CIA's Torture Program

This news is about a week old, but a rare victory for Muslims and other people who care for equality in the United States though no amount of apology, monetary or other, can compensate for the destruction of lives of ordinary people. Another individual worthy of mention is the Canadian Muslim Maher Arar, winner of the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, who was abducted by U.S. officials at Kennedy airport in New York in 2002, and then transported to a prison in Syria where he was confined for more than 10 months in a cell that looked like a grave. He was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession about having ties to Al Qaeda.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $2 million and issue a written apology to a Muslim attorney in Oregon who was jailed two years ago after the FBI mistakenly linked him to the Madrid train bombings. Brandon Mayfield sued the FBI alleging that his civil rights had been violated and that he was arrested in part because he is a Muslim convert.

Another good news is that Ireland has decided to ban what she calls CIA's "Guantanamo Express". Proinsias De Rossa, Dublin MEP and a member of the committee, talks of 147 suspect flights having moved through Ireland.

Click here to read more about CIA's torture program. I also recommend this article which shows the participation of the Boeing Jet in these inhumane programs. You might already be aware that any non-US citizen can be legally kidnapped anywhere in the world, detained indefinitely without trial, and tortured, according to the US Congress. Welome to fascism. It's staring you right in the face and it's not "Islamo-fascism".