Monday, March 26, 2007

Impact of Globalisation on Indonesia

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country on earth, but what you mayn't know is the sixty million of its population is extremely poor. I have yet to hear the exclamations of Arab and Muslim leaders that followed the Danish cartoon controversy, against the sordid, miserable working conditions of Indonesians, mostly sweatshop labour. Apart from the racism spewed by Western corporations, there is racism from Muslims themselves -- in their absolute silence over the fate of these people. While we rage about Palestinians in political apartheid, we mustn't overlook Indonesians in economic apartheid. Tiger Woods is paid more money for promoting Nike than almost the entire workforce actually making Nike in Indonesia, John Pilger informs us. Mostly women have to work in 40 degrees heat under poor light for the entire day. They are only paid seventy-two pence a day. Imagine the world we live in. World Bank, IMF and other corporate, Cold War vulture institutions are draining the very blood and spirit out of these sixty million people. Say no to Globalisation! Say yes to humanity! Say yes to One Ummah! Say yes to One World for all, Muslims and non-Muslims, without borders!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Road to Peace

The following is a romanticized reproduction of my comment on Framing Conflict, a blog that impartially examines both sides in the conflict:

The road to peace can be obtained through the settlement of human affairs. The number one problem we face is "selective codemnation".

[In an earlier post, I talked about how 9/11 2001 was an act of terrorism from more than the American perspective which by its method and barbarity climbed to the scales of an international crime against humanity].

Yet, any effort to replace Anno Domini (A.D.) in the Christian calendar with 9/11 or a post-9/11 world is severely unfair and ahistorical and racist. An actual effort must be made to acknowledge the suffering of Iraqis at the hands of...[wait for it] the war-mongering, mass-murdering and oil-for-blood-scavenging-capitalist government of the United States. Lancet, a British medical journal, notes that about 6, 50, 000 Iraqis have died as a result of the illegal invasion. Quoting Iraqi body count is total nonsense [read Riverbend's response to this]. You can say that again. You can bet many Americans have died without an invasion, of natural death, in the last four years. In fact, figures in some countries is even higher thatn 30, 000 or 40, 000 without an invasion. Shame on those who have so little regard for humanity and laughingly mock numbers, each one that breathed life like them. For more on what I'm talking about and the Lancet methodology, here's an excerpt from an interview with Les Roberts, co-author of the Medical Study, on Democracy Now! You can even look at another one.

You know, I don't want to sort of stoop to that level and start saying general slurs, but I just want to say that what we did, this cluster survey approach, is the standard way of measuring mortality in very poor countries where the government isn’t very functional or in times of war. And when UNICEF goes out and measures mortality in any developing country, this is what they do. When the U.S. government went at the end of the war in Kosovo or went at the end of the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. government measured the death rate, this is how they did it. And most ironically, the U.S. government has been spending millions of dollars per year, through something called the Smart Initiative, to train NGOs and UN workers to do cluster surveys to measure mortality in times of wars and disasters.

But I guess it's useless to cast pearls before swines who have the temerity to deny the suffering of Iraqis while they laugh and sing. As to Iraqi Body Count, here's Riverbend, an Iraqi woman who is living the occupation unlike the Holocaust deniers, right on queue:

The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened. Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).

For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that's about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers.

There has been ample proof that this war waged by Herr Bush and his fascist minions has been a war against mainly children who had done no harm to any soul in the "free world". These kids had dreams like those of children around the world.

There have been several insensitive responses to the tragedy in Iraq. Some of them have been to minimize the death toll to "thirty thousand more or less" in the words of George Bush himself. Imagine him saying that the number of dead on 9/11 were three thousand more or less. Imagine the outrage, not just in America, but across the world. But as the victims of the Iraq war aren't white or Christian, they become as wasted as the air. They are everywhere but there's no use counting people who are cheap compared to the master race and lovers of democracy, whatever that means.

Another attempt has been to say "Iraqis hate each other" with a deeply sardonic tone. Forget religious folks. This abomination is time and again repeated by self-proclaimed atheists who are undoubtedly anti-Muslim bigots who were supposedly so affected on 9/11 that they forgot human decency altogether.

"Iraqis don't deserve our help" or "they only understand the tribe" is the third form of intellectual camouflage expressed by both Democrats and Republicans. A similar attempt was made by Fanciscan priests to dehumanize the Aztecs when the conquistadors openly slaughtered and hacked and killed and pillaged Tenochtitlan and its people and its neighbours and labelled the indigenous peoples as "barbarians". It isn't difficult to guess who the real barbarians were. Hernando Cortez, the killer of Native Americans, even said that the Spanish conquerors were greedy for gold and riches. Dick Cheney has already honoured us with such impious exclamations.

Hence, the road to peace is for the world to empathize with the people of Iraq just like they did with the innocent victims of 9/11. The road to peace is for victim to stand shoulder to shoulder with others. The road to peace is to tell it like it is. The road to peace is to grieve for all sorts of blood, whether they be American or Iraqi. It is only by acknowledging the suffering of others instead of using disgusting slurs that the people will come together and know that WE care!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kafir Watch?

Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch must be hooting with joy at some of the Muslim website names. In fact, when I googled 'kafir watch', the first result was from Jihad Watch titled Islamist Barbarism and the Western Media. I didn't click on it, so it may well have been noted in the comment section; and the comment section of Jihad Watch is polluted by racists and hate-mongers in a similar vein as the great bigot Robert Spencer himself. Speaking of media, check out Framing Conflict's Media Tenor Releases Report Comparing Al Jazeera, European, and American Television News Content: Must Read!

Al Jazeera is considerably doing a better job than Western news channels as I always suspected though I have never watched it. I remember in the media class, I was shaken when a girl got up and said that news in the West was 'balanced' because 'we love freedom' or 'we are free', and the tutor agreed. That is not quite the case as we know. As the great journalist Amirah Hass wrote:

Journalists are not neutral, cannot be ‘objective’...The more closely I came to know Palestinians (and Israeli occupation methods)… the less and less neutral I could be.

In an interview with Robert Fisk, she said:

There is a misconception that journalists can be objective. Palestinians tell me I'm objective. I think this is important because I'm an Israeli. But being fair and being objective are not the same thing. What journalism is really about – it's to monitor power and the centers of power.

In my view, this is the truth. Journalists either work for the people or the common man or the rulers. They DO have a moral obligation toward the victims and the oppressed. Not reporting on the real issues faced by the downtrodden does not make them 'free people', however much they may invoke the Enlightenment period which as the Muslim commentator Amir Butler pointed out was a result of conflicts within Europe and its religions. Muslims, on the other hand, have no need of an Enlightnment. No thank-you, Mr Tariq Ali. You may continue to rail against the capitalists who hover around the other end of your system and preach to Muslims and the capitalists may continue to dominate and slaughter Muslims outside the system. Yes, I think we Muslims have a lot to do. We have a lot to work on. We have a lot to think. We have a lot to study. We have a lot to introspect about. But no, we won't be like you. We won't talk about socialism and honour Fidel Castro who definitely has several millions in his back account. Islam has always been a religion that preaches egalitarianism, and it doesn't need the broken pieces of Enlgihtenment or Marx. We are a religion of One God and truth and charity and science. And we did it all without your Enlightenment.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq"

A must watch video which will certainly give you a background into the conflict with Iraq. This is by the great film-maker John Pilger.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

US Soldiers Behaving Like Terrorists

Tony Jones talks to US soldier about Iraq war publication

US Soldier Joshua Key has told Tony Jones about his new book, which concludes that American soldiers were behaving like terrorists in the Iraq war, as a result of their training.

One example:

You know of course they were never called Iraqis or Muslims, they were always used in derogatory terms as hajis, habibs and so on. I would say it was definitely a form of dehumanising. I mean, if you see something - that effect all the time - they were never referred to as civilians or Iraqis or Muslims.
Another example:

When I got out of the back of my truck I heard one American soldier screaming that we had lost it. I mean, I looked to the other side and I seen American soldiers kicking the head around like a soccer ball. I got back inside of my APC, which is an armoured personnel carrier, said I wouldn't have no involvement.
May God bless the courage of Joshua Key, the Hugh Thompson of the Iraq War.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Segal's Anti-Palestinian Polemics

Hat tip to one of my friends for letting me know. When we were having a conversation, he said: “I have found Segal’s The Class to contain some Zionist propaganda.” [Note: Zionism is a racist secular ideology which has nothing to do with Judaism as a religion, but Israeli apologists argue that the criticism of Israel and its apartheid and its Zionism is anti-Semitic. Some people may indeed use it in an anti-Semitic way, just like you can use an empty bottle of soft-drink to store water. Israeli apologists and their fellow supporters of ethnic cleansing and apartheid ought to know better.]

You may have heard of Erich Segal, author of several books on how shall I put it... ‘love’, as I’m choosing the word right out of his titles. But skimming through The Class, I agreed with my friend. I didn’t have time to read the whole book or anything, but I am quoting all the instances of lies and polemics directed against the Palestinians:

"I don't know all the details," he stammered. "Eva just called and said that there was a terrorist attack. Their kibbutz is very close to the border. Apparently some Arabs crossed over in the night and threw hand grenades into the children's dormitory. Fanny was seeing to a sick little girl and-" He broke down and sobbed.

At first Jason was numb. "I can't believe it," he murmured to himself. "I just can't believe this is really happening."
I had to find out about this Fanny character, so I turned back the pages. In brief, Fanny and Jason fall in love and to get Jason into a hate mentality and Zionist trapdoor, Segal the author kills off Fanny and blames it on an ‘Arab’. The above extract is a perfect example of how some writers in works of literature highlight compassion for themselves and disgust for others even though their enemies are the real victims. Quite an angst writer, this Segal, but that’s not all as he uses angst to dehumanize Palestinians. First of all, it’s in his language where he doesn’t say 'Palestinians' but ‘Arabs’ whenever he’s mentioning Palestinians which is a clever attempt really to say there are no Palestinians and these so-called Palestinians are basically Arabs, a very broad term to divest them from any right to their homeland. And as you may know from Fox evening news, all Arabs are terrorists and all Israelis are lovers of freedom etc. etc. Believe it or not, race plays a big part in this. One of the characteristics of Zionist propaganda is to say that all Palestinians are Jordanians or they aren’t a people at all! Now I’ll quote the next one:
"I don't care what his reasons are," Yossi retorted defensively. "Besides, doesn't the Bible allow us an eye for an eye?"

"That's primitive and you know it," Eva countered. "It's a metaphor, not to be taken literally."

"The Arabs take it literally," Yossi interposed.

"Hey, let's cut the polemics. Do I have your blessings to enlist or not?" Jason asked.
Is Segal talking to himself or what? He is the one who should be cutting out the polemics. He is putting his thoughts into a character’s mouth and asking him to quit it in hopes of sounding an arbitrary to his na├»ve teary readers after indoctrinating them with lies.

Israel was now confronted by over a quarter of a million troops, two thousand tanks, and seven hundred aircraft. The country was menaced on three borders. Its fourth frontier was the sea. And that was where the Arabs intended to drive them.
This is terrible shorthand by Segal, and quite amusing to those of us who study history which honours Palestinians in their dignity and right to self-determination, which Segal doesn’t mean to grant them. He had to fall into his own trap yet again. The following is the original statement uttered not by any bloodthirsty Arabs as Segal makes them out to be but Yitzhak Rabin, a former Israeli Prime Minister in 1992: "I would like Gaza to sink into the sea."

Even as he spoke, the shell shocked and defeated Arabs were planning a new kind of war against their enemy. A campaign of terror and sabotage. They created the PLO, whose stated aim was the "national liberation" of the people who had never been a nation.
Guess what? The Palestinians or as Segal says the “defeated Arabs” had “never been a people”. Of course, there is a grain of truth in that. The Palestinians have never been a people because Israel never saw them as one. I mean, you would need to dehumanize people if you, Mr Segal, don’t see them as people. They weren’t seen as people at all. Not when they were driven out of their homes, ethnically cleansed in some parts of their homeland, driven into a thin stretch of land called the Gaza which Yitzhak Rabin wished would sink into the sea. Your police state shelled them, bulldozed their homes, drained their economy in exile even, settlers from America and Russia and other parts of the world (just like your lionized character Jason) continue to come into Israel and that means one less home for one poor Palestinian, and they’re further pushed ‘into the sea’. Israel builds a large apartheid wall so the cries of the oppressed cannot reach the world. Journalists are supposed to be pro-Israel or they get fired for alleged anti-Semitism and the apartheid wall becomes a fence. Compassion and reason not being on your side, what will you do? Like other defenders of Israel, you’ll resort to lies. I’m not surprised by such absolute ahistorical gibberish. I would suggest to my readers to not buy any books of this prevaricator, borrow one from a library if you must.

I have read some complaints about the works of Leon Uris, too. I'll insha'Allah take up these Orientalists and history revisionists one by one. These writers must feel very miserable defending an apartheid country like Israel.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Scapegoating Sufism

I have put the word Sufism within single inverted commas in my last post because I don't want to insinuate that it is really Sufism. It is clearly not. In a similar vein, the actions of some Salafis aren't respresntive of all Salafis. We must be careful not to scapegoat Sufism or its followers. Some of the finest Muslim bloggers are students of the science of Sufism, and over time I have learned of some great Muslim bloggers who are Salafis or even those like me who simply refer to themselves as Muslims and haven't a clue otherwise :). Let us fight for each other, because that's the best way to unite in peace.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Coming Soon!

'Sufism' and US Foreign Policy

We'll talk about Bernard Lewis, 'Sheikh' Kabbani and the legacy of Richard Nixon, just another American president who committed war crimes (though we won't talk about war) -- they're all in the pigsty together, you see. This will be unlike anything you've read on this matter, I assure you. It isn't as recent a problem as it seems.

Prince Harry in Iraq

Via between two rivers (no pun intended):

To be deployed in Basra, the party loving Prince is reportedly 'over the moon' and 'thrilled'. He has apparently undergone a course in cultural awareness and customs (presumably including kicking down doors at 3 a.m., hurling families from their beds and dragging kids into barracks and beating them up, with the odd bit of torture thrown in.)

'Cornet Wales', is his official army title, equal to a Second Lieutenant (a cornet is a conical wafer filled with ice cream, which drips copiously unless eaten with speed) said, of his determination to deploy, rather than be grounded at home for safety reasons: 'There's no way I'm going to sit on my arse while my boys are fighting.'
Well, let's hope he doesn't don that, pixie cap in Iraq.