Entries Tagged 'jihad' ↓

CJ Resotred

Time to sleep now.

Never would I have thought that this Long March would succeed. Not ever. It’s brilliant. Like a lot of people, I’m not totally trusting of this restoration plan, because it does not immediately go into effect. But as it stands now, it’s brilliant.

Gillani came on TV at 5:45 am to say that PPP is keeping its promises, as it always intended. Whatever. It doesn’t matter, the lies, right now. I’m just completely thrilled. Let’s hope it sticks.

It’s not fashionable in lefty circles (where I seem to belong) to have an attachment to national flags or anthems. And to be honest, I don’t usually.

But as the national anthem played before the Prime Minister’s speech, I followed along with the words, which I haven’t heard in a long time. And I got snagged at these:

مرکزِ یقین شاد باد

Markaz-e-yaqeen shaad baad

May the centre of your faith stay alive.

Three days ago I sat with my mom and Sarah and pontificated at length about the pointlessness of this long march and the way in which the lawyer’s movement has been reduced to merely symbolic actions. I am happily eating my words.

The centre of my belief is strong again. Things happen. Someone asked me on chat if I thought it was the Americans who caused this or Kayani, the Chief of Army Staff. And I expressed a shrug but the truth is, no power broker would have cared people hadn’t, for the past 4 days, been on this long march, facing riot police, braving tear gas and coming out in droves. If the final nail in the coffin of Zardari’s current bout of authoritarianism was a phone call from somebody powerful, that’s okay. They only stated the obvious – that your’e screwed if you stick with this plan.

And so it goes. It has been said again and again over the past two years that the Chief is no saint. But that statement, bandied about as if it should mean something, is based on the notion that the symbol of the movement should be above reproach. We should be able to, in time, call them Hazrat Chief Justice. Well, it’s okay. We don’t have to like the guy much. At some point, for reasons that were part personal gain and part opportunity to finally act in favour of the nation, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry exercised his powers as an independent arm of the triumverate democractic system. Masses of people supported him. That’s the reality. He’s no saint. But by God he’ll be independent. And that’s a step in the right direction.

16 March 2009 is a good day. Let the core of your belief that things can change have its day.

Long March

I’ve written a sort of eye-witness plus hopefulness account at Global Comment. Have a look:

This morning at the Lahore High Court, things looked bleak. There were maybe two hundred people in the entire complex by 11 a.m. Getting to the High Court itself was like playing a game of PacMan – constant blocks, looming riot police, retracing of steps to get as close as possible to the complex. Inside, it seemed that this thing wasn’t going to take off. One rally was stuck in Model Town with Nawaz Sharif. A hundred people were stuck a block away from the court, getting beaten up by the police.

Then they started coming. Lawyers began filtering in from all across the barricaded city; followed by the first batch of protesters from around the block; then the Student Action Committee; the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan; the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, an Islamic political party; the Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Imran Khan’s party. By 12:30 pm, the premises were filling up and the square in front of the High Court gates was teeming with people shouting slogans and waving flags.

Read the rest of this article.

Oprah, Diddy and Other Goodies at GC

I haven’t written here much lately because I haven’t got much to say these days. The stuff I do have to say I send off to GlobalComment or other such fun places what pay me. So I thought that, in addition to some shameless self-promotion that I’m about to do, I should also promote some other good stuff I’ve been reading. To wit, Joe Sapien’s take on Diddy as the next Bond. We take a break from his usual sarcastic tone to sample some flabbergasted outrage and the foolishness that is Diddy. In addition, there’s a good assessment of Obama’s Change.gov blog thing by Sarah Jaffe that you should take a look at. The piéce de resistance, though, is Renee Martin’s take on the fatness of Oprah and how we should shame her for being ashamed of it (my interpretation – not what she actually actually said) rather than point fingers at her for being fat in the first place. (In fact, she didn’t say at all that we should shame Oprah – I just think that Oprah should be ashamed of her shame. All that wealth, accomplishment and power and her weighing scale can break her heart? Pff. Stupid world.)

And I wrote about Mumbai because I do that kinda thing. This is the part where I’m shamelessly self-promoting, btw.

That’s all, folks.

Obama and the Death of Racism

About a month ago, maybe more, I toyed with the idea of not voting because the US incursions on Pakistani soil, unilateral and unwarranted, killing Pakistanis indiscriminately in the name of the war on terror, made me angry. And I remembered how, over a year ago, Obama had said that he would support unilateral action in Pakistan if they had actionable intelligence Osama bin Laden, may God curse his name, was there. My logic was that it doesn’t matter who gets elected: they’re both going to bomb my country.

I suggested this to my (very white) mom and she sent me a terse reply: “A single issue voter is no voter at all.” And I was ashamed. And I requested my absentee ballot.

In 2004, I was in Seattle and my father asked me on the phone, “Are you voting?” I said I was. He said, “Vote well. You’re voting for all of us.” Too bad my vote only counter for one.

So yesterday, as Virginia was being declared for Obama, I called up my father in Islamabad and said, “Obama mubarak!” He said, “Khair mubarak!” and we marvelled at how soon it was clear. He told me what was happening on Fox News, which I have failed to find on my Lahori TV, praise be, and he said – that suddenly the Fox anchors have changed their tune. They’re speaking well of him.

By saying that, well, it’s a great day for race relations and anyway, his mother is white and she raised him; his father wasn’t even in the picture, really; and his poor grandmother than just died… My father said, “It was like they were trying scrub his colour off.”

Great day for race relations, then.

For anyone who thinks that racism is dead, take note: the first thing even father, my die-hard Pakistani father said after the “mubarak” was “I hope they don’t kill him.”

If someone so removed feels that…

from Black Amazon:

Dear God

Bless him Jehovah

Allah

Mother Earth

Yahweh

OBEAH

ANCESTORS ALL

please don’t grant us another picture.

Please not another Myrlie

Not another Coretta

not another going back till that ship on that sea woman rocking now fatherless children

Not another beautiful ” strong black woman” punished by lonliness for loving a man trying to be good. Not another group of brothers in tears kicking themselves because they FELL FOR IT THIS TIME AGAIN. That they believed that this time work would pay off.

who was responding to BFP:

don’t think that I’ve truly understood until yesterday exactly how terribly the black community has been hurt. How devastated the black community was by the violence inflicted on them. How deep the ache of murder, lynching, rape, benign neglect, and threats etched themselves into the black community.

I mean, I had known–but not really, not until last night.

What made it clear to me was not the sobbing black people the cameras kept flashing to, or the black college kids that walked so purposefully to my local voting center, or even all the former civil rights leaders that *told* us all what it meant, point blank, to have a black man as a president.

It was the way the first thing so many black folks said immediately after the announcement was–sweet Jesus, protect that man. It was the way so many black folks said that not so secret prayer, the way one friend didn’t look away from the television as she reached out almost desperately for another friend’s hand.

It was the fear of hope realized. What could ‘they’ do to the small tender bubble of hope that had exploded into reality?

Recent Writing Spree

All this is very shameless self-promotion. Recently I’ve assaulted Global Comment with my verbiage and so now I’m going to direct you to it, in the hopes that you will read, agree, adore and become a slave for my writing. Alternatively, you could leave a comment there, on the site.

First, read this about Islamabad from Art Kee Aulad.

Three years later, I guess we’re in 2008 at this point in the story, I can’t so much as drive that close to even the round about in front of the presidency. Now one just turns right or left a signal before the stretch of road where the parade “used to” happen, where there are wide steps on both sides of the road, where earlier people would come and sit in the evenings, where there is a round about that says GIVE WAY in the foreground and the presidency and the parliament house rest all white and somber and serious looking in the background. So we just turn right or left at the signal before all this and look at the barriers and the barbed wire sitting there, saying stay away, looking as ugly as they are meant to be. And I have forgotten what it was like to be able to drive to just wherever. I suppose just like the generation before us have forgotten what it felt like to have low boundary walls in their houses and gates that were open all day long.

And yesterday the Marriott was blown up. And today we’re looking at television footage and cctv footage and images of what seems like hellish scenes from some film. It’s unbelievable. Maham reminded me of when we went there last, it was to pick up sandwiches and use the loo before going for a play at the National Gallery right behind. The oldest hotel in the city, we’ve all attended numerous weddings, exhibitions, dinners, iftaris and other things there and it hit me today, the scale of what has happened there.

Here’s my take on it at GC:

Not that it mattered in the flames of that inferno, anymore, except that the guards were already dead by the time the guests started running. They were trying to put out the fire in the suicide truck. The cab exploded with a grenade; then the back of the truck caught fire and the guards rushed away, only to rush back with fire extinguishers.

And then I wrote a piece on Zardari, one on the Balochi women being buried alive and one about the American incursions into the northwest of Pakistan –  all at Global Comment.

And a poem: Two Eyes Show.

There. Now that I’ve whored all my writing, I can relax in the knowledge that you will read every word with great love and affection, and write glowing comments. Or just, you know, click the link and give me something to be happy about.

WOC PhD

I’m getting into this fabulous blog WOC PhD. That’s Woman Of Colour for you non-Amreekan types. For one thing, she featured Stacy Ann Chin in a post on Asian/APIA/Women’s History Month. I’m in love with Stacy Ann Chin. She’s one of most vibrant poets I’ve ever heard or seen. But for another thing, and that’s the real value here, these are some of the best researched and articulate articles (oh, i’m such a good writer – ‘articulate articles’ – but it’s late, okay?_ in blogland and quite possibly on the internet.

Check it out, particularly if you’re interested in race and immigration in the US.

Chay Magazine Call for Submissions

CHAY MAGAZINE
Call for submissions
(Visit http://chaymagazine.org for details)

Deadline: May 15, 2008

Having observed in Pakistani society, a disturbing tendency towards fear and shame around issues of sex and sexuality – that is to say, around a normal human interaction – the founders of Chay Magazine feel that sex and sexuality should enter the public discourse. The taboo and silence around sex and sexuality are oppressive on all of us, irrespective of gender, and lead, at the very least, to unhappiness in our daily lives and, more often, to violence, shame, depression, ill health and general social malaise. We at Chay Magazine endeavor to bring to the Pakistani reading public a place to converse about those things we are most shy of. Our hope is that, through this, we can become braver and stronger, more powerful, self-assured, and just and fair members of society.

Our focus is on Pakistani society and our themes emerge from this context. However, Pakistan is only our starting point. Chay Magazine aims to enter the fray of international feminist discourse and, as such, we invite writers of all nationalities, geographies, stripes to contribute. We are not so much interested in where you come from as in what you have to say.

For the first few issues, we have outlined some broad themes, which are listed below. While we are looking in particular for work around those themes, we are always looking ahead to later issues so, if you have some work kicking around that you’d like to submit, feel free.

Let’s Talk about Sex
o Talking about sex and sexuality – why do it, the taboos around it, the problems with it, the silences
o Sex/Gender, gender roles and gender identity
o Talking about sex and romance
o Standards of “moral” conduct relating to sex

The Politics of Sex
o Sex-positivity
o Sex and feminism in Pakistan
o The politics of shame
o Religion and sex(uality)
o Visions for a new Pakistani Feminism

Marriage
o Sex: enjoyment, coercion, guilt, force
o Sex and marriage
o Domestic violence and rape
o Virginity

Promiscuity
o Saying no and saying yes
o “Sluts” and “whores”
o Sex-work
o Religion and Sex
o Virginity
o Re-appropriating language

We are looking for

– Feature Articles 500-1000 words. These can be analysis, commentary, historical explorations or any other non-fiction on the theme of the issue.
– Poetry and Fiction. There is no real restriction on the subject of the poem or story. If it gives a nod in the direction of the theme, we’re happy. Please send no more than 3 poems or fiction pieces in the vicinity of 1000 words.
– Artwork. Again, there is no particular restriction on artwork. If there is particular work you are interested in submitting, please email in with a query.
– Translations. We accept original translations of thematically relevant works in any genre, from any language.

Send queries and submissions to: chaymagazine AT gmail DOT com . Please attach .rtf or .doc files (we cannot accept .docx files), .jpg or .pdf for images. Please send in a small bio along with your submission as well.

We are an utterly non-profit, non-commercial, money-less concern; therefore we cannot offer any compensation to our writers. In time, we hope to become rich, famous and commercial, at which point we hope to offer you pots of money.

Sincerely,
Kyla Pasha and Sarah Suhail
Co-executive editors, Chay Magazine

آج کے ارمان

Martin Luther King Jr.: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

Super Genius

Turns out that the Afghani Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban are not in fact the same Taliban. One has expressed a separation and distinction from the other, according to the BBC. Well, blow me down with, you know, a bull dozer because gosh, no one saw that coming.

Much as I think Imran Khan is a bit of a dope, he made a good point at LUMS when he was speaking on the night of the “Emergency” declaration (3/11/07). He said that the tribes there are a) not used to being governed by anything they consider a foreign power and will not welcome it, and b)  there’s a difference between the various extremists movements in Afghanistan, Waziristan, Swat etc. “Our” ones have more to do with the Musharraf regime than directly with wanting Shariah as the law, although that’s now a central point of the platform.

Meanwhile, Iran put Bahais in jail for propaganda and proselytizing, and is apparently fond of killing people.

Regarding Muslims

I haven’t been able to check email regularly since I got to Seattle because I don’t have internet at home yet. Hopefully I’ll have it soon. So right now, I’m sitting at a lovely diner-cum-coffee shop in ravenna and catching up on things.

DA made this point after the assassination of Benazir: in short, that Muslims need to stop killing Muslims. Go read the whole thing because he writes well and lacks bullshit, and because he’s right.

Then Kameelah made a comment that linked to a set of article that I think are important. Particularly interesting are Ihsan and MuslimMatters.

Yesterday, I looked at the pictures of the Lahore High Court bombing that came before a lawyers’ rally and killed some 60 people, mostly policemen. The pictures are terrible. The streets are lined with bodies. This bombing, for those of you who don’t know, was 2 days ago, January 10, 2008.

And it’s Muharram. Ashura is upon us and it commemorates fitna. Fitna, though you can follow the link to wikipedia, which does a fine job, is when Muslims kill other Muslims for the sake of power, or under the impression that they are right and other Muslims are wrong, or under the impression that they are real Muslims and other Muslims are not.

Every Ashura, someone finds a Shi’a mosque and opens fire at Zuhr prayer time, or walks in and blows himself up. Every Ashura. It’s practically tradition now. It’s because some Sunnis, in the words of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (who do not get linked in any fashion), believe the Shi’a to follow the Imams of Kufr. Kufr is an all-encompassing word meaning anything from unbelief to disobedience, and a kafir is considered outside the fold of Islam.

(A random aside: I think it’s because I’m in the States that I suddenly feel the need to explain very basic terms. Go figure.)

A kafir is outside the fold of Islam. What has happened to Muslims that we go about looking for kafirs the way Bush and Musharraf are looking for terrorists? What motivates this made search for, identification of and then assault on “kafirs”? How is the world served by killing people? I just have no comprehension. I don’t even have a notion. I can usually empathize enough with some vision I oppose that I can get into it, see where they’re coming from. I just don’t see where these folks are coming from. It’s not that I’ve never had the urge to hit someone or wished someone disappeared off the face of the earth; I just can’t see making a life’s work out of it.

Tangentially: I had Shabbat dinner at Joel’s last night.  I had Shabbat dinner last week too, but last week there were some people who were either not Jews or Jews who were non-practicing to the point of not knowing what was going on. This week was a smaller dinner and everyone around me was Jewish in every way. They sang Shalom Aleichem in three separate tunes. Then they sang Eshat Chayal, which is a song in praise of homemakers, particularly the makers of the home where the dinner is being had. After dinner, there was more noisy singing and banging on tables.

And my thought was, you know, Muslims have no joy.  It’s something I notice about Christians too, in some way, whenever I go to church for Christmas with my family (which I haven’t done in a long time). Puritan values do not encourage joy. We do not enjoy anything about our religion. The things we do enjoy, in Pakistan anyway we completely blast the joy as “culture” or worse, “Hindu practice”. So nothing fun is associated with Islam. If we sing at milads or whatever, we consider that bid’a, innovation, because we’re not sure if music is allowed in Islam. If we see Sufis dancing, we think that that is most certainly forbidden because, well, dancing leads to sex. And sex is terrible.

I’ve never had a desire to  be a Jew because, well, I’m not one. If the logic of that escapes you, I take the blame but will fail to explain further.

But the perpetual terror and paranoia in which Muslims live with their religion – that at any moment they are going to fuck something up and God, being irrational and weird (n’auzubillah), is going to smite them by overturning a mountain or sending a plague of locusts or poisoning the wells or something. It makes Muslims a constipated, slightly hysterical people who are painful company.

So yeah, maybe I get why people run out and kill other people, or themselves. If you do not release your sphincter at some point, life ain’t worth living and might as well take a few other motherfuckers with you.  They probably get more than their share of good shits.

I’m just sayin.

استغفراللہ

I’ve been trying to figure out what I think about Benazir Bhutto’s death. I woke up in Austin, TX, to this news and it’s almost all I’ve been doing. “Doing” what, I’m not sure. Just watching and reading the news, I suppose. I really wish I was home.

All I have is a couple of unconnected observations:

  • I have no idea what “the terrorists” would gain from the death of Benazir. I don’t think it was any kind of religion-based concern that killed her.
  • On the other hand, if it was a suicide attack, I don’t know how a non-religious concern recruits someone to kill themselves for a non-religious cause.
  • Related to all this, does anyone know if the suicide bomber of Benazir’s Karachi welcome was ever identified?
  • Mariam pointed out that Benazir was Musharraf best bet, so the idea that he would have engineered this is perhaps something that should be considered with a grain or two of salt.
  • On yet another hand, Benazir goes, elections are stopped, Musharraf declares emergency/martial law again and he doesn’t have to pretend to respect the constitution or do anything for democracy in the country.
  • Any non-Musharraf military motivation is absolutely beyond me to speculate on. I have absolutely no idea about Kiyani doing anything with a different agenda than Musharraf’s. Anyone with insigh, please help me out.

One thing is absolutely undeniable: Killing Pakistanis is not something that anyone has a problem with. Not the military, not the political parties, not various religious concerns. No one. We always complain that American military policy is premised on the notion that an American life is worth more than any other life in the world. Well, we don’t think anything of Pakistani lives either.

I keep trying to think something analytical and rational. But I’m just upset. Anyone else just upset?

Free and Fair Elections

punjabelection.jpg

This is the office of Punjab’s Provincial Election Commission, thank you very much. Source: Daily Waqt (Urdu daily).

Riot Gear: Lahore High Court

At around 8 a.m. today, November 5, ’07, lawyers and civil society gathered in the central courtyard of the Lahore High Court to protest the imposition of martial law, the oath-taking by certain judges of the superior courts under the new Provisional Constitutional Order and the arrests of at least 500 lawyers and citizens since the new coup began on November 3.

When we got there, there were about 100 odd people, perhaps 150, mostly lawyers making a racket in the courtyard and generally talking to each other and any “civilians” that happened to be around. Anyone not wearing a black coat – the lawyer’s uniform – was a civilian in this case.

The slogans shouted were the usual sorts, easy to adapt from one protest to the next: Musharraf kutta haye haye; CPO murdabad; aaeen key dushman murdabad. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was lauded as the hero of the moment. Aitizaz Ahsan as well.

Then at around noon we went out towards the gates of the High Court to find them locked from the outside and an army of riot police on the other side of them. Continue reading →