August 29, 2010

Zero-ing on the wrong target...

The recent plans of building a mosque near the World Trade center site (Ground Zero) has got NYC and the whole of America up in arms. There are protests all over the country with opposition coming mainly from the families of 9/11 victims, politicians and organizations - including top Republicans like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich among the many. In fact, you can see buses in NYC showing advertisements which show a hijacked plane flying into the twin towers and a building with Islamic crescent and the words "Why There?". One banner, which was held by a protester in front of the proposed site, read, “Don't let Islam mark a victory with a mosque.”. Another sign read, “A mosque at ground zero spits on the graves of 9/11 victims.” The Americans somehow hold, very explicitly and verbally, the whole muslim community reponsible for 9/11.

Lets brush aside the facts that the mosque or the community center is being built on a private property in lower Manhattan which is NOT actually on the Ground zero site but 2 blocks away from it, and that only one floor of the proposed community center will be a mosque, and that President Obama himself has decided to back the plan and that Mayor of the NY city has supported it - Because no one seems to care - It seems people just dont want anything related to Islam anywhere near the Ground zero site, or maybe the whole of NYC.

So, do the families of 9/11 victims actually think that muslims (and not terrorists) are responsible for the WTC tragedy - quite evident from the state of affairs that they do. Now even if we consider this as a natural emotional response of people who have lost someone in a tragedy of this magnitude, shouldn't it be the duty of the politicians and leaders to make sure that the people know the difference. But here we actually see them adding fuel to the fire. We have even got a spin-off controversy that Obama could be a muslim and might actually be working against American interests - funny as it sounds, check it out yourself, the internet is full of it.
Its a mosque we are talking about, not a center of terrorism - let the difference not blur. Opposing a mosque near Ground zero reeks of religious intolerence. It is as blatant and ugly as labelling all muslims as terrorists and mosques as terrorist centers - every bit as ugly as blaming the whole of Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan and the Crusades. This is the peak of intolerence shown by the right-wing and has blown open the mentality of these people - the paranoia, the phobia, the gross generalizations, the accusations and the skepticism - its all so sickening - turns out that the they are no different from the Anti-american-slogan-shouting-arabs we see on Fox news all the time.

It is in the interests of everyone to let the mosque be built there - at least to show what America stands for. Just to show itself different from the religious fanatics that stand against it. One has to admire US president Barack Obama for steadfastly holding true to American ideals. Born to a Muslim father, Barack Hussein Obama has had to prove his patriotism time and again and he managed to win many hearts on the way, but just couldn't escape islamophobia. He made the best decision possible - in fact he had no real choice but to take the exact decision he did. On what real grounds other than pure religious discrimination could he oppose the building of a mosque? How American would that be?

Fortunately, there are some liberals who support the building of mosque too - the Supporters of mosque show up in equal numbers whenever there is a rally against it. Lets just hope that the left wins over right this time. Let’s stop figuring out ways to hate each other and figure out ways to coalesce around something we can all agree upon.
This is America's chance to show some tolerence and break some stereotypes - and to stop this dangerous game of guilt by association.

July 29, 2008

Ideologically impaired...

I came across an article on suicide bombers by Robert Baer, former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East and some of his lines really caught my eyes... and mind.

I produce them below -

"But this is an ideological battle that will be won, or lost, at the local mosque, at the family dinner table or between friends across the Islamic world. Suicide bombing will be defeated not by a gun or a fancy scanner but by the religious principles of Koran itself."

Back to the blogs...

It's been way too long since my last post... was caught up in a thing or two... but the things that i blog about, much to my despair, haven't changed at all...

February 15, 2007

The word on the street is...Romeo Must Die

"I love you. I have been waiting so long to tel...". Bang!!

The guy's expression of love was made short by a rod that hit him on the back and sent him down flat on his face. The astonished girl sitting next to him turns back to discover 5-6 men all with lathis in their hands getting ready for the next shot.

No this is not another scene from a bollywood flick but from one of the thousand-odd parks spread across the country and the occasion is, of course, Valentine's Day.

After the guy collects himself and realizes that he cant take them over all alone, he hears himself say," Who are you people? Why did you hit me?". Just then he realizes from their stoned faces and a very familiar color of their cloth that what the matter was and utters,"Who are you to interfere in my personal matters ?".

The answer to this question is already out. "You are aping the Western culture and this Valentine's Day that you are celebrating goes against our Indian traditions".

While on one side of the town the restaurants and avenues are getting ready to offer their best of services, trying to make every buck out of the celebration, offering gifts, special bouquets, rides and other freebies to lure lovers in, the other side of town sees cards and gifts being burned in large bonfires, anti-valentine slogans being shouted and couples being harassed in parks and other places giving us a taste of the "diversity" that prevails in India.

Well, i would call this as celebrating just another holiday rather than aping the western culture. Even then if they insist on the simian tendency, why can't we ape what we like? And believe me, its not just valentine's day...its everything around us from fast-foods to movies to fashion. And the west apes the east too..think yoga, mehendi, Diwali, Khadi, feng-shui, oriental therapies...the list goes long.
In this age of economic mergers and globalization, a merger of cultures is inevitable.

The anti-valentine right-wing faction claims that this kind of western phenomenon corrupts the youth. To me it seems that its not the occasion but the spirit with which you celebrate it that matters. A holi or Diwali celebration can also lead to many accidents. A Ram navami or Ganesh Chaturthi or muharram procession (and the clashes that follow them) leave more people injured than any valentine's day but that doesn't mean that they should be banned.

Finally it turns out that it is this so-called protectors of our culture who are responsible for turning this day into a day of violence and disorder - Trying very hard to "impose" our culture on us.

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January 20, 2007

Uncle Sam's last gamble...

The first group of extra U.S troops has arrived Baghdad marking the first phase of the deployment of 22500 extra troops in Iraq.
With four more brigades ready to be dumped in this endless pit called Iraq, Bush's idea of leaving Iran with "dignity" seems to be converted to a gambler's last and final bet in the delusional hope of victory.

When is Mr. Bush going to learn that although there might be a great need of troops in Iraq to control the situation but the troops wud better be from Iraq than from the U.S, as General John Abizaid (of the US central command) suggested.

That he is proving himself to be a bigger aggressor than Saddam with the rapid growth in the list of number of countries in his self-prophesized "Axis of Evil" and the emergence of a new nation to be attacked every week, latest being Somalia....air raids killing hundred times more civilians than terrorists.

That he is ignoring the clear signs given by the american people in the last elections... a message sent as clearly as possible. Bush promised he heard them well but is doing the exact opposite of what they wanted him to.

That he is defying international opinions, ignoring the U.N completely and worse, using it for its own advantage.

That Iraq cannot cannot govern itself until you let them do that. That it cannot "govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself " with more american troops in the land than Iraqis' and with american diktats deciding their every move.

The influence of U.S on the Iraqi government is obvious from the decision of the government to open its doors to the foreign oil corporations. This law favouring foreign oil companies , that too in these troubled times will never be accepted by the iraqis. This new law talks about reversing the national oil policy of Iraq, which, implemented in 60's was considered to be a revolution for Iraq.

The US controlled Iraqi government is preparing to remove the country's most precious resourse from national control.

The U.S's real motive behind this war is slowly coming to light...Uncle sam surely expects "something" in return even if he loses the gamble...

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January 08, 2007

hang on, Iraq !!

Iraq's beloved villain (finally!!) rests in peace.

Killing of up to 182,000 kurds in 1988; Gassing 5,000 Kurd civilians in Halabja in 1988; Invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Setting alight 700 oil wells and opening pipelines letting oil pour into the Gulf waters; Crushing the Kurdish and Shia rebellions ; Killing political activists over 30 years; massacre of about 8000 members of the Kurdish Barzani tribe in 1983.....the list goes on. Hanging of Saddam seems a pretty small punishment for the crimes he commited.

Allright ..bad guy caught, defeated, killed. justice delivered. Now whats next..
Although the event was big enough to grab the media attention for some days, this isn't something which is going to have a significant contribution in the restoration of iraq.
Its like " a giant leap for america, a small step for mankind ."

The question that whether his execution was fair or not is something which is of no relevance today.
Saddam is executed but the bigger monster unleashed and nourished by him still lingers - the bitter sectarian divide between Shia and Sunni Muslims. This divide that spells the doom for this country just got deepened by this execution.

Hang on Iraq ! there is much more yet to be done. There still are shias and kurds not satisfied with the execution and some saddam-loving sunnis still lurking out there for a revenge...and a whole lot of clueless american troops on a rampage.

There still lies a tough road ahead to peace...

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November 18, 2006

Beyond the laws...

The Protection of Women bill,
finally passed by Pakistan's National Assembly on Wednesday after many months of bitter debate and controversy, continues to divide public opinion.

The controversial Hudood laws, introduced in 1979 by the late military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq as part of his sweeping policies of 'Islamisation', have been regarded by women's rights activists as highly discriminatory. Especially the crime reporting part - If she was unable to prove the crime – with the law requiring she produce four male witnesses to do so – she stood in danger of being charged. Countless number of women have been thrown in jails on charges of adultery under the Hudood because they could not produce the mandatory four men to stand witnesses for the charge.

In Pakistan, a rape is often just the beginning of a victimized woman's tragedy. But now President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan is challenging his country's version of that law and has issued an order that all women imprisoned on charges other than robbery, murder or terrorism, be set free immediately. He deserves praise far and wide for the effort.

A brave effort indeed.

And as expected he has not pleased those bearded self-proclaimed advocates of islam.

This is the ugliest face of sunni and shia religious scholars who are holding up to the laws which are neither the part of Islam nor are writen in Qur’an. Their Shariah Laws are based on hearsay and traditions which overrule the Qur’an laws and this is the problem with the majority of Muslims. These scholars are holding up these brutal inhumane laws just because they find some stupid story falsely attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) telling them that he approved of such punishment.
Qur’an does not specifically says anything on what kind of punishment should be there for adultery or rape and this is where the problem starts.

Hudood ordinances are widely held to be discriminatory and unjust to women. Some Islamic scholars have also said they do not reflect the true spirit of the religion...thank god some are sane.

There’s a real need for a reform movement inside Islam and it’s not just to say, ‘No, we don’t want terrorists,’ it’s to say in order to unshackle this philosophy from the literalists and literalist chains, we have to create a world in which people can question the first principles, you have to create to world in which people can rethink the core of the text. And until that happens we will have a paralysed culture.

It seems there is a need to think beyond the laws..

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