Ask Not What The Country Can Do To You But What You Can Do To Yourself

I’ve decided that if the government wants to monitor me that’s fine. But I could do a much better job monitoring myself than anyone else.

Hasan Elahi

Trackingtranscience is a brilliant response by Professor Hasan Elahi, a Bangladeshi-born American citizen, to his detention and interrogation at the hands of Home Land Security and FBI personnel. Professor Elahi was accused by his neighbors for being a 9/11 terrorist (description; dark, Muslim) and later taken off a flight returning from Europe for questioning. The FBI accused him of hoarding explosives in a Florida warehouse. He was subjected to months of interrogations, nine polygraph tests, and left on the ‘watch list’.

So he decided that he will just watch himself and effectively erase all pretence at ‘privacy’. Details »

They Set A Koran On Fire…And Nothing Happened

Ironically, tradition suggests that burning is one of the best ways of disposing pages of holy texts. As this video attempts to demonstrate an apparent act of ‘Christian’ faith, I can’t help but be amused by the sheer anti-climactic end of the video.

Nothing happens. Details »

The Spotlight Of Humanity Or How We Are Told To Look Only Where They Tell Us To Look

It is probably one of the most blatant uses of photography as propaganda that I have seen in a long time. And I am glad for it because it reveals explicitly how easily images can be put to the service of an agenda of power and entrenched interests. And how easily photographs can mislead if not ‘read’ carefully.’What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan’ the cover screams. The answer is made obvious. The shocking photograph closes the mind, numbs thought, distracts insight and silences protest.

If it were only so simple. If we were only so easily fooled. Details »

‘Going Muslim’ At Fort Hood Or How Rabid Simplicities Masquerading As Insight Just Sell More Magazines

It did not take long for overtly racist explanations to be offered. Before facts come fantasy, and before truth comes tabloid opinions masquerading as insight. And it arrived not in some radical, fringe magazine but in the pages of the international magazine Forbes by one of their regular contributors. (I of course ignore the determined Islamophobia of outlets like Fox News.) Details »

Where The Head Spun: November 13th 2009

A wide range of issues came across recently and though I would love to wax lyrical about all of them I find my head space considerably limited to speak of each in some reasonable fashion. But I wanted to draw your attention to some interesting developments, a few of which are being carefully ignored in our press and oh-so-alert media Details »

The Hindus Live In Small And Dark Homes Or Educating Our Child Soldiers

JuD Grafitti Pan

The minds of children are usually shut inside prison houses, so that they become incapable of understanding people who have different languages and customs. This causes us to grope after each other in darkness, to hurt each other in ignorance, to suffer from the worst form of blindness. Religious missionaries themselves have contributed to this evil; in the name of brotherhood and in the arrogance of sectarian pride they have created misunderstanding. They make this permanent in their textbooks, and poison the minds of children.

Rabindranath Tagore “To Teachers”,

from Chakravarty, A (ed) The Tagore Reader (Page 216)


Our wars, our massacres, our suspicions and fears, our prejudices and hatred, begin in the pages our of children’s textbooks. Details »

The Most Dangerous Nation

The obsession with things ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ and ‘Al Qaeda” has been turned into a veritable multi-billion dollar industry and this despite the very little concrete and independently verified evidence to suppor the many claims of underground ‘Islamic/Al Qaeda’ cells and networks. Details »

What A Tangled Web We Weave

Samuel Huntington, author of the infamous book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, died on December 28th 2008.

In an obituary in the New York Times, a newspaper famous for retrospectively bestowing garlands of respectability onto  the lives of even the most questionable of men, thought it ‘uncanny’ i.e. a reflection of his brilliance, that in that book he had written (predicted?) that ‘Somewhere in the Middle East, a half-dozen young men could well be dressed in jeans, drinking Coke, listening to rap, and between their bows to Mecca, putting together a bomb to blow up an American airliner.’ Details »

Women Are Stupid And Other Pathologies of Patriarchy

The Dawn newspaper, Pakistan’s leading English language daily, reported recently that The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has declared the term ‘gender equality’  ‘vague and un-Islamic’ and called for its repeal.  You can see the original piece here.

The council argued that the concept of ‘gender equality’ was impractical because of ‘distinct differences’ in anatomy and physical and mental capabilities. The CII described the term as ‘absurd and un-Islamic’.

I will not even raise the point about the validity and legality of a Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) reviewing and recommending changes to the constitution in a citizen’s democracy, however crippled and constrained it may be in Pakistan.

I will not even raise the issue about how this council of ‘learned’ men (there is one woman member of this council of 9 I believe) determined that a woman’s ‘mental capabilities’ are distinctly different (i can’t help but suspect that they meant to say ‘less’) from that of a man.

I will only point out to this group of ‘learned’ men that ‘gender equality’ is not a declaration of a woman’s physical and mental equality with a man, but in fact a demand for equal rights, equal protections and equal freedoms under the law.  These rights are to be bestowed regardless of physical, mental, and any other ‘difference’.   They have little or nothing to do with the fact that a woman is anatomically or mentally different from a man, though again, how they figured out the latter confounds me.

That this body of men, many with long and intimidatingly impressive resumes, don’t understand this simple difference is dismaying.

That this body uses some interpretation of ‘Islam’ as a weapon to further diminish the rights of the weak is quite pathetic.

Ironically this council has never found military dictatorships as ‘un-Islamic’.  Neither have they in their infinite Islamic wisdom made statements about state use of torture, disappearences, summary executions, dispossession of the landless,  or on government graft and corruption.  It seems not to have thought it ‘un-Islamic’ that innocents are murdered, that our legal system is corrupt and dysfunctional, that the ordinary man and woman in Pakistan remains devoid of legal and judicial protection.  It has not found acid attacks, honor killings, police brutality, ‘un-Islamic’, or the killings of the country’s Baluchi or tribal area citizens by the Pakistan Army and police forces as ‘un-Islamic’.

Our constitution is used and abused almost daily by self-serving criminals in political garb, but the CII has remained politely tolerant of these mutations, focusing instead on the culture threatening implications of the term ‘gender equality’!

They fill their resumes with long lists of qualifications, certificates and degrees, and yet find ways to remain so supremely stupid.  It is quite an achievement.

Note:  I did not realize that Pakistan had such a body looking into matters of whether Pakistan’s constitution met with the standards of the Koran and/or the Sunna.  It seems to be a child of the Ayub Khan military government and was entered into the 1962 constitution as an ‘advisory’ body whose members were selected by the President.

Note: An editorial in the same newspaper expressing outrage can be read here

Dialogue Between Bigots: Part VI of VI

This is the final installment of the interview, part VI, of ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’

EDITOR: Spanish, French Portuguese and Italian derive from Latin, yet can one argue that today these are the same language? They have diverged to the point where they are mutually unintelligible and hence different languages. All Indo-European languages derive from Sanskrit (including Farsi), yet can one claim they are the same as Sanskrit? Christianity, Judaism and Islam have a common genetic origin, for sure, but over time these religions have diverged to the point of being mutually exclusive. Details »