The debate of the Genders – Part II

In the matter of genders, we are a region that can be said to be both progressive as well as backwards. But lets look at it from the point of view of being a progressive first. Let me also make it clear that when I use the word “region” I refer to the Eastern side of the globe, especially within the context of South Asia.

The many women that have made their name because of their Political Leadership

The East can very proudly claim to have the first woman Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike (April 17 1916 – October 10th 2000) of Sri Lanka.  Not only was she the first female head of the Sri Lankan Government, but was also the world’s first female head of any Government. She served three terms as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Ceylon, these being from 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000.

She was followed by Indira Gandhi from India (1966 ,1980)  – this was long before the West was going to elect  Golda Meir (1969) or  Margaret Thatcher (1979). From the Far Eastern side of the globe, that is Philippines, you had Corazon Aquino (1986) – a symbol for love and peace, who was swept into the office after her bloodless “People Revolution” led to the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos. Continue reading

Why the Bomb Blast?

Yesterday’s Lahore blast in RA Bazar and Sadder Area can only be understood in the light of the fact that how have we reached the current scenario of Politics in Pakistan and who are the characters that are involved in it. So what follows below is my own analysis of the Country’s Political – Economic Situation.

Pakistan after its Independence, thanks to the many Influence left by the British, was a relatively modern country. Indications of this were the many social, and recreational facilities, and also the General mindset towards accepting these places. This example would include the many bars, cinemas, restaurants, and Cabire. Girls used to cycle, skirts and foreigners were common on the streets of Karachi, and not only that but the country was also one of the most hip places for Westerners and Hippies, who can be seen sleeping on the streets.

Most of the people in Pakistan who would read this would know how much it is stressed in our course books about the location of Pakistan in the World Map. You have India and then Afghanistan, Iran and China as your neighbors, but it is only recently that the importance of this country of ours of God knows how much population (All figures in this regards are guesses. The last consensus happened in the year 1998) has taken a serious impact from its location.

Pakistan in its Context

Continue reading

Myths and facts about Kerry-Lugar bill

WASHINGTON: US Senator John Kerry, one of the co-authors of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, has issued a list of ‘myths and facts’ about the proposed legislation also known as the Kerry-Lugar bill.

This is how he explained the bill:

Myth: The $7.5 billion authorised by the bill comes with strings attached for the people of Pakistan.

Fact: There are no conditions on Pakistan attached to these funds. There are, however, strict measures of financial accountability on these funds that Congress is imposing on the US executive branch — not the Pakistani government, to make sure the money is being spent properly and for the purposes intended.

Such accountability measures have been welcomed by Pakistani commentators to ensure that funds meant for schools, roads and clinics actually reach the Pakistani people and are not wasted.

Myth: The bill impinges on Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Fact: Nothing in the bill threatens Pakistani sovereignty.

Myth: The bill places onerous conditions on US military aid to Pakistan that interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs and imply that Pakistan supports terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Fact: The conditions on military aid reinforce the stated policy of the government of Pakistan, major Pakistani opposition parties, and the Pakistani military and are the basis of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Pakistan.

Myth: The bill requires US oversight on promotions and other internal operations of the Pakistani military.

Fact: There is absolutely no such requirement or desire.

Myth: The bill expands the Predator programme of drone attacks on targets within Pakistan.

Fact: There is absolutely nothing in the bill related to drones.

Myth: The bill funds activities within Pakistan by private US security firms, such as Dyncorp and Blackwater/Xe.

Fact: The bill does not include any language on private US security firms. The issue of how private security firms operate in Pakistan has nothing to do with this bill. The laws governing such firms —which are employed by many US embassies and consulates throughout the world — are not affected by this bill in any way.

Myth: The bill aims for an expanded US military footprint in Pakistan.

Fact: The bill does not provide a single dollar for US military operations. All of the money authorised in this bill is for non-military, civilian purposes.

Myth: The United States is expanding its physical footprint in Pakistan, using the bill as a justification for why the US Embassy in Islamabad needs more space and security.

Fact: As the US Embassy in Islamabad works diligently over the next five years to properly distribute the $7.5 billion to the people of Pakistan, it will need to take into account its own personnel and security needs to make sure it has the right staff with the right expertise on hand. This is common sense.

(Originally published in Dawn Newspaper on Saturday 10th October 2009)

ALex Haley: An Interview with Playboy

Alex Haley - The man behind the genius Roots

Alex Haley - The man behind the genius "Roots"

If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a true story, Roots might well be the Great American Novel. In the months since its publication, it has been compared to both Moby Dick and War and Peace, and at least one reviewer called it “among the most important books of the century.” Doubleday, its publisher, ordered the largest print run ever for a hardcover book (200,000), which sold out in a matter of weeks, and there are indications it may become the first book in history to sell over 1,000,000 copies in hardback — even before Dell brings out the paperback version.

Its author, Alex Haley, will undoubtedly become a household name later this month, when ABC-TV broadcasts the first episode of a 12-hour series based on Roots, making it the longest and most expensive ($6,000,000) dramatic television production ever aired.

We at Playboy take a special pleasure in featuring Haley as our holiday interview subject. In 1962, when he was a free-lance writer and journalist, we assigned him to conduct a long question-and-answer session with Miles Davis, which became the first “Playboy Interview.” Besides interviewing a number of personalities for Playboy, ranging from American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell to entertainer Johnny Carson, Haley conducted our interviews with the two most significant black leaders of the Sixties — Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. (One result of the “Playboy Interview” with Malcolm X was the bestselling Autobiography, which Haley wrote.) It seems especially fitting to us that Haley be on the other side of the tape recorder this month, since he seems destined to be one of the most significant black figures of the Seventies. Continue reading

Iran….Busy revisiting History!

Today while watching the news, a certain new item could not help but give me a sense of nostalgia. This nostalgia, for me also meant a sign of what I have been hoping for.. no reasons that I quite don’t understand myself yet.

Since the start of this dispute, I had followed the news on Iran almost religiously, and some how feeling that this is going to be the event that will bring the next revolution in Iran. And I didn’t want to miss a single moment of that. It seems some how that revolution comes naturally to Iran. From the revolutionary election result of 1951, to the overthrow of the Shah as a result of the Shia Revolution, it just seems that the land of Iran has yet to find stability in the arena of Politics atleast.

Today, it was the following news that made it for certain that Iran actually might be on the brink of revolution. The news on BBC read as follows:

UK fury as staff arrested in Iran

This headline to me bought back memories of an incident that happened at a similar revolutionary point in the history of Iran. The headline then read

Student Occupy Consulates

Does this actually is an indication that a change is about to come? Already the relationships between the UK and Iran have been pretty strained due to the constant accusations that the West has been meddling in its internal affairs. Will this be the final dent in the relationships between the West and the East? Is this going to be one more step in defining the future of Iran?

This sense of nostalgia was also shared by South Carolina Native William Belk, 79, who had been one of the hostages in the 1979 revolution. He instantly became an iconic figure when he appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine blindfolded.

Watching the recent events unfold on the streets of Tehran, he described them simply “It’s about time…My heart goes out to the people in the streets …..It’s horrendous when a country with the power (Iran) has, has to go through something like this….But I thought it was inevitable. People don’t like dictatorships, and that’s basically what they have there now.”

The entire world is sitting holding its breath to see what happens the next. And there are many who are on the side of Iran .. always repeating the same old line that it is all the doing of the Western Intelligence, but my answer to them has been that it is always the system itself that provides opportunity for a revolution.

It was true when the revolution knocked on the door of France, when the monarchy had completely forgotten about its people and indulged in its own whims. The same was true when the revolution came in Russia in the 1917, when people had grown tired of the Czars. It was true for Cuba, and the United States of America itself when they revolted against the British Empire in great episodes like the Boston Tea Party.

And the same is true for Iran today. It is when the system is no more in line with the wishes and demands of the people, when the system itself has gone very very wrong that the chance comes along to attack it and change it. These events might never have happened in Iran today if the system wasn’t failing, if the system hadn’t allowed for corruption to step into it. This system was accepted by the people 30 years ago because they had hope in it. But today the hope is gone, and maybe this is why the system should go too.

Did you break a glass? Go ahead, blame the Zionist!!

It has always been an Eastern tradition that whenever something wrong happens in your own country, without a single thought blame the West, the USA in particular and the Zionist Lobby in specific. The West has been involved in twisting around the political outcome of the East many many times. And therefore the mistrust is not without some concrete foundation.

Front cover of Tehran Mosavar, a Tehran weekly, showing the events of the coip detat in 19 Aug. 1953

Front cover of Tehran Mosavar, a Tehran weekly, showing the events of the coip d'etat in 19 Aug. 1953

The hand that the CIA played in sponsoring the War of Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. This included not only throwing in the money, but also weapons and training, thus making this the largest ever covert operation by the CIA. The profile of the CIA goes on to include the overthrow of many of the governments in the East, which includes Iran as well.The 1953 government of Iran when Mohammad Mosaddeq was in power, with the support for his nationalistic ideas among the people. He wanted what was the right of the Iranian people, to get the profits out of the oil reserves of Iran, which were being harassed by the UK. The events so formed that the single biggest investment of the British Government, the Anglo Iranian Oil Company was nationalized. This resulted in a huge rift between the two governments, so much so that the UK tried to get the USA on its side for a coup against the most popular government in Iran. Although President Trueman refused, but President Eisenhower was all up for the idea. And therefore in 1953, the CIA and the British SIS orchestrated a coup d’etat that toppled the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh.”

At the time, it might have felt as a victory for the West, but since then it has resulted in a mistrust, that has yet to be sub-sided. The USA also had to pay for this during the 1979 Shia Revolution in Iran, when the embassy was taken up as a hostage, and not only humiliated on the streets of Tehran but was also kept hostage for almost a year.

People from the Embassy were humiliated on the streets of Tehran and kept hostages for almost a year.

People from the Embassy were humiliated on the streets of Tehran and kept hostages for almost a year.

After all that has happened, it is not a very shocking revelation to say that the East can never find it easy to trust the West. This, recently in the case of Iran became very obvious when initially the Supreme Leader, Ali Khameni, made it clear that the enemy wants to make people believe that they have been fooled. It started 3 months ago. I have been hearing enemies saying repeatedly that the elections will be fraudulent. They had been preparing months in advance…….The enemies are trying through their media – which is controlled by dirty Zionists. The Zionist, American and British radio are all trying to say that there was a competition between those who support and those who didn’t support the state.”

But the danger of this trend is now that everuthing is blamed on the USA or the Zionist and the Eastern countries automatically feel free from any responsibilty on their own behalf. The Iranian Government simply blamed the “enemy” without any investigation and then sat back to relax.

The fault came forward yesterday when the Guardian Council admitted that there has been fraud in the elections, as the number of votes exceeded the population in many cities. The amount of the rigged votes is almost around 3 million but it still has to seen whether, as the powerful council’s spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei pointed out, “the amount is decisive in the election results”

Obama and the 12th Imam

Barrack Hussein Obama should be unanimously accepted as the official 12th imam that was to come upon mankind to save us from the demons of the material world. And I think that his speech in Cairo would help to affirm that claim.

Bear with me as I reveal my thesis on this topic…

In the wake of the 9\11 massacre all of us, Muslims and non-Muslims started as one after the other the towers collapsed, and we sat deciding on how to react to it.. should we rejoice on the fate of the infidels who for so long have interfered in our socio-economic decisions, have overthrown our government, has given us the gifts like the Mujaheddin ( Now with a brand new name, The Taliban) – or should we be sad about innocent lives lost on that tragic morning.

I think that it was important for us to decide – but the decision wasn’t that Grey as we made it out to be – it was simply black and white. Are you with the good guys or the bad guys?

Oh.. by good guys I in no way am referring to USA .. but simply mankind.

But this is what is really astonishing… as all of us chose are sides, and the majority being on the side of the Good guys.. We voiced our concerns and displayed our newly selected side everywhere – from media to blogs, from drawing room chats to rallies.. Lots of Muslim religious Leaders also blabbed about how this doesn’t represent Islam and these people are not Muslims.. But here is the twist..

When Allama Iqbal wrote Shikwa an epic poem in which he complained to God about the affairs of the world, our same religious leaders in that time, hired a chartered plane.. went all the way to Kab’ah and got a Fatwa against him..

But no one has since the 9\11 bothered to do the same for these terrorist who claims lives every single day. If we have made up our choice that they are the “BAD GUYS” then why not get it done with and officially declare them the “BAD GUY” ..

So what link does that has to Obama being the Imam… See he is the one person who has finally voiced it that this religious war can only be won by taking religion as an arm against these terrorist. And as he is the only one to follow on the epiphany we should all hail before him..

For such a long time, these Taliban’s have taken shelter under religious quotes and justifications to make their acts “OKAY” and none of our God-fearing religious leaders have had the guts to say that they are wrong.

But here rises a leader from the west.. hailing from the land of Islam itself.. who is the son of a common man .. and he voices what is necessary and he defeats the evil with he word of GOD himself and using no other rational, than the arms that the enemy has used for so long.

We in the Muslim world had the opportunity to do that, yet we once more were kicked by “THE OLD WHITE LORD”.. or the “BLACK LORD” now actually…

So then why not accept this son of Hussein as to be our savior and to protect us from the enemy of Islam ( I am sure that the the majority of us have accepted that we are on the side of the Good Guys . It is he who has taken upon himself to solve our issues of Palestine and Israel and Iran… SO lets all hail the son of Hussein!