Saturday, 27 December 2008

New Dimension to Global Politics

Only two days ago the UK officials and parliamentarians were outraged by the decision of a TV channel to broadcast alternative view of the most powerful Middle Eastern leader for the benefit of the viewers to make their mind in a free society. The core argument supporting their outrage was the ‘potential danger’ that individual leader posses to Israel. Of course some attempted to attribute crimes such as genocide and mass killing to him but of course little hard evidence they had to support such assertion. The bigotry, prejudice and very one sided political understanding was clearly present in the reaction of those officials and politicians, however, there was one hope too which was that at least these people are against injustice and shall come to the aid of the suffering, oppressed and helpless people wherever they may be.
Now that the Zionist war machine brutally humiliate a nation, subjugate an entire human civilisation and ruthlessly kill dozens, surprisingly these voices for justices are remarkably silent. Perhaps their silence is not so surprising if we dig a little deeper into discovering their true identity. They are united in their love for the Zionist war machine in Israel, they are blind in their support for Zionist oppression and they are united in their hatred of Arabs. For they are unable or perhaps unwilling to accept Palestinians as having any right to exists, perfectly happy to deny all sorts of human rights to these Arabs and wholeheartedly supportive of killing these people.
More importantly however, their attitude is no different from that of the majority of western leaders in positions to make a difference. They are fearful of freedom for people, flourishing democracy that offers real choices and potentially challenges the status quo of a very one sided concept of western democracy. Such fear instilled deep inside their heart guard them from the influence of reason and logic and make them ignorant of the concept of justice yet have the audacity to claim to be civilised. Such are the states of many of our leaders. Let us hope that in a new year we will be better equipped to distance ourselves for them and pave the way for a new dimension to global politics, a trend underpinned by spirit of justice, freedom and equality for all human.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Spirit of our Father, Ibrahim

Only few in human history truly deserve to be called the greats. These are the people who, through their activism and utmost sacrifice, brought profound change in human existence. One such greatest personality, among the best of Humanity, is our forefather, the father of the greatest faiths, Ibrahim. Soon we shall celebrate Eid-ul-Adh’ha commemorating his extraordinary journey in the way of Allah, the almighty.
Ibrahim as a boy was curious in the world around him. He was dissatisfied with issues and practices in his society and wanted to know for sure who his master was. In his extraordinary journey, he proved his determination to find truth and his absolute commitment to truth. One such great example is his willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael, for the pleasure of His Lord, the Lord of this universe, Allah. But what the remarkable story of Ibrahim hold for us is really this: to be a Muslim is to truly submit oneself to the will of Allah the almighty even if that means sacrificing the most valuable of things for him.
Of course in principle we agree and express our desire to commit such act. But in reality that is far from the case. What we often fail to realise is that although we may in rhetoric express such willingness, we fail in most obvious of our acts, to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, reliable and sympathetic to fellow believers. For minor worldly gains, petty political, socio-economic interest, out of many false senses of pride, we indulge in plotting, misleading, mishandling, deliberate misguiding and backstabbing of our brothers, sisters. These, above all, are signs of our weak faith, the shortcomings of our human minds. They are the indicators of our position in the ‘ladder’ of Taqwah. Keeping true to the spirit of our father, Ibrahim and being consistent with our previous great occasions, Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, on this Eid we must resolve to improve ourselves, strengthen our Imaan and renew our commitment to our faith, our people.
Eid-ul-Adh’ha is a great moment of joy in many ways. For it offers the opportunity for millions of Muslims from across the world, of many cultures and races to come together as a whole, one community of brotherhood. This moment of nationhood identified by our faith, Islam, is a great inspiration and shall drive us to move forward in purifying out heart, restructuring our life and remodelling our relationships with our brothers. May Allah grant us forgiveness, accept our efforts and guide us in the right paths, the path of the Sirat-al-Mustaqim, Amen.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Dangerous Precedence

The war on terror and the ‘strategic partnership’ between US and Pakistan in that war enters a new era. With Musharraf gone and the US strike in the Frontier province of Pakistan, a new phase seems to be under way. This is an important development signalling a major shift in international policy.
The war on terror resulted from the barbaric attacks on the twin towers in New York changed the dynamics of global geo-politics. Suddenly the established legal rules of respecting the integrity and sovereignty of Nation seems to have disappeared. The Invasion of Iraq, in the view of many authoritative figures, was an illegal war violating international laws. Now we see the mastermind of such gross violation, the single super-power of the present time, deliberately intrudes into yet another sovereign nation, Pakistan.
We wish not to doubt the sincerity of US authorities and accept that they are doing whatever is necessary to curb the rise of militancy and as such are hitting on all positions deemed safe heaven for the militants. We assume that US is not necessarily violating the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan and merely trying to be effective in their war by strategically targeting specific terror cells which incidentally happened to be in the Pakistan. Even with such acceptance and assumption, can we accept too that this act of the US is responsible and beneficial in their pursuit of the terrorists masterminds?
The reality is that the US, ever since the end of cold war began to feel confident in asserting its authority in international issues unilaterally. Their assured position of singular superpower offered them confidence which soon transformed into a kind of arrogance which reached its zenith at the time of Iraq invasion. The destruction caused in Iraq and the continued violence effectively marked the end of normal sovereign Iraq that we have known. The death toll of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, too, has long passed the US loss suffered in the twin tower. More shockingly, despite all of this, the world in which we live in is no more safe than it used to be, in many ways grown to be much more dangerous.
In truth, our world is now divided in three camps: one lead by the new-cons where significant proportion of the western population is induced to believe that somehow military might ought to be used to suppress the rise of ‘Islamic Extremism’ regardless of the legal position and the potential damage it may do to the international rules and law. The other camp, suffering the brunt of US arrogance feeling angry and aggrieved who are determined to fight the war with US regardless of their clear inferiority in strength. They are contempt to hate US and everything to do with US. Then there is third group of people, perhaps the majority, who genuinely are concerned about our world and yearns for a better solution but are either confused or marginalised.
The US leaves a dangerous legacy for the Human civilisation. The people of Pakistan and their friends across the world will feel aggrieved and shall seek revenge in whatever form they can. This will create another state detracted from ensuring better life style for its citizens and devoted to balance the competing factions of militant groups. The militant groups will find an increased population of aggrieved people to recruit from and the cycle of violence will continue. We just hope that the last 7 years of bloodshed and lost lives will force US administration to pause and look critically at its policies. We hope that US will follow a path of peace and stability by respecting international law and pursuing strategies not defiant of commonsense.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Decree

Part Two: The Parents

Worshipping Allah is the most important aspects of a Muslim. But it is only the beginning of an Islamic life. But Allah has given us guidance about our entire life and decreed us to follow his guidance in dealing with our life. Our life starts from our birth made possible through our parents. To have guidance about life means we must be guided to treat our parents as they should be. Our life starts with the family and family begins with our parents, then siblings, wife and children and the chain continues. Allah so beautifully spells out the guidance for us in that order. Right after he decreed us to worship him, he told us how to treat our parents. He says: ‘and that ye be kind to parents’ though it does not stop there. Generally, we all behave well with our parents. While we are young, dependent upon them, we have little choice but to be kind and respectful towards them. The trouble often starts when we begin to become stronger, more ‘important’ then them and they with the effect of age becomes weaker, less able. Once they reach old age, it presents us with difficulty. Their weaknesses may cause us loose our patience. Allah warns us with clear guidance of how we should treat them. He says: ‘Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour’. Allah is so full of wisdom, so kind, he spells out even how we should show our kindness and respect for our parents. He clearly states that we must not show our displeasure, anger or dissatisfaction even to the slightest. At all time, we must show utmost honour for them and do nothing that can mean otherwise.
Allah of course understand our weaknesses. After all he is the most powerful, the doer of all things. Unless he empowers us with the strength and patience necessary, we are bound to fall short. Hence He tells us the way to seek his help in our affairs with our parents: And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood”. If we pray to him in the way he taught us, Inshallah he will bestow upon us his mercy and enable us to be in the right path, the Path to salvation. May Allah forgive us all and empower us with the necessary strength of character. Amen.
2:208 ‘O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and follow not the footsteps of the evil one; for he is to you an avowed enemy.’
[To be continued]

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The Decree

Part One: Worship Allah Alone
5:3 ‘… This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion… .’
Islam is a complete and perfect code of life on which the favour of Allah is bestowed upon (5:3). The perfection of our faith as the way of our life naturally means that it offers us guidance for our life encompassing all aspects of human existence. The Qur’an being the revealed book, the guide for the pious ( 2:2), live up to its claim. Here, in a series of writing, I will attempt to look at some of the decrees of Allah the most powerful. Allah the lord of the universe states:
17:23 Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.
17:24 And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood."

Allah the most magnificent clearly defines our relation with him, spells out his expectation of us as one would expect. We as the creation of our lord shall worship him alone and none else. Although this assertion is clear and we all, I am sure, feel that none of us disagree or disregard this decree of our Master, nevertheless, we must pause to ponder upon this point with much attention. A review of scholarly contributions in expelling the meanings and messages of the Quran, a clear picture emerges of this statement: ‘worship Allah and none others’ includes acting in manners so that our actions, whatever it may be, do not contradicts with any of the qualities of our lord, Allah the almighty. As an example, one of the characteristic of our lord is that He is the provider of our living. It is often possible for us to forget that and feel we earn our living. What we do is merely attempt to shoulder the responsibility needed to be discharged before Allah can grant us our living and nothing more. So if one behaves or feels in ways which places another person or thing is of the importance to determine his living by means of providing income, his action shall be seen in contradiction with the decree of our lord: ‘Worship Allah alone and none other than Him’. This is just one example. Similarly, in our attitude with others, with events and issues of our life, we need to be responsible, committed and hardworking. But ultimately we must feel and believe that it is Allah who determines the outcome of events and issues of our life.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

To be a Muslim

Part 6: The One GOD:

(read part1, Part2, Part3, Part4 and Part5)

Central to the Islamic faith is the belief in one supreme being, the faith in Allah, His oneness. Centrality of this belief indicates that for one to claim being Muslim must first gain thorough knowledge of the concept of Allah in Islam based on the Quran. The meaning and significance of the concept of Allah in Islam is so wide and profound that it is beyond the scope of any one writing to capture. Nor is one individual blessed with the immense knowledge and understanding necessary to undertake such task. I shall therefore limit my discussion to some of the key elements of the concept.
The belief in Allah demands a certain mindset, specific practices and clear conditions being accepted. First and foremost is to accept Him as the one and only one of his Kind. One who created the earth, the heavens and everything else that makes the universe(s). Only one entity alone has the supreme authority over everyone else, all other thing, that one entity is our Lord, Allah the most powerful. This belief marks the beginning of ones journey in Islam.
But this acceptance of Allah as the one supreme authority, the ultimate entity who is the creator, sustainer and master of everything that exists is often difficult to explain in the fullest. To understand the implication in real is even more difficult. But the Most Kind, Most Merciful and Compassionate lives up to his name even on this aspect. Allah the almighty has told us His most beautiful names each of which signifies a specific quality, an attribute of Him. To understand our Lord one must understand these beautiful names and their meanings. To show complete and perfect acceptance of the authority of our lord it demonstrate that our actions in every steps embed the necessary implications of such names that defines the Most Magnificent. Below are some of the ninety nine most beautiful names:

Arab Unity for Global Stability

Last week some of the Arab leaders gathered in Syria in the latest round of meetings held by the Arab League, an organisation of Arab nations found to forge unity between the member states. Even before the event started, it was marred with news of boycotts by various key players. The meeting of the remaining leaders therefore created little hype in media and other circles.
After the formation of United Nation and the successful partnership of European nations in the European Union, many other alliances were formed with great ambitions. Some of these alliances were born out of a strong desire to counter opposing political blocks, some with genuinely honest and sincere commitment to develop meaningful inter-state partnership to break new grounds. Today however, barely any of these institutions of Nations other than the European Union plays any meaningful part in the affairs of the lives of those living within the geo-political arena of those organisations. Yet at the present climate, given the wars, environment and many other important issues, should have been the perfect one for many of the international organisations to play vital role on shaping the future of our world.
The Arab league from the perspective of the global peace and stability should have had an important role to play. If the league was able to work and managed to get the member states to take the organisation seriously, it could have played the most influential rule with potential to become the dominant voice at the international level. The question is though why, despite the similarity in language and culture unique to the Arab states only, it has failed to realise its dream to unite the nations under the umbrella? Here I shall seek to find some answers.
Perhaps the most successful institution of the modern nation states is the European Union. Despite many centuries old hostilities between prominent states and huge differences in language and even culture EU managed to function in manners unique in world history. Today EU is one of the largest economic blocks which speak as one voice on issues of vital importance to the advancement of national interest. Despite political and social challenges, EU has successfully brought her leaders to unite on one platform for the interest and benefit of their collective nations. Some may argue that this success has been made possible due to EU’s financial and technological sophistic which makes the membership of the organisation worthwhile. But such argument sounds unconvincing as it fails to explain the coming together of nations previously being involved in destroying one another. The fundamental reason has been that in the post world war error and with decreasing power of the monarchs, Europe managed to define itself with a common philosophy. Call it secularism or democracy or both, the reality are that the EU member states share a common political ideology which unites the states to act as one voice at the world stage.
The Arab states that formed the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League and other inter-state organisations may have had a moment goodwill that sprung the desire of coming together to work as one group of nations; they neither had the political unity nor common interest. It may even be argued that neither of these states had been able to define their political identity therefore unable to come up with long term strategies. The inability of these states to define their political identity and the subsequent failure in identifying their national objectives made them vulnerable to outside influence. As a result, although these nations gained independence, they remained largely influential by various old colonial masters.
The reason behind analysing the issues at play which made it impossible for these organisations to function is to come up with a remedy. The Arab states are located at a strategically important part of our planet blessed with significant reserve of natural resources. In fact it may be argued that the life line of global energy supply is offered by some of these states. Moreover, these states also represent the greatest challenge to the survival of human race as a peaceful civilisation. For political and religious reasons, Arab states occupy perhaps the central position in global politics and are therefore capable of defining future world. A united platform of Arab nations is the need of our time to challenge the status quo that exists. For the sake of global security and stability we need the Arab nations to be able to have common social, political and cultural goals. The leading nations of our world need to understand and work towards those objectives.
At present the divided Arab states may be offering some relief to the global powers as it allows them to influence as they will, but it is costing our world far too much in lives and other aspects unsustainable for long. To prevent further spread of civil unrest, political instability and the end of global peace, the entire globe should act to facilitate understanding between the Arab states. Such activism will result in a stable, secure and prosperous world whose future would not be almost predictable.

Monday, 17 March 2008

To be a Muslim

Part Five: Defining Islam

[Click on Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four to read teh previous post on this series.]

In the lines written as part of this series of posts, the underlined objective has been to understand what it means to be a Muslim. To be more precise, what are the elements of one beliefs, what practicalities are involved in becoming a Muslim and how does that affect our personal, familial and social existence, the relationship with others. But of course Muslim are those who believe in Islam. In other words, the followers of Islamic faith are the Muslims. So it right that we at this stage attempt to define Islam:
Literally speaking, Islam is to mean peace, submission. Islamically, it is a set of believes, values and practices which one undertake as an expression of their submission to their lord, Allah and through this they gain peace, tranquillity and success. So to define Islam we must understand three different elements of Islam:

  • The believes,
  • The Values, and
  • The practices

Of course a closer look at these three will reveal that what Islam really means is that it is a complete code of life which dictates the living of those who believe in it. In other words, Islam is a way of life that Muslims follow, or in the context of many Muslims today, suppose to follow. So to speak about Islam, its believes, values and practices, is to speak of all aspect of human life, issues that affects humanity on a daily basis. Such discussions will be long and will require huge amount knowledge, resources and thinking. In fact, it would be fair to say that such discussions in any one collection is almost impossible. For this reasons here I shall restrict defining Islam in terms of looking at its some of the most fundamental believes resulting in some of the core values and the subsequent implications in life, the most common practices.

[To be continued]

Thursday, 13 March 2008

To be a Muslim

Part four: Understanding our Faith (continued)
[Click to read Part One, Part Two and Part Three of this series]
Clearly I have asserted that the post colonial era provided with opportunities for Muslims to regain their lost confidence and educate themselves about their heritage, culture and history. This has given rise to a new generation committed in their faith and confident in their belief. They no longer accept the unnatural divide between the national, socio-political life and that of their religious one. Islam is not a religion practiced merely at the private premises of individuals hidden from the masses, rather, Islam is a faith that encompasses whole of human life, the socio-economic political, all aspects one may think of affecting humanity, the human civilisation. A new generation well versed in the arts of modern society, fully aware of their faith no longer concedes to the half-hearted and dubious arguments that seeks to leave Islam out of human society and attempts to reclaim their faith to dominate their affairs, all aspects of their life. The privileged classes in the Muslim world and indeed their allies in the ‘free world’ finds this development unacceptable as it threatens to deprive them of their grips in the societies in which Muslims are a significant force. But to understand the this struggle and to digest the facts and reasons involved, one first needs to understand the fundamental tenets of Islam and its implications in the real world. In other words, what are the core beliefs of a Muslim and what is the impact of such faith?

Sunday, 9 March 2008

To be a Muslim

Part three: Understanding our Faith

[This post follows two prior posts which can be read by clicking on Part One Part Two]

Let us, as I am speaking from the perspective of a Muslim, not be apologetic but confident in fighting the bigotry, ignorance and xenophobia so strongly embedded in the social fabric of our world. It is not faith, not Islam and most certainly not the Muslim identity responsible for the evils of our present world. We do not accept nor shall we ever accept the Islamophobic assertion made so commonly in the ‘civilised’ and ‘free world’. But for us to be confident and fight vehemently against the outrageous positions adopted by the global masters and to expose their vulnerabilities, we need to understand our faith, our identity.
At the core of our understanding of Islam lies the rejection of classification of Muslims in categories stated above. There can never be extremist, intolerant, terrorist Muslims. Muslims are of just one kind who are the ‘witness upon mankind’ made to be the nation of ‘moderation’. We are by default a nation of the middle path who rejects extremism, victimisation, intolerance etc. our faith have no room for bigots and xenophobes who are determined to diminish the human values. Our faith teaches us to be part of a global nation, caring, compassionate, participating, responsible and all other attributes that can be assigned to the ideal citizens of a nation, a global community. Our responsibility, commitment and goodwill is not just towards the fellow Muslims but to our neighbours, fellow citizens, friends, colleagues, wayfarers, all people around us regardless of their faiths, gender, race etc. Islam’s message transcends beyond humanly classifications of society and people and includes the whole of humanity, the entire mankind. Faith in our lord, believing in the message that our prophet has brought is for the entire mankind and is aimed at creating harmonious society where prosperity, peace and mutual respect will flourish.
Of course, following my assertion, the claims made of our faith will give rise to obvious questions as to why then are Muslims globally so unruly in places, irresponsible, ignorant, illiterate, intolerant etc? the answer is again very simple which requires us neither to be extremists, isolationists nor apologetic. Although the fundamentals of Islam is still preserved, the Quran and sunnah is intact to this date, the teachings of Islam has been eroding from Muslim life for centuries. The era of colonisation and the suppression that saw the decapitation of Muslims globally forced Muslim institutions, social orders and political authorities disappear over time. Consequently there remained Muslims, maimed, persecuted, deprived and demonised who neither had the opportunity nor the mean to learn about their faith. Most centres of Islamic learning we see in our local community have sprung up in the last century. Deprived of the central political and judicial authority, Islamic faith have grown to be the football which is kicked around as necessary by the various interest groups, the sections of human society. Then in the era of geographical nation state there has been a renewal of Islamic identity, a revival of Islamic spirit. These Islamic spirit is giving rise to increasingly committed and confident Muslims demanding their faith to take up central place in their life. Unfortunately this development has been seen as a threat by the prevailing global powers, including the rulers in predominantly Muslim states. The fear of loosing political power and the identification of Islamic block as threat lead to actions and reactions which causes exploitation of people’s emotion and ignorance to further political interest of various groups which leave us to the present state.
(To be continued)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Dysfunctional democracy

Kenya, once a model for Africa, is burning. A seemingly stable democratic nation all of a sudden is now at the brink of a potential civil war. Anger rages across the nation setting tribes into fighting, neighbours attacking neighbours. Around quarter of a million people are made homeless and nearly a thousand made to loose their lives. The whole nation is in fear of being embroiled into the kind of conflicts which is keeping most of the continent of Africa from ushering a progressive error. The question one would naturally ask is ‘what made a reasonably coherent country dive into so much turmoil?’
At the outset of my article here, let us remind ourselves that this nightmare scenario resulting into the worst civil strife in recent history of Kenya started from the highly disputed result of the Presidential election. This round of violence is the latest embodiment of immaturity on the part of the political establishment to whom personal interest gains priority over nations peace, stability and progress. But why is our leaders seemingly so selfish and irresponsible in their acts and deeds?
In 2000, a highly contested presidential election took place in the USA with Al Gore from the Democratic Party loosing narrowly to George Bush of the Republicans. In fact, the popular vote gained by Al Gore was more than President Bush and the key state that decided the election had a lot of controversy over the process of vote counting. There were strong reasons for Al Gore to make a stand. But in the end Al Gore decided to accept the result in favour of Bush saving the Nation from a potential Constitutional crisis. Why could this not set a precedent for others especially in the third world?
The answer to the questions I posed in earlier paragraphs, in my view, are simple: in the US, like most other European nations, democracy has developed to the extent that it is not the person, nor even the process itself, but the national interest that gets priority over all other considerations. America’s is one of a many such incidents often seen in the developed nations of our world. Democracy there has taken root and is supported, guided and protected by a mature population and numerous civil, political and intellectual institutions.
Countries like Kenya are of a growing list where democracy is increasingly proving to have failed. In these nations, primarily in Africa and Asia, democracy has given the tribal chiefs, political dynasties and financial elites powerful means to influence the condition of the country in their favour with much of the population deprived of any meaningful share in the affairs of their country. This is increasing civil strife, poverty and social imbalance in areas such as economy, education and health care. The issue of poverty and inequality in societies across nations in the developing world creating conditions in which extremism and violence find roots. The dominant political forces are using the ‘cause of democracy’ to suppress political opposition. Using the issue of terrorism and ‘safeguarding’ democracy, these forces selfishly marginalising their own people while also keeping the global community in darkness of their evil motives.
So what should happen? Should the idea of democracy cease to exist as the superior mechanism of governing nations rightfully? Most certainly not. For so long as the core concept of democracy means equality, justice, fairness and freedom, democracy should and must be seen as the right method of choosing government, ensuring rights and discharging political responsibilities. However, the words and a few elections alone should not symbolise the democratisation of nations. Democracy with simply elections neither creates equity nor social stability. It requires certain mindset on the part of the politicians and the people. This mindset is not God ordained natural characteristics of people and nations but an outcome of a long term activism by serious institutions led by patriots in each nation.
The reasons why people in the developing nations, like in Kenya, respond to the calls by selfish, misguided and ill motivated politicians is because they see no mean to hold their governments accountable, nor any medium to channel their grievance to the keepers of powers. The masses, almost feeling helpless, resorts to violence as they see it to be the only mean to bring the government down to account for miss-governance. The leading nations claiming to be the guardians of democracy, peace and stability of our world needs to support the developing nations in building institutions which empowers ordinary masses. Such institutions should make people feel capable of holding their governments accountable. Developing an infrastructure which will embed such institutions will offer a platform for aggrieved people to debate and express their dissatisfactions. However, efforts to build such infrastructure with these civil institutions must be allowed to operate freely without dictation by specific governments/quarters to only nurture a specific kind of ideology. The people must truly be allowed to decide for themselves what course they wish to take.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Instrument of Injustice

In recent years United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) has been on the news to become synonymous with three issues: the war in Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq and the nuclear programme of Iran. Although I am sure UNSC undertakes a lot of other very important tasks, it seems on the surface to be driven by a specific group of nations united by a common agenda.
Invasion of Iraq proved UN to be almost ineffectual on the face of powerful nations not adhering to their commitment to the UN. US for example have defined its responsibilities in terms which suits them while also proved to the UN to be indispensable regardless of what she does. With Iran, US proved UNSC to be an organisation which ultimately will come to take US agenda as one of its own, be it somewhat watered down. The latest round of sanctions planned on Iran is just yet another example of such thus making UNSC an instrument of injustice which causes hardship in the life of ordinary people in relatively less militarily powerful nation.
One of course may feel that I have been little harsh towards the UN and have been ignorant of the important role she has played over the years to keep the order of our world. For this reason, it is must that I shall put some fact in the lines below to support my assertion. Here, I only intend to take the matter relating to Iran for today.
What are the issues involving Iran? A rogue state contempt to kill? A nation lead by fanatics? A power determined to destroy our world through funding extremists terrorists? Let us look at some facts to find the answers. But first we must look at the issue of nuclear proliferation and Iran. It is alleged that Iran is content to make bombs using nuclear technology which they must not be allowed to. Although Iran screams loud and clear to claim that their technology is for peaceful energy production purposes and shows no clear sign of making any bombs, US and some European countries continuously been raising their suspicion and demanding that Iran stop enriching uranium. Iran’s understood refusal gives reason to these nations to call for sanction and use their influence to use UNSC to pass resolution to this end.
Question is though how is it logical for nations already equipped with lethal weapons that includes powerful nuclear bombs decide Iran not having the right to poses the nuclear technology and know how for the purpose of producing electricity? Why should they be allowed to raise suspicion on an independent nation who has neither shown any sign of producing such bombs nor has acted aggressively? Every nation should have the right or no one, to develop nuclear technology. Even if we assume that Iran is going to make bombs, why must the nations causing chaos and carnage over centuries all across the world possessing nuclear bomb should have the authority to demand Iran must stop possessing nuclear enrichment technology just because they suspect them to be making bombs? Does that sound fair? Or Just? To me it sounds plainly illogical and clearly prejudicial.
Of course one of the reasons used to support the arguments to stop Iran from having nuclear technology is that Iran is an ‘unstable’ nation whose leaders must not be trusted or relied upon. This assertion is demeaning and must be seen as insulting to the people of Iran. The people of Iran in respectable numbers , far more than many so called western nations, turn out to vote to elect their leaders. The leaders of Iran are elected by their people legitimately to lead their nation. No one must have the right to question the wisdom of a people who have a history of civilisation unique to many nations.
For fear of lengthening my lines, I shall refrain from many more arguments which can be placed powerfully to prove the prejudice and hostility shown unjustly towards Iran. What I shall say to end however is that Iran is on the wrong side of a self proclaimed ‘force for good’ who take it upon themselves to discipline whichever nation step outside the limit set by these imperial arrogant powers with a desire for global domination. They chastise to further their own ‘interest’ at the core of which is to ensure the superiority of US and her allies at the expanse of all others. Iran is a bad apple strategically placed to challenge the supremacy of a major ill of our world, Israel. Sadly, UN has proved itself to be a force, an instrument of these nations to use to legitimise their actions. This way, they use UN and various organs of her to cause suffering, injustice and carnage around the world. UN is no longer a force for good guarding the peace and stability of our world. In fact, UN now is an instrument to legitimise injustice, a weapon of oppression and global dominance for a few.

Published in the Daily Star in Bangladesh on Wednesday, 30th January 2008:

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Modern Concentration Camp

I watch with greatest sadness and to some degree anger the plight of innocent men, women, children, elderly and other vulnerable individuals made to suffer from an illegal occupation. The illegal occupier, committer of grave war crimes, defeating all sense of civility and defying all levels of morality, Israel imposes blockades on a small piece of Land, Gaza, forcing its population to live under the most inhumane condition. The treatment of the people of Palestine in general and the Gazans in particular is nothing short of the treatment experienced by the helpless Jewish people in Nazi Germany’s concentration camps. The strength of feeling felt inside me learning about the horrors of the concentration camps, I thought was heavy, almost unbearable. However, the horrendous conditions in Gaza beats all imagination and makes me wonder how low can any collection of human kinds can go.
Of course Israel should expect to live in peace and harmony and feel secure within its borders. Of course Israel should have the right to defend itself against aggression. But what must also happen is that it should expect others to expect the same. All nations take pride in their nationalities, all states wish to live in peace, harmony and security within their borders and retain the right to defend themselves against aggression. And it seems this is where the problem is. Hamas, a resistant movement, not afraid to exercise its rights and stand for its people, retaliate against the mighty Israeli war machines causing fear at the heart of the Israeli people is utterly hated by the Zionist xenophobes. They take every opportunity to strike on Hamas in whatever shape and form they can. But every time they fail to break them, in fact the attacks by the war mongers and war-criminals in Tel Aviv only strengthens the resolve of the movement and empowers its leadership with increasingly popularity. Failing in almost all of its attempts, Israel successfully plotted to break the unity among the Palestinians and now trying its latest tactics, to starve the people for their political support and exercising their democratic right by supporting Hamas.
Today however, I shall not spend any longer looking at the issues with Israel. For Israel is not the only party in play at the scene. The concentration camps in 2008 may have been caused by the illegal state of Israel, but the ‘custodians’ of our civilisation and the bearer of ‘justice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have failed the people of Palestine too. In fact, the custodians, now the so called quartet, shamelessly sided with the butchers in Israel and the plotters in Palestine. Instead of bringing peace, they have assisted to bring about ever more carnage and chaos giving legitimacy to the continuing concentration camp in the once beautiful lands of Palestine. I shall seek to briefly look at the duplicities and inconsistencies of these states who are the source of power behind Israeli might.
To understand the role played by the global community, we must first understand the issues and the conditions on the ground. In a nutshell, the whole matter took a dramatic turn when the popular Hamas Movement came to dominate the PLA through a landslide victory burying the previously dominant force, Fattah of the late President Yasir Arafat. Many quarters for their own vested interested failed to come to term with this outcome and began look for ways to deny Hamas its rightful share in the governance of Palestine. But the matter did not end there. The most dramatic episode began when Hamas decided to go it alone and take over Gaza sending Fattah into a kind of exile into the West Bank.
Meanwhile, reacting to the rise of Hamas to the political institutions of the Palestinian Authority, israel and the most powerful nations decided to take a tough stand to punish the people of palestine for their democratic choice in the first ever true election. US and the European Union stoppped their fund and diverted some of it to their puppet agencies. The legitimate government of popular Hamas forced to fail in its effort to bring about stability and normalise the situation. However, all this failed to stop Hamas from increasing their popularity and influence. They did not fail under pressure from the major donors, and continued to serve their nations despite the absence of the economic lifeline. In between, efforts being made to save face of the ‘partners’ through attempted deals between Hamas and Fattah, but all of them ultimately failed.
The issue at stake is the issue of freedom, justice and ‘democracy’. Hamas, whatever one may feel about them, certainly has the legitimate political right to claim stake in the governance of Palestine for so long as the people of Palestine supports them. No one must act to deny such right to Hamas. The Palestinian people have the absolute right to decide who should lead them, yet again no one must act otherwise. The Palestinian state has the right to claim its sovereignty and reserve the right to retaliate against any aggressions and incursion and no one should meddle with it. These are issues of justice, fundamental rights of a nation, a state and her people. To deny such rights is to deny justice, humanity and civility. Such forces must be resisted in the most appropriate mean.
The US, the European Union, Russia and others who uses the issues of Hamas and likes as an excuse are nothing more than mere collaborators of Israel. More than once they have most spectacularly demonstrated their inability to live peacefully and often violates their own slogans of peace, justice, equality and democracy. US for example invades nations, ousts regimes, sponsors terrorists and funds illegal entities to further her desire to impose her will over the global community. Most strangely, she does all these in the name of Democracy and Freedom. When US and EU together forms the lifeline of Israel’s economy, defence and various other strategic areas, it is hard to have confidence on them to bring peace in the Middle East. Their insincerity and duplicity have been further emphasised in the appointment of the most biased and one-sided leader of recent Memory, Mr Tony Blair.
Of course there is the issue of attacks from Hamas, but this should not be made a condition for Israel to give People of Palestine their legitimate rights. Hamas operates its legitimate resistance movement under the illegitimate occupation of Israel. For the global community to ask Hamas to act first is to give Israel best reward for the most atrocious acts, the gravest of war crimes. The genuinely committed peace negotiators must first force Israel to withdraw from the occupied lands, seriously negotiate on the future of the both states and only than ask for peace and security and not before that. Israel must be made to pay for her crimes, criminals must be brought to justice and Palestine must be allowed to operate freely, viably and independently.
We the global community must show our commitment to peace and justice. We must demonstrate our determination to support the oppressed and must speak for them. Let us demand to our governments to stand for justice, to stand for Palestinians and to stop cooperating with Israel until her war machines stops killing innocent people.

Friday, 18 January 2008

To Be a Muslim

Part Two: The Facts contextualised

The issues that muddled the debates in so far as Islam and muslims are concerned is around the matters related to terrorism, violence and intolerance. For me each one of these areas are of specific strength to Muslims as a nation and Islam as the faith. Islam, of all the religions, condemns violence, intolerance and terrorism in the strongest terms. Never in Islamic history will one find little glimpse of atrocities committed by people inspired by islam. For islam is a religion of peace which accepts reality, offers remedy to problems and ensures safety and security of people, whether muslims or otherwise. Yet it seems almost extra ordinary that muslims find it difficult or necessary to be apologetic to respond to the queries posed to them on the issue of terrorism, violence and intolerance.
At the heart of the terrorism, intolerance and violence that we know today is not the faith of Islam, or indeed none of the major faiths but the policies and practices of the various nations claming to be part of the civilised nations. It is not islam that offers justification to the inhumane acts of killing across the world, it is the unjust, illogical and immoral decisions, acts and policies of Washington and their allies and subordinates. People made subject of unjust, inhumane acts, tortured using the dictatorial regimes, deprived of their most basic rights, denied humanity who fight seeking freedom and justice. Take a few of the many examples we can find in our current world.
Chechnya is a unique entity forcedly made part of the Russian Republic where civilians in thousands been massacred and made to leave their homes while the western world remained almost silent. To make it much worse, Russia failed to live up to their own commitment made on treaties signed with the Chechen leaders. So when the global community watched standby, surely the people who were dying would not let it happen without some form of resistance. In the process they commit crimes, kills civilians and others acts which goes beyond any humanly acceptable reason. Of course these acts should be condemned but it is not their faith that forced them or made them to commit such heinous crime but the barbarity that have been made to befall upon them my stronger opponents. Why should these people be classified as terrorists? Or even worse, blamed to be inspired their faith to commit crime? Same can be applied to resistance movement in others parts of the world such as Kashmir, Philippines and Palestine, to name a few.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

To be a Muslim

Part One: Era of Indignation

The horrific attacks on the twin towers committed by murderous terrorists changed the dynamics of our world in many ways. However, the major burnt in the aftermath of these horrendous acts of barbarism is being felt most strongly by Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslims worldwide. All of a sudden everywhere whether media or government Muslim and Islam has become perhaps the most commonly used phrases which triggers certain fear. The negativity attached to the identity of being Muslim is most remarkably demonstrated by the recent rumours concerning the religious identity of Barrack Obama. This latest saga exposes the hatred that even leading politicians nurtures in the us and most certainly in most part of the ‘civilised’ world.
In our post 9/11 world, almost every major discussion includes in one form of another the issue of Islam and Muslims. Thanks to these discussions now we are also being ‘honoured’ with various categories: muslims divided into subsections namely orthodox, conservatives, ultra conservatives, wahabis, extremists, Islamists, Jihadis, moderates, liberals etc. policy makers, thinkers and others use these newly invented, re-invented words as they deem fit to suit their positions. Most strikingly, most of these categorisations and specifications have either being developed by non-Muslims or muslims who are shamed to live according to Islam. It almost feels like that in most cases non-muslims offering great favours to muslims by explaining what islam ought to be to them. To me these acts are perhaps the most insulting, demeaning and outrageous. I will even go as far as saying these attempts defy commonsense, run contrary to the generally accepted standards of civility, equality and democracy that for so long we have been holding firmly close to our hearts. Yet it seems that with regards to muslims and islam these standards are not applied.
The environment of fear, guilt and uncertainty created around the world for muslims has lead to confusion, panic and in some cases desperation. All sorts of proposition have been made and circulated. All kinds of reactions been aired and penned. What to me seems missing however is a confident, Muslim-like response which seeks to challenge the dark forces which erred the senses of many decent human beings all across the world. In most cases, responses from muslims have been either too arrogant, naïve, reactionary or at best apologetic. The response from the quarter, however small, that belonging to the western societies but not muslims often sounded confusing. In part two, I set to look at some possible responses to counter this era of indignation for the muslims.