Monday, June 07, 2004

The Gipper

One of the most tempered reactions I have seen to Ronald Reagan came from a gay journalist in Los Angeles. From Yahoo News:
Jon Beaupre, a gay journalist and Los Angeles radio talk show host who is HIV (news - web sites)-positive, said Reagan's death "brought mixed feelings."

"The fact that he reflected the values of a lot of people was unmistakable. Clearly, Ronald Reagan was a man of principle and integrity," the 51-year old said.

[Full article at http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1506&u=/afp/us_reagan_gays]
Having said that, I had reason to say yesterday that two of the strongest formative influences on people like me were Ronald Reagan and Ziaul Haq. It occurred to me that over the last year or so, I have repeatedly discussed with my peers from Pakistan that our formative years were spent in an environment that was controlled and shaped by General Mohammed Ziaul Haq.

A lot of what we did and didn't do; a lot of what happened to us; a lot of what we had the opportunity to do and not to, from our dating habits and opportunities—or the lack thereof—to the lack of dance parties and the profusion of political parties and the plethora of "religious parties" and the movements around us, from the "Kalashni-coats" [American army-style jackets] some of our peers wore as a mark of political affiliation, to "chaadhar aur chaar-diwari", can we deny the influence and how much society around us was shaped by Gen. Zia?

And behind it, just another step, was Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. It was his administration that backed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar over others in the Afghan War--or let Gen. Zia's subordinates do that....

There I kinda stop. All I can think of is that back in 1997, when I first joined a discussion group/mailing list for people in my profession, I responded to a "holy war" raging on another topic with the following retort:

----------------------
Subject: Jihad fi Sabil il Platform
From: Sabahat Ashraf
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 15:22:55 EST

[the subject is my way of saying "Jihad for the sake of the Platform"]

Now that we *are* having a holy war, I thought I would throw in a set of fundamentalist "na'ray" as we call them in the subcontinent.

Take your pick of slogans:

Leader: Tayba r' Tayba!!
Chorus: Tayyyyyyyba!!! [favourite war cry of the subcontinent's fraternal version of the Ikhwaan—just one 4 feet high skeleton of a guy with a wispy beard leading about 10 Jamaatis in this chant can throw the fear o'God into you, believe me.]

Leader: Dhayaar-e-haq, Dhayaar-e-haq!
Chorus: Ya Nabi kay saaray haq!!
[which approximates to
Leader: The Limit of The Truth
Chorus: All the Truths of saying "Oh my Prophet"]

That last is the fanatic Sunni reply to Shia cries like:

Leader: Nara-e-Haidari!
Chorus: Ya Ali!!
[which approximates to
Leader: The Slogan of Haider (another name for Ali)
Chorus: Oh Ali!! (the grandson of the Prophet; main figure in the Shia dogma and canon]

Meanwhile, on the other side of our AK-47-infested [courtesy of Cap Weinberger, Al Haig, George Shultz, and The Gipper] campus were the Reds going:  

Surkh hai, Surkh hai; Asia Surkh hai!! [Red! Red!! Asia is REd!!]

to which our Bhai-log ["brothers" -- the Jamaatis mentioned above] went:
 
Sabz hai, Sabz hai; Asia Sabz hai!! [Green! Green!! Asia is Green!! -- Green being the colour of Islam]

Well, mes amis, mi amigos, my colleagues, what we always said to these guys was:  

Surkh hai na Sabz hai: Asia koe Qabz hai!! [Red nor Green; Asia is constipated]

[Full post at: http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/archives/9702/techwhirl-9702-00335.html] ---------------------------------

Anyone else care to comment? For and against? This might be a good time to get a lot of this on the table? Let's vent, discuss, let it out... please comment using the link below.
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