Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pakistan at the New Year: 10 Things to be Proud Of & 10 Things to Work On

Friday, December 06, 2013

One Radical on Another; Paul Watson's tribute to Mandela

As Nelson Mandela passes in our minds into ancesterhood, to quote the President of Nigeria, there will be talk of his radical legacy. I can find no better way to open that discussion by turning to a modern-day radical in his own right. And I have seen Captain Paul Watson say a lot of this about Madiba before, and it bears repeating:

Where is the the Palestinian Mandela, they ask; the Pakistani Mandela

Photo taken crom "Gallery Ezakwantu". Read their page.
Way too often, people ask "Where is the Palestinian Mandela?" Or the Palestinian Gandhi. Or the Pakistani Mandela. Well, they're most probably where Mandela was at a comparable point in his journey: being tortured in prison.

A friend posted this morning on Facebook seeming to say that assassinations, dronings, torture, detention, etc. are what prevent us from having the next Mandela.

 But those were the tactics that formed and groomed him in the first place. Nelson Mandela (or, for that matter, Gandhi or Dr. King) did not achieve their potential by sitting comfortably; they went to jail and took the beatings and the torture and whatnot. That process killed some who could also have been great--Steve Biko comes to mind. In other parts of Africa, Lumumba comes to mind. And further still Allende. But they also gave us Mandela. And Thambo. And Sissulu. And Mbeki. And Zuma. And Ramaphosa. And on and on and on.

The best way to honour the life and struggle of this father of ours (as Jacob Zuma described him yesterday) is for us, who claim a conscience, to find tomorrow's Mandela and do what the world did with Mandela: recognize them and provide a support structure. In the palestinian case, if someone gets too pushy I sometimes throw out the name of Marwan Barghouti, for example. He's in jail for a murder conviction just like Mandela was. I can give you names from Pakistan, too...

Who would you mention? Let's get a list going?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Kamran Pasha on The Pope—and the Islamic System, so to speak

As I have mentioned elsewhere, over the last few years, I have come to greatly respect Kamran Pasha who, if you haven't heard of him yet, is a successful Hollywood writer with a South Asian background. He's written for The Twilight Zone, Kings, Tron: Uprising, and even Nikita. But where I discovered him and found most compelling was Sleeper Cell, a series he was writer and co-producer for over 2 years. If you haven't seen it, do; especially if 24 left you feeling so much more could be done with that genre in terms of educating the public. (Not that I am not a fan of 24, but I digress.) I mention Kamran Pasha because today, he posted something on Facebook that you really should read—it's a great description of the social and economic system of Islam. No, not the "Islam is the solution" of the Islamists, but what mainstream, moderate Muslims have believed for centuries, if not a millenium and a half. Required reading for all; Muslims, non-Muslims, curious folk, or even if you think you kinda know Islam and Muslims and don't like what you know:

Monday, November 25, 2013

On #Drones and #ImranKhan/the #PTI's Blocking #NATOSupplies

I am self-consciously a Pakistani-American and my opposition to the Drones actually has never been either about how many "terrorists" (note the quotes) were killed or about sovereignty because I was *NEVER* convinced that the Pakistani government and establishment (aka "deep state" aka "secuity state/establishment") was not at least acquiescent if not approving.

The problem with drones, IMHO, has always been along the lines of due process and the collateral deaths issue--and what it does to the *PEOPLE* of Pakistan and how they see it.

And I am not a supporter of the PTI--in fact, my position on this issue has been that the PTI has not taken up an organized and sustained--not just a dharna here and a dharna there--movement against them. I don't follow in detail, but what happened to the dharna outside the UN? That should have started years ago and been non-stop.

And having said that, now that the PTI is doing something I say we give them some space. The problem with the PTI has never been ideas or sincerity, it's been implementation and ideology. Let's give them space to see how and what they do and how far they can take it.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

On Iftar

Nobody posted pix of the food at the
White House Iftar?!!
This is the only kind of pic I could find.
There are two ways to break the fast, and the difference has to do with personal preference and physiology:

My mother is of the school that likes to break the fast and have a full meal immediately, and THEN pray.

I, on the other hand, cannot eat a full meal immediately, so I go with the traditional "iftar" first. This consists of a favorite hydration source—we South Asians are partial to a rose/rosemary drink sold under the brand "Rooh Afza" [which means "soul refresher/uplifting"], but I'd think the average American might just as well

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Quick thoughts on Reza Aslan on Fox News; Your Brain on Infotainment

Apropos of the video clip circulating of a Fox News interviewer getting it very wrong, as most in my circles see it, with Reza Aslan. I have said this myself at various times, and agree with those who say that anyone that thinks of Fox (or, for that matter MSNBC, CNN, etc.) as news rather than infotainment has what in the computer industry we call a PEBKAC issue [Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair].

However, Fox et al are infotainment and as a pop culture phenomenon, they do have impact on the conventional wisdom. That needs watching.

Personally, I actually didn't feel that this was Fox's worst.