Monday, December 17, 2012

From Newton, Conn. to Afghanistan

I have deep sympathy for the victims of the school killings in Newton, Connecticut. However, I must reserve greater sympathy for those Afghan families that are butchered in silence by American drones. They are not mourned by the world, nor even noticed by the media. If they are anything at all, they are mere statistics.

Yet their lives are equally worth living; the same blood flows in their veins and the same flesh adorns their skeletons.

We should remember to mourn - as the world mourns for the families of Newton - for murdered Afghan men, women and children. It's just that, in this case, a strenuous effort of the imagination will be required to conjure up the grief we shall never see.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Individualism, And The Dog (Satire)

The liberality of the American public in bestowing pecuniary favours on the animals in a Kabul zoo betrays the preference for animals over humans in western civilisation. This satire takes a look at the western obsession with animals. 


"Now for the political reason, and this is closely tied to the historical. Animals, we have noted, are all of a piece, and so are birds: a myna is a myna is a myna. Association with the dog began just before the imperial expansions – before the ‘discovery’ and destruction of the ‘Red’ Indians, for instance. By identifying with a lesser creature – the dog – the European was able to assuage his guilt at the torment of an equal – the human being in North America or Africa. By being kind to the former, he could be savage with the latter. Notice the case of the Afghans: people are individuals, and that’s a fact that Americans did not wish to take into account. Animals are uniform: they are the same in every hemisphere. Marjan could equally have been an American lion. Not so the Afghan – heaven forbid! She is Muslim, veiled, says her prayers five times a day, wears her hair long, and has never seen the inside of a Wal-Mart store."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ronald Reagan Hosts the Mujahideen

I just couldn't resist sharing this picture - it reveals so much! The Americans and jihadis worked together during the Afghan war. Even today, the Americans are using jihadis against regimes in Libya and Syria. Furthermore, it was Reagan, not General Zia-ul Huq (who was merely carrying out orders) who radicalised Pakistan. The Taliban were deployed by American oil interests - then something seemed to have gone awry.

So here's the picture: enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Innocent and The Beautiful (short story)

(click above for short story)

Zafar Shah encounters both the CIA and jihadis in this story. The murder of nearly two million children through UN sanctions in Iraq may be ignored by collaborators, but not by the resistance. Even the beautiful has been corrupted, and the innocents killed.


On this fateful day, I spotted her on road 9A, waiting for her usual trishaw. There was traffic on the road, but I stayed focused. She was in a red-and-black shalwar-kameez, her arms bare, revealing teasingly her white shoulders and armpits. Then our eyes met: fortunately I looked away, and watched with horror a man, pillion-riding on a motorcycle, raise a knife towards Maryam.
"Marayam, get down!" I screamed, and ran towards the bike. The knife missed, as she ducked. The bike wove between the vehicles, and disappeared.
"That was close, Maryam," I said, panting, as I reached her crouching figure. She was weeping.
"They tried to kill me!" she repeated. It was as if she couldn't believe that they would try to kill her.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Misogyny in the Middle East?

If there were hatred and misogyny in the Middle East, surely they would show up as physical violence aganist women. Yet, according to the World Development Report of 1993, the number of DALYs lost for women to violence (and even self-inflicted violence) was the lowest in the world. The only scourge of the Arab woman was war. Figures repeatedly show some of the lowest rape statistics in the world: that's not hard to understand. Most rapes in developed countries are date rapes; since boys and girls don't mix in Arab (and Musim and Hindu) countries, the incidence of rape is low. On the other hand, date rapes and campus rapes in places like the United States show a high degree of misogyny. 

Herbert West wanted in Bangladesh

The opposition wants the government to produce Ilyas Ali, who must be dead and, hopefully, buried by now. We, the people, suffer. How can the government resuscitate a corpse? The only recourse I know of is to enlist the help of 'Herbert West, Reanimator'. As the title implies, he could bring the dead back alive. But the last I heard of him was that he was being pursued by some vengeful zombies he had 'resuscitated'. Will the opposition settle for a zombie? As far as we are concerned, the entire political class can be dead and buried, with no hope of reanimation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vercingetorix And Doofus Dignity (essay)

Vercingetorix And Doofus Dignity

(click above for essay)

Vercingetorix was the leader of the Gauls who dared to rebel against the mighty Roman Republic. Irrational? Sure, but also dignified. The pursuit of dignity often entails the irrational. But we in Bangladesh are no "doofuses" like the great Vercingetorix – we are rational, and without an atom of self-respect or dignity.


"Take my compatriots. Ever since Mir Zafar betrayed the last Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Dawlah, we have been a rational people. At the Battle of Plassey, the former sold his honour, his country and his ruler to the British. A force of 3,000 went on to defeat a force of 50,000, and the Nawab was ferreted out and executed. Now, there's a real doofus for you. If he had supinely allowed the British to go on building their fort in Calcutta, turning a blind eye to the obvious, and selling his loyalty after an agreed-upon interval, well, he would never have found a place in the hearts of the common people, as he has with the superb popular play enacted in the countryside, but he would have died in a silken bed. After all, you can't eat glory and heroism. Posthumous applause is posthumous. "