Amir Khan Under Fire Over “Intolerance” in India; Black Friday in Pakistan; Russia-Turkey Conflict in Syria; PPP’s Asim Husain Charged

Why did Bollywood Amir Khan talk about “intolerance” in India? Why did Hindu Nationalists attack him so furiously over it? Did they prove their intolerance by their rabid reaction?

What is Thanksgiving in America? What is Black Friday about? Why is Black Friday happening in Pakistan?

Why did Turkey shoot down down a Russian warplane at Syria border? Was it really violating Turkish airspace? Or was it attacking Turkish supported anti-Assad forces? How will this complicate fight international fight against ISIS (Daish)?

Why are Sindh Rangers and NAB vigorously pursuing PPP leaders Dr. Asim Husain and Sharjeel Memon? How will this affect PPP governance and corruption in Sindh? How will it shape civil-military ties and politics in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)


https://vimeo.com/147199858



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Amir Khan Under Fire; Black Friday in Pakistan... by ViewpointFromOverseas
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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 12, 2015 at 9:39pm

Look Who’s Going To #Pakistan After Telling Opponents to "Go to Pakistan" #India #Modi #BJP #Swaraj https://shar.es/1GgYGF via @sharethis

As “go to Pakistan” quickly went from curse to foreign policy initiative, we woke up to find India’s foreign minister in Islamabad, rather than all those “Modi-baiters” and “beef-eaters”. It is a good moment to recap what has comprised a policy on the western neighbour all these months that this BJP-led government has been in charge in New Delhi.
Wounded Tiger, journalist Peter Oborne’s history of cricket and nationhood in Pakistan, recalls how Pakistan came to play its first Test series as an ICC nation in 1952 in India. India must have had supreme confidence at the time to have allowed this just five years after a bloody Partition. It has also been a long time since A.B. Vajpayee, in Parliament, alluded to a visit to the washroom by an eminent MP, who is a peacenik and frequent traveller to the Indo-Pak border, as one to Pakistan. Pandemonium followed, as Pakistan as a term for the washroom was a familiar insult.

Much distance has been travelled since, comprising bus journeys, infiltration, track twos, wars and four-point peace plans. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks brought Pakistan back to the centrestage, but some deft handling in India prevented it from becoming a vicious part of domestic politics, in a way that happened periodically, to obliquely refer to Indian Muslims. But that detente effectively ended with the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign. In his articulate and sharp campaign, the current prime minister urged the former UPA 2 government to “doob maro, doob maro (go drown yourselves)” for even meeting Pakistani ministers and officials. In that context, the invitation to the Pakistan PM in May last year was a surprise, but since then, references to Pakistan had harked back to a much earlier time-frame. Until, of course, “go to Pakistan” was taken literally by none else than the affable foreign minister.
The desire to re-hyphenate with Pakistan has been witnessed over the past 20 months or so. Pakistan has become the most domestic of foreign policy issues and the most foreign of domestic policy ones. Senior ministers, MPs and other leaders, with clockwork regularity, urged Indians of a certain description to “go to Pakistan”. Totally unmindful of the enormous hurdles the Pakistan high commission has strewn in the way of the most willing travellers to Pakistan, cabinet ministers and ruling party MPs kept urging departures. Union Minister Giriraj Singh started the trend early, when he said at an April 2014 rally that Narendra Modi’s critics would “have to go to Pakistan”.
The calls to travel came regularly after that, and the BJP president even suggested this year that a fireworks party might break out in Pakistan if the BJP lost Bihar.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 23, 2015 at 7:40pm

Here are excerpts of a NY Times piece by Pankaj Mishra on Hindu Nationalism:

Since Mr. Naipaul defined it, the apocalyptic Indian imagination has been enriched by the exploits of Hindu nationalists, such as the destruction in 1992 of the 16th-century Babri Masjid mosque, and the nuclear tests of 1998. Celebrating the tests in speeches in the late 1990s, including one entitled “Ek Aur Mahabharata” (One More Mahabharata), the then head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the National Volunteers Association, or R.S.S), the parent outfit of Hindu nationalists, claimed that Hindus, a “heroic, intelligent race,” had so far lacked proper weapons but were sure to prevail in the forthcoming showdown with demonic anti-Hindus, a broad category that includes Americans (who apparently best exemplify the worldwide “rise of inhumanity”).

A Harvard-trained economist called Subramanian Swamy recently demanded a public bonfire of canonical books by Indian historians — liberal and secular intellectuals who belong to what the R.S.S. chief in 2000 identified as that “class of bastards which tries to implant an alien culture in their land.” Denounced by the numerous Hindu supremacists in social media as “sickular libtards” and sepoys (the common name for Indian soldiers in British armies), these intellectuals apparently are Trojan horses of the West. They must be purged to realize Mr. Modi’s vision in which India, once known as the “golden bird,” will “rise again.”

Mr. Modi doesn’t seem to know that India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture. The psychic wounds Mr. Naipaul noticed among semi-Westernized upper-caste Hindus actually date to the Indian elite’s humiliating encounter with the geopolitical and cultural dominance first of Europe and then of America.

These wounds were caused, and are deepened, by failed attempts to match Western power through both mimicry and collaboration (though zealously anti-Western, Chinese nationalism has developed much more autonomously in comparison). Largely subterranean until it erupts, this ressentiment of the West among thwarted elites can assume a more treacherous form than the simple hatred and rejectionism of outfits such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban. The intellectual history of right-wing Russian and Japanese nationalism reveals an ominously similar pattern as the vengeful nativism of Hindu nationalists: a recoil from craving Western approval into promoting religious-racial supremacy.

-------


The fantasies of racial-religious revenge and redemption that breed in Western suburbs as well as posh Indian enclaves today speak of a vast spiritual desolation as well as a deepening intellectual crisis. Even Mr. Naipaul briefly succumbed to the pathology of mimic machismo he had despised (and, later, also identified among chauvinists in Muslim countries). He hailed the vandalizing by a Hindu mob of the Babri Masjid mosque in 1992, which triggered nationwide massacres of Muslims, as the sign of an overdue national “awakening.”

There are many more such nonresident Indians in the West today, vicariously living history’s violent drama in their restless exile: In Madison Square Garden, in New York, last month, more than 19,000 people cheered Mr. Modi’s speech about ending India’s millennium-long slavery. ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/opinion/pankaj-mishra-nirandra-mo...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 31, 2015 at 9:30am

Why #ISIS has potential to be a world-altering revolution — How can it be stopped? #terrorism #Syria 

https://aeon.co/essays/why-isis-has-the-potential-to-be-a-world-alt... … via @aeonmag


‘Virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue…’

Maximilien Robespierre, On the Principles of Political Morality (1794)

As pundits and politicians stoked the recent shootings in California into an existential threat; as French troops were deployed in Paris; as Belgian police locked down Brussels, and US and Russian planes intensified air attacks in Syria following yet another slaughter perpetrated in the name of the so-called Islamic State, it was easy to lose sight of a central fact. Amid the bullets, bombs and bluster, we are not only failing to stop the spread of radical Islam, but our efforts often appear to contribute to it.

What accounts for the failure of ‘The War on Terror’ and associated efforts to counter the spread of violent extremism? The failure starts with reacting in anger and revenge, engendering more savagery without stopping to grasp the revolutionary character of radical Arab Sunni revivalism. This revival is a dynamic, countercultural movement of world-historic proportions spearheaded by ISIS, (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). In less than two years, it has created a dominion over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres and millions of people. And it possesses the largest and most diverse volunteer fighting force since the Second World War.

What the United Nations community regards as senseless acts of horrific violence are to ISIS’s acolytes part of an exalted campaign of purification through sacrificial killing and self-immolation: Know that Paradise lies under the shade of swords, says a hadith, or saying of the Prophet; this one comes from the Sahih al-Bukhari, a collection of the Prophet’s sayings considered second only to the Qu’ran in authenticity and is now a motto of ISIS fighters.

This is the purposeful plan of violence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-anointed Caliph, outlined in his call for ‘volcanoes of jihad’: to create a globe-spanning jihadi archipelago that will eventually unite to destroy the present world and create a new-old world of universal justice and peace under the Prophet’s banner. A key tactic in this strategy is to inspire sympathisers abroad to violence: do what you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are, whenever possible.

To understand the revolution, my research team has conducted dozens of structured interviews and behavioural experiments with youth in Paris, London and Barcelona, as well as with captured ISIS fighters in Iraq and members of Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria). We also focused on youth from distressed neighbourhoods previously associated with violence or jihadi support – for example, the Paris suburbs of Clichy-sous-Bois and Épinay-sur-Seine, the Moroccan neighbourhoods of Sidi Moumen in Casablanca and Jamaa Mezuak in Tetuán.

While many in the West dismiss radical Islam as simply nihilistic, our work suggests something far more menacing: a profoundly alluring mission to change and save the world.

In the West, the seriousness of this mission is denied. Olivier Roy, usually a deep and subtle thinker, wrote last month in Le Monde that the Paris plotters represent most who flock to ISIS; they are marginal misfits largely ignorant of religion and geopolitics, and bereft of real historical grievances. They ride the wave of radical Islam as an outlet for their nihilism because it’s the biggest and baddest countercultural movement around. And how else could one explain a mother who abandons her baby to die butchering innocents in San Bernadino who never did her harm?

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 31, 2015 at 10:46am

Why #ISIS has potential to be a world-altering revolution — How can it be stopped? #terrorism #Syria

https://aeon.co/essays/why-isis-has-the-potential-to-be-a-world-alt... … via @aeonmag

Treating the Islamic State as merely a form of terrorism or violent extremism masks the menace. All novel developments are ‘extremist’ compared with what was the norm before. What matters for history is whether these movements survive and thrive against the competition. For our singularly self-predatory species, success has depended on willingness to shed blood, including the sacrifice of one’s own, not merely for family and tribe, wealth or status, but for some greater cause. This has been especially true since the start of the Axial Age more than two millennia ago. At that time, large-scale civilisations arose under the watchful gaze of powerful divinities, who mercilessly punished moral transgressors – thus ensuring that even strangers in multiethnic empires would work and fight as one.


Call it ‘god’ or whatever secular ideology one prefers, including any of the great modern salvational -isms: colonialism, socialism, anarchism, communism, fascism and liberalism. In Leviathan (1651), Thomas Hobbes deemed sacrifice for a transcendent ideal ‘the privilege of absurdity to which no creature but man is subject’. Humans make their greatest commitments and exertions, for ill or good, for the sake of ideas that give a sense of significance. In an inherently chaotic universe, where humans alone recognise that death is unavoidable, there is an overwhelming psychological impetus to overcome this tragedy of cognition: to realise ‘why I am’ and ‘who we are’.

In The Descent of Man (1871), Charles Darwin cast this devotion as the virtue of ‘morality… the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy’ with which winning groups are better endowed in history’s spiralling competition for survival and dominance. It is the sacred values, immune to material tradeoffs, that bind us most. In any culture, an unwillingness to sell out one’s kin or religious and political brotherhoods and motherlands is the line we usually will not cross. Devotion to these values can drive successes which are out of all proportion to expected outcomes.

Asymmetric operations involving spectacular killings to destabilise the social order is a tactic that has been around as long as recorded history

Often these values, tethered to beliefs such as our ‘God is great, bodiless but omnipotent’ or our ‘free markets are always wise’, are attributed to Providence or Nature. They can never be verified by empirical evidence, and their meaning is impossible to pin down. The term ‘sacred values’ intuitively denotes religious belief, as when land is holy, but can also include the ‘secularised sacred’ such as the ‘hallowed ground’ of Gettysburg or the site of the attacks on New York City of 11 September 2001 (9/11). The foundational beliefs of the great ideological -isms and the quasi-religious notion of the Nation itself have been ritualised in song and ceremony and sacrifice.

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