28.5.17

Will June be the End of May?

Mainstream electoral politics is getting interesting in the UK these days, scary at times, with small willy terrorism and big willy counter terrorism ensuring that security politics will play themselves out over the next few week. The dynamism is not just confined to the Muslim kooky sideshows for once, through there are plenty of those, from Salma Yaqoob vs Naz Shah in Bradford West to Ajmal Masroor vs Rushanara Ali in Bethnal Green by Bro and even George Galloway vs Afzal Khan for Manchester Gorton.

Although there are great signs of political maturation and movement, just looking at MEND's rather useful tabulation of Muslim populations per constituency, there are plenty of very Muslim peopled constituencies with really whitewing Labour MPs.

No, the excitement is the growing political horizon of hope articulated by Corbynjaan's manifesto [pdf], encouraging poll (game) evidence and a terrible Conservative campaign which just gets worse the more Theresa May opens her mouth, thinks or has her photograph taken. It is almost as if the establishment had already thrown all of its stash of petrol bombs at Corbyn before the General Election was called.

A Labour government headed by Corbyn would face the risk of anti Corbyn, anti Left and anti Muslim elements stabbing him in the back and the front, sodding all the consequence just for their narrow interest. Prime Minister Corbyn would be a  blessing for so many people struggling every day. Imagine, just over two years ago...

A May continuity  and landslide would be a nightmare, Prevent on steroids, superficiality in general, oppression of the poor, sick and elderly. It is incredible to think that this person studied geography.

29.4.17

Sunamganj 2017 Floods Arrive Early and possibly Radioactively: Resource Page

Donate sacks of rice et al via Mushtaq Ahmad's JustGiving page.

The community of farmers around Shanir Haor in Sunamganj desperately toiled for weeks moving earth with their own hands to fix a dam by themselves, often in the pouring rain, to protect their crops from early inundation and ruination. What timely assistance they had from the Water Board or  Engineering Colleges speaks volumed about the configuration of science, technology, society and economy in our part of the world.

Given all the environmental changes and human forces at play, we really need to observe, think, communicate and invest better. Sunamganj District, where about 2.5 milllion people live, is getting better connected to itself and the rest of the country these days. It isn't exactly an agricultural breadbasket, but plays an important role in the stone industry, which feeds into construction and is full of beautiful wetlands, songs and spirituality.

The farmers of Shanir Haor were unsucessful in stopping the water and as the water came in those with the physical power salvaged what they could of their  unripened paddy. Its sad because in this part of desh, you only really get one crop. National electronic media picked this up in the videos below.




Rotting crops release toxins which kill fish upon whom many also economically rely. However, this spring, the extent of fish deaths and animal deaths up the food chain have raised concerns that uranium mining upstream in India is poisoning the Bangladesh end of the Surma Valley. The Uranium mine is 3 miles into India in a place called Ranikhor, Meghalaya.

This is a holding page which will be updated as I am. Feel free to a your own updates in the comments.




29.3.17

22.3.17

#JusticeforTahirAlam is justice for us all

Oh Knower of Subtleties, Master of Judgement, Just and Mighty Avenger, Protecting Friend and Everlasting Source of Life, strengthen the spines, bonds and arguments of the defamed, humiliated

It has been a few years since an extraordinary sh!tstorm was kicked up by the government and establishment press regarding schools in predominantly Muslim areas in Birmingham and the words Trojan Horse. This storm provided important political capital for British neocon politician and one time Education Secretary/Vandal Michael Gove (whose jaundiced treatise Celsius 7/7 even had a chapter called "Trojan Horse"). It is worth considering the role of the event in politically underwriting the deepening of the Preventitude State enveloping Muslims in this Cartographically United But Crumbling Queendom.

High impact letter writing

In case you've been living under a rock for the past five years, education institutions are now legally obliged to snoop, confuse and grass up students they reckon are at risk to council securocrats. Find me a defence of Prevent that doesn't draw on Trojan Horse imagery.

Operation Trojan Horse saw technocrats and hacks making mincemeat exegeses of WhatsApp group messages between rudeboy types, and the common sense being constructed that all Muslim community organisation in education was suspicious and deserved destruction. While some people are always going to be as thick as pigsh!t, incompetent and/or easy tools to manipulate, the damage political opportunists have wrought with this, to other people's futures is extraordinary. Imagine that your school was colonially invaded, dragged through the mud and dumped on because of the anti Muslim arrogance and prejudice of state institutions and politicians? Now try and sit some public exams that count.

The affair consumed the reputations and educations of hundreds of mainly young Muslim people, stigmatised and scarred by the disaster, which carries the hallmarks of the collaborative skullduggery of people with professional and political axes to grind. People with life experience of such axes in school governance, local authorities, central government or politics might easily empathise with more creative explanations regarding who really wrote the Trojan Horse letter that sparked it all off.

The importance of fighting back, not rolling over and dying

Since 15th March, one of the professionals ruined by the Trojan Horse/Hoax saga, Tahir Alam, has been having his appeal heard by the Educational Tribunal at the Royal Courts of Justice against the ban imposed on him by the Education Secretary from involvement in any schools for 'Violating British Values'. Tahir Alam is widely acknowledged as a wide minded, decent, hardworking and honest educationist in the Muslim community and has done a lot to develop community engagement with education in this country. This is why his crowdjustice funding campaign has raised so much. It is widely felt that he was the primary target of the whole bureaucratic assassination operation.

The Tribunal will make public evidence and alternative understandings of the current establishment view of one of the most important political attacks on Muslim community organising in the past decade. There are a few days left until the hearing ends, Court 23 generally.

I doubt whether corporate media editors will cut their pet Muslim reporters and/or radicalisation hacks some slack on this, but I hope people of justice will take this on, just like many did in order to campaign for the release of poet Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad from supermax detention in the US.

Long term we need sophisticated, mature and distributed expertise in educational institutional development and legal defence, this tough legal-political battle is definitely a good one for learning and connecting the dots. 

 


23.1.17

[New Word] Hypotechknowcrisy

Killing off technological futures under the ruse of a self serving doctrine of domination.

For example, the UKs continuing program of Weapons of Mass Destruction looks even more hopeless with the cover-up of the 20th June Trident missile test failure. Contrast the gravity of analysis an ridicule with Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Photoshopping of their own launch imagery back in 2008.

More plentiful example, the technologicide of Bretton Woods loan conditionalities in the colonial periphery.

see related;

technologicide

14.1.17

[New Word] Epistepollogy

A form of knowledge in which an opinion poll commissioned by a wanker from a market research company as part of a strategy of general conceit and malevolence is sacrosanct.

31.12.16

The Big Sufippointment

One winter, three thousand miles west of here,
Somewhere in a city on the occupied Turtle Island
While the aspirant Mourgeoisie bathed in the warm white glow of acceptability and Convention
A Great White Shayk basically dethroned himself in two acts,
To the clarified ghee of Pavlov's dearly beloved kuttahs
Who actually clapped.

Not so fresh off the luxury plane
From a petro moronarchy's playground game
Shayk elaborated the crises of 'The Muslim Brain'.

With what one might charitably describe as an ironic prescience and privilege.

Within days, the deadly worlds of Developmentia, Preventitude and Neoliberalistan
Stank, closed ranks and sang in the new Gregorian year.

Depoliticised by years of rather whiney anaesthetainment,
Confused brown musalmugs ran for (their iPhone) covers.
Some sought solace In The Shade of the Traditional Trees
In a battle for memory, power, pacifier and mediocrity.

"Say something nice or shut up"
"Black on Black crime statesticals, Black friendly vouchers.."
13th Ammendment Documentary.
"Metaphysical osmosis"
"Stop this unedifying lynchmob"
Whiteous indignation much?
And  our old favourite,
 "you're overreacting"
From the autodismissive
Bending light to autoforget. 

Meanwhile, in a gilded ivory trashcan, 
A Fake White Knight, smiled at the opportunity.
And videos kept getting pulled from youtube

The Ummahtic car crash is not rare,
Nor something overnight.
May this mass witnessing of whiteness open futures.


23.12.16

Bengal Famines Resource Page

It is hard to imagine the suffering and degradation of famine and how it continues to transform the spiritual, technological and intellectual traditions and futures that we nurture.  When I read about famines of Bengal, at one level I wonder about all the friends and relatives I am missing out on, but also now the learning and teaching value of these disasters and what they demand of the decolonial eco-politics that remains in our dreams. 

It is a peculiar, dizzying and colonial wound and bind. So I'm putting together this work-in-progress resource page to raise awareness, and creative resistance to the criminal individuals and infrastructures of arrogance celebrated by the new five pound note pictured below. 



Progress is wider and higher recognition of the Bengal Famine of 1943 in the story Britain tells itself and the world about World War 2. I do not celebrate indentured foot soldiers of white supremacy as British Asian or British Indian or British Muslim history worth celebrating, though I wish them well in the afterlife.

Petniti: The Practical and Epistemic politics of hunger 

A lot of decision-making still occurs in the mental shadows of famine. From adopting problematic agricultural technologies pushed at us as solutions to famine and climate doom, to acquiescing to tyrannical political relations just to survive/thrive, from falling into overpopulation-thinking, to taking that job that probably messes the world up further. Putting food on the table has a different meaning when political, economic and nutritional stunting is so apparent. Its even in the language.

The term petniti, which we use in Bangla to capture the politics (rajniti) of filling one's own stomach (pet), opens up new horizons of  manipulation, which we can call developmentshire. Developmentshire comes into being not just in the conventional case of a donor, an implementing organisation and their hapless victim, but in the of knowledge itself, religion, war and art. 

Developmentshire is a space configured by three main actors [Source: Developmentia Blog].

The region we call Bengal has hosted famines for millennia. In 3rd century BC Mahastangarh (near Bogra) we have evidence of government relief efforts. The intensity of famines upon the arrival of colonial systems of exploitation, and transition states has been of another order altogether, the three most awful of which are
  • The Great Bengal Famine of 1769-70, which unfolded alongside the rise of the British East India Company. 10 million, or a third of the then population is though to have died.
  • The Bengal Famine of 1943, which took place alongside British colonial policies of denial. An estimated 3.5 million lost their lives. 
  • The Bangladesh Famine of 1974 occurred in the context of the aftermath of the Bangladesh war. Some estimate a million died, though the official number is 26 000 [Beware of number politics in this period]. [Source: Banglapedia]



The Resources

Eventually this section will include videos, podcasts, online books, the odd article and hopefully some primary sources.


The Great Bengal Famine, 1769-70



The Bengal Famine, 1943

Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History [ online text] by G M Polya (2008)

Placing the Great Bengal Famine in the Global Context [online video lecture] by Madhusree Mukherjee (2011)


The Bangladesh Famine, 1974

An Unfashionable Tragedy [online documentary] by John Pilger (1974)



General Famines literature

Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation [online text] by Amartya Sen (1981)

Ingredients of Famine Analysis: Availability and Entitlements [online text] by Amartya Sen ( 1981)

14.9.16

The (march of the) Two Million

Haunting the boundaries
With indeterminate zeal
Like pastoralist northern Nigerians,
Unsettling the calculations
Of their settled southern partners
in nation building.

Newton says a lot of things
Some might say he's straight talking
But these ghosts only come out
at night, or Brexit.
Oh shit where did they go?

4.9.16

Mir Quasem Ali's execution and the tale of two Bangladeshs

Liberating Nadiya 
I was watching the Chronicles of Nadiya recently and thinking about representations of Bangladesh in the international media, what they are, who they work for and what is actually real about them.

Reading about Bangladesh in most places you might think that the government there was a strong partner in The War on Terror, developing its people and that the only injustice was coming from the direction of deranged Muslims. Give or take a bit of white right left liberal frosting. That's the fiction that the Foreign Minister of the Occupied Turtle Island John Kerry dwelt in on his recent visit to the country. Its the fiction that people like Tahmima Anam write about and that Jeremy Corbynjaan says he reads, Lord guide him.

Begum Nadiya is real, talented, lovely, being commodified, and growing in agency and brilliance. Britain needs a good Muslim story to offset the awful ones and its mutating Islamophobia and she's generating feelings, even tears, of love among many. The Chronicles are well-shot two-parter that in my mind valourises the creative genius of our mothers and aunts and takes us on a trip from the mystical-material shini of the gonj, with kissing otters to the urban dystopias of culinarily challenged elite NGO workers and the North-South University ghetto.

I am all for integration. Therefore I wonder what meal I would cook up for the country's political prisoners in Kashempur and Dhaka Central Jail's, and their families, not to mention those of the assassinated, massacred and disappeared? After all, we usually recognise the vertical and the horizontal when we cook and eat, as well as when we see.

Who are you calling a one party state?
Over the past few months many have been enthusiastic to call Turkey a one party state. More recently we have observed Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov, who presided over the 2005 Andijan Massacre, transition towards a state of divine accountability. Karimov was a strong partner in the war on terror, and backed by The War on Terriors all the way, ex-British diplomat Craig Murray has a blog pretty much dedicated to this in all its colonial detail.

Well, desh actually IS a one party state, in which the state gets away with murders most foul, and the stench trail reaches well into these (English) shores: int development, culture and the political establishment . Every year, the British government puts a quarter of a billion into the hands of the country's NGOs. The niece of the Prime Minister is a sitting Labour Party MP.

In 2014, the ruling Awami League ran the fakest general election in the country's history, possibly giving the British Labour party purge a run for its money in the ridiculousness department. It was so fake that they had to ask their coalition ally, The Jatiya Party to form a pretend opposition whilst they blocked political gatherings by their political opponents by blockading their homes with trucks filled with sand [watch here].  This is a regime that massacres people,  most heart-breakingly during the Dhaka Massacre, which claimed the lives of countless unarmed sit-in protesters as they slept and prayed in the early hours of 6th May 2013 [archive here]. This is a regime which has introduced new legislation to enforce a self-serving and rather lobotomising perspective on history as national liberation delivery.

The Judicial Murder of Mir Quasem Ali
This is a regime that just a few hours ago judicially murdered the media pioneer and philanthropist Mir Quasem Ali, in a blood sacrifice to their Islamophobic [Article] political idol of Bengali Nationalism. His son, Arman or Mir Ahmad Bin Quasem, who was also one of his father's defence barristers, was illegally detained by state agencies on August 9 , nobody knows where they've put him and they are denying holding him [HRW Report].  It is a new level of cruelty that he will (probably) not be able to lead his fathers funeral prayer. Altogether, a sorrowful and terrifying time for the family, who have been on the receiving end of state persecution since the tribunals were established in 2010.

We believe that the ongoing impacts of our deeds continue to benefit us in the after life. Shaheed Mir Quasem Ali was an institution builder in health, media and banking and I'm beginning to learn about how generous in spirit and material he was. In so many ways he embodied the brighter practical side of the country's Political Islam tradition and so my guess is that he is deed rich.

I will write about the case specifics in more depth at a later time,  but two points before dropping some resources at your feet. First off, the tribunal that convicted Mir Quasem is a kangaroo court concerned with killing opposition politicians, manipulating the public and the judiciary, consolidating power and extending hegemony over history, bodies and resources. Secondly,  I'm still not sure how to make truths, restorative justice and reconciliation out of the Bangladesh War, but Yasmin Saikia has got an idea [Video]. The family campaign website is here. David Bergman's hole-prone archive of the tribunals is here. The Tribunal's 2014 judgement in here and the 2012 Skype Scandal is here.

Responses
The early responses from Bangladeshis are mixed, as one would expect. I suspect a lot of people are sick to death with them. The prayerfully sympathetic are asking the Almighty to accept Mir Quasem as a martyr, because he was killed in the path of truth and social service. People on Twitter are expressing solidarity on #WeAreMirQuasemAli and are smaller group is reproducing hatred against him with stale Shahbag-era quotes. My guess is that we will learn a lot more about his work and legacy with time.

Meanwhile the local, tightly monitored media compete with each other for horror honours, putting a new gloss on the term Sustainable Lievelihood Framework. Diaspora Awami League institutions are even more surreal, with ATN Bangla UK broadcasting a pro-government report with hindi melodrama music. Small groups of ultra nationalist hangsters celebrate their Independence and Liberation from Pakistan. With no sense of irony.