31.12.07

A little more on the mess in Pakistan

Cowasjee says,
"As long as Pakistan chooses to remain a serf state, a vassal of the powers that sustain it, both from West and East, it will be a nation of ‘subcontinental monkeys’ who have yet to lose their tails and climb down from the high trees.

How long will this country remain subservient to those who can reason and think?"


Bhutto's 19 year old son and political inheritor (post coming of age) says,
My mother said democracy is best revenge.


Tariq Ali says,
My heart bleeds for Pakistan. It deserves better than this grotesque feudal charade.

29.12.07

[Film] We own the Night et al

Saw 'We own the night' a film about a confrontation between fearless, hard-as-nails russian gangsters and the hapless NY police.

There is a scene where daddy police commissioner is killed protecting his grown up sonny jim badboy turned testifier. It reminded me of an experience my friend had in Bangladesh when he was small, a crowd gathered to listen to a maulana were fired upon by a bunch of raving Awamis (early 1990s).

Fatherhood here was covering your son with your body, being that fence to keep the wild boars at bay, the best you can do given the circumstances. (back to the film)Imagine seeing your father fall protecting you? Anyway that was my moment of the film, it takes place in mid car chase. I DONT BELEIVE IM SPOILING IT FOR YOU, IM JUST POINTING IT OUT.

Oh and in typical layla majnun fashion, the male does all the work(madness,war...) and the female just sits there. Even worse, as soon as the going gets tough she flies away like a bird. What a crap character.

The Russian baddass gangster theme was also present in Eastern Promise released earlier this year, this time set in London. Its the tattoos and effortless administration of pain thats most wincing. Worst of all, the chap doing most of the violence was none other than strider/aragorn from lord of the rings.

Not really films for the hippy inside you.

There's another matter that should probably be pondered about, the assassination. I am waiting for Ardeshir Cowasjee of Dawn to conjure up some words of clarity. Its surprising to see the large amounts of jackass commentary coming from sources both brown, yellow and white. for example,

*New labour wannabe getting history and demographics all muddled and being thick in a vain attempt to promote south asian women MPs.
*Human rights bitches from BD weaving their own victimhood into it, very cheap.
*Crocodile tears shed for 'democracy'.
*The Bastard State expressing its condolences (like anyone cares about you?).

Dramatic events are always spun by folks with political wands. Unfortunately we have become more and more accustomed to swallowing prefabricated opinions from the media. Media which derives legitimacy from imbalanced notions of freedom and stupid mass acceptance.

Damon Albarn from Blur and Gorillas was right to point this out recently. He made the following comments in the context of visiting Mali for a little development tourism.


"At some point in the very near future we are going to have to change our value system so dramatically, and what we deem as important and what we throw away," he explained. "We need to dismantle very significant parts of our culture and really re-examine them. I suppose you start with the celebrity thing."

He added: "There's just so many things I would alter. I think for a start you have to get rid of things like 'The X Factor' immediately."

He also said he wanted to "get rid of 99 per-cent of the media".


Albarn can talk about celebrity because he has grafted for the recognition he has. But where to start...

25.12.07

You're the voice try and understand it...




If you grasped Napoleon Dynamite (2004), check out Hot Rod (2007)

listen/watch to the end of the clip for the best bit.

17.12.07

Bakhtiyar and Begum

Who am I and where am I from?
Who are all these people trying to tell me who I am? Why don't they all just Ff Ff Ffade away?
Is there any value in what they keep sloganeering about?
Can't I just be happy that they are happy, and because they are happy, just be happy by proxy and just get on with it?
Should I worry about the newly Captive Minds, being captured by our governors and our brothers in East and West with varying degrees of taste?

Diaspora? Immigrant? 2nd Gen? Asian? Black and Ethnic Minority? Member of the Diverse Communities? Combustible Muslim Yoof? BrAsian? British Muslim? Muslim Britisher? Aligharian Modernist? Muslim Nationalist? British-Bangladeshi? Bengali Musalman? Progressive Muslim? All India non Indian? Neo-Fundamentalist? Taqwacore? Madanite? Wannabe Hadharami? Harami? Nimuk Haram? Nouveau Manarist? Wannabe Ikhwan uSaffa? Ahlal Sunna wal Jamat? Ijmali? Islamist? Post-Islamist? DeobandoMutazili? Jamati? Tablighi? Ikhwani? Ninjabi? Wahabi? Ouahabi? Salafi? Sufi? Psychosalafi?

I think theres a golden arrow, a Nuron, a particle of inspiration that can help.

Preservation of lineage and dignity is one of the higher objectives of the Path to Water. Not to bang on about and feel superior with, but essentially to connect with the rest of the human race as it is now and as it was before. Being a stranger in a strange land isn't so bad. But not knowing your roots is a situation that we shouldn't encourage. Imagine not knowing who your father is, or not knowing much detail of which part of Africa your ancestors were stolen from.

Its important that the gold touch you ancestrally and avoid dodjy Nationalist contagion, that was instrumental at the time and continues to change sporadically. The gold can bypass a lot of posturing and get to the kernal of what its all about. Its necessarily different for each individual. Anyway, back to the ..topic.

Bakhtiyar - (lit.) Freind of Fortune
Begum - (lit.) Mother of Warriors

Bakhtiyar Khilji is credited with the first Muslim conquest of Bengal, capturing the town of Nadia in 1203 in an audacious raid with 18-odd horsemen. He was a chancer and his plans didn't always work. For example his expedition to Tibet after opening the Ganj kinda went pear shaped. Begum is an honorific title for a woman, not a mother of stagnation, fools and corrupts.

The intention is to present the obvious case that so long as we nurture qualities of akhlaq, learning and fellowship, and keep pushing out the boat of adventure, creativity and innovation, we will be able to take whatever comes our way. A bridging and laddering concept. There's man and woman in these words, not necessarily contained by a single one.

As the great one sang,
"If you know your history, then you will know where you're coming from. Then you wouldn't have to tell me, who the hell do I think I am."

Emphasise quality, adventure and the longer term, downplay petty emotional political gaming, mass media and short term vision. It is foolish to fall for fake forms of prestige.

Maybe our murabbis, and their murabbis did not have a fleet of BMWs and huge properties, but they were rich in dignity. A dignity brought into danger when you hear of yoots mugging murabbis for money to do Allah knows what with. Brought into danger every time someone, somewhere does something stupid and the rest are induced to apologise for people they do not even know.

There is a lot that can be said for B&B, it rolls off the tongue with a nice ring, simply explaining it involves the invocation of honour and bravery. I wonder if it works, i think its rudeboyproof.

16.12.07

And so the Hajis to be sailed out..

The pre Eid and Hajj gatherings and biddings good bye are pretty much over with at the moment. In days gone by the leaver's dinner was a much bigger deal, with much more uncertainty, resources and commitment required to succesfully pull of a 5th pillar of Islam. IF we had the same occasion 50 or 100 year a go, the haji-to-be would be more likely to die.

Its nice to here of people in desh being able to afford to go too. A guy, not a rich man by and stretch of the imagination, from my mothers ancestral district called a few weeks back to say he was on his way and ask if their was anything we wanted him to ask Allah for. For those who struggle to afford it, but shed their buckets of honest, halal sweat to make it, it is a justifyable big deal just to get there. Allah accept their Hajj and distinguish it in award from the fakes and haramis that simulate the sacred pilgimage.

I am well up for sleeping bagging my hajj when it happens, but the nambypambyness of the UK hajj infrastructure and sheer logistical nightmare of the whole thing present practical restraints on the individuals wanderlust. Also my feeling that it should be boycotted until the cities are freed from the clutches of that corpulent bunch of losers (whose only contribution to current world civilisation is the chocolate covered date) is never going to catch on or hold much water in the general scheme of things.

The spatial settlement organisation is interesting. Last year a retournee showed me a map of the areas where the different countries established themselves. Looking at it, the Iranians seemed to have negotiated a good position for themselves. South Asia and Africa could do better.

The age and class profile of a countries hajjis tells you a lot about how we are doing. In Malaysia tha Hajji identity of young men is a big factor in their marriage negotiation power. The south east asian contingent is reknowned for its graceful organisation, preparedness and numbers. From your standard Arabian police states, the young professional adults are discouraged from Hajj, lest they figure out what an Ummah is. Some areas of earth tend to send scary people who will beat you out of the way without even realising that its rude. Some places on earth emit the kind of pilgrims who are so ignorant that they use the lull around the kaaba during prayer times to sneak in Tawafs. Bless.

United Muslim Masses, trying to be patient and maximise their value. All announcing their presence to their Creator. Labayk. I'm here.

Theres a lot of related human activity to Hajj.
  • People going are writing down specific individuals duas to remember in situ. Its not intercession by any means, its one of those things we do whilst tying our own water buffalos.
  • One chap is i know is definately mobile blogging. might link to it here if he says i can.
  • Another chap is doing some disease type research and had published a booklet of tips for a healthy Hajjs. iA the epitome of knowledge of ongoing use.
  • Saudi security forces look comical when they make a show of their strength. I hope the admin perfoms well so everyone can go home with a good story.
  • We are begining to research and sharpen our collective behaviours.
  • Muslim Hands can sort you out with a qurbani nearly anywhere in the Ummah.

10.12.07

Prince Bandar, the Doctor and the Mandarins

So there is a state bank in bangladesh that Saudi Prince Bandar has been taking a very long time to aquire, ignoring government dead lines and all sorts of things. Now he has popped up again halved his price and is whinging to General Moinudeen Ahmed that the Privatisation Commission did not treat him equitably.

Today's New Age quotes the whinge... It's a fairly crap excuse for what looks like a rich person dishonouring an agreement. Oh how i dream of the day when a fine Ghazi would do some justice to a situation like this.
‘The conduct of the PC and other responsible authorities in the finance
ministry and elsewhere has been quite discouraging from the very start. To my
utter disappointment, my team found great resistance in the body of responsible
government authorities to actually conclude my acquisition of the bank. I as an
investor (bringing in the single largest FDI into Bangladesh) was not accorded
equitable treatment,’ reads the letter, signed by the Saudi prince.
The letter identified Dr. Moosa Bin Shamsher as the ‘most trusted long time
friend and business partner’ of Bandar and a catalyst for the Rupali Bank
purchase bid. Media ‘slurs’ on Moosa also hurt the prince, who
described the Bangladeshi national as the ‘great man who has been most
influential in my investment decision, who has been the architect of this
investment.’

I wanted to explore the unstated relations between the Saudi prince, the most trusted long term freind and the country......and the thousands of potentially intriguing reasons why the Bangladeshi beaurocracy would put up such a.... spirited resistance/cock it up. But that was before i googled dr moosa bin shamsher and found a myspace account which blew my mind.

I cannot say whether the good doctor actually made the account. But given my small experience with the ignobility, braggishness and "£%$^%"% of the deshi super rich he just might have. Simultaneously the potential of deshis to pull off studiously coded, harmfull, mischevieous alliances and mind tricks should not be underestimated. Given that the good doctor... or prince appears to be one of these, one could be forgiven for vomitting.

An old dude once told me that poor Arabs from the najd-hijaz area used to end up in Chittagong with the line, 'I am syed, give me money'. How things have changed.

The deshi beaurocracy might have decided to scupper this for any number of reasons. I can only guess. Maybe to cause the govts of the times to 'lose face', because they cant help but bungle things, because they have 'arab' issues, or out of principle. Again drawing on my complex prejudices, the most likely reason seems to be that Prince Bandar didnt feel that the deshis were subservient enough (or important enough to be subservient enough) to him.

Saudi occupied Arabia is what we call it, either that or Saudi America. I dont know what's stranger, the good doctor, the good prince or the privatisation commission.

What a mess.

9.12.07

[Film] The Golden Compass

I liked this film. It was a good accompaniment to my day dream and i am tempted to act against habit and check out the rest of the His Dark Materials Trilogy. Seems to prove that modern fantasy can be executed with style and tasteful homage to the greats (even Jungle Book!). There are plenty of big ideas running through it; of Christian authority, colonial capitalism, knowledge and power. Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Figaro.....Magnifico-o-o-o-o. I do wonder how much of it the kids will get, must quiz some.

My favourite thing about the fantasy lark is the world that is sculpted for the tourist to buy into. Pratchett's Discworld took this the next level, whilst still remaining very familiar indeed. Douglas Adams went intergalactic. Earthly newsmedia by comparison does such a crass job.

As far as I can tell this film explored the idea of the multiverse and soul splitting. Having your soul reside in a pet demon who follows you around is pretty cool, though must be a bit of a bummer in a combat situation. Or rather an escape from combat situation. Your enemy has two targets and I dont even want to think about friendly fire issues. I loved the way the civil servants/Inquisitors' souls' seemed to inhabit insectoid creatures and the academics free thinkers and creatives had altogether more wholesome animals.

Any sefl-respecting fantasy cinematic jive has to pull of a good ruck or two. This is now established Sunnah following the epic battles of LOTR. The two key combat scenes; a one-on-one armoured polar bear duel to the death for kingship that was quite jaw impacting, and a many-on-many battle of tatar foot soldiers vs funky airborne witches and gypsie skirmishers were good value. The author himself must have a good sense of humour. The 'I am your mother' confession near the end was a clear salute to Vader.

I warmed to a lot of the film's quirks. Firstly, Mister hero polar bear reminded me of one of my friends in body shape, gait and loyalty. Accents were great, while the lead little girl, actually had character, spine and brains. She didnt come across as one of those brats that they normally use. This might have something to do with the accent, but normally female characters in films tend to let the whole film down or need saving.

The Golden Compass device at the center of the story is intriguing. It allows you, the special user, to frame any question and get the to truth of the matter. I want one.

Guess i'll have to add that to the list then.

4.12.07

Dude, thats just unreal.

This entry is dedicated to those 'Slims who seem bound by conscience to rebel against the Cool. For your information I AM NOT A FRESHIE.

One of the interesting things i find about habitually warbling on the web is that its pretty much not written with any particular 'field of cultural production' in mind. Or so i thought.

Okay there is the logging of real events that one walks through, some that one doesn't have any idea of and the interaction/playing/baiting with others that one wouldn't ever dream of engaging with in real life. There's also the apprehension of how nasty people are deep down inside of themselves and that the human race is probably doomed.

But on the other hand there are creating people who produce stuff, music, cartoon characters, ideas, resistance and new forms of humour. People who are real, not vying for entry into the Word of Scum (media) living, emitting signals and generally having a laugh.

But folks web 2 was crap, it ain't no vanguard for the 'modern muslim' and its definitely lost its innocence. It promotes vanity, crudeness, superficiality and the taking of positions on matters that are really stupid/pointless/distracting. And thats not just Facebook, I'm talking about myself here. If anything, we need to encourage clarity and real learning (physical books and scholars) not dissentary, blogslip, synchronous political bloghogging and the apemanship of white backslapping paradigms in contexts that just make things worse.

Brass Crescent my brown illiberal unfreely spoken arse, you wanna feel the steel of my Damascan Blade?

Leave me alone bros, do your own thing, show your love in a less naff way and please don't abuse the word 'Ijtihad'. In having done so, you Manjificate yourself.

Please step away from the computer screen and go bugger up capitalism or something. You know, that mutilating beast you may or may not suckle on during working hours.

This post is also dedicated to the inability of some 'Slims to behave with grace in the knowledge that there is any kind of 'credit' to play for. Whether its a degree, an A-level, a professional qualification, other fake and contrived social honours, 'chairmanship', ' 'human rights' bitchin', a stupid award or an election. It is enough to make me, the King, cry into my green tea and cake.

Will you stop being such a bunch of Pakis? I mean ever? is it possible to even hope for such a day to come?

Allahumma ansuril ikhwana almuslimina fi kulli makan fi kulli zaman fi kulli internet!

2.12.07

Conference of the Parties

Mind boggling phenomena, that climate change. political, physical, social, spiritual.
Yet another layer of complexity, on top of what is already happening.

One sad fact of life is how CC logic is spun very depressingly in deshi commonsense. This is for all sorts of reasons (lack of hope/scope). One of them is that the CC case was made first with impacts and mitigation strategies. Whenever i see that early coloured in contour map for the loss of 16% deshi land following x metre sea rise I wonder whats worse, little knowledge or no knowledge or the gap between the disciplines. Of course there will always be a local view for exaggeration and further dependence on the international political red light district.

Now we are onto Adaptation, the actual content flung around the ends of the earth and transformed locally might be hopeful. Over the next 12 days, the climate caravan is in Bali for the UNFCCs CoP 13 where some people will try to do good. Best of luck to them.

There are a few outfits who specialise in the arena, from science for the south types, to policy wonks to humanitarians. Here are some links to their CC resources.

Centre for Science and Environment (India, serious southern scientists, even political ones with balls of steel)
South South North (South Africa, practical types)
Red Cross/Red Crescent (Heroes)
International Institute for Sustainable Development (Canada)
Stockholm Environment Institute (Sweden)
International Institute for Environment and Development (UK)

Of course the different countries are going in with their own intents and much of the fun will be to see who plays with what and how the international science and environment politics unfold.

  • Australia is post regime change. Soft Lefties love the environment right?... but what about social justice? how is their changed diplomatic dance going to impact things and their ex ally in these matters, the Occupied States?
  • India, judging by the CSE preparatory papers for cop are not going to take the eco-charge of 'oi paki, turn off your lights' (thankyou Omid Djalili).
  • Bangladesh. CS Karim, the Bangladesh Agriculture Advisor recently called for the international community to set up an institution of excellence in Bangladesh. Probably the first cringe worthy thing he has come up with, although the rest of his Nov 25th speech really is worth a read.
  • UK, the man Milliband is on fire, one of the highlights of the Brown cabinet. Only beef is that the whole uk approach to CC is that of the civilising missionary.
  • Random nonaligned country to show some moves.

The battle for beurocratised knowledge and war of position on the environment is afoot.

A lot of old wisdoms are coming under new scrutiny. I wouldn't invoke paradigm shift hyperbole at this time. Given the total jacking up of the seasons, some in the development institutions are rethinking the value of recommending agriculture.

For me sitting here, practically this Adaptation issue has more to do with the geography and sociology of ingenuity and technology in different places and at all the scales. When i think about desh, I wonder how dramatically the behaviour and function of the bureaucracy, the engineers, the political community, the scholars, the students, the 'industrialists' and the people needs to 'move' to resolve even the basic problems before CC even enters the equation.

[New word] Manslag

When I read the words bigot and double standard, i reach for my sword.

Manslag is a required term to equate the two species with respect to zina. Some have tried a quaint alternative method, taking control of their bodies. However liberal(quantity) usage of 'Manslag' in choice cases aims to encourage control of nafs and a levelling that doesnt shirk the truth.

28.11.07

Goldfish Nation

There once was a nation
that lived down a well
Ibn Battuta described it
as a blessing filled hell

Therein were a battalion
of dumb headless chickens
who tried to get out
armed only with mittens

Passersby would hear groaning
from this hapless crew
and stop to inquire
for the smell of the poo.

"come save us" they cried
"with your beautiful brains,
development, human rights
genocide, climate change"

to be continued...

26.11.07

Putting the Tamil in MaLayIsTAn

This weekend I saw a strange scene on my TV screen. Indian Malaysians throwing back teargas cannisters at the Malaysian Police, and a Malaysian policeperson totally fluffing up the return kick. Must have been a female.

Malaysia has a lot going for it, three of the cutest races in one country, the indians, the chinese and the Malays. And thats not including the Orang Asli communties who live in the jungle, ironically they are actually the Bumiputra(sons of the soil). There is a saying which basically sums up Malaysian Multiculturalism at its worst.

Chinaman do all the work, Malay take all the credit, Indian get all the blame.

Anyhow, colonial capitalism dealt a very mixed up deck of cards to Malaysia. Through creation of the 'Myth of the Lazy Native' (Alatas) the malays were reduced to planters, and races deemed capable of industrial work brought in to work the colonial engine. In this light i think their are paralels to the deurbanisation and alienation of the Bengali Muslims to British power.

Call it Firingi Forced Ganjification.

The malay equivalent of the ganj is the kampong. Ethic Malays have been getting a lot of affirmatively intended hands up the ladder over the past few decades, anyone else needs to either mobilise their capital and/or work their tails off and hope.

Anyway, Indians, mainly south indians get the rawest deal and the hardest time from the new malaysia. The coolest malaysians i know are the tamil ones. They wanted to vent their spleens at the British High Commission but were not allowed. That was well out of order. What was intriguing was their demand for restitution ( couple of trillion bucks?!?) for having their ancestors endentured over to Malaya in the first place.

Good luck to the raising of their dignity in the national scheme of things. The potential of Malaysian Multiculturalism is much more powerful and hope inspiring than say the British one, mainly because the numbers and the allsinging alldancing wannabe ummahticness of the place.

In the UK the actual numbers of blacks, browns, jews and what not do not tot upto so much. All little groups know that the WASP is in charge and on whose good will they depend. Malaysia's setting, where the ethnic ballance is more chunkily piechartable. The hope is a whole lot more postcolonial and does a lot more for my imagination.

Sort it out folks!!!!

Farish noor has written about this.

22.11.07

Cyclone in Bangladesh

The disaster bureaucracy is in full flow in Bangladesh, as a Cyclone called Sidr was launched from the Andaman (excolonial prison) Islands. Hitting the coastal areas it is presentin some testing times for the people of the land that Khan Jahan opened for Islam. For your historical education you can have a looksie at his splendid city of Khalifiatabad.

Allah grant the dead Jannah, ease the sufferings of the affected communities and make it easy for the workers to perform most ably. Forgive us our wrong doings and help us mend our ways and not repeat them. Thwart the plots of those who would have us forget you, who exploit these openings and guide those who seek you to what is best. Grant us guides like Khan Jahan. Shower the local economies of the people with ingenuity, opportunity and justice. Help us into a position where we do not accept those who reject you as our guardians and protectors. Please remove the people who put thorns in the path of the people and bring forward the day when desh is a source of relief rather than a sink.


Thankfully this is probably the first time desh's cyclone warning system has worked properly, there were days of warning and between 500 000 and 700 000 people were evacuated to the shelters that have been built over the years. However, i have been told that the shelter spacing seems to have been too far apart in some places for some people to get to. The very poor are said to have found it especially difficult to find the will and the way to leave and have born the brunt of it. They are most vulnerable now as food relief takes its time to get to them, having a rubbish rural transport network has not helped.

The human cost is difficult to ascertain at present for a number of reasons. Firstly nobody seriously thinks that the existing census data and settlement mapping resembles that of reality. Secondly and more physically, body counting is hard as its a coastal area and theres water everywhere. Perhaps the number might be known, but the knowers haven't remitted that knowing into the same receptacle. There are hundreds of graves dug every day and just as many janazas. The Red Cresent Bangladesh chap reckons the toll could rise to 10 000.

Interestingly, and maybe just as well for the internal outpour of welfarism even the residents of the capital were affected by the power outage. Every day the papers report this or that organisation suddenly doing something. The Banglalink mobilephone company has fixed up an SMS donation service straight into the Chief Advisors Emergency fund.

Most of the microphilanthropy going on now is undocumented 'give with your right hand so your left hand doesnt know it' type action rather than bombastically, marketed business as usual. The law advisor appealed for these Ansar types to report to local admin as they have lists of the areas that are most needy. So here we edit the ethic to 'give with your right hand so your left doesn't know but have a look at this list, maximise the practical benefit'

Internationally this disaster event has received a lot of attention, publicity and marketing. No change there. The BBC's river boat trip just happened to be around the area, they were journeying around the river network producing content on the countries problems when the storm unfolded. Aljazeera too seemed to be covering it quite a bit, their desh coverage is usually very poor.

This cyclone is seen with more sympathy than the floods, which are so frequent that internationals tend to attribute them more to geographic misfortune, ineptitude and disunity. Thankfully no pseudoscientific git has bought climate change into the debate yet, not that I've been following much. If they did i would have to ritually beat them.

India has decided to lift the ban on the export of rice into the desh. Saudi king pledged 100 million dollars(they always deliver on their word wrt releif), other gulf people splashing the cash, boro shoytan sending in Naval warships to help. NGOs and GoB not coordinated too well. Sheikh Hasina (jailed corrupt political leader) complaining that she isn't able to stand by the suffering people. Its a complicated shcomplicated can of worms, the disaster business.

Just like with Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Aceh and Kashmir, folks here in the UK can show how much they care by praying really hard and specifically for the affected, hitting the streets with buckets, purifying their wealth (yes you wage slaves), creatively lending their skillset to the cause and/or getting there arses over there.

For example, charities like Muslim Aid have established a niche in post disaster rebuilding of housing. Most of our people in desh live in tinsheds and the like, they dont really have much chance of surviving high winds. For the next time its important to build something which fits and is stronger. Their sustained works in Turkey, Aceh, Kashmir over the years makes me figure that theyll come up with something interesting after the releif rush. Now would be a good time for students to study related housing matters generally.

On the topic of hitting the streets with buckets of baraka....

Islamic Relief have planned street and tube collections they urgently require volunteers. These are very positive collective actions that have great positive cascading effects.

NEWHAM BOROUGH STREET COLLECTION on Saturday 24th November
The centre point for picking up/drop off the buckets is Green Street Mosque (88 Green Street E7 8JG)

The address is collection times are 10am-4pm on the following streets:
Green Street, Romford Road, High Street, Manor Park (outside the underground station), Stratford

TUBE COLLECTION on Saturday 1st December
Stations: Aldgate East,Borough, Edgware Road Bakerloo, Edgware Road Circle, Pimlico, Tower Hill, Warren Street

3 people needed per station on following 3 shifts: 8 am – 1 pm, 1 pm – 5 pm, 5 pm – 10 pm

The pick up/drop off point for the buckets will be: Muslim World League, 46 Goodge Street London W1 (nearest tube Goodge Street)

If you would like to help out, please contact Nasrin at Islamic Relief on 02084982099 or email nasrin.sayed@islamic-relief.org.uk confirming what times you are available, and at which stations.

15.11.07

LIP Young Swordsman

Bloggerganj was a place
of unbridled selfworship
when along came one swordsman
and calmed it all down

proof, an ayat
of the potential of wisdom
a char in a river
of presumptuous bile

but the format...
it was distorting of thought!
The Wretched of the Earth
upon his blog fought!

The swordsman thought hard
and considered the plain
Was it worth the headache?
or was it all just in vain?

The option remained
to vacate the space
reducing the risk
of harm and disgrace.

So he raised his great sword
above his great head
crashed it into the earth
and his blog delete-ed

byebhai

13.11.07

Islamic Car

Occasionally somebody somewhere does something that makes me want to simultaneously cry, laugh and hope.

Malaysia, Turkey And Iran are collaborating on producing a car targetted at Muslims. All three of these nations are what I term 'Muslim countries of positive integer value'.

That means they are not aid dependant, unashamed of their religious identity, have not surrendered fully to 'development' and westoxification, have established systems of learning worthy of the 'Islamic' crown and can manufacture something tricky that you might actually want or like.

I cry because i think the idea has a lot to do with my lungi wearing malaysian darling bros trying desperately to save Proton, their state car manufacturer. So much money has possibly been wasted on that particular 'Malaysia boleh(can do)' project. I mean, they could have just given it all to me! Protons aren't all rubbish, my pal in KL has a limited edition 'yellow sporty one' and i liked it.

I also cry because i think we have been here before and i realise the mockery and cynicism that the Islamic label has earnt for itself thanks to lamo capitalism.

I also cry because i beleive that this project should be established by a figure or group of highly accredited engineering prowess. This prowess exists in Indonesia, though i guess they might find the islamic car concept a little naff.

I laugh because of the nature of the mockery and incredulity that this will inspire and because malays make me giggle uncontrolably-la.

I laugh because if i were to buy said vehicle, by then the situation in the uk would probably be so bleak that it would get blown up or vandalised.

I hope because this could be Our Airbus A380. An Islamic Car should be an amazing concept, not a marketting slogan based on having a compass pointing towards Qibla. (Details at the moment are thin on the ground)

When the Manarists of the past century wrote about the political economy of the turban (promoting local (unwestern) artisanery and values) i concurred. This is why i only buy 'Islamic Jeans' from Mavi. Firstly, they are lovely, then the Turkish design, marketting, cloth, dye etc... blow my mind.

Mavi established itself because of its reputation, it started small and developed its cool along the way. I have a similar argument for turkish candy However the idea of Cadbury's aquiring a large stake in them leaves me uneasy but still kinda proud that they were world class enough to be deemed worthy of corporate swallowing.

Mavi did not whinge and moan for 'access' to markets and exploit low skilled workers forever. They got good.

Henry ford's T model set new standards for the production line and may have unadvertantly set a practical limit on the size of american families. Airbus's A380 demonstrated collaborative european engineering prowess and shows us exactly how many people you can fit in an airplane who's WINGS FLAP! What can the car demonstrate?

Car's kinda suck, but there is an emerging middle class around the Ummah that want to own them. This class is not loaded with dosh, has specific values in common and an industry sector that must learn through practice. This is one of those initiatives that could generate a good result if they think it through and understand the people.

Im not like Maajid Nawaz, the exHT chap, confused and turned in an egyptian jailkhana, who thinks an Islamic State makes as much sense as an Islamic Car. I'm supple enough and concious of my histories to be 'up for' research and engineering that lives up to the moral imperetives of the religion, the lie of the land and serves the people better.

However I object to be taken for a ride. Islam is a golden standard, not a substandard.

Islamic finance, Shariappliance, Ummah caramel, Ummah Foods, Ummah films ... all targeted at the 'Slims in the west often strike me as naff and are not adding essential value. There are characteristics of self service that make me shudder.

Ummah Caramel hurts me with the way its got the unflinching support of stupid people, mainly girls, who have bad/crude taste in both ummahtic philanthropy and in chocolate. Ummah Foods mocks the state of food soveriengty in the greater muslim and developing worlds. Ummah Films is quaint and i love the bro for his commitment and chuckle in a limited fashion to his stories of bodnas and feet washing, but its naff.

Invoking the ummah to cloak ones ineptitude and lack of other gainful employment/business ideas is a habit that we need to avoid. Its the trap that the whole 'asian' thing fell into that the neo-ethnic, or religio-philosophical islamic identity should not stoop to.

Suggestions for the car, if Dato Seri is reading my blog.

-Get the best engineers and designers you can lay your hands on and give them leeway.
-Be smart about how you distribute specific tasks.
-Make sure that you utilise the relevant expertise that you already have tri national access to.
-Please dont go all halal meat shop on us.
-Please don't rip off a mitsubishi.
-Think about the roads the cars will drive along.
-Think about fuel consumption.
-Think about the diversity of fuel types.
-Remember that you are a latecomer and drivers already have a taste thats probably pro Jap.
-Think beyond qibla compasses.
-Think about enabling good driving habits and safety.
-Make it beautiful.
-Bear in mind what mechanics are used to repairing.
-Think about the ganj, do an amphibious version!
-Think about interior decor.
-Think about the cooling system, imagine you are Sinan.
-Dont use this as an employment generation exercise.
-Think about fumes in third wolrd city jams.
-Target Asia and Africa.

12.11.07

[New Word] Jionijom

An ideology that tries to build itself on metaphors of race, jealousy and bloodletting. It isnt good at providing enduring fruit, causing the unfortunately afflicted group to sink in the ocean. This wouldnt be so bad if Jionijoms nature was not to drag everyone else nearby down with it while proudly celebrating itself.

Jionijom was probably not intended. It is the sum of bad situations, judgements and pronounciation.

Many people pity Jionists and try to help them, but it only makes them worse. Some cases just can't be helped in such ways.

Jionist commonsense has been coded with a few trademarks.

-Religion and politics have nothing to do with each other.
-Dissent, defame, destroy with indignance, but never resolve.
-Civil society is 'vibrant'.(Anything but donor induced social engineering)
-We are an independant state mr ambassador, how much aid money this time sir?
-The eternal reason for national creation is for secularism to flower.

9.11.07

'The Grave' by Don McLean

YouTube link
Haunting reflections on the battlefield......

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors,
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone.
He’s gone.

When the wars of our nation did beckon,
A man barely twenty did answer the calling.
Proud of the trust that he placed in our nation,
He’s gone,
But eternity knows him, and it knows what we’ve done.

And the rain fell like pearls on the leaves of the flowers
Leaving brown, muddy clay where the earth had been dry.
And deep in the trench he waited for hours,
As he held to his rifle and prayed not to die.

But the silence of night was shattered by fire
As guns and grenades blasted sharp through the air.
And one after another his comrades were slaughtered.
In morgue of marines, alone standing there.

He crouched ever lower, ever lower with fear.
"they can’t let me die! they can’t let me die here!
I’ll cover myself with the mud and the earth.
I’ll cover myself! I know I’m not brave!
The earth! the earth! the earth is my grave."

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors,
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone.
He’s gone.

[Track 9, American Pie]

7.11.07

[New Word] Moronarchy

Pronounced as if you were squeezing together monarch, moron and anarchy. Aimed to describe in one word, a few of the political phase transitions that have resulted in the establishment of an awfully rubbish system of political practice apparent in the world.

5.11.07

Imran Khan

A hero of mine since childhood has gone on the run after *allegedly* ( i .. erm never heard it in person, not that i was listening) reacting to his ruler's declaration of a state of emergency *allegedly* rather harshly. He's been trying to build a political party and I've been reading his manifesto. The party's website says he is safe and calls for lots of people (including the 'Lawyer's Movement') to take to the streets and demonstrate in several cities over the next couple of days. :-(

Surely there must be other ways of 'doing it'? Innalillahi wa innailayhi rajiun in advance, over all time and all space. Allah grant the qaums who love you the collective inteligence and humility not to make a mess of this world.

A few weeks ago i saw the man himself on a strange politics show on UK TV, hosted by George Galloway. It was good to see him, seemed rather miffed at the UK allowing the head of a 'nasty' party to operate from here.

2.11.07

[Film] Persepolis

Film festival ended last night. We went to see Persepolis, a french dubbed cartoon based on the graphic novels of the same name by Iranian Marjane Satrapi. It was a satirical and semi autobiographical take on the life of one particular urban secular family culture before, through and during the Iranian revolution. I am told that the comics were a little less sober and restrained.

It depicts her journey from childhood to young womanhood, puncuated with politics, family suffering, heavy metal and 2 periods of pseudo-exile. Several of her big family characters really grew on me, her wise totally politically incorrect posh granny and her committed lefty/commie uncle. There's some really ancient wisdom coded into the script.

Granny speaking with her as she's about to live for Vienna: ~ "You will meet a lot of jerks in your life and they will hurt you. Try not to hate them for it and remember it is because they are stupid. There is nothing worse than resentment and bitterness."

The most choking part for me was when she'd really had enough of things in the West. Telephoning her father from hospital , she asks if she can come home with no questions asked.

Granny makes a stunning comeback on the point of integrity. Back in Iran and newly in love, Marjane frivolously relates a near escape from the Guardians (public morality 'gardeners') to her.

All dolled up and waiting to meet a bloke in a park a bunch of Guardians crash into the scene and start 'reminding' people and being nosey. Anticipating potential entroublement and drawing on her handbook of tough situational escape tactics she plays the innocent little girl appealing to the "brother, brother" guardians to jail a chap (like you shak!) sitting on a park bench for insulting her. Chap on bench is summaraly arrested and taken away.

Granny goes rather ape upon hearing this, not finding it childishly amusing at all. She storms out of her presence and takes the care of shaming her. The lesson is of the lowliness of 'selfishness for self preservation' and that there is always a choice and a better way, a point her uncle died making.

I found a lot of dignity and identity through the film, which distinguishes it from other market or righteous indignation fodder. Her father's advice of 'Remember who you are and what you are from' hit me as very familiar. The British Petroleum origins of the Shah and the Iran-Iraq war trap were very well framed indeed, the former with humour, the later with something much darker and poetic.

What marked this cartoon out for me were the buckets of humour, charm and reality. It was not a naff sense of humour either. There are several levels of wit, and possibly the best use of the Eye of the Tiger that I've heard since we ran up the steps of the Albert Hall after finals. Perhaps enough evidence to disprove the female inability to be funny thesis. Maybe enough too for some to add to the pile market 'manipulative, flattery'. I suppose its on what your focus is.

The politics of appreciation and taste are weird. At one point the mocking tone in the laughter of the audience itself tasted foul. Imprint of western supremicism perhaps, but the momemt was funnily pulled off. I think that arty farty people in the occident love Iranian culture despite their stance on Islam and the Muslim Worlds. Therefore Iranian cinema and art particularly charms them with its 'contradiction' and 'enduring spirit through oppression' value.

Theres a lot of politics in how this is being awarded, promoted and demoted. I rarely recognise the essence of films I see in the reviews of them. And the Iranian Government did have a point in objecting, this particular artefact wasn't about the glory of the Revolution and post Revolution successes, and it was an oppositional production. The comic books are presently used to foster state militancy's sense of civilising mission in the Middle East.

However, from an aesthetic view it is a good example of the potential of Cultural J coded for several audiences.

29.10.07

Shahriar Kabir "If Islamic politics is not banned what is the justification for creating Bangladesh"

4th Nov. The pain and the politics of events leading to the birthing of Bangladesh-71 release, hit the deshi public media sharply last fortnight as the Islamist party, with tonnes of war baggage that refuses to be resolved in the courts, went to visit the Election Commission to talk about rules.

Interestingly for me, JamateIslami's stance of new parties seeking election in 2008 is to allow them in with few demands and for the EC to just see how they performed. New parties are essential and slow building processes that need to bed down, as the two main players still refuse to reform themselves and will be making trouble for the people before these future elections are called.

However this is not the issue of discussion as the framers of this dialogue of the deaf have chosen to embark upon a few chokkors of the really futuristic and hope inspiring Genocidal-Liberation War territory.

The story can be followed in the Daily Star of Dhaka and many other blogs and comments from Bangladeshis. The territory has been covered endlessly and the state of play is rather crooked.

I'm posting these youtube links to complement the whirlwind mainly because a thoroughly decent man is being vilified. His good name and sincere works are being soiled by people made to revisit their grief, feeling scorned, ignored and in a blamestorm that knows no norms or limits.

The mess was not even of his making, but i suppose once a wolf of a journalist has been dispatched onto you there is little you can do. Observe the behaviour of the individuals in the studio. The lady host's better behaviour lends credit to my belief that Bangladesh will get better and better as it's women folk climb the career ladders and displace the meanies.

The interviewee appeared on an ETV television show and the 'transcript' of his participation has been mutilated through the press. It is a piece of work that our cousin's at memri (jionist whispers movement) would have been proud off. The vox pop spun around the rather tumultuous TV programme has run as would be expected. I do wonder whether any hadith could have made it through a society like these days intact and with a proper isnad.

Here is the interview,

Knowing more about the nine months of war and the preceding phases would be smoother if the official space were not so polluted with political imperatives and pride. The secularist imperative is what the journalist Shahriar Kabir so kindly reveals in his attempt to discursively entrap the interviewee.

I feel he wants to have his brand of cake, eat it, make everybody eat it and cast a magic spell to transform it into quick dry concrete whilst still in the digestive tract.

27.10.07

the trouble of flattery

Some of us call it the blowing of smoke up another's arse, others know it through the term 'Paamp'. Its disturbing.

Flattery is as fraudulent as its evil twin, the demonic curse. Used skillfully and in tandem, these are lethal weapons in the destruction of people and nations.

The flatterer creates no power or essential value. She uses intermediaries. She is the ultimate propagandist, knowing a particularly dark and ancient form of the game.

The flateree initially suffers the flatterer and the flattering because he wishes to know himself in a good way. He certainly does not see himself as a fool enchanted.

With time his faculty of discernment decays beyond recognition and loses penetration. Consequently his thought and action leave a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile her power grows out of the mental abscesses of the fools she flatters, who know no better and cannot know better of untill they cast off her spell. It is painfull to remove once it has been integrated into the common sense in tandem with its twin, the demonic curse.
Two such coupled and opposing vices do not equal a virtue.

21.10.07

[Humour]Islamic leadership choice in an age of feebleness

Your educational viewing for today. Some non-derivative content.

Imran jk [of Thank Allah its jumma fame] is a man with a sense of humour and Cultural Technique. Once i went to an event at a top london uni thinking i would see him doing some stand up. Unfortunately there was a fatal error in my reading of the poster and it was someone else.

In this short film the MSA, deeply perturbed by the global discource on extremism adopts a new method of leadership selection.

Catwalk ... Fundraising and Islamic motivational speaking

Mr subhanalla, alhamdulillah, mashalllah (astagfirullah) pits his wits against Mr 'Sami Yusuf makes me weep', the wet haired freshie, the atheist frat boy and more..

see who wins in this battle for hearts and minds.



thankyou shak!

18.10.07

A Reminder

"I say again that no speech-making and no proclamation concerning culture will turn us from our fundamental tasks: the liberation of the national territory; a continual struggle against colonialism in its new forms; and an obstinate refusal to enter the charmed circle of mutual admiration at the summit."

Marhum Franz Fanon, On National Culture, The Wretched of the Earth, 1963.

16.10.07

Science in the Islamic World

Theres a new SciDev.Net Dossier on Science in the Islamic world. Open this in another window or something.

There are articles from Prof Ihsanoglu (OIC sec Gen, historian of science, builder of IRCICA) and Ehsan Masood (science journalist).

iqra bismi rabika!

15.10.07

Londistan film festival .. whoopee!

Here you go check the list.

My tendancy of revelling in such visually indulgent poncage will be hampered by sever deadlinage over the coming weeks, constrained by wallatage and enabled by the absence of ramadanage.

11.10.07

Curious Wiki entry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmila_Bose

Somebody somewhere is playing a broken record. As a consequence wikipedia has been graced with what i am going to call 'an imprint of Jionijom'.

My favourite part is where the lady in question (cheeky political economist) is linked to Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.

Here goes.

She is married to a Brit (Alan Roslin), who works for a company (Tata) that tried to do business with a country (bangladesh) in a field (industry) where for a while there was a politician (Moulana Nizami, transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture because he was doing well and impressing people) who is hated by many but didn't exactly help Tata's bangladesh agenda.

It is a great acheivement of conspiratorial creativity to get; the colonial yoke, the indian capitalist interest, the helpless hapless country and the secularists favourite enemy all in a few lines.Oh... and in case you cared they have three sons.

Only on the internet.

10.10.07

Bangladeshi Robot ate my homework miss.

Feroz Ahmed Siddique, a grad student from International Islamic University in Chittagong, creates a rather funky robot.

video

Palestine Mapped

Georeferencing historical maps of Palestine and draping them over the current spatial configuration has been a dream of mine for a while. But as usual, I'm all talk and no action. Maps are very powerful documents which allow the writer to convey layers upon layers of heritage to the reader. Its related to one of the prongs of my research methodology in Bangladesh, and i'm so happy that this group have started repopulating the social memory of Palestine by exploiting the public facility of Google Earth.

here is the link to Palestine Remembered

7.10.07

New word - Dissentary

An affliction that infects the systems of language and broadcast causing uncontrollable releases of dissent which then catalyses suspicion, rebellion and self pleasuring intellectualism in the world. A central banker's nightmare and an anarchist's dream.

Dissentary is like a layer of noise that confuses pure messages from people to people. Sometimes it causes signals created for a closed loop system to be compromised. The jury is out as to the sequence of the relationships between democracy, dissentary and literacy in different cultures. The jury has gone to the phamracy to pick up a prescription.

Dissentary is difficult to treat and is contagious. It causes people to speak outside their knowledge and convinces them that an opinion on everything is desirable and credible. Integrating a whole suffering population with respect to variables such as temperance, creativity and utility regularly yields low values.

Dissentary has self perpetuating logic. Once infected the patient believes that expressing their fragrant dissent all over the place 'generates a discussion', which in itself is a 'good thing'. Dissentary patients are in the habit of supporting each other's delusional notions of their own value. Mutual infection is one of the toughest strains to purge.

Web 2.0 has enable dissentary as did mobile telephony. I have been carrying it for a while now.

You have been infected.

Lurgee.

Injected

Rally for Iraq




6.10.07

Why to they live and live so easy when they are so evil?

Question - How come's these Bangladesh politicians have such weak hearts that they keep needing hospital treatment when in jail? what a bunch of sissies!
Answer - They don't have hearts, what made you think they have hearts? Look at what they did to the country.

There's no arguing with that. People with a soft spot for the corrupt political formations and classes strike me as a little insidious.... self interested and suicidal.

Vanishing from the future, not the past, is too good for them. Its wrong to vanish them from the past, as we must understand their evil and learn not to be like them. They and their families must be made to feel shame, and we must be ashamed of them. Over the past few decades, and jealousy, foolishness and superficiality have grown hand in hand with democracy, the old values have been inverted in this struggling muslim society.

The systems of punishments and rewards must be firm with them. If they big girls or old flatulent men, it makes no difference. Perhaps the enforcers could experiment with hadd punishments at the top, for the cases of loot and plunder where there was no need, just greed.

But then I have another question.

How would they prevent their bangles from dropping to the floor?

3.10.07

Ian Brown calls home the soldiers

Unpretentious and straight to the man.

The paternal grandfather of the Bangladeshi Nuclear Establishment Dr Anwar Hossain is no longer with us...

innalillahi wa innailayhi rajiun.

A reflection on the life of a very intelligent institution builder , by my favourite advisor to the CareTaker Government in Bangladesh, who was a)recruited by him , b)regarded him as a mentor and c) presumably went to his janaza.

Marhum Dr Anwar Hossain won a Gold medal from Dhaka University in 1950. His specialisms were nuclear energy, remote sensing (thats acquiring and interpreting imagery of the earth from above and solar energy.

His approach to solar energy was NOT sissymarka, and his involvement in Remote Sensing and Nuclear issues were at the highest national levels. If we valued the sciences in a more balanced way wrt petty capitalism, poetry, literature and NGOgiri, and trusted these folks with more resources, they would have done us proud. We need to make more of our legendary scientists and engineers, to inspire the youth and balance the noisy irrationals(like me) who have little or nothing to contribute but insist upon having our foolishness represented.

I wish i could have learnt from him directly, might have even been more inclined to have stayed in physics if i could have seen such a trail blazer in action. Here's an abstract of a paper of his in Physics Review of 1957.

Allah grant him Jannah, his family and close ones comfort, us the living more of these world class constructive sorts and bangladesh and the ummah the social technique with which to nurture them.

Dr CS Karim recollects and takes stocks of the man's virtues in his obituary, im listing some.

Decisive
Disciplined
Scrutinising of documentation
Encouraging
Frustration busting
Communicative (distinct from drunken abuse of eloquence)
Accessible to and engaging with the humble and the noble
Brave (distinct from opportunistic or foolhardy)

One thing i wonder about is how he came to become chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1976. As an admirer of the virtues of the Old BNP (an identity which i have pinched and adapted from a respondent of mine). I naively assume that his talents were seen and integrated into the nationally utilised stockpile of intellectual goods by the late General Zia. Assume, because there is a pattern that I'm only just beginning to see emerge through observing aged accomplished national expertise as it passes on into the akhira, hobbles to and from the mosque, or nostalgically recollects the tough days when knowledge institutions were built from tinsheds, ingenuity and intellectual virility, rather than air conditional development dolarism.

Fitting tributes?
Annual lecture
Scholarship/endowment for physics research administered by the BD atomic commission (not DU because they are mean minded).
A decent writup in the Banglapedia.
Documentary on his life by the cheeky chappies at banglavision perchance?

29.9.07

A place worthy of the name Salahudin

Tonight's tarawi was so juicy, that i was sad when it was over. 8 rakats of beautiful qirat refreshing, no machine gunning here, no race to finish a sipara. The venue, the Salahudin mosque of Paddington, arranged a loving iftar but we didn't really stay for it (eclectic mix of soup and biryani). A small mainly kurdish community of humble people built this institution, its a modest 3/4 storey converted house job. Cute and unpretentious, no girly bits, this jamat had *the love*.

26.9.07

The Greater Armour - Jawshan al Kabir

A dua of the Prophet of Islam(pbuh)

There are 100 verses to this supplication, all about God, which i havent yet come across in indian or hadrami circles, but is stressed more in the turkish and shia regions.

Read the arabic and english simultaneously using the first hyperlink or if you dont have time you could simply scroll through the english on the second hyperlink.

I guess these gateways truly deserve the name hyperlink.

The Greater Armour is good especially for those trying to improve their grammar and vocab, weave it together and most fundamentally discover and benefit from an old Islamic treasure.

here is marvellous verse 7


O Forgiver of faults;
O Remover of afflictions;
O End of all hopes;
O Munificent Bestower;
O One Abounding in gifts;
O Provider of His creatures;
O Decreer of their deaths;
O Hearer of complaints;
O Despatcher of armies;
O Freer of captives-
Glory be unto Thee, Thou art without partner or fault!
There is no god but Thee! Mercy, mercy, deliver us from Hell-fire!


If you fancy a hard copy there is an internet shop here. If you are in london ask the folks at Suleynamiye Mosque in Shoreditch, which itself is an example of what heppens when an observant muslim community pools its efforts, ghayr petty politics retains community continuity, standards and contiguity to create something beautiful and organised.

(Shak if you're reading this they sit you down at iftar at tables and serve you good things for your stomach, they dont swarm around on the floor and shovel it in the oily stuff like pigs. Money cant buy this.)

Their method of tarawi is different, as are so many of their great Islamic institutionalised practices (shoe storage, underground parking, foot washing architecture, post fard dhikr..) The tarawi is quick and surah based (25 mins), followed by Quranic recitation.

back to the dua, kinda,

I first bumped into it in Istanbul some time ago in a waqf (pious endowment) right next to an anarchist bookshop(run by a very cute couple) on a side street in Sultan Ahmet. We went inside to have a looksie and had the most wonderful time learning stuff.

This waqf translates Said Nursi books in languages at bizarre as Tamil and Bengali, publishes gorgeous qurans where the names of Allah are highlighted in red and has an indepth english collection Nursis Epistles of Light. They didnt take payment, only donations to their schools and scholarships for worthy students. It reminded me of deep service of the Anjuman Mufidul Islam (funeral rites for poor and unclaimed bodies in Bangladesh), though in a totally different field of activity.

Approaching the middle of ramadan, some things for me have become a little mechanical, so its time to break into and institutionalise some newer better habits. This dua will naturally strengthen its users connection to God in this month in so many ways.

25.9.07

President Ahmedinejad goes the Columbia

He was preceded by remarks from the president of the educational establishment doing his bit to promote understanding and good will. NOT

The politically embattled chap ended with the following kind touch,

"I am only a professor, who is also a university president, and today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better."

The President of Iran's contribution can be read here.

He covers islamic philosophy of science! From the words on the page you can tell he has a tough mind, undiverted by naff and distrating international vocabulary of righteous virtue that us in the west have been fed on, and that us in the east tend to parrot with zeal. He has his own moral vernacular of the manners of treating ones guest, the respect accorded to women etc. I think this migh have something to do with not being colonised in the way that the other Asiatic hordes were. Its like listening to a confident Turk!

For me this event is not about same-sex attraction or human rights bitching or further research into the despicable treatment and mass murder of the Jews in europe. Unfortunately these are the lenses (UN propelled.. bless) through which more and more people see the world. Each to his own lens so long as it doesnt become an axe, besides I wouldn't know where to start wrt to consoling a Holocaust survivor who has enemized Iran and views its leader as todays Hitler.

It's about the politics of knowledge and some countrys preventing others from certain pools of knowledge, from building stocks of autonomous expertise and political gumption. Iraq was not frozen then destroyed not because of baathist philosophy, the kurds, the shias, it was because they had some resolution behind their own alignment of brains, money and national interest.

Another telling part to this event is that the president has not been allowed to pay his respects at the Ground Zero site in New York. So many people have already made up their minds it is sad.

The Chief Advisor of Bangladesh is due to speak at Colombia this friday. I hope he has some good chops, though to be honest he wont be up against nearly as much hostility, even if embittered Awami League workers attend.

24.9.07

UN Conference on Climate Change

It has been called a 'High Level Event', (which is cute) and split into 4 this time, adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing.

here are the programs, and country contributions

Bangladesh's piece, delivered by Dr F did not rock my world when i read it. somehow river erosion has become soil erosion and the 1 metre sea level rise will now inundate one third of the area country(how did that figure double?!?). Our national water management plan's climate readiness is stressed as is the transboundary river issue, if lightly. If i were to hazard a guess as to who wrote his speech...

Cuba's contribution had great spine and a dignified leg to stand on, the chap from there said that growing fuel through crops was an insidious idea, the west had no leg to stand on in telling developing countries what to do and that luxury and waste are the central issues here. The inuit lady is quaint and moving, getting the indigenous peoples boot in.

As i listen, Dr F has taken over chairing duties. This is the first time i have seen the good doctor interact in an international, if not epecially high powered arena. On the 28th he speaketh at colombia university, where pm ahmedinejad has been causing a stir today.

The chap from the Indian Finance ministry has come having done his homework with recent stats to hand and the concept of 'differentiated responsibility' on his lips. They are studying the phenomena quite autonomously, using their scientists and looking for their interest, strategically. I guess they would have a 'view' on Action Aid India's howling report that the BD daily star interpreted as saying 'Kashmir must cut green house gases'

22.9.07

Integrative Government not Differential Government

Every couple of days, the different political groups are sitting with the election commission (EC) (yes another desh post) to discuss proposed rule changes and make suggestions. Here is the meeting schedule.

33% lady quotas and the material sceince of ballot boxes arent my favourite issues, instead this is about democratic civilians pissing away vital opportunities at the EC and integrative cabinet government.

I had a vain hope that some of these chaps would have had some thinking or learning experiences since this time last year, but unfortunately not. Given an opportunity to contribute constructively to the rules, an opportunity that these gimps would not normally get, a lot of these politicos have fallen into the self pleasuring habit of railing against religion in politics, war criminals and most telling of all, the use of scales as the electoral symbol for JI, given its association with justice.

Rather than, admit that the war is over, surpass JIs appeal with greater organisational prowess, clarity of purpose and depth of resonance, they seek to cheat.

The playing field must be tilted, otherwise I shall throw all my toys out of the Cot.

JI's political baggage is not a factor that its adherants take lightly when considering allegiance. Most of them have nothing whatsoever with rape, loot, pillage with the pakistan army, and the new one 'collaboration with the British'.

Perhaps everybody with the last name, Choudhury, Talukdar... should be banned too?

One of the problems of the existing system is that its very good at promoting the scum of the earth into power and authority. ('we live in a globalised world' is not an excuse) Your party wins, and you give your lads ministries to 'play with', irrespective of their expertise, fairness of mind, preparedness and state of knowledge. That is the parliamentary system, which is plodding along in the UK, but only because HM Govt did the lions share of loot and plunder and nation building a long time ago, and the average level of education is high.

Theres a lot of work being done by the govt, and id like for it to be better, for us to settle down and get down to sodding work. Any minister needs to have a degree of talent and intelligence to battle the beurocracy, comprised at the top of people who actually studied hard at university.

We would be better suited to a system that allowed the best man for the job to get the job, at the fundamental layer. A judgement call delegated to a man or 'panel' judged worthy by the Bangladeshi voterhood. Basically can somebody who is not Gen Mueen U Ahmed make a strong case for some of that Presidential Administration flavour.

The late General Zia has some virtues, one of which was integrating talented people into government and assigning responsibilities to competant people. He didnt care whether they came from Secular or Islamic forces. Some refused because they had issues with not being elected, for which I hope they get reward in the akhira.

Anyway back to the rules lark, I really dont hold up much hope that anybody other than the AL (if they bother to show up) or JI (who can be credited for the now failed CTG system) coming up with anything interesting that the beurocrats havent already pondered upon. I hope the AL start on a new page and dont just regurgitate their Moha Jote agenda and take the 'kill Zamaat' agenda to a higher level of drunkenness.

Decentralisation
The gulf between the Union Council level and the National parliament level of politics is too wide. There are two important layers of administration, the Upazila (covering ~12 unions) and the District(spatially covering ~5 MP constituencies) both headed by first class BCS officers. To stick two layers of elected government in one go would be stupid, so for Fugstarnagar its a question of whether a new layer would go in at a smaller or larger scale.

I think the higher scale might work better, and attract a higher quality specimin of politician into the fray for a few afternoons a week. Like a headmaster or two. At present the Upazilas arent 'grown' enough for that scale of election to acheive anything other than thousands of construction tenders all at once.

Decentralisation at the administration level got done by Ershad, now we have 64 districts rather than 19. Not all districts have the same adminstrative legacy, for example Gaibandha was carved out of the Greater Rangpur in 1984, whist neighbouring Bogra has been on the cards since 1821.

Then economic, political and environmental bits of geography come in to accentuate the difference between regions. We remember how economic disparity can pull regions apart and perpetuate itself from the Pakistan Era. Cultivating district identities further might be a good laugh.... to death.

The main road from Bogra to Rangpur skips Gaibanda Town making it a pocket district, the Rivers Jamuna and Teesta are making a meal of Gaibandha District and withing a decade or so could easily be asking for the keys to the town(though its a lovely place and host the best primary school in the country). On the other hand Bogra has a Cantonment, a 'Banani', a 'Shatmatha' junction and has produced a Prime Minister of Pakistan Md Ali Bogra, a President of Bangladesh General Zia as well as a national liability.

So who is likely to to come on top if districts start getting testosterony with eachother? What if I the finance 'growth centres on my mind' ministry reason that 100 crore investment in Bogra has a much better return for the national interest than 100 crore in Gaibandha.. all the time? With the good leaders of Bogra restrain me from acting in their interests.

As a testing ground for wannabe MPs and ministers and as a forum to think through and resolve localish problems outside dhaka, the elected district/division/hydrological zone councils would be something to look forward to.

20.9.07

What has that got to do with the price of Aubergines?

There are some breeds of people that i adore in particular in Bangladesh, to sit at their feet (well the murrabi ones at least!) and listen and question is always a beneficial experience. They are namely my hero engineers and the brighter secretaries, DCs and first class officers. Hard working products of the finest national institutions armed with the values of the people. They are a laugh and a half if you are fortunate enough to cross their path on a good day.

If a wasnt such an incompetant greedy nan i would take the BCS exams at the next opportunity. GO is way truer than NGO, less airconditioning though.

khedmottontro, daiytopalongtontro, jonno shortho whatever we want to call it. They are not appreciated enough. Here is my own pathetic appreciation of..

The scientist who nurtured his institution from a tin shed with little complaint and total commitment for an entire professional career.
The engineer who oversaw the most incredible hydraulic project to be executed on bangladeshi soil, with deshi manpower, expertise, funding and willpower.
The engineer who brought roads to the people, with balls of steel, who i am scared off.
The engineering professor that doesnt cheapen himself and jump onto superficial cashcow foreign grants, but directs his mind to address national problems and occasionally advice the anxious student about the rules of salatul istikhara.
The workshop engineers who could pretty much make enything you ask them to.
The scientist that sticks to his discipline and nurtures and shares his expertise without a second thought of running away to canada or putting on that Climate Change frock.
The joint secretary with a razorlike humour worthy of place in a hall of fame somewhere.
The secretaries near retirement age (baby 57 year olds) who have seen so many different times from within the government engine that I want to squeeze their brains dry.
The geographer that took his chances in the police force.
The maproom lady who knows about every item of stock under her charge.
The librarian that goes over and beyond the call of his duty to explain the legacy of that organisation that started from a tinshed.
The DG unashamed to point out the extent to which the research in said field is bogus and misleading.
The TNO who set up a school on his own steam in his assigned thana during the 80s, used to lecture there when he got time and even sent his kids there.
The UNO doing a phd on drug adiction, who after getting a new assignment (like pretty much everybody following the ascendance of the CTG mark II) really got stuck into dischargin his duties.
The UNO that has to travel arduosly in an upazila full of little islands, whose life resembles that of a london medic on call pretty much all the time.
The AUEO.... assistant upazila education officer (smug fug) whose school cluster is spread along many little islands and who need to ensure that his teachers and students are turning up on time and doing their duties.
The DC who's proaction will hasten the day when multistory resettlement will benefit the really helpless.
The DC enduring some ngowallahs enthiusiastic but sadly misplaced missionary zeal enthused proposal for advertising his agencies #positive social message# on billboards in prime locations throughout the city.
The young lecturer who would actually be in his office for prolongued periods of time.
The ED whose guile enables his institution to survive and thrive in uncertain times by using his employees abilites to serve the national interest.
The personal secretary to a high powered chairman, who politely endures the arrogant antics of a bombastic shomakal journalist squeezing him for insider information, not letting him get any work done and not minding his own overfed business for an entire morning.
The cadet college educated policywallah bhai who blew me away with his attention to detail, clarity of thought and frankness of expression.

oh people of function, Allah shower you with better functionality and good works!

The original point of this post was appreciation of a new development in the foodstuffs pricing debate as summarised in the news clipping pasted below.

A secretary is quoted as recommending that behavioural change can help us, and a bunch of people are suggesting Jamuna Bridge toll exemption. I hope all the best options are weighed with due consideration.

Although the Jamuna Bridge is not a losing government concern, i really do wonder if dropping the charge will have much of an effect and whether it will affect the quality of bridge maintenace. A profitmaking son might not be able to ween a heroin addicted son by giving him free syringes. Is the road connecting Rajshahi division to Dhaka so critical to the equation? what does the equation look like when differentiated with respect to commodity, time, space and consumer?

Also, whst constitutes 'essential goods' and what is the role of crossborder smuggling controls. I have heard that there are elaborate pump systems aperating between 'entrepreneurs' on either side of the border.

The NewAge article below (clumsily) refers to the PPRC report on the prices of essentials i was being curious about a few nights ago. At least we are saved from the torture of being told about every single minor personality and their poodle being present, probably because they are fasting from jail.


No Jamuna Bridge toll advised
on transport of essential goods
Staff Correspondent
A high-level committee to monitor market prices has recommended that vehicles carrying essential goods on the Jamuna Bridge should not be charged any tolls to reduce transport costs of commodities.
The committee at a meeting on Wednesday also observed that a meeting between the government and the businessmen scheduled for September 25 in Chittagong would help to further business confidence in increasing the flow of goods to market.
The committee of the officials of different ministries and important government agencies decided to write a letter to the communications ministry seeking waiver of toll to support the government efforts to keep the prices of essentials at a reasonable level.
‘The government is trying to keep prices affordable for the poor. We are confident that the series of steps taken this time would yield positive results,’ said the committee chief, additional commerce secretary Golam Mustakim.
He said four committees would continue to monitor markets at least twice a week to have a clear picture of market prices so that the government can take necessary measures.
The meeting reviewed the market intervention measures such as sales outlets run by the Bangladesh Rifles, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and the Department of Fisheries to sell goods at reasonable prices to the low and fixed income groups of people.
The committee chief said the rates of price increase during this Ramadan were not higher than what they were in the past Ramadan. He cited the example of aubergine, which marked up to Tk 80 a kilogram in the past year compared with Tk 50 a kilogram this year.
As for high price of onion, Mustakim said it was a perishable item and its production in neighbouring India and Myanmar fell significantly this year.
The meeting asked the officials of the ministries concerned to present updated statistics at the next committee meeting on the production of and demand for various essential goods.
A recent survey report prepared by economist Hossain Zillur Rahman-led Power and Participation Research Centre, however, said Bangladesh produces 213.75 lakh tonnes of food-grains against the demand for 235.83 lakh tonnes, 52.77 lakh tonnes potatoes against the demand for 25.56 lakh tonnes, 1.31 lakh tonnes of lentil against the demand for 6.17 lakh tonnes, 16.96 lakh tonnes spices against the demand for 25.73 lakh tonnes, 9 lakh tonnes of onions against the demand for 13.49 lakh tonnes and 93.06 lakh tonnes of vegetables against the demand for 134.78 lakh tonnes.
Mustakim said a change in food habit could also help to reduce the prices of some items. ‘If the people follow the message of the Hadith to fill one-third of the stomach with solid food and one-third with water and keep the other third empty, the prices of food items would come down to two-thirds.’

17.9.07

New Word - Ummatantrik



Alternative spellings - Oummatantrique (Francophonically colonised Ummah), Woma tantric (Nigeria), u ma tan trik-la (malay)....

An Islamophylic consensus that assigns the body of Muslim believers and their advancement an essential value. A value which it is assigned in Islamic scripture and developed through centuries of diverse lived experience, principle and thought. An aspiration affirmed every time someone raises there hands to God and pleads with a dua like 'Allahumma ansuril ikhwana al muslimina fi kulli makkan, fi kulli zaman'.

A value that is dishonoured every time a British Muslim starts peddling Ummah Caramel bars, when an American Muslim posts preachy parochial youtube videos of limited humour under the identity of Ummah Films or when a doubter contends that there is no such thing as the Ummah because the world is pretty screwed up and the allegedly religious do nasty things. A value which is sullied everytime a nutjob does something awful in the name of upholding its dignity.

Not to be confused with nepotism, 'petroislam', naive islamism, religious nationalism, Khalafism or the abdication of rationality from any given action scenario.

14.9.07

BRAC Loan collector killed in Afghanistan

Though the New Age Newspaper headline was 'Bangladeshi Aid Worker killed in Afghanistan'. Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. Abdul Alim (Lebu) hailed from the district of Tangail. I wonder if he will recieve greater posthumous respect than the construction workers who die in malaysia, the restaurant workers who get stabbed in London and the cleaners who dont get paid in west asia.

I wonder who will support his family and dependants now.

The term 'Aid worker' accords an primordial agency that the Bangladeshi 'modern' third sector does not have. It is unnessesary flattery. BRAC would be the middle man, operating under someone elses incentive network and patronage. 'Hired-hand' is another word for it. We rarely 'give' anything (think sink, not source), our ngo sector is varied but on super cynical inspection fall into two categories, the beggars and the plunderers.

There are 2 ways of supporting ones activities in the absence of decent internal fundraising networks and slow grown organisational technique. The first is to play the Development game and suck up to donors and their policy cycles. The second is to look into raising money from operating as a bank to poorer sections of society.

A brutal truth is that in the anarchy, the circumstance has come about where in a given locality it is possible for a poor person to have taken loans from 4 or 5 different micro banks and be caught in a trap. NGO field workers several years down stream scratch their heads with a humility that their institutions should have had well before over stretching operations into an action scenario that they had no hope in hell of comprehending.

Microfinance Institutions try to make money and increase the horse power of individual people. Contrary to the beleif that is widely spread, microfinance institutions do not really work with the ultra poor, who are never a profitable investment. They work with the less poor, who are needy and agree to the terms and conditions of the loans.

Those who suffer from public revulsion with respect to high interest rates, stupid weekly instalments and bailiff practices are not the policy people sitting in the offices of corporate NGOdom, it is the field workers who are stigmatise and in this case tragically victimised.

I dont trust the Afghanistan police to properly investigate this matter, and wonder whether anybody else will bother.

I hope there is some deep reflection going on in BRAC about its limits and validity. BRACs Health and Education work could have been jeapordised by this. When you work with the poor and desperately submissive and beleive that it is you who are saving them, it is very easy to get deluded and enjoy your God complex.

As an organisation they arent exactly accountable to anybody other than themselves. Smaller NGOs and other developing world NGOs thing of them as hegemons, though that could be envy. I know that Bangladeshi organisations with much more funky capabilities restrained themselves from getting involved in pseudo occupied Afghanistan due to their non pragmatic interpretation of Principles.

Interestingly BRAC have opened office in the UK... should be interesting. I wonder if the 'poor' here will answer back?

11.9.07

Anita Roddick is no longer with us.

The founder of the BodyShop and initiator/implementer of a number of other funky things died quite suddenly yesterday. As far as i can remember she was the one who pushed to boat out regarding ethical consumerism, combining two of womankinds conflicting ethics, the first of crazy beautification and cosmetic consumption, the second of global conciousness.

I was lucky to meet her once, she had just returned from bangladesh and gotten mightily narked off with the RMG industry, blown off some steam and was realising how complicated things were, especially the painful limits of ethical consumerism on the high street.

An inspiring and accomplished lady with heavy duty batteries.

Some systematic insight into high prices in Bangladesh

For the past year or more the high price of essential foodstuffs has been on the radar in Bangladesh. Much political capital has been made out of it and much unrealistic expectation has been nurtured concerning it.

So I was interested to read about the PPRC's study of the phenomena. The Power and Participation Research Center is a youngish developmenty thinktank type organisation based directed by Hussein Zillur Rahman.

Here is a paste from tomorrows New Age paper. Unfortunately for me I cannot pop along to the PPRC and get me a copy of the report, they do not have a website that I know of either. However the last report of theirs on 'Unbundling Governence' was an interesting read (very soasy in fact), placed in history and the focus of significant empirical and creative work by a team that included sociologists. The chapter on the media in Bangladesh was lame though and dismissive of anybody of non pragmatomarxist background.

Plenty of buckets of sweat have gone into this work, i hope it somehow wafts the problem further towards solution and infuses discussions with better foundations.



Price-hike caused by bad market management, says PPRC report
Khawaza Main Uddin
The price-hike of essential commodities is a result of inefficient market management and lack of infrastructure for proper trade transactions, said the latest market survey report by a private research organisation.
The report terms the recent demolition of the informal market infrastructure as an ‘ill-conceived initiative’ which exacerbated the problem of the lack of an adequate market infrastructure. An informal market is considered to be the second-best, effective alternative for facilitating trade transactions.
The survey found that farmers, on an average, receive only 47 per cent of the retail price of vegetables while the marketing cost stands at about 27 per cent and the share of the traders at more than 25 per cent.
The survey report, failing to prove the commonly perceived syndication in causing price-hikes, observes that the impact of extra-economic costs appears to be less significant, particularly in the current political period.
However, the most pronounced cost category in terms of incidence is wastage, a point which, according to the report, is ‘clearly indicative of the inefficient nature’ of the prevailing agricultural trade. ‘Wastage adds to market risks for traders.’
‘Popular discourse tends to assign undeserved high margins to traders in general,’ notes the report of the study, titled ‘Exploring Market Dynamics of Essentials through a Triangular Study of Producers, Traders and Consumers’, conducted by Power and Participation Research Centre.
Explaining the income-profile of agricultural traders, it shows that retailers have an average monthly income of Tk 6,285, farias [small traders who collect goods] Tk 4,533, paikers [wholesalers] Tk 14,270 and aratdars [merchants] Tk 24,011.
‘High marketing margins may not be reflective either of market monopoly or of high profits depending on the size of costs, risk coverage associated with price volatility and wastage, types of consumers, as well as the income imperative of petty traders dealing with small volumes,’ said the report.
The report pointed out that agricultural trade is overwhelmingly dependent on personal financing in terms of setting up business and running current operations, since banks are relatively inactive as financiers of agricultural trade which is done mostly by the aratdars.
The research centre, headed by economist Hossain Zillur Rahman, carried out the study in six sites — Mithapukur in Rangpur, Shibganj in Bogra, Jessore Sadar, Jajira in Shariatpur, Shibpur in Narsingdi and Chindina/Burichang in Comilla, besides selecting Dhaka city as the market case, between January and May 2007. The report will be presented at a seminar tomorrow.
The report mentioned that farmers of Jessore were found to have the best marketing outcome with their average share of the retail price being 54.7 per cent of the price because of the better bargaining power in dealing with market. The traders’ share, at 31 per cent, is higher than the average rate in Rangpur. Marketing costs are highest in Pabna at 31.5 per cent, reveals the report explaining the role of market connectivity in determining prices.
Although the global price-hike and the huge shortfall in agricultural products are currently being blamed for the domestic price spiral, there is no comprehensive quantitative estimate of the product-specific consumption levels of the general people in Bangladesh.
According to the survey report which is based on the latest statistics, the country produces 213.75 lakh tonnes of food-grains against the demand of 235.83 lakh tonnes, 52.77 lakh tonnes potatoes against the demand of 25.56 lakh tonnes, 1.31 lakh tonnes of lentil against the demand of 6.17 lakh tonnes, 16.96 lakh tonnes spices against the demand of 25.73 lakh tonnes, 9 lakh tonnes of onions against the demand of 13.49 lakh tonnes and 93.06 lakh tonnes of vegetables against the demand of 134.78 lakh tonnes.