Daily Archives: April 13, 2008

On Suicide Bombings III – Unpacking Talal Asad’s book

by Aasem Bakhshi

Is there a crucial difference between someone who kills in order to die and someone who dies in order to kill? – [Talal Asad]

Alasdair MacIntyre – while making a ‘disquieting suggestion’ in the beginning of his chef-d’oeuvre ‘After Virtue‘ – hypothesized that what we chiefly possess as a vocabulary of morality can best be understood as ‘simulacrum of morality’ rather than the actual and true morality. He argued that we are so confident of the absolute objectivity of this contemporary moral paradigm, which guides and constitutes our language, reasoning and transactions, that any transposed hypothesis would most certainly seem utterly implausible, at least at first glance. In short, that we are being betrayed by the very language we use is a proposition that is not acceptable to us.

In these heavily nuanced Welleck Library Lectures on Suicide Bombing, Talal Asad not only vindicates MacIntyre’s thesis but also contributes in reshaping the ongoing narrative regarding terrorism and war. Continue reading

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Filed under Books, History, Islam, Islamism, psychology, Society, Terrorism, Writers

My inter alia cloister phobia

And there we were both one again
unwilling to unwind in merry circles
patronised by one and all the beastly clan
including me and Ardent Fifi

who never let me rue the day
we spoke three stoical vows
in curtained quarters
behind Continue reading

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Pakistan-India ties

This is an interesting editorial from The NEWS April 12, 2008

In his first remarks on planned foreign policy, Pakistan’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has struck a positive note by speaking of the need for good ties with neighbouring India. His remarks coincide with a new report by US scientists at the University of Colorado that a brief nuclear war between the South Asian neighbours will rip apart the ozone layer and spell global calamity that could kill millions. But even aside from such doomsday scenarios, Pakistan and India could gain much from closer links. It is refreshing that in this regard, the new government is willing to look beyond the entrenched issue of Kashmir to achieve this. In the short term, expanded trade with India across an opened, or at least loosened Wagah border, could help offer people food items at lower costs and thus act to alleviate the immense human misery inflicted by spiralling inflation. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Pakistan