Out in the open, the old Lugarno bridge
Witness it has, many battles and wars
The happenings of the past and present
As they gather amidst tulips and old trees
For an old picture, for an old bindings
Remains in there, the strange silence
Souls of the departed, as flowers bloom
Remains in there, the old hatred
Like paths in the jungle, the reminders
Once there they brought the stories
Of me and you, in the corner,
The only witness, old Lugarno bridge!
Manasa’s story is certainly unique. She went on a 50-day visa two years ago, which was extended three times for a month each. Then when it seemed as if another extension wouldn’t come through, it did – for a whole year. A couple of weeks ago when I caught up with her at her department in Lahore, she was in full-blown depression. The joint secretary in Pakistan’s ministry of interior, it turned out, had learnt about Manasa’s case and had been horrified that an India had been given extension upon extension to live and work in the country.
Meanwhile, Manasa has learned to love Pakistan in so many different ways. I asked her about her life over the last two years and how she felt, now that she was getting ready to leave for her other home, in India.
Pak Tea House published a book review of Asad’s book on suicide bombings. In continuation of that series we are posting Khaled Ahmed’s review of the same book. Those interested may wish to check these links on suicide bombings series: narratives of terror; a liberal reaction here; and a psychological analysis here (Raza Rumi)
BOOK REVIEW: A ‘counter-view’ of suicide-bombing by Khaled Ahmed
Pilots that bombed innocent German civilians during the war were doing the right thing under law and could be not be dubbed terrorists, but today’s militant who kills innocent people through suicide is committing terrorism
Talal Asad is a professor of anthropology at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, and has written on aspects of suicide-bombing that most writers on the subject ignore or are not qualified to discuss. He says the idea of the war on terror has developed in the United States, and the theorising on ‘just war’ has unfolded there and in the UK and Israel. He disagrees with some of the assumptions made at these centres and wishes to posit that ‘creation of terror and perpetration of atrocities are aspects of militant action in the unequal worlds we inhabit and the emotion with which we justify or condemn particular acts of death dealing’.
An idea of how he proceeds can be had from how he proceeds from the problem of culpability of Saddam Hussein. That he killed and bombed Iranians and his own people should be understood in the light of the fact that his culpability was watered down by the fact that the US supplied him intelligence against Iran and Europe helped build his chemical weapons. He thinks that a suicide-bomber acts to win approval from his community. One can expand the concept of the community to include the state which actually expects its soldiers to kill themselves if need be for the sake the motherland. This has nothing to do with the legality of the war that the state may be undertaking. Continue reading