Daily Archives: December 3, 2008

Media falls in the old trap

By Beena Sarwar

THE Mumbai nightmare has plunged the media in India and Pakistan into
the dangerous, old trap in which nationalism trumps responsible
reporting. This is not a new phenomenon, nor is it restricted to
India and Pakistan.

American journalists fell into this trap after the attack on the Twin
Towers in New York on Sept 11, 2001. They were vigorously criticised
for their unquestioning over-reliance on the security establishment
for information. The security establishment, with its blinkered
security paradigm, fed them false information that prepared the
ground for the Iraq invasion and the Afghanistan bombing. Continue reading

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The World is a Circular Firing Squad

There’s a line in one of the greatest “Bollywood” classics, written by the scions of a couple of the greatest South Asian literary families–sons of Urdu poets, to be precise–and delivered by a minor but unforgettable character, “Surma Bhopali” that goes “Yahaan hamaaree kya zaroorath hai; yahaan tho waisay hee aap kay naam ka warrant nikla huwa hai.” [Who needs me? There’s already a warrant out for your arrest.]

And that’s the thought that’s being going through my head as South Asia spirals downwards, some folks caution against jumping to conclusions, and others rally for peace. And I include the arguments over “Islamists did it. No, wait! Let’s not jump to conclusions; it could be home grown!…” in that

How is it realistic to look at everything as either-or? The mess South Asia is in–not to mention the rest of the world–there’s enough blame to go around. Neo-purist fanatics (our Islamist/Jihadists; their Sanghis; our–speaking from North America–Christian and Jewish fanatics); civilizing imperialists; ethnic militants (Sena, MQM, racists of white and other hue); everybody’s jingoistic nationalists; everybody’s military-industrial-intelligence complexes…all feed off each other. In some cases, they work with each other. Just for example, Is it too much of a stretch to believe that what is happening in Karachi (in case either of you missed it) is being helped along by Indian Intelligence (and who knows who else) as a counterpoint to what they see as Pakistani Intelligence “doing Mumbai”? From where I sit, what’s happening in the NW of Pakistan also has elements of a turf battle.

And as we all participate in this circular firing squad–including the agonizing over Muslims being targeted or profiled–the folks I list above make leaps and bounds in the struggle for the hearts and minds of their respective target constituencies…

And PS: how many noticed there were riots in the prettiest town in Africa’s largest nation, too? Rally anyone?


Cross-posted on the iFaqeer, Wadiblog, ProgressiveIslam.org, Pak Tea House, Urdu ke Naam, Doodpatti (by Tohfay) blogs.
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Filed under FATA, India, Islam, Islamism, Karachi, Pakistan, Politics, Society, south asia, Terrorism, Urdu, USA, violence, war

The Death of Common Sense and Intelligence

by Shaheryar Azhar, the moderator of ‘The Forum’

What happened in Mumbai was not an abstraction for me. Having visited it thrice; basked as a guest in the old-world charm of Taj Palace Hotel and Towers; played a diligent tourist in this multicultural cauldron of ‘maximum city’; having partaken of its great shopping and some of its finest cuisines; having friends and relatives who are ‘Bombayites’ through and through and can not dream of living anywhere else; and, not the least, being an ardent fan of Bollywood films and music from my earliest memory as a child – seeing the horror unfold on November 26th was extremely personal in many ways. Continue reading

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