In all the angst that is turning up in the chattering and protesting classes in Pakistan, one question is coming up pretty often: whatever happened to the PPP? Others express a complete disdain for it. And I don’t want to sound naive; the PPP and its founders and others since have done much to deserve all the reactions they get: both positive and negative.
Author Archives: iFaqeer
The 30th anniversary of Khomeini’s return to Iran should be something we all take the time to reflect upon. From thinking about what the role of the US–and the West generally–has been in Persia, (supporting the Shah; hosting Khomeini…), to what the Iranian model and experience says about what the possibilities are in Pakistan, to what neo-purist interpretations of Islam have meant for the world at large today, the list is endless.
Here’s a flashback from a BBC journalist:
[First published at http://blog.iFaqeer.com]
This mornings Stratfor Podcast is titled “Erdovan’s Davos Walkout Lays Down the Marker“. I haven’t heard it yet (hoping to, on the exercise machine), but just from that title, you can see one thing: the recognition of Israel has been anathema in the Muslim world, but if you had wondered if any good could ever come out of recognizing them, this is it. The fact that Turkey is seen in the Western World as a “moderate” Muslim state and has respect for being one of very few Muslim states to recognize Israel gives Erdogan’s action much more weight than, say, a Pakistani or Indonesian leader doing the same. I am not saying Pakistan should up and recognize Israel, but it’s something for Pakistanis to think about in the debate of whether and when to think about “normalizing” relations.
When my son started First Grade, come the start of African-American History Month, he coolly informed his (predominantly East and South Asian) classmates that his otherwise very Pakistani-looking, and sounding “dad is an African-American”. I do not remember ever having used that phrase within earshot of him. But he knows that I was born in same region of Africa that is the origin of most of the people who came to this country as slaves. And thus I came to this country as an African-born grad student much like Barack Obama Sr.
So don’t get me wrong; I love my brother Barack Hussain. I have been following his presidential ambitions almost form first buzz around a possible run–and have discussed it in my blogging and even Urdu podcasting. I am joyous at seeing him in the White House. To repeat the cliche, it tells me that my now 8-year old son and, even more possibly, my 4-year old daughter can really follow in his footsteps.
And I am actually one person who did NOT hold his staying mum even about the events in Gaza over the last month or so against him. Speaking out would only have used up political capital that he didn’t need to spend for no substantial gain. Whichever way he chose to lean, it would have have cost him; either in terms of political support at home, or in goodwill that he still has on “the Muslim street”.
But when my brother Barack Hussain says: Continue reading
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.
Technorati tags applicable to this post: Mumbai – Pakistan – India – War on Terror
ik ro’ee si dhi Punjab dhee thoon lakh-lakh maray veen;jub lak-haan dhiyaan rondhiyaan tho kith-hay Waris Shah?
[One daughter of Punjab wept, and you wept millions of tears;
When thousands weep, where are you to be found Waris Shah?]
I am not sure I completely agree with, or endorse the thought, but this bears quoting. It’s something Nowsherwan Yasin said on a mailing list this morning about the whole Zardari hits on Palin brouhaha (in case you’ve not followed it, check out the post and discussion Teeth Maestro’s blog here.):
Although I agree that such statements are inappropriate in foreign relations, I can’t help but see an unintentional advantage (of sorts) of Pakistani chauvinism in dealing with such a character. The politically correct, hidden misogyny of the American politician really has no answer for the snide, smart @ss, belittling demeanor that Palin seems to exhibit. She reminds me of the typical sitcom girlfriend, you know the one that will not let passive guy X go out with his friends and Y humiliating him to a laugh track, constantly nagging and yelping without any real knowledge of anything.
But good old sexism, in societies where it is acceptable, such as Pakistan, provides a trump card.