Tag Archives: Iraq

In Baghdad Ruins, Remains of a Cultural Bridge

Reproduced from The New York Times


Published: May 21, 2010


BAGHDAD — Report No. 25, dated April 4 and written by Col. Qais Hussein, was clinical, the anonymous survey of an explosion in a city where explosions are ordinary.

 “Material damage: significant,” it declared of the car bomb that was detonated last month near the Egyptian Embassy, killing 17 people. “The burning of 10 cars + the burning of a house, which was in front of the embassy, with moderate damage to 10 surrounding houses.”

Colonel Hussein’s report didn’t mention the hundreds of books, from plays of Chekhov to novels of the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, stored in bags, boxes and a stairwell. It didn’t speak of the paintings there of Shaker Hassan, one of Iraq’s greatest, or the sculptures of his compatriot, Mohammed Ghani Hikmat. There was no note of the stone brought from an exile’s birthplace in Bethlehem that helped build the house as a cosmopolitan refuge bridging West and East.

Nor did Colonel Hussein’s report mention that the home belonged to Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, a renowned Arab novelist, poet, painter, critic and translator who built it along the date palms and mulberry trees of Princesses’ Street nearly a half-century ago and lived there until his death in 1994.

This is not a story about an outpouring of grief over its destruction. There were no commemorations, few tributes. As Fadhil Thamer, a critic, said, “People here have seen too much.”

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Filed under Identity, Iraq, Literature, Pakistan, Palestine-israel, Religion, Terrorism, USA, violence, war

Demystifying mysteries

By Ayesha Siddiqa               Dawn, 01 Jan, 2010

 The Pakistani media is playing its role by informing citizens about the threat posed by the American security contractor Blackwater. Every other day there is some news of suspicious cars being stopped by the Punjab police and the passengers being interrogated and then released under pressure from unknown and unnamed people in the government.

Intriguingly, we never get to hear the end. There are several questions that could be asked about what the occupants of these vehicles were doing in Pakistan. More important, why does the Punjab government and its police let such people go? Continue reading


Filed under Army, Democracy, Pakistan, Punjab, state, USA, War On Terror

Is the Check in the Mail?

The Confessions of a Groveling Pakistani Native Orientalist

By PERVEZ HOODBHOY       CounterPunch 14 Dec 2009

Here ye, Counterpunch readers! The victory of Native Orientalists – the ones which the late Edward Said had warned us about – is nearly complete in Pakistan. It has been led by “the minions of Western embassies and Western-financed NGOs” and includes the likes of “Ahmad Rashid, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmad, Irfan Hussain, Husain Haqqani, and P.J.Mir”. Thus declares Mohammad Shahid Alam, a professor of Pakistani origin who teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachussetts. [CounterPunch, 2 Dec 2009] Continue reading


Filed under Islam, Islamism, Left, Pakistan, Taliban

Disturbing Déjà Vu

by Shaheryar Azhar, moderator, The Forum

The following article by Barbara Crossette was pubished in February 1, 1991 in the New York Times. Few lessons stand out in stark relief:

1. The Pakistan army was on the wrong side of history in the first Gulf War as it is today on the Kerry-Lugar bill.

2. The emotional Pakistani public and media, then as now, are always eager to jump on Army’s bandwagon abandoning in a heart beat all pretense at reason, logic and reality. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan, War On Terror

Gulf Excess and Pakistani Slaves

“We need slaves to build monuments,” says an Iraqi engineer living in Abu Dhabi to a reporter from the Guardian. In the published report he goes to add that he would never use the metro if it wasn’t segregated since “we would never sit next to Pakistanis and Indians because of their smell”. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

CIA: Licensed to Kill

By David Wise (Writing in the LA Times)

Back in 1960, the CIA hatched a plan to kill Patrice Lumumba by infecting his toothbrush with a deadly disease. The Congolese leader would brush his teeth and, presto, in a few days or weeks he would be gone.

Around the same time, the CIA’s Health Alteration Committee — who thought that name up? — sent a monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief to Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, the leader of Iraq. Continue reading

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Filed under war

Justice In A Way: Obama and Gitmo

Comment by HP

Posted in response to Glen Greenwald’s article on Salon. The article is about the positions the Obama admin has been maintaining over the Gitmo detainees.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/07/08/obama/index.html Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan