but we are actually all winds
ever more than before
even ever more than before 
gaining 
speeding 
booming
towards future 
speeding
and redeeming laughters
and happiest laughters
Start page JUMO | Code for America | good.is |
“If you want to free a society, just give them internet access. Because people, the young guys, you know, are all going to go out and see biased media, see the truth about other nations and their own nation and they’re going to be able to contribute and collaborate together.”
 
“Just because of the prayers of people, and because of these prayers, God has given me this new life, and this is a second life. This is the new life and I want to serve the people.”

Malala Yousafzai, from recorded statement in Jan 2013

April 18, 2013, 10:45am  0 notes

 
“North Korea “could sell this technology to others, including Iran and Pakistan, who have been regular customers of North Korea’s other missiles,” warns Victor Cha, who analyzes the region for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“They still have other technological thresholds to cross (miniaturized warheads, reentry vehicle), but this was undeniably a major one.””

December 13, 2012, 6:29am  1 note

sosaidthechildren:

I Dream Of a Day || Usman Mukhtar

A message to and from Pakistan’s young and tired.

I dream of a day where we realize that we are the only ones to blame. It is still not too late to change. A day where we stand together to undo this shame.

Not going to lie, I liked this video infinitely more because it used Hans Zimmer for its background music. Major brownie points.



Reblogged from syntaxsynapse-deactivated201302.

August 14, 2012, 6:05pm  39 notes

▸ [Egypt, Arab Spring, Economics, Development] Does Egypt have the Preconditions for Stable Representative Government?, Jay Richards, AEI

So, how Hernando De Soto’s organization started work in 1997 re: Egyptian economy - and spent 7 years for resulting in 1,000 pages report.

And how the Egyptian government didn’t do a thing.

De Soto’s organization was hired back in 1997 to study the situation in Egypt, and the results are troubling. According to a report they issued in 2004:

• Egypt’s underground economy was the nation’s biggest employer. The legal private sector employed 6.8 million people and the public sector employed 5.9 million, while 9.6 million people worked in the extra-legal sector.

• As far as real estate is concerned, 92 percent of Egyptians hold their property without normal legal title.

The study was a huge undertaking.

After years of fieldwork and analysis—involving over 120 Egyptian and Peruvian technicians with the participation of 300 local leaders and interviews with thousands of ordinary people—we presented a 1,000-page report and a 20-point action plan to the 11-member economic cabinet in 2004. The report was championed by Minister of Finance Muhammad Medhat Hassanein, and the cabinet approved its policy recommendations.

Egypt’s major newspaper, Al Ahram, declared that the reforms “would open the doors of history for Egypt.”

So what do you think happened? In a cabinet shakeup, Hassanein was canned and the proposals went nowhere.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed de Soto for a documentary project and asked him what in his research had most surprised him. He said he was surprised at how difficult it is to get governments to implement property reforms, even when they know the benefits. Instead, they stonewall. Alas, that seems to be what happened in Egypt.

You can sense this frustration in his conclusion:

Leaders and governments may change and more democracy might come to Egypt. But unless its existing legal institutions are reformed to allow economic growth from the bottom up, the aspirations for a better life that are motivating so many demonstrating in the streets will remain unfulfilled.

I hope more democracy comes to Egypt, but I fear that even this may be optimistic, since there’s a chicken-and-egg issue here. Is it possible to get a more stable, representative government in Egypt when it lacks the legal institutions that give large segments of the population a stake in the future, and which can provide a counterweight to the aspirations of despots? We’ll find out soon enough.

Reminds me of (a lot of ‘land’ related economic issues but especially) - a view that difference in ‘Land Reform’ - how that made such difference in the development of democracy and economy in India and Pakistan.

[*Further to be checked: cases in Peru, Latin America, Asia, and then Land Reform difference in India and Pakistan]



Source: aei-ideas.org

Aug 03, 2012, 3:58pm  2 notes      

rubyshimmer:

Good article about Black Pakistanis in the Lyari neighboord in Sindh, Pakistan.

IMAGINING LYARI THROUGH AKHTAR SOOMRO

“Akhtar [Soomro] seeks to explore their concerns about the changes and the pressures on their social systems by the rapidly changing socio-political environment of the region and the city and their coping mechanisms. He documents and explores the connections of these communities to their African heritage—and the manner in which this heritage has evolved into a very specific South Asian character distinct and unique on one hand; and on the other, threatened by the global cultural experience and the political and social changes of the rapidly changing political, social and security environment. His photographs celebrate the Sheedis remaining triumphant in maintaining their culture and their identity within an overpowering dominant culture which is in fact influenced by this part of its multi faceted aspects.” [source]

Also cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddi

(Photo: Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times)

Mohammad Boota, a Ramadan drummer in Brooklyn, plays to wake Muslims before their daily fast.

Read more»

I’ve never experienced this - though I lived *inside* of UK’s Asian community for like 2 years total? (The house I lived in literally stood in the middle of Asian/Muslim community.) 

- that a drummer would go around the neighborhood, telling the arrival of a dawn - everyday, during Ramadan. 

There was much relaxed atmosphere but also very tense atmosphere - coming from, in my imagination, Sunni Salafi fundamentalism’s influence. Like displaying that their culture has an element of music - like playing drums - was barely shown publicly. I only witnessed two weddings which took place in open space - and had loud drummers going on. (Though I remember I found more of those drumming on Youtube, performed indoor rented wedding space.) 

And yeah, that’s unmistakably Brooklyn Coney Island Avenue - ‘Little Pakistan’.

Some curry spots and grocery stores operate 24 hrs - to serve the needs of NYC Asian cab drivers. 

▸ Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India (by Nile Green) [‘transnational’ links of Sufis in the making of Muslim space on Indian soil]

By Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed, Frontline (The Hindu)

  • Review on “Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India’ (Oxford University Press, 2012), Nile Green (UCLA, Central Asia & Middle East)

For more than a thousand years, there has been a constant theological wrangling on the position of Sufis within Islam. Puritans have always argued that the tombs of Sufis that are converted into shrines ( dargahs) are locations where Islam is corrupted and where bid’at (innovation) creeps into the practice of the religion. On the other hand, other prominent Muslims in South Asia and in other parts of the world have consistently argued that these practices have religious sanction and draw legitimacy from the Quran.

The arguments in favour of the sacerdotal practices at Sufi shrines received a fillip in South Asia with the aggressive theological work of Ahmed Riza Khan Barelwi (1856-1921). Anecdotal evidence also suggests that most Indian Muslims are Barelwis (followers of Barelwi), but there has been an increasing tendency within Indian Islam, under a global move to homogenise the faith, to conform to a more Wahabi version of Sunni Islam. The first consequence of this global move has been the reduced patronage of the various Sufi shrines in the subcontinent.

Thus, the person of the Sufi and, concomitantly, the shrine where he has been physically and spiritually immortalised have emerged as the key sites where these theological battles are fought between the traditionalists and the reformers. Recently formed organisations such as the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), comprising mainly sajjada nashins (descendants of Sufis), have tried to organise themselves against the overarching influence of the Deoband madrassa and its discourse of Sunni Islam on Muslims in the subcontinent.

In the context of this tremendous churn in Indian Muslim society and the internecine battle among India’s Sunni Muslims, the academic relevance of Nile Green’s new book of integrated essays, Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India, is invaluable as it provides a useful account of the roles of Sufis in early modern India. Of course, it also has a wider relevance for students of Indian history, historians of religion, students of migration studies, discerning intellectuals and anybody who has an interest in the world of Sufis.

As the work of historians such as Richard M. Eaton has demonstrated, Sufis have played a key role in the spread of Islamic culture (and concomitantly Islam) in South Asia. In the later centuries, Sufi shrines were also powerful economic institutions that played important political roles. Therefore, in-depth studies of Sufism in India are absolutely necessary to add to our understanding of South Asian Islam. Green’s work, which looks at the world of Sufis in early modern India with several case studies from the Deccan, adds significantly to this understanding of Sufis’ role. The integrated essays in this collection look at several facets of Sufis’ lives and the roles they played in early modern Indian society.

Studies of Indian Islam tend to restrict their inquiries to the limited geography of the subcontinent, but Green’s work demonstrates the “transnational” links of Sufis. This is the key aspect he chooses to address – how settlement emerged from a “world on the move”, as historians described medieval Islamic India. With their settlements, Green argues, “Sufis were the key mediators between the new Muslim communities that emerged in early modern India and the rural landscape and urban spaces of their settlement and homemaking.” He goes on to say that “…the shrines of the immortalised Sufi saints were crucial to the making of Muslim space on Indian soil”.

Green approaches the itinerant world of Sufis by positioning the texts and territories that they inhabited in their double lives as blessed men and remembered saints. He writes: “For the purpose of this book, what is ultimately most important to recognise is that blessed men and saints were at once territorial and textual constructions who were created by and in turn created texts and territories.”

The Persian texts that Sufis brought with them from their homes in central Asia were their links with a larger Islamic world, in the process creating Muslim “communities of memory”. The territories that they inhabited in India or passed through acquired a sacred geography and in the process marked, claimed and transformed India’s landscape into homelands. Green writes: “Through the movement of Sufis to India, an interconnected and overlapping Muslim geography emerged that connected India with wider Muslim memory space.”

The textual repertoire that Sufis brought with them was the source for practices like the urs (the death anniversary of a Sufi saint celebrated at his shrine). Green demonstrates the extraterritorial (outside South Asia) lineage of this practice, locating it in early Islam, and argues that it was part of the high Islamic South Asian religious practice.

Sufis were great travellers and Green uses the phrase “mobile blessed men” to describe them. They travelled along with armies and merchants. Several Sufis had also come from the modern region of Afghanistan, and for a group like the Afghans, whose identity was formed only among the diaspora, the Afghan saint acted as the “anchor of memory” by preserving cultural memory and linking the territories to which Afghans migrated. As the Afghan diaspora seeped more into the cultural and cosmopolitan fabric of India, the Afghans also began to patronise non-Afghan Sufis during the time of Mughal rule in India.

The travel of these Sufis to remote lands helped people settle there and patronise the Sufi, and subsequently the shrine, in a sort of symbiotic relationship between the Sufi and the community that had sprouted around him. In this way, Sufis were central in creating new Muslim homelands and they also helped in the process of gradual conversion. Islam was a religion fixed in geographical origin, and Sufi shrines linked Arabian geographies of the Quran’s text to their Islam in a variety of ways, thus “…helping in the acculturation of local converts to a religion that was fixed in geographical origin”.



Jul 14, 2012, 3:01am  0 notes      

 
“Sufi shrines were also the few spaces in early modern India where books were circulated, but we must remember that literacy at the time was merely a bureaucratic aid rather than a sign of knowledge. Although books were available at the shrines, the site of knowledge was the blessed man himself, who was the authoritative person, and textual authority rested with the master of the shrine.

Green writes: “Knowledge was that which was committed to memory, which books served to aid and supplement, but not to correct.” The role of the Sufi as the pre-modern repository of knowledge is interesting.”

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed, Frontline (The Hindu)

Review on “Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India’ (Oxford University Press, 2012), Nile Green (UCLA, Central Asia & Middle East) 

Whole review piece is interesting. 

Now a lot of stuff I experienced in South Asian community in UK - is coming to make much more sense. 

Also, this seems to make sense/draw pretty much parallel with Sheik Hamza Yusuf’s experience in Mauritania/West African schools of Islam - and respected (traditional) scholars there. 

July 12, 2012, 3:45am  3 notes

▸ Pakistan is not Egypt (and it hasn’t had a coup) | Pakistan: Now or Never? - Myra MacDonald, Reuters

Far from facing a coup, the choice before the PPP now is whether after naming a new prime minister it should hang on until elections in February, or hold early polls in the hope of using the “martyr card” to convince voters that it had been unfairly targetted by the Supreme Court.  Elections next year would give it time to stabilise the economy  – requiring an end to the standoff with the United States and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund – and to ease the energy crisis which, at a time of intense protests over load-shedding, is currently Pakistan’s biggest problem. Early polls would have the advantage of  putting a caretaker government in place which could take responsibility for repairing ties with the United States in a politically unpopular deal which nobody in Pakistan wants to own. So far Zardari has said he will wait for elections next year. Whatever the outcome, compared to previous civilian administrations in Pakistan, the current government is facing the luxury of choice.

That is not to suggest all is well in Pakistan.  Apart from the load-shedding, the economic crisis, the government/judiciary row, the Islamist militancy and the standoff with the United States, Pakistan also faces a growing challenge to the writ of state – between a separatist rebellion in Balochistan province and war in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan. It has an increasingly poor record on human rights and protection of minorities. Critics of the army say the space for civil society is shrinking rather than growing – for them the so-called Deep State is reasserting itself by other means, including through the Difa-e-Pakistan Islamist alliance.

It is a mess, and an unpredictable mess at that. But there is a process underway, of democratisation and of a distribution of power across different stakeholders (whether these be the army, the government, the opposition, the judiciary or the multiple non-state actors.)  Labelling Pakistan as a country still vulnerable to a coup, albeit a judicial one, ignores that diffusion of power.



Jun 20, 2012, 9:09pm  0 notes      

▸ [Arab Spring: Egypt could become Pakistan, not Turkey] Army misrule is turning Egypt into Pakistan - Shashank Joshi - Telegraph UK

This is what happens when an army eviscerates national institutions. Pakistan’s army has the same delusions of grandeur and competence as its Egyptian counterpart. Those delusions have torn apart the country. The army and its spies have bribed politicians and rigged elections, tortured journalists and fuelled jihadists, manipulated judges and turned the constitution into toilet paper.

Egypt might have been Turkey – a flawed but booming Islamist-led democracy, which succeeded in putting its coup-prone military back in the box. Instead, with every passing day of this car-crash transition, Egypt heads further in the direction of Pakistan.

There is a warning here for outsiders, too. The United States bears some responsibility for feeding the military monster in Pakistan, over the years in which it preferred to funnel cash and weapons to the army in return for short-term co-operation.

Today, Washington should make a different choice in Egypt. It should tell the generals that the billions of dollars of American aid they receive every year, and the cutting-edge tanks and jets, will be conditional on a swift, meaningful and irreversible handover to elected civilians. That won’t fix everything, but it might buy time for a political process to take hold. The junta will respond by threatening to tear up the peace treaty with Israel, but this bluff has grown old. It should be ignored.

Ultimately, it is for Egyptians to decide whether they take to the streets once more, and risk further and perhaps futile bloodshed, or accommodate to military tutelage. But we (Britain, after all, still sells arms to Egypt) should not be enabling a junta to crush Egypt’s nascent democratic institutions with impunity.

Shashank Joshi tends to write in bit (or very) overt? or exaggerated style. But I wonder - to address this concern - his style might be fitting. 

Not a bad warning signal to be raised. 



Jun 20, 2012, 1:12pm  0 notes      

▸ Pakistan has blown a chance to control its badlands, David Ignatius, Lebanon Daily Star

The notion of the tribal areas as a warrior kingdom impenetrable to outsiders has a romantic “Orientalist” tone. I was disabused of it in 2009 when I met a group of younger tribal leaders who had gathered in Islamabad to tell U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke that the region needed economic development, good governance and less hanky-panky from the central government. In a move that embodied everything that’s wrong with the Pakistani approach, these brave young men were intercepted on the way home by the Inter-Services Intelligence and quizzed about why they had dared talk to the farangi.

Surely the most foolish move the Pakistanis made was to compromise with the terrorist Haqqani network, which operates from its base in Miran Shah, a few hundred yards from a Pakistani military garrison. This was like playing with a venomous cobra – something the Pakistanis seem to imagine is an essential part of regional realpolitik. No, you kill a cobra. If the ISI had been up to the task, it would have had some formidable snake-killing allies.

The Pakistanis lost a chance over the past decade to build and secure their country. It won’t come back again in this form. That’s a small problem for the U.S. and its allies, but a big problem for Pakistan.



May 18, 2012, 1:05am  1 note      

 
“Even the Sunnah itself demonstrates that the religious liberties and rights of non-Muslims cannot be sacrificed to consolidate Islamic rule. Numerous treaties that the Prophet agreed to illustrate his political principles. For example, the Charter of Madina is the first political agreement in the history of Islam by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that establishes a working relationship between a plurality of Muslim and non-Muslim denominations. As such, it may represent the default position of the Prophet (pbuh) in how to conduct statecraft where a number of inhabitants do not profess affiliation to the Islamic faith. Thus the Charter of Madina sheds light on constitution-making as this has the blessings of a person none other than the Prophet himself. A closer examination of the Charter would refute the idea that only law deemed ‘Islamic’ by a creed of Ulema can be used within an Islamic state. The fact that the Prophet asked for and used Jewish law in passing some of his rulings should be sufficient to dispel this notion. Clearly, an Islamic state must accomodate the religious traditions of other faiths in line with this.”

Secularism and Islam in Pakistan [Why a Secular Pakistan is closer to Islam, Amaar Ahmad, Aug 5th 2011] 

Instead Quran’s emphasis has been on establishing justice among people. We find a pertinent verse instructing those in power to exercise strict fairplay: “Surely, Allah commands you to make over the trust to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice” (4:58). The verse clearly asks for people capable of honestly running affairs of the state to be placed in positions of authority so that they act without discrimination. Thus the whole idea of purging a state’s administration of able non-Muslims on religious grounds seems foul and against this message.

Pertinent points made.

(via mehreenkasana)

Reading original comments section  -  And yeah, if combined with the actual history of Pakistan and the region - how ‘nation-state’ was/were introduced (ideas, apparatus and practices) and then how people reacted with their own impulses and ideas - (about Islam and ‘identity’/membership’) - then Separation, then Jinnah - then Zia - and then as the author says today’s Pakistan’s sectarian tension -

'discourse' really should map out the sources of impulses for ‘Purist’ positions and also many (powerful) sources for pluralism/religious diversity/religious freedom, coexistence. 

For real contrast and real reflections. 

(also cf: Bangladesh and Pakistan: Flirting with Failure in South Asia, By William B. Milam)

April 25, 2012, 4:25pm  40 notes

newshour:

Before His Death, Dawn Editor Razvi ‘Wouldn’t Leave Pakistan for the Moon’ By LARISA EPATKO
“I have lived in several countries and felt at home; ditto for my wife,” Murtaza Razvi wrote in an email to the NewsHour just two days before his brutal death. “But we’re raising our three daughters in Pakistan because if people like us left, we felt we’d be abandoning this country to the forces of darkness.
“We wouldn’t leave Pakistan for the moon, just yet. We holiday abroad to show the girls what the ‘normal’ world is like, and that we too should be like them. Of course, the girls will make their own choices when they grow up.”
On Thursday, Razvi, the editor of the magazine section of Dawn Media Group in Karachi, was found in an office apartment building, apparently strangled to death. His death — though not connected at this point to his journalism — still serves as a reminder of the perils journalists face in the bustling port city of Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, which tracks journalism deaths around the world, ranked Pakistan as having the highest number in 2011 at seven. In 2012, it had eight. Journalists’ deaths where the motivation is connected to their work have been on the rise since 1992, the group has reported.
(Photo by Ann Hartman/East-West Center)

newshour:

Before His Death, Dawn Editor Razvi ‘Wouldn’t Leave Pakistan for the Moon’ By LARISA EPATKO

“I have lived in several countries and felt at home; ditto for my wife,” Murtaza Razvi wrote in an email to the NewsHour just two days before his brutal death. “But we’re raising our three daughters in Pakistan because if people like us left, we felt we’d be abandoning this country to the forces of darkness.

“We wouldn’t leave Pakistan for the moon, just yet. We holiday abroad to show the girls what the ‘normal’ world is like, and that we too should be like them. Of course, the girls will make their own choices when they grow up.”

On Thursday, Razvi, the editor of the magazine section of Dawn Media Group in Karachi, was found in an office apartment building, apparently strangled to death. His death — though not connected at this point to his journalism — still serves as a reminder of the perils journalists face in the bustling port city of Karachi and elsewhere in Pakistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which tracks journalism deaths around the world, ranked Pakistan as having the highest number in 2011 at seven. In 2012, it had eight. Journalists’ deaths where the motivation is connected to their work have been on the rise since 1992, the group has reported.

(Photo by Ann Hartman/East-West Center)