Monday, March 28, 2011

"A civilisation of narcissists "

Published: March 26, 2011

Muslims seem to be blind to non-Muslim emotions; they are civilisationally inward-looking, but only go into denial when taxed with blame from the outside. If Muslims kill non-Muslims, they seem strangely unconcerned; when Muslims kill Muslims, as in Sudan, they turn their eyes away. It is only when non-Muslims kill Muslims, that they wake up and start complaining and pointing to their general state of victimhood. In his book Tehzeebi Nargisiyat (Sanjh Publications Lahore, 2009), Mobarak Haider goes into the minutiae of collective Muslim narcissism and examines all their overt and hidden postures, and comes up with a key to the understanding of the Muslim mind.

Haider says if you think Muslim isolationism and pride are of recent date, you are mistaken; Muslims have always been like that. It is their understanding of Islam that permits extreme posturing, while at the same time giving them the rhetoric of peace that no one takes seriously. If a Muslim terrorist kills another Muslim, the unthinking verdict is that the killer couldn’t be a Muslim or he wouldn’t have done it. Yet the bitter truth is that despite all their aggressive strutting, Muslims are busy killing Muslims all over the world. When they travel abroad and are treated with fear and loathing at international airports, they pocket their narcissism and suffer in silence. Strangely, pride doesn’t recommend refusal to migrate.

Author Haider bases this narcissism on the way Muslims absorb the following tenets of their faith: 1) Islam is a complete code of life and offers solutions to all problems; 2) Every edict of Islam is eternal and applicable to all times; 3) Islam is the only truth and any other competing truth must mould itself according to Islam or be ready to be suppressed; 4) Muslims are under obligation to make Islam the supreme religion of the world as other religions are jahiliyya; 5) Muslims are the foremost nation in the world and the only one that will be allowed into Heaven; 6) Action taken to subjugate other civilisations is jihad and not terrorism.

There are other ‘collective’ illusions contained in the edicts that follow: 7) Violence is interpreted as jihad, but then jihad is supposed to be the personal obligation of Muslims and not the state; 8) Any deviation from the prevailing dogma is non-belief or kufr; in more mitigating conditions, it is at least heresy; 9) The best knowledge is knowledge of religion and the ulema are the best among men, which means that no one can think about religion on his own; 10) No one can become a scholar of Islam except by accepting the dogma and obeying the edicts of tradition.

The Taliban are the climax of the journey of blind dismissal of the world outside the Muslim self. The idea is to rule the world not through acquisition of knowledge but through the use of the sword. The Taliban are the symbol of Pakistan’s recession into the self in the face of modern challenges. The biggest self-destructive vice that springs from this is uniformity of thinking or yaksaniyat (p.62).

Pakistan in its official and unofficial mythology claims that superpower Russia was defeated by the Taliban; and superpower America, too, will now be defeated by the Taliban, a glory in which Muslims of the world will indirectly participate. Corrupt politicians returning from the fleshpots of Europe, where they have just spent a part of the wealth gouged from Pakistan, complain that the West has lost its spiritual values and is now looking beseechingly at the Muslims as an agency of the revival of the western soul.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2011. link

My response to the excellent article by Mr. Khalid is for Muslims to DO something; don’t just curse the Dark, light a candle!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

I have seen and read about the lives of the Palestinians in the US and other places. They are very successful in every field. And at the same time I saw the Arab countries at the bottom of the list in education and development. And I always ask the question: What if the Palestinians and the Arabs accepted the presence of Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced?

Comment: The decision to oppose recognizing Israel was not made in 1948. As the aims of the Zionist project become known to them I think it was met by Arabs with revulsion at the idea that a place in the middle east would exist where a Jew could not be abused at the whim of an Arab. That is why in 1899 the Mufti of Jerusalem not only opposed the project, but specifically proposed terror as the preferred weapon,a plan which the Turks opposed [The Arabs and Zionism before World War I, by Neville J. Mandel, page 41. link] but which spread like fire among the Arabs after the Turks agreed to dissolve their empire and divide their captive nations into states, just as was happening in Europe with the dissolving Russian and Austrian empires. That is why the Arabs, displaying what psychologists call displacement, proclaim that Zionism is racism.

It isn't accepting Israel as a State or fact that is the problem. It is accepting - not merely tolerating - Jews as individuals with rights AND collectively as a people who deserve not to be abused any more. This is the attitude that has not changed in a hundred years.
...If Israel was recognized in 1948, then the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of some Arab dictators who kept telling them that the refugees would be back in their homes and all Arab lands will be liberated and Israel will be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians for their own agenda to suppress their own people and to stay in power -
I believe this is the first time I have read such a confession from the pen of a high-ranking Arab officer. The author concludes:
Now, the Palestinians are on their own. Each Arab country is busy with its own crisis. From Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Algeria, Lebanon and the Gulf states. For now, the Arab countries have put the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on hold.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It was supposed to be a simple port visit, working with the Boy Scouts. Then they had to rescue Japan!

110218-N-9094S-186 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 18, 2011) The U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) is underway in the Pacific Ocean. Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone/Released)

USS Blue Ridge Arrives in Singapore
Story Number: NNS110311-08 Release Date: 3/11/2011 12:12:00 PM

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Singapore, March 11, for the ship's first port visit to the city since October 2009.

Blue Ridge and embarked 7th fleet Sailors will continue strengthening ties in the international city through community service events and cultural exchanges during the ship's port visit.

Sailors and embarked Marines of Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific will visit and volunteer at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Boys' Town and the Street 11 Mission. Boy Scouts, military members and local residents are also scheduled to tour the ship for a glimpse of daily operations aboard a U.S. Navy vessel.
110302-N-9094S-146 SEPANGAR, Malaysia (March 2, 2011) Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Mandela Gbieor, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), plays with a child during a community service event at the Bukit Harapan Theraputic Community. The center is a home for orphaned and disabled children. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone/Released)

The ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation program is offering Sailors the opportunity to join tours ranging from cultural history to theme parks during the ship's stay.

"I've been to Singapore before, but this is my first chance to get out in town and actually see the city," said Lt. Roy Lopez, Commander, 7th Fleet lead force flow planner. "I'm going on a cultural tour of Singapore. Singapore has diverse cultures, and it's great to learn their history and how they've influenced the city."

USS Blue Ridge readies to provide aid to Japan

Story Number: NNS110312-13 Release Date: 3/12/2011 7:44:00 PM

By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian A. Stone
110312-N-0864H-210 SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 12, 2011) Sailors aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) move pallets of humanitarian relief supplies across the ship's flight deck during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), not pictured. Blue Ridge is ensuring the crew is ready if directed to assist with earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Seventh Fleet command flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors and embarked 7th Fleet staff members are preparing for humanitarian aid and disaster relief support operations while sailing toward the eastern coast of mainland Japan March 13.

Blue Ridge Sailors loaded a humanitarian aid/disaster relief (HADR) kit while moored in Singapore Friday night and set sail Saturday morning. Shortly after departing Singapore, the ship completed replenishment-at-sea operations with USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), receiving fuel and additional supplies.

"I'm amazed at the things we've achieved in such a short time," said Master Chief Information Systems Technician Lonnie Gillilan, who led the recent on-load preparations aboard Blue Ridge. "We've all been pulling together, no complaining. I'm very impressed."

Sailors worked past midnight Friday, loading equipment to allow Blue Ridge to provide fresh water and supplies during HADR support operations.

"It's giving me a sense of accomplishment to know that the work we're doing could help people out," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Patrick Ramos, who helped push crates of supplies from the flight deck.

Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jonathan Howton, a leading petty officer aboard Blue Ridge, has experience conducting HADR support operations in conditions similar to those location in Japan affected by the recent tsunami.

"I was aboard USS Iwo Jima when we provided aid to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina," said Howton. "In a disaster situation you have to prepare for the unknown. You never know what's going to happen."

USS Blue Ridge is uniquely equipped and able to perform amphibious command and control operations and is ready to support assigned HADR relief efforts.

Japan disaster: U.S. relief ops

Marine Corps Bases Japan assistant chief of staff, G-3 operations, in the Base Emergency Operations Center in Okinawa, Japan, March 11, 2011, after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit mainland Japan. Talleri, along with special staff members, is monitoring the situation as it develops and coordinating Marine Corps actions.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matheus Hernandez

U.S. Air Force airmen load a pallet onto a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globe Master III, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., March 12, 2011. The supplies are in route to Japan for earthquake relief efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith

U.S. Air Force airmen go over checklist and prepare mobility bags to Misawa Air Base, at Kadena Air Base, March 12, 2011. The airmen, assigned to the 18th Civil Engineer Group will assist Misawa personnel with regaining the electric and power capabilities. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lakisha Croley

Homer Hawkins a civilian contractor with Satellite Services Industries marshals in a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globe Master III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., March 12, 2011, at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., in preparation to load supplies in route to Japan for earthquake relief. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith

From left, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Ramos, Seaman James Norman and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brett Carlson on board the U.S. 7th Fleet command flagship USS Blue Ridge on-load humanitarian assistance supplies in Singapore, March 11, 2011, to ensure the ship and crew are ready to support earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan if directed. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart


Also: The saga-in-progress of the USS Blue Ridge: link

Update, 3/16/11: More postings on U.S. relief efforts, especially pictures, at PDF: link

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hero of the Day: Thaddeus Kosciuszko

General Thaddeus Kosciuszko 1746 - 1817
Hero of America and Poland

He arrived in 1776, with a note of introduction and recommendation to George Washington by Dr. Franklin. " What do you seek here?" inquired the chief. "I come to fight as a volunteer for American independence," answered Kosciuszko. "What can you do?" asked Washington. "Try me," was the quick reply.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko was born in Poland on February 4, 1746, son of Ludwik and Tekla Kosciuszko. He attended school in Lubieszow and then the Cadet Academy in Warsaw before continuing his engineering studies in Paris, France. By the time Kosciuszko arrived in America from Poland in 1776, he was a skilled engineer who came to offer his services to the American colonies in their struggle for independence. On October 18, 1776 Kosciuszko was commissioned as Colonel of Engineers by the Continental Congress and began his outstanding service of fortifying battle sites, many of which became turning points in America's fight for independence against the British.

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia in 1776, Kosciuszko read the Declaration of Independence and was moved to tears because he discovered in this single, concise document everything in which he truly believed. When he discovered that Thomas Jefferson was responsible for drafting the Declaration, he felt compelled to meet him. A few months later, while moving south with the Continental Army, Kosciuszko stopped in Virginia to meet with Jefferson. After a very warm reception, the two men spent the day comparing philosophies and eventually became the best of friends.

In the early days of the war, Kosciuszko helped to fortify the Philadelphia waterfront at Fort Mercer. Shortly after, he was transferred to New York, where he helped with fortifications along the Hudson and planned the defense for Saratoga. The Battle of Saratoga became known as one of military history's most famous struggles for independence and proved to be a turning point in the war.

In 1778, Kosciuszko was made chief engineer of West Point, New York. This fortification became known as the American Gibraltar because it was unable to be penetrated by the British Army. Eventually West Point became a military academy.

In 1783, Kosciuszko was appointed Brigadier General and was awarded the Cincinnati Order Medal by General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Washington also presented Kosciuszko with two pistols and a sword as gifts for his outstanding service to America.

After the colonies won their independence, Kosciuszko returned to Poland in 1784 to help his own country win independence from the surrounding European powers. Kosciuszko was the national hero of the 1794 insurrection. After the successful battle of Raclawice on April 4, 1794, first Warsaw and then Wilno were liberated from enemy occupation. Kosciuszko was wounded in the failed revolt and taken prisoner by the Russians. Upon his release from prison, he returned to America on August 18, 1797, which he considered his "second home." He received a hero's welcome when he reached the Philadelphia waterfront along the Delaware River. Afterward, he secured a residence at 3rd and Pine Streets, which is now the Kosciuszko House, a national memorial to this hero of the American Revolution.

Kosciuszko was admired by general and foot soldier alike, both for his technical knowledge and for his sympathetic understanding and generosity. Jefferson wrote of Kosciuszko, "He is as pure a son of liberty as I have ever known." Tragically, Kosciuszko, a devoted champion of the poor and oppressed, never witnessed the arrival of freedom in his homeland, Poland.

Kosciuszko was a firm believer of equality and requested, before leaving the United States for the second time, that the money from his estate be used to buy freedom for slaves, help to educate them and provide them with enough land to support themselves...

Kosciuszko's Advice to a Youth

To do honor to your family and yourself and at my recommendation, you must reread what follows every day so that it will be engraved on your memory on which your well being will depend.

Rise at four in the summer and six in the winter. Your first thoughts must be directed towards the Supreme Being; worship Him for a few minutes. Set yourself to work with reflection and intelligence, either at your prescribed duty carried out in the most scrupulous manner, or perfect yourself in some science in which you should have true mastery. Avoid lying under any circumstances in your life, but always be frank and loyal and always tell the truth. Never be idle but be sober and frugal even hard on yourself while indulgent to others. Do not be vain nor an egotist. Before speaking or answering on something, reflect and consider well in order not to lose your point and say something stupid. Never fail to give due recognition under any circumstances to the person who is in charge of your well being. Anticipate his desires and his wishes. Pay close attention with proper humility. Look for an opportunity to be useful. As you are a foreigner in the country, redouble your concern and efforts to gain trust and preference over the natives legitimately by your merit and superior knowledge. If a secret is entrusted in you, keep it religiously; in all your actions you must be upright, sincere and open; no dissimulation in your speech, do not argue but seek the truth calmly and with modesty, be polite and considerate to everyone, agreeable and obliging in society, humane and helpful to the unfortunate according to your means. Read instructive books to embellish your mind and improve your spirit. Do not degrade yourself by making bad acquaintances, but rather those with high principles and reputation thus your conduct should be such that the whole world approves it and that wherever you may be it will be considered irreproachable.

T Kosciuszko

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Way Out for Pakistanis

"Cowing down in front of extremism or being apologetic on their demands is what we have been doing. Abdicating responsibility and state power by agreeing to the demands of men of evil that block our streets to celebrate the murderer of a brave man who stood up for a poor Christian farmhand is what we have been doing."

There is a way out of this. It is not something Pakistanis accept easily. I've only witnessed it once, in 1971, when an anguished Pakistani diplomat consulted with my father about what to do as the Pakistani Army went on a rampage in his homeland. He decided to work to create Bangladesh as the only alternative to accepting mass murder imposed on his people by the government he had sworn allegiance to...

You have to assume the attitude that you, personally, are responsible for the fate of yourself, your family, and your neighbors. That means taking your own words seriously: the government has abdicated responsibility so its all up to you.

You have to organize. You'll have to safeguard your home somehow. You'll have to make like-minded friends.

Next you'll have to start building your own structure of self-government. Don't ask anyone's permission: I suggest you congregate together somewhere safe and set up your own democratic system. The Mayflower Compact is a good place to start. Ignore most external government regulations but continue paying your bills.

Very soon you'll be noticed. If the police object to your community you can point out that your democratic credentials give you a greater standing than their masters. Challenge them to follow the rules of your new community instead. What, would they rather be commanded by the Taliban?

Soon your community system will gather the loyalty of surrounding neighborhoods. Local politicians from the existing government will try to control you with kindness. You must reject them all. Your legitimacy is from popular support and the existing politicians have soiled themselves. You want to remain as clean as possible.

As your political sphere expands so will your responsibilities and the doors open to more power in the existing structure. I'm afraid you must reject these as well. Pakistan works by rule-of-force with a smear of democracy on top, all lubricated by corruption. My guess is that only the establishment of bicameral legislatures, democratic accountability, and checks-and-balances can "fix" the country. That will happen only if you make a successful start. If all goes well existing politicians will seek YOUR support. At this stage the new democratic system will gain legitimacy and the loyalty of the existing bureaucracy. At this point you'll probably want to call a Convention to draw up a new Constitution to formalize the changes.

(This route is similar to the route taken by the United States between 1776, when the American Colonies declared independence from Britain under the unwieldy Articles of Confederation, and 1789, when after a dozen-plus years of experience the most successful elements of state government together with the perceived necessity for greater central government helped craft the U.S. Constitution. In the end, the President of the Continental Congress surrendered the little power he had without a peep.)

I'm sure you'll reject this recipe the first time you read it so I urge you to read it again, ponder, and consider. It takes a lot of courage to step forward, and ordinary Pakistanis don't do this easily. But do you really want to spend your life "cowing down in front of extremism"? Or will you flee abroad, suspecting in your heart that in your absence your homeland will take further steps towards assured nuclear destruction?