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Archive for the ‘Muslim’ Category

AlJazeera’s coverage of the events have been arguably one of the best. However.

Has anybody else noticed that AlJazeera English stopped inviting As’ad Abu Khalil to comment on their programs after he criticized them about their Libya reports?

That’s notable because the ‘Arab Spring’ has been the focus of AJE’s reporting for the last three months.

And As’ad is right. AJE seems to rally with a certain agenda.

For example, it seems to sell the youth movements over other strands. In Egypt, when the referendum was up for votes, although it was clear most people there liked the referendum, AJE framed it in a way that put focus on the youth groups who were opposed to a yes vote (because they wanted a more drastic change in the constitution.)

The over-emphasis on social networking was annoying, because internet penetration in Tunisia (~30%) is quite low. Even less in Egypt (~20%). Why was the emphasis on English speaking affluent Facebook users, while somewhat downplaying  labour movements etc?

Similarly, AlJazeera seems to completely ignore support base that Gaddafi has in and out of Libya. They never reported on the laudable social programs that Gaddafi implemented- for example free education and free healthcare(1). Libya has a low GINI index (~36) which means less income inequality than most countries. AlJazeera never cared to report.

They also seemed to cheer the Western powers into invading Libya, whereas if they reported on the misgivings people have about another Western invasion, perhaps UN would mandate the neighboring Arab/Muslim countries to take action(2).

Even worse, AlJazeera barely mentioned the attacks on blacks in Libya by racist mobs and the lynchings that took place. Similarly, the attacks by some Bahrainis on South Asians got no attention at all.

They cold shouldered African Union when they expressed concern about the Western involvement, and also when offered to intervene to reach a deal.

I am not even sure that the ‘rebels’ in Libya are genuine about change. Despite all their bravado when facing the camera, they fled their posts when facing guns. That’s not the trademark of a desperate population, that’s the behaviour of rich who want others to fight for them. The situation only improved after Egyptian, British and some other special forces were seen on the ground.

And what was the “where are you Sarkozy” call (from some ‘rebels’) about? I have serious misgivings about who these Libyan ‘rebels’ are.

I think these issues can be understood when we recognize that AlJazeera is really a pan-Arab news channel that has a deep admiration for the West. That’s not unhealthy, but it’s important to keep in mind.

Notes:

1. The way Gaddafi treated criticism can not and should not be defended, but that is the only thing that gets covered.

2. When there was reports of the crackdown in Libya, I was hoping for some kind of intervention from it’s neighbors. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey, even. It was naive to assume that the Western powers will let that happen. They like to ‘seize the initiative’, i.e. they want to be there and directing events wherever and whenever they can on whatever excuse they can find.

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As oil prices increase (somewhat irreversibly) the price of food in the West are going to go up- for the very simple reason that their farms and delivery system is so oil dependent.

If the food prices rise in the West, there will be more food exports to the West from the countries that produce food for cheaper. Because the Western countries typically have more purchasing power (for the moment), the prices of food are going to go up globally.

It is critical then that the countries that are import-dependent just because imports are cheap must focus on food production in their own countries. They are in for big trouble if they don’t manage that within next one-two years.

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Du’a

May Allah have mercy on those that won’t do the simplest things that may save millions of lives.

May the Merciful have mercy on them, and soften their hearts.

May the Merciful have mercy on them, and open their eyes.

Ameen.

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Facebook’s hypocrisy was revealed when it removed pages extolling Hitler, but failed to remove pages offending Muslims on the same grounds.

We need alternative to Facebook. No more “Muslim networking” sites please. We need something that is universal, and not necessarily Muslim-owned (but what better than a bro/sis owning?) but respectful of all.

I am not deleting my Facebook account etc. I need an alternative.

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Fantastic efforts are being made in Indonesia to clear up corruption and set up a honest, transparent system. My prayers are with them.

Some background:

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Israel-US relations is complex. Israel, in 1972 attacked an American military ship. Almost sank it. Last year, several cases of spying was uncovered against suspected Israeli agents. One would imagine how come they are still allies?

Obama’s administration put it’s reputation at stake when it said in public that they demand a full settlement freeze. In response, Netenyahu (the Israeli prime minister) recently authorized newer settlements in East Jerusalem.

One would imagine that the relation between Washington and Israel would waver, and US will reduce it’s lever of support for Israel. There should be some blowback.

There hasn’t been anything like it. Instead, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton retreated from her earlier position. Hence the puzzle.

Why is Netenyahu is doing such things? Yes he is a fanatic, but he’s no stupid. He knows if the support of the US is lost, then Israel will not be able to continue what it’s doing, including the occupation of Palestine. The reason they think they “need” to continue occupying Palestine, I believe, are mainly twofold-

  • One- it gives them a strategic military depth vis-a-vis it’s neighbors, namely Syria and Jordan. Israel is a tiny country surrounded. If it ever comes to war, the first place to take hits will not be Israeli cities where it’s economy, it factories and it’s socio-political fabric is located. Instead, the first place hit will be Palestine and the Israeli settlements- losing which does not significantly alter the strength of the Israeli government.
  • Two- the occupied Palestinians actually contribute to Israeli prosperity. The starving Palestinians make cheap labours. It’s one of the reasons why Israeli leadership is doing everything they can to break the Palestinian businesses that are independent of Israel. Farming is one example. It’s being broken by snatching lands and denying water. Did you know that it is illegal to build water tanks in their farms by Palestinians?

However, in spite of all this, maintaining US support is a higher priority (than occupying Palestine) for the Israeli government. Without it, they will have to deal with the neighbors as equals, and accept an Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

Here is one possible reason why Israel is not cooperating with the present US government-

Netenyahu’s real allies in Washington are the neo-cons. Netenyahu knows that his racist government is fundamentally at odds with Obama’s (at least overtly) non-racist government.

The neo-cons on the other hand are trying to discredit Obama as a leader.  Their ally and tool in this is the veritable Netenyahu and his racist government.

In showing the US government a big banana, Netenyahu is essentially saying- Obama is an ineffective leader, taking his halo away, making it easier for his allies in Washington to take over. They can hope to come back to office and finish the unfinished “jobs.”

Why is Obama tolerating this? Because the are strong lobbyists on whom his party depends for funds. Probably the pro-democrat lobbyists also are unhappy with Netenyahu’s policies, but they will not accept US government taking actions against the Israeli government. Obama can berate Netenyahu, but not take action against Israeli government.

It’s a deadlock, if that’s the case.

Obama and his team are smart people, and I hope they find a way.

One of the ways to get out of this crisis would be to develop strong ties with countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and not aiding the repressive regime in Egypt.

How does that help?

It’ll send a message to Israel (without hurting it- thus no lobbyists could object) that US does not depend on Israel solely in the middle east.

That’ll soften Netenyahu.

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What is Wrong With Pakistan

A quick research led me to the issue of tax evasion.

Seems Pakistanis don’t pay taxes, except for 1% of them. Obviously the government has to rely on alms to function.

Doesn’t sound like a problem that can’t be fixed.

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NYT has obliquely admitted that Afghanistan is now a US colony.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/opinion/04moyar.html

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I know of four accidents involving civilian aircrafts this month. About half thousand died in those events.

Inna Ilayahi wa inna Ilyahi rajiun.

Two of them in Iran. The sanctions’ been killing them. Time to invest in developing civilian aircraft, inshaAllah.

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