Friday, May 21, 2010

Democracy: The Historical Accident

OpEdNews - Article: Democracy: The Historical Accident

(click above for article)

The forum polity – democracies and republics – owes its origin to two major accidents in human history: accidents that were unique to the western world, and which, indeed, created western civilisation in contrast to the others, which were all palace polities.


"An aspiring European king generally had to contend against three powers for supremacy: the Church, his fellow barbarians - the nobility/aristocracy – and, in more settled times, the merchants.

"Of these, the first was obviously unique to Europe alone – no other civilization had inherited an organized Episcopal, hierarchical Church from a dead empire. This was the beginning of 'civil society' – beyond the state, apart from business, away from politics, an entity autonomous."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Irene Z Khan joins Daily Star to be with mother

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - SriLanka/Bangladesh

Irene Z Khan joined the Daily Star to be with her mother who lives in Bangladesh. That's a laudable motive, but she could have just said that instead of pretending to be honoured by joining a third-rate newspaper in a third-world country which nobody can name.

After chief of AI, this must be quite a comedown for the lady: surely she could have landed a better gig?

I supposed years of dissembling at AI has grown into second nature: say what sounds good, never the truth.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nakba Day

CJIP - Nakba Day

Today is Nakba Day - the day when, in 1948, Palestinians were thrown out of their own country by the Zionists.

In Bangladesh, this day is never observed: in Bangladesh, we oscillate between a cursed nationalism and an absurd cosmopolitanism. We observe International Women's Day, May Day and even Valentine's Day, Mother's Day,....

But we never observe Nakba Day. If any proof were needed that our intellectuals are slaves of the Zionists, then this is it.

We must teach each other to observe Nakba Day, if only in private: to identify with the Palestinians in their suffering and in their humiliation. We have a home: they do not.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

News - World: 400 alleged bullies arrested

News - World: 400 alleged bullies arrested

It is interesting that whenever civilian rule replaces military rule in Bangladesh, the number of victims - male as well as female - soars.

In 1984, under military rule, there were around 250 rapes; in 1991, our first year of democracy, the figure soared to 900, and today stands at 4-digit numbers.

Under military rule in 2007 and2008, 18 student politicians were murdered; in a single year of democratic rule in 2009, 27 were murdered.

The criminal young students of both the major parties have immunity from the law and set the example for other young men - when ruling party boys get away with rape, why shouldn't other young men try to get away with less?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

civil society and violence

According to Chris Hedges' analysis, civil society - the churches and synagogues - have been directly complicit in the violence of war. That is not surprising: civil society has a long and dishonourable record as an instigator of violence from the Inquisition to the slave trade.

On the other hand, Islamic civilisation has hardly any civil society: western donors are busy trying to create one. Heaven forbid!

Take jihad. According to the Britannica, jihad is a recent phenomenon (I mean, of course, after the initial 100-year expansion of the Muslim world); when the west began to colonise the Muslims world, only dervishes, according to Bernard Lewis, showed some resistance.

Jihad was revived (after a brief spell in Africa) by the Americans when confronted with expansionist communism in Afghanistan. Since then, the same holy war - with almost the same personnel - has been turned against the west. And how many people have the jihadis killed? A couple of thousand.

It is interesting that the article does not mention the number of children murdered through sanctions in Iraq between the two Gulf wars: 1.7 million. During the height of the sanctions, a lower figure (still seven-digit), was cited by Norman Finkelstein in his book "The Holocaust Industry". When the figure stood at 500,000, he observes, Madeleine Albright went on prime time TV to say that it 'was worth it'.

Is it surprising that jihadis should try to hurt the west? Is 911 really a conundrum?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Vices, Their Virtues

What allows the western world to purchase us? Our vices.

We suffer from ambition, jealousy, greed, impatience, pride....

If we could give up these vices, they (or anyone) would be unable to get a purchase on ourselves.

In fact, if we followed the advice given by Sheikh Sa'di in the Golestan, then nobody could rule our minds. We must remember that the first struggle against the west was that of the dervishes - they had nothing to lose, and nothing to gain.

In order to acquire knowledge, we can and should travel the world. But the knowledge must be for our souls, not for greed and ambition and pride.

As Rumi said in his divine couplet:

Elm ra bar tan zani mari bod
Elma ra bar dil zani yari bod

Knowledge for gold becomes a snake
Knowledge for soul becomes a friend.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Just before the second Iraq War, Mrs. Rowshan Jahan (wife of Dr. Mozaffar Ahmed, former teacher at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and Chairman, Transparency International, Bangladesh) came to visit my wife and myself in our apartment.

"Mata bimata ho-e jachche," she exclaimed. Translation: "Mater is becoming nonmater!"

Her 'mater' was apparently the United States of America, not the Muslim civilisation, even though she (and her husband) say their prayers five times a day (Dr. Ahmed has the marks on his forehead to prove that he bows before the Almighty on his prayer mat).

She was confident Congress would never furnish the money for the war. I knew it would, and it did.

What does one make of these people? They claim to be Muslims and yet their entire careers depend on the USA. We respect them because the West respects them. I know the couple very well: they were my father's friends. They are the munafiq against whom we have been warned. There are countless munafiq like them.

Between 1991 and 2001, the US killed nearly 2 million Iraqi children with sanctions - a Holocaust. Yet Mrs. Rowshan Jahan could still call the US her 'mater'! But the second Iraq war was too publicized an event for her to ignore.

With munafiq like these, we don't need enemies!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

"I believe in pluralism!"

Thus bellowed Depapriya Bhattacharya at a party we attended. For a die-hard Marxist, who did his PhD in Moscow, this was quite a volte-face.

Of course, nowadays many pretend to believe in pluralism and democracy and all that because the rewards are immense - and the prestige of the idea is so vast that if you say that you don't subscribe to it, you risk being laughed at.

Psychologists have a term for it: cognitive dissonance. A person will pretend to himself to believe something he doesn't believe in if the rewards are low! If the rewards are high, the person need not even fool himself. It seems that it takes very little to get people to say the opposite of their true beliefs; but it causes more stress. On the other hand, if you offer high rewards - or high penalties - then it becomes easier to lie about your real beliefs.

The lesson from this is that people who merely stand to lose 'face' undergo a lot of inner strain to lie about their political belief, but people like Bhattacharya, who have grown rich on these ideas, need only deceive other people, not themselves.

Therefore, it may be that the donors are paying too much to get people to parrot their views: small rewards to the Bhattacharyas would be just as, in fact, even more, effective. The evidence is that they will take greater pains to fool themselves.

Clearly the donors are paying too much - but then it's their money, isn't it?

Racial Climbing Again

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - SriLanka/Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi-born person has been elected to the House of Commons - and thousands celebrate in Bangladesh. This is really sad: this is racial climbing at its worst. When will this stop?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Desacralisation and the Intellectual

"Desacralisation" was a phenomenon that occurred in western Europe between 1500 and 1900 AD. This was the identification of the sacred and the profane, and began with Martin Luther's pronouncement that all work was sacred, not just a priest's work (the conclusion that if all work was sacred, then no work was sacred apparently did not occur to him). The work was carried on by the so-called Enlightenment. Consequently, today, in Europe, God is just a word without meaning, and even in America religion is only one among several possible world-views, as pointed out by Charles Taylor.

Therefore, our intellectuals have imbibed these ideas from the west, and have regurgitated them here (another sad came of 'commit and vomit'). This explains their hatred of Islam. This also explains the appeal of the anti-Muslim Awami League to these intellectuals, while only practical types, especially businesspeople, are drawn to the BNP - and, latterly, those hostile to the anti-Islamism of the League.

So far, so consistent.

But consistency is not the hallmark of the Bangladeshi intellectual. While he (or she) may hate Islam, he doesn't hate all religions. And how can he? The experience of desacralisation occurred over 500 years in a particular corner of the world, and however much we may imbibe ideas, they can never be part of our digestive system: we can never feel them in the 'guts'.

Consequently, intellectuals have a passionate fondness for Hinduism, and by extension all things Indian. I have described a bureaucrat, who is currently a secretary, in my blog An Evening With A Lunatic. I have met countless incoherent lunatics like him - all Awami Leaguers.

A Strange Sequel

No sooner was my article THE ETHNOCIDAL CIVILISATION published online than a report appeared in the Christian Post on trouble in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

It appears that missionaries had converted some Buddhists in the area, and the locals have strongly resented this: they have used violence to reconvert their former brethren.

In my article, I observed how the British, despite protests from the East India Company, sent missionaries to India to convert as many as possible, using the English language as an instrument. I have described the conversion of the Garos: but the Buddhists are a different story. They have a strong sense of identity, especially in the hill tracts. I have observed that Muslims, over several hundred years, never tried to convert the Garos. Why is it that missionaries are so eager to convert? In the process, they have instigated violence.