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Archive for September, 2006

The Divide Between Islam and The West

Over the last few years, the simmering discontent among the world’s Muslim community at actions taken by the West in the fight against terrorism is because of the perception that it was aimed directly against them. This has slowly as a consequence given way to unbridled anger and animosity. The tragedy of 9/11 acted as a catalyst that triggered a series of events that not only tarnished the image of Muslims but also of Islam. With almost one-fifths of the world’s population of 6.5 billion, after 9/11 Islam became projected as a radical faith whose followers were highly intolerant of all other faiths and ideologies. Muslims were branded as fanatics, an image shaped by the extreme actions of a miniscule minority that exists on the fringes of religious societies of all ilk. Neither Islam nor the muslim world is seen as it should be according to the progressive values of the faith. Islam is not a radical faith – this is patently false and erroneous. The progressive values of the faith are quite different from what the world hears today. Islam preaches tolerance, leniency, love, forgiveness and understanding etc. Muslims in general have not committed any transgressions, the sins of a handful of terrorists of Osama bin Laden’s terror network are being visited upon their Muslim brethren. Concurrently the popularity of the USA has taken a severe beating, becoming the focus of muslim anger despite being in the forefront of giving aid and lending a helping hand to the world’s deprived and the prosecuted irrespective of caste, creed, religion or any other consideration. Muslims now view the USA with suspicion and hostility because the policies being pursued by the US seem to be singularly insensitive to muslim sensitivities. Thankfully, US President Bush now seems to have taken note of the situation and is making an effort to bridge the gap.

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Why 9/11?

Pope Benedict’s sacrilegious remarks deeply hurt the sentiments of Muslims everywhere, underscoring why 9/11 was a catastrophe waiting to happen. The Pope gave credence to distorted beliefs based on perceptions than on facts. The conventional wisdom about 9/11 is that while a whole lot of Muslims were aggrieved at the treatment being meted out to them, particularly in the last decade or so, a virulent militant section represented by Osama Bin Laden (OBL) was bent on extracting vengeance, as well as highlighting the “cause”. A number of deadly schemes carried out (or aborted) did not get world attention over a prolonged period.

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Suggestions For Polls

The measure of democratic norms is an inexact science that is often manipulated to suit the country, entity or individual taking that measure. The meaning and usefulness of democracy depends to what extent it serves the interests thereof of the practitioner. It suits authoritarian regimes to describe their concept of democracy as that suited to “the genius of the people”, it does not need a genius to surmise that democracy is often tailored to foster acceptance of domination by a strong minority, often perversely and contrary to the interests of the majority. The difference between such a “democracy” and dictatorship lies in the eyes of the beholder, at least in a dictatorship we hold one person accountable. In the two major democracies of the US and India, rightfully proud as bastions of democracy, “the first past the post” system negates the rule of the majority in favour of a strong minority, only 5% winning candidates got more than 50%. The need for a majority to exercise the voters’ mandate must be sacrosanct.

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Life After Bugti

It was always on the cards that the Govt of Pakistan (GOP) would mishandle the situation arising out of the death of Akbar Bugti. When the Head of State is dependant upon advice of moderate quality on matters of critical importance, he will not have the counsel he should have access to in a national crisis. Sycophancy is an art perfected over the centuries around rulers who, as their stay in office increases, become averse to hearing anything other than “successes”, messengers (including friends) bringing bad news being usually banished from sight. GOP has blundered into a crisis of national magnitude, turning it into a situation of potential disaster for the country, quite possibly equaling 1971. If someone thinks heads will roll in the wake of this extended ineptitude, he (or she) is mistaken, we are immersed in a “feel good” governance mode that will have the inner circle taking us into greater blunders at the cost of the existence of whatever remains of this nation.

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