Monthly Archives: February 2011

This photoblog – One year on.

This photoblog was started in December 2008, But tomorrow, the 28th February this blog will be one year old in its wordpress home. Prior to this, this photoblog was here.

Just thought I’ll put in a post to mark the anniversary.

The photo is of the bloke in a waffle shop near the South Kensington station, London – who happily agreed to be photographed!

Have a great week!

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Libya on the brink

Tunisia done, Egypt done and now seems Libya is on the brink.

Protests have been continuing for the last few days in Libya and Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi, Libya’s idiosyncratic leader for forty one years is not using inhumane tactics to dispel the protesters in the streets of Tripoli Benghazi and all other places in Libya that protests are taking place.

The latest I’ve heard is that is that two fighter pilots who were sent in their jets to bomb the protesters (yes bomb) have defected and gone to Malta, Reuters has more here.

Seven Libyan diplomats have thus far defected from the Libyan regime, the Libyan ambassador to London among them.

If Libya falls to the protesters and true democracy prevails, the West will have to really buy oil from Libya and not get them so cheaply from a regime that bends to the will of it’s western allies. A whopping 72% of Libyan Oil is purchased by western European countries and Ghaddafi is an asset they can not bear to lose.

The West is in an interesting conundrum, the long bearded, fiery eyed slogan shouting ‘muslim’ is not necessarily the person out in the streets, rather it is the general day to day Libyan who wants a better quality of life and dignity for himself that is on the streets protesting peacefully to enjoy the very same rights we here in the West enjoy. The West is stuck between doing the morally correct thing of taking radical action against a Libyan regime blatantly violating human rights and fighting a very key economic and strategic ally.

The last few weeks have exposed the hypocrisy of the west and the UN very profoundly. Tunisia, Egypt and Insha’allah Libya were people’s revolutions devoid of any assistance from the west. However, the West cracked down on Saddam who is culpable of the same autocracy in Iraq because he was not an ally of the West, he was very conservative about his oil and the related fiscal ramifications and he didn’t give a damn about the   US – but, Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya were/are well and truly in the pockets of the west and the US and therefore they are immune to US and Western pressure and/or action do what they may, democratic or not.

The last thing a dictator does before he goes is to use violence, Ghaddafi is doing just that. My prediction is that like Ben Ali, like Mubarak Ghaddafi too will be deposed in the coming few weeks if not days, my concern though is that he will create a lot of bloodshed on his way out.

 

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St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge

Snowed in with work! Need.to.blog.more is that how you emphasise a point these days ?

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Muslim-friendly writers in the British media

To say Muslim-friendly is technically incorrect, as that suggests a hint of hypocrisy in that it speaks in favour of Muslims or Muslim issues by being unfair to the other side.

However, the current mainstream media dominated by the pro-Zionist Murdoch block has been so far away from neutrality and have succeeded in diminishing any sense of fairness towards either side of the divide. In almost every instance the writings are unfair in that the present the muslim case in a very condescending and negative manner or they are unfair in that they present the non-muslim case with extra emphasis.

In such a context, when I say Muslim-friendly I am referring to writers who in some of their writing take up the Muslim cause whilst not being unfair to anyone or anything concerned.

One such writer is Peter Oborne of the Daily Telegraph. This paragraph written by him taken from here is particularly resonant of his understanding.

“Muslims are fair game in British public culture. Polly Toynbee, of The Guardian, is regarded as Britain’s most politically correct columnist. “I am an Islamophobe and proud of it,” she once wrote. These sentiments were echoed by the rather less politically correct polemicist Rod Liddle: “Islamophobia: count me in.” Let’s imagine for one moment that Toynbee had written instead: “I am an anti-semite and proud of it.” She would at once have been barred from mainstream journalism because anti-semitism is rightly regarded as a noxious, evil creed. With Islam, by contrast, any insult is tolerated.”

Another writer and documentary film maker known for his balanced attitude is Robert Fisk of The Independent. He says here

“In other words, while we claim that Muslims must be good secularists when it comes to free speech–or cheap cartoons–we can worry about adherents to our own precious religion just as much. I also enjoyed the pompous claims of European statesmen that they cannot control free speech or newspapers. This is also nonsense. Had that cartoon of the Prophet shown instead a chief rabbi with a bomb-shaped hat, we would have had “anti-Semitism” screamed into our ears–and rightly so–just as we often hear the Israelis complain about anti-Semitic cartoons in Egyptian newspapers.

Furthermore, in some European nations–France is one, Germany and Austria are among the others–it is forbidden by law to deny acts of genocide. In France, for example, it is illegal to say that the Jewish Holocaust or the Armenian Holocaust did not happen. So it is, in fact, impermissable to make certain statements in European nations. I’m still uncertain whether these laws attain their objectives; however much you may prescribe Holocaust denial, anti-Semites will always try to find a way round. We can hardly exercise our political restraints to prevent Holocaust deniers and then start screaming about secularism when we find that Muslims object to our provocative and insulting image of the Prophet.”

In a world where Islamophobia is deeply ingrained to the point that it is unconsciously perceived to be normalcy, these are two writers that are brave enough to challenge the status quo.

If there is anyone else you know of, please do let us know.

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Filed under Islam, politics, UK

Mubarak And the Waiting Game

 

I have been fairly inactive on this blog for sometime now. Work and many other commitments have kept me away! A lot of things happening have been happening these days and to reiterate what I just said, I have been busy. Amongst other things, sl2g, that great second generation Sri Lankan organisation here in London is having a photo exhibition and RD and I and the rest of the team are very excited about it! For those of you in the UK who still would like to get involved do visit the page!

One other thing I have been doing inspite of all those things that need attention is that I have been glued to Al Jazeera for a long time in the last few nights, Mubarak doesn’t seem to budge and the protesters don’t seem to want to move and the hypocrites in the white house are playing their same dirty game of seeing primarily to their interests in approaching this whole issue and its ramifications.

When anti governmental protests took place in Iran in 2009-2010 there was a big hue and cry by the Western leaders amplified by the Western media! Now, Mubarak being their baby, nothing seems to be said with clear conscience – except perhaps for Al Jazeera who are doing a stellar job in balanced reportage and brilliant anchorage! What would have put the Western leaders in a proper quandary would be if the anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Egypt and the anti-Ahmadinejad protests in Iran took place simultaneously, to quote a friend ‘the hypocrites would then be caught by the bollocks’!

The Question remains, WWMD?!

Robert Fisk of The Independent has here a very interesting analysis very artfully put forward!

The sight of Mubarak’s delusory new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq telling Egyptians yesterday that things were “returning to normal” was enough to prove to the protesters in Tahrir Square – 12 days into their mass demand for the exile of the man who has ruled the country for 30 years – that the regime was made of cardboard. When the head of the army’s central command personally pleaded with the tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the square to go home, they simply howled him down.

In his novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez outlines the behaviour of a dictator under threat and his psychology of total denial. In his glory days, the autocrat believes he is a national hero. Faced with rebellion, he blames “foreign hands” and “hidden agendas” for this inexplicable revolt against his benevolent but absolute rule. Those fomenting the insurrection are “used and manipulated by foreign powers who hate our country”. Then – and here I use a precis of Marquez by the great Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany – “the dictator tries to test the limits of the engine, by doing everything except what he should do. He becomes dangerous. After that, he agrees to do anything they want him to do. Then he goes away”.

Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appears to be on the cusp of stage four – the final departure. For 30 years he was the “national hero” – participant in the 1973 war, former head of the Egyptian air force, natural successor to Gamal Abdel Nasser as well as Anwar Sadat – and then, faced with his people’s increasing fury at his dictatorial rule, his police state and his torturers and the corruption of his regime, he blamed the dark shadow of the country’s fictional enemies (al-Qa’ida, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Jazeera, CNN, America). We may just have passed the dangerous phase.”

As it stands, The US is doing everything possible to keep Mubarak on his chair at least till a pro-US pro-Israeli puppet successor incubates in Mubarak’s government or till the protestors finally leave, or will they ?

The geo-politics of all these is very intersting and has the potential to impact the next generation! As Jonathan Freedland rightly says here, When Egypt shakes, it should be no surprise that Israel trembles!

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