May 22, 2006


I have recently had several cyclical threads and entries where I posted back to other entries. I don’t particularly like doing that a lot but if unfortunately, here is another one :p This one’s about the Dan Simmons post (I talked previously about this here and here). Hopefully, I will not talk about this particular topic again but since I have contemplated much about Dan Simmons’ motives for his April message and since he promised to reveal all in his May message, I just had to comment on the May message 🙂

Basically, Dan seems to imply that the contents of the April message wasn’t his thoughts (and of course, he wasn’t that kind of person) but that the message was actually him presenting the viewpoints of various other individuals. As an explanation (or excuse) for this method, he goes to quote a few other people (again) saying that the only way to learn is to explore what goes counter to your beliefs. However, what struck me most about the whole message was the fact that Dan does not actually say what he thinks or feels or believes – he simply parrots other people (taking extracts from other works to supplement his message) and so seems to be saying, this is what others think. However, whether he’s actually asking people to make up their own minds, or is trying to make up their minds for them, remains slightly unclear.

One thing that does emerge as you read between the lines though, is that Dan Simmons has already made up his mind :p Dan Simmons, like so many others, seems to be convinced that there is an "Islamic" threat (or possibility of one). Sure, he throws around a few modifiers such as jihadists or Wahabbists from time to time but it is clear from the inferences he draws that he believes that Islam as a religion is aimed at sowing war and terror on the "infidels". He goes on to quote several verses from the Qur’an to support his point of view. What he forgets (and what most militant Muslims forget – or ignore for their own warped purposes) is that while the word is often translated as "infidel", what it actually means is "non-believer". It doesn’t sound as bad when you shout "Death to the non-believers!" though, does it? :p

I believe that the Qur’an is the word of God, given to his prophet – but that has nothing to do with this discussion. What is pertinent however, is that the chapters of the Qur’an were not revealed all at once. They were revealed at different times to deal with different situations. When a verse talks about "non-believers", it often as not is talking about *Arab* non-believers at that time as not. But of course, today, people twist it around (especially in translation since a word can have many different shades of meaning and the translator gets to pick which shade they want, even though that might differ from the original intent) and say it says "death to infidels" and that means Jews and Christians!

I am not trying to be an apologist for the terrorists who kill innocents in the name of Islam. That is wrong and there are no two sides to that. But what I do want to stress is the fact that though these people might call themselves Muslims, by the core beliefs of Islam, they are not really Muslims. So this is not an issue of Islam against the rest of the world or against the West but about human stupidity, greed, fear and prejudice against other humans. The biggest concern I have about Dan’s message is the fact that he is quick to label things. He labels the West as life-affirming and all of Islam (or most of it) as evil. This is fine and dandy if we lived in a rational world where people made up their minds by thinking about things logically. But no, we live in a world where people go about shooting people in turbans (no matter what their religion or nationality) because they might be Muslims – and mind you, this happened in the "life affirming" West :p

There are other things which are even worse which happens in the life affirming West that Dan ignores. But my point is not that the West is bad or that a country is bad or that a religion is bad – they are not. The problem is that people are not rational. They like to put labels like "us" and "them" on things because it makes it easy to know who to cheer and who to hate. When somebody who is supposed to know better (like the Islamic clerics that Dan talks about) comes along and tells them all these big name authors say that Islam is bad and that they are going to wipe us out, do you honestly believe that most of the people who read Dan’s message are going to stop to actually think if all of that makes logical sense? Or are they going to start hating something that they don’t even totally understand? Hating what we don’t know, we’ve never done that before, have we? :p

If you’re a writer, you should think about what you’re going to write. Perhaps try to present a balanced perspective. If you write a story and it sounds like vitriol, maybe you shouldn’t try to defend it by saying that before the World Wars, an anti-German story would have sounded like vitriol too. That you’re just pushing the envelope. If you’re a writer, you know that there is also something called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, Dan says at the beginning of his May message that if you’re expecting polemics, apologetics, politics or reinforcements of your own prejudices, that you would be disappointed because his was a writer’s website. But then again, I thought a writer’s job was to write about what he feels – not what others think. But that’s probably just me :p

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Posted by Fahim at 6:28 am  |  2 Comments

April 18, 2006

Conceptions, inceptions and misconceptions

I’ve been having a rather interesting debate on one of the forums I frequent. And it’s again about that message from Dan Simmons 🙂 Usually, I don’t like cross-posting since it feels a bit like promoting your own point of view or encouraging your cronies to go over and bash somebody up on your behalf :p However, since this particular conversation is so convoluted and drawn out, that I don’t think I could give any idea of all that it encompasses without actually sending somebody over there to read it. If that’s your cup of tea, of course.

Now the central point in the debate that has been running through today is that this particular person seems to think that there is no difference between those individuals who commit all sorts of dastardly deeds in the name of Islam and true Muslims who actually follow the Qur’an and the prophets teachings. Of course, she often mentions that she believes that Islam is not all bad and that it has the potential for good etc. But she keeps coming back to saying that Islam today is militant and that Muslims everywhere have not risen up to cast out the terrorists who commit heinous atrocities in the name of Islam and so that it is the fault of Islam in its entirety – not just a few misguided individuals.

As the discussion progressed, she threw out terms like dhimmi and Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb. To be honest, I had not heard the terms before. However, she was kind enough to provide me with wikipedia links and I noticed something. The wikipedia entry clearly states "Dar al-Islam and its associated terms are not found in the two most basic works of Islam, the Qur’an and the Hadith". Now Muslims are supposed to shape their lives based on the Qur’an and the Hadith. Those define the core rules for Islam. But these words that she tosses out to indicate how virulent and vile Islam is are not part of the core of Islam! I realized at that point that she obviously had not read the wikipedia entry herself or had not understood the implications of what that single line in wikipedia actually means.

Either way, the way I saw it, here was somebody who was talking about radical Islam and how Islam spawns (or at least nurtures) terrorism and so on but she had no real clue as to what Islam was all about. She had not actually bothered to read the core teachings – instead, she relied on what others said about Islam. At least, that was my conclusion. Of course, I might be wrong :p But it still begs the question, how many people are out there who know nothing of Islam beyond what they are told by hate mongers and other ill-informed people? How many people hate (or fear) something without actually knowing what it is that they hate? But then again, we always fear the unknown, don’t we?

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Posted by Fahim at 6:56 am  |  1 Comment

April 16, 2006

Syriana, pollyanna, somebody give me a banana

We watched "Syriana" yesterday and I have to ask, what’s all the big fuss about this movie? :p A lot of people seem to think that this is a brilliant movie and a telling tale of our times or something. For me, a movie has to be first entertaining and this was not an entertaining movie at all. In fact, quite the opposite. This was a movie that was totally devoid of life. In fact, it would even put a dead man to sleep :p

The story, what there is of it, just meanders along trying to make a whole lot of points but not really making anything clear. There are so many little things happening which apparently have nothing to do with the main storyline. It looks as if all these little vignettes of life are supposed to make some sort of statement but all they end up doing really is to confuse you and to leave you scratching your head going "what the heck?" What was it all about all the Pakistani guys in the movie living in whatever Gulf state the story was supposed to take place in? They apparently are laid off work and their visas expire but they have some sort of colony of their own and they plan to bring their wives/mothers over? Is that even legally possible? Where I’ve worked in the Middle East, when your work visa was cancelled, you were shipped home. If you decided to stay back illegally, you had to dodge the law all the time.

And what was the point of the police beating up the guy in line for speaking while in line? Is that supposed to make some statement about the oppressive regime? We still live in the same world where Rodney King was beaten up by police officers after a traffic stop. So what exactly is the point there? That brutality is everywhere? That when we humans get a little bit of power, it seems to just go to our heads stronger than the strongest intoxicant?

The problem to me was that the movie makers appeared to be trying to send out some sort of a message instead of simply telling a story. Sure a story has a message of its own. But when you try to twist a story to tell your message instead of letting the message come out naturally from the flow of the story, it just goes nowhere. At least, that’s how I feel 🙂 I came out of the movie wandering whether the movie was supposed to be the voice of the left or the voice of the right? When we as humans can’t see straight does it really matter who is right or what is left anyway?

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Posted by Fahim at 7:20 am  |  No Comments

April 15, 2006

Writing, perceptions and consequences

I was actually going to write about something completely different today but I came across this thing yesterday and it has been bothering/nagging me since then. So I decided to blog about this instead :p

I wrote about Dan Simmons’ April message a few days ago. Yesterday I went over to Dan Simmons’ site for some reason and was surprised to discover that the April message was gone. The folder that the message was in is intact but his whole news folder simply shows a directory listing instead of the default page. (You can find a copy of the original message here if you’ve not read it and have no idea what I’m talking about :p) I was curious as to what had happened. Was this enemy action by somebody who did not like the message? Or did Dan take it down himself because of all the negative response to the message? What had been the original intention of the message in the first place? Was it an April Fool’s joke gone wrong or was he serious? Being the kind of cat that curiosity certainly would enjoy killing, I went over to Dan Simmons’ forums.

Now bear in mind that Dan’s site was not defaced in any way. The new folder itself was there as well as some other subfolders under it but the April message (as well as all other messages by Dan it seems) were missing. However, on the forums, the opinion seemed to strongly suggest that this was some nefarious deed by the "jihadists" (as one forum user called them) and not many seem to think that Dan Simmons himself might have pulled it. Granted, I don’t know enough about Dan Simmons to make a guess and these people probably do seem to know him best but given the circumstances, I do wish that people wouldn’t be so prone to jump to conclusions. But that’s people for you :p

I really have no idea what happened and I hate to make sweeping assumptions without knowing all the facts. So I will just file this under interesting and weird :p If anybody learns what did happen, do let me know 🙂 Incidentally, David Brin has a comment about the Dan Simmons message on his own blog and while I haven’t read them yet, I hear that the reader comments are interesting …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:32 am  |  No Comments

April 5, 2006

Chrononaut chronicles

Yesterday while meandering through the web, I came across a message from writer Dan Simmons. Apparently, Dan Writes a message to his fans every once in a while but this one seemed to be slightly darker in tone. I say "seemed" because I know nothing of Dan’s politics nor his intentions. All that was there on the site was a rather bleak message which seemed to hint at total annihilation as the only possible solution to the "Islamic menace".

I was originally going to post a message about writers and their responsibility to their readership here. About how whatever we write and how we ourselves mean it, that it could be taken a completely different way by somebody else. Dan’s message could have been a satire along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s "A Modest Proposal". Or it could have been an April Fool’s joke with the traveller’s final three words being "Happy April Fools!" :p But I cannot know what Dan Simmons intended. All I have are the words on the website and how the words themselves are interpreted.

The words on the page sent me off on another hunt. Or rather, one word – "dhimmi". I am a Muslim but I had not heard this word before. And yet, supposedly this was a word which had great meaning to Muslims. I looked at Wikipedia and found an article that had its neutrality and factual accuracy questioned. I searched Google and came across hundreds of thousands of pages but the interesting thing was that most of the pages seemed to be by non-Muslims on the topic. The only Muslim site on the first two pages that I found was Islamic propaganda rather than an impartial article – I wasn’t interested in propaganda. I wanted the true account of things and the more I searched, less I found in the way of truth. Opinions, sure. Conjecture, yes. But facts were scarce.

I then went on Dan Simmons’ forums to see what the regulars there had to say. I saw a whole bunch of people saying that Islam was a militant religion, that nobody wished Muslims ill but if things came to that, they’d beat the Muslims down "out of need". Truth be told, there were those who opposed this point of view as well but it seemed as if that was the minority. Now I’m a Muslim. I’ve never wished ill upon Christians or Jews or people of any other religion. I believe that God lets us choose our own path and whether we choose good or bad depends on us – not our religion. After all my web browsing, I feel a great weariness, a sadness. Why can’t people see that the issue is not with different religions or ideologies but with people?

I am not angry at the people who will not see the wrongs on their own side as people of a particular nation or people belonging to a particular religion. But I do feel anger at our own stupidity, arrogance and blindness. We always believe that somehow "we" are right and that "they" are wrong. We keep finding a new "us" and a "them". It’s as if all humanity can do is break into ever smaller groups and keep fighting each other till we dwindle away into nothingness. Is that our fate?

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Posted by Fahim at 7:12 am  |  2 Comments

February 11, 2006

Cartoons and chaos

I have been staying away from commenting on this issue because I don’t believe I can be totally objective in my commentary. My religion is close to my heart and while I would try to be objective in my commentary, I can’t be a 100% certain that I was totally and completely objective in what I said. However, I went to mosque yesterday for Friday prayers and the sermon included references to the whole cartoon row and I must say that I totally disagreed with some of the comments by the Imam of the day and felt I had to write this here just so that there are opinions to the contrary – opinions which hopefully present a more balanced view.

Firstly, one of the tenets I believe Muslims should live by are words straight from the Qur’an – specifically Surah Al Kafiroon.The verses basically say, "you believe what you believe and I/we believe what we believe, you have your path and I/we have my/our path". This, to me at least, is one of the central rules of guidance for Muslims – both in dealing with others of different faith as well as other Muslims who decide to take a different path. We cannot try to enforce our ways, our beliefs on others nor does God want us to. Faith, any faith, is about belief – it might be belief in God, belief in an afterlife, belief in rebirth, belief that there is nothing after death but it is about some form of belief. This belief is personal to us. So why would we go worrying about what others say or do regarding our beliefs? Their beliefs (and actions) are theirs. Unless they forcibly try to stop us from believing what we believe or somehow try to coerce us into believing what they believe, what they do should not have any impact on what we believe. We should, as Muslims (and human beings), learn to co-exist with those of other beliefs because none of us will ever believe the same thing – even amongst Muslims, you have differences in belief. So why cry about the differences in belief that somebody else has?

Yesterday’s sermon started with something good. About the fact that yesterday, the 10th day of the first month according to the Islamic calendar, was a holy day for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. Now I don’t know if this still is the case – this particular incident which was related was from the prophet’s (PBUH) time. At that time, both Christians and Jews had fasted on this day because that was the day Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt and defeated the forces of Pharaoh. This again illustrated something that I strongly believe in – whether Muslims, Christians or Jews, we believe in the same God We all believe in the God of Moses, so unless there were three separate Moseses, we believe in the same God! So whether it’s prophet Mohammed (PBUH) or Jesus or Moses getting caricatured, we should be equally offended. (Yes, I realize that there are other issues in the case of a depiction of the prophet (PBUH) but again, that falls under your beliefs/my beliefs).

Where the preacher diverged from Islamic tenets, (in my opinion of course) was when he started with such a good foundation and then went on to say that we should do what we can to oppose those who publish the cartoons by boycotting their goods. If he’d built upon what he’d started, said that we all follow the same God and that while there might be those who might do stupid things either for the sake of publicity, stirring things up or simply because they believe they are doing the right thing, that what we had to keep in mind was that our faith was ours and that we couldn’t force anybody else to believe what we did, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with him. But he didn’t say that. In a way, I’m glad that Islam does not have a clergy – because probably a lot more people would have blindly accepted what he said because he was "authority" if we’d had a clergy.

As far as I’m concerned, Muslims have three God given things that dictate our path – the Qur’an, the prophet’s (PBUH) hadeeth and our brains. We should try to interpret the first two using the last and decide our course of action instead of being told by somebody else what is right and what is wrong. If we all learned to do that, we’d have far fewer problems from Muslims as a group both within the Muslim community and outside. But again, being human, I am not sure we’ll ever get there …

May 10, 2004

Humanity, Humility and Arrogance

Before I launch into my tirade, here is something which seems to aptly illustrate what I was talking about in my entry yesterday – men seem to have way too much fun out of life … at least the ones I know of :p

I’ve been trying to keep away from the news and from thinking or commenting about what is going on in the world today because it is just so depressing. Plus, it would probably sound a lot like another "Islamic" attack on the US in most cases :p However, the latest turn of events in Iraq especially makes me want to say something really badly and so I decided to go ahead and write this after having had these thoughts percolating through my brain for about a week.

The first thought that came to my mind when the furore broke out over the torture of Iraqi prisoners by coalition forces was the fact how everybody seemed to be shocked by the fact that it was the *US* soldiers who did it. It seemed to be as if that everybody expected the US to act better than everybody else and it was shocking that the US soldiers would prove to be as human as the rest of us. All I can say is that everybody should have expected this. While I like to believe in the capacity for greatness in humanity, all we mostly see is humanity descending to the lowest levels when opportunity is presented to them and given all that, why should anybody have expected the situation in Iraq to be any different? Basically, the US soldiers are as human (and in this case, I use the term in the most negative context) as any of the rest of the world. Given that they find themselves in a position of power over others who they’d been told wanted to destroy their country, their way of life etc. (and here, I blame the propaganda by the US government but then again that too is not something just specific to the US – it is something that everybody is guilty of …), it is no surprise that they decide to humiliate this "enemy" that they now find within their power. All too human. And all so depressing when you consider what it says about humanity as a whole.

I don’t blame the US as a nation for what happened in Iraq because were the situations reversed, probably much the same would have happened. I do find the rest of the world seeming to think that it suddenly is a heinous thing because the "US" did this as opposed to somebody else. Wake up people! This sort of things happens everyday in the world!

I however do think that the attitude of the US government had at least some influence in bringing about this situation and I find their attitude even in the face of the current situation quite disturbing. From what I could gather from the news reports, US president George Bush wouldn’t say that he was sorry about what happened. Yes, maybe I could be accused of being contradictory here in that I said that this sort of thing happened everyday and it was not special as far as the US was concerned and then I turn around and say that Bush should apologize. But what I meant here was that I find Bush’s refusal to apologize very arrogant. I realize that he has since apologized several times but at first, he wouldn’t apologize at all and then when he first mentioned the word "sorry" he actually said it along the lines of "I told King Abdullah (of Jordan) that I was sorry" and not a direct "I am sorry for what has been done by my country men". I find that extremely arrogant on the part of the US president – but then again, that seems to have been the most consistent attitude that he has displayed throughout his presidency. Let’s hope his successors learn a little humility. When one is the leader of supposedly the greatest nation on earth (so they keep on saying :p) – one must learn to be a little humble. Or perhaps I am hoping for something that isn’t possible in this world we live in?

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Posted by Fahim at 8:55 am  |  2 Comments

July 26, 2003

Ludlum revisited …

Certain comments by people who read my last entry on Ludlum and his latest, "The Janson Directive", as well as my own perceptions on further reading the book have impelled me to write this further rant :p Laurie’s comment made me realize that I was misleading both the reader and myself when I said that the mis-portrayal of Sri Lanka was one of my concerns .. I realized I wasn’t being honest there. Yes, the mis-portrayal of Sri Lanka did tie into the problem I had with the plot for the book, but it was again concerned with the whole fact that Ludlum decided to take an existing scenario which would have served his purposes just as well and to convert it totally into a plot which would (once again) vilify Muslims. I am a Muslim, I don’t believe that one should kill anybody whether they bey of your own faith or of a different faith to justify your views and I neither does Islam preach that. In fact, Islam preaches tolerance for all religions, all races. Unfortunately, people always tend to pervert something good to their own uses and still claim that they are following the original … I would think that people can see this difference but unfortunately most people in the world can’t since they prefer to be told what they should think and so, their perceptions are moulded by what they see on the news, hear on the radio or read in a book. Which is where I have a problem with Ludlum because he has subscribed to every stereotypical anti-Muslim image he can come up with and I really don’t think he needed to here – he could have taken a different route by talking about the actual terrorist threat in Sri Lanka or moved the locale to his fictional land of Anura but kept the rest of the details the same – he borrows heavily enough from Sri Lanka for the rest of his stuff to say that he couldn’t have done that.

For instance, he refers to Cinnamon Gardens where Janson lives with his wife in Anura – this is actually an area Colombo. Then there are all the described terrorist attacks – the killing of the country’s leader by a suicide bomber (the only thing changed was the title – Prime Minister instead of President), the bombing of the World Trade Center building (renamed to International Trade Center) and even the descriptions of the terrorists with cyanide capsules in a chain around their necks – all of these are identical to what really happened in Sri Lanka. So why does he have to go and make the terrorists themselves Muslims? Is there any logic to it at all except to cash in on the existing paranoia about Muslims? Is this the way a responsible writer should behave? I don’t know .. maybe hatred and money rule in this world and there isn’t any responsibility any longer.

There are other details – such as the bombing of the American Embassy in Anura by the terrorists .. that never happened in Sri Lanka but that should really get the fires of hatred stoked shouldn’t it? After all, aren’t American lives sacrosanct? Then there are the other subtle digs – the terrorist leader has sex with an American woman and then performs prayer using her pillow-slip as a prayer mat. How low can you go? If the leader is a devout Muslim, he wouldn’t be praying immediately after sex – because there are certain rules about prayer and you cannot perform prayer just after sex … And why a pillow-slip? You mean he couldn’t find anything at all bigger than that to perform his prayers on? But then again, I guess Ludlum isn’t really interested in details – just the shock value. And of course, the terrorist leader (Caliph as he is known) has a superstition about bandicoot rats – even though he was educated at an American College mind you.

Am I being really thin skinned here? Am I protesting only because I’m a Muslim myself? I don’t know .. I usually don’t like to talk about Islam and the general perception by Muslims that Islam itself is being vilified because I think that’s a bit too paranoid. But then again, when I see something like Ludlum’s novel – especially since it would have been released soon after 9/11, I can’t but think that there is something to all that after all. I am not objective enough to judge but this is what occurred to me as I read further. Oh yes, Johan mentioned that he’s Dutch .. just had to clarify that the comment about the Dutch in the previous entry was an ironic reference to the way Ludlum might have reasoned it :p And here some history might be useful – the Dutch did rule Sri Lanka for a while but it was actually the British who ruled Sri Lanka for over a hundred years and from whom we finally gained independence in 1948 – but in "The Janson Directive" there is no mention of the British – it’s the Dutch governor who gets assassinated … I found that kind of interesting .. Anyway, my rants notwithstanding, you should make up your own mind :p

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Posted by Fahim at 6:57 pm  |  No Comments

April 22, 2003

Of Mohameds and moronic measures …

I don’t know if I should be talking about this since it’s second, or even third, hand information but it’s something which seemed in step with the times and so I thought I’d mention it here. An acquaintance of mine at work told me that her aunt had gone to the US embassy here in Colombo to get her visa and that there had been this Muslim guy in the next cubicle being interviewed by a visa officer. The guy had won the greencard lottery and was there to get his visa and had been told by the officer that "We don’t let Mohameds into our country any longer!" If true, this can only be one of most stupid and paranoid remarks I’ve heard but then again, I guess it is just a sign of the times.

America, which prided itself in being the melting pot of the Western civilization, has suddenly become a closed country. And looking at the world, it is ironic that many of the countries that originated with Britain are closed to some extent or another, whether it is Britain itself, America or Australia. Maybe it’s the whole immigrants-take-away-the-jobs-of-honest-hardworking-citizens bit or maybe it is just that we live in strange and convoluted times. There are arguments for and against both sides – I was too simplistic in my maybes in the previous sentence but I’m kinda just not in the right frame of mind to make a valid and reasoned argument for either side at the moment. Who knows any longer anyway? At least not me .. I am lost in this sea of human stupidity, ignorance, prejudice and basic lack of understanding …

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Posted by Fahim at 7:39 am  |  1 Comment

April 9, 2003

Of terror, war and incipient madness

I’ve been rather reluctant to write in my journals these days both because of lack of time and also because I’ve been feeling the need to distance myself from the rest of humanity lest all its dishonesty, greed, war-mongering and plain lack of care for its fellow members drives me over the edge to join their ranks. Harsh? Yes, perhaps so but that’s how I feel.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a huge explosion here one evening. Our whole house shook and some of the neighbours had the glass on their windows break due to the force of the explosion. Everybody came out of their houses (it was evening) and began speculating about what it must be. It turned out later that a fireworks factory close by had caught fire and that the explosion was a result of that. But at the time I thought, the people in Iraq must be feeling a hundred times more than what we felt due to one single explosion. Yes, this is going to be about the war since it seems to be dominating everything else and I wanted to remind myself of a few things lest I too forget as time goes on like most others of the human race.

I had decided not to write anymore about the war when war started since there seemed to be no way to achieve peace and so it looked as if we just had to wait till things came to their inevitable conclusions. However, I since then feel the need to document some of the events/feelings from the current moment since I have a feeling that certain events are going to play out over and over again – just as they did when the US wanted to go to war in Afghanistan. I’ve been thinking about things and it seems to me that the US is running scared – they lived a peaceful life as the top dog of the pack and suddenly they wake up to the fact that no matter how powerful you might be as a nation, there are individuals crazy enough to attack you. So the US (and here I mean the government rather than the people of the US as a whole) decides that it’s time to show the world that you don’t mess with the US and go unscathed. So they come up with all this hoopla about how they are going to get Osama and attack Afghanistan. Months later and many civilian deaths later, Bin Laden still roams free and everybody has forgotten what originally happened and what the US originally claimed.

Now the pattern repeats again in Iraq. The US claims that they want to get Saddam out of Iraq and go in. Again saying that civilian deaths will be avoided and how they have smart bombs etc. but the results are the same. Many civilian deaths later, the latest stand from the US government seems to be that it doesn’t matter if they get Saddam or not, as long as he’s out of power, they’ve achieved their objectives. Not quite what they said when they started this whole war. And what of these elusive weapons of mass destruction? Now they say that Saddam might actually have spirited them out of the country and so they might not find any – thus actually saying that the fact they don’t exist is proof that they do exist. Ah the tangled mess we create in politics!

I sit here wondering who America will attack next in its fear and the need to show that it is still top dog. Maybe North Korea? Iran? Syria? I don’t know but if the pattern continues, I can only hope that the world wakes up to the fact that they might have to unite against a tyrant such as Germany led by Hitler during the second World War. Yes, I’m saying a tyrant and I’m comparing the US to Nazi Germany. Most Americans probably are going to be outraged, say that America is nothing like Germany under Hitler. But *if* America continues its aggressive behaviour, that’s exactly what America will be and I sincerely hope I am wrong because I don’t want another global conflict to take place – there’s been way too much blood shed already.

Sometimes I wish that I can take Bush, Blair and all these other pro-war leaders and their families and put them in a house which is under heavy shelling and then see how they like war and all this "collateral damage" that they are so casual about. I really am beginning to despise rich and privileged leaders who are totally sheltered from the effects of war and who’ve never had to face war in their own lives, so casually ordering a war that affects the lives of thousands and hundreds of thousands. Maybe its time that we went back to the era when the leaders had to be at the forefront of the battle instead of hiding in some bunker thousands of miles away. Maybe *that* will prevent the slaughter of more innocents but I doubt even that …

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Posted by Fahim at 6:12 am  |  3 Comments

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