Goldfish Nation

There once was a nation
that lived down a well
Ibn Battuta described it
as a blessing filled hell

Therein were a battalion
of dumb headless chickens
who tried to get out
armed only with mittens

Passersby would hear groaning
from this hapless crew
and stop to inquire
for the smell of the poo.

"come save us" they cried
"with your beautiful brains,
development, human rights
genocide, climate change"

to be continued...


Putting the Tamil in MaLayIsTAn

This weekend I saw a strange scene on my TV screen. Indian Malaysians throwing back teargas cannisters at the Malaysian Police, and a Malaysian policeperson totally fluffing up the return kick. Must have been a female.

Malaysia has a lot going for it, three of the cutest races in one country, the indians, the chinese and the Malays. And thats not including the Orang Asli communties who live in the jungle, ironically they are actually the Bumiputra(sons of the soil). There is a saying which basically sums up Malaysian Multiculturalism at its worst.

Chinaman do all the work, Malay take all the credit, Indian get all the blame.

Anyhow, colonial capitalism dealt a very mixed up deck of cards to Malaysia. Through creation of the 'Myth of the Lazy Native' (Alatas) the malays were reduced to planters, and races deemed capable of industrial work brought in to work the colonial engine. In this light i think their are paralels to the deurbanisation and alienation of the Bengali Muslims to British power.

Call it Firingi Forced Ganjification.

The malay equivalent of the ganj is the kampong. Ethic Malays have been getting a lot of affirmatively intended hands up the ladder over the past few decades, anyone else needs to either mobilise their capital and/or work their tails off and hope.

Anyway, Indians, mainly south indians get the rawest deal and the hardest time from the new malaysia. The coolest malaysians i know are the tamil ones. They wanted to vent their spleens at the British High Commission but were not allowed. That was well out of order. What was intriguing was their demand for restitution ( couple of trillion bucks?!?) for having their ancestors endentured over to Malaya in the first place.

Good luck to the raising of their dignity in the national scheme of things. The potential of Malaysian Multiculturalism is much more powerful and hope inspiring than say the British one, mainly because the numbers and the allsinging alldancing wannabe ummahticness of the place.

In the UK the actual numbers of blacks, browns, jews and what not do not tot upto so much. All little groups know that the WASP is in charge and on whose good will they depend. Malaysia's setting, where the ethnic ballance is more chunkily piechartable. The hope is a whole lot more postcolonial and does a lot more for my imagination.

Sort it out folks!!!!

Farish noor has written about this.


Cyclone in Bangladesh

The disaster bureaucracy is in full flow in Bangladesh, as a Cyclone called Sidr was launched from the Andaman (excolonial prison) Islands. Hitting the coastal areas it is presentin some testing times for the people of the land that Khan Jahan opened for Islam. For your historical education you can have a looksie at his splendid city of Khalifiatabad.

Allah grant the dead Jannah, ease the sufferings of the affected communities and make it easy for the workers to perform most ably. Forgive us our wrong doings and help us mend our ways and not repeat them. Thwart the plots of those who would have us forget you, who exploit these openings and guide those who seek you to what is best. Grant us guides like Khan Jahan. Shower the local economies of the people with ingenuity, opportunity and justice. Help us into a position where we do not accept those who reject you as our guardians and protectors. Please remove the people who put thorns in the path of the people and bring forward the day when desh is a source of relief rather than a sink.

Thankfully this is probably the first time desh's cyclone warning system has worked properly, there were days of warning and between 500 000 and 700 000 people were evacuated to the shelters that have been built over the years. However, i have been told that the shelter spacing seems to have been too far apart in some places for some people to get to. The very poor are said to have found it especially difficult to find the will and the way to leave and have born the brunt of it. They are most vulnerable now as food relief takes its time to get to them, having a rubbish rural transport network has not helped.

The human cost is difficult to ascertain at present for a number of reasons. Firstly nobody seriously thinks that the existing census data and settlement mapping resembles that of reality. Secondly and more physically, body counting is hard as its a coastal area and theres water everywhere. Perhaps the number might be known, but the knowers haven't remitted that knowing into the same receptacle. There are hundreds of graves dug every day and just as many janazas. The Red Cresent Bangladesh chap reckons the toll could rise to 10 000.

Interestingly, and maybe just as well for the internal outpour of welfarism even the residents of the capital were affected by the power outage. Every day the papers report this or that organisation suddenly doing something. The Banglalink mobilephone company has fixed up an SMS donation service straight into the Chief Advisors Emergency fund.

Most of the microphilanthropy going on now is undocumented 'give with your right hand so your left hand doesnt know it' type action rather than bombastically, marketed business as usual. The law advisor appealed for these Ansar types to report to local admin as they have lists of the areas that are most needy. So here we edit the ethic to 'give with your right hand so your left doesn't know but have a look at this list, maximise the practical benefit'

Internationally this disaster event has received a lot of attention, publicity and marketing. No change there. The BBC's river boat trip just happened to be around the area, they were journeying around the river network producing content on the countries problems when the storm unfolded. Aljazeera too seemed to be covering it quite a bit, their desh coverage is usually very poor.

This cyclone is seen with more sympathy than the floods, which are so frequent that internationals tend to attribute them more to geographic misfortune, ineptitude and disunity. Thankfully no pseudoscientific git has bought climate change into the debate yet, not that I've been following much. If they did i would have to ritually beat them.

India has decided to lift the ban on the export of rice into the desh. Saudi king pledged 100 million dollars(they always deliver on their word wrt releif), other gulf people splashing the cash, boro shoytan sending in Naval warships to help. NGOs and GoB not coordinated too well. Sheikh Hasina (jailed corrupt political leader) complaining that she isn't able to stand by the suffering people. Its a complicated shcomplicated can of worms, the disaster business.

Just like with Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Aceh and Kashmir, folks here in the UK can show how much they care by praying really hard and specifically for the affected, hitting the streets with buckets, purifying their wealth (yes you wage slaves), creatively lending their skillset to the cause and/or getting there arses over there.

For example, charities like Muslim Aid have established a niche in post disaster rebuilding of housing. Most of our people in desh live in tinsheds and the like, they dont really have much chance of surviving high winds. For the next time its important to build something which fits and is stronger. Their sustained works in Turkey, Aceh, Kashmir over the years makes me figure that theyll come up with something interesting after the releif rush. Now would be a good time for students to study related housing matters generally.

On the topic of hitting the streets with buckets of baraka....

Islamic Relief have planned street and tube collections they urgently require volunteers. These are very positive collective actions that have great positive cascading effects.

The centre point for picking up/drop off the buckets is Green Street Mosque (88 Green Street E7 8JG)

The address is collection times are 10am-4pm on the following streets:
Green Street, Romford Road, High Street, Manor Park (outside the underground station), Stratford

TUBE COLLECTION on Saturday 1st December
Stations: Aldgate East,Borough, Edgware Road Bakerloo, Edgware Road Circle, Pimlico, Tower Hill, Warren Street

3 people needed per station on following 3 shifts: 8 am – 1 pm, 1 pm – 5 pm, 5 pm – 10 pm

The pick up/drop off point for the buckets will be: Muslim World League, 46 Goodge Street London W1 (nearest tube Goodge Street)

If you would like to help out, please contact Nasrin at Islamic Relief on 02084982099 or email nasrin.sayed@islamic-relief.org.uk confirming what times you are available, and at which stations.


LIP Young Swordsman

Bloggerganj was a place
of unbridled selfworship
when along came one swordsman
and calmed it all down

proof, an ayat
of the potential of wisdom
a char in a river
of presumptuous bile

but the format...
it was distorting of thought!
The Wretched of the Earth
upon his blog fought!

The swordsman thought hard
and considered the plain
Was it worth the headache?
or was it all just in vain?

The option remained
to vacate the space
reducing the risk
of harm and disgrace.

So he raised his great sword
above his great head
crashed it into the earth
and his blog delete-ed



Islamic Car

Occasionally somebody somewhere does something that makes me want to simultaneously cry, laugh and hope.

Malaysia, Turkey And Iran are collaborating on producing a car targetted at Muslims. All three of these nations are what I term 'Muslim countries of positive integer value'.

That means they are not aid dependant, unashamed of their religious identity, have not surrendered fully to 'development' and westoxification, have established systems of learning worthy of the 'Islamic' crown and can manufacture something tricky that you might actually want or like.

I cry because i think the idea has a lot to do with my lungi wearing malaysian darling bros trying desperately to save Proton, their state car manufacturer. So much money has possibly been wasted on that particular 'Malaysia boleh(can do)' project. I mean, they could have just given it all to me! Protons aren't all rubbish, my pal in KL has a limited edition 'yellow sporty one' and i liked it.

I also cry because i think we have been here before and i realise the mockery and cynicism that the Islamic label has earnt for itself thanks to lamo capitalism.

I also cry because i beleive that this project should be established by a figure or group of highly accredited engineering prowess. This prowess exists in Indonesia, though i guess they might find the islamic car concept a little naff.

I laugh because of the nature of the mockery and incredulity that this will inspire and because malays make me giggle uncontrolably-la.

I laugh because if i were to buy said vehicle, by then the situation in the uk would probably be so bleak that it would get blown up or vandalised.

I hope because this could be Our Airbus A380. An Islamic Car should be an amazing concept, not a marketting slogan based on having a compass pointing towards Qibla. (Details at the moment are thin on the ground)

When the Manarists of the past century wrote about the political economy of the turban (promoting local (unwestern) artisanery and values) i concurred. This is why i only buy 'Islamic Jeans' from Mavi. Firstly, they are lovely, then the Turkish design, marketting, cloth, dye etc... blow my mind.

Mavi established itself because of its reputation, it started small and developed its cool along the way. I have a similar argument for turkish candy However the idea of Cadbury's aquiring a large stake in them leaves me uneasy but still kinda proud that they were world class enough to be deemed worthy of corporate swallowing.

Mavi did not whinge and moan for 'access' to markets and exploit low skilled workers forever. They got good.

Henry ford's T model set new standards for the production line and may have unadvertantly set a practical limit on the size of american families. Airbus's A380 demonstrated collaborative european engineering prowess and shows us exactly how many people you can fit in an airplane who's WINGS FLAP! What can the car demonstrate?

Car's kinda suck, but there is an emerging middle class around the Ummah that want to own them. This class is not loaded with dosh, has specific values in common and an industry sector that must learn through practice. This is one of those initiatives that could generate a good result if they think it through and understand the people.

Im not like Maajid Nawaz, the exHT chap, confused and turned in an egyptian jailkhana, who thinks an Islamic State makes as much sense as an Islamic Car. I'm supple enough and concious of my histories to be 'up for' research and engineering that lives up to the moral imperetives of the religion, the lie of the land and serves the people better.

However I object to be taken for a ride. Islam is a golden standard, not a substandard.

Islamic finance, Shariappliance, Ummah caramel, Ummah Foods, Ummah films ... all targeted at the 'Slims in the west often strike me as naff and are not adding essential value. There are characteristics of self service that make me shudder.

Ummah Caramel hurts me with the way its got the unflinching support of stupid people, mainly girls, who have bad/crude taste in both ummahtic philanthropy and in chocolate. Ummah Foods mocks the state of food soveriengty in the greater muslim and developing worlds. Ummah Films is quaint and i love the bro for his commitment and chuckle in a limited fashion to his stories of bodnas and feet washing, but its naff.

Invoking the ummah to cloak ones ineptitude and lack of other gainful employment/business ideas is a habit that we need to avoid. Its the trap that the whole 'asian' thing fell into that the neo-ethnic, or religio-philosophical islamic identity should not stoop to.

Suggestions for the car, if Dato Seri is reading my blog.

-Get the best engineers and designers you can lay your hands on and give them leeway.
-Be smart about how you distribute specific tasks.
-Make sure that you utilise the relevant expertise that you already have tri national access to.
-Please dont go all halal meat shop on us.
-Please don't rip off a mitsubishi.
-Think about the roads the cars will drive along.
-Think about fuel consumption.
-Think about the diversity of fuel types.
-Remember that you are a latecomer and drivers already have a taste thats probably pro Jap.
-Think beyond qibla compasses.
-Think about enabling good driving habits and safety.
-Make it beautiful.
-Bear in mind what mechanics are used to repairing.
-Think about the ganj, do an amphibious version!
-Think about interior decor.
-Think about the cooling system, imagine you are Sinan.
-Dont use this as an employment generation exercise.
-Think about fumes in third wolrd city jams.
-Target Asia and Africa.


[New Word] Jionijom

An ideology that tries to build itself on metaphors of race, jealousy and bloodletting. It isnt good at providing enduring fruit, causing the unfortunately afflicted group to sink in the ocean. This wouldnt be so bad if Jionijoms nature was not to drag everyone else nearby down with it while proudly celebrating itself.

Jionijom was probably not intended. It is the sum of bad situations, judgements and pronounciation.

Many people pity Jionists and try to help them, but it only makes them worse. Some cases just can't be helped in such ways.

Jionist commonsense has been coded with a few trademarks.

-Religion and politics have nothing to do with each other.
-Dissent, defame, destroy with indignance, but never resolve.
-Civil society is 'vibrant'.(Anything but donor induced social engineering)
-We are an independant state mr ambassador, how much aid money this time sir?
-The eternal reason for national creation is for secularism to flower.


'The Grave' by Don McLean

YouTube link
Haunting reflections on the battlefield......

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors,
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone.
He’s gone.

When the wars of our nation did beckon,
A man barely twenty did answer the calling.
Proud of the trust that he placed in our nation,
He’s gone,
But eternity knows him, and it knows what we’ve done.

And the rain fell like pearls on the leaves of the flowers
Leaving brown, muddy clay where the earth had been dry.
And deep in the trench he waited for hours,
As he held to his rifle and prayed not to die.

But the silence of night was shattered by fire
As guns and grenades blasted sharp through the air.
And one after another his comrades were slaughtered.
In morgue of marines, alone standing there.

He crouched ever lower, ever lower with fear.
"they can’t let me die! they can’t let me die here!
I’ll cover myself with the mud and the earth.
I’ll cover myself! I know I’m not brave!
The earth! the earth! the earth is my grave."

The grave that they dug him had flowers
Gathered from the hillsides in bright summer colors,
And the brown earth bleached white at the edge of his gravestone.
He’s gone.

[Track 9, American Pie]


[New Word] Moronarchy

Pronounced as if you were squeezing together monarch, moron and anarchy. Aimed to describe in one word, a few of the political phase transitions that have resulted in the establishment of an awfully rubbish system of political practice apparent in the world.


Imran Khan

A hero of mine since childhood has gone on the run after *allegedly* ( i .. erm never heard it in person, not that i was listening) reacting to his ruler's declaration of a state of emergency *allegedly* rather harshly. He's been trying to build a political party and I've been reading his manifesto. The party's website says he is safe and calls for lots of people (including the 'Lawyer's Movement') to take to the streets and demonstrate in several cities over the next couple of days. :-(

Surely there must be other ways of 'doing it'? Innalillahi wa innailayhi rajiun in advance, over all time and all space. Allah grant the qaums who love you the collective inteligence and humility not to make a mess of this world.

A few weeks ago i saw the man himself on a strange politics show on UK TV, hosted by George Galloway. It was good to see him, seemed rather miffed at the UK allowing the head of a 'nasty' party to operate from here.


[Film] Persepolis

Film festival ended last night. We went to see Persepolis, a french dubbed cartoon based on the graphic novels of the same name by Iranian Marjane Satrapi. It was a satirical and semi autobiographical take on the life of one particular urban secular family culture before, through and during the Iranian revolution. I am told that the comics were a little less sober and restrained.

It depicts her journey from childhood to young womanhood, puncuated with politics, family suffering, heavy metal and 2 periods of pseudo-exile. Several of her big family characters really grew on me, her wise totally politically incorrect posh granny and her committed lefty/commie uncle. There's some really ancient wisdom coded into the script.

Granny speaking with her as she's about to live for Vienna: ~ "You will meet a lot of jerks in your life and they will hurt you. Try not to hate them for it and remember it is because they are stupid. There is nothing worse than resentment and bitterness."

The most choking part for me was when she'd really had enough of things in the West. Telephoning her father from hospital , she asks if she can come home with no questions asked.

Granny makes a stunning comeback on the point of integrity. Back in Iran and newly in love, Marjane frivolously relates a near escape from the Guardians (public morality 'gardeners') to her.

All dolled up and waiting to meet a bloke in a park a bunch of Guardians crash into the scene and start 'reminding' people and being nosey. Anticipating potential entroublement and drawing on her handbook of tough situational escape tactics she plays the innocent little girl appealing to the "brother, brother" guardians to jail a chap (like you shak!) sitting on a park bench for insulting her. Chap on bench is summaraly arrested and taken away.

Granny goes rather ape upon hearing this, not finding it childishly amusing at all. She storms out of her presence and takes the care of shaming her. The lesson is of the lowliness of 'selfishness for self preservation' and that there is always a choice and a better way, a point her uncle died making.

I found a lot of dignity and identity through the film, which distinguishes it from other market or righteous indignation fodder. Her father's advice of 'Remember who you are and what you are from' hit me as very familiar. The British Petroleum origins of the Shah and the Iran-Iraq war trap were very well framed indeed, the former with humour, the later with something much darker and poetic.

What marked this cartoon out for me were the buckets of humour, charm and reality. It was not a naff sense of humour either. There are several levels of wit, and possibly the best use of the Eye of the Tiger that I've heard since we ran up the steps of the Albert Hall after finals. Perhaps enough evidence to disprove the female inability to be funny thesis. Maybe enough too for some to add to the pile market 'manipulative, flattery'. I suppose its on what your focus is.

The politics of appreciation and taste are weird. At one point the mocking tone in the laughter of the audience itself tasted foul. Imprint of western supremicism perhaps, but the momemt was funnily pulled off. I think that arty farty people in the occident love Iranian culture despite their stance on Islam and the Muslim Worlds. Therefore Iranian cinema and art particularly charms them with its 'contradiction' and 'enduring spirit through oppression' value.

Theres a lot of politics in how this is being awarded, promoted and demoted. I rarely recognise the essence of films I see in the reviews of them. And the Iranian Government did have a point in objecting, this particular artefact wasn't about the glory of the Revolution and post Revolution successes, and it was an oppositional production. The comic books are presently used to foster state militancy's sense of civilising mission in the Middle East.

However, from an aesthetic view it is a good example of the potential of Cultural J coded for several audiences.