[New Game] WikiLeak Wishing Well

A new game of wonder is set to light the dinner tables, chatrooms and tunnels of struggle this year. It starts of with the line

If Santa Julian was to come down your chimney with a WikiLeak, what would you like it to concern?

We aren't allowed to define what its content could be, but simply its concern.

[I would like the banter surrounding the banishment and extraditions of the poet Talha Ahsan to be known more officially. Lord Carlisle, Theresa May, US ambassador and UK judiciary...]

Following his Chiristmas Sermon from Mount Ecuador, The troubled Wiki Leaks lightning rod Julian Assange promised many more WikiLeaks to come in 2013.

Following the leaks from the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal, I went through some of the WikiCables from the US Embassy in Dhaka. Its funny how new happenings can breathe a different life into old data. I think more should be done with the data and that it hasnt been used particularly deftly yet.


[New Word] Dumbographic

Race-to-the-bottom market-thinking targets these, as do folks technocratically preoccupied with 'grass roots'.

As we see the rise of the neoliberal muslim NGO in WarOnTerrorTimes, you must work on your self not to fall into somebody's target dumbographic.

Cultural commod(d)ity?

Audience under retardation?

Have-a-go NGO?



[New Word] Deadmockracy

The politics of representing the dead as an assumed and non-negotiable constituency.
Such commodification of suffering and pain  is not new, but in late capitalism it generates strange political flows that dim the light.

Closely related to: Zionism, Jionijom, Blood Capitalism


[New word] Motanarrative

 A story that possesses you so much that it gives you brain damage, like jinn possession.

I am justifiably in contempt of this Kangaroo Court

Tribunalgate is quite fluid these days.

Last night the Economist mumbled something about lawyers and  clearly stated that they were handed data of communications between Justice Nizamul Huq and Dr Ahmad Ziauddin (17 hours audio, 230 emails) and did not solicit them. The comments below the article are amazing, with raw relief from many at the sight of their truth finally in print, as well as secular-takfiri bloodymindedness that we have come to expect from people holding firmly onto the master narrative. Its quite a sad reflection on our internal conversation and adab (manners) that 1971 has become such an infantalising matter, enfooling and humiliating.

Legal eagle BangaliVabna finds the Economist a little limp-wristed, gives an insight into the tribunals social context and what they have already done to split, confuse and make fools out of the Bangladeshi nation.  David Bergman made an appeal to civil society to show some spine, but more conservative blogs haven't yet commented.

These tribunals don't end impunity, they reconstitute it.
In the real world, a journalist from the Bangladeshi newspaper Amar Desh (My Country)  wrote something brave,  based on what I imagine is the same data that the Economist received.  We probably won't see the western liberal media falling over themselves to protect him, but we should, as he really pushed the boat out. Mahmudur Rahman, the editor of the paper, might also come in for a spot of bother and Awami ultra violence.

The main exhibit of this post is an audio file of what appears to be a conversation between the Judge and the Academic-Activist. Whoever organised this information retrieval from deep inside the rotten core of the Bangladeshi injustice system has done well to make people who will not otherwise listen, look the lie in the face.

This post wiki wolf whistle features them complaining about ministers setting them unrealistic deadlines and discussing how to massage the judgement so that it appears like it meets the standards expected by western powers. In passing Ziauddin observes that the Bangladeshi public will not be critical about this process at all. It seems to me that they are cooking up a judgement. It seems that a key ideological campaigner is having more representation in the tribunal than the accused, whose defence witnesses are denied, kidnapped and written off.

Somehow I can't see myself wearing a t-shirts saying 'Bangladeshi Justice for Bangladeshi Citizens' at this moment in time. These situations do get you thinking about the nature of the human intellect, its moral detuning and role in power play. You can listen to some more of the alleged audio on SonarBangla and make up your own mind.

When I was on field work in Bangladesh, during the last-but-one government, a young man, who had a small mobile phone shop by the oncoming River Jamuna said to me:
Over here, the educated people try to make fools of the illiterate.

bad poem alert.


 The day their music died

The Awami League of Liars stared
Their version of the past declared,
An exaggerated Jatra play
A power game, a truth to flay

No party is exonerated,
Our ranks were still quite decimated,
Yet, may the future flow uphill in wonder,
With dignity and hope not blunder.

We recognise that modus operandi,
Can only beg for foreign candy,
Terrorise and halt the nation,
With political emaciation

Noble souls,
Our thoughts controlled,
Questions patrolled,
Now, may His truth unfold.


War Crimes Tribunal Judge tells the Economist to stick-em-up: Some context

So why is the Economist of London being summoned by a Bangladeshi court and ordered to embargo an article about (in)Justice Nizamul Huq of the War Crimes Tribunal's involvement with a known and ideological genocide activist?

  • How much more embarrassing can this get?
  • What does it take to get a fair hearing these days? 
  • Will we ever know that which we don't and want concerning 1971?
  • Even if this were a WikiLeak scale revelation,  would there me much public outcry in Bangladesh, where human rights activists only act selectively in defence of their leaders and territory?
  • Is (in)Justice Nizamul Huq trying to buy time so he can judicially assassinate the accused before publication?
  • How might I explore this area without feeding the monster of White Privilege?

TribunalGate 101: Made up on so many levels

Delwar Hussain Sayeedi is a political threat to the Awami League.
He can motivate a crowd of people like none of their leaders.
In fact the post-harvest waaz audience really misses him.
He sports probably the reddest mendhi beard in the Ummah.
Anticipate Jionists in the UK to play the preacher-of-hate-card.
It is difficult to know where to start to explain the retardedness of the War Crimes Tribunal as it looks set to make its guilty verdict of the exMP Pirojpur-1 and popular religious orator Delwar Hussain Sayeedi official.  The judges of the tribunal have allowed a prosecution-turned defence witness to be abducted from under their noses without proper investigation, they have allowed the prosecution to mislead the tribunal about witnesses being unavailable when they were in government safe houses. 

Needless to say (in)Justice Nizamul Huq refused to politely stand down
when a senior opposition leader said that his involvement with the
Nirmul Committee meant he could not be neutral and unbiased.
Following what I can, it seems that the judges have put unfair obstacle after unfair obstacle before the defence and let the prosecution get away with murder.  If this were any other trial, the defence would have won a few times over.  And for the record, we still do not know anything new about the operation of the Razakars and Jamat during the war year. 

The defence team is led by Barrister Abdur Razak, who appears to be discharging his duties well in trying circumstances, whilst his staff and set up are being harassed and party members disappeared.  By the end of this, he will have earned a great deal of esteem, which is not something that can be said of Justice Nizamul Huq, the desperate students of Shibir, as well as the secularist establishment.

However this is a trial about war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh War, and as any 'rightminded' person would know, any member of the Jamat-e-Islami Party is a priori guilty as portrayed in the popular demonology. For reference, their guilt was established in 1992 at a civil society (mob) tribunal organised by the Nirmul Committee, which is stocked with hardcore secularist activists like Shahriar Kabir and the grieving relatives of some of the war dead. It is with this Nirmul committee which Justice Nizamul Huq has a history and controversially, a current 'learning relationship', through Dr Ahmed Ziauddin of the Centre for Genocide Studies. This is what the Economist had gotten to know, through hacking or whistle-blowing or hagoo-throwing.

But look at our own complicity in this injustice system, over the decades we have stood as witless witnesses to the programme of a dedicated group driven mad by edited stories of sorrow, marshaled by an ideology that narrows the heart and mind, and dressed in the virtue of justice, human rights and civil society. The lack of resistance and  contestation has allowed dim witted thinking, poor evidencing and rumourising to become social habits from the decision-maker to the home-maker.

Our tragedy is being unwilling to sift the truth from falsehood, which is why Bangladesh is about to kill the one of its most rousing politicians, who apparently wasn't even in Jamaat-e-Islami during the war year in which he is alleged to have committed crimes against humanity. Sayeedi was part of Tabligh-e-Jamat, an apolitical Islamic dawah group that focus on good manners and what they believe to be accurate religious performance amongst Muslim people. Apparently, he only got involved with the party in the 1980s.


I believe this is possible, and await confirmation, because I have met a freedom fighter who was a Jamaat district-level leader, a rokon-level party member who tends his local mass graves and have some access to the non-secular internal conversation.  If you accept certain sources and possible histories as potentially valid forms of knowledge the feedback loop of quietens and you might just hear something interesting.
Image from the Bangladesh war depicting General Yahya Khan.
So far unable to get justice out of Pakistan, the proxy forces
in which some of the older Jamaat leadership were involved
act as the lightning rod for frustration. 
The Master Narrative of Bangladesh

A master narrative can be a misguiding light in making sense of an experience. Sometimes people do not get very far in their own investigations before being sucked into a powerful and compelling set of reference points that contain their own internal logics and even validation overrides. 

This is a rough sketch:

(1) Islamists opposed the Awami League even after they won the election of 1970 and the army committed excesses, how dare they think differently! 
(2) All Islamists are evil traitorous swine and the principle responsible party for 1971 atrocities and all our woes, they want to take us back to Pakistan, they killed all our intellectuals
(3) I cannot listen to their side of the story or any other information that might complicate (1) or (2)
(4) The war criminals don't deserve a fair trial, my master narrative got it all right. The government should hang them before the election, the people want the trials!

Although the master narrative of the Bangladesh war still reads 3 million Bangladeshis killed by Pakistanis and their demonic local Razakar proxies, the picture is more complex and ugly. It is essential to understand ourselves changing sides and selling out, or being cruel, brave and dignified under fierce pressure, as this is what life is made of and what today is made of. Yet knowledge, especially history is socially contorted and this distortion has harmful and deluding impacts.  Bangladesh warlore has been constructed by political parties invested in reproducing their own heroism, the country's national liberation and the other's demonisation. This is all policed by loyal patriots who love justice.

As Prof Mushtaq Khan put it, during our war 'everyone was killing everyone'. For an idea about the multi-directionality of the war and its killings see the Sarmila Bose lecture in London last year on Applying critical thinking on 1971. For more depth about our politics leading up to the war please read Afia and Anwar Dil's sober and exhaustive Bengali Language Movement  and the Creation of Bangladesh, which has recently been published in Bangladesh, ten years on.

This Punjabi-Bengali couple of anthropologists
write from two generations of experience,
so the people of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India
might understand
Bothering to know

There is normally a strong social whip out for those questioning the evidence base for the trials, the wild charges, the master narrative of the 1971 war, and of course the political motivations of the trials.  Between self-censorship, state-censorship and imprisonment we have a broadly epistemicidal regime that is also vulnerable. By epistemicidal I mean destructive of ways of knowing, and by vulnerable I mean that it is crumbling slowly. Starting from the top, the English speaking press were never going to kick up a fuss as they hate Jamat so much it blinds them, and pays them. Mir Quasem Ali of Jamat's Diganta Media group was locked up a long time ago. Newish conservative blogs like Alalodulal are silent. The Guardians Of The Liberation Narrative even had an early Al-Jazeera piece removed by intimidating their Dhaka correspondent.  I guess many of the others are so deep in developmentia that this doesn't even seem to be worth the effort. Why rock the boat if you've got family and life to lead?

Alternate accounts of the politics to Bangladesh are occluded or traitorised through the very mature anti-Bangladesh jibe. Its not just in cyber macho space though, but at the heart of the academy and in polite society. Last year, a history professor in Jahangirnagar University narrowly kept his job after Awami League students and staff went ape at his inclusion of books of Sarmila Bose and Syed Sajjad Hussain on a student reading list.  I know people sitting in pretty gilded cages scared to be seen reading the Bose book, so I guess something destabilising is getting in there at least.

There is another dimension to 1971 knowing that is new, and harder for the secular guardians to dismiss because of its white privilege and cultural capital. David Bergman's Bangladesh War Crimes blog is really hotting up and provides the only public transcription of the proceedings. His positionality is part of the appeal, having been involved in the 1995 War Crimes File documentary that blew a lot of wind into the sails of the Nirmul Committee by video editing a lot of their content and screening it in front of a UK audience unable to contest it.  Since the kidnapping of Shukron Bali he has really gone for it, as far as interviewing his poor deserted wife.

Bir Bangali 
Hiding behind a lady's sari
While Dhaka burns
Nobody shall learn.


Review of the Londonee at the Season of Bangla Drama

I took the opportunity to see Londonee at the Brady Centre as the Season of Bangla Drama drew to a close last Saturday. For what the RichMix holds in polished pretentiousness, the Brady Centre makes up in graft and homeliness. Increasingly, I think the two venues are entangled in my head, which must mean that somone in RichMix is making good decisions.

The play was performed by Kukul and Ghetto Tigers and directed by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti and was on at the Rich Mix in a not too dissimilar format in May earlier this year. I was told some good things about it from someone I usually trust on these things, but underlyingly I went to see Rez Kabir, of that lungi-clad anti-Morrissey rant down Brick Lane fame. I might also have been curious as to how they played with the transnational identity invoked by the word Londonee.

The story follows a rather deviant angel's intervention in the life of a troubled young man from east London and his sister. The angel Manush is conceived in a strange christo-hindic-pythonesque frame, plagued by the bureaocracy of the Council of Angels, and saved by being performed Rez doing the baul/vagrant thing with it. You would get me turning up to any play with him whirling around in a lungi and punjabi being loud.

See Manush used to be human and was taken ahead of his time, and he was a Bangladeshi Freedom fighter to boot, a commonality with our troubled young man's errant father who never fully recovered from the horrors of war and ran off when his mother died. Our young man, who is also called Rez is musical and like every bengali badboy must have behavioural issues. He looks after his younger sister, a conciencious kabadi player. Cue East London vs Southall contrivances and good music.

The play tells us how far we have come from the mid 90s Goodness Gracious I Bent It Like Beckham era, when Asian Cultural Product all felt like this (not you Nitin Sawnhey xx). Wanting for political symbolism, like Colours of Hope, as well as the otherwordly reach of Bonbibi, I was trapped in a time machine with good acting. This was until I understood that the writer, of more western Indian ancestry, drew from her experience touring desh in the mid 90s with a theatre troupe. there was an interesting section of writing towards the end that lifted it for me, when Manush talks along the lines of "the man without history is nowhere, but the man who knows and has made peace with his history and acts as if it isnt there is a giant".

Check it.

I am not a theatre person, I once met a theatre person. The result was that I would look into it more in my 30s. Watching these three plays in such a community incubator is the start of that iA. I am gutted to have missed the Tagore production in the season, which is meant to have been pretty deep and well performed. It is online so I'll post it here when I get hold of the link

Beyond the cartoon characters, there is a moment in the play when both Rez's confront eachother, the younger human calls the angel out on his liberation war hero identity, using his post liberation scenario as evidence of the former's economy with the truth.

This would have been an interesting tension to complicate with dirty multidirectional truth of violence. What would happen if we stuck a freedom fighter benefit seeker in there, or a razakar fighter who acted with justice and humanity?

Now I would like to take this opportunity to share with you this picture of the wall in the lobby outside.


[New Word] Statestical

The dominant form of nonsensemaking in our age, where numbers are harvested for government and corporate benefit as part of patriarchal epistemicidal neoliberal capitalism


The Coming of the COP: International Climate Negotiations come to Qatar

It will render millions of homes, jobs and dreams obsolete, exacerbate existing political sores and bring us many more. Asia and Africa will be royally screwed.  Towns and cities will migrate, consultants will make money, communities will be pauperised, NGOs will make money.

For 12 days from this coming Monday, the United Nation's annual Climate Change Conference, the Conference of the Parties (or COP) will unfold in Qatar.  Science will be bandied around. Awards will be brandied around. And we the sons, daughters and khalifas of this brown soil might harp on about the actual intellectual and ecological values of our sacred tradition.

The countries of the world will congregate for the 18th time, polluting  and endangered, scientifically creative and consumptive, politically and public relations invested. They will be joined by corporate NGOs, businesses and the other usual suspects.

Qatar is an interesting place for a COP for a few reasons. On Al Jazeera's doorstep coverage of it is potentially different in kind from other such meetings, which are dominated by the industrialised polluting nations and their post-industrial guilt laden, but more or less eurocentric environmental NGOs. Though post-Wadah Khanfar Al Jazeera very much follows a pro secular editorial policy overseen by the Qatari royal family, their coverage is likely ( I hope) to deepen and wider participation in the climate conversation.

This small fossil fuel rich state in the Middle East is increasingly investing in science, foreign policy adventures and losing its status as the highest per capita carbon emitter. Pretty much every major western university has representation there. Post-Syria crisis they appear to be buying out Iran's political stake in Gaza, and the Qatar Investment Authority seems to be allocating finance towards renewables manufacture and appliance.

From a Londonistani point of view, there are a lot of Pakistani technocrats working working in Qatar, happy to live with the racial/class ordering and deculturation, so long as the money's good, life is safe and the Islamic frostings are there. Football fans, a community to which I do not belong, might also see this international event through their 2022 World Cup goggles.

Substance-wise, I do not think it likely that neoliberal imperialist, invader, polluter nations will chose to lose their competitive edge and pledge the binding deep cuts needed to mitigate hideous climate weirdness. The UK government have demonstrated that they cant even be bothered to maintain Labours Climate charade, Obomber's solution probably involves selling futures options on drones that will kill climate refugees (thereby mitigating any impacts of climate change on the good american people).

There maybe quite a few co-options of vulnerable countries through Adaptation Hush Money, that is funds from a polluter to an endangered government in exchange for other services rendered and the right to pollute further. Who knows? the devils really are in all the details.

The summit is easy to follow online if your are so inclined.

For fellow decolonial futurists and friends of the politics of life (not death) I recommend keeping an eye on the Bolivian and Equadorian delegations who stress the Nature Rights approach and Pablo Solon the ex Bolivian negotiator now at Focus on the Global South. Also be mindful of the sheer skull duggery of climate commodification and the G77 group of developing countries.


Review of Colours of Hope, another part of the Season of Bangla Drama

Last Friday was my second opportunity to taste some of Tower Hamlets Art's Season of Bangla Theatre. Behind Colours of Hope was an outfit called The Rokeyya Project, which I remember hearing from several years ago at a Brick Lane Circle conference.

The description of the play drew me for two reasons, I saw a documentary of Sylvia Pankhurst called Everything is Possible recently and love the struggle of Begum Rokeyya Sakhawat Hussain, the Bengali Muslim writer and educationalist of a hundred yesteryears, author of the inimitable Sultana's Dream, a mind-altering work of short ladycentric su-fi .

What the play does is run two parallel female struggles together. We hear of the story of Asha in British occupied Kolkata struggling to attend Begum Rokeyya's school, and a young domestic worker in pre war England making contact with a suffragette moved by Emily Pankhurst.

Asha's scenario it marked by resistance to a husband-centred life trajectory at odds with a formal education  beyond reading and writing her name. Bored with endless marriage talk form her elder sister alterity comes in the shape of a newspaper advert for students for a new school for Muslim girls in her city. The Sakhawat Memorial High School for girls was established in Kolkata by Begum Rokeyya with funds left by her deceased husband who supported her own foray into education. Much of Rokeyya's life from this point is marked by institutional struggle, and the educated women of South Asia who know thier chops generally tend to revere her. There is even a class of Bengali Muslim lady that builds cultural capital through their connections to her, her school and her family. That us Londoni's are just beginning to wake up and smell the appropriated coffee while we dance around in our NGOs is a crying shame.

Lady gender justice intervenes in Freya's world as she hears of the death of  Emily Davidson under the King George V's horse during the 1913 Epsom Derby. "Votes for women" before being trampled underfoot, much to the annoyance of the powered classes. Yet the tribute was enormous with six thousand women followed the coffin of this great Shadeeda-e-Millat.

Asha's scenario chafes badly today.  Her education is seen as instrumental to a marriage trajectory, women who do not fit such a model are made to feel less of a commodity and aged out of a marriage market. As a last resort she hopes for an understanding husband as her family exploit the temporary closure of her school on grounds of 'safety'. Sound familiar?

The Asha storyline sometimes borders on unbelievable, even considering that the past is a different country. We are narrated a bone shaking account of a respectable Indian Muslim lady tripping up onto a railway track and being run over by a train. The headjar is that when men went to pull her up but it is said that her maid refused aid saying that 'she must remain pure'. It sounds a bit daily maily for me but I would like to chase it up.

There is a wonderful piece of dialogue lifted from Sultana's Dream that makes it into the script in the form of a classroom scene about the flipped gender positions in Rokeyya's Ladyland.
'It is not likely that they would surrender their free and open air life of their own accord and confine themselves within the four walls of the zenana! They must have been overpowered.'
'Yes, they have been!'
'By whom? By some lady-warriors, I suppose?'
'No, not by arms.'
'Yes, it cannot be so. Men's arms are stronger than women's. Then?'
'By brain.'
'Even their brains are bigger and heavier than women's. Are they not?'
'Yes, but what of that? An elephant also has got a bigger and heavier brain than a man has. Yet man can enchain elephants and employ them, according to their own wishes.'
'Well said, but tell me please, how it all actually happened. I am dying to know it!'
'Women's brains are somewhat quicker than men's. Ten years ago, when the military officers called our scientific discoveries "a sentimental nightmare," some of the young ladies wanted to say something in reply to those remarks. But both the Lady Principals restrained them and said, they should reply not by word, but by deed, if ever they got the opportunity. And they had not long to wait for that opportunity.'
'How marvelous!' I heartily clapped my hands. 'And now the proud gentlemen are dreaming sentimental dreams themselves.'

Another treat was Dillemmas of our Daughter's Dance Off where broom was pitted against book and khathak ranged against capoiera. Must have been fun to make up.

Every group is on a journey through the materials and makes decisions about where the audience is likely to be with the issues handles.  A few things jarred with me as the play tried to draw itself to a close and connect to the oppressive present, and I am challenged here to express why.

Our actresses narrate the events of our character's lives, giving us a picture of the the worldviews being voiced here. As we follow Emily Pankhurst, not the more interesting anti-war, anti-imperialist and socialist Sylvia, we learn that it was through their Loyal Service To The Nation in the waste of life that was the First War of European Folly, that women earned the right to vote and then the equal right to vote.

Asha's story closes off with an all too brief life sketch of Rokeyya, her Battle to keep the school going, establishment of an Islamic Women's Association and an underpinning of Quranic teachings. I say too brief unfairly because I am so thirsty to learn more about her. This was a valuable way to present such an Epistemic reference point, to a community so often run down and accused of passiveness in the face of patriarchy. (sorry)

The howler for me was in the subsequent heroines of the present day roll call and the presence of Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) in that list. I asked the crew whether the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar might see her in the same way and I'm quite sure that they didn't even know who the Rohingya were. 

Our actress picked an interesting ASSK quote that I guess must have caught up with her as she does her best to avoid addressing the most racist and inhumane face of Myanmarese society that cries out for states(wo)manship today.
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
On a positive note, and there were many, the expansive musical score worked well and we were treated to a QnA featuring Shaheen Westcomb, one of the first female architects of Bangladesh, whose mother was a direct student of Rokeyya. It was at this point that i was made aware that I had missed all of the shadow puppetry going on on the left of the stage.

I liked the play, it got the juices flowing and annoyed me.  It drew a diverse crowd. Last week's Bonbibi made me more breathless, but the source material of Colours of Hope marked this evening's proceedings out. It was an insightful interweaving of two legendary struggles for gender justice that left us itching to know more.

To conclude, Sultana's Dream (1905) is a must read.

You can read it on the way to work on your smartphone
You can read it to your child before bedtime
You can read it to your father after dinner
You can read it to your primary school class
You can read it in your degree.
You can read it over the phone to your dearest.


Bonbibi, part the 10th Season of Bangla Drama

The Season of Bangla Drama is a cultural infrastructures who's existance; makes me glad, matures with time and generally leads matters of pluricultural delight. It's like a more resource intensive Brick Lane Circle's Bengal History Week, a period of intense reflective, and by definition, creative collaboration.

This year is the tenth such season, courtesy of Tower Hamlets Arts, the Brady Centre and participating theatre groups. You can see whats coming up, and what you've missed already on the brochure here.

Tonight (Friday) I had the chance to see a performance of Culturepot Global's Bonbibi at the RichMix complex on Bethnal Green Road. Bonbibi is an elastic folk tale that does tremendous work, particularly the morality of relations between creation. Think Jungle Book (which probably drew from this and similar cultural resources), collided with a Qur'anic truth or two (pieces of the the life of Nabi Ibrahim and clearly a strong dose of Hazrat Khidr), Avatar and Moulin Rouge.

Ok, but why not?

Ably narrated and sung through by Lokkhi Terra's versatile Sohini Alam, a packed venue was treated to a family orientated 55 minutes of shadow puppetry, expressive dance and moody folk-rock groove. Was this to be the kind of thing Ali Shariati was talking about when he spoke of the Extraction and Refinement of Cultural Resources?

Hmmm, nearly.

The storyline probably deserves a look in at this point, and we'll start with Bonbibi, the lady of the forest, who was found and brought up by the animals of the forest in The Land Of The Eighteen Tides, by which we understand Sundarbans forest of the Bengal Delta. This liminal space between ocean and land gives way to all sorts of balance-talk and works to decenter the human. In fact the animated earth becomes almost second nature. Its sad how modern life sciences have proceeded to make things so dead. Enchantingly live descriptions abound, one particularly beautiful line talks of sundar trees in eternal conversation with the sky.

Bonbibi is a background character who frames the storylet however, in fact all the actors seem to play the role of visual props to wrap movement, narrative and songlines around.  This is probably just as well because as soon as voice duties were shared we got corkers like Bumbibi (heehee) and probably the least-menacing-tiger-growl-of-all-time-bro-pull-it-out-for-next-time-maybe-its-your-strat? Still its refreshing to see white people as puppets on a string for a change even if they are officially actors.

Back to the plot and the stage we follow for the most part the lives of two siblings, a brother and sister, orphaned by the swallowing action of the sea, who play and live in the forest. They forage quite harmlessly on the riches of the forest, namely fruit, wood, honey and fish. Up until the point when the brother gets a quite greedy and upsets the balance.

How much is too much? Too much is how much

Cue the shalwar kameezed mangrove forest, the generation of a fierce reactionary force and the funkiest prop of the night, Dukhin Rai, the Brahminical* tiger, who proceeds to eat the brother. (and I think, poos him out)

Dukhin Rai, Manush Khai.

*Brahminical because he started off as a Brahmin but became a tiger-demon in anger at humankind's exploitation of his brother creation. Problem was that his vengeance doesn't stop with human flesh and he soon becomes a tyrant in of himself, arrogantly proclaiming sovereignty of the forest. Sound like anyone you know?

As is par for the course, a little Islamic magic is inserted into the storyline at this point. Allah summons Bonbibi, the purest of the land, to Makkah in order to get the blessings of Bibi Fatima, mix soil of the two regions (very Shah Jalal) and have a showdown with Dukhin Rai. Read these symbols however you like, I need some time.


Seven days it lasts, until Bonbibi clinches it 'by staring back at him with her wisdom, asking him what his root problem is, accepting it and setting forest sharia that would make the Earth Rights Movement dance'.

Humans will only enter the forest with empty hands and clean hearts

I enjoyed it most for singing voice that would make accountancy magical and the recruitment of the the Al Qaiger metaphor. Its a pity that they aren't playing more dates as many would benefit.


Bangladesh 2012-3 Spectators of Suicide

As the current Bangladesh 'Parliament' period draws to a close, I am going to pay a different kind of attention to political matters there.

The 'secular liberal' Moronarchy of Prime Minister Hasina is generating an unprecedented field of oppression, with shambolic kangaroo 1971 War Crimes courts seemingly complicit in the kidnapping of defence witness Shukkho Ranjan Bali (who was originally listed as a prosecution witness), opposition media figures like Mir Quasem Ali of Diganta Media locked up, and smaller opposition figures beaten black and blue on the streets of Dhaka (then blamed for vandalism).

It's difficult to argue about political epistemicide and the unjustness of these trials with blind Awami Leaguers and those who hold the liberation mythology sacrosact, but as this misled and misleading group is 'of us', and holds both local power and the international megaphone, it is an inescapable challenge.

The problem is that power can throw any old BS as you and it counts, irrespective of the merit of ones claims. Power can erase human records and the means of knowing otherwise. Such political epistemicide is as clear as the eye can see. Kidnap the witness. Lock up the media man.

We are poorer for it, but in this darkness I believe that there are opportunities for political creativity and long-term deep societal action. I pray that those with the wherewithal will make something out of them.

After all, they have a while. Political pundits suggest that the Awami League will win the next election, this would mean an unprecedented level of continuity unseen in desh since the less-ballot-based dictatorship of President Ershad. Given the limpness and batteredness of the current oppositions and the general uselessness of the Armed Forcesm I am inclined to agree.

What a shame that the ingrates who arrested a Turkish MP for distributing Qurbani meat to the desperate Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, and who have managed to actually give the World Bank and Grameen Bank the moral high ground, will pay no price for their foolishness.

Ah, the hidden hand of the political market!

If you are interested, the ReclaimBangladesh resource is intended as yeast to raise the level of our thinking and political being.


Post-Hajj Note 1

Returned from Hajj with the feeling that pillars-based islah is a useful groove to inhabit. These institutions and rituals which move us and make us offer real scope for practical action.

Wudhu Area Studies and Fasting not Feasting fit into this line of thinking. Hajj is a different scale altogether, in terms of the prophetic time travel involved, the structures of injustice it demonstrates and the fervour with which our beloved ummah just goes for it.

The social and spiritual justice of Hajj is not about the Makkah Clock Tower, unless you wish to officially stone the bugger by including it in the jamarat. The English language papers of the Arab world are full of technocratic analyses, people thinking through different tinkerings, blaming hajis for the litter and my favourite, 'clamping down on illegal hajjis'.

Yet it is us, and our tafsirs that make the hajj what it is.

Books, knowledge and the epistemic taste shape hajj. I love the South Asian attention to fiqhi detail, Shafiq Morton's Notebooks from Makkah and Medina for elucidating the unspoken, and the way that Darussalam volume (Davids) weighed a blooming tonne without actually doing much. Even that bin Baaz book came in useful.

This soul-dried trinity of ibn Saud (political sovereignty) - Salaphication (religious sovereignty) - Bin Laden (construction sovereignty) have produced a particularly lived space for hajis, families, groups and nations to dwell in. The built environment, religious policing, infrastructure and bureaucracy condition a characteristic experience, which you feel differently according to whether you are: female, Iranian, poor, non-Arabic speaking and unfamiliar with the latest bizarre policies of the Hajj ministry.

We Hajj despite these authorities. But, what if we could retire them?
Who would we select/trust to administer Hajj? Would getting the Turks to do it be a backwards move?

What could Hajj become? and just how hard would the Ummah rock the Three Days of Tashriq?

Perhaps what might work better is a facilitative core to ensure the dignity of the hajis, multi-scalar collaboration and a less restricting religious field would quickly ensue. Like Tawaf.

Allahumma Accept our Hajj, transform us and our rendering of it.


The Extraditions of Talha and Babar, and the Decolonial We

Last week the poodley government of the UK of A extradited 5 Musalmen to the USA. I've not heard from them other than that (Kobi) Talha and Babar have pleaded non guilty in the US court they were hauled in front of.

Pre-trial detention is likely to be solitary confinement which is an extreme form of torture that leaves no visible scars. We realise that plea-bargaining is the modus operandi of this Empire's injustice system. This is why we resisted their extradition.


  • It could be anyone next, this is a stark warning for all activist communities. If all it boils down to is writing something on a website that is hosted on a US server, then we are pretty much all for the chop if they click their fingers.
  • These kinds of campaign are long and require endurance. Watch how the tyrant uses time.
  • The Home Office communications strategy seems to have worked, to connect all of the 5 detainees with the image of Abu Hamza the Muslim bogeyman, their inside man.
  • The judge giving the verdict did not even try to pronounce the name of Talha Ahsan correctly, the young Asperger's suffering poet that he was about to throw to the wolves. He said 'Ashan' on more than one occasion.
  • Institutional racism is certainly there, but what undergirds it is institutional epistemicide. Nothing we feel say or do counts as valid information to these pirates.
  • Anjem Choudhury is auditioning for Abu Hamza's spot. He showed up last week at the verdict to pose for cameras, complete with battery begums and hairy's..
  • These campaigns must join hands with the Irish community who know it all so well and the Black community which is suffering from so many killings in police custody. We must embody a Decolonial We.
  • Make sure you have seen the Extradition documentary, show it to families and friends. www.extraditionfilm.com [please overlook the PRESSTV tag]
  • Arts Against Extraditions have a postcard callout. Its easy to submit something on A5 and they will really make the Exhibition special.
  • Encourage your Islamic Society, community organisation or pimp to host film screenings, panel discussions et on Extradition. Suggest replacing depoliticizing Charity Weeks with Extradition week.
  • Zakat is due to free prisoners of war. Talha, Babar and others are victims of this phoney War on Terror.
  • Pay attention to the appallingness of the press coverage and feed comments and feedback into the echo chamber with grace and high frequency.
  • Wear a Free Talha badge. This is good for the shy because it can spark a normally unknowable interaction with a random human being.
  • Write to your MP asking them to hound the Foreign Minister William Hague about the people detained.


Extradition Documentary now online

Dear All,

With legal systems and political systems weighed against them, Talha Ahsan, Babar Ahmad and families could really use some justice and consideration right now. Such extradition situations could very easily greet any British citizen.

The following documentary is based around one of Talha's poem and created by up and coming filmmaker Turab Shah. It features the families and lawyers of the Tooting Two and furnishes the viewer with detail and feeling that no dry text would be able to. Please watch this with your family and pass it round.

[New Word] Trashmob

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
'Good' flashmobs used to make me smile
And I knew if we had our cause
That we might engineer a round of applause
And maybe feed the homeless for a while

But Repetition made me shiver
With every so-called Temporary Autonomous Zone The Man deliver
Commodified action on your doorstep
Ultimately there would not be one more step

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about Gangam contrived
Amongst Dhaka's westoxified
The day the flashmob died

The Trashmob is a spontaneous gathering and action of complete fuckwits who contrive to meet together and perform an action of immense idiocy, window dressing and neoliberalising enchantment.


Update on the extraditions of Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad

Given the European Court of Human Rights decision to reject the appeal of five men (including Talha and Babar) to be given up to the US by the UK government, and private prosecution charge led by Karl Watkin its time to take stock and focus on what is going on. This is my attempt to make constructive, connected sense of the unfolding situation and highlight actions and resources that you dear reader might take.

The Abu Hamza Bogeyman Card

The Home Office strategy has been to camouflage the travesty of justice at the heart of this issue by playing the notorious Abu Hamza bogeyman card, even though Talha and Babar are amongst the longest detained without charge in UK legal history. They say 'Abu Hamza and the others'.

Abu Hamza's face has covered the UK paper's and confused public perception of the matters at hand, of the differentiation of the cases, the Home Office's power to stop these extraditions and our goal of British Justice for British citizens. It is really shocking how successful their misinformation campaign has been swallowed whole, and anger-making given that Abu Hamza was a MI5 informant. British spooks did not mind him so long as the focus of his bad mouth was overseas.

This is not speculation but came out in his trial, see, even he got a trial. Tragi-comically, the Queen entered the arena yesterday, with someone recollecting in public that she had once wondered out loud why he had not been arrested for breaking some kind of law.

Challenging the Frame

The Preachers of Hate framing is readily reproduced by our press, and sadly become well embedded in the public sphere. Given the political theatre of our times ( that doesnt seem to be going away), the British public tires of endless Muslim Terrorist-talk and no doubt switches off prematurely before receiving facts. The challenge before us is to cultivate the social techniques to communicate through the noise and veils between us. Every human is a potential feeler of and reflector on the injustice of this situation.

The experience of campaigning on these extraditions is that people support UK trials for Talha and Babar once they get a fuller human picture of their ordeals, the flimsiness of the accusations and evidence, the behaviour of the Met Police and CPS and the ridiculous outsourcing of British judicial sovereignty to the USA. This is about encouraging the justice within us to surface.

Babar is a British citizen who has been locked up for 8 years and was beaten black and blue upon his first arrest, winning damages but no apology from the Met Police. Talha is also a British citizen, a Koestler Platinum Award winning poet diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, who has been detained for 6 years.

If extradited both face torturous Supermax detention for years before their cases come to trial in a strange country that is not a great place for justice right now, as witnessed by Noam Chomsky here.

What now?

Earlier this month activists, poets, artists, discussants and performers congregated in East London's RichMix for an evening entitled Extradite Me, I'm British. Over a hundred people attended, became informed and joined the campaigns to negotiate a way out of this grave injustice, that pits powerful governments against families that are multiply marginalised.

Several people have been asking what they can do to become more involved, and their are three specifics I will address here: the private prosecution, the postcard call-out and the press/public sphere.

Karl Watkin's private prosecution bid seeks to address the justice gap by trying the 'Tooting Two' in the UK, before a jury of peers. I guess this is trying to compel Keir Starmer QC,  Director of Public Prosecutions at the  Crown Prosecution Service to show some spine and initiate a public prosecution.

Please email him on  keir.starmer 'at'cps.gsi.gov.uk to support Karl's initiative.

Arts Against Extraditions, creators of those fine, evocative campaign T-shirts have issued a postcard design call out on the concept of 'Extradite Me, I'm British'. This intends to mobilise creative resources and encourages raise the issues in ways led by our imaginations and reflections.

Please visit their site and circulate it around your creative pals, even have a go yourself.

The media are obscuring the issues by uncritically repeating the Home Office mantra of 'Abu Hamza and the others'. This is sadly enough to push the others beyond the pale. We have had clueless counsels for the American Embassy and hideously biased, uninformed academics (prof Glees) hogging vital airtime. The British press isn't having a particularly deep and challenging time these days, despite the wake up call of the Leveson Inquiry.   Fahad Ansari from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign and Hamja Ahsan from the Free Talha campaign are very able to address such assaults of our intelligence when given the microphone, but more needs to be done.

Please become informed with the particulars of the cases, examine press artefacts and be active citizens through the letters pages of newspapers, blogs, facebook and twitter  ( #freetalha and #freebabarahmad ).  Corresponding with elected and unelected authorities, in formal and informal fora is critical for the next days and weeks.

Contact details and articles covering the extraditions are given below for some of the major UK papers. Please write into them in reference to a specifically dated article, with your full name, address and telephone number, stressing as some of the talking points below in a kind/crisp manner.

  • Babar and Talha are British citizens who were born, educated and paid tax in the UK
  • They are accused of running websites hosted on servers in dozens of countries but operated from the UK.
  • The UK has the oldest criminal justice system in the world and is capable of successfully prosecuting them both here. There a need to outsource our justice.
  • Almost 150,000 members of the British public signed a government e-petition last year calling for Babar to be put on trial in the UK.
  • Together they have spent over 14 years detained without trial in the UK, serving the equivalent of a 30 year sentence between them, arguably more than they would have even received if convicted.
  • The CPS admitted last year that it had not viewed the bulk of the material seized from Babar's home which was sent directly by the police to their US counterparts and which forms the basis of the indictment against Babar and Talha
  • The DPP has now been in possession of that material for several months and is reviewing it to decide whether Babar and Talha can be prosecuted in the UK.
  • Support of Karl Watkin's private prosecution
  • The freezing of the extraditions until the DPP has fully reviewed the material and made a decision as to whether or not to prosecute them in the UK.
  • In 2005, Judge Timothy Workman said about the case: "This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which, if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country." That evidence was secretly hidden from the CPS and Judge Workman for 8 years but is now available.
  • Talha has been clinically diagnosed as suffering from Aspergers, the same illness afflicting computer hacker Gary McKinnon. Theresa May continues to postpone her decision on McKinnon's extradition case on account of his Aspergers - why should a vulnerable individual like Talha be treated in a far more brutal manner?





Daily Mail


The actor and musician Riz Ahmed (or Rix MC) from 'Four Lions' and the upcoming adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's 'Reluctant Fundamentalist'  recorded this message of solidarity, the government should be protecting its citizens.

Robert King, who suffered Supermax detention and was part of the Angola 3 offers his message of support.

Free Talha Site (family led campaign)

FreeBabar Ahmad Site (family led campaign)


Imagining the Superposition of Green Wavefronts

The long-time anti-war leader, psychotherapist and mother just quit the Respect Party. Its a bit sad how it came about, but its coming about isnt my focus for now. The thought of the Birmingham-based Salma Yaqoob joining the Green Party does joyous things to me. I like to speculate and project my political demands onto others, so please forgive and understand any commodifying of humans-as-my-pawns here.

The UK Green Party just elected a new leadership, choosing Australian expat Natalie Bennett as their number 1 and Dudley-based Will Duckworth as deputy leader.  On a purely regional level, there are potential synergies in the midlands. It would also contest the scary neomalthusianism that underpins several flavours of environmentalism (thats you Jonathan Porritt), the technocratic aspects of Brighton's Green-led council (allowed an 80 year old pensioner to be jailed for not paying her council tax) and might broaden the political constituency beyond the over-representation of the white middle classes.

Looking  generationally I feel the politics of Decolonisation, Alterity and Life converging. Silly little NGOs and the governmentalisation of Environment and Diversity arent really helpful in realising these political demands. Hence the image below.

Black Power, Verdant Knuckles

The Superposition of Green Wavefronts

For as long as I've been paying attention, Caroline Lucas has been a principled friend to Muslims, whether on hijab protection or the case of our dear Talha Ahsan, and interesting principled deshi candidates have stood for the party in national elections. I'm thinking of Farid Bakht for Bethnal Green and Bow and Dr Shahrar Ali for Brent. I won't forget Shahrar's rendition of If you Tolerate this then your children will be next at Bush house in protest at the BBC's evilness during the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Firm, committed, educated and of-the-future, a lot of current Green people tend to provoke accusations of over-middleclassedness. However this need not necessarily a fatal flaw.  With the Occupy and other assemblages out there, including folks like Bread and Circuses and Space Hijackers, its not like we are in a time of low inspiration and monoculture.

The Green's political values seem to include: Palestinian Freedom, Climate Justice, Civil Liberties, Deconsumerisations, Welfare, Humans as part of Nature, as well as Deimperialisation at home and abroad. It seems to be a space where we might breathe in our own skins.

But there is something still more tantalisingly nonsecular about planting our political seeds in this trough, and this relates to some of the projects you see linked to on the left. Its about realising the nonsecular political selves that we are and honouring and eco-akhlaq (practical ethics) and creative ideology of Qur'anic readings, into a politics of life.

Salma Yaqoob shifting into a green political space might enable the following to unfold more fully,

  • Transformation of our diet and food system to something more just, tayeb and nuronic.
  • Rejection of fake Muslim environmental NGOisms
  • Rejection of greenwash
  • Development of khalqi politics of ummah.
  • Derudeboyification.
  • Decoloniality
  • Farming revolution, revalourisation and localisation of food systems.
  • More Trees in and around Masjids, more Masjids in and around Trees.
  • Establishment of the politics of Tawhesion
  • Rememberance of the Garden
  • Rights of Nature laws and ethics
  • Surah Zalzalian conciousness


The Politics of Misrepresentativity

This is what as one level, Adil Ray's community leader character is trying to delegitimise, and we've all seen them, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Arabian, Indian, Secular, Islamist, self promotist.

The trick now is to address them as our Misrepresentative Leaders whenever they open their big fat stupid gobs. Our every day acts of recognition are key to this.

Misrepresentivity amplifies up the political food chain, like heavy metal but with no way as much ummahtic gain.


Khutbas from our Kitchens, again

Urban, immigrant life estranges us from the rest of creation.  We are becoming part of the problem. So let us alter the relations between the built, lived environment and the (mal)functionings of the urban ummah which we see being stripped away from soulfulness and plunged into consumerism.

Khutbas from the Kitchen is an idea, potentially an institution,that intervenes practically in our lives to help embody Islamic principles in our relations with creation, not least the food system, family and social relations. It is as simple as recording short educative videos from eachother’s kitchens about the ethics and values behind what we eat, warts, proverbial kitchen sink and all.

Competing with slow, unjust people over reclaiming the mimbar in the mosque is probably a useful expenditure of some people's energy. It need not distract us from the potential of networking and reimagining our existing networked ummahstuctures to overcome the cultural degradation arising from some of the activities of Islam Channel, PeaceTV, ISB, the Quilliam Foundation, Saudi Arabia/America.

Khutbas from our Kitchens rehonours the domestic, creative, hospitable space. For certain, it is not some kind of come dine with me/ready steady cook/diary of a bad man goes for chicken and chips venture. The objects around this vital room tell stories that are mostly hidden and unmarked. The packet of plain flour tells us of the history and politics of American grain surpluses. The dish rack, which bears a lot of the burden, tells us of steel, geometry and evaporation. Not to be funny or anything, but the kitchen plan itself speaks about the design and food values at the time of the building’s construction.

Kitchen media is interesting, televisions entered a lot of them in the late 80s, but now the direction of travel has reversed and one–to-many communications can be exchanged for more realistic many-to–many relationships. And perhaps the people in them have changed, less learned in some ways (humanity), more so in others (web search).

The kinds of impacts I would anticipate from this collective endeavour include a practical, shared space for learning, ensouling, deciding and creating more Creator-conscious and justice-based patterns of life and consumption.


[New Word] Shit-com

As epitomised by the BBC's recent Citizen Khan*, a dated, lazy con subsidised by the UK taxpayer and characterised by an ethnic mediocrity previously known to have inspired the term Shit Lit.

When we know that Humza Badman can do similarly from his bedroom, and sigh as he is held up as a paragon of brotherly comedic virtue, this Goodness Gracious Me reproduct retards all that it touches.

*I watched about a minute of it on iPlayer to make this judgement.

I'm not a funny person, but wish to point you in the direction of Sami Shah a Pakistani stand up, and Imran JK's adorable Thank Allah its Jumma (where did you go bro?).


Non Aligned Movement Summit kicks of in Tehran, far more significant than the Olympics.

Most of the countries of the world imagine and work towards freedom and autonomy from the deathgrip of superpowers. At some level anyway. We do not see it more often because they are afraid.

The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) convenes in Tehran this week is what promises to be a gathering pregnant with decolonial possibilities. Held every 3 years, to mark the rotation of the organisation leadership, its fascinating that Iran are carrying the baton from that very different Egypt which held it's NAM summit in 2009, and will hand it over the Venezuela in 2015.

The next week will see a great deal of activity that we should follow carefully, and I wish I could be there. As PressTV was shunted of the UK airwaves a few months ago, and the western stance is hostile, insulting and disregarding decolonial actors, geeks and dreamers will have to try a little bit harder to know whats going on.  The NAM News Network have provided the following link for the latest news from the summit. The clip below features opening remarks from the Foreign Secretary of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and a practical account of the relevance of the NAM space today from the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mohammed Quayes. 

Formed in 1961 as an international institution to enable countries of the world to resist falling into the US-Soviet polarity, NAM holds relevance today as a way of creating unity between countries at the bum end of the United Nation's (in)security Council, resisting neoliberal western (NATO) hegemony and a space to simply be and develop positions outside the bullying US-Euro-Zionist political nexus.

Imagine that formative meeting in Belgrade, with Tito (Yugoslavia), Nasser (Egypt), Nkrumah (Ghana), Nehru (India) and Sukarno (Indonesia). What have we (un)learnt since?

It is reported that 150 countries will have representation at the summit, from top tier leaderships, to foreign ministers to less senior/serious delegations. It is worth watching the short video interview with author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World Vijay Prashad, where he mulls over the significance of the event simply taking place.

Egypt's President Mursi is due to attend, unlike Turkey who despite recent awesomnesses on the international front are having a frosty time with Iran given their involvement in Syria and maybe even something to do with NATO. We hope that they do find a way to get there. Even the Saudis are sending a deputy Foreign Minister.

Hasina and Zardari, PMs of Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively will attend too, along with UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon. Tunisia is sending its foreign minister, as is North Korea. The Palestinians are disunited ( appears that Abbas has won over Haniyeh). And of course the ALBA countries will be in there too.

The summit is awkward and intriguing depending on your politics. Unsurprisingly, Israel and its allies (ally?) have been acting to delegitimise the event and prevent UN attendance. And Iran itself is not feild of cornflowers.  Prof Hamid Dabashi, author of Brown Skin White Masks, has an interesting analysis of this summit's interaction with Iranian politics, from Mosadegh to Mousavi.

The symbolic power of the concept still rings loud, with Non-Alignment 2.0 currently doing the rounds of Indian foreign/security policy circles. (yikes)

To temporarily conclude, its heartening that more and more country groups are demonstrating disobedience to the terrorism and intimidation of the western powers. Decolonial Duas for this gathering, and its outcomes, tangible or otherwise. For updates, intrigues and explorations, you can follow the summit on the NAM News Network's pages.


Distraction-Gate: Assange addresses supporters and cops in Knightsbridge and rape rings around*

* All of the below could be wrong of course.

Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks took the initiative on eid day this Sunday with the second of 2 eid presents, the first being Egyptian PM Mursi's decision to attend the Non Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran starting 26th August.

In his address from the balcony of the tiny Ecuadorian Embassy behind Harrods, the Gulf-owned temple of hyper consumerism he declared that Bradley Manning should be free, and that if he did what he is alleged to have done, he would be a hero.

The press  in the UK are unusually hateful of him, and this is not helped by the foolish phlegminism emanating from usually sound people, often clustering around the comments of George Galloway, but forever skirting around the socio-sequential political context of the sexual assault allegations.

There is a documentary from Australia called Sex, Lies and Julian Assange that provides a sound 'noise' inoculation and discursive accelerant. The video keeps moving from youtube link to you tube link, so if the link below doesn't work please google it.

The two accusing ladies are not the same as each other, but they are represented by the same lawyer, Claes Borgstrom, who plays for a trial when the Australian journalist, who looks like he's stepped out of a 1980s time machine, asked about how much this looks like a stitch-up.

Theres a lot of Swedish Democratic Party politics entangled in this too, which is to be expected given the events of August 2010 depicted in the documentary. Borgstom is a member and gender spokesperson. Anna Ardin, Assange's chief accuser ( and bizarrely one time fixer and host) is a member, as is her friend Irmeli Krans, the police investigator and testimony fiddler of the less assertive accuser.

The liberal phlegminist toolkit deployed to occlude the imperative of deimperialisation is the same one that enables the whiteously indignant to bomb Afghani women to liberate them. I feel like we are moving backwards and haven't learnt to avoid catching the dust thrown in our eyes.


What is with the obsession with sex that it attracts more interest and concern than the revelations of US forces mowing down civilians with their guns from helicopters and all that wiki leaking has told us about the ugly face of US aggression?

What is is about the British press that makes them so superficial and gullible if not outright corrupt?


To my political instinct, what we have here is not an opportunity to booleanise human rights and freedom of speech, but to prosecute a deimperialising agenda and not be taken for feminist fools.

There is a spectrum of viewpoints on Distraction-gate, I'll only dwell on three women's perpectives, because you probably have had contact with the general crapola out there already and the male defences by Milne, Greenwald and Murray.

First up, two years ago prominent thirdwave feminist Naomi Wolf deconstructed the allegations in an interview with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!

Last year she wrote an article detailing 8 things she found suspect about the case against Assange, and more recent interview with RussiaToday she talks about the US clampdown on dissent.

Laurie Penny reflects her own experience of rape as a teenager through the allegations against Assange and the weird statements of a US politician here. Its a lot more personal than her Independent article. Rape brings out primary political values and principles in a lot of young gender activists, many of whom have been busy pinning differently-informed-insertion-consent-survivors-know-best decision narratives on me. 

Lindsay German puts a more mature left perspective on the matter. Most of the Respect party people (Salma Yaqoob, Kate Hudson) are distancing themselves from the Galloway unhelpful videocast which was seized by the gendustry and usual suspects to create further dust and distraction.

German also brings up something that I have got halal and tayeb beef with, even if its probably the case that both Lindsay and the post-Sunday phlegminists haven't seen the documentary.
We live in a highly sexualised culture where women are expected to be sexually available - but at the same time are still treated as if they in some way contributed to a rape or sexual assault when they dress or behave in a certain way.
I don't expect sexual availability thank you very much, I find all this availing tiresome and degrading. Haya is the value of inherent modesty, an internal moral compass, which I will use it instead of chastity. Haya is to be promoted in all manners, with dignity. modern left, and right leaders, and hackers disappoint, but haya isn't their point.

We live in a multifaceted hypocrisy where men and women get away with different wrongs at a social level and laws written to protect the dignity of women are often used by men to take out grudges. Haya is still a socio-ethical goal, so if you ask me about sex crime, id have to say they are pretty widespread and have been declassified as off limits for a while in the west.

Promiscuous people and adult starstruck political roadies have rights that are hard to discern in the midst of the sexual rites they play.  Rape is Rape is Rape is an atomising, time slicing , disempowering stubborn slogan.  Consider this, that if you are in someone's bed so fleetingly, throwing them crayfish parties after allegedly being raped by them and seemingly collaborating with copartners to create criminal facts on the ground with your pal the copper, it is difficult to to consider you a noncontributer.

Look at me, not even four witnesses and already down the rabbit hole. Knowing social realities, prevention is better than legal recourse hence the social shariah's discouragement from even approaching such relations. and speculations.


Other resources:
Seamus Milne (Tuesday) on Don't lose sight of why the US is out to get Julian Assange
Craig Murray  (Tuesday/Wednesday) on Naming Ardin on Newsnight and the BBC's opposite policies on this case and that of DSK
Glenn Greenwald (Wednesday) on The bizarre, unhealthy blinding media contempt for Julian Assange
George Galloway (Saturday, oddly) a webcast that has been chopped and recruited by the Anti Wikileaks brigades