Thursday, 29 August 2013

Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria: Who Done It?

Like a real life game of ‘Cluedo’, we know the weapon, the victims, the place and the time. Only the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery.   The primary suspects are the Syrian regime or the rebels; both sides have the capability to deliver these nasty weapons, as for motive, there is a degree of uncertainty.  The Syrian regime is winning the war on the ground, and the use of such weapons would only unify the rest of the world against them, thus, such an action looks irrational and counter-productive.  Especially in light of the fact that Obama already stated the use of chemical weapons was a line that could not be crossed. Moreover, the immediate and equivocal Syrian response, requesting an UN inspection team to verify the matter seems to point to their innocence.

Could the rebels have done this? One cannot imagine they would use chemical weapons on their own people, to perpetuate an uncertain military response, with an uncertain outcome, unless it was done by a lunatic fringe extremist group among the rebels.   

Let’s ask: cui bono (to whose benefit?).  An attack on Syria would benefit its rival, Israel. For sure, they have the experience (e.g. Lavon affair) and the capability to engage in a covert operation, if needed in collusion with the CIA, to deliver these weapons and manufacture a crisis. Of course, there is a difference between logic and truth, it does not always follow that the party who stands to gain the most benefit is automatically guilty.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Modern Day Feminism is a Fig Leaf for an Anti-Islamic Crusade

A picture is worth a thousand words is the age-old proverb; an image can certainly convey many ideas instantly. However, a deceptive image tells a bigger story, it spawns lies and disseminates hate on a larger magnitude. It is the hate-filled Islamophobic fascists that have been busy tarnishing the Muslims as a whole, by cherry picking certain actions, hiding behind certain political terms, and operating behind the ubiquitous mass media.  

Like most Muslims, I have become accustomed to seeing numerous anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim images appearing on social media networks, and the internet, such images would get censored if it were aimed at any other community. One would be hard pushed to find similar material appearing from Muslims; at most you see posters from victims and angry mobs on the streets demonstrating in response to an American-Israeli led atrocity or another video insulting Islam published in the name of free speech.  

The above image depicting a woman with an acid-burnt face along with an adjacent image of burnt pages of the Quran, implying the two are somehow connected, and the caption boldly suggests the two are alternatives. It alleges those who are busy protesting against burning of the Quran are the same people who implicitly endorse burning a woman’s face with acid, because they do not display the same reaction. What about those who are not protesting against the burning of the Quran, are they all exonerated?

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Trouble with Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins speaks like a colonial relic resurrected from the past, and naturally he is out of touch with the current society; he speaks pejoratively about Muslims that seems to be coloured by his obsession with Darwin’s race-centric evolution theory.  His recent jibe on tweeter about the less evolved Muslims having less Nobel Prize than Trinity College went viral, and it is part of his catalogue of smears against the voiceless Muslim community. For years, believers from all sections of society have tolerated his unrestrained arrogance in propagating atheist dogmas, as if he had witnessed the creation of the universe.

Why is the man so impatient? Nobody in this world is contesting the certainty of death. And soon Dawkins will have his answer regarding afterlife, which in turn will answer the questions about the creation and purpose of life on earth. I pray that it is sooner for his sake - he seems unsettled, and from the believers’ perspective, this is expected, because atheists do not really have full conviction that life is a coincidence, a product of evolution, and it simply ends here. Our intelligence has propelled us to ask why we exist, and our observation of life and the universe clearly tells us nothing happens by chance, for example leaving building materials in a field will not result in the creation of a building by chance. Hence, there is always a lingering doubt in the back of the atheist’s mind; otherwise, they would exhibit more serenity than believers, who are agitated by the notions of accountability in the hereafter.  It is this deep uncertainty that drives the likes of Dawkins to knock on our door and push to debate the issues, because it is fundamentally about his insecurity.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Trials of Love and Loyalty

The 49-year-old widow of the Apple founder Steve Jobs has moved on, she has found her new partner; already the critics and sceptics are at it. It’s too soon, only two-years have passed by, how could she fall in love with another man so quickly? Does it mean she didn’t really love him? The cycle of speculation and gossip continues. One can understand grounds for criticism in cases where an aging octogenarian tycoon has left a younger beautiful widow, who runs off the next day with his fortune and a young male model, but that, is not applicable here. 

In some religious cultures widows do not remarry at all, enduring loneliness until the end of time, whilst a widower is free to continue. For example, In Hinduism the marriage of widow is taboo, it is enforced rigorously by society among some castes; the logic is, if the widow remarried, she can possibly conceive her reincarnated dead husband in her womb, and a husband cannot be a son too, thus prohibition of marriage for widows. I assume they were not willing to take risks with contraception either!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Inexplicable 'Zero Option' for Afghanistan

The formal announcement of an exit date for the US troops has been largely met with criticisms, because it gives the opponents a schedule to prepare and plan, and creates the impression, the US has lost and is running. Instead of exercising further damage limitation exercises, the US senior officials announced that President Barack Obama was now considering the ‘zero option’ - total withdrawal of US forces after 2014. This seems detrimental, whilst a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington is being negotiated to determine the size of the US forces to remain after the US exit; their role will be to aid the nascent Afghan National Security Forces ( ANSF) to maintain peace and stability. 

Naturally, the announcement of the ‘Zero Option’ has been criticised widely by military experts and diplomats. The former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, retired Gen. John Allen stated: “They don't want us in large numbers, but they want us there in enough numbers to help to continue to develop the ANSF." On the surface this announcement of the ‘Zero Option’ seems like the US is announcing total capitulation. However, given the recent political development with the efforts to get a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, it could mean two things: