Native Orientalists at the Daily Times

January 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm (Media, Pakistan, Politics) (, )

By M. Shahid Alam

The more a ruling class is able to assimilate the foremost minds of the ruled class, the more stable and dangerous becomes its rule

 Karl Marx

A few days back, I received a ‘Dear friends’ email from Mr. Najam Sethi, ex editor-in-chief of Daily Times, Pakistan, announcing that he, together with several of his colleagues, had resigned from their positions in the newspaper.

In his email, Mr. Sethi thanked his ‘friends’ for  their “support and encouragement…in making Daily Times a ‘new voice for a new Pakistan.’” Wistfully, he added, “I hope it will be able to live up to your expectations and mine in time to come.”

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World’s Greatest Country Do the Facts Lie?

November 20, 2009 at 11:26 pm (Economics, Global Issues) ()

By M Shahid Alam

Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not one of us who proclaims the cause of tribal partisanship” When asked, what is “tribal partisanship,” he an-swered, “[It means] your helping your own people in an unjust cause.” [1]”

I choose to live in what I think is the greatest country in the world, which is committing horrendous terrorist acts and should stop.” Noam Chomsky [2]

Interviewer to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And–you know, is the price worth it?” Secretary Albright answered: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.” [3]

On March 21, 2003, as I headed home, a day after the United States formally invaded Iraq, I ran into a colleague from Northeastern University–a professor of the humanities–at the Ruggles train station in Boston. I was aware of his political inclinations, and he of mine, from previous encounters. Still, I thought we were on friendly terms.

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Islam Now, China Then: Any Parallels?

November 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm (Global Issues, Politics) ()

By M Shahid Alam

“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history that we make today.”

Henry Ford, 1916

On some days, a glance at the leading stories in the Western media strongly suggests that Muslims everywhere, of all stripes, have gone berserk. It appears that Muslims have lost their minds.

In any week, we are confronted with reports of Islamic suicide attacks against Western targets in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Western countries themselves; terrorists foiled before they could act; terrorist attacks gone awry; terrorists indicted; terrorists convicted; terrorists tortured; terrorist suspects kidnapped by CIA; or warnings of new terrorist attacks against Western targets.

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Hizbullah: Has Israel Met Its Match?

November 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm (Global Issues, Politics) ()

By M Shahid Alam

On January 31, 2008, when the Winograd Commission submitted its final report on the Second Lebanese War of July 2006, this was a first in Israeli history: a report on why the Israeli military had failed in a war.

The Winograd Commission offers a quite honest appraisal of some aspects of the July 2006 War. [1] It acknowledges that it was “a serious missed opportunity.” Israel had “initiated a long war, which ended without its clear military victory (italics added).” The Commission notes that a militia “of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technology advantages.” Nothing could reverse Israel’s handicaps: not even a massive ground offensive launched in the last days of the war.

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Dispossession, Expansion and Paranoia: The Zionist Stratagem

November 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm (Global Issues, Politics) ()

By M Shahid Alam

“Anti-Semitism has grown and continues to grow, and so do I.”
– Theodore Herzl [1]

As a self-defined movement for the national ‘liberation’ of European Jews, Zionism had an anomalous relationship with its perennial Other, the Gentile nations, from whom it wanted the Jews to secede and become a distinct nation under a Jewish state.

The Zionists did not define Europe’s Gentile nations as the adversary they would have to oppose, and against whom they would struggle, to secure the rights of Jews to emerge as a distinct nation.

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A New International Division of Labor: A Satire

November 20, 2009 at 7:20 pm (Economics, Global Issues) ()

By M. Shahid Alam

” it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them [Irish children] in such a manner as instead of being a charge upon their parents or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall on the contrary contribute to the feeding, and partly to the clothing, of many thousands.”
–Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729)

The world has never shown a greater, more deeply felt solicitude for the wretched of the earth–the hundreds of millions who die miserable deaths on less than a dollar a day–as it has in the six months since September 11, 2001. These concerns are being showcased at the Conference on Financing Development that is even now underway in Monterrey, Mexico, where the heads of the richest, most powerful nations will pen their signatures to a Consensus on how to eradicate global poverty in our lifetime.

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Pauperizing the Periphery: Two Decades of Neoliberal Policies

November 20, 2009 at 7:16 pm (Economics, Global Issues) ()

By M. Shahid Alam

Contrary to the grandiose claims made by the ideologues, the neoliberal, open-door economic regimes imposed on the Periphery by Core capital–starting in the 1980s–have produced no economic miracles.[1] Instead, these economic regimes have brought economic ruin or, at best, lack-luster performance to the countries they have touched most deeply.

Starting with the October Revolution of 1917, sections of the Periphery began to break away from, or attenuate their linkages to, global capitalism. After Second World War, this decentralizing movement embraced nearly all of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, who now joined Latin America to form the Third World. Several of these countries chose communism and severed their links to global capital. Others used their newfound sovereignty to restructure their relations with global capital, using the power of government to develop indigenous capital. This was the Periphery’s window of opportunity: its golden hour.

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The Mendacity of ‘Missed Opportunities’

November 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm (Global Issues, Islam) ()

By M. Shahid Alam

“There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages…There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” David Ben-Gurion[1]

All too often, the failure of Israel and the Arabs to make peace – especially since the creation of Israel – has been described as the folly of missed opportunities. In a discourse that is dominated by the Zionists, the Palestinians are forced to carry much of the burden of this folly.

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