What to do about terrorism, now that Paris has suffered several coordinated attacks and over a hundred dead, with another hundred critically injured?

Redouble our efforts to fight ISIS?

No. How about the exact opposite?

Why not stop fighting ISIS? Why not let America and the West — the former colonial powers — get the hell out of the Middle East, and let those troglodytes fight their own battles among themselves?

Let me state the plain truth: if we got the hell out of the Middle East, the terrorists would get the hell out of our lives.

So, please, sil vous plait: let them have at one another in their horrorshow dance of damnable death without us helping anyone kill anyone else.

Let ISIS have their damn Caliphate.

Let Syria fight itself empty of people, where they cannot feed themselves because of a drought brought on by climate change anyway, with millions fleeing the country (from 22 million people, they’re now down to 16.6 million, with millions in neighboring refugee camps, or on their way to Europe, or already there).

Let Saudi-Arabia clobber Yemen, and keep treating its women like shit, and keep publicly beheading people for blasphemy and witchcraft, and stone women to death for adultery, and continue being the worst state on planet Earth (naturally, we are their best friends, which probably makes us the second worst state on planet Earth).

Let the Taliban battle the corrupt leaders of Afghanistan.

Let the Iraqi Shiites continue giving their Sunnis hell, so ISIS keeps growing.

Let Israel do battle with Hezbollah and the Palestinians on their own till the day there are more Arabs than Jews in Israel, when the Israelis will finally have to give up and make a deal.

And let Iran become the major power in the Middle East, which should be the case, since they’re not Arabs anyway, but a more progressive race, Persians (they once ruled the world) — whose Persian youths are very different from their ruling mullahs who’ll be dead in another twenty years, and then Iran will look like a Western country, since their youth watch The Daily Show already, and they also make damn good movies there, better than Hollywood.

Let the crazy fundamentalist zealots in the Middle East sort it out among themselves, in their pre-Enlightenment morass. There is not a clash of civilizations between the East and West: there is a miscommunication of the ages: one is in the 21st century, and the other is in the 14th century, and the twain should remain twained, since they have nothing in common. The Middle East has the same problem with their religious fundamentalists that we have with ours, with the exception that their fundamentalists are in the majority, while our right-wing fundamentalist Taliban-type evangelists are thankfully in a minority, and the only mischief they can do us, is to keep a dying GOP alive (and make idiots like Ben Carson and Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee significant political figures).

We’d still be getting a lot of our oil from the Middle East if we left them alone, so what are we doing there, except creating terrorism? And if we do something about climate change and switch to renewables like sunshine and wind, we wouldn’t need their oil anyway, and we’d have no reason to be there whatsoever.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice greatly increased terrorism in the Middle East when they invaded Iraq.

In fact, they created ISIS when Paul Bremer stupidly disbanded the Baathist Iraqi Army, whose generals have now reconstituted themselves as ISIS.

Without that invasion, Al Qaeda would be a tiny, dwindling group of terrorists today, and ISIS would never have existed.

“Obama and Hillary and Hollande and Angela are being as stupidly dumb-ass as Bush-Cheney ever were. Get this, you moron leaders: if we stop fighting them over there, we wouldn’t have to fight them here.

We should do what Ronald Reagan did. When 299 American and French soldiers were killed in Beirut in 1983 by terrorists driving truck bombs into their barracks, Reagan got the hell out. He cut and ran. He did the sensible, cowardly thing.

It’s time for the West to do the cowardly, sensible thing, and flee the Middle East with our tails between our legs.

That is the only way to stop terrorism.

Stop terrorizing the Middle East, and they will stop terrorizing us.

It’s that simple.” Click link for full article.


posted by f.sheikh

Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal submitted by Mirza Ashraf


A Chapter on Muhammad Iqbal from my book, Introduction to World Philosophies: A Chronological Progression.

Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal

1873 – 1938

Poet and philosopher, Iqbal was the greatest versatile genius of the Muslim renaissance in the sub-continent of India and the Muslim world. His writings gave birth to the ideology of Pakistan, a separate state created in 1947 by partitioning India which was under British rule at that time. Iqbal first studied Arabic and philosophy in Lahore, now a city in Pakistan. He then went to Cambridge to study law where he entered Trinity College and studied Hegel and Kant. His passion for philosophy took him to Germany, where he received his doctorate in philosophy. Bergson and Nietzsche among the philosophers of the West had the greatest influence on him. His best-known book is a work of philosophy, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930) in which Iqbal entwined Eastern and Western elements, together with Sufism and traditional concepts, into a single world view of a revived Islam. During this period of his life Iqbal had already been writing great poetry in Urdu, a national language of Pakistan that is widely understood throughout the Indian subcontinent. However, his best poetry is in Persian, and he is recognized as one of the greatest poets in that language.

The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, reflecting his main ideas, is encyclopedic. For him philosophy is the recognition of religion as the most perfect form of social consciousness. He says, “Philosophy must recognize the central position of religion and has no other alternative but to admit it as something focal in the process of reflective synthesis.”1 He never denied the role of science and philosophy in the process of cognition, but was convinced that religion alone is capable of delivering mankind from its plight. He was very much influenced by Bergson’s esoteric views, which he found similar to those of Rumi, but was critical of Bergson’s idea of the élan vital as being unteleogical. Iqbal identifies God as the vital impulse whose creative force is conscious and has an open-ended purpose rather than a predetermined plan. God is the creative consciousness and in Him thought and being are one.

Iqbal’s philosophy and metaphysics were greatly influenced by Rumi, whom he revered as his spiritual mentor. Inspired by Rumi’s concept of the individual, Iqbal developed his philosophy of khudi, “selfhood,” or life of the ego consisting of the experiences, feelings, and volitions of the self. To grasp the nature of khudi it is necessary to cultivate an intuitive insight of what is behind this flux. The activity of khudi is essentially personal and private, just as one’s pleasures, pains, desires, and thoughts are exclusively one’s own. For Iqbal the life of the ego, or khudi, is directive energy; an organic unity of will, perception, and judgment that wills, directs, selects, and creates. It is judged by its aspiration, desires, aims, attitude, and judgments. Iqbal said, “My experience is only a series of acts, mutually referring to one another, and held together by the unity of directive purpose. My whole reality lies in my directive attitude. You cannot perceive me like a thing in space or set experiences in temporal order; you must interpret, understand and appreciate me in my judgments, in my will, attitudes, aims and aspirations.”2

Iqbal said, “The ultimate of ego is not to see something, but to be something. . . . The end of the ego’s quest is not emancipation from the limitations of individuality; it is, on the other hand, a more precise definition of it. The final act is not an intellectual act, but a vital act which deepens the whole being of the ego and sharpens his will . . .”3 Khudi is the individuality of a man; the higher it is, the more supreme is the selfhood, individuality, personality, and uniqueness. His concept of khudi also reflects Nietzsche’s idea of the Ubermensch―in English Superman―a man of will, capable of heroic living.

Iqbal argued that in God’s creativity many things appear that involve suffering and reflect moral evil. He explicated that to think of life without suffering is to have an unrealistic grasp of the nature of life. For him suffering is a natural phenomenon. Even the immortal soul is not without suffering as it graduates after death to higher forms of struggle. Satan is a mythic figure who stands for resistance, initiating the fall of man as an awakening from consciousness to self-awareness. Iqbal as a monadologist, viewed universe composed of atomic selves, and the more a self is self-conscious, the nearer it is to God.


Iqbal criticized the strong empiricism in Western thought for leaving religious experience out of its account. After all, according to Iqbal, the religious experience has played a vital role in human history. Why should the evolutionist place more weight on the instinctive knowledge of animals than on the higher experiences of the seers, saints, and prophets? If some religious claims based on intuitive experience have proved inadequate, the same can be said of some scientific accounts based on sense perception that have turned out to be false. It is the nature of all the sources of human knowledge to be corrected as their understanding progresses. Although realizing that present-day intellectual deliberations cannot afford to go against scientific assertions, Iqbal argued that it is intuition that can reveal and explain the true nature of material world.


Iqbal’s experience of Europe impressed him very much.  European scientific achievements and cultural and philosophical richness were very exciting for him, but he found the effects of capitalism to be inhumane. This convinced him of the superiority of Islamic values in the preservation of a balanced civilization. In his view a combination of God’s revelation and human experience and achievement was needed. He also found that the achievements of Western science were in part due to Islam. Islamic thought in its interaction with Greek philosophy gave birth to the “inductive intellect” that penetrated Europe via the Muslim universities of Arab Spain and the philosophers of the Muslim world.

Iqbal strongly opposed the European idea of nationalism. As he returned to India he preached a universal Islam beyond national sentiments. He was disturbed by factionalism and the narrowness of traditional dogma in Islam. Iqbal was the only thinker with an Eastern temperament and knowledge of European philosophy who carried Islamic philosophy and traditions with him. Thus a synthesis of three great world philosophies elevated him to become a towering figure in the world, especially in Germany, where famous Orientalist Annemarie Schimmel was one of his main followers. His works have been widely translated into many languages throughout the world. ― MIRZA IQBAL ASHRAF


1. Iqbal: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, 1962, p. 2.

2. Ibid., p. 103.

3. Ibid., p. 198.

‘Indian, Liberal & Anxious’ By Mukul Kasavan

NEW DELHI — Earlier this month in the state of Bihar, India’s ruling coalition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, was routed by a provincial “grand alliance” that won nearly three-fourths of the seats in the state legislative assembly. Given that most published exit polls had predicted a close race, this was a massive defeat for the party.

More pointedly, it was a humiliating personal defeat for Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and Amit Shah, Mr. Modi’s consigliere from his home state of Gujarat. Since Mr. Modi became prime minister in May 2014, Mr. Shah, the president of the BJP, has run the party’s state election campaigns as though they were presidential contests between the prime minister on the one hand and Antagonist X on the other. After some initial successes, this strategy has failed spectacularly — first in the Delhi elections earlier this year (in which the BJP won just three seats out of 70) and now in Bihar, one of the most important states in the country’s Gangetic heartland.

Several economic reasons contributed to the BJP’s defeat: the high price of pulses, for example, and the government’s failure to fulfill a promise to fund newly opened bank accounts for the poor. But since the party ran in Bihar the most explicitly communal election campaign in India’s recent history, the most obvious lesson to draw from its defeat is that the state’s electorate rejected the BJP’s majoritarian bigotry.

This conclusion should have lifted the liberal gloom that set in after the BJP’s victory in the 2014 general election. Yet it hasn’t. Why aren’t those who have fretted that Hindu nationalism would swamp the pluralist common sense of the Republic now reading the grand alliance’s victory in Bihar as a sign that the Republic has struck back? Indian liberals, keenly aware of their privileged lives in a poor country, seem haunted by the anxiety that they are too quick to read their ideals into the workings of pragmatic grass-roots politics.

Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, leader of the grand alliance and heir to an indigenous socialist tradition, joined forces with Lalu Prasad Yadav, a notoriously corrupt populist, because Mr. Yadav commands the allegiance of one of the state’s largest caste communities. The influential political scientist Yogendra Yadav (no relation) said a month before the election that it offered only a “tragic choice” between “naked majoritarianism” and “a completely defocused caste coalition” that “includes one of the most corrupt political forces this country has ever seen.” The historian Ramachandra Guha, citing the lawlessness that defines Lalu Prasad Yadav’s politics, echoed Yogendra Yadav’s pessimism: “Whoever wins, the people of Bihar have already lost.”

Both academics were questioning the alliance’s credentials: Is invoking caste loyalties progressive or backward-looking? In the context of the Bihar election, the answer should be clear. Any political coalition that brings together peasants, marginal farmers, landless laborers and artisans in a mainly rural state to oppose a Hindu majoritarian party dominated by urban upper castes must be a virtuous coalition.


Majoritarian politicians have managed to put some Indian liberals on the defensive by claiming that the so-called secularism of the Bihar grand alliance amounted to buying Muslims’ vote by playing on their insecurities. In fact, when confronted by a party that systematically trolled Muslims during its campaign, voting en masse for the other side was an act of political rationality, not the reflex of a hive mind.

After the election, Yogendra Yadav again sounded a note of caution, arguing that in a truly secular state beleaguered minorities would not have needed to rally behind parties that promised them security. This is true, but it is beside the point. There is no question that Muslims in India are at a disadvantage by any socioeconomic measure — they are frequently discriminated against in matters of housing, for instance, and make up a disproportionately large part of India’s prison population. The BJP’s defeat in the Bihar election isn’t going to improve the condition of Muslims, but to the extent that it prevents a majoritarian party from running the state, it will keep matters from getting worse.

Consider Mr. Modi’s stump speeches. He accused his opponents of scheming to shift opportunities reserved for dalits and other plebeian castes to members of “a particular community.” The BJP’s most important provincial leader in Bihar, Sushil Modi (who is not related to the prime minister), made the same allegation on Twitter, specifying that the beneficiaries of this stolen largesse were Muslims and Christians.

This wasn’t the first time Mr. Modi dog-whistled while campaigning. He did it during the general election last year, referring to the beef trade controlled by Muslims and the infiltration of Muslim migrants into eastern India. But now he is the prime minister of India. And he is a prime minister who, by insinuating that the poor Hindus of Bihar are being robbed for the benefit of poor Muslims, is playing zero-sum games with the poorest communities in a very poor state.


posted by f.sheikh

‘ Waheed Murad & His Fan’ By Nadeem Paracha.

A delicious but sad story by Nadeem Paracha about our childhood film hero, Waheed Murad. (F. Sheikh)

Illustration by Abro

One of the paan shops where I usually buy my cigarettes from once had a fading poster of bygone Pakistani film star and icon, Waheed Murad. I had noticed the poster pasted in one corner of the shop ever since I first began buying my cigarette packs from this place almost 20 years ago.

I know the shop owner well. Today he is a white-haired man in his late 60s and his name is Yameen. He owns three more such paan and cigarette shops in the area and has done well for himself and his family.

He lives in a three bedroom apartment (which he owns) with his wife and three children (two sons and a daughter). The sons are college graduates. One of them looks after two of Yameen’s three shops, while the other son works in the sales department of a tea company. Last year Yameen’s daughter completed her intermediate from a local college.

Yet, despite the fact that I have known Yameen for over 20 years now, I had no idea that before he set up his first paan shop in Karachi’s Boat Basin area 31 years ago, he used to be a barber.

I came to know about this only recently after I finally asked him about the fading, dusty Waheed Murad poster that he just refused to peel off.

He began to laugh: ‘Arey, aap nahi jaantey …?’ (You still don’t know about this?).

One of Yameen’s, employees, Kudrat, smiled as well: ‘Yaar Paracha Sahib, aap nein Yawar Bhai ki dukhti rug par haath rak diya hai …’ (You have hit a sore nerve).

It turns out that the poster is over 40 years old! Yameen bought it from a street vendor in Saddar’s Regal area in 1974 when he was in his early 20s. He was a huge Waheed Murad fan.

At the time Pakistan’s film industry was thriving and Waheed Murad was one its biggest stars.

Yameen had joined one of his uncles’ barber shop in the city’s Guru Mandir area after he dropped out from a government school in the 10th grade.

‘I had become a barber because of Waheed Murad,’ he told me. ‘His hair style was all the rage in those days. Women were crazy about him and all the men wanted the barbers to give them the Waheed Murad Cut …’

In 1979 Yameen managed to set up his own barber shop. But four years later he suddenly sold it to a friend and used the money to open a paan shop in Clifton.

Wasn’t the shop doing well?

The shop was doing very well,’ Yameen replied. ‘I was making good money from it.’

But then why suddenly sell it?

‘Murad Sahib ki wafat hogayee thi …’ (Waheed Murad died), Yameen explained.

After Murad’s demise, Yameen stopped going to the cinema and anyway, by then the country’s Urdu film industry had already begun its downward slide and the extroverted and populist characteristics of the pre-1980s’ society had begun to fold inwards.

‘One day, just like that, I quit being a barber,’ Yameen explained. ‘I was heartbroken by his (Murad’s) death. But more saddening was the fact that people simply forgot about him. He had brought such joy and colour to so many Pakistanis, but very few mourned his death.’

When Pakistan’s film industry began its decline, a number of actors and filmmakers who had been joyfully reaping fame and fortune suddenly found themselves stranded and abandoned.

Some took to drinking and slipped into obscurity; some compromised their egos (and fee) and began doing TV plays; while others ventured into taking roles in loud, kitsch Punjabi films whose stock and popularity rose rather bizarrely in the 1980s. Click link for full article.