Why the Idea of Olympics Is So Important

Source: MSNBC

Source: MSNBC

Without condoning corporate or other slavery that may or may not be involved in related construction jobs, I find it important to support the idea of Olympics. Especially the idea of participation in it and oppose preventing any people from doing so. Further more than that, I would consider the idea of rising developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, Qatar, India, and China to organize these events as well in addition to the West.

More often than not, the criticism from international media and activists point out valid concerns such as security, labor rights, and poor administration. Sometimes, these critiques could come across as if developing countries should stay away from the privilege. They should by all means, if it is going to heavily burden them. It does not mean they should stop aiming for it.

To improve life for all the stakeholders, positive criticism on Olympics is very important. But it is best done without condemning the developing countries participating in the process or the idea of Olympics itself.

There is a larger reason to why more nations should be encouraged to participate in the Olympic process.

Olympics is a liberal, globalist, intellectual cultural idea. There is a reason why its creators came up with it and why the leaders of the world, as well as most people of the world, so religiously follow it.

Olympics is truly the only global festival that allows people from all nationalities come together, keeping aside all political differences, in a deeply divided world.

It is one of the few platforms where Iran and Israel and North Korea and the United States gladly send in their citizens to participate without a second thought.

Struggling with countless political ideologies, even more religious beliefs and cults, and other dividers such as race and language, it’s one of the few last remaining unifying factors for apparently the most intelligent species on the planet. Even if in name only.

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

The international assortment of athletes also presents the perfect opportunity for exposure and education. Most of the times, it brings forth athletes from all corners of the world embracing each other. Especially bringing together people from countries at odds with each other.

At others, it brings prejudice and bigotry to the surface, only to be rebuked due to the universal symbol of peace and unity that Olympics is. Leading to opportunities for shaking prejudiced beliefs.

Time and again, athletes from Muslim majority nations have refused to share space with Israeli athletes. This is particularly insensitive when the brutal cold-blooded murder of 11 Israeli Athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics are kept in mind. Lately, Lebanese athletes refused to share a bus with Israeli athletes, with the manager blocking the way.

While the story is being used by both sides for their respective partisan agenda, most people are missing a very important point. The exposure and interaction provided by the Olympics are the perfect, very first blow to the prejudiced indoctrination of these kids.

These young athletes and their officials may embarrass themselves with such behavior, but it’s about time that some of them would realize how wrong their behavior is.

While there is always a chance that they would lack such a consideration, you can never expect someone brought up with prejudiced indoctrination to offer the right response at first. But, as humans, they are likely to feel some empathy for the persons of their enemy at some point. Even if they don’t admit it.

This would help a good number of people have the first shock to the wall of prejudice that they have built around themselves. Such experiences would only prove educational, and help them develop empathy for the people on the “other side.” Actually, even an opportunity to cheer for them.

What a distraught Pakistani fan is to do but to cheer for the likes of Deepa Karmakar, Saina Nehwal, and the Indian women’s archery team? Only wondering where ours is.

Furthermore, watching Olympics sports after a break of four long years is a welcome relief from the excruciatingly monotonous cricket, soccer, tennis, and golf running all year long.

The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.

The Deep Roots of Human Prejudice

Source: buzzfeed.com

Source: buzzfeed.com

The roots of human prejudice are so deep, and it is so pervasive, that it almost feels like second nature to man.

While it is widely believed that men are born free of prejudices, you would find it hard to believe just how naturally they come to us. It almost is the best, most suitable reasoning shortcut.

What if prejudice were an inseparable trait of an intelligent species? And if it isn’t. Why do people continue to indoctrinate their children with prejudiced ideas and undoubtedly have been doing so for centuries? And does prejudice go beyond nationalistic, ethnic, and religious boundaries? Apparently, it does.

What if prejudice is a problem that possibly cannot be separated from the act of thinking?

We are surely the only prejudiced species, or so we believe.

 

Is liberal education enough to get rid of prejudice?

Liberal education may or may not cure someone hellbent on antisemitism give up support for Nazism, for instance, but it certainly does improve the odds of minimizing that.

One way or the other, you would be shocked and surprised at how deep the roots of human prejudice go. It’s a huge challenge.

And is training for critical reasoning enough to get rid of our intrinsic, deeply embedded prejudice and biases? Even despite learning about all the logical fallacies, biases, and flaws?

 

Are we really free of prejudice when helping others escape it?

And do we really when we think that we have escaped it? Judging others for it?

 

So how deep are the roots of human prejudice?

Guess we’ll never know.

Accepted Selective Prejudice, Identity Crisis and the Threat of Arabianization

Source: camaare.com

Source: camaare.com

I encountered a hilarious article on my facebook feed, which was so pointless, I could hardly believe it found space in print. But then again, it was Daily Mail.

Nevertheless, it is blurted out of a columnist attempting to propagate one of the greatest fallacies in the popular secular-liberal, but not-so-secular-liberal viewpoint. The fallacy being that Persianization of an already Persianized Urdu culture is something secular and that Arabianization of it could threaten its secularism. When it can be safely said that there is hardly any difference linguistically as long as you are looking at the secular aspects, unless it is a choice of aesthetics.

This brings you to the contentious Ramadan Kareem greeting, Ramadan being the more widely recognized transliteration of the fasting month, known in the Indian sub-continent as Ramzan. As the Arabic “dwaad” is pronounded as “zwaad” in Persian and Urdu, which sadly makes Ramadan technically correct if you are speaking Arabic.

It is indeed a borrowed novelty for the natives of the sub-continent which is widely used in English and Arabic media outside Pakistan, qualifying it to be immediately considered a threat to the “Persian” roots of our Urdu speaking population in the sub-continent. As for the myriad of other happily adopted novelties, well let us choose to ignore at the moment.

This is kind of hilarious because it is the educated English speaking urban population which uses it anyway instead of the more religious and conservative circles. Therefore, those adopting the rather alien greeting immediately become a target for ridicule. Ridiculed for adopting something foreign to their usual culture, mind you.

However, the joke is also on the people making fun of it in the first place because their complain is one about Arabian and especially Saudi imperialism and its adverse effects on the sub-continent culture. This is so as apparently, they are perfectly fine with the Persian and Western imperialist influences. So apparently, it is a political matter rather than merely linguistic and semantic. And of course it is also about which cultural invasions you open your arms to and accept.

Are we not supposed to be Indians when we are threatened by the ills of the foreign culture and become defensive of our own? So when Muhammad Bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh is condemned, it would only make sense to hold the Delhi Sultanate invaders, the Afghan and Persian raiders and the Central Asian Turkic Moguls in contempt as well. Likewise, it would also make sense to have little respect for the oppressive Muslim nobles and their culture and language. Why embrace their culture when rejecting that of another?

I understand most of our liberals’ racism against anything and everything Arabic. Its closest analogy is the hatred of Muslim population of Jews for political reasons concerning Israel, as Saudi Arabia is the primary source of this emotion. And there are number of reasons to hate Saudi Arabia, such as their brand of the destructively extremist Wahabi Islam and its malicious infiltration in India, as well as the alleged funding of the Taliban and the alarmingly growing anti-Shia terrorism. All valid reasons.

Perhaps, it is a Sunni-Shia thing after all. And I do share their frustrations about the growing religiosity, which only means violent trouble in Pakistan’s case, but the sort of proposals that are put forth in the article, and are widely endorsed among our enlightened crowd, are simply stupid to an audience which has already not committed to condemn or root for any one side for whatever reasons. To me as an Indian, both Saudi and Persian cultures, are foreign. However, I do not find a reason to hate either of them, except for their equally oppressive political regimes.

What is so good about Persian, Turkish, or Urdu even, I would go on to say, while acknowledging the rejection of Arabic? Urdu being the language developed in the times of the Persian speaking Mogul emperors, heavily borrowing from Persian and Turkish. Is racism of the more enlightened members of our society only reserved for Arabs?

But while I could consider their objections on Arabs (how cruelly and unjustly synonymized with Saudi Arabian) pretty valid, I’d have equal contempt for our Persian and Turkish invaders, and therefore, their culture. Personally I don’t have problem with any one of them though. But it is not about individuals, right?

And what in the world is so secular about “Khuda Hafiz”? Even when the greeting does not involve the Muslim Allah, as your fanatic conservative Muslim would insist on including anyway, it still involves some sort of God. That is not secular last time I checked what secular things are supposed to be. While using the word reason here is an insult to its very spirit, but all of this really shows some twisted reasoning.

But here is the real problem which many native Indian Muslims, who are proud of their motherland culture, forget. Why are they following an imperialistic, oppressive Arabian religion, if they were not to take its cultural dictation? I say this because Islam precisely requires you to do so, at least if you are practicing and religious. It is not just a religion, it requires you to change your lifestyle with a variety of soft and hard threats. It requires you to become a pseudo-Arab.

But of course there are things we still could have amended over the centuries, especially the more “secular” of rulers in Indian history. Why do we offer the namaz, oh wait, salah in Arabic? Even the most devout of Christians in the American South say their prayers in English. Surely. we could have at least done this much. Ideally speaking, had we not accepted Hinduism as our religious heritage, we should have at least come up with our own version of Islam. Oh wait, we have. That branch of Islam is a condemned cult now. Good effort though.

Let’s admit. Indian Muslims, yes especially the secular Pakistani ones, are culturally and even intellectually bankrupt. And it is nothing more than their cultural bankruptcy and badly confused identity, which makes them propagate these absurdities and to end up looking ridiculous. No matter how politically enlightened and self-sufficient they appear to be, they have hardly anything to call their own.

Let it be their faith, their language, whatever ideology they claim to follow, their high claims of ancestry or hilariously even their names. Many of the folks would actually go to great lengths to find a genetic connection outside the sub-continent, especially when it coincides with the Prophet’s lineage. They have a history of worshiping foreign cultures. What a painful identity crisis. 

I have much greater respect for the Hindus who at least pray to their own deities in their own language, despite their tendency of worshiping anyone from outside India too, and who name their children after the adjectives in Ramayana, Vedas and Gita instead of some Arabian book, or after some Persian or Turkic warlord.

The complains of cultural insecurity by our enlightened are not only conceding they have an inferior culture, but also makes them look like the very people they criticize. They remind me of the insecure Pakistani conservatives who would complain of cultural invasions from India and other foreign cultures corrupting their society. Honestly, I hardly see any difference between the two. Both idiots of the highest order.

You know, I would like to propose to the religious-conservatives, the secular-conservatives, the religious-liberals and the secular-liberals among the Muslims of India a better option. Drop all the Arabian and Persian and Sunni and Shia crap, and adopt English as their language of choice. At least, it is completely secular in the context of regional history and has no sectarian politics associated with it.

Considering that the British and the Americans have been and still are our most recent and current masters, let us free ourselves of these hassles by adopting a language which is recognized the world over. And while there is no harm in making fun of each other’s accents, coming up with new dialects is a great way of celebrating diversity. Down with Arabianization and Persianization, let us Anglicize our culture.

Ramzan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem, the sub continent is not under the threat of Arabic cultural invasion. It is merely under the threat of the cultural and intellectual bankruptcy of Indian Muslims. As it has always been.

And by Indians, I mean the natives of the sub-continent, especially Pakistanis, the self-hating Indians.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Wars

Source: Kubrick Estate

So you think wars are wrong, eh? Had your brain examined lately?

Well, obviously not everyone is unfortunate enough to have the company of people who think that wars are wrong and have their minds contaminated with the dangerous ideas of a hypothetical brand of peace and non-violence promoted by lunatics like Gandhi and ***** (name omitted for security reasons). The reason for that is the simple fact that wars are such an integral part of our lives that the very idea of a war protest seems highly absurd, and almost self-destructive.

Come to think of it for a second. This idea is against the very foundation of Civilization. It is contradictory to our lifestyle, and indeed to our interests. It is contradictory to the official state propaganda of all our lovely countries and the way we teach our children about the world. It is important for them to think that wars are important, unavoidable and urgently and regularly required for the maintenance of the attainable peace, to protect the civilized way of living, to keep people employed and to provide for the bread and butter of millions of families around the globe, not to mention our esteemed mentors.

If you think that wars are something which started in 1914, namely the “First “World War””, then you need to work a bit on your history (of course, you don’t). Wars have been there since time immemorial and according to careful estimations by anthropologists and evolutionary biologists, skirmishes had been taking place ever since the human kind learned to use tools, and of course, we are talking about weapons here.

The reason why you are reading these lines and why we have built this magnificent world of ours is due to wars. If you find that laughable, then you must not be seriously considering the fact that without wars it would not have been possible for the human race to reach this point in civilization and evolution and had it not been for wars, you would not have had the peace and tranquility of using a computer in your home with an internet connection.

You must at least support wars for the sake of your internet, if not anything else.

You must be having some idea about the supposedly barbaric ancient times. Apart from sanitation standards, the greatest horrors of those times were the ever impending attacks on their civilization centers. Human Civilization has reached the proud point when wars have been taken away from the Cities, namely Civilization Centers, as much as possible, other than what is necessary. But people in the ancient times did not have the luxuries that you enjoy living in your comfortable homes and contemplating over the cruelty of wars and violence. They lived it.

All the ancient kings and kingdoms, of all ethnicities, castes, religions, cults and geographic locations have been attacking others in order to supply for their people, and more importantly to the state machinery to ensure the security of the people and not to mention for the nation’s glory and that of the beloved mentor, namely the king or more aptly, the Leader. If you are naïve enough not to consider this true, you can go and try your hand at the strategy games your younger siblings and children have already mastered.

Who attacked who and who plundered what and killed how many is merely detail which you can make up for text books and make your children read to brew hatred against any particular group that you want. The wars always have such tremendous propaganda value. If you find one of your ancient heroes in the historical list provided by this seemingly carried-away and outrageous generalization, then I encourage you to quietly embrace this fact if you have not already rejected it.

And the kings and kingdoms, pardon me, the leaders, the republics and the remnants of kingdoms of our world are no exceptions. They too, have to carry out business, buy and sell weapons, fuel the industry, fuel the fuel, for protecting you and feeding you. They are serving you, so don’t you dare be ungrateful to them and criticize their actions for your lazy intellectualism and for feeding your Utopian ideals which are a product of your redundancy and decadence.

But you can change and again be a part of Civilization.

Don’t cry. Smile, laugh instead. Cheer for the wars.

If you don’t love wars, you are a traitor to humanity.

Imagine: Happy 70th Birthday John Lennon

John Lennon would have been 70 today.

John Lennon has been one of the most politically influential artists of the 20th century. Catapulted to fame as being one of the lead singers and founders of The Beatles, he continued with his solo career after the band split in 1970 and produced some of the most amazing music of the time till his death. He was shot dead by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. The reason for the murder was apparently that Lennon once commented in an interview that “We (The Beatles) are more popular than Jesus now…”, which did create some uproar in the United States at the time. But the murder took place more than a decade after that occurrence, and no one really takes this reason seriously.

He was one of the greatest proponents of world peace, harmony and fighting for the people’s rights. His influence was such that even the administrations of the United States, where he moved to from his native England and lived till his death, at the time were wary of his activities. His death surrounds mystery and controversy, with many conspiracy theorists considering political motives behind his murder instead of a criminal action of an angry psychopath.

But then again, that is what the world does to the people who talk about peace.

Offering him a tribute on his 70th birthday with a couple of his most iconic works, which remain to be the symbols of world peace and harmony to this day and will remain to be for all times to come.

IMAGINE (1971)

Written by: John Lennon

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Courtesy: Apple/Capitol Records

I still remember singing these lines for the Cultural Week Show held in 2006 at my University.

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE (1969)

Live Version

Written by: John Lennon

Everybody’s talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism,
Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, That-ism, ism, ism, ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

C’mon
Everybody’s talking about ministers,
Sinisters, Banisters and canisters, Bishops and Fishops,
Rabbis, and Pop eyes, Bye, bye, bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Let me tell you now
Everybody’s talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation,
Flagellation, regulation, integrations,
Meditations, United Nations,
Congratulations

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
Everybody’s talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan,
Tommy Copper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer,
Allen Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,
Hare, Hare Krishna

All we are saying is give peace a chance,
All we are saying is give peace a chance.

Courtesy: Apple/Capitol Records

Google were keen on offering their tribute to the legend in their signature “Google Doodle” way, triggering a chain of tributes on twitter, facebook and other social networking websites and discussion forums around the world.

If I Were an Indian National…

Every Pakistani, whether they admit or not, is bonded with India, a mass of land we also refer coldly to as the sub-continent. Making that point clear, I would like to say that it is not difficult for me to understand a veiwpoint loyal to the Unity of India, to which I have no problems at all.

Because after all, I am an Indian too, despite the fact that I was born in Pakistan and am a Pakistani national. But despite all that, most of all I am a human being before and more than anything else. But this is really not what I am writing about here.

What I write about now concerns humanity more than country or politics, which are the least of my concerns. I want to write a few words on the violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Although I have been refraining to make any comment on the subject at all, but my conscience had the better of me, which was an indication that at least some part of it was indeed alive.

I have had a few Kashmiri friends so I have some idea about the problems faced by Kashmiris and what they really want. In fact, if any one of you makes the effort, which is not hard to do, you can easily put yourself in a Kashmiri’s shoes in order to learn how they feel and what they have been going through.

I understand the presence of Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir, and I also understand the difficulty of India’s position as far as the troubled State is concerned. But despite all that, I have to say that encouraging and approving of the violence and atrocities going on there out of patriotism for India is simply inhuman to me.

While some people may object to this piece due to the fact that why a Pakistani is speaking out against the violence in Kashmir, I would simply like to say that I would have done the same and would have felt the same way If I were an Indian National.

I would simply say that humanity should be held supreme to politics and patriotism, read armies brutally murdering defenseless citizens.

But thankfully, at least the Indian media is covering the matter relatively sensibly this time around, although not to the Indian ultra-right, since some people in the media are acknowledging India’s mistakes and asking questions of how the government is handling the matters there. The educated in India are certainly offering me, if not the Kashmiris, a ray of hope towards the resolution of the problem.

Amid all the nonsense and the insensitivity of brutal rightist patriots, I cannot help but admire the honesty, the daring and the outspokenness of people like Arundhati Roy, who indeed has a soul of an artist. But really while I tried hard to approve of all that violence, I figured out that I would have to cease to be a human being first in order to do so.

At least she has the guts to say that Indians are not doing something right in Kashmir. I cannot help but feel sorry for the insensitivity of the patriot scholars who call her a traitor. I do not consider them educated. A loyalist to humanity is greater than a patriot to a nation. But it is nothing new. People who speak the truth have often been labeled as traitors , such as Asma Jehangir on the other side of the border.

As for the Indian patriots complaining why Kashmiris want “Azadi” or “Freedom”, ask the question to Kashmiris. Had they been living in peace, would they have  ever demanded it, even if the idea was injected by foreign infiltrators from Pakistan? Would have they not rejected it because thinking that way would be treason?

To my mind, the Kashmiris do not care about what will happen to them as long as they can be free, even if global and neighboring regional powers make the land their battlefield, since it will be up for grabs for them. Things can hardly get any worse for them than whatever has been going on for more than two decades now.

While I acknowledge and condemn the exodus of the majority of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley at the hands of the extremists there, I cannot help but notice the oppression of the majority of Kashmiri Muslims at the hands of the Indian Security Forces there as well, trying to be as impartial to both these groups as possible.

Had all this been happening in Pakistan, I would have condemned it still. Had I been an Indian, my opinion would not have been any different. I condemn all such acts, whether carried out by the Indian or the Pakistani army, by the Indian or the Pakistani police or by any other authority-abusing-citizen-terrorizing-so-called-law-enforcement-authorities anywhere around the world.

I condemn violence and I condemn injustice.

Courtesy: The Hindu

But it is not hard for me to imagine at all, that if my family were killed by the Indian forces, and if my mother, or my sister, or wife, or daughter, or any other female friend were raped by the Indian Forces, then surely my patriotism for Indian would fade away there and then.

There is just no other way to it.

It is a well-known fact that among all conflict zones occupied by armed forces around the world, Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has the highest count of sexual assaults made on women. I am not really a supporter of the Kashmiri Freedom movement, but if that is what the Kashmiris of both sides want to live in peace, let it be, even if that hurts the Indian and Pakistani egos.

But for those who want to do so, to my mind the best way to help Kashmiris right now is to leave them on their own, so that they can find their way to freedom themselves. Freedom is never granted, but it must always be earned.

I don’t want to sound audacious but Kashmiris in the Pakistani Occupied Kashmir are living much more affluently, comfortably and in peace. At least even if no real economic relief is being offered to them, they are generally living in peace, without which how can you ever have peace of mind and pursue any further socioeconomic advances? I know that because I know them and they freely live among Pakistanis as equals, not as rebels.

Still they ask Kashmiris why they want freedom. Pretty much like asking a dying patient why he needs a doctor.

Why Peace in the Middle East is Becoming Next to Impossible?

So what or who offers a hope amid the darkness? Maybe Tzipi Livni? Who knows?

Is Peace in the Middle East possible?

These 13 minutes and 6 seconds will reveal a lot more than what any comment possibly could. But you really have to Thank God that you are not a Palestinian living in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, unless you are one.

An Excerpt from 60 Minutes from CBS News

Video Courtesy: Michael Moore’s YouTube Channel , CBS News