Saturday, February 9


While Turkey allows its women to wear veils in Universities and Colleges, not wearing them has a bit of a downside to them. This is what happens to them. I quote:

The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture. The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

Curious, no?  Also see my previous essay on veils but it is a bit of an old essay. And then that stupid Archbishop wants Sharia Law in the UK.

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Nefertiti's Eyes

A lovely description of what happened when the first tomb after King Tut in 1922 was opened. They determined that the distinctive features of the Queen as shown in the image below became the norm rather than the previously shown way.


She is beautiful, look at those eyes and that neck! I can stand there for hours talking to her, she does indeed talk to me! :)

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Swedes versus Kurdistan!

I had a bit of a discussion online with a gentleman of the Swedish persuasion who did not like what I had written here. I told him that moral equivalence has its limits. Here's one example of a limit:


You say," said Lord Napier (confronted as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India by locals protesting against the suppression of suttee) "that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

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The death of a college mate

It is with deep regret that I have to say that Jack Sadler died in Afghanistan. I only came to know yesterday when the college sent around notification about a memorial service to be held on 4th of March. Here is the MoD announcement and here is the KCL announcement about his death. May his soul rest in peace and may his family be comforted at this terrible time.

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Managing the aging workforce: Status quo and implications for the advancement of theory and practice

This is slowly becoming a problem. I first came across this issue when I was dealing with the Y2K problem. Before that, all I thought was to get the wrinklies into the retirement bucket and end of story. But now that I am a wrinkly myself, and having to handle other aging people as well, it is tough. Age Discrimination laws have made it very important to manage them properly and with dignity. You cannot just retire them willy nilly. You cant ask about the age of prospective candidates, etc. etc. So it is a bit challenging. As for myself, I am planning to work till I am carried out feet first!

Here's an interesting paper which reviews the current state of academic research in this area. I quote the main bits:

First, it seems that retirement is a well-researched topic and that there is common agreement that a flexible or phased retirement can be beneficial for both the individual and the organization. The employee can slowly adjust to his/her new life perspectives, while the company does not lose important skills and experience overnight. However, organizations have to allow and implement the appropriate policies and measures, as well as an appropriate cultural mindset. Surprisingly, there is also wide agreement in terms of older workers’ performance. There seems to be no scientific proof that an older workforce is less productive than a relatively younger one. It also seems that the right organizational measures play an important role in maintaining the workforce’ performance. Training and development still are issues that require human resource management to integrate employees regardless of their age and according to their individual needs. After all, research has shown that older employees have significantly higher ethical standards than younger ones and this is beneficial for any organization.

Christoph K. Streb, Sven C. Voelpel and Marius Leibold, Managing the aging workforce:: Status quo and implications for the advancement of theory and practice, European Management JournalVolume 26, Issue 1, , February 2008, Pages 1-10.
Abstract: Summary
This paper synthesizes and translates secondary and empirical research findings on the aging workforce for the non-specialist reader, adopting a business management perspective that has to date been neglected. We chose two different approaches to review the status quo of this particular topic: First, a literature review of the Financial Times Top 40 publications, and second, a number of selected case examples that we based on our own empirical research, thereby shedding light onto the issue of aging workforce management from a practical and experiential perspective.
As a result, the paper presents findings on and conclusions about the most important future implications of the aging workforce for management.
Keywords: Aging workforce; Demographic change; Business management; Empirical research

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Ironic Sarko

Dont you find it ironic that while Sarko wants French Business Bodies such as Societe Generale in French Hands only (And remember the furore about Danone being taken over by Pepsico?), he does not mind his own body being in non-french hands. I just love it when hypocritical bits are exposed! :)

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Friday, February 8

The Swedes should model their immigration policy on Kurdistan!

This is liberalism gone mad! Read and wonder. So this is what the minister is proposing.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Migration Minister Tobias Billström have proposed that immigrants must demonstrate “appropriate housing” and a “steady means of support” before their relatives would be allowed to migrate to Sweden.

Pretty reasonable, I would have thought.

But no, this is what another newspaper opines:

Meanwhile, the editorial board at GP is more skeptical toward the suggestion, asserting that “the proposal has advantages, but it is far from clear that they outweigh the disadvantages.” GP asks the reader—and the civil servants who will be tasked with flushing out the proposal in detail—to put themselves in the position of being an immigrant in another country.“We can’t place tougher burdens on foreign residents in Sweden than what we would accept for Swedes overseas,” the paper writes. “We all ought to ask ourselves how long we are prepared to live apart from our children if the world was to fall apart and we were forced to seek protection in say, Kurdistan.”

I asked several Swedish colleagues here and none of them would even admit to be Swedish after reading that!

How bizarre, moral relativitism taken to the stupid level! No offence to Kurds who I am sure have a lovely state, but well, I am not sure that their immigration policies are the world standard.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Pakistani Teachers Organization: Inclusion of Non-Muslims’ Contributions in the Syllabi for Schools and Colleges is Unacceptable

Read and weep. Welcome to the medieval world! Can we all move to some other planet and leave these obscurantists behind on earth? Or better still, send them to Mars? So the fact that they wouldnt accept the inclusion of achievements and contributions mean that they will also not use those achievements such as vaccines, computing, etc.. Until and unless he thinks that everything that was useful is already present in the Quran or produced already by Muslims. Moron! Reminds me of that Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission chap who wanted to generate energy out of jinn's. Good Heavens!

The Tanzeem-e-Asatiza Pakistan (Pakistan Teachers Organization) has said that it will not accept the inclusion of achievements and contributions of non-Muslims in the syllabi for schools and colleges. The right-leaning Urdu language newspaper Jasarat quoted Tanzeem-e-Asatiza’s President (Sindhi Province) Professor Muhammad Is’haq as saying that textbooks are meant for educational and thought leadership of students, and therefore the syllabi should be re-modelled as per Islamic norms ‘‘to bring out the Islamic ideological persona.’’
According to the report, Professor Is’haq said that international imperialism has begun taking the world of Islam as hostage, and in Pakistan at its behest the syllabi are being distorted in the name of progressive thought.
Source: Jasarat, Pakistan, February 6, 2008

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Thursday, February 7

Running out of time?

This is what I saw in an office today and had to take a picture. Running out of time? just print out some more!

They let any idiot become an archbishop these days!

Words fail me. Here, go read for yourself. I am looking forward to him agreeing to have pastafarian and jedi law in England.


All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Britain's benefits generation: State handouts now a 'way of life for six million'

This is unbelievable.

Six million Britons are living in homes where no one has a job and "benefits are a way of life", a report by MPs revealed yesterday. And they cost the taxpayer nearly £13billion a year in state handouts. This army of families on benefit - nearly one in six of all households in the country - has been untouched by a decade of Labour's attempts to get them into work, said the Public Accounts Committee. Four out of five of these homes have no one who is even looking for a job.

If somebody will give me money, food, clothing, shelter and a house without wanting me to work or anything, tell me why on earth would I want to work? It is perfectly logical to me. So what about all the jobs that have been created? Well, they have mostly gone to the immigrants. And then people whine about immigrants flooding in? Well, stop the welfare system from producing this level of dependency! And its not like these 6 million are old age pensioners or children or disabled people, we are talking about 4.3 million adults who are basically sucking on the tit of the taxpayer. Welcome to Britian.

And get this! The mind boggles, I am paying taxes for these dead beats?

Some 100,000 drug users and alcoholics are claiming state handouts on the grounds that their habit is a disability, it was revealed yesterday.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Banning Quran is bad, yes? How about the Bible?

Rather sad commentary here. I quote:

Yet the question remains: If Muslims can get so worked up by the fact that some right-wing Dutch politician hungering for publicity can stir up a debate by demeaning the Quran, why is it that so many Muslims remain indifferent to how their fellow Muslims treat the holy texts of other faiths and belief-systems?

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Professor: Separation of religion and state 'key to tolerance'

A very interesting interview about secularism and minorities in Europe. I totally agree, militant secularism is the only way to handle all these religious fanatics of all ilks!

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Unease voiced over Islamic bonds

The FT has now picked this up that the Islamic bonds called as Sukuk are not really Islamic. But that's an oxymoron, anybody who seens the return on these bonds and compares them to the yieldcurve, does a correlation will simply see that its just interest based, just not called as interest.

Very worrisome, some form of equity participation has to be built into these structures otherwise this entire market will collapse. Also see the commentary around the standardisation problem. Remember that if they standardise the definitions of riba and Islamic Finance globally, then they have standardised, for the first time across the board, a single view of what one part of Islam theology says. That, in turn, will really be interesting.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Zionists are causing old people to die in England

This was so funny. It was a spoof post on here, which claimed to show that it was the ZIonists and their support by the British Government which is causing the old to die off or be cold or both!. And then everybody got taken in, look at the comments on the post, or even here.

Come on guys, it was a spoof, pisstaking post, are you seriously sure that any sane man can write that?

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Somebody in Africa actually resigned over corruption allegations?????

This is incredibly good news. How amazing, there are people there with consciences!!! Read and wonder. I quote:

DAR-ES SALAAM - Tanzania’s Prime Minister Edward Lowassa told parliament today he had tendered his resignation to the president after being implicated in a corruption scandal over an energy deal. "Because I have been linked to this scandal, I have decided to write to the president asking to be relieved of my duties," the premier told lawmakers

Give the man a medal!

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Farmer Suicides in the UK and India

There is something wrong with the agricultural world these days when you can find farmer suicides in the UK as well as in India. This is a very complex issue and not something that you can fix very easily as it has gone global (Via the WTO, etc.) and very deep into various economic silo's. But when a farmer can commit suicide even in an advanced developed country such as the UK which is neck deep in subsidies, great financial systems, NGO's, suicide prevention lot, etc. etc. one wonders how far India can go...

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

Wednesday, February 6

Pakistani Army's performance against the Taliban

Enclosed is what is said to be an email conversation between 2 Pakistani Army Officers on the presence and performance of the Pakistani Army in Waziristan. One wonders if the grand poo-bah's know about this in the USA, EU and UK?

Read and wonder:


  • Waziristan is the testing ground, the acid test of Pakistan Army's worth in the so- called war against terrorism.
  • What is the Pakistani intelligence ? An intelligence operative stated that they don't have the guts to go out of a fort of FC in Waziristan. They meekly step out of a Qila (fort)  and stop some truck drivers and ask what's going on. From what they scramble all the guys from Military Intelligence, the ISI , the Corps Intelligence and the FC Intelligence sit down and make a generally similar report. The guy who compares all reports in GHQ jumps with joy when he sees all these reports and states that all reports can be cross checked and are correct. There is the Sab Accha mentality since Mughal times. Sab Accha means All Correct. So in the final summing it is gleefully concluded that the writ of the Pakistani Government is established in all parts of tribal areas! Glory be to Allah. (Correct analysis.  Militants are after their blood and a large number of spooks are hunkered down. Both in tribal and settled areas they have assasinated some intelligence opereratives.)

  • I recently met some mid-ranking and major-general level army officers and discussed Waziristan with them. We concluded:
    • Waziristan is a case of clash of interests among  ambitious officers trying to get a good chit (report) and serious regimental officers who see soldiering as a way of life. The fast-track guys want to bash up some villages with artillery fire and do some dog catching for Americans and improve their career index called OEI.
    • The first major disaster was Lt.-Gen. Safdar, a Punjabi and a careerist. He wanted a fast-track approach for the problem, .His policy was bomb everyone, kill everyone and get the feathers in the cap for being a conqueror. This was counter-productive. The armed forces lost all credibility in this area. Safdar was finally packed off to the post of director logistics in the army Headquarters a post seen as waiting area for dumped generals. (Any Corps commander will exceute GHQ policy and not his own independent one. However, two important duties are reporting facts to higher ups even if they are unpleasant and second giving honest opinion. If he thinks that he cannot carry our given orders then only honorable course is to ask reassignment or resignation.  I think Safdar was chosen because of his intelligence background. Safdar became the poster child of Pakistan's ill thought policy.  One day he was firing at 'terrorists' and second day he was garlanded by them at 'peace' meetings.  Pakistan's credibility graph went in negative with such ill thought actions. I think he got some significant illness therefore he was removed from active command.)
    • Lieutenant General Hamid Khan, a Pashtun armored corps officer from 11 Cavalry was not effective. During his tenure the army was neither here nor there. He was serving for most of the time when the Waziristan accord had been signed. (Most Puhstun officers both civil and military are strong advocates of some kind of a deal and removal of regular troops from tribal areas ; the earlier the better.  Iftikhar Hussain, Ali M. Orakzai, Hamid Khan worked as team.  Many others are essentially on the same page.  Hamid was chosen because of his earlier stint at IGFC and familiarity with the crisis.)
    • The present corps commander Masud Aslam was a Kargil Warrior! (Major Amin is not being complimentary.  (The fortunes of Kargil warriors are well known.  The absurd position of Pakistan which made it a laughing stock among professional soldiers was the fact that country denied that any of its regular soldiers were involved and then distributed a truck load of gallantry awards to dead and living who participated in the operation.  Masud was commanding 80 Brigade and got a SJ.  To prove that Kargil was success, Mussharraf promoted a large number of them above Lt. Col. level. At senior level, it later created an awkward position.  Those Corps Commanders and senior officers who were 'Kargil Ghazis' gave full support to Mussharraf while those who were not part of it voiced opinions which sometimes ran against Chief's wishes.) He again tried to introduce the Safdar policy with disastrous results.
    • One Major General level divisional commander stood out. Strangely it was a Shia officer, Major General Mir Haider. (?in what capacity he was operating?  7th and 9th Div commanders are operational commanders but in view of induction of additional troops from other garrisons I don't know how this is being worked out at senior level?) Although a Punjabi he understood the Pasthun psyche and did well. His modus operandi was psy war. Healing the tribal eg . Gifting copies of Holy Quran.
    • Another Major General Sahi was a failure. Again he was using the Safdar approach. Kill , batter , destroy and bomb. Sahi had close links with the Quisling PML (President Musharraf's political party: the writer believes Pakistan has sold out to the Americans) as his brother was a politician from that party. In words of a direct participant officer, he was also a total failure. He was finally packed off as commandant of infantry school. Another resting place of dumped generals. In his dining out he said that he had established writ of Pakistani Government in Waziristan and was corrected there and then by a serving army officer that this was a white lie. He was challenged that he could not drive with his GOC's flag from Miran Shah to Bannu even with an escort! He was infamous in the Frontier Corps Officers for trying to prod them to attack this village or that because he wanted to get a good chit from his bosses. (I think a number of officers were shuffled to try to get some semblance of control on operations.  I think GHQ wanted full control of even minor details and did not allow any room for independent action for officers in charge making things difficult.  In addition, I think nobody wants to hear about any set back while engaging in a very messy operation.  I don't know how much attention is being paid to the coordination between divergent group of soldiers i.e. regular troops, FC and SSG.  Peshawar and Kohat GOCs were shuffled and SSG commander was prematurely retired.  Another Kohat GOC was shunted away after the SSG ambush with loss of many soldiers.)
    • A serving army officer in that area compared Pakistan Army and the FC in Waziristan to a mouse running from point A to point B while he said that the tribals were the lazy cat watching this despicable mouse.
  • We further concluded:
    • The great danger is not Pakistan but the fall-out after its demise.   
    • The great danger to the West is not the hopeless Pakistani state but non-state actors
    • The more Pakistani Don Quixotes are proved to be spineless clowns in Waziristan, the more dangerous the situation becomes.
    • Warfare has become cheap. It is easy to rock the boat and non-state actors are good at this.
    • The front is unclear. The distinction between friend and foe unclear.   (Excellent summary and I agree.)
  • My assessment is that if the Americans decide to knock out Pakistan , in strategic terms , there will be no resistance in Punjab and Sindh ,only the Pashtuns will be their adversaries and the settled area Pashtuns will be as hopeless as the Punjabis and Sindhis. (I disagree with this assessment.  I know that in Pakistan everbody believes that every American is ten foot tall and U.S. can do everything.  In addition, every Station House Officer (SHO) of police station is appointed after consultation with Washington.  Off course Washington has some influence but it is grossly exaggerated.  It is the behaviour of Pakistanis (both official and non-official) which detremines this influence.  Contrary to popular belief and all conspiracy theories rampant in Pakistan, I do not think that a destabilzied or fractured Pakistan is in U.S. interest.  Washington follows its interests and not in the business of running a charity.  If Pakistan agrees to work with Washington, it will get some benefits.  If it decides not to work then it will not get the largesse.  We charge a rent from our own son when he gets 18 and decides to stay in the house.  It will be extremly naive for Pakistanis to expect that they will get regular checks from Washington without any strings attached. Important thing is to focus on common interests and try not to be romantic.  There may be disagreements about how to tackle non-state actors but in my humble view rise of non-state actors of all varieties is a threat to every nation state.  It is a recipe for anarchy and Pakistan is already suffering from its ill effects.  It is upto Pakistanis to decide how they are going to cope up with this painful problem. Those who are targeting worshippers in mosques or dragging members of different sects from buses and summaralily executing them are no freinds of Pakistan.)
  • Pakistan's military and political establishment is simply hopeless. This theme is discussed in my article "5 minutes over Islamabad" (the article details how the US forced Pakistan to join it's side in the GWOT.) The Pakistani military junta has already lost all credibility with the Pakistani population and cannot control the situation.
  • Even the Americans will not achieve much if they enter Waziristan. The terrain is bad and Americans will be a good cause for Jihad. (Looking at the ignorant and arrogant way of some of the U.S. military policies of recent past, direct U.S. involvement may speed up the process of fragmentation of Pakistan and may further destabilize Afghanistan rather than helping curbing the violence.) The solution is withdrawal from Waziristan and regime change in Pakistan. The Americans should let the hopeless Paki politicians do the dirty job of all this.
  • As an officer who served in Pakistan Army I would sum up the situation as following:
    • The Pakistani High Command a Punjabi-Mohajir (Mohajirs are Pakistans who migrated from India to the new country of Pakistan in/after 1947) team lacks the grey matter or resolve to deal with the tribals.
    • The troops they are commanding have lost faith in the cause they are fighting for. This is the worst thing for an army.  (Army is the last and not the first instrument to be used in such situations.  When all is said, in a multiethnic country like Pakistan, army is the only institution which can act as a temporary measure against a serious internal threat.  If army fractures along existing faultlines then this is a recipe for a prolonged civil war. On my recent trip, I visited a battalion.  I think despite serious pressures, the professionalism and discipline maintained by armed forces is admirable.  We are fighting wars in foreign lands (Iraq & Afghanistan) but in 2006 about 1300 soldiers went AWOL while the number in 2007 was about 1400.  Looking at this I think Pakistan army has done well although it paid a price.  Having said that every effort should be made not to stretch it to the limits especially in the context of internal security duties.)
    • All said and done the tribals can be dealt politically. (Lot of things can be achieved quitely without any fanfare. Both Washington and Islamabad need to learn that simple fact.) Any Pakistani officer who is posted as commander 11 Corps is a job seeker. He is trying to be a Napoleon and a Punjabi cannot be a Napoleon with a tribal!
    • The present Governor of NWFP Owais Ghani has already miserably failed in Baluchistan. He is regarded as a non-Pashtun as he is the hated Hindko Punjabi (we dont know what Hindko means; Hind generally refers to India)  speaking from Peshawar city just like General Kakar, whose first cousin he is.
    • The whole situation requires a change in command in Pakistan from top to bottom.

    Since Mussharraf is connected with everything which has gone wrong therefore even if now he wants to sincerely do something it is very diffciult for him to accomplish anything.  The minimum requirement is that he should leave the scene.  Although the popularity graph of army is at its lowest ebb, however if things go further sour with large scale and more bloody violence then everyone will look at the army. Everything is relative.  There is an old saying that 'show them the death and they will love fever'.  New army chief has to then chart out new course.  He would prefer to work behind the scene a la General Aslam Beg. 

    Washington needs to understand the complexity and gravity of the situation.  We can not afford to ignore painful lessons of Iraq.  Our every ill thought action generated problems which were worse than the original issue which we intend to solve. I think our ignorance coupled with arrogance has only given us grief and caused more misery around the globe and made us less safe.  There are genuine problems and threats but I think a different approach is needed.  It is better to live with some nuances to avoid serious headaches.  Perspectives need to be changed.  There are only few venomous insects which can seriously endanger life.  However there are a number of fleas.  A flea can not kill it's victim but if it gets into the pants it can make life miserbale.  One can not work, sleep or enjoy life.  Problems of Pakistan will be solved only by Pakistanis.  A stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan is in U.S. interest.  A Pakistan where every Pakistani is part of the nation.  A weak Pakistan with numerous non-state actors is a nightmare for everyone. 

  • Scattered memories of 1971

    Remember when I said that the local Bangladeshi's themselves are not that keen to go ahead and prosecute the war criminals, here's another view. If you treat your genocide memorial museum in this half hearted manner, what do you expect the rest of the world to do? I quote:

    The bookshelves of the Muktijuddho Jadughor, the Liberation War Museum, in Dhaka, are overflowing with personal accounts of heroism, flight and suffering that took place during that year. But almost all of those who have written about the war were either directly involved in it, witnesses to its events, or have a vested interest in airing their opinion after the fact. Somewhat counter-intuitively, this wealth of information ends up dramatically complicating the attempt to separate fact from fiction, emotion from reality, and rhetoric from 'truth', in the course of any attempt to construct a nuanced account of 1971.

    Textbooks prepared under the military regimes and the governments of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) tried to drop all references to India, and refer to Pakistan not by name but as hanadar bahini, the 'enemy army'. This skewed presentation in the textbooks has led legions of Bangladeshi schoolchildren to believe that the mukti bahini, the Liberation Army, actually fought against India in 1971.

    Part of the reason interested quarters today are able to question the existence of war crimes against women is that there have been no histories written of this episode of the war, there are no testimonial, or interviews. For the most part, this issue has been brushed aside, since it requires us to look within ourselves, at the strictures and structures of our own society as well as to condemn the brutality of the other. Clearly the ambiguous figure of the birangona (the shamed one) cannot be easily contained within a generalised glorious narrative of the nation.

    The Jadughor exhibit alleges that there were 50,000 such 'collaborators'. It includes the identity card of one such individual, one Hossain Ahamed, a member of the Muslim League and of the Dacca City Razakar Organisation. There is also a letter to the secretary of the Thana Peace Committee written on 7 June 1971 by a certain M Joynal Abedin, stating that he had been forced to flee his house, as the Mukti Bahini had "attempted to arrest and kill" him. Abedin also noted that he was a "supporter of the Muslim League and worked in favour of the same during the last general election" – before asking whether he could move into a house, the particulars of which he listed as follows:

    Owner: Kumar Dhirendranath Chakrabarty, s/o late Monoranjan Chakrabarty (Manik babu), Village Ulipur (Jotder Para), one south facing tin shed, measuring 20 x 10½ and two bamboo houses.

    What is intriguing about this information is the level of detail provided. The use of nicknames suggests a particular level of familiarity. It is certainly possible that Abedin knew Chakrabarty, whose name suggests that he was Hindu, and whose abandoned house suggests that he might have joined the ranks of the refugees who fled to India.

    There is little doubt of the immense human tragedy that accompanied 1971. But, as with 1947, such human tragedy was also accompanied by great hope and celebration – the birth of a new nation, and, for many, liberation from oppression. However, the Bangladeshi dream has not quite gone the way it was originally envisioned, and Bangladesh has spent many years under military rule, including today. Perhaps the final question to ponder has to do with the legacies of 1971. Do the divisions that surfaced in 1971 carry with them a portent of what is to come? And, in perhaps the bitterest of ironies, why has Bangladesh's political history, in the 35 years since independence, begun to resemble that of Pakistan?

    Tragic, but then, people deserve the rulers they deserve!

    Former Pakistani Generals: Kashmir's War of independence Cannot Be Won Without Jihad

    Welcome to the neighbourhood country where the dream of inner struggle rules. Read and worry about how Pakistan's generals and many other citizens are actually becoming a serious danger to the world.

    The Urdu-language website of Pakistan’s independent television network GEO TV quoted a group of former Pakistani generals as saying that "the war for the independence of Kashmir cannot be won without jihad." 'According to the report, the Ex-Servicemen Society, comprising "the former military leadership" said that the entire Pakistani nation must unite for a resolution of the Kashmir issue.
    The ex-officers were addressing a seminar on Kashmir Solidarity Day in the city of Rawalpindi, organized by the Ex-Servicemen Society. Addressing the seminar were former chief of army staff Gen. (R) Aslam Beg, Lt.-Gen. (R) Faiz Ali Chishti, former president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir Maj.-Gen. (R) Sardar Anwar Khan, Lt .-Gen. (R) Abdul Qayyum, and others.
    Source: Geo Television Network,, Pakistan, February 5, 2008

    All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

    Tuesday, February 5

    This little girl knows her geography, amazing!

    Click here, it is absolutely amazing!

    When Second Life bumped into First Life!

    Very interesting article here. Only those banks who have physical presence and have banking licences are allowed to do banking in Second Life. Second Life said:

    "As of January 22, 2008, it will be prohibited to offer interest or any direct return on an investment (whether in [Linden dollars (L$)] or other currency) from any object, such as an ATM, located in Second Life, without proof of an applicable government registration statement or financial institution charter. We're implementing this policy after reviewing Resident complaints, banking activities, and the law, and we're doing it to protect our Residents and the integrity of our economy."

    All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

    This is brilliant, books correlated to IQ

    This is absolutely brilliant, correlating books that you read with your SAT scores in your college. These are the books they came up with. Top 5?

    1. Lolita
    2. 100 Years Of Solitude
    3. Crime And Punishment
    4. Freakonomics
    5. Catch 22
    I havent read #2

    But for the rest, I am doing ok, but the IQ sucks!

    All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

    Labour: if you want a council house, find a job

    Sounds about right to me, and its sad that it took them decades to realise it. If you are going to give out things for free, dont get surprised if they take up that offer. So if you are giving out property for people to live on which was built with tax payer's money, one would expect them to put something back into the pot (physically being able, that is!). Otherwise, hey, there are others who are working hard and not sponging off the state and still unable to get a place to live. So off yer butts! So move in people who are working into those jobless hotspots and soon you will change the character!

    Read and nod! I quote:

    Up to a million people in social housing, including those on council estates, should be expected to actively seek work as a condition of their tenancy, the new housing minister, Caroline Flint, proposes today.
    The new "commitment contracts" would initially apply to new council tenants, Flint said, but could be extended to existing tenants.
    It is thought to be the first time the government has proposed making a traditional social housing tenancy conditional on seeking work. However, the prime minister, Gordon Brown, has committed to a radical welfare reform package, including greater use of the private sector.
    Flint, who switched from employment minister in the mini-reshuffle after Peter Hain stepped down, said: "It would be a big change of culture from the time when the council handed someone the keys and forgot about them for 30 years. The question that we should ask of new tenants is what commitment they will make to improve their skills, find work, and take the support that is available."

    All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

    Photo-Essay: A memorial to mom!

    Last week, I stumbled across another of those hidden gems of London.

    While haring off to go visit a conference and meet old friends, I stopped at the corner of Finsbury Square.

    I thought it was a clock tower at first and then thought it was a statue tower with the statue missing. See those big rounded windows at the top? It is made out of marble and granite.

    It says:

    Erected and Presented

    to the

    Parish of St. Luke


    Thomas and Walter Smith


    To commemorate the life of their mother

    Martha Smith



    Unfortunately, I could not find anything on the internet on any of the names. Here's some background on the Parish of St. Luke.

    Here is another view (90 degrees right from the previous view) of the fountain. Apologies for the quality of the photo's, I am still trying to figure out the workings of this new camera phone.

    But I spent some minutes standing there in the freezing cold just looking at it. It is obvious that the Smith brothers were wealthy to afford such an edifice. And despite the lack of information, it had to take some time to make, sculpt, construct, etc. etc.

    While the cynical bit in me did flirt with the idea that because it was such an expensive gift, it could have been just for show, but then I felt bad about feeling cynical. It could well have been that Martha struggled to raise her 2 sons from deep poverty. Or she could have been a very big charitable lady in the local church. And when she died, her son's celebrated her life by building something that will help millions of thirsty people down the ages. Every time somebody drinks from that fountain, Martha Smith is remembered. Perhaps a variety on the Prayer Wheels concept?

    Given the history of London is replete with rich individuals gifting such structures to the Church and being charitable, I am not surprised about this fountain either. And after all that high flying emotional stuff, my daughter got me down to earth by saying, that looks like the top of the Gruesome Twosome's car called as Creepy Coupe in the Wacky Races.

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    Monday, February 4

    The Recycling Myth

    An interesting view on re-cycling and something that I agree with. One has to consider the whole cost value chain, just like I talked about in terms of food miles here. Add up all the costs!!!. So when people talk about recycling, remember somebody has to pay, it will be the (past, current or future) shareholder, taxpayer etc. So in this case, it is at the expense of quality time that the government is hitting recycling targets.

    Read and wonder!

    All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

    Al-Qaida ' trick handicapped women' into suicide bombings

    Now that's an interesting way to deal with mentally handicapped patients. Strap bombs on to them, shove them into a target and blow them up. I mean, brilliant technique, no? Look at the advantages

    • You do not have to worry about their care any more
    • They become martyrs in the eyes of Allah
    • You dont have to worry about bringing them up the terrorism curve where you need to teach them, explain to them, etc. etc. before they go down the suicide bomber route.
    • They act innocent because they are innocent so they make the best suicide bombers
    • They do exactly what you tell them to do (mostly)
    • Because they are women, they would not be searched.
    • Everybody takes extra-special care of disabled people, and that too women, so turn their caring, charity and pity against those Zionist crusaders, eh?
    • I think the Down's Syndrome people should be interested in this, no? think about the vast opportunities for publicity. These wonderful soldiers of the resistance seem to have an attachment to Down's Syndrome. They used a disabled Down's Syndrome child in January 2005 as well. 
    • The actual leaders who are men sit back at home fingering the remote control and then boom, blow it up. I mean, it takes patriarchy to a new level. Previously, it was, "go woman, make me a cup of tea", now it is, "go woman, blow up some Zionist crusader infidels for me"
    • See what the Guardian says? "Police said the woman wearing the bomb sold cream in the mornings at the market and was known to locals as ``the crazy lady.'' I suppose nobody cares about the crazy lady, do they?

    How absolutely disgusting! Truly they are cannibals.

    Sunday, February 3

    The Al-Queda/Israel Riddle

    I spoke about the Arabs and their obsession with Palestine before. Here is an interesting another view, the author seems to say that there is no difference between the Arab commentators and Al Queda, both are obsessed and similarly unhinged! I quote:

    Why hasn't Al-Queda launched a single operation against Israel despite all the pain and sympathy that Osama Bin Laden and his right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri boastfully harp on about when it comes to usurped, occupied Palestine?.....

    The problem does not lie with Al-Zawahiri or in the Al-Qaeda discourse; it is in the state of verbal anarchy that is sweeping the Arab world. This anarchy does not enable anyone to distinguish between the language of Al-Qaeda and the language of the mass media. How can a person, a certain body, or a media institution be against Al-Qaeda and at the same time share with it the same vocabulary and language?.....

    Isn't it time to shoulder responsibility? Isn't it time for us to tell our children who is the role model, is it Al-Sadat or those who killed him? Who is the hero? Is it really Osama Bin Laden or other Arab men who are categorized as state builders? Most probably when we say that these Arab media do not shoulder their responsibilities, those who seek false heroism reiterate that we unjustly lay the blame on the media and drown in self-rebuke, as if glorifying and holding oneself in high esteem means to be away from serious criticism when it comes to fundamental and important matters.

    Then I read this. Perfect proof of the above about how mentally deficient these morons are. Think about it, this is an Arab commentator actually agreeing with an Al Queda Attack despite the 2 sentences condemning it. He is actually not doing it, he is encouraging these kinds of attacks. So he is immediately classified as a terrorist supporter of the ilk mentioned above at best or a basic idiot at worst. Now, if you take that argument forward, then he wouldnt mind if the embassies of UK, USA, China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Columbia etc. are all attacked, no? What a blithering idiot. 

    Now this is one way NOT to repair your washing machine

    Picture taken at Rayners Lane, London.

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    More evidence on honour killing in the UK

    This is absolutely gruesome and foul. Heinous. There is nothing cultural or religious about this, whether Sikh, Hindu or Islamic. This is pure and simple barbarity. See my previous essay on honour killing. I quote from the news story:

    A GIRL of 15 was tricked into a "telephone marriage" ceremony to a Sheffield man with a mental age of five in a ceremony recognised by sharia (Islamic law). The girl's marriage last April was not recognised by the Home Office but was approved by the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain.

    Here is the full report. And it is indeed worse. See page 25 for a Sikh Girl's problems, page 29 for a Orthodox Jewish girl's problems. See this on page 32:

    Bawjit Singh, an Indian Hindu who works as a social worker in East London whose sister was disowned by her family after marrying a Muslim, says: "In the eyes of my parents marrying a Muslim is marrying the enemy. We are taught that we can be friends with them but we can’t date them and definitely can’t marry them. If I marry one who is Muslim then I am disowned"

    But do not over-react and think it is applicable to all ethnic minorities. Also see my previous post about ethnic minorities. See this table on page 19:

    The effect of honour on education levels: A 2007 study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that the educational qualifications of women from South Asia varied widely. These variations are largely a result of their widely differing attitudes to honour. Percentage of women aged 25-29 with degree level qualifications:
    Women of Indian origin 53.9%
    Women of Pakistani origin 25.6
    Women of Bangladeshi origin 15.5
    UK average: 29.7

    But overall, something needs to be done to these barbarians in our midst who mistreat women in this fashion. I do not give a shit about what justification they use, they need to be put into stocks and rotten tomatoes thrown at them regularly.

    Why am I paying for other people's multiple wives?

    This completely threw me into a loop. So you go to Gondwanaland, get married, get 40 wives, its legal in that banana country, come over here to the UK where it is illegal to have more than 1 wife, and then I have to give you my money to support YOUR wives?

    Is this stupid or what? Why is this government being so free with my money? If the Sharia Law Board is happy enough to say that these marriages are legal, then why dont THEY pay for these wives as well?

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    I think they have different germs to us

    I am bewildered by this debate. 3-400 years after we know about how bacteria work and how germs spread, we are still having this debate? That washing up before an operation is a good idea? And this is their idea of medicine? How bizarre??? they really do not help their own cause, I am afraid.

    By the way, I have made a note of this, it is against my religion to have any doctor, nurse or student who has not washed her hands to lay their dirty unwashed hands on me if I am in the hospital. What religion you might ask? well, I am a proud pastafarian! (go look it up! :)) Also check this link out if you can.

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