Thursday, December 31

Religious Restrictions in the 25 Most Populous Countries

Bloody shameful, if you ask me. What on earth are these countries doing? Think about India, not only does it have high government restrictions but the people themselves are actively hostile to other religions. Disgusting.

For that matter, the UK correspondingly has room for improvement as well. It has to reduce the amount of government restrictions and also further educate its population on being more liberal to other religions. Not good.

A Lecture on Baluchistan

Never knew quite a lot of these things. Interesting Lecture on Baluchistan by Selig Harrison. Worth Reading in full, but quoting:

I am going to start with a citation from the scripture. Scripture for me on the subject of Pakistan is an important book called the Shadow of the Great Game: the Untold Story of India’s Partition, by Narendra Singh Sarila, a retired Indian diplomat who was the ADC to Mountbatten [Viceroy of India]. He got unprecedented access to the British archives. In his book he presents detailed, definitive evidence showing that as early as march, 1945, Winston Churchill and the British general staff decided that partition was necessary for strategic reasons. They deliberately set out to create Pakistan because Jinnah had promised to provide military facilities and Nehru refused to do so. This is the key to understanding why Pakistan is so dysfunctional. It’s an artificial political entity. The British put together five ethnic groups that had never before co-existed in the same body politic historically. The Bengalis were the biggest. They outnumbered all of the other four combined—the Punjabis, the Pashtuns, the Baluch and the Sindhis. Five became four of course when Bangladesh seceded [in 1971]…..

By themselves, the Baluch are in a weak position militarily, but they are beginning to forge alliances with Sindhi factions that could become significant. What some of the Baluch and Sindhi leaders are talking about is a sovereign Baluch-Sindhi federation stretching from the Indian border to Iran. The most obvious impediment to this dream of course is the fact that Karachi is right in the middle of the area concerned with a multi-ethnic population. But the Baluch and Sindhis point out that Karachi depends on gas and water pipelines crossing through areas of the surrounding countryside under their control.

An independent Baluch-Sindhi federation would not necessarily conflict with U.S. interests because the Baluch and Sindhi areas are strongholds of secular values and moderate Islam. Most of the Sindhis are Sufis and many of the Baluch are Zikris. They reject the Wahabi and Deobandi brand of Islam pushed by the Sepa-e-Sehaba and other virulently anti-Shia Sunni groups in the Punjab. The Islamist threat is centered in the Punjab where Lashkar-e-Taiba and other hard-core jihadi groups are increasingly strong.

Tuesday, December 29

The UK Government better be afraid next year

This is deeply worrying. The cost of servicing British debt is nearing Italian levels. And not only that, next year its going to be horrible. I quote:

That leaves a market accustomed to some £40bn supply facing an expected £225.1bn of new issues. To put that in perspective, the entire outstanding stock of gilts rose by a total of £220bn between 1980 and 1997, according to analysts at Barclays Capital.

Good Heavens, good thing I am considering other locations.., sheesh.

Monday, December 28

Captain of Jewish immigrant ship the Exodus dies

This took me back to my days as a teenager when I first read Leon Uris’s The Exodus. leave aside the fact that the book is, lets say politely, historically challenged, but for a teenager, its fascinating. Reading about Dov and Ari and the Holocaust and how a nation and a country was created, pretty stirring stuff. I quote:

The skipper of the Jewish immigrant ship the Exodus, which was refused entry to British-controlled Palestine in 1947, has died at the age of 86. The Exodus was carrying over 4,000 mostly Holocaust survivors when the ship was forced to return to Germany. The incident sparked widespread sympathy for their plight. After weeks at sea, the refugees were placed in camps in Germany. After an international outcry, they were transferred to Cyprus by the British authorities, where they remained until the creation of Israel in 1948.

Pretty interesting.

Do you think he gets the irony?

A chap in a hoodie protesting against a veiled woman.

Perpetual Machine?

A Jesus Era house excavated in Nazareth

Now here’s an interesting item which caught my eye. I knew the history of Jesus of Nazareth where he grew up, but my mental image of Nazareth was always what was illustrated in Nativity Plays, Bible books, paintings and such like. Very clean, idealised village which would not be out of place in modern day Britain. Here’s an example:

here’s another painting, Nazareth by William Gale.

Anyway, you get the idea. But then this announcement popped up. I quote:

The remains of a small house that can be dated back to the time of Jesus have been found in the past days during excavation works in progress in Nazareth, guided by a team of Israeli archaeologists. According to the scientists, this is the first house from that era ever uncovered.  "The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period," the archaeologist added, suggesting that "Jesus and his childhood friends may have known this house".

Click on this site and this to see 2 photographs of the currently excavated site which shows the foundations of the house and the walls. The hamlet, unlike what has been portrayed in the paintings and books, was a dirt poor tiny hamlet of not more than 50 families. Interestingly enough, the archaeologists have found a water harvesting system on the roof. What a change and as the LA Times says:

…not far from the spot where the Archangel Gabriel is said to have revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the boy. Today the ornate Basilica of the Annunciation marks that spot, and Nazareth is the largest Arab city in northern Israel, with about 65,000 residents. Muslims now outnumber Christians 2 to 1 in the noisy, crowded city. The archaeological find shows how different it was 2,000 years ago: Christianity and Islam did not yet exist; the Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem; and tiny Nazareth was near a battleground between Roman rulers and Jewish guerrillas….

There is obviously no Jewish presence now, the number of Christians is dropping precipitously in Palestine and the Jewish state is busy having fun with the Muslims. The archaeologists also found a hidden entrance to a grotto which could have been used by the Jews to escape from the Romans. And Palestine now has underground tunnels to smuggle people and goods in and out of Palestine. In certain cases, not much has changed now has it? And what also surprised me was that nobody has done any politicking on this yet as archaeology in the holy land is inextricably linked with politics down history.

But what has changed is the image of Nazareth in my mind. Instead of the bucolic, green and peaceful town that was imprinted in my mind, it has now converted into a parched, drought ridden, desperately poor, quite dirty, fearful tiny little village of no importance back then. Merry Christmas everybody.

Sunday, December 27

Artificial Virginity

On a mailing list, we started talking about Virgin Racing starting up in the UK and Rizz asked about where on earth will they find enough virgins in the UK to race? Well, I talked about how they can use the artificial virginity kits.

See what the blurb says?

"No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime. Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable. Its easy to use, clinically proven non-toxic to human and has no side effects, no pain to use and no allergic reaction."

A fuller description:

No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime. Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable. Its easy to use, clinically proven non-toxic to human and has no side effects, no pain to use, no allergic reaction
Artificial Virginity Hymen is created from Kyoto, Tapan at 1993. it was first introduced to the locals, then it gets famous and spread to Thailand at 1995 and now avaliable in South East Asia, South Asia and in the Middle East countries.
It is mainly made of natural albumin, medical use inflation element and water-soluble base medicinal preparation which have no side effect.
Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groan, you will pass through undetectable.
Main causes of hymen tore or break:

  • Strenuous exercise (Gymnastics, sports, martial art, horse riding, etc)
  • Premarital Sex
  • Childhood accident (Hard object)
  • Wearing a tampon for the first time

Made in Japan.
Expire: 2 years.
How to use:
  • Open the package and rub on the artificial hymen, then carefully put into the vagina. If vaginal is dry, dip the artificial hymen to water and then put it into the vagina as quickly as you can.
  • Place inside vagina 15-20 minutes before intercourse
  • Finally, cleans the vulva after having sexual intercourse.
  • The artificial hymen will melt inside the vagina so will not fall out

For $29.99, you can show off your doofus husband to be a complete and utter nincompoop and yourself as a complete idiot. And for people like, you, you can also get discounts if you order in bulk!.

Good heavens, I havent laughed out so much in days. Well, since couple of days when we had a snow day :). But can you imagine the woman who bonks about before marriage (which is absolutely no problem), but has to go about inserting this shit into her vagina and then adds some moans and groans. What the hell? What IS this? some kind of a joke? And then to top it all, she is getting married to a man who judges the character and suitability of his wife by the existence (or not) of a membrane in the vagina?

This is a great way to start the marriage. The husband coming to bed thinking the woman is a virgin (which age were you from? cretaceous?) and the wife dishonestly getting this done? Very nice. I dont blame the girl too much as she can get killed, but damn….

What really got me going was the bunch of Islamic Brothers and the assorted religious idiots in Egypt who said

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls 20 percent of the seats in Egypt's parliament, called the re-virginizing kit a "mark of shame" and expressed plans to arrest anyone who hawks it on the black market--peddlers could be charged with "banditry and punished for spreading immorality and sin," according to the LA Times

Another report said:

Sheik Sayed Askar, a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood who is on the parliamentary committee on religious affairs, said the kit will make it easier for Egyptian women to give in to temptation. He demanded the government take responsibility for fighting the product. ... Prominent Egyptian religious scholar Abdel Moati Bayoumi said anyone who imports the artificial hymen should be punished. "This product encourages illicit sexual relations. Islamic culture forbids these relations except within the confines of marriage," Bayoumi said. ... "If this thing enters Egypt, the country is going to go to waste. God protect us," commented a reader on the Web site of Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabie.

Well, considering that the Islamic Brotherhood is a supporter of Female Genital Mutilation and finds support in the religious books, you know what they want women to be in Egypt. Veiled, pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. Mind you, it wont help them anyway. See what happens.

In a Muslim country where the numbers of women wearing the veil are rising, and so -- by most accounts -- are incidents of groping and catcalls in the streets, the message in ads circulating anonymously in e-mails here in Egypt is clear: "A veil to protect, or eyes will molest," one warns. The words sit over two illustrations, one comparing a veiled woman, her hair and neck covered in the manner known to Muslims as hijab, to a wrapped candy, untouched and pure.

The other picture shows an unveiled woman, hair flying wildly and hip jutting, next to a candy that has had its wrapper stripped off -- and is now covered in flies. "You can't stop them, but you can protect yourself," warns another ad likening men to flies and women to sweets. Bloggers in Egypt have taken to calling such messages the "veil your lollipop" campaign.

Surprisingly, some Egyptian women say that their veils don't protect against harassment, as the lollipop ads argue, but fuel it. A survey released this summer supports the view.

So, here we are with the essential problem. The problem are the men who are like flies. You know what needs to be done with flies. You swat them. Perhaps they need to be revirginised as well. How about shoving something large up their bottoms which will make them bleed? Or perhaps they might end up liking it? Is that how male virginising will work for people like these flies or people who support FGM?

The women are somewhat to blame as well. Mind you, taking them away from fly bearing sewers such as Egypt doesnt seem to help either. See here about this practise in France. I quote:

……the woman's surgeon says he gets three to five queries and performs one to three hymenoplasties each week. Demand has been rising for the past three or four years.

Doctor Marc Abecassis, whose office is near the chic Champs Elysees, sees the rise in religion among France's five million Muslims fuelling this trend. His patients are between 18 and 45 years old, Muslim, born both in France and in North Africa.

"Many of my patients are caught between two worlds," said Abecassis. They have had sex already but are expected to be virgins at marriage according to a custom that he called "cultural and traditional, with enormous family pressure"……

Some Muslims in France have been putting much more emphasis on certain customs as a way of expressing their identity. "Today it's the two 'V's' -- veil and virginity," he said. "It's a social phenomenon."

Surprisingly, French social security reimburses some of the cost of the operation in cases of rape or trauma. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, the claim is a fraud," he added.

Esphoks on the lot of them. What a bunch of nincompoops to allow religion, tradition and stupid parental pressure to let them get to this state. Honour killings?

Saturday, December 26

Tongue-poking 'illegal'

Be warned, anybody who nips into Italy and pokes their tongue out. I quote:

It is illegal to poke your tongue out at someone to insult them, Italy's highest court of appeal said Friday.The Cassation Court turned down an appeal by a farmer in the Marche region who claimed his incriminated gesture, caught on a camera phone by a neighbour he was arguing with, was "not offensive" but a mere "grimace".
The farmer, Carlo O., was convicted of insulting the other man by a justice of the peace in Fabriano last year. The Cassation Court said the conviction must stand and Carlo O. would have to pay damages, to be set in a separate civil trial. The criminal penalty for the tongue-poking was not divulged but Carlo O. was ordered to pay his neighbour's court costs of 1,300 euros.

Now that’s priorities for you, forget about the corruption and constitutional questions and and other things that the highest court needs to worry about, but in this case, it thinks that insults are important enough to debate and pronounce judgement upon!

How costly is the Sarbanes Oxley Act? Evidence on the effects of the act on corporate profitability

There is a tidal wave of regulation that is coming down the pipes from the various assorted regulators. There are 3 costs to this regulation to financial firms. The cost of implementing the change, the cost of of running the change and the opportunity cost related to the sum of the previous two costs. And believe you me, after having had about 15 years of experience of looking at regulatory change, they can mount up to a pretty penny. Seriously big pennies and I frequently doubt if this is actually making our lives better and safer. Stick to gold (just half kidding). What I also find very interesting is that these regulations are rarely followed by good costed business cases on the cost/benefits to be achieved. Its almost like an article of faith that more regulation is good. Period. No questions asked. Well, I am again not sure.

With that said, what about SOX? well, here’s a good interesting paper on it. Abstract:

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was intended to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. However, critics have argued that the costs of SOX far outweigh its intended benefits. Prior studies based on stock-price reactions to SOX-related events document mixed evidence on the expected impact of SOX. In contrast, we provide evidence on the net realized costs of SOX by examining its impact on operating profitability. We find that average cash flows decline by 1.3 percent of total assets after SOX. These costs are more significant for smaller firms, for more complex firms, and for firms with lower growth opportunities. Annually, these costs range from $6 million for smaller firms to $39 million for larger firms. Further, we document that net SOX-related costs are not limited to one-time expenses associated with internal-control design and implementation. In aggregate, for the 1,428 firms in our sample, these costs amount to about $19 billion per year. Profitability is lower for up to four years post-SOX. To our knowledge, ours are the first estimates of the realized net costs imposed by SOX.

$19 billion per year with profits being impacted for 4 years. And no calculation of the compound nature of regulations which come from hundreds of regulators, in hundreds of markets. It is a heavy burden that society is placing on the financial institutions and I am yet to be convinced on a macro level that this is really thought through.

Friday, December 25

What a great job!> Head of Tunnelling

I happened to look over the FT website for more news on the gilts problem when my eyes fell on this role:

Thames Water

Delivery of major tunnels to cost, time, quality and HSE targets and contribution to the Leadership and continuous improvement of Capital Delivery.

What is the purpose of this role?
The delivery of major tunnels to cost, time, quality and HSE targets as well as contribution to the leadership and continuous improvement of Capital Delivery.
What makes this role unique?
Technical and Health & Safety complexity is on an international scale for our projects (one is for the deepest and highest pressure tunnels to have ever been constructed). Extremely high criticality of completion on time due to potential infraction proceedings in the UK government by the EU. Extraordinarily high risk of cost overrun requiring robust management to keep the project under control.
What will this role involve?

High level internal and external stakeholder management
Leadership of the delivery team inclusive of 6 direct staff and a project team of approximately 30 mixed direct staff and consultants
Contract and commercial management,  Inspirational people management as part of the extended leadership team, Delivery of projects to time, cost, quality, safety and environmental targets
Active leadership to extend corporate influence for the wider advancement of Capital Delivery, Operations and Thames Water
Responsibility for all major tunnelling projects in Thames Water
What are we looking for?
Excellent commercial acumen
Proven contract management expertise with successful outcomes evidenced
Demonstrable abilities in managing third party contracts at significant scale
Track record of delivering complex projects to cost/time/quality/ HSE standards
Senior manager level leadership, influencing, negotiating and communication skills
A clear leader of people able to deliver tough projects and outputs through inspirational leadership
Proven success at complex tunnel delivery in any sector or other major project success within the water sector i.e. individual projects over £100m

I am sure the job is tough, but to call the job as HEAD of tunnelling is great, he will be the head literally and figuratively I guess :)

Thursday, December 24

Pak court rejects asylum petition for 5 American Muslims

This is what happens when you have countries too closely associated with religion. Take for example, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan or any other OIC country which is all gung ho about Islam. Since Jihad is part of the religion, the argument goes, any bearded terrorist who is looking for jihad can ask for asylum. You couldn't make this up, seriously.


LAHORE: A Pakistani court today dismissed a petition seeking asylum in the name of 'holy war' for five American Muslim youths recently arrested in the country for allegedly planning terror attacks, saying that it was not the duty of the judiciary to define 'jihad'.
The Lahore High Court dismissed the petition filed by Khalid Khwaja, a former Inter-Services Intelligence official now associated with a rights organisation. In his petition, Khwaja had contended that the youths came to Pakistan for 'jihad' (holy war) and since this was not a crime, their detention is illegal.

And welcome to ISI inc.. lol

Tuesday, December 22

The early Christian insurgency in Islamic Spain and impact on today’s terrorists

I was having a chat about Arabic conquests with an Egyptian friend and said, well, you are an Arab. He got very upset about it and said he aint Arab, no way Jose. (He is..). Anyway, so we got talking about early Islamic history and we discussed how the edges of the Islamic Empire generally fought off the imperialistic shackles. Here’s an example of the geographic spread.

It's in the area of southern Europe and India where the resistance seems to be most ferocious and ultimately they did throw off the imperialistic yoke to “assume” their older civilisation. But Northern Africa, the Middle East, Iran and Central Asia became Muslim. I remembered reading an interesting paper on this topic, specially related to Spain and thought of giving a quick overview.

The loss of Spain and India seems to have seared the psyche somehow as you can still hear the fundos complain bitterly about the loss of these two territories and maintain that they will win them back again (see below). But while the story of India is well known, it's only the loss of the Spanish kingdom by the Moors that is known. Nobody knows much about what happened after the invincible armies of the Moors rolled over North Africa into Spain and then into southern France till they were stopped by Charles Martel. After the Islamic kingdom was created and formed in Spain, what then? What happened in the immediate aftermath? We know about the reconquista, but what about the intervening period? 


This paper sheds some more light on what happened. The first reason for the success of the resistance was the negation of the use of cavalry by the Muslim forces up in the mountainous region. Without the quick ability to move around the battlefield, the Muslim forces suffered serious casualties and were simply unable to push through to their ultimate conquest of the total peninsula. Also waging war in the mountains is a disaster for the attacking forces and all the advantages lie with the defenders.

The second problem was the inequitable distribution of booty and this caused severe fighting amongst the Muslim nobles. Booty and looting is an accepted part of the Islamic laws of warfare, but then those lovely laws cannot deal with the normal human greed. Time after time, whether in Spain or in the Ottoman Empire or in India, you find that the seeds for the disaster or downfall of the Islamic empire can be related to this factor. Also one has to remember that succession in most Muslim empires and kingdoms was a very bloody affair with siblings being slaughtered regularly. One can see this in the Moorish Kingdoms, in Ottoman times, in Egypt, in the Arab regimes or in the various assorted empires or kingdoms in South Asia. Not that the Christian kingdoms were not better with revolts, but they were less afflicted than the Muslims due to the steadily accepted primogeniture rule, which made the crucial difference.

It took 800 years or so before the Moors were pushed out, but push out they did. Time seems to have moved differently at that time. But then, this kind of time frame isn't surprising. Take Greece for example, the Ottomans went in by about the 13th century and were not chucked out till the 19th century. 

How about the Mughal Empire? It started around 1500 and frankly didn't end till 1857 or so. Mind you, I just read an article which claimed that the British were responsible for the demise of the Mughal Empire. Actually, the Mughal Empire was pretty much dead much before the East India Company had anything to do with it, not least because of Aurangzeb’s administration and activities. What was left by 1857 was a pimple on the rump of the grand empire which was soon pricked.

So it takes time. The Christian rebels in Spain also benefited from the proximity of other Christian kingdoms from where they got their sustenance and support as well. Also, the Spanish resistance maintained their northern Christian kingdoms which ultimately provided the bedrock and bedspring from which the reconquista started.

The other factor which is common in these countries such as Spain, Greece and India was the strength of their respective beliefs. In other words, the local populace didn't give in to the blandishments of the Muslim conquerors and retained their faith. It is this factor which allowed the native population to resist and ultimately overthrow the Imperialistic invaders unlike in Arab and other lands where they gave up. Quite an interesting paper which sheds light on the very early days of the reconquista. Without this period of resistance, one can well imagine that Spain could well have followed in the same footsteps of Algeria, Egypt, etc. who became Muslim countries (although that comment about Egyptians not being Arab is interesting, I might return to that argument sometime)

Which leads me to the second interesting paper. Why is Spain so important to the fuglies? The abstract quotes:

The purpose of this article is to look at the importance and treatment that Spain receives in jihadist propaganda. This study offers a series of empirical observations based on a content analysis of a sample of propaganda produced by jihadist groups between January 1994 and September 2008. The analysis of this material, the context in which it was spread, and a comparison with other Western countries leads to the conclusion that the role played by this country in jihadist propaganda can only be understood by taking into account “structural factors” that have little to do with a greater or lesser level of interference in “Islamic affairs.”

Out of the 2233 documents that the researchers studied, Spain appeared in 2.3% of them, USA in 67%, UK in 5%, Russia in 3%, France in 2.7% and Israel in 14.2%. In particular, the issue of Al Andalus seems to be seared into their psyche. I quote:

In this category have been grouped all the mentions made that refer to the period of Muslim occupation of the Iberian peninsula, understood as between the invasion begun from the north of Africa in 711 until the elimination of the last Islamic redoubt in Spain in 1492 with the taking of the Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs. This is a period of history with a profound evocative power in the Muslim collective imaginary. To use the term “Al Andalus” implies speaking about a past of artistic, architectural, literary, and scientific brilliance, but also implies speaking of a period of greater Islamic political power. Said term forms part of the conceptual baggage for all of the world's Islamic population, independently of the degree of religious practice, political affiliation, or attitudes toward terrorist violence. This remembrance has a character of yearning, of lament and pain for the loss of a territory that symbolized the highest level of splendor of Muslim civilization.
This remembrance of a painful episode for Islam is present in jihadist discourse. It is significant that the first mention of Spain on the part of bin Laden was precisely in these terms: “Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Al Andalus will be repeated in Palestine.”
However, for Al Qaeda these allusions, far from constituting a mere rhetorical resource, acquire the character of an aggressive claim. For jihadist terrorism, the Iberian Peninsula is “dar al islam,” a land pertaining to the ummah, an Islamic land, taken and occupied by infidels. Jihadist terrorism incorporates among its objectives the “return” to Muslims of any land that at some time was under the control of Islam; it is a fight that must lead to the restoration of the original borders of the medieval Caliphate. According to Ayman al-Zawahiri: “Jihad seeks the liberation of Palestine, the entire country of Palestine and to liberate every land that used to be a territory of Islam, from Spain to Iraq.” This defining of the original and immovable boundaries of Islam has become a true “mantra” for Al Qaeda. Although it is true that this objective is seen as a long-term goal, and that first it will be necessary to complete a series of prior objectives of great importance, its repetition is replete with meaning in the sense that it sets out an unrenounceable goal for the jihadist movement. In fact, the “obsession” of Al Qaeda to recover the “lost Al Andalus” now forms a part of the discourse of the rest of the networks that integrate the jihadist constellation. Thus, for example, in a communiqueacute from April 2007 produced by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb the following can be read: “By Allah, we will neither return our sword into its scabbard nor enjoy life until we liberate every Islamic land from [the hands of] the Crusaders, the apostates, and the collaborators, and until our ritually cleansed feet walk [once again] in the stolen [land of] Al Andalus and in desecrated Jerusalem.”…….
……Of equal importance is seeing how this aggressive demand has been incorporated into the ideology of groups geographically distant from Al Andalus, such as the Afghan Taliban. In June of that same year, the prominent Taliban leader Mansour Dadallah stated the following in an interview broadcast by Al-Jazeera: “Jihad will remain an individual duty incumbent upon us, until we regain Al Andalus and all the countries occupied by the infidels.” Regarding the Al Andalus category, it is an authentic exception among the “far enemy.” The jihadists make no territorial claims on any other Western nation, which leads to the amplification of the presence of Spain within the totality of communicative activity of jihadism.
The weight of history in the Muslim imaginary means that the mention of Al Andalus is full of implicit meaning. The targeted public understands perfectly not only to what is being referred to, but also what is the approach of the jihadist groups. Accordingly, the jihad against Spain is justified, not only for Spain's military presence in Afghanistan or its clear support for the U.S. enemy, but also as a legitimate struggle to liberate Islamic land from its Christian occupier. In this sense, the confrontation with Spain goes beyond Spain's policies toward the Muslim world and has a structural character, given that the nation is situated over a territory that by right belongs to Islam and its peoples.
The researchers note that it’s only in the case of Spain that they call it as Al Andalus, the rest of the benighted infidel countries are usually referred to in their current usage names like America, Israel, etc. etc. What really worried me was the ending of the paper and I quote:

In short, one can conclude through analysis of the presence of Spain in jihadist propaganda that independently of the degree of implication of this country in the Islamic world, Spain must endure a threat of structural character that converts it into a perennial target of jihadist terrorism.

While I do not have the data-set, looking at the fulminations that happen in Pakistan and the assorted beards in Pakistan, Kashmir and other unsavoury locations and the arguments made for Spain, there is a chance that India will face threats of a structural character of this ilk. The keyword is stolen. In other words, even if the Kashmir problem is resolved, the threat will only be diminished, not fully removed as long as Al Queda and its compatriots exist. See for example the explanation made for LET at the CFR site. As the BBC reports:

Lashkar's professed ideology went beyond merely challenging Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir. In a pamphlet entitled "Why Are We Waging Jihad?" the group defined its agenda as the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India.

See the word “restoration”? this is what is the operative word. And if more corroboration is required, read this report by Husain Haqqani, the current Pakistani Ambassador to the the Court of Saint Obama.  This report talks about the ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups.

Egyptian Government doing nutty things

It's obvious that the Muslim governments who got excited about Switzerland’s banning of the minarets (that stupid vote) forgot a few things themselves. This was indeed a democracy, despite the voting being an islamophobic one. Secondly, these Muslim governments are rarely democratic themselves. Take Egypt for example. It's not democratic by any stretch of the imagination. It even diverted its upset populace’s attention by going on and on about the Algerian – Egyptian football match, go figure. Anyway, so what does it do now? I quote:
CAIRO, DECEMBER 9 - The Egyptian parliament will be carrying out a scientific research to prove that mosque minarets, which a recent Swiss referendum okayed their ban, are important to Muslims, MENA reported. The religious affairs committee of the Peoples Assembly has been assigned with the job: to issue a statement to be delivered as a letter to the presidents of the Swiss parliament, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, protesting the outcome of the poll. Ahmed Fathi Sorour, the speaker of the Peoplés Assembly, said the Swiss government and parliament were against the referendum, whose results came to reflect a growing sense of Islamophobia in the European country.
I started laughing helplessly when I read this. They are important to Muslims? D’oh. Yes they are. They are also important to other people, you doofus. They are also important to the construction industry, the broadcasting industry, the academic industry and and and. And just what scientific research will be carried out? On what basis? What fun, what stupidity, lol. I am firmly of the belief that the greatest danger to Islam is not from the crusaders, zionists or the west, but it is from their own leaders, politicians and religious leaders such as these dorks mentioned above.

On a separate note, did you know that the chap who is the architect of the Swiss referendum is a Turkish Muslim, I quote:
One of the architects of the controversial Swiss referendum that resulted in a ban on the construction of minarets has a Turkish heritage, daily Milliyet reported on Wednesday. Born in the Aegean province of Izmir to a Turkish father and a Swiss mother, Soli Pardos family moved to Switzerland when he was 5 years old, the daily said. Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets on November 29, barring construction of the iconic mosque towers in a surprise vote that put Switzerland at the forefront of a European backlash against a growing Muslim population. Muslim groups in Switzerland and abroad condemned the vote as biased and anti-Islamic.
The referendum by the nationalist Swiss Peoplés Party, or SVP, labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation. Pardo also said minarets are used as symbols in Europe, but added: I do not have any reactions against Muslims, and I do not accept that there is Islamaphobia in Switzerland.
Pardo, who is the leader of the Geneva Canton for the SVP, said his father was a small-scale industrialist and passed away in 1976 when Pardo was 21. Regarding the referendum, he said: We do not believe that the minarets are linked to worship because no calls to prayer are made from the minarets. We are not against building mosques but against 5- to 6-meter-tall minarets. The initiative was approved 57.5 to 42.5% by some 2.67 million voters.
So here we go, official confirmation from Switzerland, there is no connection between Islam and Muslims and Minarets, lol. So what then is the official position? An interesting op-ed from a Professor in Islamic Art History from Arab News can help. I quote the relevant bits here, but do read the full piece:
Minarets were introduced in the process of conquest such as in the earliest surviving imperial mosque — the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus — in the beginning of the 8th century. Minarets were in this case an appropriation of a Byzantine church’s bell towers.
Slowly minarets became one of the elements asserting the grandeur and influence of big mosques financed by the early Islamic states, notably between the 8th and the 10th centuries. The Damascus Mosque’s minarets seem to have been imitated later in the 10th century when the rulers of Andalusian Cordoba were aspiring to rival the major Islamic eastern caliphates. The helicoidal 9th century minarets in the mosques of the Abbasid city of Samarra, which are the largest mosques in pre-modern history, seem to have been imitated in Egypt in the same century. Yet minarets were not a constant element. In the eastern Islamic lands, especially within the Persian space, minarets seem to play a minor role. At some point in the 14th century minarets in Iran were simply decorative accessories for huge portals with big domes in the background.
It is probably with the Turkic dynasties, culminating with the Ottomans since the 15th century, that minarets would be equated with Islamic images in the Western European imaginaire. It has been widely reported in the European travelogues that one of the first acts of Ottomans after conquering Constantinople in 1453 was the insertion of a minaret at one of the corners of the Byzantine church of Haghia Sophia. In fact, the Ottomans seemed to have used the minaret as one of the elements to visually appropriate conquered Byzantine churches and convert them to mosques. They tended also to build monumental minarets, sometimes four, in their new mosques.
Whatever its meaning in the premodern era, the minaret’s signification seems to have been reshaped starting from the end of the 19th century.
It's curious, and before I finish this, I thought of looking around the OIC and how they react to the presence of other religions. Whether we are talking about Mauritania, Iran, Iraq, Turkey or Egypt etc. etc. they all have much bigger problems with other religions. So it's a spot of major hypocrisy for them to moan about Switzerland. Then again, its Switzerland who should be ashamed of lowering themselves to the abysmal standards that the OIC hold themselves to. Esphoks.

Churches agree to end 'sheep stealing'

This made me go WTF. HT: Ashok Chowgule. And I am quoting from the Union of Catholic Asian News. Fully, before they know what they put up.

BHOPAL, India (UCAN) -- Churches in Madhya Pradesh have agreed to stop poaching each other's members, saying this threatens Christian unity in a state where Christians already face sporadic violence.


Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal leading 
prayers at the ecumenical gathering

The practice of "sheep stealing" also confuses Christians and helps groups hostile toward them carry out their designs easily, concluded some 100 leaders of various Churches who met Dec. 12 in the state capital, Bhopal.

Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, head of the Catholic Church in the central Indian state, chaired the meeting organized by the archdiocese's commission for ecumenism and dialogue.

The prelate urged participants to refrain from trying to attract members of other Churches to their own. This creates divisions among Churches, he noted.

The prelate also appealed for all denominations to refrain from badmouthing one another or other religious communities, especially during preaching, since this violates Christ's teaching of love, harmony and peace.

Asked about the gravity of the "sheep stealing" problem in Madhya Pradesh, Archbishop Cornelio told UCA News that no official survey has been conducted so far, but "it is very visible and threatening to Church unity."

He said there is also a worrying trend of small Church groups suddenly appearing in the state. These preach against other groups and then disappear quickly, leaving "enough fodder for trouble."

He said the main victims of these groups are the mainstream Churches.

Reverend C.D. Singh of the Disciples Church, who attended the meeting, told UCA News that conversion attempts from other denominations were the "biggest challenge" he has faced so far. People keep moving from one Church to another, he noted.

"I went to the Churches where some of my parishioners had joined and I found the prayer services there very effective. So I changed the prayer service in my Church to deter believers from leaving," he said.

Reverend Singh blamed priests and pastors for people changing their Church affiliations. Priests and pastors, he said, should lead exemplary lives and understand their people's spiritual needs. Otherwise they will look for an alternative, he warned.

Church of North India pastor Reverend Timothy Bankhede noted "a dangerous trend" of people setting up small sects and encouraging people to join them.

The Protestant pastor says Churches should work together to fight extremist groups that want to destroy Christianity in the state, instead of creating confusion among their people through the pilfering of followers.

Preaching the Gospel should target people who have not heard Christ's message and not those who are already Christians, he asserted.

Meeting participants agreed to set up a four-member committee to formulate measures to end interdenominational conversions and strengthen ecumenical harmony.

Madhya Pradesh has witnessed many instances of anti-Christian violence since the pro-Hindu ruling Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the state in December 2003.

Well, its nice to hear that they consider their brethren to be sheep. Lol. Well, i have to be blunt here, anybody who converts is a sheep anyway, from any religion to another other. I am an equal opportunity joker to any convert. They are usually all silly. So its ok to steal souls from Hinduism but not ok to steal souls from other Christian churches? These people are STOOOOPID. MASSIVE FAIL

But check out what the church is doing? But I suppose its better than paedophilia and child abuse which seems to be the lot of the western churches. Goodness, how far the mighty have fallen. This is another reason why I hate organised religion. As soon religion gets organised, all the charlatans and morons seem to pop up in the positions of priestly power.

Why their IT hates our IT

This was quite an interesting article. Go read the full thing.


I am very surprised that these Pakistani generals think that corporate FDI is so fickle that it can get negated by bombing the Infosys campus. The network effects, the existing capacity in India all means that its too much invested to remove. And where can you remove the offshoring/outsourcing to? Philippines, Egypt, China all are also facing Islamic terrorism. If they pull it back to UK and USA, oh!, guess what? they are also facing Islamic Terrorism. But then, never expect military officers to know about strategy.

But are the Americans listening? I am afraid not. Here’s a prediction, this problem will not be resolved and will actually will become bigger and bigger the more the Americans rely on the Pakistani Army. Here’s an example, since 9/11 and even before, we knew the problem was the Pakistani Army. Since 9/11, what has the American polity, army and intelligence agencies done to get the Pakistani people on its side and improve democracy? compared to the assistance given to the Pakistani Army? See what I mean? totally disbalanced.

Sunday, December 20

The BNP’s internal inconsistencies

I have been discussing this issue desultorily in a tory group. This issue being the attempts by the BNP to now let non-White people into the political party to avoid the impact of the discrimination act. Anyway, I find it very funny and amusing to read about this. Just the very idea of the BNP trying to recruit non white people to support a party whose policy is to chuck out the said non white people is ferociously funny. This is what I wrote on an email:

This promises to be a most promising sociological and political development but ultimately destined for failure if history is any guide.  I am hard pressed to think of any other historical example where a situation like this has succeeded without changing the home exclusivist party irrevocably. The non whites will be looked as quislings by their fellow group members or mere tokens by others or plain mad.

When the exclusive party really wants to form a broad tent manifesto to really attract more members, it has to spend an extraordinary amount of time and resources. And the move leftward will splinter the party on the right. There are couple of excellent books on this evolution and behavior of extreme parties. Will dig it out sometime.

And then replied to a query about its narrowness:

I am not so sure. Based upon my review of its manifesto, i cannot see any part of the manifesto which is anywhere near the centre or even right or left of centre. The idea behind the concensus is what defines the centre. If one draws a multi dimensional matrix with its social, economic, political and diplomatic policies, it will be several standard deviations to the left (and in some cases, to the right).
Secondly, as I said, the historical evidence suggests that it will remain in the extreme end always if it sticks with its rather interesting policies.
I am also not sure why asian and black citizens would join in. After all, the party actually does not consider them as indigenous (their definition seems to be based upon the level of melanin in their skins, preferably something weird called as white european...). So if blacks and asians do join in, presumably they would do so in the full knowledge that its like turkeys voting for christmas.
I dont think I have come across anybody who is a black/asian who is supporting the bnp based upon this race based immigration policy? They might say that they hate say romanian immigration, but when faced with the rather unhappy logical conclusion that if the BNP does come to power, not only the romanians will stay back (white european race), its the non white population which will be invited to leave. Would love to hear if you have read about anybody who is non white who says so?
And muslims joining the BNP because of afghanistan withdrawal? Hmmm, could you suggest some examples of any muslims who have said so?
But this promises to be quite interesting to see the gymnastics it performs. It is absolutely fascinating to watch.
As I mentioned, I didnt find anything in the historical record, and I went back to check on the journal articles as well as books which would lead me to consider this step to have any chance of broadening the BNP's electroral base without compromising on its basic principles and splintering. The odds are that it will splinter before it went broad based.
Anyway, lets see...

When a Sikh chap announced that he wants to join the BNP, this is what I wrote:

Heh. The inconsistencies just keep on piling up. Reminds of that movie, Mel Gibson and that black fella. Who go to the South African embassy of yore and pointing to the black chap, say that he wants to emigrate to south Africa. The face of the immigration official was priceless. Mr Singh doesn't seem to have twigged to the racial aspect yet.


oh! what I meant was the immigration reviews that the BNP seem to go for are based upon race. No? Its not purely religious so to say. In effect, he is supporting a party which is asking for the voluntary or otherwise repatriation of people like him. As I said, turkeys voting in the affirmative for christmas :)


We are mixing up two things here. 1. Anti Islam feeling and 2. Anti non White immigration.
Any non White fella will fall foul of one or both of these policies. For mr Singh to actually support the first but not the second doesn't really make sense to me.
Why support the first when the result will be immaterial to him as he would be on a plane with the Muslims as well? I know this is a theoritical question but as I said, this is absolutely fascinating :)

It is a pressure group and for what its worth, its working. I am a fervent believer that the state has to be colour blind and in its infinite wisdom, this government has actually given in too much to caring about minorities and not enough about what British means. And I do not consider being British is defined by the colour of skin but the strength of character, history, etc. etc. :)


But it was with some pleasure that I found myself being vindicated to a certain extent. I quote from this site.

Now however, things seem to be coming to a head with the resignations of former contender for the BNP leadership (in a rigged election that he couldn’t possibly win) Chris Jackson (pictured), his former campaign manager Mike Easter and someone named Kev Bryan, who was apparently the Rossendale Branch Organiser. The resignations are announced in an open letter posted on the mostly defunct jackson4leader site:

‘Disbandment of reform Group

What is the point of the BNP if you admit foreigners?

Sadly we have come to the conclusion that the BNP is breaking up and there is no practicable likelihood of it recovering.

In our opinion the root cause of the failure is the Constitution of the Party. The Constitution, that is the Party Rules, makes the Party Leader a dictator. The current leader rather than reforming the Constitution toward that of a normal English association has (probably illegally) made alterations to the Constitution making his removal virtually impossible.

The Party is now a nationalist party in name only and has abandoned many of the fundamental principles on which it was founded.

A further major problem is that of money. Under the Constitution, all money is controlled by the Party Leader. The Party Leader appoints the Party Treasurer and Party Auditor. The Leader has carte blanche to dispose of the funds as he pleases.

This has never been a satisfactory situation, and now that the Party is alleged to be turning over a million pounds a year, is nothing short of a scandal. There have been four different Treasurers this year and the 2008 accounts are way overdue. The Party has been fined by the Electoral Commission for late publication of accounts. This is a re-run of last year when the accounts were also late and when published were endorsed by the Auditor as unsatisfactory.

A separate, but related, issue is the Trafalgar Club. This Club raises money directly to support the Party Leader. No accounts for this club have ever been published and they have not been appended to the Party accounts, as clearly they should be.

We recommend that no further money be sent to ‘Head Office’.

Whilst the BNP has been going downhill, the National Front has reformed itself and now is led by a group of reliable people and has the Constitution of a normal democratic association. Consequently, we believe that BNP members should transfer to the National Front.

Mike Easter
Chris Jackson
Kevin Bryan‘

Some more comments on that site makes for very nice reading. Also check out this site.

What next? Well, the BNP has 2 choices as I mentioned, it has to either move to the right and merge with the National Front. Or it has to move to the centre and thus has to lose its exclusivist racist angle. In either case, its in a horn of a dilemma. The problem with simplistic and frankly intellectually challenged (read idiot) policies is that sooner or later, the holes become too big for even morons to swallow. This is why I am relatively sanguine about this party’s progress. It will be a shame but should be good to provide some more fun and games over the next few months and years.

Friday, December 18

Bubonic Plague / Ebola / Flesh Eating Bacteria aka Man Flu

I frequently suffer from a whole host of horrible diseases which range from Bubonic Plague, Ebola, Flesh Eating Bacteria, etc. etc. The women in my life, starting from my mum to my wife to my sisters and my little princess call it as Man Flu and dismiss it cruelly, but what do these women know, they are just women, they never fall ill. Only men can understand the gravity of this severe disease. This picture is a fair representation of a terminally ill man:


Look at him, the man is obviously on his last legs. Can you as his significant other ever say no to his miserable crying, bleating and whining? You are supposed to help him, cuddle him, have sex with him, and say, “poor little bunny” frequently while feeding him lots of soup and stuff.

The paramedics obviously have a better handle on things as this video shows:

Thursday, December 17

His tremendousness “Prince of Ligurian” village dies

Words fail me. I just love Italy, its such a great brilliant wonderful country, ever full of surprises. I quote from this story 

A Ligurian man who claimed headlines in recent years by proclaiming independence from Italy and getting himself crowned 'prince' has died at the age of 73. Giorgio Carbone, a former flower grower, was elected to the post by the 364 inhabitants of the apparently sleepy village of Seborga, about 50km inland from the Ligurian Riviera, in 1963. He was known as His Tremendousness Giorgio I and boasted that Seborga was the oldest independent principality in Europe.

The prince made numerous attempts to obtain international recognition for his breakaway principality and launched a separate currency, the 'luigino'. The following year a power struggle arose when a woman calling herself Princess Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjou Plantagenet wrote to newly elected Italian President Giorgio Napolitano claiming to be the rightful heir to Seborga's throne.

The Seborgans still have the luigino, which is accepted in the village shops and bars, as well as their own stamps and their own flag - a white cross on a blue background. A sign at the entrance to the village reads 'Principality of Seborga'.

the best part was, he was called as His Tremendousness. What a wonderful evocative name. I want that title!

No religious structures on public land

This was very long overdue and something that every secular Liberal Democracy has to take on board. Keep religion firmly in the private area. You want to worship your god, your pasta, your goddesses or your wood, then you do it in your own time, in your place. I quote:

Stating that state government cannot let “personal faith” eat up public space for fear of provoking religious sentiments, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that no new constructions of “temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras will be allowed on public parks, public streets and public spaces.”
“The court is going to be very strict on this ban, even if it gives rise to a law and order problem. We are making it abundantly clear that any fresh construction is banned,” ruled the Bench led by Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Patnaik.
“Non-compliance with the order, whatever be the problem within a state, you (state government concerned) will be in great difficulty,” the Bench cautioned a battery of standing counsel representing various state governments.
The Bench also passed a sweeping order that no courts in the country will entertain any complaints against the apex court’s ban, thus closing all avenues for protests by religious groups or private individuals. “Regarding the gravity of the matter, we direct that no order which is inconsistent with our order of ban be passed,” the court ruled.
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“Chief Secretaries must ensure total compliance of our orders, any breach will be viewed seriously by this court,” warned the Bench. The fate of the existing unauthorised structures will be decided on a “case to case basis” by the state governments.
Today’s order follows an earlier ruling passed on September 29, when the apex court had banned construction of unauthorised religious places of worships on public land. The Bench passed the order after finding that the states had hardly taken any action to implement the ban.
The Bench has asked Chief Secretaries to either file affidavits within six weeks swearing that the ban has been implemented in every district of their state, or be present in court with an explanation.

Shame about the Syrian Men

This was amusing.

The Syrian women are the most intelligent and respectable among the world's women," said the state-run Syrian news agency SANA, quoting American and British studies. SANA quoted Professor Katie Bradford, head of a research team at the American Michigan University, as attributing the Syrian women's superior intelligence to the "healthy food they consume, such as olive oil which nourishes the brains and walnuts which preserve blood circulation." According to SANA, Bradford said that "among the most important factors that increased the level of intelligence and awareness of Syrian women is their studies at Syrian universities; the social openness and gender equality in Syria." SANA also said that a study by the British Starch Center for international researches "concluded that Syrian women are the most respectable on world level."

lol. What happened to the Syrian Men? The Syrian Women presumably cook for the Syrian Men and just what are they feeding the men? And no, I am not being sexist, that’s what happens in Arabic households in Syria, if you think that Syrian men are emancipated men, then I have a bridge for sale.

Wednesday, December 16

Women protest against gender equality law

You couldn't make this up. I quote:

Tens of thousands of people in Mali's capital, Bamako, have been protesting against a new law which gives women equal rights in marriage.

The law, passed earlier this month, also strengthens inheritance rights for women and children born out of wedlock.

The head of a Muslim women's association says only a minority of Malian women - "the intellectuals" as she put it - supports the law.

Several other protests have taken place in other parts of the country.

The law was adopted by the Malian parliament at the beginning of August, and has yet to be signed into force by the president.

One of the most contentious issues in the new legislation is that women are no longer required to obey their husbands.

Hadja Sapiato Dembele of the National Union of Muslim Women's Associations said the law goes against Islamic principles.

"We have to stick to the Koran," Ms Dembele told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. "A man must protect his wife, a wife must obey her husband."

"It's a tiny minority of women here that wants this new law - the intellectuals. The poor and illiterate women of this country - the real Muslims - are against it," she added.

This is like medieval barbarism….

Tuesday, December 15

Looking after children is not work

This was brilliant. If only for the serious wtf and irony. First the facts:

A stay-at-home parent’s activities are not classified as ‘work’, according to the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court. The Court refused to award a Malmö woman unemployment insurance benefits (a-kassa), after the Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten) had considered that she had no right to receive social benefits, according to the news agency Siren. Even if the children have special needs that prevent the parent from working outside of the home, the parent is still not entitled to receive unemployment benefits.

So its not work, eh? and the chutzpah was the woman asking for unemployment benefits. Having children is a benefit, its a choice, not a duty. This is why I find it bizarre when child benefit is given or extra special benefits are given to have kids. Hello, why? What for? you might as well as give benefits for breathing. And all this in Sweden. Heh.

The fight between two Islams

Now this is where one gets confused. On one hand, we have these students and defenders of Islam, aka Taliban, claiming that they defend Islam and have carried out this suicide attack on the Pakistani Army mosque. On the other hand, we have the Pakistani Head of the Army saying:

"The nation, including the army, stands united in sharing their grief. Pakistan is our motherland. It is the bastion of Islam and we live for the glory of Islam and Pakistan. Our faith, resolve and pride in our religion and in our country is an asset, which is further reinforced after each terrorist incident."

Here’s what the spokesperson of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan said before:

"These are religiously legitimate targets…the targets of the Tehrik-i-Taliban have always been clear: those state organizations who at the behest of the Americans target the Tehrik-i-Taliban and have the blood of our martyrs on their hands."

Sort of confusing, no? I know Al Queda isnt the Taliban, but its quite instructive to read this story: I quote:

Between 2004 and 2008, for example, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for 313 attacks, resulting in the deaths of 3,010 people. And even though these attacks include terrorist incidents in the West -- in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005 -- only 12 percent of those killed (371 deaths) were Westerners.

Fairly typical and as I have pointed out before, Muslims are at more danger from their compatriots rather than Non Muslims as proven by the fact (as I have referenced elsewhere on this blog) that more Muslims have been killed by their fellow religionists compared to all the rest of the Zionists, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus combined.

Perhaps the reason is that they are a tad confused like I am? Like two groups claiming the same religious justification for killing each other. Oh! Joy!. Then you have the Pakistani Interior Minister asking the mullah’s for a fatwa against these terrorist attacks.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday urged religious scholars to give a Fatwa against suicide attacks. Talking to the media at the Interior Ministry, Malik said no religion allowed suicide attacks and slaughter of innocent people, including children, elders and women. He said al-Qaeda, the TTP, the Sipah-i-Sahaba and some others were actively involved in incidents of terrorism in the country to make Pakistan a failed state.

Hmmm, even more confusing. So these Islamic terrorists who are using Islamic theology to justify their killing of Soldiers who are the bastion of Islam and then the head of the interior ministry is now asking Islamic scholars to release an Islamic ruling that the former be declared as Islamic persona-non-grata. BTW, what do you think are the chances of any Pakistani Scholar to go up against the taliban? This example or even this would be a nice little deterrent, no? On the other hand, what will happen if the Taliban ask Islamic Scholars to produce a fatwa saying that the army was doing wrong. Then?

Then again, if suicide attacks can happen in a mosque killing children, then I am sure we will see huge demonstrations around the world protesting against the Taliban’s desecration of a sacred place.

Hair hurting time.

Saturday, December 12

A turkey of an Economic System

Fascinating history of the Plymouth Plantation in 1620. An excerpt:

In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.

Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.

This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behaviour. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.

Go read the full thing, very nice

Friday, December 11

21st Century Discourse on Dalits

I received the email below and this is what I responded. The sad part is that he and those other dolts are doing exactly to those poor benighted dalits what others have done to them. They are the useful idiots. If they were smart and they are getting smarter (otherwise the shrillness coefficient from these idiots will not have gone up), they would realise that their economic well being is more tied to being Indians rather than Dalits. Plus economic development and urbanisation will put paid to these people. Still, sometimes its cringe inducing….

Have people actually read the drivel that Kancha produces in the name of scholarship? Its political ideology rather than history, historiography, sociology, anthropology or even political geography. It is not sociology, it sure as heck isn't spiritual and by no means it is scientific. As for discourse, that shrill outpouring of bile and drivel is as conducive to debate and discourse as a sewer.

And looking at the book launch, it has unfortunately proven the point, none (except Professor Rodriguez who I don’t know) are purely there for either political or commercial purposes. I am also not sure what's the connection with Nagaland, or even Burma as she seems to be heading up some Burmese research centre.

Citing American civil war as an example is frankly bewildering and again shows a very large lack of understanding of the background & reasons of that war. For one people (integrationists) to go to war over somebody totally unrelated (the black population) with their own people (secessionists) has never happened in the history of humankind. Never. And spiritual democracy? And yet again, no religion actually claims that, every religion (if Hinduism can indeed be called as such) has discrimination actively built into it. Every one.

So it is not surprising that given the intellectual vacuity of his argument, one would immediately suspect that this was nothing to do with religion but everything to do with politics.

Curioser and curioser.


> Dalit Freedom NetworkP. O. Box 2174  Secunderabad, Andhra
> Pradesh – 500003, India Email Dr. Joseph D’souza - International > President For Press ReleasePost Hindu India by Kancha Ilaiah
> Released21st Century Discourse on Dalit Bahujan,
> Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution in India New Delhi, 
November 26, 2009 In a historic gathering of campaigners for > Dalit Bahujan (India’s “untouchables” and lower castes) human
> rights, Dr. Alana Golmei, a Rongmei Naga tribal woman from 
North East India released Dr. Kancha Ilaiah’s book last evening > at Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Following a
> short press conference, a panel discussion featured leading
> Dalit-Bahujan thinkers interacting on the themes of the
> book.While congratulating the author, Dr. Alana said, “I am
> delighted to release such profound and revolutionary book,
> which predicts the future of my people and Dalit  Bahujans at
> large, who have been classified as outcastes and untouchable
> by Brahminical hierarchies and kept under socio-political,
> socio-economic, socio-religion and socio-educational
> oppression for last 3000 years. Kancha’s ideology will create
> a welcome debate and discussion in the coming decade on these
> important issues of true freedom for Dalit Bahujans.” 
> Research scholars, students, civil society members, social
> workers, politicians, Dalit activists, and journalists --
> both national and international -- attended the book launch
> and joined the two hour panel discussion. Mr. Yogendra
> Makwana, Former Home Minister of Gujarat state, chaired the
> discussion. Panelists included: Prof. Gail Omvedt, an
> American-born scholar, sociologist, and human rights activist 
who is an Indian citizen; Dr. Joseph D’souza, International > President of the Dalit Freedom Network; Dr. Udit Raj,
> National Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST 
> Organisations; Prof. Valerian Rodrigues, School of Social
> Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and Mr. Vivek
> Mehra, Managing Director of Sage Publications. Dr. Joseph
> D’souza, in his panel discussion remarks, said, “Kancha’s
> book, “Post-Hindu India” is the greatest 21st century
> challenge to the Brahminical portion of Hindu society. It
> rationally questions and respectfully reveals the caste
> apartheid facing untouchables, outcastes and the oppressed
> majority of India.” In his remarks, Professor Kancha Ilaiah 
said, “Any religion that says all human beings, men and women > are created by God equally is a spiritual democracy. Hinduism
> says all human beings -- men and women -- are not equally
> created. They were born unequal, live unequal, and die
> unequal. I call this spiritual fascism.” Professor Dr. Kancha
> Ilaiah teaches in the Department of Political Science, 
Osmania University, Hyderabad. He won the prestigious London  > Institute of South Asia (LISA) Award for 2008 for his book
> “Why I am Not a Hindu” and has provided expert testimony to
> commissions in India and abroad about the Dalit Bahujan
> struggle. “The oppressive system of spiritual fascism is
> detrimental to the future of religion and the flourishing of
> our great nation. The idea of spiritual justice or
> varnadharma, used to justify the caste system, as rooted in
> spiritual inequality is the main factor that will affect the
> future of Hinduism,” said Prof. Kancha. As Dalit Bahujans
> continue to struggle against spiritual fascism and search for
> equality and liberation, the nation seems to be heading
> toward a civil war, predicted Prof. Kancha. He cited American
> civil war history, “Racism of black and white in America came
> to end but only at the end of civil war. I hope we can avoid
> this.” The event was organised by Dalit Freedom Network in
> partnership with Sage Publications. Dr. Kancha  Ilaiah serves
> on the Advisory Board of the Dalit Freedom Network. The Dalit
> Freedom Network (, is a non-partisan,
> non-government human rights organization founded in 2002 to
> support the Dalit Bahujan quest for religious freedom, social
> justice, and human dignity through projects in education,
> health care, economic advancement, and social justice
> advocacy and intervention. Sage Publications is an
> independent, international publisher of books, journals, and
> electronic media with offices in India, London, and the 
> United States. Known for a commitment to quality and
> innovation, Sage is a world leader in scholarly, educational,
> and professional markets. See excerpt below about the book. 
Released by  Madhu. ChandraMedia In-chargeDFN - Delhi9716004939>  About the Book “Post-Hindu India” by Kancha IlaiahFrom: Kancha > Ilaiah, the author of the best selling  book Why I am Not a
> Hindu, pens a thought-provoking critique of Brahmanism and
> the caste system in India, while anticipating the death of
> Hinduism as a direct consequence of, what he says is, its
> anti-scientific and anti-nationalistic stand. This work
> challenges Hinduism`s interpretation of history, with a
> virulent attack on caste politics, and also takes a
> refreshing look at the necessity of encouraging indigenous
> scientific thought for the sake of national progress. It
> establishes Hinduism as a `backward` religion that suppresses
> the latent scientific and productive potential of the
> Dalit–Bahujan communities. The author says this oppressive
> system of spiritual fascism is detrimental to both the future
> of religion and the nation-state. He thus criticizes the idea
> of spiritual justice or varnadharma, used to justify the
> caste system, as rooted in spiritual inequality. On a
> micro-analytical level, it is based on a thorough study of
> the productive knowledge systems of the Dalit? Bahujan
> communities of Andhra Pradesh, and provides a detailed
> day-to-day analysis of the scientific technological processes
> and events at work in the life of a member of these
> communities. On a macro level, it shows how Hinduism fails to
> negotiate between faith and reason, unlike other major
> religions of the world. Kancha Ilaiah critiques the
> intellectual imagination of the dominant communities and
> inspires the marginalized. In the process of doing so he
> crafts a work of immense socio-political interest which
> appeals to academics, and also to all those who are concerned
> about contemporary India`s polity and social fabric.

Book burning

A photograph from old times showing a pile of books being burnt during Nazi times. For a bibliophile like me, its really painful to watch.


here’s a video.

Hitler’s willing executioners. Never forget that it was the ordinary people who did this, nothing special, nothing ideological. None of the namby pamby excuses of a small minority who did this. The holocaust and this kind of book burning was done, abetted, helped and encouraged by the ordinary people who carried this out. This is why the people like the BNP are dangerous. They are common people, they are normal people, they might just live next to you, perfectly happy but their ideas of asking non white people to leave the country will lead to exactly the situation like the above. And no, i am not violating Godwin’s law, but hope you can see the parallels.

Sighs, what harm did the books do? But interestingly enough, read this story in the economist today. What do you do with Nazi tracts? I quote:

What to do with 4,000 copies of such titles as “The White Man’s Bible”? They didn’t feel comfortable burning books. So they offered them to some artists. The art that resulted—origami peace cranes made from torn-out pages of neo-Nazi drivel, and so forth—is touring the state until next summer.

Here’s a sneak preview:

Thursday, December 10

Hinduism – the history and evolution

For some reason, people are frantic to box and classify Hinduism. Whether it be the Muslim Invaders to the country, or the British who came to rule the country, the missionaries, the academics, or even the current lot of Hindu political leaders. For a variety of purposes, none of which related to the actual adherents of the religion, this forcing of people into this box called as Hinduism continues.

The main reason for this, in my mind, is the nefarious impact of those desert originated religions, namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Each of them obviously dealt with a bunch of people who needed some pretty strong medicine, so they came up with a whole panoply of rules, regulations, myths, leaders and the like. And because they were all jostling for space and adherents between each other, they had to have “us and them” as a very strong component in their own theology. Driven by politics and priest/mullahs and what have you, this growth in their religions meant that while they gained a religion with rules, they lost the faith in humanity.

Not so in this wonderful land of South Asia. As it so happens, the original name of Hindu related to a geographical region. To with, the people who live in and to the east of the river Sindhu (Indus). And because at that time, the Persians were the closest large neighbour with a flourishing civilisation and links to the desert and to Europe, guess what everybody started calling them? There is evidence of this name from the inscriptions made in the name of Darius 1, way back in the 6th century AD.

But but but, there have been religious texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, Pruranas and and and for much longer than the 6th century AD. Sure has heck there have been. And you know what? the people who studied this and followed these religious books (collectively known as Dharmashastra) were not that keen on being labelled as such because no such common name exists. What they were more concerned about was to live in a way that Dharma is fulfilled. And because there were multiplicity of Gods and pathways to God and all meeting in the supreme godhead, besides some skirmishes in the temples, nobody really cared to label them or bring them into another fold.

Then comes the entry of trade and missionaries, all gung ho and happy to harvest souls for Jesus or what have you. And their tiny minds were simply unable to comprehend a vast corpus of literature, a different language and a multiplicity of Gods. Hence, they were basically named as Pagans. As one goes through a variety of missionary tracts and memoires, the overwhelming image that pops into my head is this Christian or Muslim desire to try to comprehend this vast philosophical edifice according to their rigid tiny frameworks and failing. Here’s a simple example, this idea of forcing a God framework with a creator (Brahma), preserver (Vishnu) and destroyer (Shiva) is a foreign construct, yes, the individual Gods do exist but to ascribe a framework to them, totally foreign and I suspect emanating from the idea of the trinity.

On the other hand, when the Muslim invaders did pop into this land beyond the Indus, it was the idol worshipping that primarily got their goat, and again, because they were usually driven by religious (and that fairly secular motive of greed) jihad, anybody who had anything to do with idols was summarily labelled as foreign or other. Lets also not forget that from an politico-economic perspective (the imposition of zakat and the religious requirements for treating non-Muslims differently) required the identification of the original inhabitants as a religious unit.

So we end up with two external forces, the Muslim invaders from the 12th century onwards and the European Christian (traders and missionary) entry from the 14th/15th century onwards. Both of which were driven due to different reasons but both very interested in defining and labelling the bunch of people who they found living in the lands to the east of Indus. Check out Al-Biruni’s work on this or the Asiatic Society’s work from the European traders perspective or the various missionary tracts published by the Italians, Spanish and others priests (see the link at the bottom for the article where a good overview is given).

The right way to describe this corpus of knowledge is “Sanatan Dharma” rather than Hinduism because that is how the followers (if that word can be used) describe it and it has theological backing to it. It is classically simple in its meaning. Unlike Christianity which describes itself as a follower of Christ, and like Islam (which stands for peace or surrender to God), Sanatan Dharma simply means, “the way of life” or “the way of truth/righteousness” Be good and live a good life.

And before you think I am taking off on these early Muslim and Christian documenters of my religion, let me also direct my ire at the Hindu leaders themselves. When these people try to claim a consistency and coherence in Hinduism (like claiming that Hinduism doesnt do meat, period), they are doing exactly what the Muslims and Christians did, try to convert Sanatan Dharma into a Christian or a Islamic representation of a religion with rules, regulations, good and bad and something that is totally foreign to Sanatan Dharma. Its pretty clear why they do this, they are doing it for political purposes and wanting to create a political force out of the religious identity of the Sanatani’s. These people are the danger to the religion, not the external forces. But I am confident in the Sanatan Dharma, it has overcome bigger challenges than these contemptible Hindu leaders

I read a fascinating article recently which gave a reasonably good overview of the historical evolution of how Hinduism evolved. It concludes with a great paragraph which I am quoting here:

“this Hinduism wasnt invented by anyone, European or Indian. Like Topsy, it just grow’ed”

Birth of an elephant

This is the first filmed version of an elephant’s birth.

Watch it. It bought a tiny tear to my eyes. You could see the panic in the mother’s eyes when the baby was not breathing. 2 minutes, i would have been an eternity for me. Reminded me of the time when Kannu was born. The midwife wanted to give him a shot of oxygen to kick-start his breathing and the damn oxygen cylinder was empty, it took perhaps 15-20 seconds to switch to the backup cylinder but I was near panicking. I nearly clocked the doctor who asked if everything was all right. Damn hospital not checking oxygen cylinders. As it so happens, the hospital was rated to be the worst in the UK.

Anyway, the first steps of the baby elephant were so cute! :)