Petro-powered barbarians

Muslims have been, er, unkind to each other since the very beginning of Islam.

the largest forced displacement of Palestinians from an Arab state took place in 1991 when Kuwait expelled most of its Palestinian residents in retaliation for the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) endorsement of Iraq's brutal occupation of the emirate (August 1990-February 1991). It mattered little that this population, most of which had resided in Kuwait for decades, was not supportive of the PLO's reckless move: From March to September 1991, about 200,000 Palestinians were expelled from the emirate in a systematic campaign of terror, violence, and economic pressure while another 200,000 who fled during the Iraqi occupation were denied return. By September 1991, Kuwait's Palestinian community had dwindled to some 20,000.

So, who's responsible for this misery? THE JOOS, of course.

Link via Kathy Shaidle who has awesome post titles.


The real Islam

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid has a few words for "moderate" Muslims:

Finding slaves or slave girls, repulsive; physically assaulting women, disgusting; cutting off hands for theft, inhuman; stoning people to death, beastly and then venerating the ideology that permits this at the same time is hypocrisy of the very highest order. You sit there, criticize and mock the Taliban that follow your religion in its true form while you live in oblivion with your extremely palatable, but simultaneously blatantly fallacious, brand of religion and then claim that the Taliban are misinterpreting and misapprehending your ideology? Oh, the irony.

Another article:

The Taliban have defended the attack on Malala Yousafzai according to their scriptures and history. Of course if you’re looking for a command that orders the killing of every 14-year-old school going girl who is inspired by the leader of Dar-ul-Harb, you won’t find one, but what you will find are quite a few historical precedents. Like for instance the case of Asma bint Marwan, a poetess whose murder was sanctioned in 2 AH after she conspired against Islam and the Holy Prophet, as narrated by Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Sa’d. And then there are Ibn Khatal’s two slave girls Fartana and Qaribah, who used to sing songs against the Holy Prophet and were among the ten shortlisted to be executed at the Conquest of Makkah in 8 AH – one of them was killed, the second managed to escape (Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat- Vol 2). Women were ordered to be killed for conspiring against the religion by their ideological predecessors, and so is it entirely the Taliban’s fault for taking cue and attempting to kill a girl who criticised their fundamentals; the fundamentals emanating from their ‘authentic’ religious scriptures?

Taliban translated in English means students. These wretched beings have studied and learned nothing but Islam. It's, of course, the Islamic "moderates" who are the religious extremists.

Thanks to Tambi Dude for emailing me the above links.


Infidels be crazy

The Telegraph via Vox Popoli:

For three generations, the badge of the Soviet revolution meant poverty, slavery, torture and death. It adorned the caps of the chekas who came in the night. It opened and closed the propaganda films which hid the famines. It advertised the people's courts where victims of purges and show-trials were condemned. It fluttered over the re-education camps and the gulags. For hundreds of millions of Europeans, it was a symbol of foreign occupation. Hungary, Lithuania and Moldova have banned its use, and various former communist countries want it to be treated in the same way as Nazi insignia.

The hammer and sickle was used to crush humanity and here it sits at the top. The cross to hammer+sickle ratio is 3 to 5. It would have been more honest if the symbols formed a swatsika instead of a star.


Estrogen Central

Classical Liberal emailed me this link: Saudi Arabia has figured out a way to handle the massive unemployment level of women.

The Saudis are fashioning an unusual solution, building an industrial city that will allow only women.

Totally awesome!

"I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature, and ability," says Saleh al-Rasheed, deputy director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), which is in charge of the project.

Bwahahahaha! I'm sure they will Salah, I'm sure they will.

This is diabolically clever of the Saudis. By creating a women-only sphere for business, they've already planted the seeds of its epic destruction. This is the most stunning example of design fail* I've ever seen.

Take me down to the Estrogen City
Where the grass is dead and the girls are bitchy
Oh, won't you please take me to hell!

Apologies to Guns N' Roses.

* Or success depending on how you look at it.


Overlord

One of the greatest battles of the Second World War started on this date 68 years ago. The logistics were on an epic scale:

The operation, planned by a team under Lieutenant-General Frederick Morgan, was the largest amphibious invasion in world history and was executed by land, sea, and air elements under direct British command with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944, 73,000 American troops, 61,715 British and 21,400 Canadian. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.

A 10-part TV series a decade ago captured the horror and terror of that war:

The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day.


United no more

Vox Popoli on the fractured future of America:

[...] once the Hispanic portion of the country exercises its legitimate right to self-determination and goes its own way, presumably before 2033, it seems readily apparent that White America will at long last separate into its "liberal" and "conservative" halves when conservative America finally realizes that the country, to say nothing of the nation, was literally unable to survive the self-destructive tendencies of its liberal population.


Muhammad the Wicked

Tambi Dude emailed me the latest post from an ex-Muslim woman:

... the so-called Holy Prophet of Islam is nothing but a sick, perverted sex maniac, a pedophiliac misogynist, and a heartless creature who had absolutely no sense of morals or ethics. He was a self-proclaimed prophet who wanted nothing but power and pussies.

She provides plenty of quotes from the Islamic canon to back up her conclusion. I certainly can't disagree.


Super cool

Earth Architecture via Instapundit:

By 400 BC, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert.

Wow. That was just around the time of the Peloponnesian War.

These ancient refrigerators were used primarily to store ice for use in the summer, as well as for food storage, in the hot, dry desert climate of Iran. The ice was also used to chill treats for royalty during hot summer days and to make faloodeh, the traditional Persian frozen dessert.

No way! I didn't know that falooda in South Asia is a derivation of the original faloodeh from Persia. I've had it once in my life in the city of my birth

If I remember correctly, that falooda had rose syrup, vermicelli, milk, vanilla ice cream and pistachio. I consider it the Greatest Dessert Ever.


It cannot be refined

Andrew Roberts interviewed on Uncommon Knowledge:

This week on Uncommon Knowledge historian Andrew Roberts discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, his book The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. In the book, Roberts investigates what led up to the war, the historical factors responsible for Hitler’s rise to power, Hitler’s shortcomings as a military leader, Nazi Germany’s defeat, and Allied contributions to the victory.

I've read and watched more history about the Allied efforts in North Africa, Western Europe and in the Atlantic Ocean. So, the statistic that four out of five Germans in the war were killed by the Russians is just stunning. It's difficult to wrap your mind around the sheer scale of human suffering in those terrible years.


History in color

The Daily Mail via Instapundit:

They are considered to be part of one of the most important collections of early colour photographs ever seen, capturing key moments in history and the dying embers of many cultures.

And now - more than a century after the ambitious project was launched - these incredible images are being brought to a mass audience for the first time.

The digital crowd today would call the photos a bit "noisy".


Right to choose extended

Vox Popoli on a chilling incident in China:

It is sheer lunacy to attempt to blame capitalism for the more than a dozen people who walked by, indifferent to the suffering of the dying little girl. These are people who have been taught for the entirety of their existence that a) there are too many people and b) killing little girls is a social good. Now they're supposed to suddenly switch gears because there is one less undesirable little girl to overpopulate China?


The same old deal

James Pethokoukis via Instapundit:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was Barack Obama’s signature achievement in dealing with the most worrisome set of economic conditions since the Great Depression. It was how Obama, to use a pair of his now seemingly abandoned metaphors, sought to drag the economy out of the ditch while the Republicans were standing around sipping Slurpees.

As Obama said on the first anniversary of signing the bill, “It is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second Depression is no longer a possibility.”

No, it's partly thanks to the epic and wasteful government spending that we'll see the Great Depression 2.0.

The New Deal had the same effect in the 1930s. FDR tried many different policies which were puzzling and economically destructive but it gave the appearance that he was doing SOMETHING instead of doing nothing like those heartless republicans.

A small sample of what went on in the 1930s:

1. Farmers, who were a decent chunk of the voting bloc, hated low prices for food. So, the US government gave handouts to farmers to not grow food! That's right. Millions are without jobs. Many have lost their savings when hundreds of banks failed. They don't have money for utilities or food. Yet, the government is taking money out of the private sector and handing it to a special group ... so that food prices stay high.

2. The government enforces a minimum wage. If a person wants to buy a service, let's say a haircut for $0.50, then that's illegal because the minimum charge ought to be $0.60. Some "criminals" ignore the law and offer a haircut for $0.50 anyway. When the cops find out, they go to jail. This actually happened -- a person spent time behind bars because they took a lower than mandated wage for a haircut!

3. Promotion of labor unions. They increase the wages of workers in the union but overall decrease the number of employed workers in the economy. Not something you would want in the middle of a depression.


Yay for Jackie O

About a true woman:

Jackie Kennedy's granddaughters are 'absolutely horrified' by the former First Lady's old fashioned view of the role of women in taped interviews released this week, their mother, Caroline, has revealed.

In the 1964 interviews with Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the young widow described her marriage as 'a rather terribly Victorian or Asiatic relationship' and said she borrowed all her opinions from her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

She also said she didn't believe women should be politicians and described being subordinate to her husband on principle.

So hot. The granddaughters? Not so much.


The Pedophile Muhammad

Raymond Ibrahim:

Muslim "child-marriage" — euphemism for pedophilia — is making headlines again, at least in Arabic media: Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia's highest religious council, just issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for marriage, and that girls can be married "even if they are in the cradle."

At least he's a consistent Muslim. He knows that by setting a reasonable minimum limit he'll indirectly condemn the evil man at the heart of Islam.

Fawzan insists that nowhere does Sharia set an age limit for marrying girls: like countless Muslim scholars before him, he relies on Koran 65:4, which discusses marriage to females who have not yet begun menstruating (i.e., are prepubescent) and the fact that Muhammad, Islam's role model, married Aisha when she was 6-years-old, "consummating" the marriage — or, in modern parlance, raping her — when she was 9.

And yet there are more than one billion people who "think" that Muhammad was a perfect man. To criticize him is to invite death.


Hating Those Who Are Impure

Thanks to Tambi Dude who emailed this link:

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice."

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.

My grandparents were born in what's today called India. They migrated with their children to Pakistan. In hindsight, it wasn't a smart move.

Pakistan's existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.

That's strange to read because all my life Pakistan has been deteriorating relative to India but before 1980 quite a few people would go to Pakistan for work. I've met many in Canada who once worked in Karachi -- the largest city in Pakistan with a view of the Indian ocean.

The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India's sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal's unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father's tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.

I can't remember a single Pakistani movie but I know the story lines of hundreds of Indian filims. Pakistan never had a unified culture. It was based on the foundation of a decrepit religion and that it seems is all they have. "We are Muslims, therefore we're awesome!"


D-Day + 67 Years

It was one of those rare occasions in history when Western Europe was being targeted from the outside.

Via Instapundit comes this link:

We remember that date for history exams that we take in school. Fortunately for me, I get to meet people that took part in it. In my own family, I had a distant relation that was wounded coming ashore at Omaha Beach. I have linked to this video before, but I think it’s really worth watching.


Prostrating Infidel, Rising Sharia

Raymond Ibrahim:

A jihad-waging, sharia-enforcing caliphate represents a permanent, existential enemy — not a temporal foe that can be bought or pacified through diplomacy or concessions. Such a caliphate is precisely what Islamists around the world are feverishly seeking to establish. Without active, preemptive measures, it is only a matter of time before they succeed.

The West won't change its behavior before then. For now, it's stuck in the appeasement stage. Just look at the whole Muhammad cartoon situation. So many newspapers and magazines -- self-proclaimed bastions of free speech -- censored themselves and refused to show the viewer exactly what the whole drama was about.

How can we resist the barbarians if we refuse to mock their idol?

I like bananas!


This is Madness!

Approximately two thousand five hundred years ago, the Greek city-states -- led by the fearsome Spartan hoplites -- annihilated the Persians in the Battle of Plataea. Given the nature of nukes, this time there might not be much of a battle:

I sought out Martin Kramer in Jerusalem because I knew he would give me an analysis well outside the box on Iranian nuclear weapons. He’s a scholar, not a politician or pundit. And while he certainly has his opinions, he doesn’t conveniently fit into anyone’s ideological category.

I was not disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either. What he has to say is different from anything you’ve read from anyone in the media, including me.


Religion of Terror

Bruce S. Thornton:

Consider, for example, the following description, by the Muslim historian Ar-Razi, of the battle of Valdejunquera, fought in 920 between the Christians of northern Spain and the army of ‘Abd al-Rahman III. (Al-Rahman was the self-styled caliph of Córdoba — that mythical paradise of interfaith tolerance and cooperation, which in fact was the center of the Muslim imperialist occupation of Spain.) Before the battle, Ar-Razi writes, “he [al-Rahman’s general al-Nasir] penetrated deeply into enemy territory, laying it waste, destroying the fortresses of Osma and San Esteban, and many monasteries and churches.” After the Spaniards’ defeat and the capture of the survivors, “The combatants among them were put to the sword in the presence of al-Nasir, more than 500 of their counts and knights.” Another account, by the writer Arib ibn Sa’id, informs us that there were too many heads of slain Christians for the mule-trains to take back to Córdoba. Those heads that did make it were put on stakes around the city walls.

It's amazing just how ignorant modern folks are of the ultra-violent beginnings and history of Islam. Islam was started by a mad man in a tiny city in Arabia. This evil creature waged war against neighboring tribes and most infamously ordered the slaughter of all the men of a Jewish tribe who had surrendered. Then, he took their women as slaves.

After his death, Muslims spread the religion in a blitzkrieg fashion through Asia and Europe. The present-day Jihadists dream of repeating such history. They want an Islamic super-state spanning through continents with themselves in charge.


"The Rest of the World Hears You"

Victor Davis Hanson on 2001:

For that first year, I had not followed George Bush’s presidency closely, and knew little of him or of his prior tenure in Texas. But three days later when he stood at Ground Zero, put his arm around that noble-looking retired fireman Bob Beckwith, grabbed a bullhorn, and extemporaneously announced to the crowd, “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon,” I thought, 'I'm relieved this guy, at this moment, is president.'

Indeed.


The Wages of Decadence

Code Monkey Ramblings:

Society exists now entirely in the context of greatness, prosperity and liberty. The bondage of the past is in the mists of time. Those who came before and spiritually evolved to the point where society could become great, prosperous and liberal are dead and cannot act as teachers to those who now know those times only as "the past."

So very true.

Why did the Roman Empire fall apart? One important reason is that the people who built and forged the institution had long been dead by the end. Men like Scipio couldn't reach out and teach the later offspring about life and how to wage war.

Take a simple example at the micro level: At my high school, I once saw a kid sitting with his African parents. The kid wasn't doing well in his courses. The parents spoke perfect English, were sharply dressed and exuded class. This made an ugly contrast with the boy: shirt half-out, slumped in the chair on to his right side, mumbling on how he'll really do better this time.

His parents just couldn't understand. They had sacrificed so much for him. They both worked full-time. They understood how hard life is. They had provided him with so many comforts and opportunities. They had enrolled him in a school in the West. But what was the result? He regularly skipped classes, cheated on assignments and was failing two out of four courses.

Why! How! It didn't make sense. This kid was living a life of luxury better than what 99.99% of humanity could dream of. Why was he pissing over every chance he was given?

Upon learning history, the question answers itself.


Understanding War II

Classical Liberal asks:

Out of curiosity, what do you see as JFK's foolishness (I don't necessarily disagree, I'm just curious).

JFK was 43 when he was elected president. His view towards the Soviet Union was to not piss them off.

When he came into office, plans were being made for the invasion of Cuba. Kennedy watered those down. For example, he refused air support during the Bay of Pigs. Such a move puzzled Eisenhower who later asked Kennedy for an explanation. He replied that he didn't want to give the Soviet Union a reason to assault Berlin.

When, in fact, the Soviets were pumped up to see the weak initiative of the Americans in taking on Cuba. The Soviets, upon learning of the Bay of Pigs, thought that it would take the Americans easily under a week to defeat that tiny, difficult-to-defend island. They were stunned when America lost in a few days. Kennedy had just showcased to everyone that the leader of the free world was an indecisive buffoon.

Later in the year, Kennedy had meetings with Krushchev where again he displayed weakness. He mentioned how his ambition was to secure peace. He, also, spectacularly admitted that the Soviets had little to fear from the US because US and Soviet-Chinese arsenals were at a parity. This statement was truly remarkable: It was false! The US was far more powerful but Krushchev didn't mind the silly, desperate president's commentary.

The correct strategy would have been to make the Soviets fear the US. The Soviets should have been afraid to piss off the US not the other way around. Kennedy with his actions had taken the edge off deterrence. Kennedy created conditions which made a conflict more, rather than less, likely.

Obama is making similar mistakes. Today, the thugs in the world don't fear the US as much. The US spends billions of dollars on high-tech weaponry. A great example is stealthy submarines which carry missiles with multiple nuclear warheads. Their purpose is to maintain peace -- not to annihilate civilizations. Their purpose is make the thugs think twice, thrice.... before messing with the US and her friends.

Obama thinks that weapons of this nature are obsolete. He thinks that thugs can be reasoned with and told that they have little to fear from America. This is precisely the opposite of a good strategy. It has been tried before multiple times. The payment in blood is always great.


Understanding War

Michael J. Totten:

I recently spoke with military historian and former classics professor Victor Davis Hanson in his office at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He is the author of more than a dozen works of history, and his new book The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern was just released by Bloomsbury Press.

We discussed military history, Peace Studies programs, warfare in the ancient and modern Mediterranean, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran's push for hegemony in the Middle East, and the Obama Administration's foreign policy.

The ignorance of Obama shines through in this interview. Simple peace requires a constant and precise effort; something that the American president doesn't seem to comprehend. He might think that his actions will result in lasting peace but in that regard he's as foolish and historically ignorant as JFK.

Read the whole thing.


Overlord -- 66 Years Later

Blackfive:

One of the greatest speeches ever given, in my humble opinion, commemorating the D-Day invasion, was that made by Ronald Reagan on this day in 1984.

Go there and read it all. An excerpt:

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.


Jew-Hatred is in the DNA of Islam

Jim Hoft:

This is frightening. A Muslim Student Association (MSA) member admitted publicly during a question and answer session with conservative David Horowitz in San Diego that she supports a second Holocaust.

She is simply following the evil man behind Islam. Jew-hatred is as common as bread in Muslim societies. Muslim community leaders and politicians simply cannot maintain street-cred if they're not rabidly against the existence of Jews and, by logical extension, the state of Israel.

Ace of Spades:

I love how she starts it off with the traditional liberal pablum about dialogue and exchanging ideas. She isn't interested in exchanging ideas, she's interested in seeing Jews die at the hands of her coreligionists.

Of course. These Muslims will whine, yell and break necks over a bunch of badly drawn cartoons but refuse to utter a few words against openly genocidal terrorist groups.


War Without End

Raymond Ibrahim: Was Marco Polo an ‘Islamophobe’?

Polo also confirms that Muslim leaders — not just today but from of old — have relied on Muhammad’s account of a lusty paradise to lure young men into becoming “martyrs.” Based on his account of the Shia assassins, who, in accordance with “the description Muhammad gave of his paradise,” dedicated their lives to assassinating and terrorizing their opponents, simply to enter into “paradise, where every species of sensual gratification should be found, in the society of beautiful nymphs”.

Muhammad = Evil version of Hugh Hefner.


The Illogic of Obama

Mark Steyn:

The Obama administration came into office promising to press the "reset" button with the rest of the world after eight years of the so-called arrogant, swaggering Texan cowboy blundering his way around the planet, offending peoples from many lands. Instead, Obama pressed the ejector-seat button: Brits, Czechs, Israelis, Indians found themselves given the brush. I gather the Queen was "amused" by the president's thoughtful gift of an iPod preloaded with Obama speeches – and, fortunately for Her Majesty, the 160GB model only has storage capacity for two of them, or three if you include one of his shorter perorations.

Obama's behavior towards American enemies is understandable: his combination of foreign policy idiocy and ignorance rivals that of JFK. Basically, he seems to thinks that he'll make peace with thugs by laying down weapons and bowing before them.

But what is odd is his treatment of allies. Why act like a buffoon towards them?


The Joys of Rape

A bit of history from the beginnings of Islam:

After conquering the Banu Mustaliq tribe in A.D. 628, Muhammad’s men deemed it “necessary” to rape their captive women [5] (citing their wives’ absence and untended desires). However, they also wanted to sell these women for a profit, which posed complications, as copulating with them risked impregnating them. So they rationalized that ‘azl (coitus interruptus) would solve the problem and asked Muhammad. The prophet went one step further and offered a cosmic rationalization [6], dismissing coitus interruptus as unnecessary, “for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born” — that is, pullout or not, you cannot thwart Allah’s will, so don’t bother.

How convenient. Murder, pillage, rape -- it's all Allah-approved!


The Horrible Truth

Dry Bones:

President Obama seems stuck with the dopey old idea that withdrawing from territory will placate those who lust for our destruction and that America can help by negotiating on behalf of the Islamic states that refuse to accept the idea of a Jewish State within their sea of Moslem dictatorships and theocracies.

It's amazing just how spectacularly Israel has shrunk from the time it controlled the Sinai and the West Bank. Yet, peace is not near for the Muslim don't want peace. They seek the destruction of Jews. Just look at the modern Muslim world and try to find any national figure who openly wants neutral, let alone friendly, relations with Israel. You'll end up with a blank list.


Pakistan: A Fractured Nation

Classical Liberal emailed me last month:

"I'm reading Adventure Capitalist, by Jim Rogers, about his world trip from 1999 to 2001, and have come to the part were he drives through Pakistan. I wonder what you think of the following passage:

Pakistan is one of those countries that I believe will not survive as such, irrespective of its irreconcilable differences with India. The regional differences and shared animosities within Pakistan itself are so dramatic as to threaten its viability. This is a country rushed together by way of a mass migration of Muslims in the wake of Indian independence. (Muslims who came to Pakistan in 1947 are still considered different from those who were already there at the time. Their children and their grandchildren are still "inferior." Class distinctions parallel those now expressed in Germany, where former East Germans are discriminated against.) A nation hopelessly conceived by frenetic English bureaucrats, it is one whose center will not hold. The farmers of the Punjab have nothing in common with the tribesmen of Baluchistan. The inhabitants of the North-West Frontier are descendants of Caucasians who came down centuries ago. Many still have blue eyes. The various places meshed together after World War II have rarely had much in common. The country is unstable (and especially dangerous since it has nuclear weapons). In time it will be several countries.

In particular I'm curious to know, Isaac, what you think of Rogers' comments concerning Pakistan's disunity, and of the distinction made between those living in what is now Pakistan before and after the break up with India."

My lengthy answer follows.

PURITY COMES IN VARIOUS FORMS

I studied at a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. I remember once reading my social studies book in the late 80s and being surprised by something.

You see, I spent only my early years in Pakistan. The few memories I had were of my relatives who lived there. The Pakistani nation was still a mystery to me. So, it was quite eye-opening to read about the four different provinces of Pakistan -- Sindh, Balochistan, North West Frontier Province and Punjab. The people who lived in these provinces not only had dissimilar styles of clothing for men and women, as the pictures in the book showed, but they also spoke different languages. I found this to be very odd.

In Saudi Arabia, one can travel hundreds of kilometers from Jeddah to Makkah to Medina to Riyadh to Dhahran and still speak the same tongue. The language of the signs on these roads would be recognizable to the vast majority in Arabia. "How do people navigate in Pakistan?" I thought. Of course, the fact that most people in Pakistan are illiterate presents a whole new layer of complexity to the problem.

As I progressed in school -- from memorizing short books and fables to memorizing heavier books and stories -- the back story of Pakistan came into sharper focus.

THE DESCENDANTS OF MONGOLS

For over two hundred years, from 1526 onward, the Mughal Empire ruled over the Asian subcontinent. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal Emperor, controlled a region which included modern-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

The Mughals started their empire-building from the west side of the region, taking a similar route as Alexander the Great in 327 BC. Babur, the first Mughal emperor, had present Afghanistan as his base. Later his line extended the region under Mughal rule. After Babur, followed Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan (famous for the Taj Mahal) and Aurangzeb.

Of course, the Mughal Empire was inherently unstable since there wasn't any unifying characteristic of the varied populations. The Mughals were Muslims but most of their subjects were not. They enforced Islamic law to certain degrees. For example, the jizya tax was imposed on the population by Aurangzeb. Though, only non-Muslims had to pay this tax. It simultaneously raised revenue while putting an explicit penalty on those who dared to call themselves non-Muslim.

All empires fall and so did the Mughal Dynasty. The British took advantage of the fragile nature of the alliances in the subcontinent and, with shockingly little manpower, took over the whole region by the early 19th century. By 1857, the British exiled the last "emperor" of the Mughals.

THE BLOOD SOAKED PARTITIONS

The British couldn't maintain their rule over India. The epic battles of the Second World War further eroded their hold on the subcontinent. However, they didn't leave India in one piece. Muslims who as a minority were once lords of the region just couldn't bare being ruled over by the majority Hindus. Muslims wanted their own lands and they got their wish.

Muslims had a majority in the Western and Eastern parts of India. Thus, those pieces formed the whole nation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. The name means 'the land of the pure'. It's the only modern nation on Earth formed solely on the basis of religion. It's birth started the grandest movement of peoples across boundaries. My grandparents were born in modern-day India. They left all their belongings there and migrated to West Pakistan. Such people are called Muhajirs in Pakistan. Local Pakistanis can be harsh on the Muhajirs; often referring to them as closet Indians. In other words, calling them traitors.

The region of Kashmir, north of West Pakistan, is still disputed. It's mostly Muslim but the ruler of the region had to choose; join India or Pakistan in 1947. He didn't make up his mind. Pakistani troops entered the area to gain control. Soon, India also sent in the army. It's now roughly divided: 50% India, 35% Pakistan, the rest no man's land.

Political power in Pakistan was concentrated in its Western wing. Of course, this resulted in economic discrimination. East Pakistan received less money per capita from the government when compared to its Western counterpart. Eastern Pakistanis resented this imbalance and soon the emotions of nationalism and independence arose in their hearts. The military, directed by the West Pakistanis, tried to crush this movement with naked brutality in the early 1970s but they failed.

In 1971, East Pakistan was no more. Bangladesh was its new name. British India had been broken into three countries in under 25 years.

THE QUINTESSENTIAL FAILED STATE

Today in Pakistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is home to extremists who protect and nourish Osama bin Laden's friends. The Taliban received their education in the madrassas of NWFP. There, one can walk down a street where on one side the sale of marijuana is taking place and on the other AK-47s are on display. This province of Pakistan was called Afghania under British rule. These tribal people have little in common with their provincial neighbors. Most of the Pakistani military is afraid of entering this region to enforce the rule of law, largely because they'll stand out like sore thumbs and as a result get whacked very quickly. Therefore, there is no rule of law in NWFP. The law is simply what the tribe leaders say it is.

The largest province in terms of area is Balochistan. Oddly, it also has the smallest population. The family which once had ruled Balochistan didn't want to lose power. They, and their allies for their own reasons, have been struggling for independence since the very creation of Pakistan. Skirmishes have been ongoing; over 100,000 people have lost their lives in the bloodshed.

Sindh, where most of the Muhajirs went, and Punjab are the two relatively cosmopolitan provinces of Pakistan. Most of the federal, political power is concentrated in these two provinces. Though, not the same political party holds sway in both provinces. Punjab, for long, has been the cultural center of the nation. It's agriculturally rich which is why it has attracted large populations for centuries. It's also economically rich; the last two great Mughal emperors were born in the city of Lahore in Punjab.

How do these provinces gel together? Mostly, they don't. Punjabis look at the NWFP and cringe. These Taliban protectors have little love for the rest of the country. NWFPers loath anyone who doesn't speak their language. Balochistan is like a ghost town. The education level there is frighteningly nonexistent.

After 60 years of existence, not once has the top politician completed his term and a new one peacefully sworn in. Deaths, assassinations, coups, and the surprise, convoluted ending of terms has been the political story of Pakistan.

There are two opposed strains at work among Pakistanis.

1) Local Nationalism. Balochistan and NWFP are different worlds when compared to Sindh and Punjab. These people have fought for increased local powers and sometimes all-out independent states. It seems that other than religion there is little else that binds them to the rest of Pakistan.

2) Superstate of the Ummah. Some Pakistanis think that the partition was a bad idea because Muslims should have re-continued their rule over the entire Indian subcontinent. Muslim ought to have only one state. Perhaps, it could start in Indonesia, continue through Bangladesh, Iran and go all the way to the Turkish border into Europe. Why bother with these infidel-imposed boundaries?

Of course, in reality, large numbers of Muslims are often killed by other large numbers of Muslims. In Pakistan, it has been a decades-long lethal process. Pakistan has already cracked once. It's likely in the future that the Ummah will be further disappointed.


Intellectual Temptation

A great interview of Thomas Sowell at The National Review. I liked his particular take on the meaning of an intellectual.

The above link will take you to part one of the interview.

Here's:

  • Part 2
  • Part 3 (The bit about Adam Smith is hilarious. Completely agree with his take on terrorists and trials; they should have no rights.)
  • Part 4
  • Part 5

I used to read Thomas Sowell a lot. I found his writings online when I went to the US as a high school student. Later, I would check his articles on the Internet from Saudi Arabia.


Nuked

Some people have no luck (via Instapundit):

Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was on a business trip in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. He was getting off a streetcar when the “Little Boy” device detonated above Hiroshima.

Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than 2 miles away from ground zero. His eardrums were ruptured and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.

Mr. Yamaguchi spent the night in a Hiroshima bomb shelter and returned to his hometown of Nagasaki the following day.

Holy $#%!

On the plus side, he did live to be 93.


The Age of The Big Zero

Victor Davis Hanson:

The difference between the 5th century BC and late 4th century BC at Athens is debt–and not caused just by military expenditures or war; the claims on Athenian entitlements grew by the 350s, even as forced liturgies on the productive classes increased, even as the treasury emptied. At Rome by the mid-3rd century AD the state was essentially bribing its own citizens to behave by expanding the bread and circuses dole, while tax avoidance became an art form, while the Roman state tried everything from price controls to inflating the coinage to meet services and pay public debts.

So much for change.


What About Islam?

I got an email this morning from a fellow who seeks a few answers. The major part of the email follows.

"... you spend a lot of time analyzing the life of Muhammad. Clearly, he performed a multitude of actions intolerable for anyone claiming to represent the Eternal Word of God, regardless of the time period he came from, what part of the world he lived in or what culture he grew up in. So I can see why moral relativism is not, at least by itself, good enough to defend him.

But the question arises, to what extent did the people of Arabia really object to Muhammad's actions and to what extent were they merely the result of his environment? The ubituitous example is Aisha. From what I've read, it seems the evidence that anyone in Arabia, pagans, Jews or Christians, objected to his marraige with Aisha due to her age simply due to her age is not there. One could argue he used revelations to gain support and intimitaded would be objectors, but even his multitude of critics never found Aisha's age objectionable. Hence, it seems that either Arabs, including Jews and Christians, had condoned sexual relations with little girls and that only modern post-Enlightment Christians have come to find it objectionable, or that ultimately it didn't really happen and the hadiths that suggest this are false. Obviously, you both reject the latter, but that would create a problematic situation for Arabs, even Christian and Catholic ones, who would have to come to terms with the fact that their culture has condoned mistreatment of women for centuries and only post Enlightment values have changed this. And although their defense of Muhmmad as a role model for all times would still fall flat, Muslim can argue that early Jews and Christians clearly did not see Muhammad's marriages objectioanble and objectioning to it today is cultural elitism. Now, I would say sex with a nine year old girl is grotesque regardless of the age but unfortunately it can be argued this results from unreasonable cultural standards.

The same goes for many issues with Muhammad and women. Critics attacked Muhammad for banditry, insulting pagan faiths and not being a convincing prophet, but never his relations to women. Marrying wifes of fallen enemies never drew objections, nor did having slave girls or polygamy. The only thing he did that Arabs found objectionable, atg least with regards to women, was marrying his son in law's wife. The changes in women's status in Arabia as a result of Muhammad seem overwhelmingly postive. Again, that's not to justify the horrific oppression of women going on right now due to his example, but merely to discuss the issue of his environement. Critics of Muhammad today suggest he was in the same league as Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Nero or Attila the Hun in terms of how he forced his people backward and oppressed them, but it seems it can also be argued his actions were more good that bad when the situation of Arabs before and after him is analyzed.

Another thing I suppose is, why do you think Muslims have been in the dark fo so long about Islamic textgs and Muhammad's character. The fact that many Muslims don't speak Arabic, and certainly not Classical Arabic, well enough to read the texts is one issue. What do you think caused it? It's indeed interesting that out of the 1.2 billion Muslims-which we must face is a huge number, there are many very smart, upstanding people in this group who look at the Quran, Hadith and Sira and see genuine beauty, wisdom and tolerance in it. Do you think it's due to mental defficiency, actual brainwashing or self denial? Sijmply a radically different interpretation that sadly not enough Muslims follow? Or simply being severely misguided by Imams who may not understand as much as they think about Islamic texts? The best case scenario is that the interpretations of the Quran, as outlined in the blogging the Quran series on the Islamocritical site Jihadwatch, are not the sole interpretation by Muslims And in the end, when all is said and done, does Islam have to be eradicated from the hearts and minds of one billion Muslims for them to live peacably? Or can Muslims modernize by critical reevaluation of texts and a mass movement to reject Islamic literalism?"

Feel free to comment. I'll reply in the coming days.


The Master

I consider David Lean to be the greatest director to ever come out of Hollywood. The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago should be seen by every student of cinema.

The flickering myth has posted a profile of this craftsman. Click to visit Parts One, Two, and Three.

Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun and Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter come closest to showcasing the gift of photography which Lean possessed.