Ihsan

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Scattered Thoughts, Not Unrelated

Developing the nervous habits of totalitarianism
Don't say this, don't say that, you mean it well, but it might not be safe . . .

"For evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good people to do nothing."

The Civil Liberties Union is suing: Prisoners at Guantanamo
Seen by FBI, 24 hours chained in a fetal position with no food, no water
No bathroom, of course . . . is it torture yet, or are we still saying, "abuse"?

Developing the nervous habits of totalitarianism
I see how it worked, now, with the Nazis. "Why did ordinary Germans let it happen?" we used to wonder.

Too much to lose. "My career is just starting! This could ruin my future!"
"I'm doing good here in my job. If I lose my job, who'll teach these children?
"I can't offend the Government, I'd be deported." "If I lose my job, who'll support my family?"
"I can't risk going to prison, I have claustrophobia."

I don't despise those Germans anymore. Of course Nelson Mandela didn't say these things.
He went to prison for 25 years. Can we be Nelson Mandela? Or maybe just a bit of him? Or not?

Lunch last week with a Vietnamese friend, a Lao friend. "The U.S. dropped more bombs on Laos than
they dropped in World War II. Laos is a poor country. But people can't grow food because the fields
are full of cluster bombs. I saw a special--people missing arms, legs, eyes . . . I cried."
Thus spoke the Lao friend. "And now we're doing it in Iraq." This from the Vietnamese friend.

From public radio, a nationwide study. People can't afford housing. For a one-bedroom apartment
You have to make $15.00 an hour. Minimum wage is $5.15.

Perhaps this system will crumble from its own rottenness, this system of greed and lies.
Perhaps the Democrats will find their guts. Or maybe the Tooth Fairy will come and save us.
But it's safer to talk about sexism and homophobia than to talk about imperialist oppression,
At least for Muslims. Or is it perfectly safe and I'm just paranoid?

For the lighties and toppies (young and old South Africans), I have to say I find
"The Scatterlings of Africa" by Juluka a lot more inspiring than the bombastic blitherings of
'America, love it or leave it'. I stand with the good people, whoever they are. The people who
speak truth, not spin; who fight through the clouds of half-truths; who seek the peace.
The people who just want to farm their fields. The people who say, "Why? Why?"

Our old friend just left for Najaf, returning home after 20 years. The chances of his being dead in the
latest attack (60 killed), are minimal I suppose. Wahabis on the one side, empire on the other
Is there no third choice?





7 comment(s):

  • thank you, Karima.

    By Blogger Leila M., at 12/21/2004 03:48:00 PM  

  • I've thought alot about Sami's safety since the bombing in Najaf. Is he ok, is his family ok? Are all the people I met in Fallujah, Baquba, Samarra,Basrah-alive? Have their homes been destroyed, are they living in tents? My heart breaks when I think about them and all the others whose lives are being destroyed for the sake of 'democracy'. I'd laugh if I weren't crying.
    Thanks for the post Karima


    By Blogger trish, at 12/21/2004 04:57:00 PM  

  • my in-laws are in Basrah. This summer, my husband went back there to visit his family for a few months. The day he flew from here to go there... a bomb flew out of the air and smashed into the neighbor's house, killing the elderly woman inside of it.

    One of the things my husband related about the experience there was the ever-present sense of having no control over one's situation.. and the knowledge that anything could just come flying.. at any time.


    By Blogger Leila M., at 12/21/2004 08:13:00 PM  

  • Salaams

    That sense of no control is what makes it so difficult to read Chomsky, or anything else that says, 'Here is a political kraken that continues to kill and oppress and exploit!' What can I do about the US government - a whore to corporate interest, its foreign policy drawing on the Imperialist dogma of groups like 'Project for the New American Century'?

    I think this is a problem of postmodernism. There is no theory, no great ideal, to oppose this monster. Or is Islam the 'grand narrative', able to answer this monster? I think it should be - we need an intepretation of Islam that unites the compelling political, ecological and social justice issues with Muslim spirituality.

    Progressive Muslim interpretations may me the amnion to such a narrative, but I don't think it has been spoken or written yet.

    Insha Allah.

    Wasalaam


    By Blogger Julaybib, at 12/22/2004 12:29:00 PM  

  • The third choice is for you to go Iraq. Help the people that you praise, maybe die for your cause. Go to your heaven.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/22/2004 01:31:00 PM  

  • Salaams - Chomsky has said several times - that he is not the one to look at for ideas on how to organize i.e. "what is to be done" - he will only tell you to "organize." For me Chomsky is like a wonderful database from which i can draw great insights - including his writings about human nature - and anarchist ideas.

    But for ideas on how to organize - what to do etc.? I look to people who have actually accomplished something on the ground with people. So, I look at union organizers - who on smaller scale do end up improving lives of many people - if only in local workplaces. People like the late Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta (farm workers organizers)... These folks have the ability to people at grassroots level - and speak to the issues in a way that motivates towards action.

    I understand the point about not having a "grand idea" etc. I'm not sure if that is what is missing...we have many little ideas - and put together they do result in a pretty comprehensive platform towards which we can aim towards. Take a look at Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo's platform - for example - http://www.votenader.org - very simple ideas for the US. I understand that in Europe much of this might already be in place... -we're more backwards here in the US... we are trying, though... :-)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/22/2004 02:21:00 PM  

  • Salaam Yakoub

    Insightful comments there. I definetly nod my head to that, though I don't think a bit of borrowing of Chomsky won't help on occasion as well ;)

    As for the Progressive voice- I've noticed that it's still quite diverse, not in agreement on many issues, as well as assumptive of certain items, perhaps due to being reflective of the majority of its followers. That's my summary critique of it, but I see much of the same within the movement that I see in all Muslim groups...

    Dialogue, introspection, hope, and action, I suppose

    and Allahu Alim-- always in the end


    By Blogger Leila M., at 12/24/2004 01:09:00 AM  

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