Tuesday, November 27, 2007
AN INTRODUCTION TO THIS INTRO
Back in 2003, I started to write a book “Death of America”, then I said they will only think of me as anti American so I stopped. What we are up against in this country with the political problems and fiscal problems can not be addressed by a society that is self indulgent and ignorant. We are on a auto pilot flying into a cliff and we have our eyes shut. This is not written for amusement or for people with below average mental acuity and maturity.
Bobby Bowden, not the real one but his real cousin, said “you know you go to hell for lying“, “then I will go to hell for speaking the truth”, I said.
Back in nineteen sixty nine or seventy, I was reading an Italian crime story novel, of the whole thing I remember one sentence only, “The best advice on living is written on the tombstones”, I have used the pseudonym of “tombstone” ever since. I am not a guru or a shaman or an oracle, I am an observer of life and a seeker of “the truth”. I have made it my business to see through the clutter of life and look for the real reality.
Knowledge is pain, it has made my life miserable, for the most parts, I find it hard to forgive myself for my sins. I have not led a pious life, actually just the opposite, so more than likely if I talk about the life at the “lower” end, it is more than likely I have lived there myself.
Pardon me my pessimism, I don’t hold much hope for the human race. Thus the title of “the prophet”, you see the prophets of yore did not hold out much hope for the human race either.
The Bible or Koran are books of stories, they talk to us of the human condition and give us examples of deeds and consequences, so are the writing of Shakespeare and Tolstoy, Margaret Mitchell, one can read either or all and get nothing from them or read any and learn a truth or two about life, it is totally dependent upon the reader and his or her brain power. God does not slap you in the face with a volume every morning to remind you to pay attention, that is your part. This column is written with the hope that someday someone we learn something. Like “The Truth“.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
(CNN) -- A court in Saudi Arabia increased the punishment for a gang-rape victim after her lawyer won an appeal of the sentence for the rapists, the lawyer told CNN.
The 19-year-old victim was sentenced last year to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male, a former friend from whom she was retrieving photographs. The seven rapists, who abducted the pair and raped both, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison.
The victim's attorney, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, contested the rapists' sentence, contending there is a fatwa, or edict under Islamic law, that considers such crimes Hiraba (sinful violent crime) and the punishment should be death.
"After a year, the preliminary court changed the punishment and made it two to nine years for the defendants," al-Lahim said of the new decision handed down Wednesday. "However, we were shocked that they also changed the victim's sentence to be six months in prison and 200 lashes."
The judges more than doubled the punishment for the victim because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media," according to a source quoted by Arab News, an English-language Middle Eastern daily newspaper.
Judge Saad al-Muhanna from the Qatif General Court also barred al-Lahim from defending his client and revoked his law license, al-Lahim said. The attorney has been ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Justice next month.
Al-Lahim said he is appealing the decision to bar him from representing the victim and has a meeting with Justice Minister Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh on Monday.
"Currently she doesn't have a lawyer, and I feel they're doing this to isolate her and deprive her from her basic rights," al-Lahim said. "We will not accept this judgment and I'll do my best to continue representing her because justice needs to take place."
Al-Lahim said he wanted the Justice Ministry to take "a very clear standing" on the case, saying the decision is "judicial mutiny against reform that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz started and against Saudi women who are being victimized because of such decisions."
Women are subject to numerous restrictions in Saudi Arabia, including a strict dress code, a prohibition against driving and the need for a man's permission to travel or have surgery. Women are also not allowed to testify in court unless it is about a private matter that was not observed by a man, and they are not allowed to vote.
The Saudi government recently has taken some steps toward bettering the situation of women in the kingdom, including the establishment earlier this year of special courts to handle domestic abuse cases, adoption of a new labor law that addresses working women's rights, and creation of a human rights commission.
CNN was unable to reach government officials for comment. E-mail to a friend
CNN's Saad Abedine and Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.
Write to the White House , we need the president to come out Monday morning and officially demand that the Saudi king himself recognize
IN PUBLIC the stupidity and injustice of this sentence. How can the United States keep pushing the Pakistanis for democracy when his Saudi friends are going along with this the most egregious of injustices, we need a statement from the president, no less
Monday, November 05, 2007
So Musharaf has declared martial law in Pakistan and we are supposed to be upset. It would be funny if it was not already so sad, us pretending to promote or support democracy in the world. First of all who died and left Bush and Cheney in charge of democracy? The clowns in the White House have been the biggest anti democracy and personal freedom and anti free speech since Attila the Hun. What with the unwarranted wire taps, restricting and corralling demonstration, torture and supporting torture, subverting human rights we look like pigs with lipstick talking about promoting democracy.
Mr. Bush and his “ I am “the God” (oh, “the decider“, sorry!)” mentality and his kissing up to Putin, sucking up to Hosni and Vicinte Fox and sundry other petty criminals and thieves ( here in after called world leaders) can not and does not have a leg to stand on when he talks about democracy. In our search for oil, and the hunt for the terrorist we have departed the moral high ground, forgetting that torture does not dehumanize the victim, it dehumanizes the torturer, (something like three out of four detainees have been innocent by our own admission by the way), so then the question becomes, are we even humans ourselves when we support or allow torture in our names first, before lecturing the others about the human rights.
Of course we talk about ( we actually do have), the doctrine of “Immanent Danger“. Someone may have the knowledge of a plot. Now say we come across a fifteen year old girl, she is alone at home, but her father is suspected of having kidnapped and raped a ten yea old child and we think he may murder this child, usually in cases like these the child is killed in a few hours, should this girl be tortured to find out the whereabouts of her father that she may be trying to protect? Think! How about a drug dealer who may have information about ,millions of dollars of drugs being brought into our country, is he a candidate for torture? Of course he is an enemy of our country, or is he? We are willing to and expected to surrender our rights to the higher powers, in Washington, and every police station in the country.
Isn’t democracy relative after all. Is the president of the United states also not the Commander in Chief? While Mr. Bush obsesses about the democracy overseas, he has signed many an executive order (decree) taking the same away from the US citizens, he has taken every opportunity to steal away the freedoms of the American people, from warrant less wire taps to declaring US citizens as enemy combatants. It is even harder to see that the US public is interested in democracy itself, people have sat on their hands while the patriot act was passed taking away many freedoms that we take for granted, school kids are being charged now with making “ terrorist threats”, the police are out of control, one hundred and fifty students sat on their hands while the security on a college campus “tased” a handcuffed man. Corruption and sweat deals are made by the politicians, the law enforcement, and the judiciary members at all levels while the citizens remain asleep at the wheels of democracy. Of course we are being entertained, and so were the Romans, but that is another story.
Now then, we knew all along that Musharaf “presidency” was a farce all along, he is a dictator, albeit a much needed and a handy one. Then we brokered a deal with Benazir, an indicted and known thief of public funds from Pakistan, who took bribes and made nepotism and favoritism a forte of her regime, (as has been the case with every other regime in Pakistan since independence). And then there is Nawaz Sharif, hiding behind the skirts of the mother Islam, hiding in Saudi Arabia and giving his thievery a sense of respectability. Idi Amin also found a refuge in Jeddah mind you.
Pakistan, since her inception has been ruled by thugs and gangsters, some times even the ones wearing a uniform of the army there, but who in public life there is not corrupt? How many? From judges and prosecutors, to teachers , professors and business men, there is not a single official or a person of means that can be trusted to be honest, Iftikhar Choudary is among the same.
Oh yes! And do let us talk of human rights. How about the human rights of little girls as young as eight or nine that are worked in houses of the rich and the middle class, beaten and slapped, expected to wait hand and foot (up to twenty hours a day seven days a week) on the lazy fat asses of their masters. How about the human rights of the girls of the poor that are raped then and paraded around in public to shame their families, where are these damned lawyers when the properties of the poor are stolen regularly, and young boys are worked as slaves in sweat shops and streets. Where is the sense of justice among these clowns, purporting to be justices and lawyers, when they see young men and boys, visibly abused and beaten and sodomised, making confessions in their courts to the crimes they did not commit. And young girls, as young as ten, being “married” to men older than their grandfathers because their family needs the money, or owes money they can not pay back. Where is the justice system when young boys and girls are raped and molested by their Koran teachers, or others.
Freedom is wasted on the illiterate and the fool. Back in nineteen sixty five I lived in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, this the area that you may also know as the Waziristan District where Osama may be hiding. At the age of thirteen, I was a college student at the Government College Mardan ,enrolled as a pre-med student. Luckily all of the subjects there were taught in English, which I had started learning at the age of four. This is only to show that even at that time I had a good grasp of the language. What I did not have the grasp of was the local language (Pashto) spoken off campus, did not know much of the local culture, I proceeded to learn both. My local guardian was the school registrar and I lived in the boarding house on the campus thru the week.
As you may have learned over the past years of our excursion into Afghanistan, the Russian invasion and out current hunt for the OBL, this area is the Wild Wild West of the modern world. In my times away from college and studies, I tried to integrate in to the local society, with the advantage of being a “guest” of Mr. Kafoor Khan, my local guardian and mentor. On the weekends and holidays I would travel to his home town which was about fourteen miles from the city of Mardan. We knew the government rule stopped at the edge of the black top, literally it meant that if one had been murdered on the side of the road out side the city limits, and the body was not physically on the black top no one would care, except for the family of the deceased. Away from the black top was the land of the free, the black top stopped six miles out of the city and you were on the dirt road, you were now in the free area. We had to walk the rest of the way to the village.
Life in total freedom is different, The only rules that apply are the ones adhered to by the local customs. If your brother is killed you go look for the murderer and may be kill him your self, or you may take on his clan and have a shoot out, you may have shootouts for years till some elders tell you to stop.
If a girl is raped, (very rare, pre marital sex is punishable by death for both parties) you go to the boys family and they will hand the boy over to you and you do with the boy whatever you please, kill him or make him marry the girl, or just beat him to a pulp whenever you see him again and again. Or the family of the boy may offer one of their girls in marriage to someone in the girls family, it can all be bargained, God Willing. Theft is rare also and was punished by severe beating, or flogging, there was no cutting of the hands till the Taliban invaded these districts. Walking twenty miles to go see a friend and have a meal with and then walk back twenty was not a big deal, so long as you were armed, you were always armed, yes even at thirteen. There were no lights, no street lights, the only radio would be battery operated, usually one per town owned by the towns chief. I learnt to walk long distances, to bathe in the local canal at night fall, even in freezing temperatures, I loved the simplicity, loved the local foods, the hospitality, I learnt to communicate with the locals, they called me half tongued for my lack of fluency in Pashto.
Back in Mardan, I would go to English language movies, most locals went to see the white women and some skin in the movies such as Cleopatra, From Russia with Love, King Solomon’s mines, I learnt to understand spoken English and may be I could learn to speak it also. And I would read English novels, The Tale of two Cities, War and Peace, Gone with the Wind and every Sherlock Holmes I could get my hands on.
In nineteen sixty five, there was short war between India and Pakistan, followed by armistice and the rise to power of the Z. A. Bhutto and his clan and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Bhutto (father of Benazir) incited rioting, telling workers to burn down the factories that did not pay fair wages, there were street clashes between the followers of Jamat Islami and PPP.
Looking to America, there were protests against the war in Vietnam, then the murders of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, but America was truly the land of the free and the people were all equal, and they cared about their country, they all had freedom and they loved their freedoms. They knew how to take care of their freedoms. I came to the United states in nineteen seventy three, I am an American.
Last week the government announced that the official deficit had gone over nine trillion dollars, we are broke, no one raised a question to the president or any of the eighteen people who think they can run this country. The government passes laws to suspend habeas corpus, not a whimper, we need to redefine privacy, who needs privacy? Brittany Spears does not wear panties, now there is something we can all spend time wondering about, we have three hundred channels on TV showing nothing but sleaze, who cares, you twelve year old daughter is having sex, get her a HPV shot, she stripping on line, so, it is free country. We have TV to watch young ladies prostitute themselves for a date with a rich guy, we have Disney to watch preteens making out, we have the inter-net to down load free porn and more. Back in the sixties in Pakistan, I saw bare breasts and something akin to a thong on a woman from an African tribe, in the National geographic. To day all I have to do is look down the street, or over the counter in a private/government office.
This is our contribution in the struggle for human rights in the twenty first century.
So why are the lawyers the only ones speaking out for the “human rights”, first you must forget that they are speaking out for the rights of the poor masses they are not. Then you see that the lawyers in general do feel disenfranchised because they are the poorest of the professional classes, as the doctors, engineers, teachers, nurses and other professionals have been able to move out of the country to enrich themselves by working overseas, lawyers only have not been able to go out of country to make extra money, lawyers in Pakistan are not paid to get the laws enforced, they are paid for perverting the justice system, for facilitating the bribery of the judges, for conniving to protect the police from abuse charges, back dating and changing the deeds and similar other services, (WOW).
What would have Benazir done for Pakistan? Her return to power would have divided Pakistan up for all practical purposes, Punjab and the North under the military rule and Sindh and the South under the PPP and their “thievocracy“. The result of this has been he rise in power of the Taliban and Al Qaeda like organizations. It is not that over night the Islamist have taken steroids, ignoring the real poor and the problems of poverty and the poor having no voice and no recourse to the injustices is the root cause of the Islamic extremism. Does Benazir have a solution? I believe not, but neither does Musharaf or anyone else in Pakistan, and definitely not Mr. Bush, who has failed to see how much the democracy in Pakistan just like our own.
But then again , we in the United States have our own “theivocracy“.
It is a shame that the words Islamic and Republic are used in the name of Pakistan.
On the 21st of October 2007, Bob Leslie stopped by to ask about me, wife told him I had gone to Pakistan. As Bob would, he was concerned, what was I doing in Pakistan at a time like this, when will I be back. He asked her to have me call him when I returned. I returned the night of the 26th, I could no longer call Bob.
There is a story that Moses had a speech impediment so his brother, Aaron, had to speak for him. Bob Leslie spoke for many people. As the and a host of “Talk of the Wiregrass” he allowed others to talk, no matter how controversial the topic, how odd the opinion he would let you talk, then he would confront you and make you defend your point of view. He was smart, he was witty, he was aware of the world, and Bob Leslie was all that and more.
Over the past few years I got to know Bob, not just as the host of the talk show I listened to and called in, I had the privilege to get to know him personally, we had a few lunches together, a few laughs and swapped a few stories. He was concerned about the country, about the people of the world, the plight of the poor and the struggle we call life. We did not always agree on everything, but we never had a harsh word either, I personally know that his show was threatened by sponsors because of some controversial subjects discussed but Bob was stead fast in his desire first of speaking out for the poor and secondly to fight the ignorance of the public at all levels.
We had some lively discussions too, he a believer in Christ and me a Bible and Koran quoting non-believer. I knew him to be Christian, and I knew his religion and his faith was not given to him by his political party. He did care about the people as a true Christian would.
I know how it sincerely pained him to see our country going down the road to a disaster, while bad people were doing some very bad things and the good people were standing around dazed and confused and saying everything is ok. Bob took it all personally, he took it too serious, too personal. He took it as a personal failure. A veteran of Vietnam, a traveler of India and South America, he knew what happens when a few take advantage of the ignorance of the masses, and he saw it coming.
Bob Leslie was my Aaron, giving me a voice on his talk show, reading my e-mails and writing back with comments. Discussing my points of view no matter how controversial, no matter how out of the main stream and how radical he would let me talk on his show as he would let me talk to him in person, I could count on him to let me speak my mind as he did with anyone else that called up his show. No doubt tonight thousands across the Wiregrass still miss his voice.
The Final Answer
Just a simple promise
Promise of a new start
When the options are so few
The world is falling apart
Open the windows
To a whole new reality
An altered state of being
A different look at finality
Leave all the sorrows
And the troubles behind
To start a new tomorrow
That tomorrow will not find
When the loneliness and pain
Are the price for existence
You don't ever pay the cost
Just plan the resistance
When the darkness is the darkest
She is the only romancer
She is the sweetest seductress
She is the final answer