31.3.15

Hacking Bangladesh to Pieces with Representations of Inequality

An  Islamic blogger (Dark Malekith) and an allegedly atheist blogger ( Washiqur Rahman AKA Kutshit Hasher Chhana) are attacked by assailants with machetes within days of each other in Bangladesh.

Which incident has gone global? and why?

Whether they are bloggers in the sense of having their own sites, or worked within a very Facebook based ecology is probably not a productive angle of enquiry. They were young men on journeys who communicated with audiences by pressing electronic keys. There lives are deemed expendable fuels for the flames of ignorance.

Inequality of representation

The inequality of the worth of human life and representation is essential to challenge here as it warps analysis and feeds the nonsense engine that haunts and taunts Sally and Sam Rahman and their quest to survive and thrive in Bangladesh.

To collide a Spivakism with a Fanonity, unless you are a well placed individual, you inhabit the zone of nonbeing.

The first attack is said to have occurred Lalmonirhat, a border district town in the north west, we don't know much about it yet.  We won't from the corporate press as there is no money in the Muslim victims of apparent secular violence sector. I invite people to post any details/ here.

The second attack occurred in the capital. Washiqur Rahman was 27 and the usually useless Dhaka police say that have apprehended 2 of the 3 culprits, extracted confessions from them and have the name of the third.  Late Washiqur Rahman's slashed body circulates the social media, slashing all those it comes into contact with, those who haven't been numbed already by the ultra violence of this society which nobody seems able to address.

Condolences to the families and justice for the victimised.

Difficulty Trusting the Police and the Awami League narratives

Luckily for the police, their two detainees come from the community madrassas that they committed massacre against on 5-6th May 2013.  It is as if someone wants to open up and benefit from a new front in the war on terror.

As we speak, this same police force is regularly torturing and disappearing people as part of the government's general programme of not just ensuring its survival, but crushing even the possibility of something alternative growing.

Delivering results to political masters is very good for your career. The Dhaka Met Police is packed full of Awami League loyalists and people from the Prime Minister's home district Gopalganj. Exceptional performance is rewarded with promotion, as we saw from the Commissioner Benazir Ahmed's rise to directing the Rapid Action Battalion. He had command responsibility for the Motijheel Massacre that nobody has forgotten and that nobody speaks openly about.

The FBI are in town investigating the murder of another atheist blogger Avijit Roy who was an American citizen, and there is growing concern with the integrity of the story lines being pursued.

Berk: Cockney Rhyming slang for Berkshire Hunt

International reporting on this stuff has been atrocious. As we might expect, the Shahbag movement are calling for the hanging of the perpetrators and appearing all over the place and nobody else is getting a look in.  All the usual Indian outlets have suspended their critical faculties and atheist / secular / journalist / free speech affinity groups are doing their thing.

Jason Burke's piece in the London-based Guardian was really awful and misleading. There is something systematically wrong in that institution on Bangladesh affairs. It quotes the pro-government Dhaka Tribune's analysis of the victim's Facebook preferences and the Prime Minister's advisor HT Imam (who Ajmal Masroor challenged successful on Al Jazeera after the 5th May Massacre, earning himself a ban on travel to Bangladesh). It doesn't include a single voice that challenges the 'Muslim fundamentalist perpetrator' explanation coming from officials. Given the Guardian's role in helping the Bangladesh government to stitch up Londoner Samiun Rahman as an ISIS recruiter, this is not surprising.

The Rentu Memoirs: A portrait of Sheikh Hasina and her party/family

The envelope of possibility and impunity is huge in Dhaka.  I suspect that this horrible incident will turn out to be yet another sabotage attack from the Awami League. It follows the pattern of thought that I found in the Rentu Memoirs (English translation here) which were written by an ex-aide to Hasina, Motiur Rahman Rentu who blew the whistle on her and the Awami League about 15 years ago.

In the absence of a competent and honest investigatory team, or even the conditions to investigate, it is unsurprising that people shrug, switch off and struggle on with their lives. Bravery, like Rentu's but better is what Bangladesh needs now, between foolhardiness and courage. A creative bravery less bloody but in the ballpark of Col Farooq and Rashid's tank bluff in 1975.







26.3.15

[New Word] Malalafication

To pulled out of the zone of nonbeing, brown and usually female, and rendered into a multifaceted toolbox of Empire. Truthful realisation and justice to the world.

e.g. 

A few days back pro Bangladesh government journalist hack Nadia Sharmeen was awarded for Courage by the US State Department, the same agency that helped to cover up the Dhaka Massacre after the Dhaka Blockade protest of 5th May 2013, and which trained the police afterwards on how to manage better next time.

Whatever happened, and what precipitated whatever happened to the Ekushey TV journalist during the Long March Protest in Dhaka on 5th April 2013, should be investigated. Given what we know about the bullshit in the air from NGOs like ASK and the press at the time, it is very likely not to coincide with the Shahbag movement orientated storyline fed to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists. 

After the attack, Ms Sharmeen's migration from ETV to Ekkator TV, a very rancid pro Awami league channel, is quite telling.

Anyway, here is the interesting and celebratory text from the US state department, which beg questions of the ETV editor's side of the story and those people who associated with the protest who are alleged to have flouted the organiser's policy to return provocations with the names of God. As is probably intended by the Developmentor here, the targets for imperial transfromation and dehumanisation here are the comparative status of the multiple concurrently running norms of gender accompaniment practices in Bangladeshi society in the White Liberal Gaze.

Nadia Sharmeen is a journalist and fierce women’s rights activist. She had wanted to be a journalist since middle school, so it was not surprising when she joined the Bangladeshi press corps. Two years ago, Nadia was assigned to cover a rally on the streets of Dhaka organized by fundamentalist organizations whose platform called for putting a ban on men and women mixing in public. Nadia worked this event despite the hostile crowd and its platform of hate. But the respect she showed them wasn’t returned. Verbal lashes turned into violence as a crowd beat and kicked her. Nadia was nearly killed.

Some say that a writer is only as good as their editor. The opposite can also be true. Nadia’s editors refused to cover her medical expenses and forced her to resign. Nadia could have turned her press credentials in, but she didn’t. Today, she is back on her feet, working the crime beat for a different TV station. She has even returned to covering conservative rallies, undaunted by those who would rather see her battered and bruised than on the airwaves.

For her bravery in the face of condemnation, threats, and physical violence, we honor Nadia Sharmeen as a woman of courage. 


Read more: http://translations.state.gov/st/english/texttrans/2015/03/20150309313950.html#ixzz3VVd91XDN

25.3.15

From My Lai to Motijheel

And so
the white left
celebrate
the anniversary
of a white supremacist massacre
in Vietnam.

They call it My Lai

How?
by interviewing
the white lefty journalist
who 'broke' the news
to the white audience
participants in the killings
millions
which didn't stop
until they were beaten.

HypocrisyNow dot Org
the war and peace report
I love you Amy Goodman
But don't you see 
the systemic flaw here?

The same flaw
That helped you to ignore
Just days after 
The Rana Plaza disaster
That didn't suit 
A white lefty storyline.

Despite State Department's

Its not just you
Its my middle class tools.

So lets introspect
On the wolves 
In sheeps clothing

Oh My Golden Bengal

How will your 'progressives'
(Mis)remember that night,
And the hustling that ensued.

Will Jahangirnagar's journalists
Of 2023
Recall their selfless bravery

I
Think
Not

So, 
Here's to the progeny,
The timekeepers, 
Of the gatekeepers
Who covered it up.
We rage and wish truth to you.

Recognise these bastards for who they are.
What they have done
And what they have spun

And 
Do 
Better

Benazir Ahmed of the Dhaka Met Police
And his band of merry suchilists
Mahfuz and Tahmima 'Transcom' Anam
Rehman and Zafar 'Gencom' Sobhan
Doctor Kamal and Sara 'Skypegate' Hossein,
Bergman and Sabir Mustafa 
very much part of the game.

If you think for one moment
That this power elite
Wish equality
Then your mind
Is evidently
Full of shit.

16.3.15

Towards Decolonising Top Gear: Reflections on the Jeremy Clarkson and Motor Car Affairs

Clarkson embodies a lot of what is wrong about us, our vehicular and development imaginary. Whether he is held accountable for recently punching his producer racistly, in the face, remains to be seen. 

As a youth I was radicalised by Top Gear in a way that thankfully hasn't caused all that much harm to others alive now, or to come. With that knowledge, I would like to propose some transformative reforms to the programme and invite yours.

1) Dismiss JC
2) Hire Ainsley Harroit the chef and Caroline Lucas the politician to cofront it..
3) Reorient programme's creative direction towards ecological principles.
4) Included other geared and wheeled machines, like bicycles, pushchairs, electric toothbrushes and escalators.
5) Headline Vehicular Vanity as a negative.
6) Include the voices of vehicular workers at all stages of the life cycle.
7) Sow the seeds of the critique of neoliberal fossil fueled capital in the audience.
8) Inform the public about the lives lost and the communities subverted by cars, roads and the dangers they propose to humans.
9) Feature more cyclist - automobile dialogues.
10) Institutionalise a declining carbon budget for the show.

9.3.15

An ode to CAGEgate

Brother, brother against the wall.
Who's the most beligerant of them all?

Look  - No Hands!
A mighty dissenting bombshell
Delivery a bit clumsy
Spun out of control

CAGE rattled, with tittle tattle
Sufis absent from field of battle

Unimpressed by years and decades of hassles;
Epistemicidal, takfears and Salafi rascals.

Horizons made narrow through long winded debating,
Or compromised Preventitude that's morally castrating.

Who said that those in salafi stained glass houses shouldn't blow kisses?

4.3.15

The hot politics of understanding Emwazi's journey to ISIS

There are only a few decent sources of information through which I can learn something just, trustworthy and intelligent about Syria/Iraq, the troubled resistance movements there and the unfolding ISIS nightmare. The Black American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem is one of them, VICE magazine sometimes ( Ghosts of Aleppo), then there is CAGE. 

CAGE are a pretty inspiring and courageous UK research and advocacy organisation who work to protect the rights of those caught at the bum end of the war on terror, in particular salafi-orientated Muslim males and their families but by extension all of us. They are supported by the wider community of Muslims as well as non Muslims and represent a trajectory that evolved from Stop Police Terror to Stop Political Terror  campaigns which grew into Caged Prisoners. It is significant that far sighted people in the community ( and a few institutional funders) have established and supported institution like CAGE to protect a vulnerable community, despite the government clamping down on its bank accounts and personnel, cynically detaining them and preventing them from intervening to try and assist Alan Henning.

Following a press conference earlier this week on the official unveiling of  Jihadi John, of ISIS execution video infamy, as Westminster University alumnus Mohammad Emwazi, the knives are out for CAGE again. And surprise surprise, its not objective critique based on a holistic view of what they presented. The establishment refuses to take responsibility for a problem which belongs to the whole of us and despite their heads in the sand, we are in a moment where we can think through alienation in the UK  more broadly than the narrow interests of securocrats dictate.

Insulating White Supremacism from its recent history 
The course determining contribution of the United Kingdom to creating the conditions of possibility for ISIS was the brazen disregard for decency and rule of law demonstrated by its participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars involved a lot of killing of innocents, creating new instabilities and grizzly videos of death and destruction on a mass scale.  As anti-war protesters and activists, we failed to stop this rain of white supremacist state terrorism and have to live in its consequences. Those responsible for promoting these wars insulate themselves from their complicity when they go on the offensive against organisations defending the legitimate rights of people caught up in forces greater than all of us. It is only decent to remind them of the blood on their hands every time they feign and moral high ground. 

A lot of the anger at CAGE is because they do not play the emotional condemnation game ttry to force on them. Although it is cringeworthy to watch people apologise for acts for which they have no responsibility, it makes sense to reassure alarmed publics, and some are better than others at it. To me, progress looks like connecting to root causes and producing epistemically autonomously framed research and guidance on the matter, whilst putting in its rightful place vis-a-vis other matters. If we look at the national risk register, its communicable diseases, not terrorism thats on top. If I look at near history, the consumer zombie riots following the extrajudicial killing of Mark Duggan are actually more scary. If I look to the future, its petroindustrial capitalism that is destroying life on this earth.

And these are all interlinked.

Rattling the CAGE

CAGE's enemies in the establishment are many and evidently dislike their evidence based analysis of  the UK intelligence community's contribution to the production of terrorism. But then, what else would you expect when you try and hold 'intelligence' services accountable for their contributions to ruining the life of someone Muhammad Emwazi / Jihadi John who would later become a poster boy for ISIS video executions?   A bit of public relations perhaps? 

I worry for the physical safety of the CAGE people on the ground as there are psychopaths in charge at the charity commission, the gutter press and hand in glove with the ultra right groups.

Embedded below is video of the recent CAGE press conference about their contact with Emzawi/Jihadi Jon. It has set the cat amongst the pigeons and inspired a wave of whiteous indignation.  Newspapers, especially on the right, but also on the liberal-left, are blubbering on about CAGE as ISIS apologists.  Usama Hasan and the Quilliam Foundation's handlers are firing of commands on their remote controls; and NATO-backed human rights groups like Amnesty International have been taking repetitional risk avoidance measures.  However, heroes like the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have backed the groups right to ask legitimate questions.

The CAGE-Emwazi email trail has been put online here, for those of us prone to travelling whilst Muslim, activism or both, it makes for depressing but necessary reading.


Russell Brands Trews analysis looks at the bigger picture and is worth taking in also, but we are still left without public exploration of the spiritual wisdom and analysis that these transformations cry out for.




26.2.15

TellMamaGilligate, or How to win/lose credibility in one telling article

A few days ago an article appeared on the Telegraph website, written by Andrew Gilligan.  Peter Oborne's recent resignation from the publication gives us some flavour of what is going on there. Contrary to the piece's claims that there was anything radical at the heart of Whitehall, its just bum-licking as usual.

Gilligan is known for going after decent or half decent Muslim organisational forms and figures like bitch on heat on a mission from the deep state to cause maximum and unjust disruption to the scapegoats of its failed imperialistic policies abroad. After falling on bad times after failing to protect the life and dignity of Dr David Kelly, he was picked up by the now Mayor of London Boris Johnson during his time at the Spectator, and God knows who else. I argue that as far as the decolonial ummah in progress goes, he is the same category of individual as Anjem Choudhury, only fatter, balder, whiter and with a right to audience, not 'entertain'.

Both are highly dedicated and involved, wittingly or unwittingly in the assemblage of resources and interests that works to undermine any growth in our community's integrity, function and appeal.  They and the many other stage devises like them are an invitation to observe and improve.

Gilligan's last target, Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his re-election prospects, did not fall over when pushed. It was a bungled attempted coup featuring the British Labour and Tory Parties, the BBC, the Bangladesh Awami League, the City of London, a creepy blogger and a washed up documentary maker. People from all over the world understood what was afoot and smiled at Luther's re-election. At the time of writing, Tower Hamlets Council  is going through legal proceedings relating to the anti-Lutfur campaign run over last year's election campaign. In any case, it is the social cleansing of Tower Hamlets that is the long game to keep our eyes on, and that means citizen mobilisation, not simple nose counting exercises.

Which is why the recent article was annoying, as it shows the character gap in a man who runs an organisation that is meant to be monitoring Islamophobia, not fueling it.

It is a really sad feature of the late Whitethropocene, that colourful politicians on the make have become quite practiced at furthering their ambitions over the reputations, dignity and bones of others.

I saw this cringeworthy dishonour in Fiyaz Mughal's contribution to the Gilligan article, in particular his use of the term 'entryism', around which the journalist built the article, linking in with Gilligan's second most favourite Islamophobising trope, The Stratford Megamosque. Many others have noticed this skulduggery too, and I suspect Mr Mughal will now inhabit the spaces exploited by the likes of the Quilliam Foundation, which was probably part of his business plan. His clarification later, which has been taken off the website, made his supplication to his paymasters even clearer to the naked eye.

I guess Mr Mughal will be getting a good bollocking from his old friends and associates, and no doubt some strategic consolations and congratulations from his new ones, and the men who stroke cats.

24.2.15

Judicial Murder of Kamaruzzaman on the cards again and the Robertson Report

It is with great sorrow that I comment on the impending execution judicial murder of Jamaat e Islami leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, by the Bangladesh state for war crimes alleged to have taken place in 1971 when he was 18-19 years old. It is very hard for an Islamist to get justice from any court in the world at this moment, least of all from a tribunal whose rigging has been internationally recognised.

It is an unfortunate feature of Bangladeshi historiography that bullshit is easily rendered into fact, and that events like the hideous Sohagpur massacre have been retrospectively pinned onto Kamaruzzaman.  As well as objecting to unfairness of trial and false historical evidence making, we need to ask ourselves how this has been possible. Many people, Bangladeshi and non-Bangladeshi have been instrumental in creating the myths that mislead us on Bangladesh. It can be observed that their sons and daughters still dominate the English medium nonsense-making engine that represents Bangladesh in the international media. Thankfully, more and more are seeing through the facade.

Before this tribunal, Kamaruzzaman was not implicated war crimes, he wasn't event a primary or secondary object of hatred to campaigners on the issue. In the image below we see a younger Kamaruzzaman speaking on a panel about Rethinking Confrontational Politics with some prominent members of Bangladesh's 'vibrant' civil society in 2000. From left to right we have Kamaruzzaman the Younger, NGO-lady Khushi Kabir (whose husband tried to run a local Amnesty franchise but was allegedly too corrupt), the Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam (whose daughter Tahmima Anam represents Bangladesh in the New York Times and Guardian) and economist Rahman Sobhan (whose son Zafar edits the Dhaka Tribune).  I would love to have a read of the proceedings if they were recorded.
'
Amateur caste system aside, Bangladesh's quite donor-dependent civil society has little connection to the country's grass roots and is blind to its own prejudices, which includes Islamophobia, a rarely explored prejudice in predominantly Muslim societies. This makes killing Kamaruzzaman and Hating Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh, linked objectives for them and those who (think) they represent.

We can expect further repression of Kamrazzaman's lawyers, family and well wishers, from the government and establishment media machine in the coming days.  Twitter tells me that there has been a joint forces raid on his home in Mirpur, Dhaka and two family members arrested.

Last November I wrote about Kamaruzzaman's unjust predicament, and the year before about his Strategy for Change for his party. It is a party that requires much transformation, and he is a reformer struggling and leading people to realist some of those reforms. It is my speculation that he is targeted because it is people like him who represent a positive future of Jamaat, responsive to social justice needs, not mindless conservatism.

Through killing him the Awami League does two things, it satiates the primordial blood lusts that it has nurtured in its followers for decades, and enflames and destabilizes the progressive tendency in Jamaat, and tries to make beasts of its adherents.

Earlier this month an independent and constructive report detailing the systematic injustices of the current war crimes tribunal was published by Geoffrey Robertson QC . Its independence has been  questioned by David Bergman, who has made a whole career, family and legacy covering the issue, apparently using evidence extracted under torture.

Robertson's report sets a new reference point for the internationalisation of justice in the issue. Most interesting for me is the inclusion of an argument for the posthumous trial of  General Tikka Khan, author of Operation Searchlight, the brutal army crackdown which kicked of the Bangladesh War. For reference, after the war General Tikka Khan was awarded the Governership of Punjab by late Benazir Bhutto.

I think transformative justice is very important for ongoing dignity and for civilisation to flourish. Till today, both Pakistan (Model Town, Lahore June 2014)) and Bangladesh (Motijheel, Dhaka May 2013) are ruled by brutal establishments that massacre their own citizens to hold onto power.  Understanding how they operate, self legitimate and spawn themselves is in the public interest.


I have always thought that the Bangladesh war crimes trials were an unjust idea, because there is no shared appetite, or capacity, to know what really happened, just self-aggrandizing delusional, hurt histories muddled with ideological axes. To remedy this, I wholeheartedly support William Gomes'  letter to Imran Khan for Truth and Reconciliation between all of the societies involved in the Bangladesh War.

To close, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman deserves a fair retrial at the very least and the Robertson Report outlines how this may be achieved. Murdering him via the judiciary further weakens the governments grip on history. That our so-called civil society stands for such persecution questions their claims to morality and civility

20.2.15

The College of the Oppressed

A young lady bleeds in Jatrabari,
Body punctured by the Chhatro League
Who came for her father
Then followed orders from their masters
To annihilate the progeny of political adversaries.

Lord console her parent's trembling hearts.

Shaheeda Iffatudoha Sadia,
May you be raised amongst the highest,
In His gracious sight,
In the hearts of green birds
An afterlife of delight. 

Be strong dear survivors,
These years of torment,
In the College of the Oppressed,
Could turn lesser humans to beasts.

I pray that you may contribute
To transformation - head and root,
Of this bedevilled nation
Of multiple and extreme exploitation. 

10.2.15

Truly Asia?

"Malaysia Truly Asia"
The entertainers sang with glee
Orang asli black face
Recruited into the fantasy.

Well I'm Asian too
And saw these moves
Poured over the ICT.
Those judges lied.
We saw Futuricide
And thousands cried
Into a soup of fear and tea.

Fantasia Truly Asia
Lord spare you the brutal scene
That degenerates my delta
Step away from the whitening cream.

Forget isis,
Oil prices,
This is the crisis,
Political Epistemic Encephalitis.