Archive for January, 2008

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Stabilizing Afghanistan

January 31, 2008

I find it amazing that western “analysts” keep pounding their heads on their expensive wooden desks because they cannot figure out what is going wrong in Afghanistan. Why is the Taliban still fighting them after all of this time? Why is NATO unable to tame them? Why is al-Qa’idah still entrenched there?

It shows not only an ignorance of the people and culture but also an ignorance of how human beings in general behave. Under occupation, there is always resistance. This is a fact. If a foreign power were to invade the US today, plenty of people would resist, and it would be viewed as completely legitimate.

Until this very day, however, American policy makers (both democrat and republican) have stood by the invasion of Afghanistan under the justification that it somehow vindicated the attacks of September 11, 2001. That in itself is preposterous, but when you also consider that they believe a continued fight against the Taliban, which, as far as we know, had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, is necessary, the picture begins to become even more distorted.

There are several changes that must occur in order to eventually relieve the Afghan people from anymore unnecessary suffering:

1. The occupation forces there must develop an exit plan. (It is ridiculous that so many people are opposed to the occupation of Iraq but mention nothing of Afghanistan, as if they somehow deserve to be occupied).

2. The Afghan government must have full control of the policy making (no puppet-regime tactics).

3. The Afghan government must sit down with the Taliban and make peace, whatever the cost. This is the only way to end a war, aside from everyone on both sides being dead. Both sides must be willing to compromise, but in the end, both sides should share the power.

4. Any illegal immigrants (from Arab countries or elsewhere) must be deported (if they are innocent) or legally tried in court (if they are members of al-Qa’idah). This will be much easier if the Taliban are working in coordination with the government.

5. If #4 is not possible alone, then outside assistance should be sought by the new unified government. Preferably, that outside help should come from friendly neighbors (Pakistan and Iran, but not perceived enemies such as the US).

6. The government should nationalize, even if temporarily, the production of their natural resources in order to strengthen their economy and sever any dependence on foreign money.

7. They should establish strong trade agreements with neighboring nations and rely on the United Nations, Red Crescent, and other “impartial” (and I use the term loosely) organizations when necessary.

8. They should setup micro-finance institutions similar to the ones in Bangladesh.

9. They should coordinate military and police training with Iran and Pakistan instead of western powers.

These are just some of the ideas that will make Afghanistan strong for Afghans, rather than occupiers with only their own interests in mind. If you have any other ideas that should be added or better ideas than the ones I’ve listed, please post them in the comments.

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Ya Husayn

January 19, 2008

‘Ashura is not a time only of sadness.  It is not a time in which Muslims should remember defeat.  It is not a time in which Muslims should be divided.  Imam Husayn (peace be upon him) was the imam of Islam for all Muslims of his time.  No one, even the enemies of Islam, would dispute his piety, his service in the cause of Allah, his knowledge of the religion of Allah, his devotion and loyalty to the leadership and vision of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and that of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (peace be upon him).

It is neither a time of pure sadness nor a time to remember defeat, because from it sprang a movement, one that rescued Islam from the clutches of tyranny and strengthened the message of the Messenger of Allah that morality and justice must always prevail over avarice, oppression, and miserliness.  For this, the Muslim Ummah should experience the ultimate joy, knowing that, as Allah has promised, the believers will be victorious.

It is not a time in which Muslims should be divided because all of us owe our debt to the struggle of the Imam and his companions on that day (the 10th of Muharram) in that desert (in Karbala, Iraq).  The movement that emerged after the tragedy, under the guidance of the Imam’s surviving son, Ali Zain-ul-‘Abideen (peace be upon him) and with the tenacity, loyalty, perseverance, wisdom, and honor demonstrated by his sister, Zaynab bint Ali (peace be upon her), the message of Islam not only survived, it championed righteousness over treachery and lewdness.  It summoned the people of knowledge to their feet and challenged them to deny the truth.

For this reason, there is essentially only one version of this event.  For most other events, there is a Sunni version and a Shi’i version, but for Karbala, for the struggle of Imam Husayn, the Muslim Ummah stands in unity.  The account in At-Tabari’s Tarikh is essentially identical to the account given in al-Mufid’s Irshad. 

So on this day and on all days, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the sweet basil flower of the Messenger of Allah, the grandson of the Last Prophet, the son of the Commander of the Faithful and the Leader of all believing women, one of the two leaders of the youths in Paradise, the chief of martyrs and nephew of the chief of martyrs, the standard bearer of justice and freedom, the pillar of excellence, the one for whom Allah is forever pleased, the love of our hearts, Imam al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib.  As-salaamu ‘alayka Yabna Muhammad-al-Mustafa!  As-salaamu ‘alayka yabna Ali-al-Murtadha.  As-salaamu ‘alayka yabna Fatimat-az-Zahra`!  As-salaamu ‘alayka ya Aba Abdallah!

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From Vietnam to Iraq

January 17, 2008

As Chuck D from the rap group Public Enemy predicted in 1998:

“F**kin’ with Saddam will bring a new Saigon…”

Truer words have rarely been spoken.