by Izaz Haque

natickmallWith so much to talk about these days, a lot of good opinions get left out there unheard. So lets get them out…right here on Imran’s blog.

I can start with a few leaders…

The word is out that Israel is out to improve its international public image – they think they may be at a tipping point on a permanently negative world view. I wonder what took the world so long (of course Westerners don’t think Eastern or Muslim opinions count). After 32 years of settling occupied territory and countless wars with its neighbors and innumerable Palestinians hounded into generational refugee status and similar numbers killed, Israel now thinks its public image is at stake? It certainly shows the limits of propaganda.

So how do they plan on going about it? For one, deny Gaza and Goldman. Secondly, perform a James Bond style assassination of Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. My comment on the NY Times opinionator, which said American spy agencies have also been given the right to kill American’s overseas if they are suspected of wrong-doing:

“People seem too steeped in the James Bond mythology that there is a law unto spy agencies that transcends international law, that there is a quid quo pro and real politic that justifies such acts, that national security concerns supplant human rights and due process.

But killing by spy agency decree violates ones basic premise of right and wrong – what’s good for the goose can also be good for the gander. How can we talk to China about human rights violations when we empower our own intelligence agencies to employ such tactics ourselves?”

While we’re on the topic, how about this?

“A genetic study to investigate a connection between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan will be funded by Israel, according to a report in The Observer.

Israeli anthropologists have claimed that the Pashtuns may be one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel in light of longstanding historical and anecdotal evidence.”

Comments, Mr. Khan?

“That should be easy to verify using the latest genetic mappings… Imran”

Moving on … how about Joe Stack, the software engineer who flew a plane into the Austin IRS office. The Government says it wasn’t terrorism, that it was a crime. The lead candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination, Gov. Pawlenty (I always have difficulty with this name – why not just say Plenty?), says all well meaning Americans should crash (golf clubs) into Federal windows. That’s patriotism, not criminal. What about the Fort Hood shooter? Well, he was a Muslim, so it must be terrorism.

I think Mr. Obama’s had a great first year, but the Conservatives are winning the publicity war. They’ve framed the debate so Mr. Bush looks golden in comparison. Americans want leaders that say they can have unlimited Chinese money without paying for it. Will it work? There’s a great new book that I recommend: The End of Influence: What happens when Other Countries have the Money (Stephen Cohen – he’s written about Pakistan as well).

Speaking about golf clubs, I think Tiger Woods gave a very sincere and moving apology. Some may disagree, but I forgive him. I hope his wife is reading this note.

While we’re on sports, wither Pakistan cricket? India is hard at work rationalizing the elimination of Pakistani players from the IPL but it smacks clearly of over extended rationalizing. They are saying it was purely a business decision, why would any corporation not act in its best interest? However, as we all know so well from experience, the idea of a super-duper blue blooded modern-day enterprise seeking maximum profitability above everything else is but a mirage. The IPL are governed by political and national considerations, just as much as any Western company which profiles its job and promotion candidates mostly to the detriment of qualified minority applicants.

To say it in even more plain terms: the IPL owners exercised their right to say no to these players because they were Pakistani. They made them apply and used their power to humiliate them. This even goes beyond profiling. It is raw, unchecked emotion and a crass calculation that puts politics above game and the hope that it wins them more nationalistic-minded Indian fans.

If the PCB continues to play its game the way it has, to be sure Bangladesh will soon
replace Pakistan among the top 7 playing countries of the world. (A version of this printed in Pakistan’s Daily Times).

India’s recent Freudian slip suggests they are making up for the IPL gaffe:

“In a major goof-up, the Indian government’s Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) issued a full-page ad on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day featuring the photograph of former Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Ahmed (2006-2009), along with its national heroes such as cricketers Kapil Dev, Virender Sehwag and classical musician Amjad Ali Khan.”

Speaking of movies, anyone seen Avatar? Here’s an opinion to cloud all first opinions about it (David Brooks of the NY Times):

“This is the oft-repeated story about a manly young adventurer who goes into the wilderness in search of thrills and profit. But, once there, he meets the native people and finds that they are noble and spiritual and pure. And so he emerges as their Messiah, leading them on a righteous crusade against his own rotten civilization. (Read more by Googling David Brooks and Avatar – he calls it a “racial fantasy par excellence).”

I really liked Avatar, although I have heard at least one Pakistani say it was no different from Harry Potter! Personally, I would have preferred the new Sherlock Holmes movie if it had stuck to the original. Read my review on Facebook:

This could go on and on, so let me try to end it here with this…sitting in a parking lot near the Natick mall this afternoon, the car next to me suddenly started alarming. No one was near it at the time. I took a closer look at it. It was a TOYOTA Rav4. It shut itself down after a minute of very loud protestations. There’s still hope for Toyota.

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2 Responses to “Musings on Current Topics”

  1. Imran on February 23rd, 2010 2:28 am

    With US involved in a massive targeted killings in Pakistan through the use of drones, it is difficult to criticize Israel. What is surprising is that no one in the US is speaking about the hundreds and possibly thousands killed in FATA through drones. I was in Pakistan recently and met Imran Khan who told me that nearly 20,000 people have been killed. He also said that there are no journalists allowed in the region so no one can verify the claims of different parties.

    Why are people so surprised that there is a deep rooted animosity towards muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular in India. The Hindu short sightedness is the core reason for Pakistan creation. See another blog titled “Why and How of Pakistan’s Creation“.

    I saw Tiger’s apology in entirety as it has adversely effected the game of golf. While he said most of the right words, it lacked emotions. I got a sense that he was going through the motions so that powers that be will let him out on the golf course. I think by rushing it and not having his wife on his side, is going to prolong people accepting him back, even though he may get on the course earlier.

  2. Izaz Haque on February 23rd, 2010 2:46 am

    Imran, you’re right on as far as the drone killings go. But the US now thinks its on the verge of victory with the Mehsud killings and the capture of Taliban leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It would take a sea change in attitudes to make them change policy at this time.

    One way would be to have the Pakistani government come clean on this.
    They’ve been playing this duplicitous role – criticizing publicly but acquiescing secretly. It seems Tiger isn’t the only one cheating here. What’s that line again – Responsibility! What’s your policy?