19 Apr 2005

Just another day in paradise

Public memory has a reputation of being notoriously short!
He hogged the headlines in his heydays…now he’s gone. i refer to Veerappan - him of the lean frame and stout moustache. And the incredible stories that followed the brigand as he took the cops on a chase around the Ghats. Caches of ivory, pelts and sandalwood - stashed up for the rainy day. Has the media quickly developed selective amnesia? Are politicians creating eager election fodder by allowing his henchmen to quietly carve-up the jungle into their personal fiefdoms? Have some heroes of the STF returned to the forests after disbandment, to quietly dig up the loot? Can i go birdwatching in Mudumalai without fear ?

One size fits all, a universal charger around the corner ?
Dada, are you reading ?!

A hope for blue skies…

A Wake-up Call : Almost all terrorists are Muslims..
Abdel Rahman al-Rashed*

It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

The hostage-takers of children in Beslan, North Ossetia, were Muslims. The other hostage-takers and subsequent murderers of the Nepalese chefs and workers in Iraq were also Muslims. Those involved in rape and murder in Darfur, Sudan, are Muslims, with other Muslims chosen to be their victims.

Those responsible for the attacks on residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar were Muslims. The two women who crashed two airliners last week were also Muslims.

Osama bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim.

What a pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement." Does all this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture?

These images, when put together or taken separately, are shameful and degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial. Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing.

For it would be easy to cure ourselves if we realize the seriousness of our sickness. Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture.

Let us listen to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the sheikh – the Qatar-based radical Egyptian cleric – and hear him recite his fatwa about the religious permissibility of killing civilian Americans in Iraq. Let us contemplate the incident of this religious sheikh allowing, nay even calling for, the murder of civilians.

This ailing sheikh, in his last days, with two daughters studying in "infidel" Britain, soliciting children to kill innocent civilians.

How could this sheikh face the mother of the youthful Nick Berg, who was slaughtered in Iraq because he wanted to build communication towers in that ravished country? How can we believe him when he tells us that Islam is the religion of mercy and peace while he is turning it into a religion of blood and slaughter?

In a different era, we used to consider the extremists, with nationalist or leftist leanings, a menace and a source of corruption because of their adoption of violence as a means of discourse and their involvement in murder as an easy shortcut to their objectives.
At that time, the mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life.

Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry.

We can't call those who take schoolchildren as hostages our own.

We cannot tolerate in our midst those who abduct journalists, murder civilians, explode buses; we cannot accept them as related to us, whatever the sufferings they claim to justify their criminal deeds. These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image.

We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.

We cannot redeem our extremist youths, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.

*Abdel Rahman al-Rashed is general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel. This article first appeared in the London-based pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe has described her decision to answer a call of nature during the race as "an embarrassing necessity"

Zoe Young of the medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), is keeping a web diary for the BBC News Website from Angola as she helps with the emergency response to an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus

Bookie meets Vatican displeasure - cops ask Paddy Power to move on. Any guesses on the money bet on the Indo-Pak One-day match at the Kotla last Sunday? Rs. 1000 crores (10bn)? 2000 crores??

Almost jumped out of my skin while passing employee personal lockers at work today - a cock was crowing in one of them (that too around midnight)! Took me a moment to realize it was the latest alarm or ringtone in a cellphone !!

Reading "Cold Zero" by Christopher Whitcomb

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