Mental Image

I just read a breaking news headline that said “Government suing Bank of America alleging fraud against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” and this is the image that immediately came to mind.

Arabic Nasheed

If I ever become a boxer I’m going to have them play this song by Raghuda Al Wazzan (رغودة الوزان) with Toyor al Jannah (طويور الجنة) when I walk into the ring. In studying Arabic from home, I’ve started from the ground up which means I started with books and videos on the Arabic alphabet, basic verbs, and now I’m up to children’s level language. I need help from someone who speaks and writes Arabic because there are some parts of this song I’m either not hearing correctly or which may in fact be regional dialect or slang. I don’t actually need a translation (as I can do this myself) or transliteration (unnecessary because I can read and write Arabic), I simply need the lyrics typed out in Arabic script. Any help I can get in this regard would be greatly appreciated and I would be eternally grateful.

Malala Yousufzai and Emmit Till

In reading the comments sections of the various news articles regarding the Taliban’s attempted assassination of Malala Yousufzai, a constant theme from commentors has been the accusation that the Islamic world culturally is a thousand years or more behind the West. How quickly we as Americans forget our history, in the case of Pakistan in particular I would put the number closer to 50 years. With the outraged response from from Pakistanis at the attack on Malala, I can’t help but to think that this is Pakistan’s equivalent of the American Civil Rights reaction to the murder of Emmit Till. The analogy is not perfect but the end effect might be the same which could spell bad news for the Pakistani Taliban.

When Emmit Till was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman, he wasn’t trying to bring attention to racial injustice in the South. He was, though, choosing to ignore long established customs that were adhered to at the time because breaching these customs in that time and place was incredibly dangerous if not suicidal. In speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban, Malala Yousufzai was doing the exact same thing and both of these situations resulted in murderous violence. In both cases the victims of this reactionary violence were 14 years old which helped sway public opinion against their attackers. It is important to note that for black Americans in the Jim Crow South violence and murder was an all too regular occurrence, just as violence and injustice is against women in the Pakistani tribal region today. Had these crimes occurred against adult victims public responses within the regions would have been muted, if noted at all. The age of the victims in these cases seems to have been the cultural tipping point.

The most important similarity, and the basis for my saying that Pakistani culture is only 50 years behind the west rather than 1,000 years, is that the crime against Malala has provoked and unprecedented response in Pakistan condemning the Taliban. As was the case in the American Civil Rights movement, once the first voices began to raise up against racism in the South, the masses of Southerners who had hitherto kept silent in the face of injustice out of fear of reprisal finally gained the courage to speak out. Once this process began no amount of racial terror was able to stem the demand for racial justice and the days of Jim Crow were numbered. What I’m reading today may be the cultural equivalent in Pakistan. Public opinion has turned against the oppressors and, what begins now as public support for Malala Yousufzai may turn into a watershed moment, one where the majority’s previously silent disapproval of the Taliban becomes a demand for justice and a deathknell for misogynist terror.

The Attempted Murder of Malala

Oh Pakistani Taliban, did it ever occur to you when you raised a weapon to fire live rounds at a teen aged girl, that perhaps you are just really shitty at interpreting the Qur’an? Malala Yousufzai did not renounce Islam. She did not burn a Qur’an. She didn’t even draw a picture of the Prophet Muhammad. You shot this girl because she wrote a blog criticizing the fact that the Taliban closes down girls schools in her part of the world. You attempted murder on a young girl because she defended her right to learn, study, and think.

The fact that you even refer to yourselves as Taliban (students) is incomprehensible. Take, for example, the following from your justification for the shooting:

“If anyone argues about [Yousafzai’s] young age, then [consult] the story of Hazrat Khizar in the Koran relating that Hazrat Khizar — while traveling with the Prophet Musa — killed a child,” the letter reads. “Arguing about the reason for his killing, he said that the parents of this child are pious and in future [the child] will cause a bad name for them.”

Any student of the Qur’an knows that that story is an example that the rationale for God’s actions (in this case, exemplified by a prophet) may not be obvious at the time and that apparently bad actions may in fact be good. It does not then follow, however, that the Taliban are prophets who are free to play fast and loose with the Islamic prohibition against murder. Secondly, the rationale of Hazrat Khizar in the above story, that child will bring disrepute upon his pious parents, does not apply here. Malala’s father was in fact proud of his daughter for her activism so either (if they were in the wrong) her parents were not pious and were therefore not worthy of being protected from disrepute or they were in the right and you in fact brought disrepute to Islam by this crime against an innocent.

The other point of the Taliban’s justification was that Malala deserved death because she criticized the Sharia is simply wrong. From what I can tell from her writings, Malala did not criticize the Sharia (which permits the education of females), she criticized the Taliban’s application of it because they denied education to females. This doesn’t make her a criminal, slanderer, or an apostate, this makes her a better student of Islam than you are. Some of the most revered scholars in Islamic history were women. Would you have shut their schools down and opened fire on them? Hafsa bint Umar, the wife of the Prophet and daughter of Umar, was literate. The vast accumulation of ahadith reveal no instance of the Prophet trying to kill her. Lastly, the very first revealed surah of the Qur’an began “Iqra” (read).

The language of the Qur’an, while addressing people in the masculine pronouns, is considered binding upon both men and women. The Qur’an does not promote illiteracy and ignorance, in fact the number of surahs that extoll people to refer to their knowledge are too numerous to name here. The Prophet Muhammad did not deny education to females then attempt to murder them for speaking out. You call yourselves Taliban, use your brains, your knowledge, and common sense and stop bringing disrepute upon Islam and the rest of the world’s Muslims with your murderous actions. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Malala and her family and may she be protected from thugs.

Iran Hookwinked by the Onion


The Most Dangerous Game

Israel is representing that they are prepared to launch a military strike against Iran before the end of the year aimed at disabling Iran’s nuclear program. It is important to note that that if they wanted to they certainly could have kept such plans secret because (insert snide remark here about Jews controlling the media). My point is that we have no idea if they are actually going to attack at this point, they are simply advertising that they are going to, which is not necessarily the same thing. This posturing leads me to believe that, through some calculated game theory predictions, they are betting on eliciting a response that favors their interests, not from Iran, but from the US. The danger with game theory in regards to nuclear powers, however, is that even a 90% accurate prediction may not be good enough and at this point nobody can tell how this is going to play out. Everyone should be keeping an eye on this.

Most Amazing

I will check IPs. Vote on which is better version of this song:

This version

or: this one


The News

When CNN first came upon the scene in the 1980s, the concept of a 24 hour news station seemed incredible. Before then, the news was something you watched at six or eleven on a major news station, something to kill the time before and after Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Different Strokes, and the Dukes of Hazzard. I was in junior high school when I first started paying attention to the news and I was fascinated, if uninformed all all the major events. Global politics, the cold war, the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, and runaway inflation were all brought to me in stories from the Cable News Network. The concept of 24 hour news ultimately was a success and thirty some odd years later CNN has become solidified in the culteral landscape.

Fast forward to 2012 and I now have access to CNN from the web. You would think I’d be happy but in fact I’m rather irritated. I don’t know if it’s due to competition with programs like TMZ but for whatever reason I’m detecting more fluff in the news now than ever before. Simply put, I don’t care who Justin Bieber may have punched, who Tom Cruise is splitting up with (yeah I ended with a preposition, deal with it), what John Travolta said to whom, what Oprah may have said to offend which subcontinent, or what Lady Gaga is or isn’t packing in her unmentionables. I DO, however, care about what is going on in Syria, what the Presidential candidates actually stand for, who’s actually dumb enough to shoot Sikh when they really meant to kill Muslims (D’OH!), and what is happening with the US economy. If I had my druthers, I would that CNN stick to serious news so that I could read up about significant events when I’m on the site. I am perfectly capable of looking for social inanity if I so desire. Reading the news is cheerius bidness and I would like my news outlets to reflect that.

Now if you will excuse me I have to read about Miley Cyrus’ dog pooping diamonds.

Protect Us from Ourselves

I’ve championed the ideas of individual rights and the ideas of the founding fathers for years. Many people in the media, however, are declaring that this latest shooting in Colorado is a wake-up call and something must be done to protect the populace now, Constitution be damned. I’m tired of repeating the same arguments all the time so I agree, in the name of saving lives it’s time to change the bill of rights. I’d like to add some things first:

1) Repeal free speech: I know this is something that is inextricably linked with what it means to be American (some would also add what it means to be human) but let’s face it; sometimes free speech can have some bad consequences. People can use free speech to preach hatred and intolerance and in extreme cases words can convince a fucktard teenage girl to commit suicide so, in order to curtail these problems we need to shitcan free speech.

2) Right to bear arms must go: Somebody shot up a movie theater, this must never be allowed to happen again. I know that this will leave the elderly and single women sitting ducks for rape and robbery since bad guys will know that everyone is unprotected but everyone’s gonna just have to suck that one up, being at the mercy of thugs and rapists is the price we’re going to have to pay to prevent bad things from happening.

3) The prohibition of government using private homes to quarter soldiers must go. I’m not exactly sure why but I’m sure that in times of need this lousy bit of amendment will be a pain in the ass so let’s get rid of this one too.

4) Right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure? SEEYA! Just think how many bad guys we can catch if people can be searched anywhere, at any time, for no reason at all, especially blacks and Mexicans! If the life of one innocent person is saved (especially children because people get all over emotional about children) getting rid of this amendment will be well worth it.

5) The entitlement to due process including indictments requiring a grand jury and all that other legal mumbo jumbo? These are all things that sometimes benefit bad guys! Society will be much better off without them because we will see an end to bad guys getting off on trial via a technicality. How much you wanna bet lives will occasionally be saved if we ditch this right? Probably more per year than all the people that was in that movie theater. Fuck being American and having rights, let’s all be SAFE!

6) Right to a speedy trial. Riiiiiight, what trial? See last paragraph. Shitcan!

7) Trial by jury in civil cases: This isn’t neccessary anymore since we can now divine Truth by accessing the CNN and message boards. CHUCK IT!

8) Forbidding excess bail and cruel and unusual punishment? This one we DEFINITELY must get rid of. If we torture prisoners that will make us more likely to get the truth because everybody knows people don’t lie under torture. Especially they don’t falsely implicate innocent people or even themselves under torture either. Hats off to 1980s Dallas Police for hipping us to this one.

So to sum up, lives can be saved, not just be giving up our right to bear arms, but by giving up at least eight of America’s Bill of Rights. Would you rather be American and free or would you rather be proactive and save lives? We can probably save up to 200 lives a year if we just give up every idea that this nation has held sacred and made it the greatest nation in the world. The Bill of Rights was good while it lasted but for God’s sake a tragedy has happened. We can ill afford to hold on to our great political ideals because HELLO!!! SOMEBODY SHOT UP A THEATER IN COLORADO! What’s it gonna be America?

Collective Credit and Blame

Piggybacking on this post by The Everlasting Phelps, I would like to add this. The concept that no one can claim credit because they were somehow in some form helped at some point is utterly offensive to anyone who has ever taken a risk and put in hard work to get where they are. This collectivist mentality, taken to it’s logical conclusion, would also mean that if no one can take credit, neither than can anyone be blamed for any moral, economic, and criminal failure. Commit a violent crime or robbery? You can’t be blamed because somewhere along the line somebody harmed you in your life. No man is an island. How much sense does THAT make?

This nation was founded on individual rights. The Constition was not designed to protect groups because Americans are not groups, we are individuals and as such we are in control only of our own thoughts, intentions, and actions. The individual is therefore the proper locus for rights, responsibilities, credit, and blame.

I will leave you with this thought I paraphrase from Ayn Rand. No dictator has ever arisen behind the banner of individual rights. Every totalitarian, without exception, was a collectivist advocating self sacrifice for the good of the group.