Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

Nasir Khan, Dec. 31, 2016

Happy New year to all our readers and friends!

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring
Your winter garment of repentance fling.
The bird of time has but a little way
To flutter – and the bird is on the wing.

— Omar Khayyam

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

US Secretary Kerry's speech

  Nasir Khan, Dec. 28, 2016

No doubt, Secretary Kerry's speech was crafted quite cleverly. One can't but be amused by the linguistic chicanery he displayed by putting Israeli Zionists and occupied Palestinians in the same category!

However, the task of defending the undefendable policies of US imperialism in relation to the occupied people of Palestine and the Zionist rulers is not easy. Nevertheless, the question is: Why did he make this speech now when the Obama administration would be gone in about three weeks' time, and not before? He had some four years to speak candidly in public, even for facilitating the continuing expansion of the Zionist state!

As I see it, Kerry's speech will be exploited to the full by Zionists, both in Israel and America, to play the victim card and blame the Palestinians for having stood in the way of peace! Period.
John Kerry has delivered perhaps his most impassioned speech on the Israel-Palestinian crisis - insisting that a two-state solution is the only way to achieve peace…

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On the unity of workers for a socialist world order

Nasir Khan, December 27, 2016

When the workers of all countries unite for the common cause of a creating a society where the capitalists and owners of the means of production do not control the lives and destinies of the 99% of human beings in the world, any such unity in Marxist thought is known as proletarian internationalism.

The goal of the struggle of the working masses including peasants and landless serfs is primarily to defend themselves against the power and domination of the owners of means of production that they mostly use for augmenting their own wealth and upholding their privileges. The ideas about the unity of working classes to create a humane world has been the focus of theoretical and practical activities of generations of socialists since the founders of Scientific Socialism formulated their economic and political theories in the 19th century.

The first major step in creating a socialist society took place in Czarist Russia where the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin overthrew the old dynastic rule and introduced the Soviet system.

The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was a catalyst for revolutionary activities of the working masses in many countries and also a clarion call to the colonised people to overthrow their colonial masters. As a result, anti-colonial struggles became a powerful force in many Afro-Asian countries. Many countries, big and small, succeeded in throwing off the yoke of European masters.

But in many instances the local ruling classes that emerged had their roots in privileged classes or groups. The struggle for political and economic exploitation became their sole interest. While such leaders plundered their own people and used the political system as a camouflage for furthering their interests, the plight of the poor people remained a non-issue for them. In any case, it is little consolation to the working class, poor or starving people that their “glorious” saviours and leaders have hundreds of millions of dollars stacked in secret banks accounts in Switzerland, France, Britain and America!

However, such exploitation and downright plunder is not incidental. It is endemic, and closely related to how the capitalist political and economic system works. As long as capitalism lives, such exploitation will have its sway. In the third world countries, the problem of institutionalied brainwashing coupled with the exploitation of religion and cheap deceptive slogans at the hands of the ruling elites will continue to play havoc with the people of many Afro-Asian countries.

No doubt, capitalism is wonderful for a few but a disaster for many. To address such issues, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels advocated socialist democracy and a socialist system in place of capitalism. To achieve that goal, political education of working classe people is the first step and that education is part of the political activity that is expressed by the unity of the workers.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

What is the meaning of sword on the Saudi flag?

Nasir Khan, Dec. 22, 2016

On the Saudi flag is the Islamic confession of faith, which in English reads, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his preophet". But what is the sword doing here under this text? A sword is not made to cut vegetables or grass but to fight with and cut human beings who in conflicts are perceived as your enemies and opponents.

A sword is a symbol of military and physical power, violence and threat of coercion, not of peace or humanity.

Why should the Saudi Kingdom abuse the holy confession of all Muslims by showing this symbol of violence? Why not to show the symbol of a book instead that signifies knowledge, wisdom and humanity?

Most Muslims believe that their religion stands for peace and humanity. But by showing a sword on their flag, what sort of signal are the Saudi dynastic rulers sending to the rest of the world about Islam, its universal message of love and fraternity?


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Inferior status of women - a bird's eyeview of the old problem

Nasir Khan, December 12, 2016

The question of inferior status of women runs through many old civilisations but not all. For instance, in ancient Persian civilisation that flourished under Achaeminid and Sassanid rulers, women were given a much more exalted status than under the Greek and Roman civilisations.

However, under the teachings and the rule of Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century A.D. some steps towards the recognition of their rights to property and contractual marriages were taken but they were mostly a replica of the traditional practices of the tribal society of Arabia. The only innovation was that they were loosely codified in the holy book of Islam. The claim that pre-Islamic Arab women enjoyed no rights is contrary to historical evidence.

Soon after the end of the rule of Prophet Muhammad’s successors and the frequent internecine conflicts between the contending parties for political power and domination as in old pre-Islamic times, there was also a backlash against the improved status of women. Within a few decades, under the Omayyed dynastic rule women were relegated to a secondary status as compared to men.

What is striking here is the fact that this had more to do with the emergence of Islamic jurisprudence and its hold on a growing Muslim society as a whole and the status of women in particular! The triple divorce formula belongs to that juridic tradition and basically has little to do with the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. 

Note: But what is a triple divorce formula in Islamic sharia law? In brief,  when a Muslim man says to his wife: I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you, then under the Islamic law and social practice a legally binding divorce comes into effect.

NEW DELHI: In a major boost to women's rights, the Allahabad high court today called the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by saying the word 'talaq' three successive…