Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Detaining a Poem - Poem by Dareen Tatour

 Detaining a Poem, by Dareeen Tatour
 
Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber
 
One day,
they stopped me,
shackled me,
tied up my body, my soul,
my everything…
 
Then they said: search her,
we’ll find a terrorist within her!
They turned my heart inside out—
my eyes as well,
rummaged through even my feelings.
From my eyes they drew a pulse of inspiration;
from my heart, the ability to sketch out meanings.
Then they said: beware!
She’s hiding weapons deep in her pockets.
Search her!
Root out the explosives.
And so they searched me…
 
Finally, they said, accusing me:
We found nothing
in her pockets except letters.
We found nothing except for a poem.
--------------
 
Dareen Tatour at the Nazareth Magistrates' Court, July 31, 2018, where she was sentenced to 5-months prison for her poetry by the Zionist.
 
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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

‘Resist, My People, Resist Them’ - Poem by Dareen Tatour

tatour
 Dareen Tatour



From the site Arabic Literature (in English), Dareen Tatour Palestinian poet was put under under house arrest in Tel Aviv charged with “incitement through social media, and now on 31st July, 2018, an Israeli court has sentenced her to a 5-month prison term.

Here, the poet Tariq al Haydar translates Tatour’s words into English:

Resist, My People, Resist Them
Resist, my people, resist them.

In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows

And carried the soul in my palm

For an Arab Palestine.

I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”

Never lower my flags

Until I evict them from my land.

I cast them aside for a coming time.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the settler’s robbery

And follow the caravan of martyrs.

Shred the disgraceful constitution

Which imposed degradation and humiliation

And deterred us from restoring justice.

They burned blameless children;

As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,

Killed her in broad daylight.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.

Pay no mind to his agents among us

Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.

Do not fear doubtful tongues;

The truth in your heart is stronger,

As long as you resist in a land

That has lived through raids and victory.

So Ali called from his grave:

Resist, my rebellious people.

Write me as prose on the agarwood;

My remains have you as a response.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist, my people, resist them

From the site:
https://arablit.org/2016/04/27/the-poem-for-which-dareen-tatours-under-house-arrest-resist-my-people-resist-them/

Monday, July 16, 2018

My reply to an anti-Muslim Hindutva extremist in India


Nasir Khan, July 17, 2018

Hello Ruby Kaushal! Merely out of curiosity, I looked at your Profile and some comments you had made. Most of what you write is in Hindi, but a few small posts and comments are in English. You were exactly as I thought after reading your comment here on this link: A Hindutva extremist who tells Indian Muslims if there is anything they do not like then they should leave India and go to Pakistan! 

In fact, it is a popular solution which many anti-Muslim Hindus and their militant Hindutva organization freely offer to over 200 million Indian Muslims!

For instance, in your 9 July post while writing about Muslims, you say, “If u want religious supremacy just leave this place and move to your communal comfort.” By ‘this place’ you had meant India and by ‘your communal comfort’ you meant Pakistan! 

Unfortunately, your views as a Hindutva activist are meant to spread hatred and disinformation. You wouldn’t like others to expose the role and activities of the Hindutva either! Just look at what you post in your comments! No doubt, other Hindutva right wingers will support you for what you stand for. No surprise there!

To tell the facts about the activates and political crimes of the Hindutva are 'prejudiced views' in your words. So, no one should say anything about the Hindutva forces. If anyone in the world wants to know the truth about them, they should turn to the Hindutva for information! 

The Hindutva extremists and hatemongers against India’s religious and marginalized ethnic minorities do not like anyone, like me, to tell the facts about them. That is not difficult to understand why they do so.

But I will continue to expose these extremist right-wing forces and people. They are a danger to India’s multi-religious and multi-cultural State, its secular democracy and its democratic institutions.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


The dominant anti-Muslim hatred in Indian Hindus


-- Nasir Khan, July 11, 2018

It is not the religion, Islam, but the follower of that religion, Muslims, who are the victims of social, political and economic discrimination by most Hindus, including even those who are not members of militant right-wing Hindutva parties and organizations. There is so much overt and covert anti-Muslim hatred and enmity towards the Indian Muslims that things look quite abysmal and bleak for these marginalized people now and in the future.

However, a tiny minority of progressive and tolerant Hindus is active to combat such communal forces, but they are in the minority and are struggling against the prevailing trend where the right-wing extremist forces have the upper hand.
---

http://caravandaily.com/portal/very-disturbing-to-see-particular-religion-being-targeted-taapsee-pannu/http://caravandaily.com/portal/very-disturbing-to-see-particular-religion-being-targeted-taapsee-pannu/

Monday, July 02, 2018

In memory of Stephen Hawking (1942- 2018)


-- Nasir Khan, July 2, 2018

A fine sculpture of Stephen William Hawking, who was a great theoretical physicist, cosmologist and writer whose contributions to the scientific explanations about the origin of the universe make him one of the greatest scientific minds in modern history. 

Despite his debilitating disease and his physical problems, he continued his research work and actively took part in many scientific congresses and important seminars worldwide to present his views. His endurance and struggle to overcome his physical disabilities is also a remarkable trait of this great human being.

Thank you Stephen Hawking for all what you did as a scientist and also laid to rest some some mythological accounts of the origin of the universe! 

Our memory for what you did and under which difficult conditions as a human being will continue to inspire thoughtful and inquisitive minds now and in the future!
Pervaiz Malik Stephen Hawking
A Sculpture

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Science and Scientific Thinking in Human History


-- Nasir Khan

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

― Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

When did the 'science' start in human history? And when did the 'scientific thinking' start? These seemingly simple questions can only be answered by a historian of science who has acquaintance with historical data relating to the issues. In other words, to find an answer we need the expertise of specialists.

However, we should keep in mind that science is not any static body of knowledge but rather an active process through the ages. Man's use of his near environment and his attempts to understand the phenomenon around him goes back to the times when he started to use his hands and much later in the history of his social evolution he started to use stones and flint, for instance, to hunt and skin off the animals for food and clothing. That is the time when man started to affect his near environment intentionally that was primarily to meet his practical needs for his survival. These can be called man's first steps towards 'science' in a general sense.

But the question of scientific thinking has a dialectical relationship with man's relationship with nature as he started to form some ideas about how things work. These were his early steps towards understanding how things worked. That process has gone on in history for long.

What we associate with scientific thinking' in contrast to idealistic, speculative and mythical thing (eventually becoming religious thinking) belongs to the period after the Renaissance period. But to a historian of ideas and science any such periodization is only for our convenience, not for its historical accuracy.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn visits the Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan

 Nasir Khan, June 23, 2018

 Mr Jeremy Corbyn! Like many other anti-Zionist and anti-Fascist people, I am deeply elated that you visited the Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. 

All right-wing parties and reactionary forces are allied with Israel, and very few leaders of the political parties in Europe dare to speak for or side with the victims of Israel. But in this struggle, you have spoken and stood with them, even though the Zionists have done everything to malign you. But their false charges and obnoxious lies have failed to deter you from your principled stand for a people under the occupation of a brutal colonial power. 

The Zionist leaders of Israel may even use their alliance with the King of Jordan to attack you if they choose to do so, or give a signal to the Israeli lobby in Britain to spread their misleading propaganda to discredit you. I am sure you know how Zionists operate in most countries of Europe, in the United States and Canada.
 ----------
 Jeremy Corbyn wrote on June 23, 2018

Today in Jordan, I visited one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps.
I talked to children and heard what they want to do with their education and with their lives.
The United Nations body that supports Palestinian refugees, UNWRA, is in the most serious financial crisis in its history after President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold millions of dollars of funding this year.
It is shameful that the UK Government has not already stepped up and pledged more funding to UNWRA.
Instead of reducing funds to life-saving refugee agencies, the UK must increase its funding, as the Labour Party pledges to do.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Natural Beauty of Pakistan




-- Nasir Khan, June 21, 2018

The following comment is my reply to a pleasant view of the beauty of Pakistan by Mr. Hans-Petter Bekeng, a Norwegian, who may have got such information by reading or hearing others speak about it:

Hans-Petter Bekeng, thank you for your pleasant comment! My post was about some other matter, as you have rightly said so. But what you say how the ordinary people of India and Pakistan hate each other's countries and people is largely correct. I cannot go into any details here, but it will suffice to say that it has more to do with the political background when India was divided into two states in 1947 by the British rulers. That was their parting 'gift' to the people of the two countries when they ended their colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent! Since then, India and Pakistan have been each other's sworn enemies.

But the people from these two countries who live in European countries or in other parts of the world have also developed a lot more accommodating attitudes towards each other. That can also be seen in Norway. Indians and Pakistanis easily mingle with each other in Norway.

Now I will say a few words about the natural beauty of Pakistan: Pakistan is a large country. For example, while its southern parts in the summer may have temperatures well over over 45 Celsius, it may be snowing at that time in some high mountains of northern Pakistan!

Some of the most beautiful places you can imagine in the world are also found in northern areas of Pakistan and Pakistani-part of Kashmir, commonly called Azad Kashmir. By the way, the second highest and one of the most dangerous mountain in the world for the professional mountaineers to climb is K-2, and it is situated in the northern areas of Pakistan.


------------
Chitral, Pakistan

Image may contain: mountain, outdoor and nature

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Jews are not a race

--Nasir Khan
Jews identify themselves with a religion - Judaism. That does not mean Jews are a race, or belong to one race. The only race they belong to is the human race. Just for a moment look at the present Jewish population in Israel, and see there are people from Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East, etc. They are brown, black and white. 

Just take a look at the present Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu. He is a European in his looks. He is of Polish origin. Can he
be differentiated from other Polish people? Obviously, not. Some in his cabinet are from different ethnic backgrounds. But Zionists have used the Jewish race deception to deceive the world for a political ideology that is racist, supremacist, discriminatory, expansionist and destructive.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What Che Guevara Stood For


-- Nasir Khan, June 14, 2018

Today is the birthday anniversary of Che Guevara (June 14, 1928 - October 9, 1967).

Che Guevara was and is an inspiration to all those who fight against and oppose imperialists and their lackeys throughout the world. The center of that power was and still is the United States, the 'leader' of the warmongers, war criminals, weapon industries and its allies who further the cause of American hegemony and perpetuate the power of colonial powers like Israel. 


Che Guevara and Fidel Castro stood against the gangster policies of the United States and its wars of aggression. For instance, the ethnic cleansing in Palestine that is still going on is because of the power Zionists wield in America and direct the course of US foreign policies.


In Iran, America and Britain toppled the democratic government of Dr Mossadegh in 1953 and reinstated the pliant regime of the Shah. The Washington rulers did the same with the socialist-democratic government of Allende in Chile. America had been the patron of all the right-wing dictatorships in Latin America. 


The people who stood up against the American domination in the western hemisphere were Fidel Castro and his comrades like Che. They were the people who liberated Cuba from the Batista dictatorship and heroically upheld the cause of freedom and independence of the island nation despite all the efforts of the US to destroy the Cuban revolution and the CIA’s hundreds of secret plans to kill Fidel Castro.

----
"Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms."
---Che Guevara
---

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Modern democratic states have no business with religion


-- Nasir Khan

“If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!”

― Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

These are the words of a wise leader of Indian freedom movement, who was an inspiration to millions of people in the world for his message of non-violence and love for truth.
It is important for us to remember that Gandhi was not an atheist or agnostic. He was a devoted Hindu and a believer in God like Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Baha’i, Sikh and Jewish believers. However, for him the religion of an individual was a personal matter. No one should impose a religion or a belief on others. It was not for the State to tell people which religion to follow or which god to believe in (there are different views about god in many religions and his attributes, etc.). In the middle ages, State and Church in European countries were united. But that changed. The secularization process became the norm and new ways of looking at the roles of state and religions became widely accepted.

Secularism is rooted in the political idea that state and religion have two different spheres and roles. They should remain separate and we should not allow anyone to mix them. People should follow whatever religions they want to follow without the interference of the state. As a result, there is no more religious coercion from the state or public bodies/institutions of the people. People have freedom of religion, freedom to practise any religion, freedom to convert to any other religion if any choose to do so, freedom to leave or reject religion and accept agnosticism, atheism, humanism or any other viewpoint. In democratic countries and their civil societies, these freedoms are essential ingredients of a civilized existence.

Unluckily, such views have had much opposition in traditional, conservative societies. For example, in my country of origin, Pakistan ('Land of the Pure'!), Muslim clerics and political manipulators have distorted the meaning of secularism. According to their version, which most Pakistanis accept, it means rejection of Islam and Allah! It is anti-Islam and a threat to Islam and Pakistan!

Briefly, to attribute such things to secularism is totally wrong and pernicious. But the vested interests that played with the religious susceptibilities of the people for so long, and so successfully, will continue their exploitation. As I see it, our hope is that only progressive and democratic people can combat the reactionary forces and their toxic indoctrination. No doubt, the task is difficult. But our friends and comrades are doing what they can, both within and outside Pakistan.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

On humans and gods


---Nasir Khan

Humans created god by attributing many of their own qualities unto an imaginary 'being'. But they also gave him a bit more than what they themselves were: they made him all-powerful and all-knowing! So are the fictional places that human beings created in their grand fantasies called Paradise, Hell and the Kingdom of God! But they did not create one god; they created hundreds and thousands of gods and goddesses in many old cultures and societies.

But in the early history of humankind, the forces of nature, like thunder, storms, rain, etc., overawed humans. They were not able to explain these powerful and frightening forces of nature that affected them. As a result, they started to do whatever they could to placate them by making occasional sacrifices to them and entreating them for mercy and kindness.

The idea of deities came much later when they developed anthropomorphic ideas relating to deities they came to believe in that were distinct from the earlier worship of the forces of nature.

Since then, the story of gods in various forms and shapes had become a dominant factor in their lives. The movement from the plurality of deities to smaller numbers was gradual. In some cultures, there was further reduction in such numbers, coming down to three, two or only one. They are all part of the history of the evolution of the notions of powerful supernatural or divine beings.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The 17th of May, Norway's National Day


-- Nasir Khan, 17th May 2018

Congratulations to Norway on the 17th of May! 

Gratulerer med dagen!

Today Norway is celebrating its constitution day, commonly called in this country, 'The 17th of May'.

My hearty congratulations to the people of this country on their national day! 

At present, Norway has become a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious country. Despite many social changes, all people living in this beautiful, Nordic country have complete freedom to believe in any religion or reject religions and religious dogmas without any intervention, coercion or discrimination by the state authorities, unlike some countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., where discrimination and victimization of religious minorities on sectarian grounds is a common norm. The people have also complete freedom to choose any political party they want to without any dictate from any state organ. 

Norway's democratic traditions and its welfare system are a model of a modern egalitarian state.

There is no razzmatazz of military hardware, tanks and missiles or military parades on this occasion. On the other hand, Norwegians' focus is on the joyous participation of school children and young people in the processions to the great happiness of the enthusiastic onlookers who throng the streets of Norway's capital, Oslo. But the celebration of the 17th of May takes place everywhere in this beautiful country.

Hurrah for Norway!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Israeli massacres of Palestinians and the Russian government


Nasir Khan, May 14, 2018 

Russian publisher and writer Mr. Leonid Savin asks, “Why is the Russian Foreign Ministry silent on the murder of dozens of Palestinians by Israel?” To this question, I have no answer. I don’t know how the Russian Government views the Israeli massacre of the Palestinians today. 

But I ask myself, and also other friends of the captive population of Palestine, "Have the present Russian ruling elites ever done anything concrete to side with the struggle of the Palestinians who have continuously been brutalized by the Zionist state of Israel?”

To my knowledge, the answer is, No. The Russian government has done nothing at all in support of the captive population of Palestine. However, some occasional words of sympathy by the Russians have been only window dressing, nothing more. Only a few days ago, prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, was invited by President Putin and his government as a guest of honour on the anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany. In reality, that was an insult to the memory of millions of the Soviet heroes and heroines who laid down their lives to defeat the Nazi aggressors and save the world the Nazi slavery.

Now the successors of the Soviet Union thought it fit to make Netanyahu a guest of honour on the victory day! The leader of the Zionist state is doing exactly with the Palestinians what the Germans did with the Soviets. But President Putin is honouring that person and his terrorist regime. That is sad, but that is how it is. It is realpolitik in action.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

On Karl Marx's 200th Birthday Anniversary


--Nasir Khan, May 5, 2018

“All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.”
― Karl Marx


Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in the Prussian province of Rhine, and died in London on March 14, 1883, at the age of 65. He was the most influential socialist philosopher and revolutionary thinker, whose ideas have deeply influenced the course of human history and human thought.

His writings cover philosophy, history, political economy, anthropology, social criticism, history, theory of revolutionary practice, and he himself participated in revolutionary activities. When he was a student at the university, he was deeply involved in the Young Hegelian movement. The members of this group in their articles and pamphlets criticized Christian culture. Feuerbach’s materialism was opposed to Hegel's idealism. He reduced Hegel's 'Absolute Spirit' to human 'species being'.

Because of Marx's critical articles in the Rheinische Zeitung, the government closed this paper. He went to Paris in 1843 where he made contacts with French socialist groups and emigre German workers. Here he met Frederick Engels and the two became friends for the rest of their lives. But his stay there was short. He was expelled from Paris in 1844.

After his expulsion from Paris, Marx, along with Engels moved to Brussels, where they lived for three years. After an intensive study of history, he formulated the theory of history commonly known as historical materialism.

In his theory of history, Marx accepted Hegel’s idea that the world develops according to dialectical process. But the two had different ideas about what the dialectic process entails. For Hegel, historical developments take place through the mystical entity called Absolute Spirit. Marx rejected the notion of Absolute Spirit, and said what moved society was not the Absolute Spirit, but man’s relation to matter, of which the most important part was played by the mode of production.

In this way, Marx’s materialism becomes closely related to economics. Human labour shaped society and material conditions determined the superstructures. The part played by labour, not some mystical Absolute Spirit, formed the basis of social life. Marx’s dialectal view of social change is shorn of Hegel’s idealist dialectics. The two stand on different levels and their philosophies of history differ.
For Marx, man working on nature remakes the world and in doing so he also remakes himself by increasing his powers. Marx wrote in the German Ideology, ‘Men have history because they must produce their life.’

Marx went to Paris in 1848 where the revolution first took place and then to Germany. But the failure of the revolutions forced him to seek refuge in London in 1849, where he spent the rest of his life.
He and his family had to face many economic hardships in London. His friend Engels helped him economically and he himself wrote articles as a foreign correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune for which he was paid reasonably well. But he and his family showed no interest to spend the money frugally, as a result they had unending economic problems.

However, the revolutionary thinker devoted much time to the First International and its annual Congresses. The rest of the time, he spent in the British Museum library collecting material and taking notes and analyzing the material for studies of political economy. In 1867, he published the first volume of Capital, in which he discussed the capitalist mode of production. He explained his views on the labour theory of value, conception of surplus value, accumulation of capital and the ‘so called primitive accumulation’ in the final part of the book. He had completed the volumes II and II in the 1860s, which Engels published after the death of Marx in 1883.

The profound analysis of capital, Marx undertook in the nineteenth century is still relevant to our understanding the global capitalism and the forces that control it. He had shown the tendency of capital under the general law of capitalist accumulation. A few own more wealth, but others have little to live on. A recent Oxfam report says that eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. In the global economy, rich industrialists and producers take advantage of the global workforce that mostly lives in the global South. The abundant cheap labour from the poor countries is used to produce goods that are sold at high prices in the industrialized western countries.

The problem to end the exploitation of the working class people was a core issue for Marx, and his theory to end this exploitation can only take place when a more equitable form of society is created that stands opposed to the accumulation of capital by a few and the poverty or meager existence of the majority. That objective of a human society is not possible under capitalism.

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

What public praise for a philosopher’s ideas leads to


--Nasir Khan

“I never desired to please the rabble. What pleased them, I did not learn; and what I knew was far removed from their understanding.”

— Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BC – 271 BC)

Epicurus was a renowned philosopher and he certainly was aware of the worth of his ideas. In a simple and subtle way, he has also touched our profound longings to be appreciated by others for our mental and intellectual prowess and skills. Some may call it a human trait, some sceptics may call it a human weakness. Let us see what the public approval of one’s ideas, especially those of a philosopher, in reality amount to: That ideas are framed and presented in such a way that they will appeal to the feelings of the maximum number of ordinary people, who, in return, will heap praise on some ‘clever’ guy!

Can a philosopher or thinking person really expect to validate his ideas with the help of popular applause and praise? Epicurus reply was in the negative. So is mine, after having seen how things work in our times!

In fact, the shoddy tricks played on the unwary and simple people (simple people never think they are simple!) are a form of manipulation. In extreme cases that has led to personality cults, from the olden times to the present times, with disastrous consequences. We are still reaping the toxic fruits of our gullibility as common people because those personality cults are still shaping our history. The dead of the ancient and past history still rule us from their graves. We never question them or their motives. We simply idolise them and sing their praises!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The crime of child brides in traditional societies and cultures


Nasir Khan,

In some traditional societies very young girls are given in marriage to older men, sometimes sold to them for money by their parents or other relatives.

But such inhuman dealings for innocent young girls' flesh for sexual exploitation is not confined to the adherents of one particular religion. Pedophiles and child molesters are found in the followers of many religions and in many regions of the world. This bestiality happens all the time. For instance, we should see how the Roman Catholic priests have been abusing children for centuries. This sort of information was suppressed by the Vatican and other high officials of the Church. But now this is no longer a secret.

Child brides are also common in many Asian and African countries. What we should take special notice of the fact that such crimes against baby girls are committed in the name of old traditions and cultures. We should reject all those cultural norms and practices that sanctify and allow the abuse of innocent children.

All such abominable crimes and violations of children's bodies should be brought to the public notice and people mobilised against such barbaric crimes against baby girls and young boys. This task is only for well-informed and humane people, not for wretched reactionaries with their primitive mindset.

 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Why did the United States, Britain and France make missile attacks on Syria?


-- Nasir Khan, April 14, 2018

The combined missile strikes by the USA, the UK and France on Syria last night was a highly dangerous and risky military action. Such an action has all the potential to ignite the flames of global war where the nuclear powers may even resort to their nuclear arsenals thus pushing the world in the inferno of death and destruction. 

It is difficult for me to see what military objectives the three powers had in launching this attack. The whole thing seems so haphazard and foggy. If the aim was to limit the power of the Assad regime, then such an attack will have hardly any effect on him and his regime. In fact, this attack will strengthen the grip of this dynastic ruler of Syria. 

Did the Assad regime use the chemical weapons on the innocent civilians? We have no conclusive evidence that such a barbaric crime was committed by this regime. The missile attack by the three countries was based on assumptions, nothing more. There may have been other parties involved in this. That possibility cannot be ruled out.

But if the real aim of the missile strike was to follow the diktat of Netanyahu, who has been trying hard over the years to involve the United States in war against Iran, then the leaders of the three countries have taken a step towards that direction, dangerous and ghastly. It also gives Israel an opportunity to neutralize the ongoing struggle of the Palestinians of Gaza to return to their homes. Their homes were in the country called Palestine from which they were driven out by the rulers of Israel.

There are many questions that need a careful analysis and responsible clarifications.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Ah, Paradise! But whose?


-- Nasir Khan

In some parts of the world, there is much talk of "Paradise" by misleading and crude clerics where the '"true believers", only men, will have non-stop sexual orgies with most enchanting heavenly damsels!

What is amazing many people are ready to do anything to get there and get their big prizes! 


But this is what a Christian believer in God said over three centuries ago about such lecherous ideas of paradise and its seekers: 


“A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell.”

― English historian and churchman Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

The Relationship of Body and Soul

--Nasir Khan

The question of the body and the soul relationship has a long history in the evolution of human thought in such matters. In most religious traditions and old speculative thought, the intricate relationship between the two is resolved by holding the body mortal while the soul being eternal and indestructible. As a result, the death of a person is seen only as the death of a body, but not of the soul that had temporarily lived in that body as long that body was alive.

In many religious and cultural traditions the soul is said to travel to, or is transported to, an eternal abode hereafter, while some believe that the soul of the dead returns in another living being, ranging from a human form to some animal form. Here the central idea continues to be the immortality of the soul.

Praying for the souls of the dead is common in many cultures and civilizations. Many believe this helps the souls of the deceased people to have peace and some better conditions around in the unknown world.

In the following article, Dr Stephen Cave, a philosopher, offers his views that run counter to the mainstream ideas on the question of the soul.
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

The need to separate State and Religion in modern times:


“If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!”

― Indian politician and outstanding leader of the Indian independence movement from the British colonial rule Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
-------------
Gandhi was a devout religious man. But he knew that democracy and theocracy in the modern world were incompatible; therefore it was necessary to separate religion from the State, and avoid the obvious dangers of tyranny under the guise of religion. If we look around where religions are allowed to be part of the State, there is only political tyranny, lack of democracy, violations of human rights, unjust laws, victimization of religious minorities and social oppression.
 

--- Nasir Khan

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Misuse and Exploitation of Institutionalized Religion


---Nasir Khan

There are many people who are sincere in their view of the positive role of religion. However, in my view, religion is also a more complex and multi-faceted phenomenon. Along with its positive sides are many other aspects that are nefarious that have been instrumental in downgrading human beings. These negative sides become apparent with the institutionalizing of religion that has been the norm in human history. This way, the religion becomes a power factor in society and those holding power use it to further their ends that basically have little to do with the positive aspects of religion.

In the hands of the ruling strata of society religions have been a big asset. With the help of the clergy the rulers have imposed their will on the people as they chose. This has been the general norm in most of the civilizations of the world. If we see the role of religion in the present-day, Muslim world then we are face to face with the stark reality of the misuse of a major religion, Islam. 

The destructive forces which claim to represent 'pure' Islam have been playing havoc with the people in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here religion instead of a playing an enlightening and sober part has been turned into a destructive tool of ignorance, violence and anti-civilization. As a result, the ordinary people suffer. Unluckily, the vicious circle of indoctrinated ignorance and violence will continue.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Terrorist attack in France


-- Nasir Khan, March 24, 2018

An attack on a supermarket in France yesterday in which three innocent people were killed and 16 injured was carried out by a Muslim, who was a petty criminal but became radicalized by ISIS. The ISIS declared that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic Sate”. Thus, once again one Muslim commits an act of terrorism in the name of a terrorist ideology that uses the name of Islam and brings dishonor and disgrace to the Islamic religion and its followers. 

Once again, Muslim communities and new immigrants living in the western countries become suspect in the eyes of many people.

What we need to keep in mind and tell others that such individual acts of terrorism and the killing of people have nothing to do with Islam or with the vast majority of Muslims living in Europe or in other western countries.

Muslim people are as much victims of such crimes as others. What ISIS did in Iraq and Syria, and now is targeting people in many other countries, such as Libya, Afghanistan, etc. etc., and other countries is directed against the ordinary Muslim people. The victims are both Muslims and non-Muslims.

On behalf of many like-minded people and friends, I strongly condemn the brutal murders and the harm to the innocent people at the hands of a misguided and pathetic individual, and the people using people like him to commit such dastardly crimes.

Along with many other politically active people, I have also opposed and wrote against the roles of imperialist powers, their policies, their wars and war crimes, and their criminal support for dictators, oligarchs and terrorists for many years. However, we should never use the policies of these governments to justify any individual acts of terror as in the present case in France.

Terrorism in the name of any religion or religious ideology (Islamism, Hindutva militarism, Christian fundamentalism, Zionism, anti-Muslim Buddhist mafia) is vicious and should be fought against by all democratic forces, and we should never compromise on this because some brainwashed maniacs and social oppressors are using the names of religions or religious symbols to advance their objectives.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The bigottry of theologians and preachers

Nasir Khan, March 22, 2018

“The bigotry of theologians [is] a malady which seems almost incurable.”

― Scottish philosopher, historian, economist and essayist David Hume (1711-1776)
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We may also ask the questions following David Hume's lead on the matter of theologians' incurable disease of bigotry: Why do many theologians and preachers behave in this way? What lies at the roots of this disease that makes these people to think in such inhuman terms to the detriment of other people and the follow
ers of seemingly different beliefs?

There must be some potential causes, and unless we deal with those causes that create the disease of bigotry and hatred against other human beings with different religious or social orientations, the morbid affliction of bigotry and hatred will not disappear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Idea of One Democratic, Secular State in Classic Palestine


Nasir Khan, March 20, 2018

In the whole of classic Palestine, one democratic, secular and progressive state is a possible solution to end the long-standing imbroglio and non-ending oppression against a captive population by Israel, otherwise extremist nationalists and theocratic vandals will continue to play havoc and cause more polarization among the Palestinians and Israelis that will bring only more bloodshed and misery for all. However, the Zionist rulers of Israel will hardly accept this solution.

In theory, a two-state solution is still possible if the rulers of Israel (and USA) accept the 1967 borders as the demarcation lines between the two states and thus start a new chapter in bilateral relations to seek reconciliation and show an honest resolve to solve the remaining issues, such as the return of the Palestinian refugees, but in practice things stand on a very different level. The West Bank has largely been colonized by the expansion of the illegal settlements in the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip has been isolated and kept under siege by the Israel. 

All the feigned clatter of 'peace talks' was meant as a ruse that allowed Israel to expand further into the occupied territories. Will Israel reverse its policies, withdraw to the 1967 borders and seek a sincere solution to a two-state solution? In my assessment that is not going to happen. 

The remaining viable and humane alternative is the creation of a single democratic, secular and progressive state in historic Palestine, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, the followers of other faiths and legitimate political ideologies could live together. That is possible, and we have some examples of such democracies functioning superbly well in the Nordic countries.

Monday, March 12, 2018

An eternal life

“The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.”

― French author and Nobel laureate Anatole France
(1844-1924)
---------
Many people don't have to wish for another life. In many cultures, such an everlasting life is fully guaranteed, and many eager souls want to enjoy it as promised to them. Consequently, it is just a question of time when they will be transported to that grandiose realm. 


We are also told there are two places there, one very desirable, but the other one extremely nasty to be in! Once we are ushered into that realm we would soon find out which place has been allotted to us for the eternal life.


I wish all my friends and readers who believe in an alternate life a safe journey whenever it starts and the luxurious place in the next world! However, my fellow Humanists will be spared all the delights or the pains in the Hereafter if I haven't got the whole things wrong. 


-- Nasir Khan

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The exploitation of religion by using the blasphemy laws in Pakistan


Nasir Khan

People around the world have become increasingly aware of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In fact, in a country where the 95-98% people are the followers of Islam, there was never any danger to this religion, its founder or its holy scripture. Then, why were these laws promulgated in this Islamic country? That has more to do with that limited number of people who have ruled Pakistan since 1947. That ruling elite has frequently played the ‘Islam card’ to bolster their power on the masses. In fact, it has been quite easy for them to do so because the people were rather too eager to accept anything presented to them as being in the service of Islam and God!

Because of the state policies, a vast network of religious preachers and clerics have mushroomed throughout the country. These people comprise the religious establishment that has a real grip on the people. Its influence has also grown enormously in the overseas communities of Pakistanis and their descendants.

Anyone opposing the clerics is in danger of being stigmatized as ‘infidel’ and then made a target. The blasphemy laws have become a fertile ground for many to take revenge for personal disputes against another person by accusing him/her of having insulted Islam, God or the Qur’an! To make such false accusations is so easy. Right from the start, the law is on the side of complainant. The penalties imposed on the victims are incredible – death and life imprisonment. For minor offences, the prison term is three years, fine, or both.

Just for the sake of giving an accurate information what such blasphemy laws contain, I am posting them here for the readers to see for themselves.

------------
Blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Offenses relating to religion: Pakistan Penal code

295-B Defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.

295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B Misuse of epithet, descriptions and titles, etc. Reserved for certain holy personages or places.

1. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation:

a. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), as "Ameerul Momneen", "Khalifat-ul-Momneen", "Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen", "Sahaabi" or "Razi Allah Anho";

b. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ummul-Mumineen;

c. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

d. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

e. refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as Masjid; shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

2. Any person of the Qadiani group or Lahore group, (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other names), who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, refers to the mode or from of call to prayers followed by his faith as "Azan" or redites Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C Persons of Qadiani group, etc, calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or any other name), who directly or indirectly, posses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Nasir Khan

People around the world have become increasingly aware of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In fact, in a country where the 95-98% people are the followers of Islam, there was never any danger to this religion, its founder or its holy scripture. Then, why were these laws promulgated in this Islamic country? That has more to do with that limited number of people who have ruled Pakistan since 1947. That ruling elite has frequently played the ‘Islam card’ to bolster their power on the masses. In fact, it has been quite easy for them to do so because the people were rather too eager to accept anything presented to them as being in the service of Islam and God!

Because of the state policies, a vast network of religious preachers and clerics have mushroomed throughout the country. These people comprise the religious establishment that has a real grip on the people. Its influence has also grown enormously in the overseas communities of Pakistanis and their descendants.

Anyone opposing the clerics is in danger of being stigmatized as ‘infidel’ and then made a target. The blasphemy laws have become a fertile ground for many to take revenge for personal disputes against another person by accusing him/her of having insulted Islam, God or the Qur’an! To make such false accusations is so easy. Right from the start, the law is on the side of complainant. The penalties imposed on the victims are incredible – death and life imprisonment. For minor offences, the prison term is three years, fine, or both.

Just for the sake of giving an accurate information what such blasphemy laws contain, I am posting them here for the readers to see for themselves.

------------
Blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Offenses relating to religion: Pakistan Penal code

295-B Defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.

295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B Misuse of epithet, descriptions and titles, etc. Reserved for certain holy personages or places.

1. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation:

a. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), as "Ameerul Momneen", "Khalifat-ul-Momneen", "Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen", "Sahaabi" or "Razi Allah Anho";

b. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ummul-Mumineen;

c. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

d. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

e. refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as Masjid; shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

2. Any person of the Qadiani group or Lahore group, (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other names), who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, refers to the mode or from of call to prayers followed by his faith as "Azan" or redites Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C Persons of Qadiani group, etc, calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or any other name), who directly or indirectly, posses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.