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Showing posts from October, 2003
Inspecting the General

Dear Readers,

Intolerance and fanaticism, mortifying the faiths and culture of others, and doing that holding high rung of American Intelligence and Military establishments, was unthinkable not so long ago.

Initially, when General Boykin’s insufferable story broke into the news media, Rumsfeld and Bush avoided commenting on this sensitive issue. Perhaps they did not wish to offend their strongest supporters, the ultra-conservative Christian groups leaded by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Graham clans. Indeed, the big election is approaching the next year.

But the American moral conscience, nurtured and developed by two hundred years of democracy, where fairness and tolerance were the foundation of this nation’s steadfast progress toward modernity, the progressive minded Americans have begun to raise their voices. This is surely a positive development.

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
October 31, 2003


Inspecting the General

DEFENSE SECRETARY Donald H. Rum…
The Spear of Longinus - a Poem by Oswald LeWinter


The Spear of Longinus


By Oswald LeWinter


Time slips its leash and moves

into the garbage dump of memory

to hunt discoveries buried deep

under the detritus of a life hardly spent

in chewing each event to yield its marrow.



There lie the tattered shirts of feeling,

soiled from bloody spots of marriages

unmassaged by remorse at being cast away.

There the children’s bears, stuffing

beaten out the day I left and never came again.



Cries may be insubstantial but dried tears

glisten like specks of crystal here

and there, assuming the disguise of silver

light that points the indefatigable glance

toward some obscure and necessary treasure.



I know the gilded spear is hidden there

that pierced a martyr’s liver once, a wound

no healing ever sealed. I know from legends

how mystically, the organ’s blood congealed,

This spear cures festering guilt by penitence.



But like the Roman, chained by duty to an act

that changed his life, beset by wakefulness

so…
Literature is Freedom

Dear Readers,

In this time of violence and war, distrust and cynicism, could literature bring freedom to the billions? While the mercantilists and fundamentalists raising the hell and heaven allegories, metaphoric rumbles to spread their heart-felt desire “clash of civilizations” and “wars of the worlds” from bustling cities to deserted ones; the words of wisdom and tolerance from Margaret Atwood, Susan Sontag, Naguib Mahfouz, Isaac Bashevis Singer and the new writers like Monica Ali and Zadie Smith, could they bring any change of hearts of the warmongers?

“Literature is freedom”, proclaims Susan Sontag, one the most brilliant writers of our generation, a writer and a human rights activist, a third generation American Jewish writer. She is against violence, against Ariel Sharon’s brutal policy of repression in Palestinian territory and American new form of “imperialism”. She gave a wonderful speech while accepting a prestigious award from the German Publishers a…
Mahathir’s Acerbic Bigotry

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
October 17, 2003

Where is the outrage and where is the condemnation on Malaysian Head of State Dr. Mahathir Mohammad’s deplorable delineation of the entire Jewish world? He made the following un-statesman like comment on Thursday at the Organization of Islamic Conference: "The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them…..It cannot be that there is no other way; 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews."

Dr. Mahathir Mohammad’s comment falls flat on the same dangerous slippery slope the bigoted Jewish and Christian leaders use to portray the entire Muslim world, the whole 1.3 billions of them as terrorists for the crimes of a few.

Dr. Mahathir Mohammad has enormous stature among the Muslims and Muslim nations for his brave and courageous previous statements in opposition to all the injustices, against war an…
The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior

Dear Readers,

I am astonished reading this article. Is this the way promoting tolerance and democracy? Boykin’s speeches resemble those extremists entrenched in the cave. Bush and his puppeteers regularly chime that this is not the war against any particular religion or nation. By appointing an extremist as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence what tolerant agenda the Bush administration wishes to promote?

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
October 16, 2003


The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior

A Christian extremist in a high Defense post can only set back the U.S. approach to the Muslim world.

By William M. Arkin, William M. Arkin is a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for The Times.

In June of 2002, Jerry Boykin stepped to the pulpit at the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., and described a set of photographs he had taken of Mogadishu, Somalia, from an Army helicopter in 1993.

The photographs were taken s…
Voters' Frustration May Drift Bush's Way

Dear Readers,

The dark glass wearing “terminator” is the governor of California, the most populous state in America. A movie star with no political experience, still Arnold has managed to unseat an experienced California’s governor Gray Davis. Does California’s spectacular recall election predict anything ominous for the power holders in the higher places? Kevin Phillips, the popular author of “Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich”, thinks it does.

Before this “stars” studded election, the right wing news media was successful in blaming Governor Gray Davis for California’s enormous budget deficit and sinking economy. Kevin Phillips points to the fact that “national recessions don’t gestate locally. As for budget problems, they can be made worse by local policies, but their antecedents are in the national economy.”

Gray Davis was the scapegoat for his state’s economic turmoil. For the last three years after t…
A Nobel for Change

Dear Readers,

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who has won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, is a relentless fighter for the human rights of Iranian women and children. The unique point is that Ms. Ebadi is a practicing Muslim woman and she strongly believes that "there is no difference between Islam and human rights." The on going struggle in Iran, is "not about freedom from religion, but about freedom from a" stringent theocracy filled "government that uses religion to control and curtail citizen rights."

This is a good selection by the Nobel prize committee. It may bring more needed awareness in Iran and other parts of the world where the violation of human rights of ordinary folks are rampant and these violations don't get the news limelight as they deserve.

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
October 12, 2003

A Nobel for change

IRANIAN LAWYER Shirin Ebadi, this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has spent the last two …
Israel - Palestine: In the Lands of the Cyclopses

Dear Readers,

Two powerful articles are published today, one in The Guardian and another one in The Washington Post, provide a grim picture of painful Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Richard Cohen, a distinguished writer who has written many articles on Israel-Palestinian issue, mostly tilting toward Israel, but also showing the utterly failed Israeli leadership, the similar way the Palestinian leadership turns in whimsical spectacles. Like the suffering Palestinians, Israelis are suffering from this endless cycle of violence.

Richard Cohen writes: "In the perpetual war against Israel, its enemies are winning. The economy is awful. Parents do not want their children to go out. The beach is presumed safe, but not a cafe or restaurant. A commute on a bus (I have done it) is gut-wrenching. You watch everyone. What does a suicide bomber look like? The last one, the one who blew up a Haifa restaurant, was a 29-year-old woman, a law sc…
Israel - Palestine: Awful Days

Dear Readers,

These are "awful days" as the Ha'aretz editorial describes. Killings of innocent people regardless of their ethnicity or religion do not justify any humane or moral causes, it only incite more hatred and animosity. Yes, Israeli government, particularly led by Ariel Sharon is responsible for many crimes against the Palestinian people, their sufferings and anguish in the occupied land shiver billions of people around the world. So does the senseless deaths of Israeli child and adults in vengeful suicide bombings. Our condemnation, our rage as human beings, being part of this global community, espousing to be called "civilized" and sensitive to other people's pain should not block us condemning this act of terrorism committed against the innocent Israelis on the eve of their holiest day, Yom Kippur. Particularly, this suicide bombing ripped through a restaurant in Haifa which is "the model city of Arab-Jewish c…
Traitors in the House

Traitors in the House

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
October 4, 2003


Bob Herbert, The New York Times columnist’s observation was to the point: “It's almost as if the president had a team in the White House that was feeding his credibility into a giant shredder.” It seems like a monstrous shredder indeed. There are no stoppages of curiously inflaming issues, initially nicely ornamented by the Bush gangs for the public consumption and within a few weeks or months, all the lies presented in the colorful wrap come unfolding, tearing away flowery ribbons and bare greetings.

Now the public is beginning to pay attention. Bush is slumping in the poll. All of his “hard-fought” manipulative efforts after the September 11, 2001 devastation appear to be losing their steam.

Is there any wonderment in it? Not at all, says Bob Herbert. He writes, “Despite the administration's relentlessly optimistic chatter about the economy, the Census Bureau reported that the number of Am…