Monday, July 28, 2014

Eid Mubarak!!!

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Wishing all of you all the best
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warm regards

The Fiddler (on the Roof) and his son

.....At the service, I began my eulogy with an anecdote from a few years earlier.....My father and stepmother were en route from New York to Westport, Connecticut, when he began feeling ill......They called ahead, and by the time they arrived at the theater, an EMS crew was waiting......“How do you feel?” asked the head EMS guy.“I don’t feel so good.” “What hurts you?” “It hurts me that George Bush is president.”.....
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Dad, Joel Stein, was a communist then a progressive in middle-class America. Son, Harry Stein, was a lefty and switched over to the evil neo-con side. Dad would be asked by his friends: when did your son become a fascist?

The life-story of dad, famous playwright, memorable for his creation: Fiddler on the Roof, where crisis overtakes a tradition bound family when a daughter (jewish) falls for a gentile boy.

As Stein explains reality was not so different after all: My parents never cared that I dated out of the faith or that the woman I married is about as Jewish as her Mayflower forebears. The only remark on the subject I ever heard from my father (for whom the closer to the truth, the funnier) was: “Why don’t you ever bring home a black girl, so we can show how liberal we are?”

What we liked best was this death-bed humor from an old, tired man: It was Carl Reiner. “I heard what happened to your dad,” he exclaimed, more excited than alarmed. “It’s incredible, it should be in the Guinness book of records! I told Mel [Brooks], and he said, ‘It’s impossible, no 98-year-old could possibly fall down 14 steps backward and survive!’ ”.....He listened for a moment as Carl repeated what he’d told me. ....“Tell Mel,” he replied wearily, “that not only is it possible; there are several people to whom I’d highly recommend it.”

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"Police were there but just watching the burning"

....The number of accusations is rising....In 2001, there was only one such complaint, but in 2011 there were 80.....2014 looks set to be a record.....In May 2014, 68 lawyers were charged with blasphemy for using the name 'Umar' in protest slogans against a police official of the same name....In the same month, prominent human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman defending a Pakistani university professor accused of blasphemy was shot and killed after being threatened in court by other lawyers....
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It does not matter if it is India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh, or....The news of late is remarkably monotonous and grim.

We remember the case of Rodney King from our time. He was viciously beaten up by LAPD officers, and the officers were initially let go by a white jury. The acquittals are considered to have triggered the Los Angeles riots of 1992 which were responsible for 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damage to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses [ref. Wiki]. During the riots, King appeared on television and offered what would later be his famous plea, "Can we all get along?"

In South Asia there is not much point in asking can we all get along. The least the powers that be can do is to protect minorities by building more secure ghettos (aka open air prisons). Electrified fence, dobermans, paramilitary, whatever it takes. But please ensure safety (and a bit of prosperity). Is that too much to ask for?
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Three female members of the Ahmadi community, including two minors, were killed late Sunday and eight others were severely injured when an angry mob attacked and burnt five houses, a storage building and several vehicles over alleged blasphemy. Those killed in the attack include a 55-year-old woman Bashiran, a minor girl Kainat and 7-year-old girl Hira.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The future is (of) Asia (minus MENA)

Globalization and the hunt for natural resources have made this vast continent compact enough to form competing blocks which hopefully will not fight hot wars (China just blinked on the off-shore rig off Vietnam). 

OTOH there will be plenty of hot-wars in the MENA which will make the region unbearable (for staying) and unprofitable (for trading anything except oil).

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From the Pew charts we observe that for the most part Asians love the USA. The important exceptions are China, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia manages to identify USA as the biggest ally AND as the biggest threat. For Pakistan the USA is a bigger threat than India. OTOH India is the biggest threat for Bangladesh.


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The Return of the Butterfly

....her mother’s new ‘phone wallah’, who replaced the guy who called her ‘Huzoor’ and ‘always did jhuk ke salam’, ‘barges into her sitting room....and ‘calls Mummy “Anti”.....It’s enough to make Mummy want to leave, till Butterfly reminds her: ‘with your passport you have only two choices....Afghanistan or else, Upstairs to Him’. One of Mohsin’s many masterstrokes....
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Hilarious stuff about how South Asian elites think and talk, kind of like an extended article from the Onion....


It is a shame that for a long. long time we have not had a single, decent brown humorist. It is all high drama, betrayal, politics, ...and we are sick of it. Our best wishes to Moni Mohsin and we look forward to many such installments.
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Some of my favourite moments in The Return of the Butterfly—the third in Pakistani journalist Moni Mohsin’s immensely popular series chronicling the life and times of Butterfly, a malapropism-spouting Lahori socialite—remind me of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch in which four men, comfortably off, try to outdo each other’s accounts of humble beginnings. One says, “We lived in one room, all 26 of us, no furniture, half the floor was missing.” Another responds, “Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in the corridor!”