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    What do you think?


    by Sunny on 5th July, 2006 at 2:02 pm    

    Muslim soldier



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    41 Comments below   |  

    1. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

      martyr

    2. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

      Living in an essentially military town (Camberley borders RMA,Sandhurst) which is home to Girukha regiments, i’ve seen Asians in the army up close. The general feeling amongst them is that their sacrifices aren’t recognised by the general public. Gurkhas for all their services used to get lesser pensions than others until two years ago. Only “recognition” for the got for their service is a small Gurkha statue tucked in a Westminster bylane completely ignored by the passers-by…

    3. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

      if i remember correctly first guy to fall in Falklands was a Sikh.

    4. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

      I’d taken a pic of the Gurkha statue for wikipedia… it can be seen at : http://en.wikipeida.org/wiki/Gurkhas

    5. Tanvir — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

      If he died for a just cause he would be a martyr regardless of which army he was fighting for. British troops dying in Iraq for example, are definately not martyrs. The question is, is the war in Afganistan a just cause? I’m not talking about the army peace-keeping, or trying to eradicate poppy fields, but a more likely cause for a government to invade and stay in a country especially considering the expense.

      Surely it wasnt just because OBL was living there, because the Taliban had agreed to actually hand-him over to the Americans if the Americans could produce some proof like any standard extradition request.

      Anyway, going back to the originaly story, i’ve read in 3 newspapers yesterday how he apparently said he was trying to build bridges between the british people and the afgans, and all sorts of other fluffy stuff that to the average person just read like a load of rubbish.

    6. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

      d’oh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkhas

      P.S Sunny get the comments preview up quick… my typing seems to go from bad to worse day by day!

    7. Nyrone — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

      Did anyone see the interview with his brother on Channel 4 news yesterday? Although the 4-way melee between the hyper panelists was interesting, I really left a little confused at what his brother was trying to get at, regarding his opnion of Tony Blair’s rather blunt ‘blame the ideologies themselves’ speech that he made yesterday.

      I respect the soldier’s intent to create a bridge between cultures, but considering the highly unorganized, unfocused sham of a mission that the Afghanistan venture was, I wonder if he knew that he was being lied to and sold out by his goverment, which doesn’t truly give a shit about his life at all, as it continues marching out worldwide with it’s imperialist interventionist policies.

    8. Unity — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

      Vikrant:

      Let me assure you that the Gurkhas, in particular, are well-recognised and respected by the general public. Maybe not so much as by service personnel, but the Gurkha name carries with it a public reputation that is easily on a par with the Parachute Regiment and only a little short of that accorded to the SAS.

      Perhaps the most striking evidence for that came during the Falklands campaign, when a contingent of Argentinian troops surrendered almost without firing a shot in anger after being told that they would be facing the Gurkhas and regaled by the locals with tales of their fighting qualities as well as age-old story about them collecting ears as battle trophies.

      They certainly do not get the official recognition they deserve, as clearly demonstrated by the pensions issue, of which the wider public were almost completely unaware until the campaign for parity hit the news, but it would be fair to say that when that issue did hit the public domain there was widespread public disgust at the injustice of the situation.

      Now, if you want to discuss failings in public recognition of the contribution of the Indian regiments in World War II then you have point worth making, but if the public know one basic fact about the Gurkhas then its their record in collecting VCs, and that, on its own, still carries a hell of a lot of weight.

      Seriously, I have seen the most ardent racists holding forth in the pub on the subject of how immigrants have supposed never done anything for this country only to clam up with sheer embarassment no soon as someone asks ‘but what about the Gurkhas?’

    9. leon — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

      What do I think? Not much, not sure why this death is any more significant than any of the others. All are wasted lives on an idiotic “mission”…

    10. raz — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

      Apparently the Al-guruba clowns have already dubbed him an ‘apostate’. Sickening.

    11. Chairwoman — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

      Citizen, soldier.

    12. Rohin — on 5th July, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

      I regard his death in the same way I regard the death of any other British soldier in Afghanistan - unnecessary.

      I do find interesting the spin put on this story by all the papers - especially the (damn, was it the Mail or Telegraph?) which had “BRITISH MUSLIM, BRITISH SOLDIER, BRITISH HERO” on the front page, as if his death was more newsworthy than the others. Is it?

      Vikrant I’ve been thinking about doing a post on gurkhas for a few days, randomly. I studied their genes a while ago!

    13. j0nz — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:02 pm  

      British troops dying in Iraq for example, are definately not martyrs.

      What an idiotic generalisation. So British troops who may have saved the lives of children and women - there will have been particular cases - are not ‘martyrs’ because YOU disagree with the liberation of Iraq?

      considering the highly unorganized, unfocused sham of a mission that the Afghanistan venture was,

      Really? The Afghanistan is a relative success story. I presume, seeing as your SWP, that they shouldn’t have gone into Afghanistan? People on here really do talk some shit sometimes. Though you haven’t finished yet!

      I wonder if he knew that he was being lied to and sold out by his goverment

      Err we are talking about AFGHANISTAN you thick twonk

      which doesn’t truly give a shit about his life at all

      Yes your right. I mean Blair and his croonies are truly evil. They would personally behead, given half the chance.

      as it continues marching out worldwide with it’s
      imperialist interventionist policies.

      Perhaps you’d be better off commenting at Twatology?

    14. Arif — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

      I think it was striking to me - making me reflect how much diversity of viewpoints there are among Pakistanis and Muslims. I can imagine Muslim Pakistanis joining the British army for many motives, but the ones attributed to him surprise me a lot. Building bridges and so on.

      I feel that I could easily identify with the motives he gives, but it leads me to a completely different conclusion. And I imagine he’d see me as someone actually burning bridges by my attitudes towards UK forign policy.

      In the end, I feel the same lack of identity to him as, say, al-Qaeda operatives. I feel that with an effort I can understand his reasons, but not go along with his conclusions. I don’t feel the need to apologise for his actions or make more of an effort to stop other Pakistani Muslims following his lead than I already do. And I don’t glory in his martyrdom or hope others copy him as a role model - although I think his attitudes and ideals are worth propagating.

    15. Sid — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

      War Hero and a handsome man, to boot.

      I actually think the Afghanistan is a legitimate war that has a real purpose and multiple success points, potentially. Too bad our forces have been diverted to an Iraqi quagmire of NeoCon making for a bid to middle eastern expansionism.

      Shame we’ll never see our Pro-War non-Stopper intellectuals, such as Nick Cohen or Norman Geras give their lives for Iraq.

    16. Sid — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      OK my prepositions suck.

    17. Vikrant — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

      Unity,

      Hmm… Well Gurkhas are paid a pittance when compared to the salaries of other servicemen. Moreover i dont think think they’ve got the national recognition they deserve. For example i took me 4 fucking hours to locate the Gurkha statue in Westminster! One policeman near Churchill museaum didint even know what a Gurkha is! I kept going in rounds until i happend to spot the statue by chance behind the MoD…

    18. Unity — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:16 pm  

      Vikrant:

      I think the lesson here is that their deeds and reputation proceed them, but when it comes to how they’re treated by officialdom, the public still remains largely ignorant of the facts - which, all round, is pretty shameful state of affairs.

    19. Unity — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

      Oops, I should also say that there may well be a generational thing at work here in which younger people are generally becoming less aware of the history and reputation of the Armed Forces except where, as with the SAS, it makes for a good book or two a bit of telly…

      As a prime example of this, the Leonard Cheshire charity (named after another winner of the VC) is currently considering a change of name to some appaling neologism - Equability UK, A-BL UK, Disability UK and eQual UK have been mooted - to raise the charity’s public profile, as if the story of a bona fide war hero who went on to dedicate his life to the case of people with disabilities isn’t good enough anymore.

      It’s a bit of sad reflection of our time that perhaps the best source of information on the sacrifices of regiments like the Gurkhas and the Indian regiments turns out to be the obituaries columns of national newspapers.

      We should make more of stories like those of Umrao Singh VC - http://www.guardian.co.uk/india/story/0,,1654517,00.html - Gian Singh VC - http://www.info-sikh.com/VCPage2.html - and the men of the Gurkha regiments - http://www.thekhukurihouse.com/Content/VCHolders.php - especially in addressing attitudes amongst many older people, for whom the war years and acts of conspicuous valour remain of particular resonance.

      I’ve long argued locally for the need to try and deliberately bring together veterans from all communities at the main local Remembrance parade, where they should be accorded pride of place, for the simple reason that a single image of those veterans together laying a wreath to the fallen offers more of challenge to support for the BNP amongst older people than any other I can think of.

    20. al — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabron_Hashmi

      and also have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_D._Green (v graphic)

    21. Sunny — on 5th July, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

      I have to say I admire the young man. We all have our different ways of building Arif, I suppose the main point is that we try and build those bridges than retreat into ‘us against them’ mentality.

      I supported the Afghanistan war because I have always seen the Taliban as evil religious fanatics. Their treatment of women alone deserved them to be bombed to kingdom come.

      So while the Iraq war was unnecessary, I think Afghanistan was a worth cause. But the operative word is “was” here. The United States and Britain don’t have a clue on what to do there and are hoping things improve by themselves. If it drags on endlessly, at what point do we accept it is becoming pointless?

      I thought the Daily Mail headline was also quite good. Yes he was like any other solider. But then a British Pakistani Muslim willing to fight for his adopted homeland - those stories don’t come by easily.

      May you rest in peace Jabron Hashmi.

    22. seekeroftruth — on 5th July, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

      Sunny,

      I can understand the need of countering the Taliban oppression but do you think raining bombs over Afgan towns and villages helped>? Moreover an American soldier canhardly differentiate between a ex soveit war mujahid, a fanatic taliban, a tribal bearded pashtun farmer etc. etc because all these identities are overlapping. A gradual education reform was the best way while flushing out OBL and his close cronies. Most Taliban won’t even know where usa is on the map. They were that introverted. A different approach was needed to tackle the issue after 9/11. Do you think after the war conservative Afghan males would not stop women from taking off the burqa?

    23. j0nz — on 5th July, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

      A gradual education reform was the best way

      “Now call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit it hard, and we hit it fast, with a major, and I mean major, leaflet campaign” - Rimmer

    24. j0nz — on 5th July, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

      And back on topic:

      Guys who die on the frontline like this guy - are fucking heroes in my book. This guy in particular, (like many others of course), just wanted to help make a difference.

    25. Don — on 5th July, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

      I doubt if soldiers doing their job think in terms of heroes and martyrs. The guy deserves respect, but no doubt there are those on all sides whose instant response to the news was to consider how it could be spun to their advantage, portraying him as martyr or dupe or whatever suits their purpose.

      I agree with Sid and Sunny that Afghanistan was a legitimate and justified campaign. Hypothetical history is a waste of time, but I still believe that if the ghastly mistake in Iraq has not led to such a massive waste of people, resources and moral standing then we would be looking at a success in Afghanistan now. But we’ll never know for sure.

      Sid; not nice to wish death on people, with a few notable exceptions.

    26. Sid — on 5th July, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

      Don

      Those are my “few notable exceptions”. ;-)

    27. Arif — on 5th July, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

      Sunny, I admit I’m probably in a minority in my own views of what constitutes just warfare. And maybe also in what building bridges might mean.

      In the current situation I do not join violent organisations, even though I can empathise with the fears they claim motivates them, the honour they believe they are earning for their altruism and the good they earnestly believe will come from their actions. I see such organisations working in a dynamic of mutual conflict, which is resistant to bridge-building and prefers to impose a settlement on others. They will generally only be merciful on those who don’t actively resist their agenda. I find it very difficult to see how an army would not operate with an “us and them” mentality. But if it could be explained to me, I’m sure I’d welcome it.

      From your comments, it seems that you perceive him to be fighting for his adopted homeland and this builds bridges with people in the UK who believe Pakistanis would not fight for them. And it resonates with me in the same way as a jihadi calling on me to put aside national differences and fight for the ummah against western imperialism. I guess you could say this would be building bridges with people who feel attacked by the policies of my homeland. But I would say this would make me a dupe of people who want to draw me into another “us and them” mentality.

    28. raz — on 5th July, 2006 at 5:55 pm  

      It’s worth noting that this guy was born in Pakistan, as opposed to being a British born Pakistani. I suspect that many Pakistanis may have a higher view of the British Army (which is basically the father of the modern Pakistani/Indian armies) than British Pakistanis, many of whom appear to be hostile to the British Army. Something to ponder….

    29. David T — on 5th July, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

      Shame we’ll never see our Pro-War non-Stopper intellectuals, such as Nick Cohen or Norman Geras give their lives for Iraq.

      Norm is a retiree. Nick C is *not* the sort of person you’d want in the army. We do get commentators at HP who have served in the army in Iraq, though.

      I am a good few years above the age at which I could be recruited, but were I a decade younger, I think I would enlist. But who knows. It is an extremely courageous thing to do.

    30. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 5th July, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

      Jabron Hashmi, the guy is a hero. It is dreadful that he had to die for us to find that out.

      Incidentally I’d like to agree with Unity on post #8. The Gurka’s are awesome, my grandfather spoke about them being the fearest, best, hardest fighters in the British Army and was in complete awe of them. He would often remark on the debt owed by the British to them and would wax lyrical about the times that he trained and worked with them in the second world war.

      Cheers,

      TFI

    31. Refresh — on 5th July, 2006 at 7:05 pm  

      DavidT - You got me thinking.

      I am sure you would not need to be a decade younger to be employed by the army. There is one very important vacancy which goes unfilled. Counting bodies.

      Meanwhile Norman Geras and Nick Cohen can continue to do their bit as active members of the Home Guard.

      Captain Mainwaring and Pike reincarnated.

    32. Rohin — on 5th July, 2006 at 7:06 pm  
    33. Rohin — on 5th July, 2006 at 7:19 pm  

      (that comment 17 was in reference to the Gurkha talk)

      OK chaps and chapesses, I’m off to sample some East European and Finnish attractions, back in a bit.

      Take care of yourselves, and each other.

    34. Ravi4 — on 5th July, 2006 at 8:48 pm  

      I agree with Sid and Sunny - The guy was courageous and I believe he was fighting for a just cause. I think the cause is still just.

      UK, US and lots of others have got plans to help Afghanistan ( http://www.nato.int/docu/update/2006/06-june/e0608a.htm and http://www.afnorth.nato.int/ISAF/mission/mission_operations.htm ). And Britain has just massively increased its contribution to Afghanistan both in aid and troops – almost 5000 will be there, more than half the number deployed in Iraq (see here).

      But ultimately the democratically elected Afghan Government has to take control themselves – which they’re trying to do. Or this really will be the kind of imperialism which lots of people think it is, and which I too don’t want to see.

      Stuff has got worse recently but that seems to be because the Taliban have regrouped; corruption and internecine fighting between the Afghans (a nastily extreme version of what happens in any pluralistic state) has prevented aid and development taking off as quickly as it might have done otherwise; and the peacekeepers themselves are deploying in far greater numbers than before to the roughest most pro-Taliban places in the South, thus attracting more trouble. Bit like smacking at a hornets’ nest – has to be done to get rid of the trouble in the long term, but in the short term you’re going to get pretty hurt while doing it.

      It’s a sad state of affairs when even intelligent well educated Brits can say such ignorant things as “the Taliban had agreed to actually hand-him over to the Americans if the Americans could produce some proof like any standard extradition request” (factually incorrect – the most they ever got as far as doing was thinking about handing OBL over to an Islamic country if proof was produced. See guardian story http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,598258,00.html and timeline http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,598258,00.html ).

      PS – sorry for slightly below quality links, all I could find on a quick search while trying to watch the footy…

    35. mr inferior — on 5th July, 2006 at 9:41 pm  

      probably had orgasms taking orders from whites and shooting his own kind/colour

    36. El Cid — on 5th July, 2006 at 10:54 pm  

      I’d say he is a hero.
      The man went out there to do a job and lost his life.
      As a white man I certainly don’t take offense that the papers have made such a deal of it. I mean, in a world where the dominant “moslem” view that gets airtime is one that is aliented, angry, belligerent, alien, intolerant, religious or just downright nutty, I think it’s correct to show a different angle. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast. I guess it’s a bit like that Asian female copper that got knifed.
      Whether you agree with the Afghan war or not — and I certainly do — is irrelevant.
      There’s no logic to crying foul about stereotypes if you favour being represented as a homogenous ethnic group. It takes all sorts — and that should apply to British moslems too.
      For these very reasons I don’t think it suggests his life is any more worthy than that of his white colleagues — more noteworthy, yes, more worthy, no.

    37. Nindy — on 6th July, 2006 at 12:25 am  

      It doesn’t matter that he was born in Pakistan, raised in Birmingham and killed in Afganistan. What matters was that he was a human being, a man with a beating heart and soul, of flesh and bones, doing what he could do in his capacity as a soldier to contribute in making the world a better place.

      His colour or faith meant nothing to his killers. As a journalist, I know that stories need an angle, and thus, as most news outlets have highlighted, the best angle was his ethnicity.

      The real tragedy is that we still have to fight to settle disputes. This is not a question of who Lance Corporal Jabron Hashmi was. What his death symbolises, is that, in effect, who you are as a person - Muslim, Sikh, Atheist, Black, WHite, Brown, Gay, Straight, Fat, Skinny, etc… - is inconsequential. War lacks sense and reduces humans to animals without thought.

      So forget classifying Hashmi as the first British Muslim soldier to die “in the war on terror.” See him as a man caught up in a vicious cycle of human behaviour.

    38. Steve M — on 6th July, 2006 at 10:28 am  

      “I actually think the Afghanistan is a legitimate war that has a real purpose and multiple success points, potentially…

      “Shame we’ll never see our Pro-War non-Stopper intellectuals, such as Nick Cohen or Norman Geras give their lives for Iraq.” - Sid
      What a stupid, stupid comment. As you’re pro-war in Afghanistan, can we take it that you’ll be laying your life on the line?

    39. Arif — on 6th July, 2006 at 4:04 pm  

      In my own way, I’m trying to understand the heroism people here perceive in his going to war. Are taliban soldiers who have died in Afghanistan equally heroes? Would a British Muslim who goes and fights for the talban also be seen as building bridges?

      Apologies if the question sounds facetious, I genuinely want to understand other viewpoints on this better.

    40. Americano — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

      I have stumbled across this site while researching a peripheral topic, and after reading the posts felt compelled to toss in my 2 cents as an American nobody.

      If we (US) would have used even half of the resources we used in Iraq in Afghanistan, where there was a legitimate case for action, I wonder how things would be different today?

      Secondly, in this day and age, how is it possible for Brits to justify paying the Gurkhas less than their non-Ghurkha counterparts doing the same job and of the same pay grade?

      Especially when you consider all of the praise heaped upon the Gurkhas by the British regarding how brave and formidable and diligent they were/are.

      I’ll tell you what, I know how heavily criticized America and Americans are in Europe, but this kind of shit wouldn’t happen over here, and if it did it would cause an incredible outrage. The 2 billion in back-pay the Brit govt. will never pay would look ilke a pittance comparatively speaking.

    41. Don — on 20th July, 2006 at 7:57 pm  

      Americano,

      Nice of you to drop by. You are absolutely right and if the british public, rather than pen-pushers, had their say then I’m sure this glaring injustice would be fixed in short order.

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