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  • 17th May, 2006

    Using death for politics

    by Fe'reeha at 1:52 pm    

    According to the news reports, thousands gathered this Saturday at his funeral in Saroki village, Pakistan, about 150 kilometres northwest of Lahore.

    Mourners showered rose petals over Amer’s black shroud covered coffin. The event which could have been a dignified expression of concern for a fellow countryman turned ugly as a stampede resulted in injuries of more than 40 people.

    But Pakistani politicians once again are using a tragic event to suit their own political agendas. Why does this never change??

    Continue Reading...

    Ayaan Hirsi’s lies come to an end

    by Al-Hack at 9:26 am    

    Poster girl for the ‘clash of civilisations’ comes crashing down to earth because of her lies.

    Holland’s most strident critic of Islam, the Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is today expected to announce she is quitting politics and moving to America, amid allegations that she lied to gain asylum.

    Miss Hirsi Ali faces penalties up to and including the potential loss of her Dutch citizenship, after a leading member of her own political party, the VVD, pledged a formal investigation of her actions.

    What most news reports don’t mention is that she lied about being beaten, lied about the female genital mutilation and pretty much everything else. In fact she created the whole facade so she could take advantage of the anti-Muslim climate. How sad. Now she makes it doubly hard for any women who may have suffered abuse to come out. Her full statement in English.
    [hat tip raz, Peter and al]

    Filed under: Current affairs
    16th May, 2006

    Why we need a sense of Britishness

    by Sunny at 2:59 pm    

    It is not a new debate but the origins of the current round of ‘Let’s Be British’ initiatives must surely lie with Gordon Brown’s speech earlier this year. In response he was scorned, derided, and even supported. Yesterday it started all over again, with responses asking what these ‘core British values’ actually were.

    Please, stop it! These debates are framed so badly that they invite ridicule amongst even the most liberal of ethnic minorities. Let’s start from the beginning.

    Yes, we need a stronger, shared sense of British identity. But the real question is, why? I’ll answer that by first listing those who may be opposed to this idea for different reasons.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics

    Sri Lanka violence escalates

    by Sunny at 9:00 am    

    Luke Skywalker has company. A few weeks ago a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber RebelBabe disguised as a pregnant woman, spontaneously combusted in central Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing 8 people. Her intended target was Lt General Sarath Fonseka - the Commander of the Sri Lankan Army who is in hospital in serious but stable condition (along with 27 others).

    Begging to differ from the fashionable Osama ‘Cam-Whore’ Bin Laden trend of doing things, the LTTE generally stays away from claims of responsibility. They do however party hard when celebrating the efforts of their ‘Spontaneous-Combustion Martyrs’.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: South Asia,Sri Lanka
    15th May, 2006

    British Muslims most ‘deprived’ minority

    by Sunny at 2:45 pm    

    Muslims are more likely than other religious minorities to be unemployed and live in poor housing in the most deprived parts of England, research has found. Half of Muslims aged over 25 are not in the formal labour market, according to the Government-backed study.

    The academics said Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities appeared likely to remain concentrated in the same areas. “There are trends that seem likely to keep ethno-religious communities geographically concentrated,” the study said.

    The “dispersal” of these groups is likely to be limited by the desire of families to stay close together, the research said. And many Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus are likely to want to stay close to their places of worship.

    This on the Guardian website today. A few points to be made. Firstly, this issue of deprivation, unemployment and low educational achievement is one that I believe ‘community leaders’ should be tackling instead of spending all their energies on what is going on in Pakistan, Palestine and other countries.

    Secondly, the study (can anyone find it?) does not seem to differentiate between Muslims living in different parts of the country. This is crucial because most Sikhs and Hindus live in London or other relatively prosperous parts of Britain, whereas Muslims have ended up in areas that have grown poorer as the manufacturing base is eroded. So rather than being a story about discrimination this is likely to be more about patterns of migration. Pakistanis in London are relatively much better off than their bretheren up north or even Bangladeshis in east London.

    Filed under: Economics,Religion

    Welcome, Mr Hugo Chavez

    by Sunny at 1:02 am    

    The President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez is coming here today (or already here) and I will admit I’m a fan of his populist politics. Despite lame articles such as this, and Gene’s own attempts, I’m yet to be convinced this man is bad for the Venezuelan people. And you know who else I really like? Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia who I recently wrote about here. Too bad he isn’t here otherwise I would have headed to Ken Livingstone’s event to hear him speak.
    Update: Schmoo has pics! And see this documentary.

    Required goggleboxing

    by Rohin at 12:49 am    

    Just a whistlestop tip off about cool TV this week.

    This Friday brings the life of Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan to BBC 2, at 9pm (The Princess Spy). Born in Moscow and brought up in France by an Indian Muslim royal father and a white American mother, Khan was a descendant of the legendary Tipu Sultan…

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Media
    14th May, 2006

    Will the free-Alaa campaign work?

    by Sunny at 3:31 pm    

    Sid, David and many prominent Egyptian bloggers have recently popularised the free-Alaa campaign, started in honour of the popular pro-democracy blogger recently imprisoned by Egyptian authorities because he questioned the legitimacy of recent government elections.

    Now, Judy has taken up the call to Google-bomb ‘Egypt’ with a link to the campaign. She’s done a great job, but I’m not sure if it will work. Let me explain why.

    Continue Reading...

    Weekend open thread

    by Sunny at 12:37 am    

    Whatever it is folks, get it off your chest. And no Rohin, I’m not referring to your t-shirt.

    Filed under: Uncategorized
    13th May, 2006

    Desi in demand

    by Rohin at 2:20 pm    

    Today, the average white Brit probably has a better knowledge of subcontinental culture, as opposed to the tokenistic view the 60s brought. Of course this is a legacy of the large South Asian population in the UK, who have done much to educate other Brits.

    However, is the perception any less tokenistic; do Bollywood, bhangra and bhajis represent India more accurately than joss sticks and yoga matts?

    Earlier this week I had a few drinks with Gautam Malkani, author of a book we’ve been discussing on PP, Londonstani.

    Previous posts have tackled topics such as in-fighting amongst British Asian authors and Malkani’s take on the rudeboy mentality.

    One of the themes that came out of our conversation was the inclusivity of the ‘desi’ scene. Upon reading a recent interview with Malkani, he makes the point that:

    “The beauty of the desi scene is that you don’t have to have brown skin to be part of it.”

    I’m not so sure, do you agree?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Media
    12th May, 2006

    … and how we get there

    by Sunny at 9:55 pm    

    In my previous post I laid out a need for us on Pickled Politics to use this as a space to rigorously champion the causes of liberalism and progressive action and thought.

    We do this not because we are self-hating Asians (though no doubt many may be thinking this but haven’t yet emailed me to say so, disappointly) but because we deeply care for our “community”.

    This is where it gets complicated. I care about everyone, regardless of race, religion, caste or nationality. As an Indian I even unashamedly care for my Pakistani brothers and sisters (and ex-girlfriends). See, that wasn’t difficult to say.

    But there are ‘issues’ that we have to take ownership of within the Asian community. And only we can take ownership of them because it is not for the government to do it. By that I mean educational under-achievement, forced marriages, sexual abuse etc - the list is long.

    One of the new aspects to this Pickled Politics v.2 will be pages dedicating to ‘watching’ various groups that we see as communal and bigoted. At the same time we need to put together solid arguments and essays related to different issues, which can be referenced later when necessary. And find ways of building together campaigns around issues too. Any thoughts on this will be great.

    But more than that - we have to be positive and all-embracing. As many of you said in my previous post, we cannot just keep repeating what we are against, we also have to openly state what we are for.

    This is important because most bigots thrive on hating others and looking down on them. We need to avoid that. We need to not only be positive but provide hope that it is possible.

    This is not just an idle project. There is indeed a grand plan to all this, though I can’t reveal it just as yet.

    Filed under: Uncategorized
    11th May, 2006

    Where we go from here…

    by Sunny at 2:59 am    

    I don’t know quite how to begin this, so I will just come out and say it. What I’m proposing to do here is to elaborate on our mission statement and why this space exists. I do that not only for our readers but for the contributors too.

    Pickled Politics was created to fill a void that Rohin and I felt and knew existed. It was a magazine, a platform, where we could rail against a system that needed re-examining. Other (media) spaces remain constrained either by vested interests or political correctness.

    Let’s start from the beginning. We, as modern Britons, are fighting a metaphorical war on two fronts.

    In one corner we have what you can call “the Asian community”. On a macro level it has become a closed system dominated by community leaders, so-called representatives, “race relations experts” and self-serving politicians. They are surrounded by a community of diverse people who remain largely unwilling to examine themselves critically because they are too busy being defensive.

    On the other side there are the racists. But while racism has become a dirty word, even for the BNP, it has evolved into anti-immigration hysteria and Islamophobia. Like Hizb ut-Tahrir, the bigots have simply changed their words.

    There is another way to look at this.

    On one side stand all the bigots who hate, despise and look down on others based on their race, religion, caste, sexuality and nationality. And there are others who choose to reject that hatred. Whose side do you want to be on?

    To be sure, sometimes the lines are blurred. This is why we are here - to make sense of those lines and then choose where we stand. It’s a learning process, but we have to draw that line, and not side with the bigots. This is why this space exists.

    But it cannot cannot simply remain a pulpit from where we shout or laugh at others. It has to become more pro-active than that. And hence we arrive at Phase Two. I have increased the number of writers and added four ‘diaries’ firstly as a way to increase discussion amongst ourselves.

    In a more organised and planned manner, we need to highlight and discuss what needs to be changed and we need to thrash out how to go down that path. We need to forge a new way of thinking and record it into articles, campaigns and essays that can be used to document this revolution. We need to be unafraid of criticism, be open to learning and not be plagued by a victim mentality that holds back meaningful self-criticism.

    At the same time we need to highlight the enemies of this revolution: the self-serving community leaders, the bigots and the religious fanatics. We need to expose them, attack them, ridicule them and gather evidence against them.

    We have to figure out how to deal with this bigotry and unashamedly champion a progressive path.

    It all sounds very grand, you say. Too grand. Am I on drugs? Errr, no. I cannot say for certain where we end up with this, but I do know that we have to make a start. All we need is something coherent to say. The time for this revolution is long overdue.

    Filed under: Uncategorized
    10th May, 2006

    The monsoon in Dehra Dun falls mainly in June

    by Rohin at 1:36 am    

    I just caught the end of the most bizarre television show and shamefully it was on my favourite channel, Channel 4. Indian Finishing School takes four of the most reprehensible Brits and deposits them in “one of Delhi’s most prestigious finishing schools.” These four were nothing short of the absolute dregs of English society, including one who demonstrated his colonial-style racism as soon as some Indians started taking the piss out of him.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Humour

    Mr Einstein, meet Mr Tagore

    by Sunny at 12:03 am    

    Did you ever find yourself lying alone on a calm beautiful beach wondering, what if Rabindarnath Tagore and Albert Einstein were to meet each other, what would they talk about?

    No, you haven’t? Well, neither have I. But if you’re perverted enough to think about Tagore and Einstein getting it on while you’re relaxing on the beach, of all places, then wonder no more.

    Abdusalaam finds that indeed the two heavyweights did meet in 1930 and their conversation was recorded. Any profound insights may have gone right over my head. And yes, both were also having a bad hair day.

    Filed under: Culture,Humour
    9th May, 2006

    Another lame Sikh front organisation

    by Sunny at 3:43 am    

    The event states it is the: ‘Conference and Launch of Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination’. That alone should start setting off alarm bells.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Events,Race politics
    8th May, 2006

    Poorism

    by Rohin at 1:13 pm    

    Two British papers have run similar stories on consecutive days, both concerning the subject of a new brand of tourism; poorism. Whilst the two experiences are quite dissimilar, both subvert the traditional Western notion of a holiday in the developing world, where one can normally afford to live like a king.

    India has been pioneering trips to more rural communities for many years, I first read about Kerala’s attempts to popularise ‘model villages’ quite a while ago. Here, foreigners or indeed wealthy Indian urbanites, can experience what traditional village life consists of. Or at least a sanitised version. The Telegraph visits Kanadukathan, in Tamil Nadu. The reporter journeys there with his wife and the stay does sound like a quaint chance to see another side to India.

    Now the Observer reports on Delhi’s take on the phenomenon, where punters tour the city’s railway station slums and gawk at drug addicts and the homeless.

    Babloo, who thinks he is 10, has been living here for maybe three years. His hands are splashed white from the correction fluid that he’s breathing in through his clenched left fist, and he pulls a dirty bag filled with bottles with his other hand. His life is unrelentingly bleak and he recognises this. ‘I don’t know why people come and look at us,’ he says.

    This seemingly bizarre sightseeing trip has honourable intentions - the ticket money of £2.50 goes towards a local children’s charity. I toured Soweto, the famous Jo’burg township, a few years ago and whilst a truly amazing experience, the far pricier fee I paid went nowhere near the people I visited. In fact the article briefly mentions similar excursions, including Soweto, the Rio favelas, the Bronx and East Harlem, Belfast and Rotterdam.

    Filed under: Culture,Economics,India

    Is Pakistan ‘failing’?

    by Sunny at 5:44 am    

    Pakistan has sharply moved up the list of ‘failing states’ according to a new study.

    The report - compiled by the US Foreign Policy magazine and the US-based Fund for Peace think-tank - ranked 146 nations according to their viability.

    Judged according to 12 criteria, including human flight and economic decline, states range from the most failed, Sudan, to the least, Norway.

    The second annual “failed states index” was based on “tens of thousands of articles” from different sources gathered over several months in 2005 and reviewed by experts, its authors said.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Pakistan,South Asia
    7th May, 2006

    Weekend open thread

    by Sunny at 2:34 pm    

    I’ve got to cut the grass again today. Anyone doing anyonething interesting?

    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Mid-air Mancunian Pakistani peasant revolt

    by Rohin at 2:07 pm    

    It seems that I’m providing the light relief on PP at the moment; studying has tragically rendered my brain useless for anything else.

    Economy class passengers aboard a PIA Islamabad-Manchester flight screamed the Marseillaise and stormed the first class cabin yesterday. The angry mob had been kept waiting for hours on scorching Islamabad tarmac and when the plane took off the effeminate cabin crew rapidly lost control. Passengers charged into the empty first class cabin as economy was packed. We have no information on whether business class was full, so I can’t decide if these are brave comrades of the revolution or just free-loading bastards. The pilot radioed Manc Airport who mobilised the Manc police. 14 arrests were made.

    I wonder, if this hadn’t been a plane of an airline from a Muslim country, how would a group of angry Pakistanis surging forward on a plane have been treated? Full story.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Humour,Pakistan
    6th May, 2006

    Why I welcome the BNP vote

    by Sunny at 4:55 pm    

    Much will be made of the BNP’s gains in the Local Elections, given they doubled their share of councillors from around 20 to 44. But a closer look at this result is warranted and I, for one, am happy with the gains they made. Let me tell you why.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics,The BNP

    Al Qaeda in Trojan elephant shocker

    by Rohin at 12:15 am    

    WREUTERS: An audacious terrorist plot has been uncovered as Al Qaeda infiltrate London in a huge mechanical elephant.

    The nation’s capital was today the scene of a terrorist strike the likes of which have not been seen since, ooh 1184 BC. A collosal wooden beast made its way towards Parliament and Horseguard’s Parade, somewhat reminiscent of a giant HORSE used by TROJANS which is popularly referred to as ‘the giant horse used by Trojans’. Suspicions first arose when detectives at Scotland Yard uncovered that ‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ had a Muslim-sounding name. When the monster appeared it was clear that the carving was ISLAMIC and special assault teams were deployed. The resultant scenes were far short of horrific. Soon afterwards, an evil missile landed in London and a passing hairdresser is quoted as saying he was confident it was “nuclear”. From within it emerged a female messenger of death, presumably the first graduate of Al Qaeda’s new emancipated women’s college.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Humour
    5th May, 2006

    Blair isn’t going anywhere

    by Sunny at 1:32 pm    

    A few thoughts on the Local Elections.

    1) Tony Blair is not planning to leave his job soon, and his firing of Charles Clarke (with an offer of another portfolio) shows this. He wants his supporters around him. This is also why Geoff Hoon is back, Prescott has been neutralised and Gordon Brown will remain where he is. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

    2) I think the biggest story of the night isn’t the BNP (more on that later) but that Ealing went to the Tories. This has been solid Labour territory since 1994 and is seen as a sign of things to come at the General Election.

    3) Tories have done the least disappointingly out of everyone. Labour didn’t go into meltdown apart from in London, Tories only made huge gains in the capital. The Lib Dems, BNP and Greens all did worse than they expected.

    Filed under: Party politics

    Local Elections open thread

    by Sunny at 12:15 am    

    Post comments and results here as they come in… Labour is going to get a kicking no doubt, but will the Tories gain those seats?

    And will the BNP get any serious number of votes? On the last question I am not sure either way. On the one hand they have seen a huge surge in members, on the other the media has gone out there intentionally to find BNP supporters for a soundbite. Though Nick Griffin got unlucky, the BBC is predicting 5-6 seats for the BNP in Barking and Dagenham. Hmmm…

    I’ll be on BBC Asian Network at 10am to discuss the aftermath. Oh, and I wrote something for CIF on the BNP.

    Filed under: Party politics
    4th May, 2006

    The Bradford Riots revisited

    by Sunny at 2:40 pm    

    Tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm a drama on the Bradford Riots is being shown. I’ve wanted to write about the 2001 riots for a long time because in many ways they were a small watershed for race relations. A stereotype of a Britain falling apart was formed, used time and time again by Trevor Phillips (CRE) to make absurd statements.

    Like many other British Asians when they first kicked off, I was sympathetic towards the rioters…

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics

    Gujarat flares up again

    by Sunny at 12:16 am    

    The Indian army’s been deployed in the Indian town of Vadodara after a few days of rioting and mob violence. Yesterday morning 32 year old Mohammad Rafiq Vora was burnt alive by a crowd of 1,500 Hindus. Guess who is in charge and not doing much? The politicos are meanwhile too busy paying condolences to the murder of a supremacist .

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