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Showing posts from February, 2011

Pictures of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

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I recently came across some pictures of Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camps in the Cox's Bazar area in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh, close to the Bangladesh-Burma border. The pictures are really depressing to see the miserable condition of the refugees. Many of the kids growing under unsanitary conditions suffer from diseases, hunger and thirst. They also lack proper education, healthcare and other basic amenities of life that even the poor have access to.

My hope is one day the Rohingya people of Arakan state of Burma would be recognized as equal citizens in Burma, with rights similar to those enjoyed by the majority Burmans, and would be able to live in peace inside their ancestral home without facing any persecution, discrimination, harassment and abuses from the regime.

Thanks to Mr. Nurul Islam of ARNO and Mr. Tin Soe for sharing these pictures.

(For a good understanding of the Rohingya problem, please, read my book or some of my articles - here, and here.)

Western hypocrisy with pro-democracy movement in the Muslim world

Qantara.de is an Internet site dedicated to promoting understanding between the western world and the Muslim world. In one of its most recent editorials, The West and the Protests in the Arab World-Leaving the Freedom Movement in the Lurch, Bettina Marx hit the bull's eye with her concluding remarks where she complained about the apparent silence of the western government for the cause of democracy. She wrote: "It is equivalent to an admission of failure that Western governments lack clear words of support for the democracy movement in Egypt. It is doubly shameful that Europe's citizens have also held back, that western capitals have seen no mass demonstrations, no shows of solidarity with the people in the Arab world – the people who are, after all, our neighbours."

Bettina is right. However, the Muslim world is not surprised by the less than lukewarm support, or more correctly their overt silence or covert opposition, to the change for democracy from the western gov…

MSNBC should not entertain an Islamophobe

This morning, I was extremely disappointed with MSNBC's choice of interviewing Niall Ferguson, the Harvard History professor, on the Morning Joe program. Anyone familiar with his work and life knows that he is a rabid Islamophobe, whose agenda includes protecting Israeli interest above anything else. Interestingly, he left his previous wife to marry Ayaan Hirsi Ali, another rabid Islamophobe, who made a point in her life to extinguish the faith of some 1.6 billion people, i.e., Islam by any means possible. She is a proven liar to whom the ends justifies the means. Not too long in her appearance in the CNN during the Egyptian Revolution, she mentioned to Anderson Cooper that she was from Kenya while everyone familiar with her life story know that she is from Somalia who had left the country in the midst of civil war some two decades ago. Her life is a complex one that is hemmed in lies and deceptions, half-truths and fear-mongering. Her understanding of Islam and its history and la…

Maureen Dowd on Rummy

Maureen Dowd is an op/ed columnist for the NY Times. In her latest column - Simply the Worst, she discussed Rumsfeld's book. It is a good reading.

Kristof on Egypt - an essential reading for American policy makers

Nick Kristof writes on a variety of issues of our world. In the Sunday issue of the New York Times, he had an excellent article on lessons to learn from the Egyptian revolution: What Egypt can teach America.

The Fall of the Egyptian Tyrant

Last Friday, a grim-looking Omar Suleiman announced, “In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic.” The Vice President continued, “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.” With those much expected words the 30-year reign of Mubarak crumbled. It was the right thing to do, and probably the only rational thing to do for the 82-year autocrat who had by then exhausted all his tricks to cling into power. The previous night in his speech to the nation, he sounded defiant and non-quitting.
Mubarak was a man of the barracks who as an air force pilot had fought in the wars of 1967 and 1973. Despite his peasant background he had earned the trust of his predecessor – the cigar-smoking Anwar Sadat to rise to the post of vice president. He was a survivor. On the day of assassination of President Sadat in 1981, he was sitting next to…

The Insanity with Security Gadgets Must End

These days traveling is no fun, especially if one is an airplane passenger traveling inside the USA. Last week I was in Pasadena, outside Houston on a business trip. On Tuesday morning the weather was furious with rain and wind blowing so strong that I could not reach my rental car from the lobby of the hotel without an umbrella. However, before I could reach my car the wind had tore apart the umbrella. Then there were the rolling black-outs that followed throughout the day disrupting people’s regular work schedules. Many offices, schools and colleges had an earlier than usual shut down. The remainder of the week also felt too cold with pipelines freezing and bursting.

The weather forecast for Friday when I was scheduled to fly out was bad. Houston expected some snow, worse enough to form an inch or two of ‘black ice’, which’s very dangerous for commuters. To my surprise and utter dismay I found that the Continental Airlines had cancelled my morning flight and instead automatically b…