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Showing posts from October, 2011

Col. Gaddafi’s Death – lessons for dictators?

Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi died on October 20 on the way to a hospital in Misrata. An autopsy determined that he had bullet wounds to his chest and head. Apparently, he was killed by a Libyan captor with the rebel forces that had toppled his regime. It was not the kind of death he imagined to embrace during the 42 years of his rule before the revolution. Surely, he was a marked man since the days of President Reagan. He had too many foes – mostly foreign – who hated him for a plethora of reasons. But never before the Libyan Revolution had he any inkling that one day his fellow countryman would be his executioner shooting the final bullet to end his life.

It was a sad demise of one of the most enduring rulers of our time who refused to call it quits. Gaddafi was captured alive hiding in a drainpipe outside his hometown of Sirte. He was roughed up, bruised, taunted and hounded before his death. It was not a pleasant picture, all captured by cell phone videos, to see him dragged out by his hair…

Muslim Identity and Demography in Arakan - concluding part

Part 4: The Demography Controversy

Khin Maung Saw provides a highly distorted rendition of the 1784 invasion of Arakan and tries to justify the brutal occupation by the racist and bigot Burman King Bodaw Paya by saying that it was all about reformation of the Buddhist Monk's order. To him, all those who fled were only 50,000. And obviously, to him, these were Rakhines (and no Rohingyas). Likewise, the Rohingya factor starts with British control of Arakan, esp. as he puts it, after 1886, as if they simply did not exist before the British colonization. He writes, "Arakan was very under-populated at that time. Therefore, the British brought tens of thousands of Chittagonian Bengali Muslims into Arakan. The Arakanese (Rakhaings) have to bear the burdens of these aliens until today. These aliens tried and are still trying to Islamize Arakan (if not the whole of Burma) by all means."

Obviously, such a narrative belies history, esp. the multi-cultural reality of Arakan during the…

The Muslim Factor in Arakan, Burma

Muslim Identity and Demography in Arakan
Part 3. The Muslim Factor in Arakan

Just as it happened throughout the coastal territories from the Arabian Peninsula to the Barbary Coast and the shores of Gibraltar and Iberian Peninsula (and beyond) via Alexandria, Tripoli and Tunis to the west, and to the shores of Mozambique (originally Musa-bin-Baik) via Zanzibar and Mombasa to the south, and to the lower Gangetic Delta (Bangladesh) and beyond (to the Strait of Malacca) via the Malabar Coast of India to the east, the maritime trade route in the India Ocean in those days (pre-dating European colonization) used to be controlled by the Arab/Persian Muslims. As they traded they also created pockets of settlements, and interacting with and marrying into the local populace, which slowly changed the local customs and culture.

After the rapid expansion of Islam in the 7th century, according to Dr. Moshe Yegar, “Colonies of Muslims, both Arab and Persian, spread all along the sea trade routes… …

Analysis of Muslim Identity and Demography in Arakan - parts 1 and 2

1. Introduction: The Rohingya Identity and Hatemongering by Rakhine Racists

Khin Maung Saw’s article “Islamization of Burma through Chittagonian Bengalis as Rohingya Refugees” is a revisionist attempt by a deranged chauvinist Magh to rewrite the history of the Muslims of Arakan. Racism and bigotry are written all over the article. In this post-9/11 era of hatemongering and Islamophobia, it is not difficult to understand his evil mindset that steered him to concoct such an absurd idea that the Rohingya Muslims are working towards Islamization of Myanmar (Burma). Forget about the fact that Burma is a military-ruled country with no democracy, how could a mere 2 to 3 million people impose the dictates of their faith on a nation of 50 million, especially when they are denied all basic rights – of movement, assembly, marriage, education, jobs, etc.? One has to be either mentally unstable or very high in mind-altering drugs to hallucinate such a ludicrous idea!

As already recognized by score…

The 66th UN General Assembly Session and Obama’s Deplorable Tactics

Last month the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the U.S. President Obama all spoke at the U.N. While for the first time in years, Abbas behaved and spoke like a leader, taking proactive measures instead of waiting for someone else to call the shots, it is hard to decide whose speech was worse: Netanyahu’s or Obama’s. Obama’s read like an appeal to Jewish voters to finance and reelect him in the next election and Netanyahu’s read like a pep rally to the Likud Central Committee.

In the post-Arafat era, President Abbas has more often than not behaved like a yes-man for the U.S., as if too unsure or too uncomfortable about speaking out against the mindless zero-sum activities that seem to be the only things that either the U.S. or the Israeli government cared about. But on Friday, September 23, he found his lost voice and assumed the title the Palestinian people have long waited for. He transformed himself to becoming their leader, their hero, in…