Wednesday, 3 February 2016

TrumpCam - the Anglo-American Fetish - Act II

I shall begin with an apology.  We old geezers are prone to repeating ourselves; with our stories and experiences.  We are inclined to slide into reminiscences, beginning with "Aaah, I remember the time when I  ... blah, blah, blah ........." and we fail to see the faces with their eyes rolled up and the silent voices saying, "Here we go again."

However, it's not my intention to foist upon my readers the tales of past times and old writings.

The trouble is, man's bigotry and ignorance tend to echo the sins and stupidity of their forefathers ; from one generation to the next.  And so you get the same old replay - with the codgers and the whippersnappers, the eminences and the hoi polloi at loggerheads over the same old bile and prejudices.

The case of Cameron is a re-run of the old scenario, with the younger regurgitating their foréfathers' contempt of others not of their ilk, and spouting the same cultural and political bigotry.   Old wine in new bottles.

For this part of the AAF (Anglo-American Fetish) I cannot add any new revelation about the mouthings of the present  PM of Great Britain.   They will be merely repetitions and extensions of the old Islamophobe chestnut that his progenitors expounded on. There is, for example, the legacy of their hero and national pride like Sir Winston Churchill.  

In his 1899 book 'The River War" relating to the British war in Sudan Churchill had this to say :

There's also the four times British Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898) who called the Quran an  "accursed book" and held it up during a session in Parliament, saying: " So long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world." 

I suppose one could find excuses for such contempt:  those were different times, an era when white Christian Britannia ruled the waves.  We cannot expect them to know better!

But old habits die hard.


The Bottom Feeders

We are well aware of  right-wing extremists in UK like the BNP and others.
From Wikipedia

And this list is only partial - think, for example, of LibertyGB and the English Defence League.     Such groups may be variously categorized as nationalists, far-right, white supremacists, hard-right, radical right, fascist right, ultra-right, xenophobic - and they target (so the pundits say) foreigners, coloureds, blacks and Jews.   

We are bombarded with terms like Islamists, jihadists, Muslim extremists, Islamo-fascists in the print and electronic media.  However the label religious/Christianist Extremists hardly ever sticks to  white (and non-white) Christian affiliated  groups - Anders Brevik, for example, and the Klu Klux Klan are merely lone rangers and aberrations of white/Christian culture.  Christianity is likewise absolved of ungodly practices like slavery, the Holocaust, apartheid and imperialism.

Feed your eyes on these images of the Right Wing Christian Extremists "Britain First".

Note the non-white participant - a genuine True Brit.

Britain First is also reported by Channel 4 - A bona fide mainstream news channel. 

East and West - Never the Twain shall meet. (Kipling)

If ISIS are breeding an international group of followers - so is this German anti-Islam Fascist mob Pegida.

Pegida = the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.


Feeders at the High Table

They are quite a hallowed lot ranging from Saints, Presidents, philosophers, novelists, Prime Ministers,  and some women too!  Here are some names you can throw into the hat : Theodore Roosevelt, St Thomas Aquinas, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Harper, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wole Soyinka, Francois Gautier, Taslima Nasreen, Narendra Modi,  Naipaul and Rushdie and of course Trump and Cameron.

Take your pick!!


But getting back to the British Prime Minister David Cameron.  How his heart bleeds for the salvation of Muslim women.  He reckons they should be made to learn and speak English so that they are better enabled to absorb and live up to British values  .....

  ...... or else ....  get out of Britain?!??

He had referred to this nagging problem of Muslim integration on 14 June 2014.

He was adamant that :

It bemuses me as to why Western men and women are so up in arms about the rights and plight of Muslim women.  There's no denying that the integrity, equity and  propriety of women of all faiths and colour and shapes require more attention than ever.

Let me quote these from  Femmes d'Islam  (Women in Islam) by Assia Djebar, translated from French by Jean Mac Gibbon.

 1.  Interesting though it is to see what swamps of uncertainty lie in wait for those who think they know most about the problem of the evolution of Moslem women because they are its victims, we should also turn our attention to those who, for a variety of different reasons and on a number of different levels simply pontificate on the problem. (page 11)

2.  But there are worse forms of curiosity than these - more infuriating and laughable because more pretentious or naive.  I mean the well-intentioned, ignorant stranger who is convinced beyond proof that the benighted Moslem woman must be 'rescued' from her misery.  And those less disinterested persons - among them learned scholars - who claim that Moslem women have inferior status in Moslem society because they are excluded from its public activities.(page 12)

 And this book was written 55 years ago in 1961!!! 

For your information, David Cameron, a descendant of King William IV was born in 1966.

For me, the most telling part of Assia Djebar's book is found in the first paragraph of the first chapter.

The story goes that there was once an old Arab who arrived in a European city straight from the wilds of his own land  and was amazed at the pictures of women he saw everywhere : on the films, on shoe boxes, on cheese cartons - on everything that was for sale.  He left the town the same day, or so they say, greatly pitying the women who lived there; in his simplicity he believed that some terrible nameless form of punishment lay behind this exploitation of their likeness. (page 5)

In 1961 David Cameron was just a twinkle in his pater's eyes and I very much doubt if he had been told this little story by his nanny !!!!!! ..... or even got any inkling of such a book or such a subject when in 1988, he graduated First Class in PPE at Oxford !!!!!!!

But, finally, let us indulge Cameron's angst about Muslim women in UK - and ask what the future holds for them.  

What is the "right" and the "wrong'' of their future status ?

Is it this?

Or this?

"Showing off.  A woman crosses the road wearing a skimpy outfit on Birmingham's Broad Street." From Mirror Online 1 January 2016.

What about this one?   Hmmmm .... not good enough.  That burka doesn't fit into our culture.

Next .. please.

Maybe this is the ideal non-white, non-Christian British citizen.

From AsH's posting of  6 years ago.

Now that's our cuppa tea!!!!



Sunday, 24 January 2016

TrumpCam - The Anglo-American Fetish - Act I

I've been hibernating, keeping away from the goings-on in my kampung - and the spouse's kampung too.  I've figured I'll just have to sit back and observe in despair - as the Lunchais  and the whippersnappers get on with their circus and shenanigans.  Certainly, this is not a time fit for a Septuagenarian,.. a Senior Citizen..... an Old Fogey, a Diddy, a Warga Mas, a Geriatric .... a Superannuated codger and crone.

So, ......

But even geezers like Ash  have to sit up and glower at the mouthings of present (Cameron) and future (Trump) leaders of the Free World.  More and more I observe an outbreak of these modern ailments - "constipation"  of the brain and "diarrhoea" of the mouth.

There's firstly Donald Trump, the Prime Contender for the throne of the Presidency in the US of A.

Repeating his wild suggestion for eliminating terrorism in his country would just be more publicity for his bigotry.  Perhaps a look at what he's made of would be more illuminating, to understand why the world has become what it is - especially in the geo-politics of the Middle East.

When Whites and Christians and non-Muslims express their racism, extremism and bigotry they are regarded as merely offensive and crazy.  Most devious of all:  their views and practices are just an aberration, a little blip on a spotless and civilized culture.

For instance, in the case of The Holocaust, we have the Holocaust deniers - but there are also the mollifiers, who deem the Holocaust as deviant and unrepresentative of European-Christian culture.  I reckon it is far easier for them to demonise and pulverize Muslims because the latter have no political and financial clout.  And best of all for the West - Muslims are hopelessly divided, they are their own worst enemies.  ( PS just like my bangsa Melayu)

DONALD TRUMP  - and his true colours.

Firstly, take the big news about Trump here in Britain:

.......  and here are the reasons why.

1.  According to the powers-that-be in the British Parliament  .....



Secondly, why should anyone condemn a man with such a fervent and relevant religious faith?  After all, we have his own word for this:

Not only that ......

This can be seen in the company he keeps.......

Thirdly, Donald Trump is no maverick outsider:

 There have been outbursts of dismay and anger in the United States about Trump's display of bigotry.  Concerned Americans and other Americaphiles have been very vocal in denouncing him, saying that his "incivility, his racism, his phobia about everything .... is un-American".  They claim Trump does not  not represent  "American values".

As for the meaning of "American values", it all depends on how susceptible you are to a belief in myths, and on the severity of your myopia  (or the  'inability to see distant objects clearly').

But do read the above article from Counterpunch - which should help to remove the scales from one's eyes. 

Here's an extract: 

Fourthly, Trump's opinion and bigotry are not new or outrageous.  They are also practised  by
their closest ally, Israel.

Finally, why should Muslims and non-Muslims be surprised?

But that is America.   What about here in my spouse's kampung?   Well, some would say it's not much better.   Take the Great British Prime Minister David Cameron ......

Here's an appetiser by Steve Bell, one of the best satirist-cartoonists from The Guardian 18 January 2016

TrumpCam - An Anglo - American Fetish

See you later in February.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Mantle of Victimhood

This is going to be a long read - to last until 2016

Aren't humans ever so clever?  In this 21st century, we have made boundless progress in technology which, for instance, enables me to do what I'm doing now.  We can communicate ideas, emotions, thoughts, knowledge, insults, hatred, bigotry, hypocrisy, self-righteousness and ignorance simply by tapping on a keyboard or switching on to gadgets like TV and smartphones.  However this can become too overwhelming for a geriatric dinosaur like me.

It's coming to the end of 2015.  Here in the cold of Leicester, escaping the heat (political and religious) of my Motherland, I'm so glad to be in my 70s and not living my twenty or thirty something years.  I was talking to a young employee of HSBC in Leicester just last week.  A graduate, he considered himself lucky to have his present job even though the salary was pittance.  It was so low that he was not even 'eligible'  for paying back his study loan.  (You have to earn at least  GBP22,000 per annum before the debt-collector knocks on your door.)

I 'take off my hat' to those Malaysian  graduates who have ignored or reneged on paying back their study loans even though they're living and working in well paid cushy occupations.  What cheek!  ("Apa aku peduli!  After all the politicians are raking in duit haram."  What a pathetic, self-serving excuse!)

I was once told how the Chinese have to pay up all their debts before the advent of Chinese New Year otherwise it will bring sway or bad luck for the following year.  As for Malay-Muslims they are very strict and punctilious about paying up their Zakat and Fitrah - if only they could apply that  principle and stricture to settling their debts and other pecuniary responsibilities before Hari Raya Puasa!!

However for most parts of the world they are in line for a lot more sway coming their way and certainly Malaysia will not be spared.  But this has nothing to do with luck or superstition - it's simply greed, perfidy and more greed.

This being the day after Christmas, we get this extract from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas message.

Read the full text  :

This fear of Isis and Islamic extremism and distress for the fate of Christians and Christianity (which has also recently echoed in Malaysia) have been bandied about for the last few years by Christian leaders, politicians and has even touched the heartstrings of HRH Prince Charles.

Read :

Apocalyptic suggestions like 'extinction',  'extermination' have been referred to by Christian pressure groups like the Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Academics like Rupert Shortt write about 'Christianophobia' and he states that ''Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world."

Read this :

.. and this :

On the other hand in Angola  .......

Is this a church?  Is this a temple?  No, this was a mosque -  demolished by the Government of Angola in 2013

Claiming that Islam was a sect, the African nation of Angola becomes the first country to ban Islam, Muslims and has shut down the mosques in the country.

Concerning the ban, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Sunday : "this is the final end of Islamic influence in our country."

The above extract is taken from World Bulletin 3 September 2015.

And just for your information :

In addition, Angola is also a a rich hunting ground for Christian Evangelists.  For example,

Such Christian enterprise in Angola and in many other countries and cultures of the planet should at least help reassure those Christianists suffering from "Christianophobia".


Let's flip the coin and consider this:

Firstly, included in the Archbishop's message was another by Britain's chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis

Chief Rabbi Mirvis somehow is quite incapable of seeing the elephant residing in his room.  That elephant is the Judaic-Zionist-Israeli occupation and tyranny in Palestine.  But then, the Christians, the secularists, the agnostics, the atheists, and the neo liberals are also culpable in that very selective oversight and blindness!

Secondly,  here is the gist of this article from Christian News on Christian Today 21 December 2015  by Jeremy Moodey .
Read :

This article outlines five facts to refute all that "doom and gloom".

No 1: It is an exaggeration to say that Middle East Christians face extinction.

No 2: Many more non-Christians than Christians face persecution in the Middle East.

No 3: There is nothing inevitable about Christian flight from the Middle East.

No 4: Islamic extremism is not the only threat to the Christian presence.  I'm quoting this for the benefit of the many ostriches with their heads buried in the sand. historic Palestine, where Christians accounted for over 20 percent of the population in 1948 but now total less than two percent.  But this decline has had very little to do with Islamism.  Three years ago a CBS News report noted that the main reason for the decline was actually the political and economic hardship caused by 45 years of Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  Israel was so incensed that the Israeli Ambassador in Washington tried to have the show pulled from the airwaves.  Even in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, Palestinian Christians emigration is driven more by the trauma of Israel's eight-year blockade and regular bombardments than by Islamist government.

No 5: Middle East Christians themselves do not want favourable treatment.

Thirdly,  Timothy Seidel's article on "Christianity in Palestine : Misrepresentation and Dispossession".


Here's an extract :

Fourthly, pick and mix your victims.

I've loved  and lived with cats for as long as I can remember.  Whenever they are caught  doing something wrong or stupid (like breaking a plate trying to pinch an extra dinner, or tripping over a shoe, or failing to make a successful jump from the fence) they very quickly recover their dignity by licking themselves and pretending their innocence.     And so for humans too.

Often, in terms of strategy, the best form of defence is not to protest but to attack.  But when one has been responsible for so many wars - the War on Terror, wars for regime change, wars for democracy and human rights (all conducted, implicitly or explicitly, with the blessings of the Religious Establishment) - then it's time to conjure a distraction and a makeover of the Judaeo-Christian image.  Instead of being regarded as the perpetrators .........
Our glorious dead??  Will these (mainly) Muslim children be remembered on Poppy Day?
Squaring the Dead in Afghanistan - 2014

.......  why not turn the fox in the henhouse into a martyr.  Why not convert the guilty into victims?

Let us put on the Mantle of Victimhood.

Do enjoy this video clip from two of my favourite comedians - Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke.  You might be able to note the similarity with the strategy of the New Victims - with the grown-up Harrys of the world.

Fifthly, here's a picture gallery of some truths that have to be acknowledged.

Just one query.  Why 'nonjihadist extremists'?  Why not 'White/Rightwing/Christian extremists'?


3.  A Christmas greeting from a Muslim daughter, Kari Ansari.  (The Huffington Post - Dec 25, 2011)

4.  A bridge builder

The Crusades and the decimation of Christianity in the Middle East

Spreading Christianity then

Spreading Christianity today in Muslim Malaysia ..........

..... where there is so much intolerance of Christmas? ?? !!

9.  And, as for Donald Trump, the future(?) President of the USA, he is only articulating what has always been a covert attitude and practice towards Muslims and Islam in this WASP superpower. The reaction of the West is similar to that of the toddler Harry sans the pee in the pants.

Finally, as a septuagenarian Muslim with one foot in the grave, so to speak, I take heart from the Islam that is mentioned in Islamic Relief's global strategy, whose "values and teachings are provided by the revelations contained within the Quran and Prophetic example.  They are ikhlas (sincerity),  Ihsan (excellence),  Rahma (compassion), Adl (social justice), and Amana (custodianship)".


Here's  Vivaldi's piece to  remind me of the Winter of my Disaffection.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lenggang Kangkung di Leicester

What have I been up to since arriving in the spouse's kampung 10 days ago?

It has been a leisurely and peaceful stroll, without (well, not as much as in KL) a care - an absolute lenggang kangkung!  The spouse had a nasty cough and cold for the last 5 days but he's picking up sans any medication, just a good dose of sleep and rest.  As people in Malaysia like to put it - 'no sweat'- literally and figuratively.

This photograph shows the reflection of my refuge on the outside world at 5 am.

I took this photograph just an hour ago, at 5 am.  The rest of Leicester is still asleep but AsH treasures such solitary moments.

So, what have I been up to this winter?

1.  I gave myself a present - a beautifully embroidered picture of clouds, greenery, apple trees in Spring and the top of a stone wall - sewn by our best friend and master embroiderer Jack Marlowe.  Jack is almost 80 and despite his arthriticky fingers, he perseveres with his embroidery and gardening and spoiling his four cats Allegra, Gingerlation, Ichabod and Schtanley.


Jack's Apple Trees.

 And, talking about cats - I miss our three cats very, very much - they define our raison d'etre in Kuala Lumpur.

Rusty - splendour in the grass. 

Socks - the reluctant researcher

Comot loves to take a nap on the printer.
Comot - tired out after helping me with my printing.

2.  Indulging Myself.

My self-indulgent Comestible Corner.

3.  Feeding my mind as well, on my cosy couch.

Book 1: Hundreds of programmes, but less than ten are worth watching.  My latest fad is gratifying myself with old  koboi programmes like The High Chaparral, Gunsmoke, Alias Smith and Jones and Star Trek. Wottalife!!


Book 2:  "Ziauddin Sardar was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hackney.  A writer, broadcaster and cultural critic, he is one of the world's foremost Muslim intellectuals and author of more than fifty books on Islam, science and contemporary culture, including the highly acclaimed Desperately Seeking Paradise."

I've got only as far as Page 91 but here's an excerpt from one of the most touching parts of the book (Page 39-40).

A select group called on Abu Talib again.  How could he allow his nephew to curse their gods, insult their religion, mock their way of life, and accuse their forefathers of error?  Abu Talib was left  in no doubt: "Shut your nephew up or we will."

We now know that the relationship between Abu Talib and his nephew is crucial to the success of his mission and yet curiously paradoxical at the same time.  Everything we know about it indicates a warm bond of affection.  In accordance with the custom of his clan, Abu Talib took Muhammad in as a seven-year-old orphan.  He raised and nurtured the boy, taught him the rudiments of trade and commerce, and exposed him to the wider world by taking him on trading expeditions.  It is thanks to his uncle that Muhammad secured his place in Meccan society.

...........He summoned his nephew.  "Do not put a burden on me greater than I can bear,' he told Muhammad.. 'Spare me and spare yourself.'  Muhammad feared he was about to lose his uncle's protection.  With tears in his eyes, he replied:  'By God if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon on my left  on condition that I abandon this course, I would not abandon it until God has made me victorious or I perish.' As he turned away from his uncle, Abu Talib called Muhammad back: 'Go and say what you please, for by God I will never give you up on any account.'

Abu Talib was not declaring himself a convert.  He was a fond uncle accepting the sincerity of his nephew's cry of conscience, no matter how troublesome or disconcerting that might be to the rest of society.  And what is the paradox?  What Muhammad preached  sought to overturn, indeed to replace entirely the ethos and conventions of tribal solidarity.  Yet it was this very principle extended and guaranteed by Abu Talib that secured Muhammad's personal safety and hence his ability to continue his mission.  It is a paradox of human dynamics, of how the progress of new ideas often rests on the survival of old ways.


Book 3

Yesterday (Tuesday) I made my usual foray into Leicester Animal Rescue (LAR) my favourite charity shop/shopping mall.  I noticed this book "The Making of Britain - The Middle Ages" in a box marked '50p'  just outside the shop.  As I flicked through the pages, I came across page 24 which had the illustrations 'Medieval Islamic scholars at work in a library' and most fascinating of all  'A page  from an Arabic translation of Euclid''!  It was worth 50p and more.

I took it home, skimmed through the contents, and discovered more.

An eleventh century map of the world.  (from page 8).  In this map, the Mediterranean is the centre of the land mass and Jerusalem as the çentre of creation'.

This extract from page 9-10 elaborates on this - and provides an interesting facet about the First Crusade:

Intellectually, this view of the world  linked medieval scholars to what they had read of classical antiquity, and to the world of St Paul and St Augustine.  At the same time it shows us how, to them, Christendom seemed hemmed in by heretics and infidels.  It makes us realise why, when Pope Urban II in 1095  called for volunteers from western Europe to go to the help of Christians in the East, it was interpreted as a call to liberate Jerusalem  from the clutches of Islam.

Yet the odd fact is that when the First Crusade set out, Jerusalem had been in the hands of the Moslems for over four hundred years .........  Crusading zeal for the expulsion of the infidel was something quite new in the eleventh century and it was profoundly shocking to native Christians and Moslems of the Near East who for generations had learned to live together in mutual respect.

Alas, history has a way of repeating itself.  And who controls Jerusalem today?


But with all my blessings : with my cats, my books and food on the table and all my home comforts. I cannot obliterate the sufferings of so many in the Middle East and especially in Palestine.

The following image and extracts are from Mondoweiss 13 December.