AS I GO TO SUPPORT BANGLADESHI ACTIVISTS WHO ARE DEMANDING THAT HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS STAND WITH THE VICTIMS OF 1971. MY LETTER TO A FORMER COLLEAGUE AT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
I write this with a heavy heart as I know that you are one of the few at Amnesty International, fully conscious of the dangers of fundamentalism and no friend of the pro-jihadi faction. I know you have done much to raise awareness of the human rights issues which are raised whenever fundamentalists press their agenda. You have fought against declaring Ahmaddiyas as ‘non-Muslim’ and explained to colleagues the importance of moving fast to prevent bad legislation being put in place. Complaining atrocities have happened is simply not good enough. They should be prevented in the first place.
i must start by declaring an interest here, not only as someone who supports a fair and equitable end to the arab-israeli conflict in which israel’s future is secured and a wider lasting peace in the middle east for all its peoples, but also as someone many of whose ancestors came from mosul and kirkuk in kurdistan. i have met many talented kurds and they have invariably been the sort of people who i could get along with and do business with; reasonable, rational and sensitive to the realities of history and politics.
for all these reasons, the issue of kurdistan has been close to my heart for a number of years; it felt very much to me as if it was a pipe-dream, given the geopolitical status quo. the basics are this:
Last night I went along to a political rally organised by the Bangladesh Crisis Group which is an offshoot of the British Jamaat-e-Islam front, Islamic Forum Europe. I arrived at the Water Lily Centre which was the advertised venue to be told that the event had been moved to the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel. It was later expressed in the rally that the meeting had been moved because of “political pressure”. My guess is that the Water Lily Centre, which is controlled by Awami League supporters, decided not to host any political lobby involving Toby Cadman in case it irritated their leaders in Awami League HQ in Dhaka.
I thought that it was fitting that the rally had been moved back to London Muslim Centre, the nerve centre of the Jamaat-e-Islam in the UK. After all, it was the DCLG which correctly observed that the ELM/LMC is the base for Jamaat-e-Islami in the UK.
In Saudi Arabia women’s ‘rights’ are a favour granted by the King. Over the weekend, King Abdullah granted Saudi women the right to vote in local elections. Not straight away but in 2015. If you’re a hundred or so years out of step with the rest of humanity, what’s another 4 years?
In the Guardian, Nesrine Malik is wary of the pronouncement since similar assurances have been made in the past but have never been implemented because of inertia at beauracratic level.
Whereas the Israel-Palestine issue remains a flashpoint, and a sore one at that, which induces waves of empathic solidarity for the Palestinians from your average Muslim, primarily concerned about the welfare of their co-religionists, the struggle for other co-religionists struggling for statehood receives scarce attention. Why is that? Why does the notion of an indepedent Kurdistan for the Kurds engender little more a blank stare despite the fact that the modern history of the Kurdish struggle for separate political status goes back more than eight decades and involves incidences of brutal human violations on a massive scale?
As this fascinating essay about the history and the current political dynamics in the struggle for Kurdish emancipation from Outernationalistshows:
obviously, a great deal has been written about the riots to date and a great deal of predictable outpouring has also taken place. what i wanted to offer to this debate is, however, along more behavioural lines.
i have for some time been aware of the powerful analytical frameworks for bio-psycho-social systems developed by the american psychologist dr clare graves and systematised for practical application by don beck and chris cowan in the excellent book “spiral dynamics” (i’m not affiliated with anyone concerned, incidentally). at the risk of sounding like somewhat of a “fanboy”, as i believe it is called on teh interwebs, i am convinced it constitutes an important piece of intellectual real estate for the understanding of complex socio-political systems, particularly in behavioural terms.
“More precision needed. There should be a stamp for that. MPN should be like LOL or TMI.”
i agree. what narks me somewhat (and no doubt there are all sorts of reasons why i am wrong about this) is that this is *precisely* what bothers me about statements about a) religious people and b) the tendentious-as-feck word “judeo-christian”.
“But there again – that’s a matter of fact, not something that can just be declared from the armchair as if it were self-evident. Are Muslims as “diverse” as any other group of people living in the UK? Are all groups living in the UK exactly as diverse as each other, neither more nor less? I don’t see why that would be the case. It’s certainly not impossible that there is something about Islam and/or the history of people who emigrate from majority-Muslim countries that makes Muslims as a group tend to be different from other people as groups, including being less “diverse.” That’s something to find out, not just to announce as a necessary truth. Or a sacred cow…”
Shahzad was the Pakistan bureau chief of Asian Times Online and had recently authored a book entitled “Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11”. From what I’ve read of his work Shahzad provided unique insights on militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Syed Saleem Shahzad’s killing was payback, other journalists and human rights activists said they believed — not from militants, but from Pakistan’s fearsome spy agencies. Shahzad had written before about their dealings with Islamist insurgents, and intelligence officers had warned him.
Update: This is Saleem Shahzad’s last recorded interview
we at the spittoon seem spend a lot of time both criticising people who appear to be disingenuous, swivel-eyed fundamentalist weasels and their stooges, as well as calling for honest, open-hearted dialogue and support for a stronger, more liberal society in which both jews and muslims have a role to play, not just as citizens, but as jews and muslims. we believe both in the robust defence of liberty and the principles of democracy as well as aspiring to a better, more peaceful future in which people of differing religions, cultures and points of view will be able to live together – call it a messianic vision, if you like, or even “roddenberry-lite”, but we don’t see why people can’t “sit under their vine and fig-tree, with nobody to make them afraid“.
Amnesty International has given payoffs totalling more than £860,000 to its two most senior former officials, angering its supporters.
The human rights charity says it had no alternative but to pay Irene Khan, its former secretary general, £533,104 after she completed her second four-year term in 2009.
Khan’s deputy, Kate Gilmore, received up to £330,000 at the same time, according to Amnesty’s latest financial records.
The combined payments are equivalent to approximately 4% of Amnesty’s £21.9m annual budget…
Amnesty insiders are outraged Khan was paid more than four times her annual salary of £132,490. “They basically gave her the equivalent of working for another term,” one informed source said. “It is a ridiculous waste of money that will anger a lot of donors.”