There is of course the further irony of the fact that she is speaking at a conference on Internet Freedom even as her government has spent the past few months trying to suppress websites associated with Wikileaks and to have its founder extradited. As the great Ray McGovern says: straight out of Kafka!
Looking at the smug and self-righteous face of Salman Taseer’s murderer, I was remined of George Bernard Shaw’s warning that ‘There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.’ I didn’t agree with Taseer on much but I agree that former Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq’s Blasphemy law is a ‘black law.’ It has been used repeatedly to victimize minorities and to persecute the weak. It is a tool in the hands of the most intolerant elements in the Pakistani society. I hope the government stands firm and does away with this travesty of justice post-haste.
P.s. The Pakistani liberal intelligentsia is positively atwitter over the murder, as indeed it should be. Their protestations would be more meaningful had they shown similar outrage regarding the murder of 19 Wazirs killed on new years day in three drone strikes as part of the war which many of them support.
Rahimullah Yusufzai is a Senior Analyst with the Pakistani TV channel, Geo TV, and the Resident Editor of The News International in Peshawar, an English newspaper from Pakistan. Rahimullah has served as a correspondent for Time Magazine, BBC World Service, BBC Pashto, BBC Urdu, Geo-TV, and ABC News. Mr. Yusufzai has interviewed Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and a range of other militants across the tribal areas of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Rahimullah joins us from Peshwar, Pakistan.
by David Bromwich
It has lately become usual for right-wing columnists, bloggers, and jingo lawmakers to call for the assassination of people abroad whom we don’t like, or people who carry out functions that we don’t want to see performed. There was nothing like this in our popular commentary before 2003; but the callousness has grown more marked in the past year, and especially in the past six months. Why? A major factor was President Obama’s order of the assassination of an American citizen living in Yemen, the terrorist suspect Anwar al-Awlaki. This gave legal permission to a gangster shortcut Americans historically had been taught to shun. The cult of Predator-drone warfare generally has also played a part. But how did such remote-control killings pick up glamor and legitimacy? Here again, the president did some of the work. On May 1, at the White House Correspondents dinner, he made an unexpected joke: “Jonas Brothers are here tonight. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words: predator drones. You will never see it coming.” The line caught a laugh but it should have caused an intake of breath. A joke (it has been said) is an epigram on the death of a feeling. By turning the killings he orders into an occasion for stand-up comedy, the new president marked the death of a feeling that had seemed to differentiate him from George W. Bush. A change in the mood of a people may occur like a slip of the tongue. A word becomes a phrase, the phrase a sentence, and when enough speakers fall into the barbarous dialect, we forget that we ever talked differently.
Israeli forces have demolished a mosque and several other buildings in the northern Jordan valley. They say the structure was built without a permit but residents say the mosque was built before 1967 and was recently renovated. The Palestinian government has condemned the action as state destruction, while Israel continues to fight for Israeli settlers.
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh reports from the Jordan Valley.
Since 1967 countless artifacts have been unearthed and removed from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Many are displayed in Israeli museums and private collections, while others are sold to tourists. Al Jazeera searches through the evidence, unearthing the facts and exposing a power struggle in which every stone has meaning.
A warning: Imran Khan’s report contains disturbing images.
Video footage has emerged showing uniformed soldiers lining up and executing six young men in Pakistan. The goverment claims the video is a propaganda film made by the Taliban. We doubt it.
While living in Dubai I had heard many similar stories about the treatment of Philipinos, Indians and Sri Lankans. This is not an isolated incident. It’s despicable. Unfortunately, the animals responsible for this will never be brought to justice.
by Abbas Al Lawati
On August 19, the Israeli consulate in New York tweeted: #BBC “Panorama” presents arguably the most complete & thorough account of the #Flotilla.
The documentary has not received much endorsement elsewhere. Instead there have been loud protests of bias, especially among those aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest vessel in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that Israeli commandos raided on May 31, killing nine activists.
Recently aired, the Panorama documentary, entitled Death in the Med, was produced by the BBC’s veteran documentary maker Jane Corbin. It claims to investigate the “real agenda” of “those who call themselves peace activists”.
A close analysis of the documentary reveals a troubling lack of objectivity in trying to paint the activists, headed by the Turkish relief organisation IHH, as radical Islamists bent on waging violent jihad.