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Showing posts from January, 2014

Gods of war

As traditions evolve with time, societies develop and become modernised. Individuals living in that society, influenced by these traditions, follow a certain culture. For instance, the tradition of war has always motivated and inspired people to fight, to kill or be killed. It is a culture that prefers fighting bravely and dying in the battlefield to fleeing from the conflict and saving one`s life. Anyone who advocates the latter is called a coward, humiliated and loses respect in the eyes of society. Young people were trained from the age of seven in the art of warfare in Sparta and Spartan society expected their soldiers to emerge as victors from war or arrive as dead bodies hung over shields; their slogan being glory or death. In the battle of Thermopylae (480BC), 300 Spartans died in the battlefield fighting against the Persians and all of them were buried in a common grave, the epithet saying, `Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to

As Afghan Pullout Looms, U.S. Urged to Rethink Pakistan Ties

With the 2014 deadline for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in sight, analysts here are urging Washington policymakers to drop the term ‘Af-Pak’ and recognise the importance of Pakistan beyond its implications for Afghanistan. U.S.-Pakistan relations have for too long focused on the Afghan security question, according to a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Washington think tank. Such a focus, CFR researchers warn, neglects the high strategic importance Islamabad has for the United States in the region. “Pakistan’s internal security is not something the U.S. can confront directly.” -- Daniel S. Markey “U.S. policy in Pakistan has consistently been linked to Afghanistan and has fallen under the broader heading of Af-Pak – a label that has never been very popular in Pakistan and one that has also been seen as degrading,” Daniel S. Markey, a senior fellow at the CFR and author of the new report, told IPS. “But as the U.S. is drawing down

Close Guantánamo

ONE of President Barack Obama’s first official acts in January 2009 was to sign an executive order to close the US military detention centre at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. After eight years of detentions at Guantánamo, this held out a promise of change. But the order’s failure to recognise the USA’s human rights obligations, coupled with the Obama administration’s adoption of its predecessor’s flawed “law of war” framework, have brought no end to the indefinite detentions. Jan 22, 2014 will mark five years since President Obama’s executive order. In the meantime, the prison camp has continued to operate in a human rights vacuum. The Guantánamo detentions remain an affront to international human rights principles and undermine the USA’s credibility. As the prison camp enters its 13th year, the world must take the US to task for its abject failure to live up to the international human rights standards it so often demands of others. Twelve years after the first detainees were

Why we love & cheat?

Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She closes with a warning about the potential disaster inherent in antidepressant abuse. I'd like to talk today about the two biggest social trends in the coming century,   and perhaps in the next 10,000 years.   But I want to start with my work on romantic love,   because that's my most recent work.   What I and my colleagues did was put 32 people, who were madly in love,   into a functional MRI brain scanner.   17 who were madly in love and their love was accepted;   and 15 who were madly in love and they had just been dumped.   And so I want to tell you about that first,   and then go on into where I think love is going. "What 'tis to love?" Shakespeare said.   I think our ancestors -- I think human beings have been wondering about this question   since they sat around their campfires or lay and watched the stars

Revolt and renaissance in Muslim World

Libya has become 'militialand'; Algeria is a powder keg; Morocco's polity is vulnerable to radical forces. The virus of violence is spreading to additional regions: Central Asia, India, Myanmar and wherever Muslim peoples are facing injustice or suppression. It is high time for the Muslim world to take its destiny in its own hands. Muslim statesmen and leaders should seek to capture the momentum produced by today's violent events in order to promote a political, economic and social renaissance in the Islamic world. A first step should be to convene an emergency summit of the most powerful Islamic countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia. It should agree: one, not to support violence by sectarian or ethnic factions in other Muslim countries, and two, launch a collective campaign against all forms of terrorism. Keep reading >>

What happens in Egypt won`t stay in Egypt ما يحدث في مصر وفاز `ر البقاء في مصر

EGYPT`S Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist movement, at least not currently. But the move by the military-led government to ban it from politics and declare it a `terrorist organisation` may become a self fulfilling prophecy. Brotherhood members and donors risk prosecution and imprisonment, and the ban is potentially crippling to the vast network of schools, clinics and other social services the Brotherhood runs and to the poor Egyptians who have long relied on them. The crackdown will undoubtedly drive some of the Brotherhood`s members to terrorism. Already, the military ouster of Brotherhood leader and elected president Mohammed Morsi in July has lent strength to Al Qaeda`s long-held view that electoral politics is treacherous and that the Islamist project can be advanced only through violence. The government`s action has thrown together adherents of two streams of Islamism that had opposed one another and has created a new wave of recruits for violent extremism

The legacy of war- last 100 years of war

In unforgettable encounter in Graham Greene`s The Quiet American set in the 1950s, during waning French colonialism in Indochina finds the protagonist Thomas Fowler, a middle-aged, cynical British journalist, accompanying French pilot Captain Trouin as an observer on a B-26 sortie in Northern Vietnam. Fourteen times Trouin and Fowler`s B.26 dive-bombs a target nestled deep amidst mountains, before climbing back up and aligning for the next strike. Bombs are released, machine guns roar and the smell of cordite fills the cockpit as Fowler feels the weight lift of f his chest and his stomach fall away,`spiralling down like a suicide to the ground. Although this continues for 40 minutes, Fowler`s lofty view from 3,000 meters gives no indication of the target, whether it is hit, or of the casualties. His job done, Captain Trouin turns the B-26 towards home, when without warning, the protagonist finds the plane diving again, tearing away from the `gnarled and fissured

Curb Religious Extremism through Knowledge

For much of his lif e Charlemagne (800814), also known as Charles the Great was illiterate, but he was an enthusiastic promoter of literacy in others. Throughout his empire, he used the church and the well-organised clergy to undertake the task of spreading literacy. Realising the importance of education, the authorities of the church extended him full support and cathedral schools were founded in church buildings where the curriculum was designed to make the young students devout Christians. Later, the famous theologian Thomas Aquinas (d.1274) integrated Aristotelian philosophy with Christian beliefs, which became known as Aristotelian scholasticism. The curriculum emphasised knowledge of the absolute truth by revclation and not by any other means and methods while the association between Aristotle and Christianity became quite profound. The curriculum was based on the belief that only tradition and past values could stabilise the society as these are tried and

Religious Extremism and Violence in Muslim World - Deadly caution

    Most Muslim countries today are facing violence from an assortment of` religious extremist outfits. Some governments, like the onesin countries like Egypt, Mali and Syria, have gone all-out to crush the extremists, whereas others have struggled to reach any consistency at all, blowing hot and cold against the extremists. This inconsistency is awkwardly present in even those countries that have been facing the major brunt of extremist violence, such as Pakistan, and recently, Yemen. There is a nervousness in the state and governments of most Muslim countries that an allout war with the resourceful and ruthless Islamist organisations may lead to the kind ofspiraling instability being experienced in Egypt, Syria and Mali. Consequently, extremist violence in places like Pakistan and Algeria is only drawing a confined and ad hoc response from the state and the government; and just like in Muslim countries where extremist violence is not as pronounced, the idea i