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In the Name of God بسم الله


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Everything posted by Marbles

  1. The excerpt from the speech talks about the goals of the invasion. It says nothing about how it would be carried out. Even then, only naïve people take at face value words that come out of the mouths of rulers. In any case, the first few weeks made it pretty clear what the Russians had wanted out of their so called military operation. You don't attack Kiev and run it over with missiles and tanks if the purpose of the invasion was solely to protect ethnic Russians in Donbass. The purpose was regime change and return of the country back to the Russian fold. I'm sympathetic to the Russian concerns regarding NATO's expansion but the Russians have failed spectacularly in stopping NATO from building bases next to their country.
  2. This war was meant to prove Russia's military might but, several months on, it has only shown that Russian military is rubbish and their generals are useless. The plan was to strike terror into the hearts of the Ukrainians. Putin hoped that the Ukrainian army units will melt away and run for dear life after the initial volley of air strikes and that the joker president would flee the country. A new (or old) pro-Russian government would then take charge and Ukraine would return into the Russian fold. On the contrary everything has gone wrong for Russians. Everything.
  3. They were happy to outsource everything to China as long as it remained a toothless autocracy which offered cheap labour/products. But as soon as China became self-reliant and rich, it suddenly became a "security threat." The US only likes vassals and client states.
  4. The light-skinned rulers came long before the Mughals. The colourism also predates the Mughals. I identified the Sultanate Period from which we've ample evidence of discrimination based on origin and/or colour of skin. For the rest I don't understand what you're trying to say. Sorry.
  5. Yes, this is a pertinent observation. Even one of the epithets of Krishna is the Dark Lord (dark-skinned one). I suppose it developed later on with waves of migration of the light-skinned people from the East who then became wealthy rulers. This predates Islamic conquests of India but colourism was already entrenched by the time of the Sultanate Period. I'm not talking about the Persians' attitudes towards Indians as a whole but of the light-skinned rulers who came to rule the north and northwest India. Most of those rulers were Afghans or of Turkic origins.
  6. "Don't play in the sun too much or you'll become dark/black." Every South Asian mother has at one time or another said those words to their kids. I have never really quite believed that colourism originated or even became more pronounced due to the British colonial rule. There are multiple reports from the Sultanate period where the light-skinned Muslims who had roots in Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey looked down upon the local Indian Muslims because of the colour of their skin as well as their facial features (which they believed were less attractive than people from the Eastern Muslim heartlands). This could be the genesis of colourism that became so ingrained later on. The light skinned ones were rich and they ruled. The dark-skinned ones, either Muslim converts or Hindus, were the common people. So with time light skin came to denote wealth and prosperity.
  7. Yair Lapid: Lo, even our enemies who don't officially recognise us had done a deal with us. That is a huge victory. Netanyahu: How can Israel make a deal with a country that doesn't even recognise us. That's illegal.
  8. Sorry to barge in, but I want to point out that the above can happen purely on the basis of a combination of historical socio-economic and political factors, which doesn't have anything to do with biological wiring or anything like that. To take just the example of European Jews, for much of history they were barred from taking part in public life feely. At the same time the Church prohibited Christian faithfuls from engaging in moneylending that involved any kind of usurious practices but allowed the Jews to get their hands dirty, so to speak, because by popular belief they were destined to hell anyway. Since there was no competition, European Jews over the centuries perfected the one thing they were allowed to do, especially in a rapidly changing times that had begun in the 16th C. And this was a kind of business for which there were (and are) a lot of willing customers. This led to the development of a subset of very wealthy European Jews whom people resented for their money and material success. This did not happen with the Mizrahi Jews who lived in the Eastern countries for centuries because of the absence of the conditions mentioned above. Although they found their niche in moneylending in the East too, but that was because their religious law permits them to engage in usurious practices with the gentiles, which was a factor also in play in Europe.
  9. Yes, I have made use of this facility and visited Azerbaijan a year before the covid breakout. Baku is a nice city to explore for 3/4 days maximum. The government has poured a lot of money into refurbishing the old city and other sites of historical significance. Visiting some places it felt like they trying very hard to reinvent their Zoroastrian heritage. They rebuilt a Zoroastrian temple outside Baku on the nearly vanished ruins of an old one that had stood there eons ago. Plus the design of the Flame towers in downtown Baku isn't purely aesthetical. The development is pretty uneven and outside of a couple of big cities it felt like a wasteland with a lot of poverty, in spite of oil and gas revenues. I digress. One way to make a Pakistani passport relatively stronger is to obtain long term visas of countries like the US, UK, Schengen states etc. A lot of countries let us visit them without visa if we have one of the valid visas listed above. Some that still require it make it quite easy to obtain one. Eg; Turkey is pretty documentation heavy and often refused (as the country falls on the illegal migration route and many Pakistanis use it). But armed with any Western country visa, we can just purchase a Turkish e-visa and fly in without issue. There are several other examples. As for Turkmenistan, it has the toughest visa in the entire -stans cluster. Even citizens of developed countries need one before departure and it isn't a piece of cake. I doubt they would have let you in on a Brit passport without a pre-arranged visa.
  10. Plus, the costs of visiting Qatar this time round is going to be very high. Airfares are already touching the exorbitant range and on top of that all hotels in Qatar are already showing hundreds of USDs a night hotel stay during the WC dates. The rates aren't just high or very high. They are ridiculous. I managed to find cheap accommodations in Russia in 2018 by staying a few metro stations away from the city centres. But there isn't anything resembling a cheap accommodation anywhere in the non-sandy square footage in the entire state of Qatar. Qatar has copied the Russian FAN ID system and named it Hayya card. One of the requirements of Hayya is to have a confirmed, possibly paid, hotel booking for the dates for which the applicants holds the match ticket. Russians did not ask for these things for their FAN IDs. One attraction of Hayya card is that several neighbouring states have said that they would allow visa free entry to on the basis of Hayya card. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Jordan and possibly Kuwait. Some of my compatriots are excited about this opportunity to visit various countries without having to go through the hassle of applying for and obtaining the visas, like they did in the case of Russia. I reminded them that this time our hosts are Arabs not the Russians who let in everyone without discrimination. I am looking forward to a caveat which might not even be announced but quietly put into practice: "ALL nationalities allowed except XYZ countries." We Pakis have always belonged to the XYZ category. So when my friends buzzed me about purchasing a ticket and going on a grand Middle East tour I said NO.
  11. During the last World cup held in Russia, I took the opportunity Russia offered to all nationalities by purchasing a cheapest ticket of the most useless match, which made me eligible to apply for the so-called FAN ID issued by the government of Russia. Anyone with a single valid ticket could obtain FAN ID and use it to enter the Russian Federation without obtaining a prior visa. This was of huge significance to me because as a citizen of a country with the second worst passport in the world (according to Henley's Passport Index), I saved a lot of money and avoided the red tape around obtaining a Russian visit visa just by making a small purchase online. I'm one of those people who have zero interest in football. Zero. I didn't go to the stadium to watch the match. I just followed a tourist itinerary and covered the must-see places during the two weeks I was there. And I loved every bit of it. Remarkable country. Remarkable people. Thank you Russia. Now the WC is being held in Qatar of all places. And I can't seem to control my yawning. An opportunity to visit a proper country has been missed.
  12. Isn't it ironic that, according to the BBC, a minimum of 17 people have been killed in the riotous protests over one girl's unfortunate death.
  13. A country's politics is part of its larger culture, not separate from it. People tend to limit Westernisation only to music, telly, food and how people dress up. That is a very narrow and limited view of Westernisation. By the way, Tiktok is a Chinese company.
  14. @GreenTree North Korea is very Westernised. Nothing more Western than following a political ideology devised by two German intellectuals like it is divine law.
  15. Dear Brits, Could you please bury the fossil and be done with it? It's become impossible to watch or read any media from your country without being bombarded with the state-sanctioned mournography.
  16. 1. This is clearly a misuse of istikhara. Please give it a rest and don't indulge anymore. 2. Long courtship period, for want of better word, is usually harmful for marriage. Things that may mean nothing seem like a big deal when you aren't living together. 3. Lastly, if you are still unable to address your doubts then it's better to end the matter now and move on rather than after the marriage has been consummated.
  17. Not surprising. Among South Asian Muslims every other boy has Muhammad as a prefix to his name even if he's not called by that name. My first name is also Muhammad on legal documents but I won't respond to a call of Muhammad in a crowd. But I'm surprised there's no Ali in the top ten. Prolly because Ali typically takes the second place in a name. Jaffar Ali.
  18. I don't think that is true. He got nearly 50% of the popular vote both times he ran for office. Plus, most Republican politicians have thrown their weight behind him, regardless of what he said or did. Only a handful of his own party politicians went against him. The failures of the democratic party and their shambolic handling of everything the US electorate cares about would bring Trump back. Or someone like him.
  19. Too late. Sanders is too old for this circus. The democrats rejected him twice when he still had juice left. The next president of the US will be Donald Trump. Mark my words.
  20. Personally, I'm sick of being bombarded with LGBT stuff every day in the news and entertainment media. It's as though half of the world's problems revolve around gender issues. Read a contemporary book of literature or watch a film or a TV show and it seems over half the world's population has suddenly gone homosexual all of a sudden. I'm glad I don't live in the West and it remains a non-issue here where I live, but it is difficult to escape the constant cycle of news and controversies that has become a mainstay of Western media productions - and what's more, being the cultural imperialists that they are, they want the entire world to emulate them or else... As for the parade in particular, I find this whole spectacle of almost-naked people with crazy makeup doing even crazier dances completely ridiculous and extremely cringe-worthy. That's just my personal gut reaction to it. It goes completely against the values of decency and modesty taught to me, and that before I factor in the religious angle into the equation. Shameful.
  21. Ah I see. I should have known. Segregation in the States refers by default to the racial segregation.
  22. I have never seen a segregated church. Not in real life, not in films. But I like that mosques are segregated. It helps to maintain the purdah between the sexes. The nature of Islamic prayer is such that it may breach the code of modesty if non-mahram men watch women in the act of prayer.
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