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In the Name of God بسم الله


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About Bollywood_Hero

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    Exploiting the Oppressed

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  1. Wow you've made now. Fyst still make fun of you?

  2. It'll be gone soon. Just drifting by...

  3. Uff do I smell a come back

  4. Dearie me what happened to this thread, people stop reading? Well the red light district is predominently Shia in Lahore. That's not said from personal experience btw. Well that's either because of an intellectual defect in you or the fact that you need to chose more interesting books. Anyways a couple of my reccomendations - Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra - Okay so if you undestand Hindi than you'll probably not like all the swearing but it is a lovely meander through Bombay. Admittedly story line is a little weak, but descriptions make up for it. - The Peacock Throne by Sujit Saraf - Another monolith of a book from an Indian author, this time it has a political story line and captures Hindu Muslim antagonism wonderfully. - The Outsider by Albert Camus - Okay it's an old book and it may make you suicidal but it's still an important read - Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa - One of the finest, funniest and saddest partiton stories I've ever read. Told from a Parsi perspective, the novel is often criticised as being pro-Pakistanis, but I don't think it is. - World Without End by Ken Follet - So I know I shouldn't enjoy fiction aimed at Daily Telegraph readers this much but I can't help it. England, middle ages, cathedral builders....need I say more? Well probably, its escapist fiction, don't expect to learn more than cathedral architecture. I'm sure the religious amongst us would claim reading this is a waste of time, but there are few better ways to waste time than this. - The Painted Veil by W.Somerset Maugham - Recently made into an Edward Norton film I believe. The book is wonderfully written, though if your a religious puritan you'll not notice anything but the adultery. Has wonderful language, references and themes. - The Lamp of Umm Hashim by Yahya Hakki - is an interesting collection os short stories from a lesser know, and now deceased, Egyption author. - The Yacoubian Building by by Alaa Al Aswany - Presents an interesting potrait of contemparty Egypt. A film version has come out. This book has dominated the Arab best seller lists (somebody cruel could site lack of Arab literature) for a few years now. On the non-fiction side of things Faith and Power by Edward Mortimer is an interesting, though dated look at political Islam. Not everything in the book is correct, but it presents a very interesting view point. George Orwell's collection of Essays is also very worth the read. I've included a link to his most powerful essay below for anybody interested. http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit
  5. A lot of the time it can feel like you are a pawn on somebody elses chess board for all the difference you make. I guess we need to show our displeasure at the polls but we have few options there also. I think it's okay to have fun and socialize on these things. You can meet so many interesting people there and dicover a new perspective. Inshallah I'll be going to the demo tommorrow.
  6. Oh Robert Fisk is a good speaker. I may have to try and come to that. Just out of interest does anybody see any point in demonstrations? I used to go on so many but nothing has ever come of them.
  7. U wear a scarf because u are ashamed of you're hairstyle? :huh:
  8. Sis Whizbee you seem to advocate a natural state of man. I'd agree up to a point, no one is born evil but I disagree in the fact that are unanimous moral abolutes accross society. I think most young children don't realise that they are not the centre of the universe...it's only as they grow older that this realisation dawns on them. Therefore initially I suspect most children do good simply because of the material rewards it brings them i.e. u do good and u get a sweet. You make a interesting point about fitrah and shariah. However surely if as you suggest that our basic fitrah is to do good than fitrah and shariah should be the same? My own feeling is that Shariah is there to make up for the flaws in our fitrah and what seperates us from animals is our capacity to go against our basic instincts. But in saying that I have become partially convinced by what you say... :blush:
  9. Why how many civillians would you like to die before we have a ceasfire?
  10. All That Is Gone by Pramoedya Ananta Toer A collection of stories from an Indonisian author that deal with colonialism, independence and communism in Indonesia. Worth the read.
  11. Of course they are arbiatary. Aethists go by Kants first categorical imperitive i.e. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law. Something like suicide most people that are aethists will probably accept, however as Muslims we say it is wrong. Most unreligious morals come from the fact that life is just easier with them Not always. Kids can sometimes be cruel...who hasn't seen kids pulling legs of spiders. Okay though admittedly a child does try to offer comfort but then this may be because this is what they percieve to be a social norm, i.e. their mum comforts them when they are sad so they reciprocate. Not all people regard Yazid as evil and Imam Ali as good. We Muslims do as we are still employing the same set of moral standards for the past thousand years.
  12. How to write about Africa Binyavanga Wainaina some tips: sunsets and starvation are good Always use the word 'Africa' or 'Darkness' or 'Safari' in your title. Subtitles may include the words 'Zanzibar', 'Masai', 'Zulu', 'Zambezi', 'Congo', 'Nile', 'Big', 'Sky', 'Shadow', 'Drum', 'Sun' or 'Bygone'. Also useful are words such as 'Guerrillas', 'Timeless', 'Primordial' and 'Tribal'. Note that 'People' means Africans who are not black, while 'The People' means black Africans. Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress. In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular. Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African's cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care. Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation. Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can't live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed. Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country. Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction). Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa's situation. But do not be too specific. Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause. Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the 'real Africa', and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people. Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people's property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil). After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa's most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or 'conservation area', and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa's rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees. Readers will be put off if you don't mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps). You'll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out. Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care. http://www.granta.com/extracts/2615
  13. Islam and the porno devils Can the clash between scantily clad secularism and conservative religious ideology produce a third way in the Arab world? Some wish according to Allegra Stratton's fascinating exploration of this question, Muhajababes, writes Rachel Aspden Sunday July 23, 2006 The Observer Muhajababes by Allegra Stratton (Constable & Robinson £7.99, pp281) As a guide to the preoccupations of young Arabs, the Middle-Eastern chaos currently splashed across the front pages is only part of the story. Vying with bearded Hizbollah commanders for the hearts and minds (or at least cash and attention) of Middle-Eastern youth is a well-funded and altogether better-looking army: a gang of half-naked girls. Stars of the omnipresent Arabic music videos ('video-clips'), the girls - led by Maria, Elissa, Ruby, Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wehbe - are the region's super-groomed, cosmetically enhanced sweethearts - or its 'porno clip devils', according to one Egyptian newspaper. Their grip on 'the morals of Arab youth' is so strong that in 2004 conservative Egyptian MPs called for a ban on the clips - supported by letters and petitions from young Egyptians. But how do the region's armies of under-30 video-lovers and haters square up? In early 2005 Allegra Stratton, a young BBC producer, set off on a tour of Beirut, Amman, Cairo, Dubai, Kuwait City and Damascus with the aim of finding out. Stratton is in search of a cultural revolution - experts on the Middle East have told her that a massive rise in the number of educated young people coupled with a stunted job market have led to a situation that parallels the English Civil War, the French Revolution and 1968. So, at first, she goes looking for a Haight-Ashbury-type counterculture, hanging out with TV producers, struggling artists, MCs and curators. Her findings are less romantic than she had hoped - there are no flower children in Damascus, and Amman's only nude portraitist is, she disappointedly remarks, '[Edited Out]'. The verdict is characteristic of Muhajababes, which is written in a jaunty conversational tone that allows Stratton to feel 'rubbish' about '[Edited Out]' things, such as the invasion of Iraq or badly produced Arabic music. The chirpiness can grate - 'Here, everyone has a telly on their desk,' she observes artlessly of BBC Westminster - but it has an upside. In comparison with many products of the Middle-Eastern comment and analysis industry, and despite its off-puttingly trend-spotting title, Muhajababes is direct, energetic and unpretentious. Stratton is out on the street accosting passers-by and counting the number of veiled women with a persistence that makes her a likeable and instructive guide to the lure of extremism for Palestinian refugees or why What Not to Wear will never air in Beirut. And what she learns, Trinny and Susannah aside, is fascinating. The video-clip girls are indeed a serious cultural force - Nancy Ajram was recently voted 'one of the region's most influential Arabs' by the Arabic version of Newsweek - but their eminence grise is the Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the eighth-richest man in the world and the owner of the Rotana satellite stations and record label that 80 per cent of Arab pop stars are signed to. Despite the acres of flesh on display at Rotana, the singers' most fervent fans are the eponymous 'muhajababes': veiled girls (muhajaba is Arabic for 'one who veils') who nevertheless wear skin-tight jeans, stiletto heels and plenty of make-up. To describe them, Stratton learns a great new Arabic word, 'rewish', which means somewhere between 'hip' and 'distracted' - these are the Dazed & Confused-sters of the Middle East. Nominally strict Muslims, some sneak cigarettes, date boys and engage in other behaviour that is technically haram (forbidden). Ranged against (or sometimes, confusingly, alongside) them are the conservative anti-clip brigade. But increasingly they, too, Stratton discovers, worship the TV screen. Their idol is a swoonsome young accountant-turned-preacher called Amr Khaled, who appears on religious shows with 'young men and women, praying, crying and giving hearty, healthy belly laughs, as if they were in a vitamin-supplement advert'. Stratton is particularly scathing about Khaled, a well-fed BMW driver who announces, televangelist-style, that: 'I want to have money and the best clothes to make people love God's religion.' But it's only when she ditches her dream of finding the Arab Bob Dylan and focuses on Khaled's 'Life Makers' initiative that Muhajababes gains in pace and authority. Capable of mobilising hundreds of thousands of young Muslims worldwide for causes ranging from the benign (collecting clothes for charity) to the sinister (berating smokers and drinkers in public), Khaled is the well-groomed face of a new, media-friendly conservative Islam that reviles the 'degrading display of women's bodies'. Between the muhajababes and the Life Makers, there is little room for the handful of arty oddballs (including the gay Kuwaiti who provides the book's best line, 'There's no such thing as straight in Kuwait') to whom Stratton, as a liberal Westerner, is instinctively drawn. But this is the point. Social change in the Middle East won't be led, as Stratton - and many Western policy-makers - had hoped, by the secular trendies, but by those she dismissively describes as the 'Life Making, green-fingered, litter-collecting, I'd-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing Arabs'. Muhajababes discovers a world in which religion is packaged and sold as slickly as a video clip. And the people behind the scenes are the same, too: Prince Al-Waleed has already diversified into an immensely popular new Islamic channel, Al-Risala ('The Message'). And it is not a conveniently distant world either: having been banned from preaching by the nervous Egyptian regime in 2002, Khaled now finds refuge in the UK and is soon, Stratton surmises, advising the British government on engaging with the Muslim world. It is hard, as Muhajababes demonstrates, for secular observers to appreciate the genuine force of belief, however clumsily or confusedly it may be expressed. In the summer of 2004 when I was living in Cairo, I was surprised to meet engineering graduates who believed in djinn with green claws and veiled girls who swapped oral-sex tips. But with bombs falling in the Beirut streets that Stratton scoured fruitlessly for a trendier revolution, the region's latest crisis is a reminder that it's essential to try. · To order Muhajababes for £7.99 with free UK p&p, go to observer.co.uk/bookshop or call 0870 836 0885
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