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Riaz ul Hassan interviews former Mujahid
PU's puritan hooligans
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The real threat aboard the Freedom Flotilla
Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime.
But the crime is nothing new. For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats between Cyprus and Lebanon and killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes holding them hostage in Israeli prisons.
Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.'s lead.
As the editors of The Guardian rightly observed on June 1, "If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a NATO task force would today be heading for the Somali coast." In this case, the NATO treaty obligates its members to come to the aid of a fellow NATO country-Turkey-attacked on the high seas.
Israel's pretext for the attack was that the Freedom Flotilla was bringing materials that Hamas could use for bunkers to fire rockets into Israel.
The pretext isn't credible. Israel can easily end the threat of rockets by peaceful means.
The background is important. Hamas was designated a major terrorist threat when it won a free election in January 2006. The U.S. and Israel sharply escalated their punishment of Palestinians, now for the crime of voting the wrong way...More
Fear of Mirrors
"But she had slipped on the old mask and I knew she was concealing the truth. What memories was she trying to suppress, and why?" - Fear of Mirrors, Tariq Ali.
While reader response to my article, 'Two faces of fear' ( Daily Times, May 11, 2010), was overwhelming and extremely positive, a minority - on the extreme right, both in the west and Pakistan - apparently went into an epileptic seizure.
Some of these fringe elements have, for years, tried to slip on a mask to conceal their motives to suppress memories - the public's memories, that is. Their own memories, of the role they have played and keep on playing in creating monsters, remain intact.
The inability to handle their hideous image as shown in the mirror of my column has apparently induced convulsions of rage. Being outed in a piece - widely read by their own admission - was not to their liking.
In their rant, 'Pakistani Conspiratorialism', published in Rupert Murdoch and William Kristol's neo-con flagship, the Weekly Standard, on May 17, 2010, Irfan al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz exhibit a lot of confabulation and frothing at the mouth, while cherry-picking information from my article to alternatively endorse and criticize it.
Both gentlemen claim to be of the moderate Sufi Islamic persuasion, and that might be true. But in their own article, they helped scratch their fa çade, revealing the ugliness of the neo-conservatism lurking underneath...More