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10 Year Old “Divorced Woman”


Tiny Voices Defy Child Marriage in Yemen .

One morning Arwa Abdu Muhammad Ali walked out of her husband’s house here and ran to a local hospital, where she complained that he had been beating and sexually abusing her for eight months.

She was the second child bride to come forward in less than a month; in April, a 10-year-old named Nujood Ali had gone by herself to a courthouse to demand a divorce, generating a landmark legal case.

Together, the two girls’ stories have helped spur a movement to put an end to child marriage. The average age of marriage in Yemen’s rural areas is 12 to 13 & not surprisingly The country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

The issue first arose because of Nujood The trouble started on the first night, when her 30-year-old husband, Faez Ali Thamer, took off her clothes as soon as the light was out. She ran crying from the room, but he caught her, brought her back and forced himself on her. ( One of the ten year old )

Nujood complained repeatedly to her husband’s relatives and later to her own parents after the couple moved back to their house in Sana. But they said they could do nothing. To break a marriage would expose the family to shame. Finally, her uncle told her to go to court. On April 2, she said, she walked out of the house by herself and hailed a taxi.

When Nujood’s case was called the next Sunday, the courtroom was crowded with reporters and photographers, alerted by her lawyer. Her father and husband were also there; the judge had jailed them the night before to ensure that they would appear in court. (Both were released the next day.) “Do you want a separation, or a permanent divorce?” the judge, Muhammad al-Qadhi, asked the girl, after hearing her testimony and that of her father and her husband.

“I want a permanent divorce,” she replied, without hesitation. The judge granted it.

After Nujood’s case became public, Ms. Nasser said she received angry letters from conservative women denouncing her for her role. But she has also begun receiving calls about girls, some younger than Nujood, trying to escape their marriages.

One of them was Arwa, who was married last year at the age of 8 here in the ancient town of Jibla, four hours south of Sana. As with Nujood’s case, Arwa’s situation aroused a legal and social outrage.

A third girl, Reem is still waiting for the court’s decision and says her two ambitions are to get a divorce and go to college.

Married at 12, she describes the moment when her 30-year-old husband insisted on sex. When she resisted, he choked and bit her and dragged her by the hair, overwhelming her with force.

Arwa, Nujood, & Reem

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Just so we know who it is we are talking about. There is no underestimating the bravery of individuals. Of these three little girls – of the legal precedent they set. To me one or two girl saved from regular rape and beatings is less important to me than the precedent the Yemeni judicial system has set.

A precedent that might save hundreds of thousands of girl!! She became a heroine in Yemen.

As far as my limited knowledge goes – This was the first time a Child bride sought and got a divorce on her own because she was forced into a marriage.

And as far as I know – that still has never happened in Pakistan. Children given in marriage usually stay in that marriage despite any opposition they might have had to that marriage.

In the months since – that girls courage galvanized Yemen, in those months two more Children given into marriage sought legal help ( & were not killed ).

Nujood became a celebrity in the western world when her story became more popular. Appearing for Interviews and featured in Glamour Magazine voted women of the year by them. That one girl saved herself & that is why she is the exception.


We are a far cry from persecuting those criminals at this point. First things first. Saving the children, victim to this evil.

When Ideas mix, better Ideas come from them!! Its what we call ‘awareness’

Granted what we say reaches too few people and too many of them already share our Philosophy – but those Ideas do make their way through society. Its just a question of time.

January 14, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | 1 Comment

Why the Taliban Just wont Die


As I write this, the war on terror ( translated War in Afghanistan ) has been raging for 7 years. So has the terrorism threat diminished??

Not so says the Oxford Research Group.

Six years after the September 11 attacks in the United States, the “war on terror” is failing and instead fuelling an increase in support for extremist Islamist movements, a British think-tank said on Monday.

A report by the Oxford Research Group (ORG) said a “fundamental re-think is required” if the global terrorist network is to be rendered ineffective.

“If the al Qaeda movement is to be countered, then the roots of its support must be understood and systematically undercut,” said Paul Rogers, the report’s author and professor of global peace studies at Bradford University in northern England.

“Combined with conventional policing and security measures, al Qaeda can be contained and minimized but this will require a change in policy at every level.”

Lets not forget what the war was in Afghanistan was about – Not the Taliban, if thats what you were thinking!! Al-Qaeda. It was about Al-Qaeda and before this war started the Taliban were ready for talks back then over Al-Qaeda and despite the seven year war, are willing to cut ties with Al-Qaeda even now … but the US was just too eager for war.

7 Years ago the Taliban offered to hand over OBL – no talks then, straight to war – the US was just too eager to start a war!!

US leaders had to have something more than a hand cuffed OBL to show for 9/11 – they were looking for a war. Even BEFORE 9/11

And thats history. Afghanistan and the US go to war, Pakistan is dragged into it. The war rages on and there is no sign of it letting up, the civilian cost is heavy not just for Afghanistan but also for Pakistan, on account of the thousand of Taliban fighters that escape into Pakistan while the US looks on.

The Oxford Research Group report was not the first sign that things werent going well. In the infamous Guantanamo Bay turned into a recruiting camp somewhere along the way. Most of the detained had no links to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban but by the time the US realized and released them, many had developed ties to Al-Qaeda and Taliban – Some – Even became leaders.

Not all fronts in the war on terror presented such gloamy scenarios. There were sucesses. Most notably in Indonesia.

Even before the Bali attack, Indonesia had suffered a wave of bombings in the winter of 2000, and earlier that year someone had bombed the Jakarta Stock Exchange. The Al Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiah was actively recruiting across the archipelago, establishing radical schools to train a young generation of jihadis and planning attacks in Indonesia and throughout the region, including in the Philippines and Thailand.

But today, Indonesia has become a far different kind of example. Even as terrorism continues to grow more common in nations from Pakistan to Algeria, Indonesia is heading in the opposite direction, destroying its internal terrorist networks and winning the broader public battle against radicalism. And it has done so not only by cracking heads but by using a softer, innovative plan that employs former jihadis to wean radicals away from terror.

But if they really hoped to reduce the pool of possible new recruits for groups like Jemaah Islamiah, Indonesian leaders realized they had to win public support for their battle. Otherwise, police could arrest or kill hundreds of militants, and new radicals would just take their place.

And thats exactly what they did.

To win militants’ hearts and minds, Indonesia instituted a program called deradicalization. Realizing that hard-core militants will not listen to prominent Muslim moderates, whom they view as soft, as irreligious or as tools of the government, the deradicalization initiative employs other militants — former terrorist fighters or trainers. These are men like Nasir Abas, once a Jemaah Islamiah leader, who have sworn off most types of violence. Former fighters who agree to help the deradicalization program often receive incentives, such as reduced sentences or assistance for their families.

The result was the least violent and possibly most effective Anti-Terrorism campaign to date. But then again there is no foreign occupation in Indonesia. There is certainly one in Afghanistan and with Obama’s presidency, their presence in Afghanistan is set to increase. Another ‘Surge’. A repeat of, what the public thought were, strategies employed in Iraq. It wasnt a surge that worked in Iraq – granted – the level of violence fell, the Level of violence actually fell months before there was a surge in troop levels.  Not to mention there was a surge in violence in 2005 alongside a similar surge in troop levels in Iraq or when British troops LEFT Basra there was an even greater drop in the level of violence.

To say that increasing numbers of soldiers in Afghanistan would do any good is a leap of faith. It might just do the Opposite. Very likely would.

A RAND study, Titled “How terrorist Groups End” explains.

The ending of most terrorist groups requires a range of policy instruments, such as careful police and intelligence work, military force, political negotiations, and economic sanctions. Yet policy makers need to understand where to prioritize their efforts with limited resources and attention.

Against terrorist groups that cannot or will not make a transition to nonviolence, policing is likely to be the most effective strategy (40 percent). Police and intelligence services have better training and information to penetrate and disrupt terrorist organizations than do such institutions as the military. They are the primary arm of the government focused on internal security matters. Local police and intelligence agencies usually have a permanent presence in cities, towns, and villages; a better understanding of the threat environment in these areas; and better human intelligence.

Against most terrorist groups military force is usually too blunt an instrument. Military tools have increased in precision and lethality, especially with the growing use of precision standoff weapons and imagery to monitor terrorist movement. But even precision weapons have been of limited use against terrorist groups. The use of substantial U.S. military power against terrorist groups also runs a significant risk of turning the local population against the government by killing civilians.

The Last words of the excerpt are the most significant. Civilian deaths turn the people against the occupiers. Why wouldnt they turn against them or whoever is causing those deaths. Its a simple function of correspondent inference. People tend to infer the motives — and also the disposition — of someone who performs an action based on the effects of his actions, and not on external or situational factors. Its a Good rule of thumb, but like all cognitive biases, the correspondent inference theory fails sometimes. Most spectacularly when dealing with situations where civilians are exposed to violence.
One research paper looking into this theory was by Max Abrams titled “Why Terrorism Does not Work”

“The theory posited here is that terrorist groups that target civilians are unable to coerce policy change because terrorism has an extremely high correspondence. Countries believe that their civilian populations are attacked not because the terrorist group is protesting unfavorable external conditions such as territorial occupation or poverty. Rather, target countries infer the short-term consequences of terrorism — the deaths of innocent civilians, mass fear, loss of confidence in the government to offer protection, economic contraction, and the inevitable erosion of civil liberties — (are) the objects of the terrorist groups. In short, target countries view the negative consequences of terrorist attacks on their societies and political systems as evidence that the terrorists want them destroyed. Target countries are understandably skeptical that making concessions will placate terrorist groups believed to be motivated by these maximalist objectives.” ^

On the Flip side, that applies just as well to civilians being targetted by occupying forces. The objectives of the occupiers could be anything but will be inferred more often than not to be inflict death and destruction on the civilian population. Many a people of Afghanistan have turned towards the Taliban in the years of fighting that previously wanted nothing to do with the Taliban.

Infact one Taliban commander told the LA Times, he has been sending voluteers back because “There is no need for all of them”. The LA Times was told that Taliban ranks in Ghazni Province have been swelling by 10% a month. They control large swaths of land in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan. The main Highway between Kabul and Kandahar is “enemy territory” for the Taliban, a busy two-lane road where U.S. troops race down the middle, trying to steer clear of suicide bombers. The guerrillas drive it like they OWN it.
Their actions speak of their new found boldness and strenght in Afghanistan. In January of 2009, as many as 600 taliban crossed into Pakistan for an attack on a militar base. Pakistani forces repelled the attack but how 600 militants can cross into Pakistan and creap back into Afghanistan while the ISAF slept is whats really troubling. Clearly the US is not winning the war in Afghanistan in its seventh year.

Lately, I have had nightmarish scenario playing out in my head when once again a Super power wreaks havoc in Afghanistan and packs its bag leaving Pakistan to deal with the mess. Mess thats clearly spilling over and the International community is powerless to contain it while its here – with all its military might. There is window of opportunity – a time frame in which the US must defeat the Taliban. Before the mounting civilian casualties turn the people against them and a Soviet-Afghan guerilla war type situation emerges. Before the political will in the US to fight this war fades.

The problem is – the Taliban dont have to win the war, they just only have to outlive American political will.

Addendum

The Taliban now holds a permanent presence in 72% of Afghanistan, up from 54% a year ago. Taliban forces have advanced from their southern heartlands, where they are now the de facto governing power in a number of towns and villages, to Afghanistan’s western and north-western provinces, as well as provinces north of Kabul. Within a year, the Taliban’s permanent presence in the country has increased by a startling 18%.

Three out of the four main highways into Kabul are now compromised by Taliban activity. The capital city has plummeted to minimum levels of control, with the Taliban and other criminal elements infiltrating the city at will.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Jews to the Rescue


Background
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Bernard Madoff former Chairman of NASDAQ, a force to be reckoned with on Wall Street and a Jew – Was arrested December 11, following a tip off from his sons, for fraud which could be valued at OVER 50 BILLION dollars.
So thats that.
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Following that, published December 23 and subsequently becoming New York Time’s most popular article on its website, was an article titled “In Madoff Scandal, Jews Feel an Acute Betrayal”
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Excerpts from the article.
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“When a Jew does this, Jews feel ashamed by proxy. I’d like to
believe someone raised in our community, imbued with Jewish values, would be better than this.”
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There is a teaching in the Talmud that says an individual who comes before God after death will be asked a series of questions, the first one of which is, “Were you honest in your business dealings?” But it is the Ten Commandments that have weighed most heavily on the mind of Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles in light of the sins for which Bernard L. Madoff stands accused. “You shouldn’t steal,” Rabbi Wolpe said. “And this is theft on a global scale.”
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Jews are also grappling with the implications of Mr. Madoff’s deeds for their public image, what one rabbi referred to as the “shanda factor,” using the Yiddish term for an embarrassing shame or disgrace. As Bradley Burston, a columnist for haaretz.com, the English-language Web site of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, wrote on Dec. 17: “The anti-Semite’s new Santa is Bernard Madoff. The answer to every Jew-hater’s wish list. The Aryan Nation at its most delusional couldn’t have come up with anything to rival this.”
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The article goes on to condemn Madoff in a Jewish perspective and emphasizes how the Talmud teaches honesty etc etc!! Going so far as to condemn Madoff to the depths of hell and I quote
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“I don’t even think that there is a punishment that is commensurate with the crime, for the wreckage of lives that he’s left behind. The only thing he could do, for the rest of his life, is work for redemption that he would never achieve.”
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While reading the article the questions that came to my mind were plenty!!
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How the fuck did Madoff swindle 50 billion dollars – Why did his sons give him up …. more importantly Why is this article the most popular article on NYT’s website for the date of December 24.
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The Jewish community was very quick in condemning madoff even though how he conducts his business has no real relationship with him being a Jew.
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Muslims on the other hand fail to condemn and definitely fail to have that condemnation heard by the masses, when Muslims are the culprits of crimes. Some of those crimes even originating from wrongly held Islamic belief.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Religion | Leave a comment

Islam – Women (i)


4:34 Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).

THAT ^^
Is a Translation of the verse. With one very important screw up.

The word ‘beat’ ( & lightly – which doesnt exist in the Quran at all )
We’ll get to that shortly. Lets start slowly.

Lets start with this!!

“faalssalihatu qanitatun” – Translated as “Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient”

In this verse the word “qanitatun” is translated as “devoutly obedient” or simply “Obedient” by Pickthal suggesting that righteous women are obedient to their husbands.

A quick glance through the Quran reveals the meaning of the word. The same word appears in 66:5 and this time is translated not as ‘devoutly obedient’ but simply as ‘devout’. Devout to God. Not to a husband as is suggested in 4:34.

Infact the word appears in 2:116, 2:238, 3:17, 16:120, 30:26, 33:35 ( addressing both men and women in 33:35 ), 39:9 & 66:12!! Each time being translated as devoutly obedient to ALLAH.

Moving on.
Another word oddly translated is “Nushoz” translated in the verse 4:34 as “disloyalty and ill-conduct”. The odd thing is that the verse appears again in the same Surah – appears again in 4;128 in the EXACT same context. But this time its not the the man who fears “Nushoz”!! Its the women.

4:128 If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves

Of course here we are talking about divorce.

lets recap. If a man fears “Nushoz” he is to admonish her, refuse to share beds and finally ‘beat them’ – but if a women fears the same she may seek divorce without blame. You’d think the religion that first preached equal rights for the genders wouldnt have such a glaring difference and you would be absolutely RIGHT.

Now we come to the word “idriboohunna” from Daraba ( zarab in Urdu ) which is translated as ‘Beat’. Daraba is a word of MANY meanings. I looked up a few other meanings it has in the Quran which include To travel, to get out, To set up, To give (examples) ( appears more than 10 times ), To take away, to ignore, To condemn, To seal, to draw over, To cover and To explain!!

One particularly interesting translation is “idrib”, which means “get out”. “idriboohunna” Thus means to cast them out.

So why choose one translation over the other?? Because it fits. Nushoz ( regardless of its actual meaning ) is an issue that has been addressed for both men and women. In the woman’s case the end result is divorce – only makes perfect sense that the same should be true for men. You only have to look at 4:35 to see it all more clearly.

4:35 If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.

So 4:34 end with divorce and 4:35 starts with Divorce. WHY anyone would wish to translate ‘daraba’ as beat in this verse is beyond me.

Besides – the Other translation makes no sense.
The “beating” is supposed to be symbolic or so they say!! So the first step is to ‘admonish’ – the second step is not to share beds, an increment from the first step and the last step is purely symbolic?? Its ridiculous!!
The first & the second steps makes sense the increment with the third and last step is a divorce.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Religion | 2 Comments

Faayya Ayati Allahi Tunkiroona


Patience towards those who mock & jeer Islam & Muslims has become unthinkable. Tolerance & Freedom have become foreign sentiments. From Rushdie, Theo van Gogh to Jylland Posten all have been witness to our growing distance from Islamic Values in favor of Mullacratic Intolerance!!

But Did we Stop to listen to the Quran?

20:130 Therefore be patient with what they say

50:39 Bear, then, with patience, all that they say

4:140 Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme:

6:68 When thou seest men engaged in vain discourse about Our signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme.

28:55 And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: “To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.

3:186 Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly Hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.

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faayya ayati Allahi tunkiroona -> & which of the ayat of your lord will you deny??

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Religion | Leave a comment

Right to Protest


Of course protests dont always go right. They can easily turn into riots. That, generally, is the reason cited by authoritarian regimes to clamp down on protesters. Their methods are primitive. Batons, tear gas, arrests and the one odd protester shot and killed.

But we have seen that these tactics dont deter protests. On the contrary, I would say the harder a government tries to come down on its people, the harder the people push back.

The crowds will gather & dispersing them without incident is next to impossible. Or atleast used to be ….

So did you hear about the new non-lethal weapons they are making. There is one that emits a low frequency sounds that confuses a person’s sense into thinking they are off balance. That makes them dizzy, causes headaches & nausea. You cant really protest if your protesters cant even stand straight and are puking all over.

& In comes the “Active Denial System”
It effectively is a Giant microwave oven. Fires microwaves at the crowd which excite water molecules and make you feel extreme heat. You cant stand it. You can stand a water cannon – tear Gas and baton charge but you cant stand the “Active Denial System”. You have to get away from the beam. Its just too painful, while leave no marks and causes no actual burns.

So what when dictators get their hands on these things. Without actually engaging in human rights violations, murder, torture, detentions, beatings or anything else – these dictators could have the power to turn away protesters.
Well the protesters are getting clever too. Its likes an arms race. They control the press and we start blogging. You know how it works. Like a friend of mine said “People will nearly always find other way though”.

Protesters have gotten smarter.

.. Consider last month’s seizure of the airports in Bangkok, a development understandably overshadowed by the much more violent terrorist acts in Mumbai. While the world focused on India, anti-government mobs in the Thai capital shut down both Bangkok’s relatively new international airport and its older domestic facility. When the airports finally reopened over the weekend, the 10-day occupation had accomplished its goal: The prime minister was ousted, his party banned, and most of his top functionaries banished from politics.

.. A three-month-long siege of the prime minister’s office had been fruitless. In fact, halfway through the airports crisis, protesters abandoned the prime minister’s office and moved in with the mobs occupying Suvarnabhumi International and Don Muang airports.

Why did a week-and-a-half-long airport shutdown effect political change when a three-month-long occupation of the putative seat of Thai political power had failed? The power of the purse. By shutting down Bangkok’s airports, demonstrators essentially shut down the Thai economy. ( MSNBC: Like it or not, travel terrorism works )

Focussed protests. Like the author said – a three month long protest around couldnt do what a 10 day protest did. Of course it would have hurt the economy but the protesters got what they wanted.

It feels like it wasnt their numbers that pulled them through – feels almost like blackmail.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Opinions – The News


The News – Sunday, December 21, 2008
The controversy ignited by the issue of additional examination marks acquired by Farah Dogar, the daughter of Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar, seems to be enwrapping others as well. A pamphlet circulated in the National Assembly says Maryum Nawaz, the daughter of Mian Nawaz Sharif, was able to obtain admission at a leading medical college in Lahore in 1992, after influence was used to arrange a migration from Rawalpindi. Ms Nawaz lacked the grades required to get into the more prestigious institution on merit. The story that circulated at the time spoke also of an unwilling principal who was transferred to pave the way for the privileged daughter. There is also talk of how Maryum Nawaz was re-admitted to the same college in 1998, during the second tenure of her father as prime minister, presumably as she failed to graduate successfully the first time round. The PML-N has denied the allegations made in the pamphlet. The PPP has denied any role in circulating it. But nonetheless, it is clear the acrimony between the two major political parties in the country is rising. This could have damaging manifestations in the days ahead. There is a reminder in the whole affair of the ugly, personalized politics that marred democratic rule through the 1980s. The post-February hopes of a new order of civilized cooperation are fading fast.

The issue of the two different daughters, who both benefited from the position their fathers occupied and their readiness to misuse power, is also a telling reminder of the way our society is structured. Nepotism and abuse of power are now a way of life. Few of us think twice about resorting to it. Our leaders, quite evidently, never hesitate at all. The latest disclosures are embarrassing for Mian Nawaz Sharif. They act to remove him from his pedestal and provide a reminder that we lack leaders capable of acting with integrity themselves but quick to point fingers at others who do so. This is our tragedy. It is one reason why we are unable to rise above the mundane when it comes to politics and why so much energy is consumed on unproductive issues that can in no way help the country to move towards the stability it so desperately needs in order to enable citizens, most of whom can of course never even dream of a place in medical college, to improve their lives.

December 21, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment