if I’m blown to smithereens
     game over – and others will have to pick up the pieces (in every sense)
else, if I survive
if everyone I know survived
      I have reason to be thankful for small mercies
else, if a family member or relative is injured
       trauma
else, if a family member or relative dies
       madness

A parent whose child was among those killed in the Army Public School attack said:

ہمارے بچے پڑھنے کیلئے اسکول گئے تھے، شہید ہونے نہیں۔

(“Our children went to school to learn, not to be martyred.”)

 

there used to be this song “semi-charmed life”

re-blogged: A Quick Note to our ‘Male Allies’

A statement from Aurat Raj on some men’s reactions to the murder of Qandeel Baloch.

Too funny: “the next best feminist since Justin Trudeau”,
and so, so right: “We are afraid and exhausted, and debating with you is very low on our list of priorities. Listen to us. And again, if you have so much to say – say it to those who are harassing, abusing, threatening, silencing, lecturing us.”

This statement has been released by Aurat Raj, a radical left feminist group. 

We see you, tripping all over yourselves trying to make the next viral facebook status/tweet/thinkpiece/comment on Qandeel Baloch, gleeful at the opportunity to be the next best feminist since Justin Trudeau, to lecture us on our oppression and theorise on our condition. A few quick points for you:

1) PASS THE MIC. Pass the mic to the women in your lives, on your timelines and newsfeeds, the ones who taught you this feminist vocabulary you drop, the ones who fought it out with you when you were (and are) arrogant and resistant, the ones you never cite, the ones whose intellectual labours are systematically erased and whose intellectual labours you appropriate. Share their posts. Retweet their tweets. Take up less space. The world does not need any more of your mental masturbations. When you feel so…

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Corporate Social Responsibility

There were campaigns, massive ones, for greater accountability of the giants of globalisation. These were sparked off by terrible scandals, raising serious concerns about the psychological health of C-level executives. Some people wondered if our world wasn’t being run by psychopaths. Not, for example, some pinko public health institution or the ILO, but one of the global meccas of business administration, INSEAD, Paris: The Psychopath in the C-Suite.

But let’s not get carried away by all these good-for-nothing academic types. It was all paranoia as borne out by subsequent events. Who needed “big government”, why revive the spectre of people power when we can simply draw up perfectly pragmatic, ethically sound policies on corporate social responsibility (CSR as it is often called)?

So, as the brave new post-Y2Kalypse world got going and the global “business community” still faced huge protests from the global justice people every time they gathered, whether in Genoa or Copenhagen, the CSR idea really took off – almost a fashion in terms of how seriously large corporations started to take it. It was no longer a question of that cute little email footer reminding the recipient to think of the environment before printing it. No, this time, business was seriously going to reform itself.

Really.

For example, the latest episode from Taylor Farms, California, a McDonald’s supplier:

golden veneer“Multiple reports have documented the failures of voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) codes in global supply chains, but less attention has been paid to how they have been implemented in the United States. This report is a case study of how McDonald’s Corporation implemented its Supplier Code of Conduct when it was alerted to violations of workers’ rights to freedom of association at one of its suppliers, Taylor Fresh Foods, commonly known as Taylor Farms. The report documents systematic and serious violations of workers’ fundamental rights protected under international labor standards and McDonald’s own Supplier Code of Conduct to freely associate and bargain collectively at Taylor Farms. Further, it finds that McDonald’s approach not only failed to prevent or remediate grave violations of workers’ rights, it helped undermine workers’ free exercise of their rights.”

numbers & dates

it’s been 34 years since Bhutto was hanged, since the events in Khamosh Pani, since my birth.

in 1979, it had been 33 years since this conditional freedom was won, 8 since the Two-Nation Theory was conclusively proven to be a hollow lie.

17 August, 1988, around 5 PM. Special news bulletin on PTV. The usually jolly news anchor with the comfortable huge face cannot keep up the mask of professional detachment and tears appear as he announces that our beloved General Zia had been killed. I tell myself that this is a significant moment, that I too need to cry. After some coaxing, some tears appear. And then, they flow freely. Zia-ul-Haq, my hero, our great leader, was no more. I feel loss, even bereft: what does this mean? How will his loss be made up? Who will lead us now, be the new captain?

 

realpolitik

By restoring a U.S. presence in the Arabian Peninsula, the Gulf war also simultaneously restored its strategic primacy as guardian of the sources of oil, which its European and Japanese partners are more dependent on that it is. The billions of dollars paid to finance the war effort in the Gulf, not only by the oil monarchies themselves but by Germany and Japan as well, consecrate the United States as it were in its role of lord protector. At the same time Washington guaranteed that it would keep and increase its lion’s share in the worldwide exploitation of oil and petrodollars.

The U.S. war in the Gulf was the first demonstration of U.S. “hyperpower”, but at the same time it emphasized the limits of this “hyperpower”, which is far from omnipotence. The chief limit to U.S. power derives from the relationship between the government in Washington and the people of the the United States, either mediated by elected officials or expressed directly in the streets. This relationship is crucial, inasmuch as the United States is – luckily – a capitalist democracy, not a dictatorship. George H. Bush had considerable difficulty in getting a green light from Congress in 1990 for his war to “liberate Kuwait”. He could not afford in any way to exceed his mandate and occupy Iraq.

Unable to take direct control of the Iraqi government by installing U.S. armed forces in Baghdad, therefore, Washington preferred not to take the risk of overthrowing the Ba’athist regime, which would have led to a chaotic situation and threatened the stability of the whole region. The risk was particularly great in March 1991 since Iraq was going through a popular uprising. The fall of the regime in these circumstances would have inevitably led to a revolutionary situation, which the United States and its Middle Eastern allies feared much more than the ongoing rule of a much weakened Saddam Hussein. The United States thus authorized Hussein to bloodily suppress the popular uprising.

— from the Introduction: “U.S. imperial strategy in the Middle East” of Eastern Cauldron / Islam, Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq in a Marxist mirror, Salah Jubir, translated by Peter Drucker, Jeddojuhd Publications, Lahore, July 2005