I started writing a “rolling review” of Pankaj Bhaiya’s sophomoric and pedestrian little book last week (part one and part two) and have now finished the book, but still dont have time to do a proper review. Inshallah, that will come, but for now, a few comments in no particular order:
1. The Chinese and Tagore sections are even weaker than the Afghani section. The same confusion remains paramount. Thinkers in China and India are responding to Western dominance. Pankaj describes this domination in one paragraph and then tries to show it was never really that dominant in the next. He shows how weak China or India were in the face of Western invaders and then wants to insist that they were never as weak as portrayed in his favorite straw-man, “the dominant narrative”. He consistently underplays sectarian and religious fanaticism and their violent consequences in Asian countries, but pounces on every example of violence or duplicity in the Europeans. All of this is perfectly calibrated to suit the tastes of his eager (and forgiving) audience. As long as ALL their buttons are pressed, it seems they have no problem with button A being flatly contradictory to button B.
2. The weakest part of the book is its claim (made in large print on the cover and repeated in every interview and in every favorable review) that these were the intellectual who remade Asia.
How so? Continue reading →
Who is the toddler and who is the adult? Are public displays of petulance the defining characteristic of activists in the West? I’m not posting her bail. ”It is my right as a US citizen to…” deface public property?
When discussing investment opportunities in South Asia, Pakistan is generally not considered a hub for lucrative deal making. The country is perhaps most recognized for its political instability and violent extremists operating along its border with Afghanistan. However, scratch the surface and Pakistan’s economy reveals a prime destination for bargain hunters seeking compelling valuations.
From a macro perspective, Pakistan has the potential to become the region’s next hotspot for foreign direct investment. For one, Pakistan is endowed with natural resources, including large swaths of arable land, oil, and natural gas. (Pakistan has 42.9 billion cu m of natural gas, the 21nd largest reserve in the world.) Pakistan also has a large work-age population of 60 million people working at globally competitive salaries. And remittances averaging approximately US$1 billion a month ensure steady purchasing power and liquidity within its domestic consumer market. Furthermore, a quarter of Pakistan’s GDP is attributable to the manufacturing sector, which is heavily focused on producing textiles and apparel, processed foods, pharmaceuticals, construction material and fertilizer – all of which are well-positioned to see an increase in demand as developed markets, such as the U.S. and Euro-zone, rebound and traditional emerging markets in the region achieve middle and upper-middle income status.
The attempt to live-blog Pankaj Mishra’s sophomoric book continues. For past entries, see here.
Thoughts of the day:
WHY is this particular sophomoric book being praised by so many people?
1. Because with 100 safe years between him and actual events, Pankaj can now play heroic anti-colonial crusader and his elite fans can play anti-colonial fanboys with absolutely NOTHING at stake. Win-win for everyone. Britain’s empire is long gone. So is the (usually extremely gentle) pressure special branch could apply on those misbehaving in the empire. Of course it was not always gentle, but ice-pick in Trotsky’s brain was not the usual special branch style…most of the time a couple of agent provocateurs, a few informants and the extreme likelihood that Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Mohammed Ali will embezzle Hijaz funds was enough…that last vignette btw is mentioned in special branch dispatches…its somewhere in Francis Robinson’s book on Muslim separatism in North India. A junior functionary reassures his boss not to worry about the anjuman e khuddam e kaaba (society of servants of the holy Kaaba) because the Mohammeddans will inevitably have trouble with financial proprieties. Special branch knew what it was up against.
btw, Pankaj hasnet yet mentioned the speculation (as poorly sourced as almost everything else about Afghani’s life) that Afghani himself was an agent of British intelligence.
The effort has been so successful that it is the default assumption of the modern day that Christianity opposes freedom of religion (when indeed it is the only religion that insists upon it and always has) and opposes science and academic freedom (when indeed it is the only religion that invented and promoted the university system, and the only world view in which modern physics mades metaphysical sense).
John C. Wright is a smart man. Pray tell then, why does he think we’re fucking retards? Seriously, Christianity is the onlyreligion that believes in freedom of religion, and has always insisted on freedom of religion? It’s people like John C. Wright who give succor to the multiculturalist morons, because they meet them in idiocy.
I actually agree with kernels of Westernophilia within Wright’s fecal mound of a jeremiad. The problem is that instead of standing up for what is right and true he degrades the cause by garbing it in lies and delusions. When you see people committing abominations against reality like this you do wonder as to the quality of their whole oeuvre.
Postscript: I just reread some of this and it truly is disjointed and repetitive. I am not going to fix it now, but please do keep in mind, that it’s a rolling review, just random comments dashed off as i read the book. That is why its so repetitive and disjointed..(making excuses, yes, I know..)
After being told that everyone from Orhan Pamuk to Pakistani Ambassador (and liberal feminist Jinnahist icon) Sherry Rahman is in love with Pankaj Mishra’s new book I have finally started reading it.
I have only read 50 pages so far.So I have NOT yet reached the meat of the book. But the intro is starting to set a certain tone. And its not a very encouraging one.
I am not impressed. At all. So Far.
Seeing how little time I am getting and likely to get in the next few days, I know I am not going to be a doing a review soon (eventually I do hope to do one).. But a blog permits other possibilities. One of them is a “rolling review”. So here goes. As I go through the book, I will try whenever possible to get online and say a few words. And when Pankaj surprises me and opens new vistas and enlightens with surprising new insights, I promise to tell you that and change my running score. Honestly.
Are these Greek Muslims? That is, Muslims of Greek, Turkish, Albanian, and Slavic (Pomak) background who have lived in the Greek nation since its independence from the Ottoman Empire? Judging by the photo that goes with the story, probably not….
A Pakistani minister offered $100,000 on Saturday to anyone who kills the maker of an online video which insults Islam, as sporadic protests rumbled on across parts of the Muslim world.
“I announce today that this blasphemer, this sinner who has spoken nonsense about the holy Prophet, anyone who murders him, I will reward him with $100,000,” Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour told a news conference, to applause.
“I invite the Taliban brothers and the al Qaeda brothers to join me in this blessed mission.”
A spokesman for Pakistan’s prime minister said the government disassociated itself from the minister’s statement.
For what it’s worth, he’s a member of a secular Left party. Or perhaps I should say “secular,” because in much of the Islamic world even “secular” people agree that Islam should be the state religion.
I think it is not useful to reduce the reaction to the film Innocence of Muslims as purely and singularly rooted in religious offense. These behaviors and reactions are embedded in a complex causal nest of many factors, of which American involvement in the Middle East surely is one. But setting that aside is anyone surprised that with the exception of the Americans in Libya the people killed in these riots themselves are Muslims?
To me if there is such a thing as Islamic civilization*, which expressed Muslims anger, then it has a sociological analog to toddler rage. On occasion an angry toddler decides to make a big fuss over an slight, and then manages to injure themselves, and tarnish their own dignity in the process. This is what seems to be the case when the Islamic world decides to get into a frothy rage about the latest offense.
* I dislike the catchall “Islamic civilization,” but Muslims use the term, and there is an organization of states united by the banner of this religion. There is no such analog for Buddhists or Catholics, to my knowledge, so I think the term has utility.