What the world can do to help Palestine?

I believe the world should attempt to surge the capacity and competence of Palestinians in collaboration with Palestinians. Foreign aid should be conditional on difficult Palestinian reforms to establish a globalized neo-liberal economic system based on meritocratic hierarchies of competence and capability. As this happens, the Palestinians will have the leverage and influence to negotiate a deal with Israel on their own terms and many of Palestine’s other problems will take care of themselves. This FT article covers some of challenges in surging Palestinian capacity.

When Faris Zaher, a Palestinian Jerusalemite, graduated in Hong Kong with a masters degree and returned home at the peak of the financial crisis, he drifted for a bit, working in consulting and property, and starting a website for classified ads.

Then he hit on his big idea: a start-up travel portal catering to the $50bn market for hotel bookings in the Middle East. There was no regional competitor back then and with the web opening up the prospect of borderless business, the West Bank city of Ramallah was as good a place as any to set up.

Less than five years later, Yamsafer is one of the region’s largest hotel booking sites, according to its founder. It recently closed a $3.5m funding round in one of the biggest venture capital deals the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories have seen.

Yamsafer employs 70 people in Ramallah, a place where too many young university graduates are chasing too few jobs. “The people we hire are more hungry than people you would have hired in Dubai, Jordan or elsewhere,” Zahar, who is 29, told me recently.

The problem is, Yamsafer is the exception. When I went to Ramallah recently to interview businesspeople about young entrepreneurs — and expressly asked them to exclude the West Bank’s older billionaire tycoons — its name kept coming up.

There were a few others, including WebTeb, a health and medical information website; Batuta, a travel portal. But Palestinian high tech has no equivalent of blockbuster Israeli start-ups such as MobilEye, the disruptive “assisted driving” company, or Waze, the Google-owned navigation app.

What the Palestinians do have are a lot of business accelerators and incubators, some funded by aid money, others by the private sector. Bank of Palestine and Zahi Khouri, the Palestinian-American businessman who runs the local Coca-Cola franchise, are backing Ibtikar (“Innovation”) a fund raising $12m to invest in everything related to the internet, software or apps.

In the Gaza Strip, there is an accelerator with the wonderful name of Gaza Sky Geeks.

Foreign donors, led by the American USAID, see the online world as a boundless new domain that will allow enterprising Palestinians to metaphorically vault over the checkpoints, planning hurdles and other economic roadblocks and gainfully employ the region’s legions of university graduates. If Israel can conquer the world with its high-tech companies, the thinking goes, there is no reason to prevent the Palestinians from following suit.

Much of the Arab world’s current innovation in technology is indeed coming from the Levant. Jordan has a strong start-up scene that marries the kingdom’s cheap programming skills to the marketing expertise and rich consumer markets of the Gulf. “This area is providing a lot of the talent in technology,” Habib Hazzan, Ibtikar’s general manager, says. “We can see the innovative hunger; people have a drive to create new things and change.”

There is certainly enough goodwill from donors: not one but two economic plans for the Palestinians have been drafted, one of them using the conservative (and safe) assumption that the political status quo will not change. But stripping away the hype, Palestinian businesspeople and foreign advisers privately say the conditions for a serious start-up hub in the Occupied Territories are just not there.

In fact, the backing for incubators and accelerators, they tell me — though none will say this on the record — is producing an artificial bubble of demand. The problem is that there are simply not enough entrepreneurs giving their all, or burning the midnight oil. “Nobody is working as hard as if the company were their lifeline,” one seasoned observer of the Ramallah business scene told me.

Too few of the companies are able to execute on their business plans, much less scale up to the point of attracting private financing.

Is culture to blame? I doubt it. Consider Jordan and its scrappy tech companies: more than half of the kingdom’s population, after all, are Palestinians. In the West Bank, business people say, one of the main problems lies in education: the computer science and programming courses that do exist at schools and universities, emphasise rote learning over entrepreneurship and critical thinking. Institutions have been less enterprising than their world-class Israeli counterparts in forging foreign research architects. Then there is also the West Bank’s weak legal framework. Companies take a long time to get registered and parts of the corporate code date back to the days of British-ruled Mandate Palestine. Zaher says that Yamsafer registered in Delaware rather than Ramallah because local law does not define employee stock options or offer preferred shareholder rights. Investor protection guarantees, he says, are “flawed”.

But a bigger, perhaps decisive problem, is what economists call a “crowding out” effect, when government spending is so high that it stifles private initiative and investment.

The Palestinian Authority, the perennial interim government that has tens of thousands on its payroll, is by far the largest employer. With safe government jobs on offer, and no chance of peace with Israel anytime soon, why would anyone trade a paycheck for the risk and hard graft of a new venture?

I witnessed a similar phenomenon when I reported for the FT in South Africa a decade ago: there, the start-up scene was stunted because the post-apartheid transition pulled the most talented black businesspeople into government departments or listed companies seeking to fill racial quotas.

If the Palestinians and foreign donors want to create their own Start-Up Nation, they need to dispense with magical thinking around incubators and focus their minds instead on creating the political and regulatory conditions that will let smart businesspeople help themselves.

What are everyone’s thoughts on how to surge Palestinian capacity? Notice how many of Palestine’s challenges come from the brutal English policy of imposing modernism, marxism, structuralism, freudianism, post modernism, subaltern studies, and fabian socialism on Palestine. This imperialist, hegemonic, orientalist, exploitative English policy colonized the minds of Palestinians with inferiority complex and a lack of self confidence.

Israelis need to do right by Palestinians; and treat Palestinians with loving respectful kindness. Yet could it be that England has done far more harm to Palestine than Israel?

PS. I love Jews and Israelis!

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AnAn

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V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

Let Palestinians – both Fatah and Hamas- sincerely recognize Israel and it’s Jewishness , Israel will be quite happy and there are very good chances of peace between Israel and Palestinians. That is what Israel wants. In other words sincere appreciation and acceptance of the present day reality. That will defuse lot of bad blood and pave the way for a better Middle East

girmit
girmit
5 years ago

This implies that Palestinians are blindly hateful of jewishness, and that doesn’t align with my experience. Theres quite a bit of shoulder rubbing between the communities in Israel, and I would give a bit of credit that theres some nuance in their anti-zionism that is not fueled by islamic demagoguery, not to mention the large christian subset that has even led the movement at times. Palestinians are quite a bit more liberal than I’d been led to believe by most media sources. That said, I’m not sure that in the best scenario it would translate to the same income levels of israeli jews, but nor would it for most of the worlds peoples and I’m not sure it has much bearing on one’s claim to statehood.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  girmit

I did not say/imply Palestinians are blindly hateful of jewishness; I said Hamas/Fatah has to accept Israel as a Jewish state and they are ready to recognize it sincerely . Hamas so far wants to destroy Israel and throw it’s people into the sea. Abbas reluctantly goes into negotiations – to get some foreign aid . Palestinian people are bankrolled by international aid to the extant no one has been No wonder they can have huge families of 9 or 10 children

Kabir
5 years ago

Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”. NO. This is a Zionist talking point and I am disgusted to see it on BP. These kind of words make my blood boil. The Palestinians have recognized Israel. That is why they are only asking for the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. They are well within their rights to ask for their entire homeland back and for the Zionists to go back to Europe which is where they came from.

The West Bank, E. Jerusalem and Gaza are Occupied Territory and have never belonged to Israel under International Law.

As for Israel as “Jewish State”. Israel can define itself however it likes and that is not the Palestinians’ problem. But please remember that approximately 20% of Israel’s population are Palestinian Citizens of Israel (non-Jews) who did not leave (or were not kicked out successfully) during the Nakba. In a “Jewish State” they would forever be second-class citizens.

Should India declare itself a “Hindu State”? This kind of thinking is just so disgusting, I don’t even know what to say.

leopard
leopard
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Why do you have a problem with Jewish state?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

leopard,

States should belong to all their citizens. That is my philosophical position. I have a problem with Jewish states, Hindu states, Muslim states whatever. I happen to come from a country which calls itself the “Islamic Republic” of Pakistan. I have seen how that country treats non-Muslim minorities.

Israel has 20% citizens who are of Palestinian origin (In Israel they are called “Israeli Arabs” although they prefer to be called “Palestinian Citizens of Israel”). If Israel is a “Jewish State”, these people are relegated to permanent second class status. I don’t think that is defensible. You are free to disagree.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

“Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”. NO. ”
Then there is no peace in Israel’s neighborhood, and Arabs there will only be only on a downward spiral.
If Israel is a Jewish state or India (in the off chance ) declaring itself a Hindu state makes your blood boil, how much should your blood have boiled at more than 50 countries in the world declaring themselves Islamic states . Your blood temperature should now be 10000 degrees.
This is very Islamist thinking. Countries with large Muslim pops can declare themselves as Islamic states , but countries with large Hindu, Jewish or Christian pops can’t declare themselves as whatever they want to.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Mr. Vijayraghavan,
If you read my comments above, you would realize that I have stated a philosophical objection to any states declaring themselves religiously-based. My own country, the “Islamic Republic” of Pakistan has non-Muslim citizens and we all know that they are treated as second-class citizens. I am an equal opportunity critic. I am a citizen of the United States, a country which thankfully does not call itself “The Christian United States of America”. States should belong to all their citizens.
Israel can declare itself whatever it likes when it moves back within its own borders. Even then, 20% of the population in “Israel Proper” is non-Jewish. This should not be a condition to vacate the Occupied Territory, which has never belonged to Israel under any applicable International Law. Don’t take my “Islamist” word for it. Read the relevant law for yourself. Do your research. Israel needs to get out of the West Bank and remove all Jewish settlers to Israel Proper. East Jerusalem (Al Quds) must become the capital of a Palestinian Arab State. If you don’t like that, there’s always the One State Solution. But given the demographic reality, if this state were a democracy it would be a Palestinian Arab State. Hence why Israel wants to have its cake and eat it too. There is “democracy” within Israel but also an Occupation of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza.

No decent person should be defending the Zionists. Especially as Palestinians are being shot on sight while you and I comment on the internet. The fact that you are still defending Israel says a lot about you and very little about me. I am not an “Islamist”. I am a fiercely secular person and I demand an apology for that smear.

Israel was formed on top of Palestine. It was not a negotiated Partition as happened in the Indian Subcontinent.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  girmit

Kabir
If the Islamist label does not fit you , then I apologize.

I refer to ‘Islamist’ any PoV , which says wherever Muslims go Sharia is preferable/demanded, somehow Muslims in any country be given special privileges not available to others and which is (I mean equivalent) not granted to non-Muslims in Muslim majority country . If that does apply to you, no problem, I withdraw it.

About Palestinians shot on sight, the Pakistani Army has done it. It sent an army under Zia Ul Huq to protect King of Jordan and they killed about 7000 Palestinians for the sake of foreign exchange. That was in 1968. After all whatever Israel is doing is for it’s very existence.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

I would also like to say taking a positive approach to Israel’s history or Israeli point of view and rejecting the leftist/Islamist narrative of Arab-Israeli conflict is a fair assessment, nothing indecent about. That is a calumny. That kind of moralistic judgement on complex international happenings is also to be withdrawn.

Arab states actively co-operate with Israel whenever it suits them. Right now Egypt and Israel co-operate on rooting our Islamic State menace in Sinai and Saudis are cooperating with Israel is opposing Iranian hegemony in west asia. Jordan has co-operated with Israel for many years. would you all SA, Egypt and Jordan indecent ?

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago

If the Aryans originate from India; does that give the far flung Aryan nations a right to dispossess the Dravidians of the South and replace them?

Just out of curiosity

Kabir
5 years ago

Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel in which Jordan renounced any claims to the West Bank and Jerusalem. The King of Jordan still has influence on things like the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Egypt cooperates in the blockade of Gaza, which is shameful. Don’t get me started on Saudi Arabia.

Sorry, those who are anti-Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) are on the wrong side of History. It’s like supporting Apartheid in South Africa. Let’s leave it there. I’ve said all that needs to be said on the topic.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

Zack Zavid says:
May 20, 2018 at 11:47 am
If the Aryans originate from India; does that give the far flung Aryan nations a right to dispossess the Dravidians of the South and replace them?

Zack, I cannot make any sense of what you are trying to imagine.

Since Aryan is an English word which has some connotations – along with Aryan Nations, a US phenomenon – let us leave it out. If you ask Aryan Nations aka White Supremacists , their ‘South’ has no one speaking any languages of the Dravidian family. The ‘south’ of Aryan Nations has also English speakers and Latinos only

If you mean Arya in India , they originate in India – not if they originate – since the sacred books of aryas contain no reference to any place outside India. There is no internal reference or even archaeological or historical reference to any dispossession of any particular language speakers. Arya lands are those where Arya vac is heard i.e. vedic ceremonies. They are there all over India.

Rate of change in languages and language families in India is no different than in any other part of the world

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago

Exactly my point mate; current day Israel is in Philistine and modern day Palestine (West Bank) is Jude’s & Samaria..

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

Zack Zavid says:
May 20, 2018 at 11:47 am
If the Aryans originate from India; does that give the far flung Aryan nations a right to dispossess the Dravidians of the South and replace them?

Zack, I cannot make any sense of what you are trying to imagine.

Since Aryan is an English word which has some connotations – along with Aryan Nations, a US phenomenon – let us leave it out. If you ask Aryan Nations aka White Supremacists , their ‘South’ has no one speaking any languages of the Dravidian family. The ‘south’ of Aryan Nations has also English speakers and Latinos only

If you mean Arya in India , they originate in India – not if they originate – since the sacred books of aryas contain no reference to any place outside India. There is no internal reference or even archaeological or historical reference to any dispossession of any particular language speakers. Arya lands are those where Arya vac is heard i.e. vedic ceremonies. They are there all over India.

About dispossession of language speakers , there is no historical record remotely approaching Arab or Spanish or English displacement of many languages when they conquered large portions of the world. Not even one hundredth of the violence of these historical changes can be seen in India. Persian of the Islamic Iran is far removed from the Persian of Sassanids , which was due to Arab conquest of Persia. Apart from language , Zorastrians became Untermensch and they had to convert or emigrate

Kabir
5 years ago

Thank you for the apology.

Black September is a shameful incident and the fact that General Zia was involved is a blot on Pakistan. If you knew anything about me, you would know that General Zia is not one of my favorite people (That’s putting it very mildly).

Shooting unarmed Palestinians who are technically still in Gaza is not for Israel’s “existence”. The fact that you think it is is very troubling. I would suggest you need to do some reading. It’s not my job to bring you up to speed on the Occupation of Palestine.

Kabir
5 years ago

With all due respect, the problem in Palestine is not the lack of “neoliberalism”. The problem is that Israel is stealing Palestinian land and murdering Palestinian people. Gaza is a prison camp. The West Bank is a bunch of Bantustans dotted with Jewish settlements.

All this “neoliberalism” must wait for the Occupation to end. Get the Zionists out of Palestine and then we can address all these other issues. Right now, as you write this, Palestinians are being shot on sight by Israel, although they are technically on their own side of the prison that is Gaza.

Anyone who can support Israel is either a Zionist or a person who lacks all human decency.

leopard
leopard
5 years ago

Palestinians desperately need to reduce their birth rate.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  leopard

Having children is an act of resistance to Zionism. I don’t think you get that. It’s saying “No matter what you do to us, the Palestinian people will continue to exist on our land”.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

At the largesse of the rest of the world and UN Commission of Palestinian Refugees which is funded mostly by non-Muslim countries.?
The best help the world can is to completely forget them as an act of benign ignorance. Let Arabs take care them .

Kabir
5 years ago

I’m sorry, you are so clearly on the side of the world’s only remaining settler-colonial state? This is so disgusting. I am never going to engage you again.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

You can give Israel any epithet which pleases you. The fact is it is a sovereign , independent state which is a UN member and recognized by major countries , including Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and they have a right to defend their border by any means and protect themselves from aggression from outside. It is just common sense , no big deal.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I am on the side of UN tackling problems and spending money where it is needed and stop prolonging ‘Palestinian refugee’ problem since it has gone off it’s Sell-by-date many years ago.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

They have a right to defend their “border”. OK. But where is their border? Hello, the West Bank is not part of Israel. No one in the world legally recognizes it as such. (even if you do). Gaza is a prison and the Gazans protesting today are on their own side of the “border”.

If you aren’t even aware of the basic facts of the situation, why are you spouting off in defense of Zionism?

girmit
girmit
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

VC, what Palestinians are entitled to aside, is Israel entitled to any lasting peace? If I allow myself to be dispassionate about the conflict, which includes the alienation of Pals in their own region, can one not also be indifferent to the perilous existence of Israel? Just as it is suggested the world should leave the palestinian problem for Arabs to deal with, I’d say I hope that my government leaves Israel to clean up its own mess.
The entire Zionist enterprise was a daring gamble, and even for realists who are willing to allow for “might makes right” logic, in this case where europeans jews occupied a country they had imagined connections to, one must also concede space for a legitimate resistance, even a very radical one.

Jaggu
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

What did you say, woman? You do not want to bear children anymore? Will deal with you in a minute…

(Turning to her lord and keeper)

Brother Ahmad! Wallahi brother, did you not administer a corrective beating as we had discussed? Astaghfirullah! your third wife is getting kuffar ideas of having control of her pregnancy???

How irresponsible is that? Fate of Palestine depends on her womb. Was she not taught the “resistance and Islam over individual choice” rule…

Anyway, the diagnosis is clear. Your woman is LPC (Lack of Palestinian Culture) positive. But the good news is this is only stage one. No, no .. no nail-pulling required at this stage, brother Ahmad. She will keep all her digits intact to pleasure you…

(chastened and sobbing Ahmad)

Thank you, Sheikh Bandbajawi! We would be lost without NHS (National Hamas Service)… jazakallah khair.

Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, brother Ahmad. Remember, Al-Quran says: go forth and multiply Malthus jayay tail lenay.

Not sure what secret code language the last 4 words of this prophecy are in. Scholars of all 4 maddhabs are at it in Al-Azhar..

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Jaggu

This satire of what you think is Islam is not funny anymore.

Jaggu
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Janitor bible says: Every audience has a variety of tastes.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

You aren’t a janitor and you aren’t funny. You are, in fact, quite ridiculous.

Jaggu
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Janitor quran says: Smite those who ridicule your faith, for there’s nothing less ridiculous, ye faithful, than the illiterate Prophet who hears angels in a cave and rises to the heavens on a winged horse!

Jaggu
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Janitor bible says: love thy ridiculous neighbour for you may look as ridiculous to him.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

Why should world help Palestinians? Tell me 2 good reasons why the world should it be giving more preference to wars in Africa or malnutrition or issues of slavery still going on . Why should the fate 700000 Palestinians who left he state of Israel in 1948 and their progeny should be bothered about when far more populations movements under far worse circumstances need not be bothered. Take India-Pakistan people movement itself during 1947-48. Sikhs are not demanding the Right of Return to where they born or from where they were driven out. So also Muslim refugees from India . Can Sri Lankan Tamil refugees – about 500000 – who had to leave SL due to ethnic conflicts , can they demand a Right of Return to Srilanka and their own possessions. In the aftermath of the second world war , there were probably 100 million people who were uprooted and leave the country of birth. The have been settled and the world is not helping them. In fact the Jewish movement post 1945 to creation of the state of Israel, I see it as part of post WW2 relocation of people. 700000 Arabs who left Israel in 1948 could easily have been absorbed the huge arc of Arab countries or even in other Muslim countries , if Umma has any meaning. No, they are left to rot so that a permanent sense of victim hood can be created.

Kabir
5 years ago

They didn’t “leave” Israel. They were ethnically cleansed from Palestine!

Jesus Christ! It is 2018. Why am I still having to explain the Nakba and the Naksa to people?

You Hindutva people are just anti-Muslim and on the side of the Zionists because they are anti-Muslim. Birds of a feather flock together.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

We can debate whether Arabs left or expelled or ethnically cleansed , the overall evidence is not clear cut . The fact is it was a war zone

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_1948_Palestinian_exodus.

There are few good history series on those events
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQHlRKMfYHo&index=6&list=PL5324780B9584A861
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKLucDqEeKA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0IqElS6pMw&t=345s

The question is why should that debate /memory be given more importance than what has happened in the subcontinent, where far more people were killed and ethnically cleansed and what lessons can we learn . I could not care less what happens between Arabs and Israelis – that gives me a neutral PoV.

To start labeling a complex piece of history – that too far away from the subcontinent – as Hindutva view is to refuse to learn anything new.

Kabir
5 years ago

I have extensively researched Palestine. It’s kind of condescending of you to think that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

For example I have written this: https://kabiraltaf.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/goliath-life-and-loathing-in-greater-israel/

And this: https://kabiraltaf.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/citizen-strangers-palestinians-and-the-birth-of-israels-liberal-settler-state/

There was a Nakba. 700,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed. This is not a debate. The Israeli Historian Illan Pappe has written a book called “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” which you can read if you want to have an informed opinion.

The main difference between Palestine and British India is that in British India the representatives of the Muslims (League) of the Hindus (Congress) and the colonial power agreed on Partition. Yes, it was badly handled but everyone agreed Muslim areas were going to Pakistan. Kashmir is a mess but that’s because it wasn’t part of British India. If it had been, the Valley would be Pakistani today.

In Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs refused the Partition Plan. The Zionists said “So what” and took over anyway (and took over more than what the UN had promised them). You look at maps of Mandatory Palestine, of Israel in 1948, of Israel in 1967 and today and you see that Palestine has basically disappeared. You don’t have to like Muslims to recognize the great injustice being done to the Palestinian people. You just have to be a decent human being.

You keep calling the Palestinians “Arabs” like they are some generic “Arabs”. They are Palestinians. Palestine belongs to them. My God, this level of Zionist bullshit is still being sold in 2018!

And the fact that you go to YouTube for history lessons is just pathetic. Read an actual scholarly book for Christ’s sake.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I have to agree with Kabir on this though I don’t believe in the nation-state per se

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Looks like a long and painstakingly written comment of mind might have gone to the spam folder. I will be grateful if it can be retrieved from there.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

It’s been retrieved.

Nationalism in general is a very bad idea.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

Thank you very much Zack.

I think both you and Kabir are very nice people. But we clearly differ on many beliefs. The difference is mostly in how we interpret the world, its dynamics, the directions and accelerations of its constituents, not in the abstract ethical axioms I think.

I am aware that I am a very limited human being, I have frequently been biased and wrong in the past (often my past views seem comical to me myself), and it is very possible that I am wrong now also. But each time I tend to go by what seems, according to my limited perspective, reasonable to me, even if that means writing outlandish-seeming stuff, at least until someone does the difficult task of actually explaining to me why I am wrong (which doesn’t happen very often, alas).

I appreciate your tolerance of my expression.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

(Sorry, long comment follows).

Tell me 2 good reasons why the world should it be giving more preference to wars in Africa or

Let me explain why this is the wrong question to ask. It is insightful to study the outlook of our non-Islamist moderate Muslim friend Kabir here. He disapproves of both Muslim ill-treatment of non-Muslims (see his comments on Pakistan) as well as non-Muslim ill-treatment of Muslims (see his comments on India or Israel). The difference between these disapprovals was alluded to by you in one of your comments above:

(i) In the former case, he clinically registers his disagreement; while
(ii) In the latter case, his blood boils (also you are a Hindutvavadi Zionist and he is not an Islamist).

My claim is that this is the natural attitude, and not the liberal one or the “genuinely equal opportunity” one that tries to calibrate the extent of angst in proportion to the extent of injustice. At this point I feel compelled to state: I am not trolling, I am dead-serious, and I will take some amount of time out to explain.

Why do I say so? It is a given that we all prioritize our own lives more than others’. Issues that affect us personally are given far more weightage by all of us. This is true of you, this is true of me, this is true of Kabir.

In practice, the world is mostly not run by impartial agencies or forces of justice, but by interest groups. Any justice is actually a happy coincidence that occurs when extant interest groups get to be aligned, as a primary, secondary or tertiary effect of economic development, in particular ways (as happens to a greater extent in western countries than in our countries).

VC and most other people from a Hindu background, and almost all liberals, model their theories with an implicit bias in favor of the former assumption about world being run by forces of justice (which is entering their calculations without them realizing). This is why they are routinely biased in favor of theories that appear theoretically coherent on paper, and ask questions like “why should anyone…” above, as if considerations of “should” is what actually motivates people (everyone is trying to protect themselves). To be fair, this assumption is actually a decent map of reality in many western contexts due to what I mentioned in the above paragraph. In contrast, Kabir’s calculations are implicitly informed by the well-being of his primary interest group, namely Muslims. This is what works well in practice in most contexts.

VC, just ask yourself why so many Hindus are more concerned about Palestinians than about Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh? The reason is that Muslim realpolitik gets their concerns a far wider hearing than the causes of other interest groups, namely, they get a vastly unparalleled cognitive capture.

Since these claims might appear outlandish, let me try to illustrate the above points by means of some relatively recent (2-3 years) incidents in India.

First consider the Kamlesh Tiwari incident. Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested for derogatory comments on the Prophet, and even after he was arrested, lakhs of Muslims came to the streets and protested – they were not protesting the arrest of course, but were demanding death penalty for him (one of the banners in the link above says: “Gustakh-e-Rasool ki ek hi saza sir tan se juda”). And they got away with this explicit call for violence.

Now you might claim that this yet doesn’t show discrimination in favor of Muslims, so let me give the next example. A facebook post by a minor debasing Islam led to the Basirhat riots, and the Muslim riots led to the death of a Hindu individual, Kartik Ghosh. As before, the police arrested him (allegedly tried to book him as an adult but I won’t press this point as you won’t believe anything opindia says), and the rioting mob demanded as usual that the accused be handed over to them; being punished by Indian law enforcement is not enough.

And none less than a BJP MP, Babul Supriyo, supported punishing the minor for that post. All those liberals who quote Voltaire, well, hardly even quoted Voltaire. Contrast with the minor-at-the-time-of-crime Muhammad Afroz of the brutal Nirbhaya rape notoriety, who was readily tried as a minor (now he is apparently out of prison and is working under a different identity [link]). How many Hindus rioted for his head?

Indian media largely kept away from covering the Basirhat riots initially, and and started covering it the moment realized that they could rather focus on how Hindutva folks were communalizing the issue (so most of the time it would be Hindus who are blamed), never mind that it was a Hindu who lost his life.

This is why Hinduism is on a steady route towards extinction in India: instead of the healthy moderate Muslim Kabir-like attitude of understanding how things work on the ground and actually lobbying for your interest group realizing that all successful groups work that way at least unless you are in a super-developed country, they want to show off their virtues and appear neutral, conforming to liberal principles. That doesn’t translate to neutrality on the ground, in fact it is against neutrality on the ground.

It should be obvious to any child that in India, active lobbying of interest groups plays a big role in getting your way, and not quoting liberal principles. The latter is, in a suitable analogue of Darwinian terms, suicide. That is what happens when you ignore survival instinct in favor of your narcissistic respect-craving.

leopard
leopard
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Excellent comment.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

I think you misunderstand my position so let me clear it up. Thanks for your patience.

1) I don’t like religious states–any religious state (including the so-called “Islamic Republic” of Pakistan). I was raised in the US and I am an American. I believe that your religion should be kept in your house and outside you should act like a good citizen of whatever country you happen to live in. I respect everyone’s right to whatever they want to believe and I resent when their beliefs are shoved down my throat.

2) At the same time, I recognize that religiously-based states exist. This is reality and yes, the Pakistani people have a right to define themselves however they wish, though this definition is not fair to non-Muslim Pakistanis. Civic nationalism would be better in my opinion.

3) The Israeli people can define themselves as they please. The main difference though is that there is an actually legally recognized Occupation of Palestine going on. I don’t care what Israel does inside the 1967 lines (though they treat Palestinian Citizens of Israel in a shameful manner). But outside the 1967 lines is Occupied Territory. I don’t care about the Palestinians only because they are Muslim. There are many many Palestinian Christians (Jesus of Nazareth was the first one) and they are just as big on getting Israel off their land as the Muslims are. It’s a nationalist conflict between Palestinians and Zionists which is too often looked at as a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews.

4) One can argue that there is an Occupation in Kashmir ( I would argue that). However, the UN calls Kashmir a Disputed Territory and not an Occupied Territory. Kashmiris vote in India. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza don’t vote in Israel. India has also not moved a whole lot of Hindus from other parts of India to go and live in Kashmir at state expense. Israel has moved Jews to live in the West Bank and they are heavily subsidized by the State. Kashmir is also a conflict between two sovereign nation states. The Palestinians are stateless.

I would appreciate my religious views not being misrepresented in the future. I think any decent person should be on the Palestinian side, no matter what their religion. It is interesting that India is largely abandoning its previous principled position because Modi and Bibi are best friends and both hate Islam.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

How exactly did I misrepresent you?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Read the comment. But the short version is I am not a “moderate Muslim” (which is a stupid and meaningless term). I am a fiercely secular human being raised in the United States of America. I hate Hindutva, Islamism and Zionism. All are horrible ideologies. Majoritarianism is bad.

I happen to be Muslim because I was born in a Muslim family. That’s pretty much it. “Cultural Muslim” is a thing.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

No no, that is not the comment at all. I explicitly refer to you as a moderate Muslim (as opposed to your claim that I say that you aren’t one); I not only call you so, but I also mean it, imply it, suggest it. I don’t say or sneakily suggest that you believe in any majoritarianism.

If the word “moderate Muslim” is meaningless, you can replace it by an appropriate analogue; there is nothing negative about the sense in which I use it, whatsoever. And no disrespect.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Excellent comment –

Kabir
5 years ago

“Moderate Muslim” is ridiculous. It’s meant to imply that “Muslims” without the adjective in front of it are extremists. We don’t talk about “Moderate Christians” or “Moderate Jews”. Think about why that is. We don’t talk about “Moderate Hindus” as if “Hindu” by itself means Hindutva. We are very careful to say normal human beings who happen to be Hindu vs. Hindutvadis.

I would prefer that people please stop focusing on my religion and engage with the actual ideas. Thanks.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

That’s another good point – what are your thoughts on the word Islamist?

My Egyptian-American friend once told me that there isn’t a word for Judaist or Christianist; the terminology simply doesn’t exist for that sort of thinking.

Kabir
5 years ago

Zack,

I think “Islamist” used in the narrow sense as in someone who believes in Political Islam is fine. Then it has equivalents. “Judaist” is not a word, but Zionist is. Hindutvadi would be the Hindu equivalent of Islamist. The Christian equivalent would be Evangelical.

When you use “Islamist” to talk about people before the 20th century is where we run into problems. It is in this sense that the word is often misused on BP to talk about certain Mughal Emperors….

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

“Moderate Muslim” … It’s meant to imply that “Muslims” without the adjective in front of it are extremists.

I think this is false. I certainly did not imply it that way (though, given that you accused VC of hating Muslims and claimed that he was a bird of the Zionist feather and did not apologize in spite of VC apologizing to you, I don’t expect you to trust me.)

Here is my theory about the word: The word quite possibly comes liberal tendency to claim that Islamist terrorism is usually the consequence of harming Muslims one way or the other, and the solution lies in more dialogue with the Muslims. If you want a republican to have a dialogue with Muslims, this word is a tool of persuasion to help the republican subconsciously sweep aside deep seated misgivings from a fraught cultural context, egging him on to try the experiment for once.

The word “moderate Hindu” then never gets used because no one wants dialogue with Hindus to hear them out.

The use of the phrase “moderate Muslim” doesn’t mean that the remaining Muslims are extremists, any more than saying “I May Be Poor, But My Heart is Rich” means that poor people generally have a poor heart. Certain turns of the phrase don’t evolve in a way the most catchy reverse-engineering suggests.

Kabir
5 years ago

froginthewell,
It’s not about you. I find the term “Moderate Muslim” very annoying. Forget about Hindus for a second. In the US, most people are (nominally) Christian. If asked to describe their religion, they would say they were Christian, not “Moderate Christian”. If we want to take about “extreme” Christians, we say “Evangelical”.

There is this assumption that someone who says he is simply a “Muslim” takes every word of the Quran literally. So to describe actual people whom White people may actually be friends with, we talk about “Moderate Muslims” or “non-practicing Muslims”. As if it is the practice of Islam–not particular fundamentalist interpretations of it– that is the problem.

Anyway, I don’t want to discuss Islam any more. We get quite enough of that in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

As for VC, since he is still finding some way to defend Israel shooting unarmed protestors on sight, I don’t really see the need to apologize for anything. The Palestinian cause is a red line for me (and it’s not because of their religion). It’s simply not done to support an Occupying Power against a stateless population.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

“As for VC, since he is still finding some way to defend Israel shooting unarmed protestors on sight,”

Kabir , I am taking a longer term view of the Arab-Palestinian issue and not just what happened in the last few days. From the beginning Arabs have refused any compromise on Israel and wanted to annihilate Israel. In 1948, the UN asked for a 2 state solution which Pals /Arabs refused. During 1968 War, when the Arabs were making warlike noises against srae, Israel asked Jordon to keep out of the conflict with the promise that Jordan will be left alone. Jordon joined the Arab-Israeli war and lost East Jerusalem. If East Jerusalem had been under an arab government , that may have mitigated some feelings of dispossession. After they lost 1973 war Egypt and Jordan decided to make peace with Israel. Jordan gave up authority over West Bank . From the 1990 , after the fall of USSR which was the ultimate guarantor of leftist thinking, most nations including India decided for full diplomatic relations with Israel, it was not BJP government which did it. If you have full relations with any country , you make use fully of the relationship for whatever it is worth ; that is what Modi is doing – Modi is not ashamed of approaching any country which India has recognized – that is fair and normal . There is no “Hindutva thinking” or anti-Muslim sentiment in it. Whether India-Israel rapprochement will ultimately benefit India , that history will decide. As in any business or politics , there are always risk and ultimate success cannot be guaranteed. There is nothing anti-Muslim in it. Wherever it has suited them , all Muslim countries have co-operated with Israel. In the UN, Musharraf was asking Israel not to attack Pakistan (i.e. nuclear facilities) – strange you are asking favours from a country which in your books does not exist.

As to how far Israel caused the needless death of Palestinians , I don’t know. Hamas has a history attacking Israel with rockets, digging tunnels into Israel for attacks, kdnap people , etc. They have also been inciting and leading ordinary people to ‘March into Israel’ knowing fully well such a move will only cause untold casualties for Pals from Israeli military .

Israel is a very small country with a population less than Karachi or Lahore. Pre-1968, their shortest width was 15 miles – so you can understand their vigilance and strategic thinking in not giving any quarter to those who wish for their destruction . That is why they are proactive in their defense.

Jews have not escaped from Nazi gas chambers to be made mince meat by Arabs or anybody.

Middle-east is a rough neighborhood, where you are killed or kill.

Kabir
5 years ago

VC,
Perhaps you should realize that History starts before 1948. European Jews had no business on Arab land in the first place. Even if they wanted to live there, they could have lived as guests like normal people. (There were Jews living in Palestine always but they lived with the local population. They did not attempt to displace the local population). But no, they wanted to take the whole place over. Would you meekly accept people like that in your home? Palestinians were not the ones who caused the Holocaust. There should be a “Jewish State” in part of Germany. Not on Arab Palestinian land.

I can see there is no changing your mind. You will defend the Zionists and I will defend the Palestinian people. History will show who was on the right side. Let’s quit while we are ahead.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

“You will defend the Zionists ”

Kabir

I am not defending Zionists , they don’t need me at all for their defense and I don’t defend anything other what I see as an unfair attack on India.. Zionism predates state of Israel . I am only finding the rationale for a UN Member , Israels’ actions and they have been consistently rational so far. I do resent so much of world’s attention gobbled by Israel which it does not deserve . If Israel had not come into being, I would have not bothered about it.

girmit
girmit
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

thanks for taking the time to articulate these ideas. this may not speak directly to them, but i feel it deserves emphasis that correlating subcontinental muslim group behavior (with which many here have more experience) to other regions can be misleading. I’m quite certain that palestinian muslims feel greater commonality with all levantine and possibly also chaldean/assyrian/coptic christians than they do to muslims from south asia and beyond.
The type of uncompromising in-group loyalty that indian muslims have is not unique if we see them as a caste. In fact, in highly colloquial contexts in south india i’ve seen that “muslim” is often perceived as just another caste with its own peculiarities. That is changing of course with the salience of distinct religious costume. Needless to say, most hindus reserve this uncompromising loyalty to their jati (extended clan) but not to hindus at large.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  girmit

Anecdotally close to where I live there is a large university that has many foreign Muslim students. What’s interesting is how all the Muslim students (from turkey, Arabistan etc) coalesce into one group with a common Muslimesque identity, interested in football speaking English as a second language and common passion (white/light women).

I haven’t seen many Asian Muslims in that group but this is simply observational since a few of these kids work for me.

Finally what is interesting is post 9-11 is how British Muslim identity is rapidly supplanting British Asian one. It’s a bit sad but very observable; in a white Britain we were all Asian, in a diverse Britain there are now two very discrete blocks ..

Kabir
5 years ago

I would tend to agree with Zack. There is a distinct “Muslim” identity. In my University in the US, we had a Muslim Students Association, a Pakistani Students Association, an Indian Students Association and a South Asian Students Association.

The MSA did Eid and Ramzan and Namaz and things like that. I stayed far away from them. The PSA did Eid and Ramzan and other “Pakistani” things. ISA was also quite parochial and since I’m not an “Indian” they didn’t want me. The South Asian Students were the coolest of the lot, doing Bhangra and Garba. Those were my peeps. Personally, I identify with my culture (shalwar kameez, Hindustani Music, Urdu) much more than with my religion. But I am aware that I am not the typical Pakistani.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Your culture is rooted in a distinctly Indo-Islamic ..

The approach to Pakistani identity is a bit like the King Solomon story and the baby; can you really severe Indic and Islamic when it comes to Pk

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

It is better that British Muslims are identified as such . so far things Rushdie witch hunt or Grooming Gangs of White girls, it was mostly Pakistanis – but the media had to refer them as ‘Asians’ which is a meaningless word since there is so much divergence. This was fueling British backlash against all immigrants which was unfair

Kabir
5 years ago

Zack, the culture is rooted in an Islamicate civilization. That is true. As for what that has to do with following the religious rituals: IMHO, not much.

Sunil
Sunil
5 years ago

Read Israel Shamir’s articles for the truth about jewish views of Palestinians and non-jews.

http://www.unz.com/author/israel-shamir/

Shafiq
Shafiq
5 years ago

Palestinians suffered a great injustice. There have been many injustices in the world. Most injustices remain un-redressed. There are few people in the world whose blood boils at the extinction of Tibetan statehood, culture. They know China is a monolith, near-superpower who is unswayed by wailing and gnashing of people around the world. Meanwhile China treats it Muslim minorities most atrociously. One can argue that it treats them worse than Israel does to West Bank Palestinians. However, blood of Muslims in China’s house slave Pakistan seem to remain very cool with all these news about Muslim minorities in China.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Shafiq

Exactly. Blood boils are selective , directed by power holders in each country. Yemen is relentlessly bombarded by other Arab countries with even more disastrous consequences than Gaza , yet it is out of the radar . You don’t want to displease Saudi Arabia .

Shafiq
Shafiq
5 years ago

I am sorry for uncalled for sniping at Pakistan in my original remark. That was not appropriate in this context. However, the point remains.

I too feel indignant at Israelis. They flout common understood norms of democratic society with little regard but at the same time want to claim their place in the ranks of civilized democracies.
However, Palestinians and Muslims should know what is realistically possible. Israel will never agree to a two state solution with full sovereignty because they feel (quite rightly) that their small country will then face great security peril. They will also not agree to one state with equal votes because that will mean Palestinians taking control of the state. Israel will keep on maintaining the status quo indefinitely. Most of the world (West, Russia, China) will support them in that.

I do not know what Palestinian leaders tell their people about realistic prospects. I do not think they really tell them about the state of the world.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Shafiq

The Status Quo is not sustainable.Either a state of Palestine exists in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem or Palestinians will start demanding civil rights in “Israel”, effectively ending Israel and turning it back into Palestine as it was always meant to be. Separation is best for Israelis as well.

Increasingly, US Jews are getting frustrated with Israeli actions. Progressive except for Palestine is not going to be a thing much longer.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Shafiq

Shafiq, I am surprised to see the number of smart classical liberals (now you) who say the loss of “Tibetan culture” matters.

For the record, I personally think Tibetan Buddhism is a very, very intelligent religion (far more intelligent and insightful than all atheist philosophy put together in my view), but it also seems to have been extraordinarily oppressive. For instance, I have read that the Tibetan population had been declining due to excessive emphasis on monasticism, and that some huge percentage of Yak butter produced by Tibet was simply used to light lamps in temples.

I should confess that I haven’t really fact-checked these claims as the issue is not of that serious a concern to me. But if this is true, it would appear that PRC has done a huge favor to the Tibetans.

What are the perceptions on the Uyghur and Hui problems in the “Muslim world”? Is the former treated as an ethnic or religious issue?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

China does not allow the Uyghur to practice their religion, forbidding them from fasting during Ramazan, growing beards, using “Muslim” names etc. Of course, Pakistan isn’t going to complain, being China’s “higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans” friend. We and the Chinese both despise India and that brings us together. Never said we aren’t hypocrites.

Now that we depend more and more on CPEC, we will never question anything our master does. Sad but true.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Whoa, that connection between Nath Sampradaya and Tibetan Buddhism is really really awesome. I had no clue! I always considered Tibetan Buddhism to be of predominantly Bengali origins. Thanks a lot for this.

Do you have a good essay to read up on this (I do see lots of connections as I follow up, but these are sporadic, and one consolidated scholarly reference would be good)? I am also not able to find a reference for your assertion on “At least three of the four great masters who founded the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism…”

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

So for now I would only claim that three of them are.

Sorry, which three? I am not able to see the Nath connections from your rigpa links (which are very interesting, by the way).

I liked many of the names in the first list for their sense of humor, especially “7 ཀངྐཱ་རི་པ། Kaṅkāripa Kangkaripa The Lovelorn Widower” and “10 ཙཽ་རངྒི་པ། Cauraṅgipa Chauranggipa The Dismembered Stepson” LOL.

Edit: And more:

35 ཀུ་ཙི་པ། Kucipa Kuchipa The Goitre-Necked Yogin

61 བྷི་ཀྵ་ན་པ། Bhikṣanapa Bhikshanapa Siddha Two-Teeth

77 དཱ་རི་ཀ་པ། Dārikapa Darikapa Slave-King of the Temple Whore

80 ཀོ་ཀི་ལི་པ། Kokilipa Kokilipa The Complacent Esthete (we have a lot of them today!)
84 བྱཱ་ལི་པ། Vyālipa Vyalipa The Courtesan’s Alchemist

A lot of things about India I don’t seem to find in Sanskrit literature, a whole treasure trove of those things, can be found in Buddhist literature referring to India, often from other countries.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Most people talk only about Arab exodus from Israel. Around the same time 700,000 Arab Jews from Maghreb to Iraq were expelled or fled . Jews had to face anti-semetic riots in many Arab cities
in a sense it was a population transfer of Arabs and Jews much like Greek and Turkish population exchange in 1921 from present day Turkey and Greece after the chaos of the 1st world War.
Hundreds of millions people have been made homeless and driven from their lands in 2 world wars , yet all those displaced people have been resettled and forgotten.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Arabs don’t need to apologize for anything. When Israel was created, the Mizrahi Jews moved there. All the problems begin with the existence of Israel. There is no excuse for them to be there in the heart of the Arab Middle East. I am disgusted by people like you who try to equivocate on this issue.

Israel systematically alienated Mizrahi Jews from their own language and culture. Data shows Mizrahis are more racist about Palestinians than Ashkenazi Jews. Cognitive dissonance and internalized racism live.

Never defend Israel to me while they kill the Palestinian people every day. That is beyond disgusting.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

I don’t care what happened before the Nakba. I don’t care about what happened to Arab Jews (mostly as a result of the creation of a “Jewish homeland”). There is absolutely no excuse for the continued Occupation of Palestine and no excuse for unarmed demonstrators who are still in Gaza to be shot on sight by snipers in Israel. If you read this entire thread Mr. VC justifies Israel’s actions over the last few weeks as “protecting their border”. First, there cannot be a “border” between Occupied Territory and the State Occupying that territory. Second, nothing will ever justify shooting unarmed protestors. This is sick.

Do some research. Mizrahis hate Palestinians more than Ashkenazis do. OMG, people it’s 2018. Please wake up to reality!

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Kabir :Mr. VC justifies Israel’s actions over the last few weeks as “protecting their border”.First, there cannot be a “border” between Occupied Territory and the State Occupying that territory

Kabir

Israel is not occupying Gaza now; under Oslo accords Gaza was returned to Palestinians. All Israeli settlements in Gaza were removed in 2005 to the utter consternation of the Jewish settlers and handed to Palestinians. So, the latest Hamas move is to overrun 1967 borders by sending hordes of people to jump over it.

Mahatma Gandhi has no takers there ; so don’t expect non violence from either side.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

AnAn “This is a clever tactic by Hamas”

Is this a clever tactic knowing fully well it is not going to succeed and will result in huge Palestinian casualties ?
Stampedes , apart from Israeli actions , can kill lot of people. It happens all the time in Pilgrimage places , in India or even in Mecca itself. Mecca stampede of 2015 is estimated to have killed 2000 people. When a concentrated mass suddenly begins to rush helter skelter , hundreds of people can be killed, even able bodied ones.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Mr. VC,
Actually under International Law, Israel is still the Occupying Power in Gaza. Israel controls the airspace, the land borders (there is one land border that Egypt controls), imports/exports, entry/exit etc. By definition, this makes Israel responsible for the Strip. If you think that Gaza is not Occupied perhaps you should alert the United Nations that they don’t understand International Law! (Isn’t it easier to believe that you don’t understand the situation and the UN knows what its talking about? Yeah thought so).

The fact that you don’t know this extremely elementary fact means that you have either swallowed the Zionist propaganda hook line and sinker or you are just phenomenally ignorant. It would take too much mental effort to figure out which is which. Namaste.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Kabir:The fact that you don’t know this extremely elementary fact means that you have either swallowed the Zionist propaganda hook line and sinker or you are just phenomenally ignorant

Kabir, I can follow your example and quote some Israeli writer (in fact lots of) to say Israel has given up Gaza to Pals. But I won’t do it.

As long as Palestinians , or an influential section of them, think that Israel has no right to exist or in any case it can’t be a Jewish state, Israel is going to dig itself . With every year of no genuine peace, Palestinians will suffer more than anyone else. that is why other Arabs like Jordan or Egypt came out of the confrontation.

Ideally Gaza can be part of Egypt, but Egypt does not want it as Gaza has become a poisoned chalice – Egypt has enough problems on it’s hand with Islamic State and Ikhwan. Last thing it wants is Hamas.

Meanwhile be a guest of BP and rant against Occupation and Occupying powers – as long as it does not refer to Chinese or Saudis or Iran . Israel is a ready made punch bag for soft headed people and tear jerkers all over the world.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Kabir, First of all, I know (almost) nothing on the Israel-Palestine issue, but would like to synthesize some understanding from your discussion with VC in this thread. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Question 1: Do you agree with VC’s claim that “Around the same time 700,000 Arab Jews from Maghreb to Iraq were expelled or fled.” (possibly with 700,000 replaced by a smaller but still significant number, say several tens of thousands?)

If your answer to this question is “No”, I have no further question, though would appreciate a link that clarifies this point (you don’t need to give one if you don’t wish to, of course). On the other hand, if your answer is “Yes”, then the next question:

Question 2: Consider your comment “All the problems begin with the existence of Israel.” Does this mean that, given this question is being asked only under the assumption of your answer “Yes” to Question 1, you consider the expulsion[Edit: I mean expulsion or being compelled to flee – I don’t know, so you can correct me] of Jews from Maghreb to Iraq to be a justifiable response to the violence involved in the creation of Israel? (I presume that the word “Arab” here is used in a very generalized and loose sense to include Maghreb to Iraq).

If your answer to Question 1 is “Yes” and that to Question 2 is “No” (otherwise I have no further question), then I have a third question:

Question 3: Would you still think “Arabs don’t need to apologize for anything.”?

Thank you.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Yes, “Arab Jews” were expelled from Arab countries (including North Africa). This was a reaction to the creation of a “Jewish State” in what was always historically Arab land. ( A lot of North African Jews also moved to France, their former colonizer). The thinking was that since the Jews have now taken over all of Palestine, let them get out of our countries. This is like Partition. Since a Muslim country existed next to India, the Muslims were supposed to go there. Hindus and Sikhs left Pakistan. There is nothing that weird about this. Greece and Turkey had an official population exchange at the end of their war. All Christians (even those who spoke only Turkish) were sent to Greece and all Muslims were sent to Turkey. There are probably lots of people in India who think each and every Muslim currently in India should have been sent to Pakistan in 1947. Certainly, lots of Pakistanis think we would have been better off if every Hindu and Sikh got out of Pakistan.

Is it justifiable? Ethnic cleansing is not good, ever. However, the whole issue arose because the Zionists took over land that was not theirs and was never theirs. They are not the natives of the land. The natives of the land are the Palestinian people. It’s not like Pakistan, where some British Indians moved from one part of British India to another (and most people who are in current day Pakistan didn’t move but have always been on this side of Wagah). The Zionists are Europeans. One look at their faces and you see that. What the hell are Europeans doing in the Arab Middle East? Yes the Holocaust happened. But why are Palestinians being punished for what the Germans did? Arab land has been stolen, Arabs have been dispossessed, Arabs are being killed. Any residual sympathy from the Holocaust has long since faded away (at least for me). The Israelis have turned into the oppressor and the Palestinians are the oppressed. Defending the “Jewish State” of Israel today makes someone no better than someone who defended the Apartheid Regime in South Africa.

So no, Arabs have nothing to apologize for. It is the Zionists who need to get back to their side of the Green Line and move all their (500,000) Jewish settlers out of Occupied Palestine. They need to start acting like a civilized country. East Jerusalem must be given back to the Palestinians. No compromises.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Kabir, Thanks for your response. Regardless of anything else, it is quite informative.

I still have some questions/objections, but may be they can wait for another thread.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

“Palestine is a serious issue and clearly you have zero qualifications to comment on it. I am so done with you. I can’t even.”

Your moral posturings don’t amount to any qualification. Palestine is to be sorted politically between Palestinians and Israel , so basically you have no locus standi in that as you are neither an Israeli or a Palestinian ; all your moral hot air don’t mean anything.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago

The end of apartheid only came about because of international pressure. It’s only when an issue is internationalised is there any pressure on the stronger party to act fairly..

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I am a Muslim. Al Quds Al Sharif is a Holy City for me. Al Aqsa Mosque is Holy for me. There is a reason that Palestine is an Umma-wide issue.

More than that, I am a human being. I see a Stateless population being persecuted by one of the most modern armies in the world. To me, that seems to be a problem.

Plus, I have done the research and read the books, as is evidenced by my writings. So yeah, I know more than you on this particular issue. Anyone who relies on Wikipedia for knowledge about a major international flashpoint has serious problems.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Kabir: More than that, I am a human being. I see a Stateless population being persecuted by one of the most modern armies in the world. To me, that seems to be a problem.

Kabir, I am wholly with you on this and this is a meeting point. Issue of Stateless people must be solved.

It is fairly simple from my view point. Give Palestinians citizenship in all Arab and may be Umma countries and be done with it. After all western Europe is prepared to give asylum and citizenship to millions of Arabs who differ from them in language, religion, culture and climate. Why not Arab countries, with whom they have the same language, culture, food habits and the same climate.

In spite of Jinna’s promise on minorities in newly created Pakistan who made up perhaps 24-30% , many of them left and India had no reservations in extending hospitality and citizenship for refugees from Pakistan instead of using refugees as excuses for more confrontation. That is what Arab countries can do.

What India can do, Arab countries can do.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

VC,
You are still missing the point. Palestinians are not Jordanian, or Egyptian or Lebanese. They are Palestinian. They want and deserve their own country. The compromise is that that own country will be on 10% of their homeland (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem). Israel is not going anywhere. I am not advocating throwing people into the sea (or whatever it is that you think Hamas says). The whole point of the Two State Solution (which Israel has basically killed) was “two states for two peoples”. That’s why the whole world was behind it.

Lumping Palestinians together with the surrounding nations as generic “Arabs” is frankly really offensive. It’s like calling Nepalese and Sri Lankans “Indians”. They aren’t going to like you much if you do that. Pakistanis certainly don’t like being called “Indians”.

Pakistan and India signed a treaty regarding migrants in 1951. The Liaqat-Nehru pact, I believe it is called. But they were both sovereign countries. Palestine and Israel can work out a lot of things but Israel first has to be willing to let Palestine exist.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Yes lumping Palestinians and Arabs is very disingenuous.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

“Kabir:You are still missing the point”

Kabir, that is fine if not I am getting the point.

There are nations and nation states ; the former does not necessarily lead to the latter , in any case in the way the nationalists want.

I can give an example of Srilankan Tamils. They – or a militant section of SL Tamils -thought that they constitute a separate nation and they deserve a separate nation state . The militant groups went on a All-or-Nothing war to get separate SL tamil national state called Eelam. They ended up with nothing – literally nothing and many of them were killed . They did not realize nobody , including India , wanted a political division of Srilanka. Tamil militant groups had even more loyalty and sacrifice for their cause than Palestinians , all that came to nothing.

History is not always a straight path from idea to reality.

Land of Heart’s Desire ‘door ast’

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Thanks. What percentage of the Palestinians, if any, do you think will be genuinely happy with a two-state solution? And how influential are they as far as persuading the remaining fellows is concerned?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Of course Palestinians want to “live life”. They are human beings after all. But its a little difficult to live life when your country is Occupied.

Same thing applies to the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Stop worrying about the “Pakistani Civil War”. It is not your problem. It is our problem and we will deal with it.

Worry about your own Hindu Rashtra. Plenty of issues there for you to spend your life waffling about. As hoipolloi said on another thread “A word to the wise” is enough. The persecution of Indian Muslims in Bharat Mata is disgusting. The Occupation of Kashmir is disgusting. Your Prime Minister, Lord Voldemort, is a disgusting excuse for a human being (if he can even be called a human being). The people who voted BJP are disgusting. Fix all these issues and then come and talk to Pakistanis.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I do think the only solution to

Chechnya
Palestine
Kashmir
Mindanao
Pattanay

Is a much stronger OIC. I can’t understand why the OIC could not be like the EU; a common trade area etc.

Maybe they should resurrect a Caliph of sorts while they’re at it.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

froginthewell

It is not my claim , it is established historical fact. Read

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_and_Muslim_countries

Kabir
5 years ago

Yes,this happened. But it was a result (not a cause) of the creation of a “Jewish homeland” in a place that was majority Palestinian Arab.

Two wrongs don’t make a right in any case.

Kabir
5 years ago

Also, Wikipedia is not a good scholarly source. I fail undergrads for going to Wiki. Just a tip.

V.C.Vijayaraghavan
5 years ago

Kabir
Don’t underestimate Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliability_of_Wikipedia

“A study in the journal Nature said that in 2005, Wikipedia’s scientific articles came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of “serious errors”.[4] Encyclopædia Britannica disputed the Nature study,[5] and Nature replied with a formal response and point-by-point rebuttal of Britannica’s main objections.[6] Between 2008 and 2012, Wikipedia articles on medical and scientific fields such as pathology,[7] toxicology,[8] oncology,[9] pharmaceuticals,[10][11] and psychiatry[12] were compared to professional and peer-reviewed sources and it was found that Wikipedia’s depth and coverage were of a high standard. ”

I am not saying Wikipedia defines all possible knowledge. For a beginner/or even a serious reader , Wikipedia is a great resource. It presents both sides of an argument and gives lot of references which someone more interested can follow.

All your book references so far are given only to buttress your viewpoint ; especially if it comes from an Israeli, your side is presumed to have a greater weight. I can always give tons of books which give a different picture and claim I am a serious reader.

Kabir
5 years ago

Anyone can edit Wiki. That’s why universities (good universities) fail people for going to Wiki. For the sake of whatever god you believe in, go to a library. Stop doing your stupid IT job and get a real education.

Palestine is a serious issue and clearly you have zero qualifications to comment on it. I am so done with you. I can’t even.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

The Palestinians are right and the Zionists are wrong. This is my opinion. You will never change it. I think we should stop discussing this issue now.

There is never ever an excuse for one’s homeland being taken over by a European Settler-colonial State. This is completely immoral. God is not a real estate agent. I don’t care what the Torah says. The Middle East does not belong to people whose ancestry can be traced to Germany and Poland. No way in hell.

All we are now asking for is for the Zionists to get out of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This is not too much. They get to keep the rest of the land they stole from Arabs. If they kill the Two State Solution (presuming they haven’t killed it already) than the only alternative is a one-state in which Palestinians have the right to vote. That one-state will no longer be “Jewish” and will probably democratically get renamed Palestine (goodbye Israel!).

Our priors are too different on this issue. So let’s move on. I will always love the Palestinian people and hate the Zionists. Nothing anyone can say will change my mind. Certainly not while the Zionists shoot Palestinian children daily.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

No, I did not favor a one state solution. I want no Europeans on Arab land. The Germans should have paid for the Holocaust. Why are Muslims being punished? Why is Al Quds Al Sharif filled with European Jews? This is not on. I am not talking about native Palestinian Jews. They are natives of the soil. The European (and now American) Jews are a totally different story.

You people need to read. Until you read, I am wasting my time.

1) The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Illan Pappe
2) Citizen Strangers by Shira Robinson
3) Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal.

If you notice, all these people are Jews. Illan Pappe is Israeli. Yet they recognize that Israel as a country is based on the Nakba (the catastrophe) and the Naksa (the setback). If you actually have Palestinian friends, I’m surprised you don’t know this already.

I will be the first to admit I am not objective on this issue. I haven’t been objective since the 2009 Gaza “War”. The 2014 Gaza “War” (“Mowing the Lawn” as the Zionists call it) only made me hate the Zionists more. Their daily actions continue to cement disgust in my mind.

Because these things must be clarified (apparently): I have Jewish friends. American Jews are not the problem. Israelis are the problem. A lot of young Millennial American Jews are deeply deeply disgusted with the Israeli State. “Not in my Name” is one of their movements. I would never be so stupid as to blame a young American Jewish guy my age for the actions of the Israeli government. Israelis are the problem because they vote for Bibi Netanyahu. That’s on them.

The settlers could stay on as Palestinian residents subject to Palestinian laws. It would be up to the Palestinian people to accept this arrangement. There can be no more settler-only roads.

I think its pathetic that you called out your Hindutvadi and anti-Islamic friends to laugh at me. But if you want to play childish games, so be it. The level of anti-Islamic animus on this blog is sick and Zack needs to do something about it. Zachary is not a Hindutvadi. Neither is Razib. Omar also is not. But the rest of your peeps really do not like Muslims and they have made that very clear.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

The two state solution won’t happen anymore; a binational Israel/Palestine state is the only answer. A bit like South Africa; Afrikaaners aren’t doing so badly there are 20years post abolition of Apartheid..

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Zack,
I’m fine with the one state solution. It makes me very happy because it means the end of Israel and the end of the Jewish State. Demographics mean that a democratic secular state from the River to the Sea will be an Arab State and it will be called Palestine. Bye bye Zionism.

It is for this exact reason that the whole world has been trying to convince Israel to go back to the 1967 Lines. “Two states for two peoples”–Israel existing next door to Palestine. But since Israel has decided to kill that in favor of apartheid, they deserve to not have a Jewish State. If you add the population of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinian Citizens of Israel, there are probably more Palestinians than Jews (or there soon will be).

In any case Apartheid is not on any longer.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Nation states are overrated

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Nation states may be “overrated” but that is the system we have.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

The more I read the Palestine the more I see how Partition was/is a necessity.

Any nation state needs a unified High Culture; if that frays it’s only a matter of time when the nation splits.

It explains why similar peoples like the Yugoslavs or pre-1947 Indians could not stay together..

The problem in so many national narratives is that the heroes and villains are exactly opposite for most neighbouring peoples (historically until 1492 most wars were land-based and involved neighbouring countries invading one another).

Taking a step back the Phoenician sea-based empire really couldn’t match the Roman land-based one. I should read up more on sea-based and land-based.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Hello AnAn, How is your belief in the power of dialogue coming along? 😀 😀

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

“You can’t help Palestinians unless you carefully study all aspects of Palestine and Israel. Without understanding there can be no adjustment or help.”

I have written articles about Palestine and worked for a Palestinian-rights organization. I regularly follow +972 (a blog by anti-Zionist Jews and Palestinians). I grew up in a place in the US where there were lots of rich Jews. Their narrative was force fed to us. During the Second Intifada all Palestinians were seen as suicide bombers (To be clear, I don’t approve of the use of violence even in a resistance movement). Obviously, at home I learned that Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, that it was Muslim majority for a long time. So the narrative got corrected. But Israel’s actions since 2009 have shown most reasonable human beings that it is the Zionists who are the problem and not the Palestinians.

Israelis vote for Likud and for parties to Netanyahu’s right (if you can believe that there are parties to Netanyahu’s right). Avidgor Lieberman (who is I think the Defense Minister) thinks Palestinian Citizens of Israel should be expelled to Jordan. People who vote for these parties (Likud and Jewish Home) are like Indians who vote for Lord Voldemort or Americans who vote for Mr. Trump. They are part of the problem.

The only religion which consistently gets attacked on BP is Islam. You in particular have an unhealthy obsession with non-mainstream Muslims. Seriously, choose something else to focus on. You are not capable of fixing the “Muslim civil war” and it is so patronizing that you think you know better than actual Muslims. I wonder how much attention you pay to your day job (serious question)?

“I have no idea what a Hindutvadi is”–That’s because you are one. You people are sad. I think I have to stop reading this blog unless something radically changes. Please for god’s sake, study the Social Sciences. Desis are so bloody irritating at times.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

While I don’t think I am anti-Muslim, given the strange nature of my views I can understand if you call me anti-Muslim. But calling AnAn anti-Muslim is really really beyond the pale.

The evidentiary standards you rely on to let yourself call others anti-Muslim and those you rely on to accuse others of smearing you as an Islamist – these don’t seem very compatible with each other.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

AnAn has a history of supporting “atheist Muslims” (you’re either a Muslim or an atheist which is it?) and all sorts of other kinds of “Muslims”. Just not the normal ones who believe in Quran and Hadiths. Those ones he’s not super fond of.

There is a history on this blog of a disproportionate amount of “criticism” of Islam by those who lack advanced degrees in Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies or anything remotely relevant. Perhaps you all should examine your own obsessions. If Islam interests you so much, get an M.A. so that you are actually qualified to have a discussion. Or read a book.

I don’t see even slightly the same amount of critique of Hindus that there is of Muslims (or of Pakistan) on BP. A few months ago, Zack asked the non-Pakistani commenters to back off. It didn’t quite go as planned.

To be clear, I have no issues with regular Hindus. Please worship your many gods and goddesses. More power to you. I quite like some of your goddesses. But when you start voting BJP, then I have serious issues with you….

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

(1) You just wrote: “you’re either a Muslim or an atheist which is it?”

(2) Earlier in this same page you wrote: “I happen to be Muslim because I was born in a Muslim family. That’s pretty much it. “Cultural Muslim” is a thing.”

How do you reconcile (1) with (2)?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I’m not an atheist. I believe in Allah and in the Prophet of God (peace be upon him). I believe that there is only one True God. Atheists by definition believe there is no Allah. The minimum definition of Muslim is that you can sincerely say “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet”. If you can’t say that, you aren’t a Muslim.

“Cultural Muslim” means I don’t necessarily believe in prayer, fasting, etc. But that is really none of your concern.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

That definition would make me and the Ahmedis Muslim too

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

That contradicts (2).

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

No, that definition does not make the the Ahmedis Muslims. The mainstream understanding of Islam (both Sunni and Shia) is that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final prophet of God and that after him, prophethood has ceased to exist. The Quran is God’s last revealed text. Any religion coming after Islam is a false religion. That said, I do not think the National Assembly of Pakistan can usurp Allah’s authority and decide who is a Muslim or not. Allah will deal with Ahmedis in the afterlife.

froginthewell, whether I pray or fast is between me and Allah. I don’t have to justify myself to any human being. That you think being a “Cultural Muslim” is a contradiction shows how little you understand about Islam.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

If Allah is going to deal with Ahmedis in the afterlife I shudder to think what he’ll do to Bahá’ís ?

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Who knows what Allah will do? That’s why He is Allah and we are mere mortals.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

I never said anything about the notion of “cultural Muslim” being internally inconsistent, nor was my comment making any assumption about what Islam has to be. Nor did I ask you to justify your practices.

There exist comprehension problems here, and my trying to elaborate will send you off into more tangents, so it is better to leave it at that.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Yeah, you’re much less smart than you think you are. God you Hinduvadis are stupid.

I’m not the one with the comprehension problems.

I am so done with you people. If you are going to take over this blog that is going to be a problem.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

When you say “That contradicts (2)” you imply that I am internally inconsistent, which I then tried to explain. Clearly you didn’t get it.

This reflects your own lack of knowledge about Islam. Perhaps you need to acquire an actual Liberal Arts Education and then come back and talk to me? Otherwise, you are woefully underqualified. I am wasting my time with Hindutvadis and perhaps this blog has been overrun by Muslim-haters.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Thank you.

Could you please give a reference for “But they accept Milarepa’s guru Marpa Chökyi Lodrö and Marpa Chökyi Lodrö’s guru Naropa, and Naropa’s Guru Tilopa, and Tilopa’s Guru Vajradhara.”?

Are you using “Siddha” as a technical term associated to Naths here? Milarepa did not even go to India as far as I know.

BTW I was under the impression that Tilopa’s guru was one of those mystical female beings – perhaps a dakini though as opposed to a Yidam like Nairatmya.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Thanks. Your links clearly tell me there is a connection worth pursuing.

In your pdf, I am not able to see the introduction though 🙁

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Thanks. I didn’t realize the preface would be that deep into the book. I knew about the book of course, but never tried to find out what was inside it. I have a lot to read, clearly.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

(if Violet or Slapstik has thoughts on the latter part of following those would be appreciated as well; I am going off on a tangent).

Tamil being a language with I have a tiny bit of familiarity with, I would prefer a translation along with the text – but then the problem is, it will take far too long to read, not the least because my Tamil is very limited. But often even that doesn’t suffice for me, I might need a commentary.

At least this was the case with the Gita – it used to look stupid to me (or even more horrifyingly a random sequence of unconnected verses that made one wonder how a human being could be so incoherent and how others could assume it had sense). It started making some sense to me only after I started looking at some traditional commentaries.

You want smart people knowledgeable in Bayesian learning or cognitive neuroscience to be interested in our scriptures; but here is the fundamental problem: Our scriptures are not written in a way that invites smart people to read them. One needs either some spiritual intuition or put in tremendous upfront investment to even have reason to believe that they might contain anything valuable. In my case, my incentive for the upfront investment came from my Hindutva beliefs: I was invested in finding justifications for the Gita, which bothered me in multiple ways (and I wasn’t blessed with the shamelessness or dishonesty that would have helped circumvent these worries).

I have never understood why all our scriptures are uniformly written this way. A lot of Buddhist scriptures of all hues – Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana… are written in a way that appeals relatively more to smart people. This holds true not merely at the level of rigor, but also at the level of literary and architectural (e.g., why does none of our temples look like the Taj Mahal?) and other aesthetics: Hinduism seems almost designed to create an aesthetic and intellectual entry barrier for rational people. For instance, consider the names of those 84 Siddhas from which I quoted names like “Siddha two teeth” above.

Earlier I linked to Scott Alexander’s review of a Buddhist book, which you liked very much. Scott Alexander is about as smart as it gets, and so is the review. I never get to see similarly smart articles on Hindu texts, and I am tempted to believe that the problem lies in the way Hindu texts are the reason (although intriguingly, Edward Frenkel, who is likely far smarter than even Scott Alexander, claims to find the Gita insightful; but I haven’t been able to read any details on those views of his).

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

I erased part of what I wrote: names like “Siddha two teeth” are examples of how Buddhist literature can be inviting in a way Hindu literature isn’t. Or consider the story of Mila Repa which, even ignoring all spirituality, has so much aesthetic/literary value.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Thanks, may be I will try Tirumantiram when I get some days with enough free time. Between Tirumantiram and Sadashiva Brahmendral’s Yogasutra commentary, which would you recommend?

No unfortunately I don’t have any relatives into any of these things. Some of my relatives hear lectures by random swamis, but no one particularly pursuing a traditional method seriously.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय

I don’t have much time to contribute, but do occasionally visit and read anything interesting. I must say topics like the one you have chosen generate more heat than light. Not sure how much genuine debate (i.e. where each party is willing to consider the possibility that she/he may be mistaken) such topics – which polarize opinion on a set of pre-conceived political talking points – engender.

Anyway, here’s something of a disambiguation on the recent violence in Gaza that you may be interested in. If not, you can always delete this comment 🙂

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/262329/gaza-media-explainer

(PS: I’ll be in Boston and SF next month. Are any of you around?)

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/09/politics-isnt-a.html

(probably you knew about this already?)

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  AnAn

It is because many people tend to respond to perceived biases than the topic-at-hand. Cognitive bias is actually not an error in human thinking but a deep feature of learning, indeed of epistemology itself (cf. Popper’s “all observation is theory-laden”). In other words, learning (of any kind) is impossible without our Bayesian priors. What information to absorb (or throw away) depending on how it updates our priors is more of a creative art than science. For a student of science like me, it took years and years of training and scathing peer review (even mockery by older academics!) to hone the “baloney detector” and even then it can be pretty shitty at times…

So, it is not surprising that many people will simply respond to reject your piece (which I read in the FT too BTW) on Palestinian business simply because of your self-avowed love for Israel. The latter piece of information – bit of a political taint – automatically puts you in a category from which nothing useful can be learnt on the topic. Further debate (often acrimonious and petty) only reinforces the original notion, stands stiffen and none’s the wiser. Something froginthewell also sagely suggested. (Thanks froginthewell for the blog link – I hadn’t seen it before but agree with it)

But what’s special about that piece of information that, once’s divulged, leads to such polarizing (and predictable) dynamics? I think it is a fascinating question in cognition research, and I know far too little to comment intelligently on this topic. Suffice to say we all use certain thumb-rules or dicta in our lives which we outsource thinking to. Most religions are formed around these. And so are many skills we learn growing up, like cycling or driving a car. It seems that certain political notions also tend to acquire the characteristics of these thumb-rules and arguing through (or around) them is almost always pointless. Anyway, I have hit my 3-para comment limit so I will stop.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

AnAn Whitman

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

You are either with the oppressed or with the oppressor. Remaining “neutral” means you are by definition with the oppressor. You can decide who the oppressed and the oppressor are.

I know that the oppressor is the European Settler-Colonial entity known as “Israel” and the oppressed are the stateless Palestinian Arabs whose homeland has been stolen from them. History will prove me right.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

Nice comment, beautifully articulated.

Cognitive bias is actually not an error in human thinking but a deep feature of
learning, indeed of epistemology itself

Thanks, I am going to use this line often (for purposes you may consider nefarious :snicker).

Some of these are ideas I was familiar with – absorbed over a somewhat longer-than-should-have-been-necessary period through reading Taleb etc., in sporadic bits, though I wouldn’t have been able to express it the way you have. Is there such a thing as learning this sort of stuff systematically, say a specific work of Popper or so (my question may be too vague)? And is that sort of reading actually helpful in “thumb-rule-set optimization” or is that a skill to be picked up by painful practice as you seem to suggest?

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  froginthewell

Thanks mate.

I think my own knowledge of Popper was triggered by a philosophy course I took (in the humanities department!) during my IIT days. What I read sort of remained dormant until I read The Fabric of Reality by the Israeli-British physicist David Deutsch during my PhD days, lent to me by a physics postdoc friend from UCL. I have to say it rocked my world, turned by understanding of the physical world topsy-turvy and most importantly reintroduced me to Popper (and Turing) in a radically new light.

It affected me so much that I tried to (unsuccessfully) change my research topic to cognitive neuroscience after PhD. Had a lot of discussions with Turkheimer’s group over at Imperial. They used to run a complex systems theory seminar at Imperial, which I joined and learnt much there. But academic research funding is such a bitch! There used to be a great reading list of (downloadable) papers on Imperial’s complexity group pages – not sure if it had moved – googling may work. But I’d highly recommend that.

Anyway, I keep some track of literature (primarily via twitter and arxiv) and my daily work is in Machine Learning (though applied to finance). So there’s some overlap. Reading literature definitely does help, but painful practice has no replacement.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Very nice. Most people do research on completely uninspiring stuff. Also depressing how much work one has to do!!

Would you recommend reading Fabric of Reality as a good intro?

Also, once you know enough about, say Complex Systems Theory or Machine Learning to get into research in the subject, does keeping in touch with literature give you enough occasions for self-updations at a visceral philosophical level?

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago

Welcome back SS. Vidhi’s PhD is in Bayesian Learning; I think her latest paper (which is submitting on Friday) is in Gaussian processes.

But I agree with Kabir; the humanities are a very different skill set to the sciences in general.

I see a problem in this thread where Kabir is providing facts versus a lot of opinions.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय

I never left 🙂

I am a great admirer of uxorious men and try my best to be one myself. Your admiration for your wife’s work shows through and it is a great(!) quality, which sadly many South Asian men do not exhibit. [ML is a great (and hot) field and more academic research on it is always welcome. It wasn’t so, not in mainstream physics at any rate, when I was doing my PhD a decade ago but things have changed a lot since.]

I do not want to make this thread philosophical, but I wouldn’t characterize humanities as a different skill set from science. There are similar skills at work – same hard work, honest reporting of views, creativity, literature review of existing work, meta-problem of finding interesting problems to work on, logical thinking etc. A good historian or a linguist displays all the characteristics of a trained physics experimentalist.

But I could be flat wrong. My own views on humanities are primarily from discussions with my wife, who majored in medieval French and Spanish literature from Cambridge [I even went to lectures on Lorca when courting her ;)]. Maybe there’re some specialized skills that professors of humanities possess which scientists lack. It is possible I do not know enough to deduce those skills…

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago

Yes I’ve organised the Indian Female Scientist Society of Cam for Vidhi..

Violet
Violet
5 years ago

Shout out to fellow Bayesian researcher!

Are facts really useful when the dispute is about ideology? One can throw facts at each other but reach completely different conclusions based on what they intend to prove.

Kabir
5 years ago

The Humanities teach you to write well (which sadly you people don’t do). Also, they teach you that there isn’t one right answer. Unfortunately, you Science types don’t seem to get that either.

Science types are fine but you certainly aren’t going to make peace in the Middle East or write the great American novel. Stick to your own turf and leave the complex thinking to us. Thanks.

sbarrkum
5 years ago

Kabir says
The Humanities teach you to write well (which sadly you people don’t do). Also, they teach you that there isn’t one right answer. Unfortunately, you Science types don’t seem to get that either.

First of all science is a belief, with one exception, it is open to be proved wrong or corrected. I say science is belief because on cannot test all and verify.
In science there is no absolute truth, it is approximately correct under certain prescribed condition.

So things we take as true
a) Straight lines. There are no straight lines and by extension parallel lines.
b) 1+1=2 is a concept. There is nothing where one object is absolutely identical to the other.
c) Newtons laws are approximately correct for conditions humans deal with on a day to day basis.

My knowledge of Science stops at Relativity Theory, learnt 35 years ago as an undergrad in a Sri Lankan uni. String theory, I havent the faintest clue.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

Slapstik, A somewhat sociologically different aspect of the question perhaps: I have never understood why these cognitive skills or epistemic virtues or whatever are never part of a school curriculum; I am naively tempted to consider them as much more important than most of what school teaches children, perhaps more as a “personalized lab course” than as a theory course.

Is it simply the lethargy of educationists or because these ideas are difficult to inculcate except with painful practice? In fact I can think of many concepts I found easy to absorb only because my political biases incentivized me to absorb them, those might have been wasted on me otherwise.

Violet
Violet
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Teaching these cognitive skills is akin to teaching moral science at school. These are not easy to grasp even as willing adults ( I mean there are many people who abandon PhD).

There is a trend towards teaching “project- oriented” curriculum. But it takes a lot more effort by teachers, parents and students to do it. In the end, I am still agnostic about its usefulness.

It is hard to be a true Bayesian in practice. Children learn it better if the behaviour is modeled by adults rather than being told. And some adults don’t even consider updating their priors their entire lives.

The most hilariously universal updating happens with going from childless to being a parent.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  froginthewell

I think they are hugely important and to an extent all kids are taught some “baloney detecting” skills in an informal manner in schools or at home. Though Indian homes teach a lot of “baloney accepting” skills too (another story!).

I think the major impediment to the teaching of such meta-rules sociologically has been due to a lack of clear understanding and wider acceptance of what constitutes learning in the first place. Our primary school teachers have been left with a hugely important (and yet grossly underpaid) job of imparting extremely important skills to kids, which many educationists, pedagogical experts and neuroscientists actually understand very little of. We know some rudimentary principles: learning comes from letting kids make mistakes, encouraging them to ask questions, being patient with them etc but we lack a fully formed theory of why this should be just so. The principles of learning have not yet been neatly abstracted away in an algebra (like Newtonian physics or Paninian grammar)…

In fact, when we have that theory, it would be applicable to not just human kids but artificial ones too.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  froginthewell

@Violet

The most hilariously universal updating happens with going from childless to being a parent.

Haha :D. Truer words weren’t spoken.

Violet
Violet
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

,

Funny, I thought “baloney detection” is more conducive with Indian teaching. I mean school learning is so clearly different from reality that very few would accept anything as “truth”.

Children had healthy skepticism about everything even if they are forced to go along with it because “I said so” was never really an answer.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

@Violet, , Thanks very much for those inputs. There seem to be tests that can detect confirmation bias etc. Perhaps one can design series of exercises to at least keep working “baloney detection muscles”?

After all, gymming is not Newtonian physics or Paninian grammar either.

Regarding the remark on primary teachers: I assume primary teachers in India at least aren’t particularly trained on how they should impart these skills. Perhaps Finnish primary teachers do better?

[Question on the other comment because it is too late to edit that now: would you recommend to read an intro book to Complex Systems Theory?]

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Palestinians do not want the right to become “Israelis”. No one wants to join the oppressor. Which Palestinians have you been speaking to? They want Palestine back.

The one-state solution means the fake country that calls itself “Israel” will be replaced by a Palestinian Arab State called Palestine. That’s why the Zionists won’t have it and are trying to perpetuate Apartheid forever.

But since they have killed the Two State Solution by being greedy and stealing land, they have destroyed their only chance to be “Jewish and democratic”. You can’t be democratic while ruling over an Occupied people. I guess you can be “Jewish”, though that is really not my concern.

“Economic Empowerment” happens after the Occupation ends. First order priority is getting the Zionists out of the entire West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. They can stay in “Israel Proper”. It’s not the fault of young people that their entire country was built on land theft and ethnic cleansing.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

The Palestinian Authority is a collaborator class. Just as NC and PDP are a collaborator class in Occupied Kashmir. All Occupations have their collaborator classes. I’m surprised you don’t understand such simple things.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

If not for the PA’s “Security cooperation” with Israel, the Occupation would have become unsustainable long ago.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Like Kabir I also worship a Hindu goddess except mine is my wife 🙂

Kabir
5 years ago

Haha, if only Saraswati Devi was real 🙂

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Yeah no. There is only Allah. Everything else is a false idol. That is Islamic belief.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Also, women are supposed to worship the husband, not the other way around. In Pakistan, the husband is the “majazi Khuda” (the earthly God).

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

We do have different priors. I said that umpteen comments ago. This conversation (actually any conversation between people like you and people like me) is totally pointless.

“Product development” and all that jazz must wait until the Zionists are removed from Arab land. We have first order existential issues here. Palestinian babies are being killed by the Zionists. Ahed Tamimi is in jail for slapping an Israeli soldier (the same Occupation soldiers who put her cousin in a coma). Excuse me for not giving a damn about the Israeli “common heart or soul”. They have no heart or soul when it comes to how they treat Palestinians.

Violet
Violet
5 years ago

@froginthewell,

If you are seriously interested in application of overcoming bias rather than just reading about it, I suggest keeping a journal. (assuming you lean towards introversion)

Dr. Jordan Peterson suggests this for future planning too. Just like keeping track of reps and sets helps with lifting, you will notice the trend in your thoughts too.

You seem to be aware of overcoming bias and perhaps “less wrong” rationality. They discuss a lot about cognitive hygiene.

May I also suggest chaos theory by Gleick to get started? Depending on your background, course work in nonlinear optimization and nonlinear dynamics helps to get the fundamentals right for understanding complex systems theory imo.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Violet

Thanks. Now the problem is of plenty as far as options are concerned! I will take a look at reviews of Gleick and depending on that decide to read it.

Less Wrong sequences are too long :'( Part of my problem is that I can read very little, because I need my time with anything to absorb (always amazed at people like Razib and Scott Alexander, or even far lesser mortals than these who complete reading a novel in a day or two). It is easy to forget things, and usually the way I remember things is when they stick with me and irritate me, impeding my progress, which also means several months for a book. As for keeping journal, I guess I will need better meta-practices before that can be helpful (somewhat like a routine habit of making predictions to test one’s beliefs).

Thanks again.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

“Love is all there is.” How vaguely 1960s Hippie sounding. “Love is all you need”. I think that was the Beatles.

Come back to me when “Love” removes every single Zionist from every inch of Palestinian land. Until then these vague wishy washy words are meaningless.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

Also, quoting the Bible doesn’t impress me. This is a political problem not a religious one. There is a European Settler-Colonial State in the heart of the Arab Middle East. This is not on.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय

@Violet

Funny, I thought “baloney detection” is more conducive with Indian teaching. I mean school learning is so clearly different from reality that very few would accept anything as “truth”.

You really think so? I think Indian culture generally promotes a lot of conformism, idol-worship, respect authority and follow-the-leader memes.

Part of “baloney detection” (whether in real life or in code) is to test biases out-of-sample. The attitude of doing that as frequently and zealously as possible just is not inculcated in Indian schools. Indians (esp its middle class) are far too risk averse for that sort of thing lest bachchey bigaR jayengey. Or maybe I went to a lot shittier school that yours, in which case I envy you…

Questioning what your teacher drones on about is part of it. But it is also dependent on teachers to create space for genuine non-conformist thought. Eg how many schools discuss “why was nehru a terrible leader?” or “why shouldn’t India split into smaller independent constituents?” etc

Violet
Violet
5 years ago

,

(Sorry for long comment)
I think you went to better school and have higher expectations.?

All things learned in school are to spit out during exam and forget and to jump through hoops for economic stability. Expectations from school were very little in India. This leaves any education in your own hands.

There are plenty of superstitions that can be readily tested and lose faith in adults. (e.g. lunar eclipse). If you are aware of rules being broken without consequences and low trust society, alertness for bullshit detection is high.

I mean, there is no middle class auntie who trusts her husband’s reasons for expenses, maid’s story for absence or fruit vendors promise about freshness of their wares. Despite what they say about “good housewife”, I haven’t seen anyone believe that crap.?

I think people have unnecessarily high expectations of schools. I researched curriculum from at least three countries (parent thing wanting to homeschool ). All of them brain-wash children with patriotism or any fashionable education theory. Good luck debating why their country shouldn’t exist as-is or their leaders are great at school level. ( different at University level)

But IRL I heard adults grumble about Nehru and admire Patel. May be it is the South thing re Potti Sriramulu and Nizam. Some of the many things bungled by Nehru.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  Violet

@Violet

there is no middle class auntie who trusts her husband’s reasons for expenses, maid’s story for absence or fruit vendors promise about freshness of their wares. Despite what they say about “good housewife”, I haven’t seen anyone believe that crap

Sure, and I would add a whole load of saas-bahu intrigue, managing a complex network of relations and domestic power broking to that list. But that still is not much of non-conformist or creative thinking.

To give an extreme example, ants make fantastic ant-hill structures (either subterranean or overground) with very few simple and replicable rules. So an individual ant does not really do much thinking, but acts more like a dependable cog-in-the-wheel. Until a human comes along, studies the simple set of interactions between ants, models the system behaviour and looks at ensembles to understand emergent patterns.

Obv an Indian is not an ant. Far from it. But the economic necessities and constraints in a poor (and stratified) country means than an individual level an Indian isn’t doing much innovation. Simply role-playing based on handed down thumb-rules. So the bargaining with the fruit vendor has a simple replicable pattern to it, so does the prosaic back-and-forth with the house-maid. They are all largely bottom-up organized and changed very little in from since, say, the Moghal period or even earlier.

~

It is possible I may be expecting too much of schools. However, I do not think education can be left to parents in general. I think it is a service that has to be primarily organized by the state (ideally delegated to local govt), with private sector chipping in.

I think there is such a thing as good teachers and teaching skill/expertise. It is a transferable skill. Education or pedagogical theories may come in and out of fashion (and they probably will for the foreseeable future because of our general lack of understanding), but we do know some of the necessary conditions of what good teaching should entail. Call me a bloody socialist, but it takes nothing less than the resources of the state to deploy those skills and inspect and regulate them.

(apologies for the long comment.)

उद्ररुहैन्वीय

@froginthewell

I would suggest “Deep Learning” by Goodfellow, Bengio and Courville (assumes some basics of linear algebra and information theory), but you can also look at some of their publicly available lectures here:

https://www.deeplearningbook.org/lecture_slides.html

I would also suggest following Colah’s blog (the guy’s at Google Brain, fantastic chap!):

http://colah.github.io/posts/2015-09-Visual-Information/

And some of Henrik Jensen’s papers at Imperial:

https://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/~hjjens/

Enjoy!

PS: FoR by David Deutsch is bloody awesome for a full-on discussion on Popper’s and Turing’s ideas. So thoroughly recommended. I once started a review on this blog of the book, but it is so awesome (and deep) that I couldn’t move beyond a couple of chapters. I may cover it sometime.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

Thanks a lot for these links. I will start looking at perhaps the books (both deep learning and Deutsch) or the slides (I hope the information theory can be picked up on the fly from other sources if necessary), or, in case I feel lazy, search for video lectures on youtube.

Thanks again, much appreciated. I will look forward to the review you would post here; perhaps you can do the review in parts?

Kabir
5 years ago

An actual informed opinion about Palestine. This should set all your misconceptions to rest.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/05/15/what-the-gaza-protests-portend/

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

From the above mentioned article (since clearly most people are incapable of reading):

“The Israeli government’s references to “infiltrators” who threaten to swarm into Israel have little basis in the reality of Gaza as an occupied territory, and obscure Israel’s history of harsh reprisals against it. Absent from the official discourse is the fact that, under international law, Israel has a responsibility to protect those civilians living under its occupation. Absent, also, is the acknowledgement that Gaza is not a state bordering Israel. It is an anomalous space in which a non-Jewish population is penned for reasons of demographic engineering—namely, to safeguard the Israeli state’s ethno-nationalist aims. Recent data (from COGAT) suggest that more non-Jews than Jews now live in the land of historic Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Great March of Return is thus not just a story of Gaza. Israel’s fear of “infiltration” is not limited to a few Palestinians breaking through the fence. It is a deeper and more existential fear that dates back to 1948—a fear that demands for Palestinian rights, which Israel has long worked to marginalize, might infiltrate the consciousness of a restive population. It is a fear that defiance might seep back into everyday Palestinian life and undermine an occupation that has been designed to ensure permanent subservience. This goal was embedded in the architecture of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the main product of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the entity ruling over the West Bank, which is committed to expansive security coordination with Israel. Palestinians have grown increasingly disillusioned with the PA, viewing it as little more than a subcontractor to the occupation that puts Israeli security interests before Palestinian rights. Although originally planned as a temporary measure lasting five years, the PA has become a permanent institutional fixture of the occupation, subsuming the PLO and forfeiting Palestinian liberation in return for limited powers of local government.”

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

I certainly consider Buddha to be from our tradition, but just as there are differences in how followers of Shankaracharya write vs how the followers of Ramanujacharya write, there are differences between how Buddhists wrote traditionally and how the followers of the so called “Astika darshanas” write. The former, I was claiming, is more conducive to appeal to intellectuals. The moment Scott Alexander writes about the Gita the way he writes about MCTB, I will change this view 🙂

Though I do concede that part of the appeal of Buddhism to smart people comes from the way early Enlightenment Europeans portrayed it; however, this accounts only for part. Perhaps some more can be explained by the fact that most Buddhist texts available today were written in Sri Lanka or south east Asia or East Asia or Tibet, and not in India. Somehow articulation has always been a problem with Indians, with rare exceptions like Osho, and it is this that will be one of the factors that will contribute to eventually annihilating Hinduism.

Excellent quote of Swami Vivekananda, especially starting from “Of all the great religious teachers the world has known, only Lao-tze, Buddha, and Jesus transcended the golden rule and said, “Do good to your enemies”, “Love them that hate you.””

I also like “I cannot take belief as a basis; that is atheism and blasphemy.”

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Maurice Frydman is the closest name I can think of (apart from being a very unique and great spiritual personality, also a very important figure for the history of the Indian nation state, perhaps the one who set in motion the process by which the princely states joined the Indian union!! – though I am not happy about that as you can guess) – [link 1, link 2]. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find any books written by him: if he wrote books, not many seem to have survived. I am guessing he would have been a good writer because he seems to have played a role in the production of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I am That, and that book reads far better, more structured and sober, than either the youtube videos or the other Nisargadatta Maharaj books.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Looks like BP likes me too much these days, for another comment of mine seems to have gone into spam. This time I have it saved with me, and am repeating:

Maurice Frydman is the closest name I can think of (apart from being a very unique and great spiritual personality, also a very important figure for the history of the Indian nation state, perhaps the one who set in motion the process by which the princely states joined the Indian union!! – though I am not happy about that as you can guess). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find any books written by him: if he wrote books, not many seem to have survived. I am guessing he would have been a good writer because he seems to have played a role in the production of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I am That, and that book reads far better, more structured and sober, than either the youtube videos or the other Nisargadatta Maharaj books.

Here is the Wikipedia on him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Frydman

Here is some blog article, which seems inspiring in any case:

http://life-after-joining-ishayoga.blogspot.in/2014/09/maurice-frydman-his-life-story-your.html

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

Don’t worry about ur spammed comments since I approve them as soon as I see it’s spam..

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

@Zack: Thanks very much. Now the same comment has appeared has essentially appeared thrice (whether to delete the duplications or not is of course up to you): the reason I wrote again and again was that I didn’t want to trouble you to go into the spam folder. Thanks.

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

I enable ur comments from the mobile but I guess I have to go in the desktop and see why you are going to spam. I’ll keep the comments maybe there was something more essentially in the iteration..

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  froginthewell

My guess is that the second of the two links, i.e., from “life after joining Isha Yoga”, might have had some issues with the spam detector. That website seems to be full of all kinds of flashy seeming links. Thanks.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

My response to this comment seems to have gone into spam; I reposted with the links changed to a different format and yet again that seems to have gone into spam. So I am posting without the links hoping this time it won’t go to spam:

Maurice Frydman is the closest name I can think of (apart from being a very unique and great spiritual personality, also a very important figure for the history of the Indian nation state, perhaps the one who set in motion the process by which the princely states joined the Indian union!! – though I am not happy about that as you can guess). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find any books written by him: if he wrote books, not many seem to have survived. I am guessing he would have been a good writer because he seems to have played a role in the production of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s I am That, and that book reads far better, more structured and sober, than either the youtube videos or the other Nisargadatta Maharaj books.

One of the links was the wikipedia article on him, the other from a blog on life after joining Isha Yoga.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

None of you are trained in the Liberal Arts and that is your fundamental problem. Some of you barely write grammatical English.

Vikram thinks he can go on about Pakistan and Islam based on some article he read once. I know his background (It’s publicly available on LinkedIn). It’s in “Computational Science” (whatever the hell that is). He should stick to that and leave Pakistan and Islam and other such things to human beings who have actually studied Anthropology and Literature. How one can comment on Islam without research or a degree in Islamic Studies boggles my mind.

The Humanities are not meant for your average Indian. It’s sad but true. You people need to read the Western Canon and until you have done so you are all wastes of my time. I am sure your IT jobs are all very nice and you all know “Machine Learning”, but you know nothing about what it is to be a civilized human being. Only Literature, Anthropology, Sociology, etc teach you that. Jesus, some of you don’t even know the basics of International Law! Gaza is Occupied. Get with the program!

There is a difference between Education (from the Latin “educare”) and training. You guys are trained not educated. That is why I am so done with this blog. The Hindutva brigade is welcome to take it over and drag it down with them. Keep being nasty about Muslims and Palestinians. No self-respecting Muslim is going to give you the time of day very soon.

उद्ररुहैन्वीय
Reply to  Kabir

Even if you are right about every single criticism you have made above, the manner in which you have made it is quite condescending. Par for the course for the average joe, but frankly rather surprising to see it come from a person teaching at a uni.

Maybe you should write in detail about the origin of the Palestine conflict as you see it for the benefit of us who perhaps don’t know it as well as you do. Don’t let your distaste for the “hindutva-types” get the better of the teacher in you.

Kabir
5 years ago

I have written plenty about Zionism and the Palestine conflict. Not my fault if you are incapable of reading. The links have been provided several times. But it seems to go straight over people’s heads and here we are again. You guys go straight into the arms of the Zionists, no matter how much evidence is given to you of Israel being a settler colonial State that is killing Palestinian Children as we speak. But that’s fine. I know when I am dealing with people who can’t be helped. Israel hates Muslims. You hate Muslims. Ergo we “love Israel”. It’s actually quite disgusting. Also, I’d be careful who I accuse of condescension. Your entire writing style on this blog in the past has been full of condescension.

But for Slapstik’s sake, here is where the links can be found (Don’t say I didn’t try):

https://kabiraltaf.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/citizen-strangers-palestinians-and-the-birth-of-israels-liberal-settler-state/

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

If you don’t want to read something written by me because you don’t like me, you can read this by Mariam Barghouti, an actual Palestinian. It’s called “If You Ignore The Deaths in Gaza, You are Complicit In Our Slaughter”

http://www.newsweek.com/gaza-opinion-928597

Xerxes the Magian
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

+1

उद्ररुहैन्वीय

Even if you are right about every single criticism you have made above, the manner in which you have made them is quite condescending. It is frankly surprising to see it come from a person teaching at a uni.

Maybe you should write in detail about the origin of the Palestine conflict as you see it for the benefit of us who perhaps don’t know it as well as you do. Don’t let your distaste for the “hindutva-types” get the better of the teacher in you.

Shafiq
Shafiq
5 years ago

“How one can comment on Islam without research or a degree in Islamic Studies boggles my mind.” – This is one of the favorite last defense of the Islamists. They know they cannot defend Islam, Hadith, Quran adequately from the modern onslaught of rationality, history and humanism. So they play this last card to try to stop people talking.

“How one can comment on Islam without research or a degree in Islamic Studies boggles my mind. ” – Just imagine what a highest level of stupidity this is.
People don’t stop commenting on history with degree in history. … on politics with political science…. on Hinduism without degree in Hinduism …. on and on.
I wonder what sort of degree this specimen of a person has and what kind of comments he does.

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  Shafiq

You can comment all you like. But unless you have the proper credentials, no one needs to take your comments particularly seriously.

This thread is full of frankly idiotic opinions. Palestinians have been called generic “Arabs”. I have been told Gaza is not Occupied (as if the person who said this knows more than the UN). I have been told Israel is defending its “border”. This coming from people who don’t even know the terms Nakba and Naksa.

I’m sorry but if you are going to say stupid things, I’m going to call you out on your stupidity. If you are a self-hating Muslim, I’m sorry for you, but it’s not my problem.

Kabir
5 years ago

I do not and have never put up with stupidity. I don’t care if people don’t think I’m “sweet”. I will not turn my intellect off and be accepting of stupidity. No matter how many “eastern” sayings you throw at me.

Do not quote the Quran at me. It’s extremely patronizing.

Israelis vote for Likud. There is no hope for people who vote for Bibi Netanyahu or for those who would defend them. Not while the Natives of the Land are dying. I’m sorry, but NO. Palestine belongs to the Palestinian people not the Zionists. It’s sad you don’t get this. Or perhaps you don’t want to get this? Your Zionist friends do not belong in the Arab Middle East. They have stolen part of Palestine and in reality they will get to keep that part. But they damn well will leave the rest of it.

There is a huge undercurrent of Islamophobia on Brown Pundits. It shows up all the time. There is no need for me to start taking names.

“The challenges of humanity” are not my problem. I have no time for self-hating Muslims, Hindutvadis or Zionists. “Saving” people is also not my responsibility. People who don’t read,don’t do their research, don’t have liberal arts educations, and yet come here to say stupid things about how Gaza is not Occupied really are beyond help. If you think you know better than the United Nations what International Law is you are either an idiot or frankly delusional. In either case, it’s not my job to fix someone like that.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago

AnAn, You are asking Kabir “Please name one commentator at Brown Pundits who hates muslims”.

I quote from a comment of Kabir above, which might throw some light on his thought process on the issue:

AnAn has a history of supporting “atheist Muslims” (you’re either a Muslim or an atheist which is it?) and all sorts of other kinds of “Muslims”. Just not the normal ones who believe in Quran and Hadiths.

(I am of course not saying I agree with the last sentence: this whole article you wrote was about supporting normal Palestinian Muslims who believe in Quran and Hadiths).

Kabir
5 years ago
Reply to  AnAn

Abu Mazen (or Mahmud Abbas) is responsible for sustaining the Occupation. He often threatens to return the keys to Israel but he never actually does it. The PA actually helps Israel with “security operations”. He should return the keys to Israel and let them be responsible for their own Occupation. Then the world would actually see what they are doing. Abbas provides them with a convenient fig leaf “Oh the Palestinians run themselves”. Yeah, they actually don’t. Maybe he enjoys being “President” of the Palestinian Authority (which is not a country but a Bantustan) too much to return the keys. I don’t know. This is not only my opinion. Many knowledgeable people who live in the region have advocated this (see +972 blog).

You are not “pro-Palestinian” if you have the slightest bit of sympathy for their oppressor. Do you agree that each and every Zionist must vacate the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem? This is what the Palestinians want: for the Zionists to return to “Israel Proper” and allow a Palestinian State in what is left of Palestine (and under International Law has never belonged to Israel). If you think Zionists can keep living on Palestinian land, you are part of the problem and I am done wasting my time. Note I said Zionists and not Jews. Zionism is a racist and colonialist ideology. Judaism is a religion. I have no problem with Jews as such. Jews can continue to live in Palestine but not as settlers. But this is ultimately up to the Palestinian people and right now I think most of them are upset enough with Zionists to say that all Jews should be sent back to Israel Proper.

I have never advocated violent attacks against anyone and I don’t think you can point to a single instance of that. That is a smear.

As a non-Muslim who lacks a higher degree in Islamic Studies, it would probably be better for you to cease trying to interpret the Word of God in a way “consistent with love and light” (whatever that means). Leave our divine scripture to us. We know much more what Allah wants than Hindus do. If you don’t understand the fundamentals of Islam such as that Rasul-Allah (pbuh) is the Final Prophet of God and Prophethood as an institution is now dead (contrary to Ahmedi thought) or that anyone who claims to have come up with a “religion” after Islam is practicing a false religion , the idea that you can interpret the word of Allah is extremely pretentious and offensive. You need to learn how actual mainstream Muslims interpret Quran before you decide to interpret it to us.

I don’t go around trying to interpret your Gita. I just leave it alone and leave it to believing Hindus to sort out what it means.

froginthewell
froginthewell
5 years ago
Reply to  Kabir

The divinity of Quran is