Don’t vote for Hillary, Syrian edition

John Green asks a young Syrian girl if she lost any friends in the war and she starts crying in answer. He feels terrible for asking her the question but says since it’s international women’s day, he wants you to know,

“I want you to know there should be another sister here.”

Most heartbreaking line. Sadly the person directly responsible for starting the Syrian civil war, Kissinger’s favourite politician alive, Hillary Clinton, might get elected and start screwing up women’s lives around the world. Again.

Hillary Clinton is the perfect example of white privilege. Makes speeches so fine about human rights while pushing to bomb countries and arm militant groups around the world and is utterly unable to grasp why there is anything wrong with doing something she would find abhorrent done to her own country.

Lots of people in white world don’t get why Clinton is so bad, since they only care about what she says, not what she does. So here is just one incident which makes Hillary possibly the most despicable American politician alive. (there are many contenders for this title, and no, Trump isn’t anywhere close to the top of the list).

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State first armed and supported Assad then decided to fund a bunch of militant groups to overthrow Assad. She pushed Obama, the Pentagon and the CIA to continue training and funding militant group after group despite repeated failure, and many many US funded atrocities, and refused all ceasefire offers time after time as she wanted her pet murderers to kill Assad first.

The pet murderers failed time and time again and assembled together in one mass group now called ISIS, who to the end Clinton supported as she was hoping they would kill Assad, and obviously she didn’t give a damn about the millions of Syrians displaced in her attempt to out Kissinger Kissinger.

Clinton is a well know psychopath and still defends her support for the Iraq invasion, so it’s no wonder she is trigger happy for killing people in other countries.

There are now a bunch of leaks from Clinton’s own emails, the Pentagon, the CIA and the Obama administration which makes it clear she was the ring leader for the Syrian disaster and resisted numerous attempts by many in the US government to stop funding terrorists who had started killing civilians for their own reasons, rather than American reasons. Not because Obama or the CIA have anything against killing brown people, they just didn’t see any benefit in arming ISIS to setup their own country.

But Clinton needed a nice solid victorious regime change for her future presidential campaign so on and on she went, even to the extent of bypassing the CIA and directly funding militant groups through the State department and through her pals in the House of Saud. Which is why you today have the spectacle of different militant groups being funded by competing US agencies and their allies.

If this was a movie it would be all unbelievable. Sadly it’s real life and once again a psychopathic former US Secretary of State has way too much influence over American foreign policy. And this time the younger Hitchen’s isn’t around to make the case for sending her to the International War Crimes court.

Of course, the rest of the (white) world jumped in as well. France can never be far behind anywhere where brown people are being killed.

To finish the whole sordid story, after having created a massive civil war and a refugee crisis, the US has left Syria’s neighbours to deal with a massive refugee crisis. And that is American foreign policy in a nutshell.

As of March 2016, out of over 6 million Syrian refugees, the United States has helped 2,819 people displaced by a war very much of American making. But that’s not Clintons fault, that is American exceptionalism and privilege at work which essentially means American’s can’t do no wrong and thus they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their doings.

Malik Ishaq meets his maker. Finally.

One of India and Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists, Malik Ishaq was killed in a police ‘encounter’.

Have to hand it to the police – they accomplished what a decade of military rule couldn’t do under Musharraf, or even when Nawaz essentially gave the Army carte blanch to take on terrorists. For someone who regularly boasted of killing Pakistani’s left right and center, it’s amazing how much support Malik Ishaq kept getting from the Sharif brothers.

Malik Ishaq was going to meet a foul end sooner or later, it’s tragic that despite having him in and out of custody for so many years the Pakistan govt. never thought to hand him over to India. Now that would have been a diplomatic ice breaker extraordinaire.

Continue reading Malik Ishaq meets his maker. Finally.


Sabeen Mahmud. Assassinated.

This is what she did:

She worked so hard to bring out the best in Karachi. She was the rare idealist who lived out her ideals, knowing full well that it made her unpopular in many circles.

I don’t know how, but I met her and T2F right at the beginning, and saw her occasionally ever since. She never budged an inch from her ideals, despite much pushback, occasional offers to sellout, and bitter cynicism and criticism from so many.

Yet first they laughed at her, then tried to shut her down, and finally they killed her.

So many empty platitudes in this country. Say rest in peace and move on? Its exactly the opposite of what Sabeen did with T2F.

Her pitch for your money is below – donate money now, for they will need it to continue:

Dear Friends,

Seven years ago, defying common sense and rationality, I abandoned my comfort zone and willfully walked away from everything I knew how to do. I had been constructing an alternative reality in my head for several months and the time had come to build it, in the real world.

I wanted to create a public space; a platform for creative expression, an incubator for emerging talent, and a community space for dialogue. I had all these grandiose ideas and unhealthy levels of naiveté and adrenaline. One room on the second floor of a filthy, nondescript office building was all I could manage with funds from family and fools, multiple credit cards, and a smattering of pixie dust.

Seven years later, the platform has been built. T2F is real. However, the path to living the dream, while rewarding beyond measure, has been one of extreme financial adversity. Like well designed software that protects its users from what goes on behind the scenes, it is our job to deliver a seamless user experience. Committed to that ideal, I have never really spoken about the operating system that powers the platform because I was shy and the timing never felt right.

Since 2007, we have delivered a steady stream of liberal arts programming without fuss and fanfare. We have enabled the creative fantasies of umpteen artists, actors, musicians, comedians, poets, and writers. We have been generous with our space and our time. We have remained fiercely independent.

We have come a long way, quietly. However, our operating system is now in dire need of maintenance and a massive upgrade. The easy way out is to fire a few people, switch off the air-conditioners, stop paying taxes, raise prices, ticket everything, and put an end to the honor code. An even easier way out would be to succumb to the lure of the almighty dollar. But the easy way out spells S.E.L.L.O.U.T.

So, we are reaching out to you, the community that powers T2F, to come together and help us with this year’s operating system maintenance and upgrades. If a lot of people contribute just a little, we can keep the dream alive and we are confident that we will get by with a little help from our friends.

Sabeen Mahmud
Founder, T2F


Hashwani’s book “Truth Always Prevails: A Memoir”

hashwaniThere is a severe shortage of books by the movers and shakers of Pakistan. Yes, there are some books out there now, but many are fiction, or hagiographies like Musharraf’s masterpiece of ego stroking or Fatima Bhutto’s rosy retelling of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (both men which feature in Hashwani’s life).

Hashwani’s book is a breath of fresh air. Here is a primary mover and shaker writing the story of his life and country. Every mover and shaker in Pakistan moves about in such a fog of half truths, rumours and outright falsehoods that if you are outside the mover and shaker circle it is impossible to know who they actually are and how they got there.

How honest he has been is another matter, what matters is that this is his opinion on his Pakistan, through the story of his life. And it is an impressive life – Hashwani has built an impressive empire from relatively humble beginnings.

As a story of Pakistan and getting to understand the viewpoints of a significant percentage of the elite and upper middle class, this book is great. There are legions of drawing rooms all over Pakistan which have been saying much of what Hashwani puts down on paper here, whether it’s the story about Zardari as a young man being kicked out of his hotel to blaming Zia for just about everything wrong with Pakistan today.

Hashwani says a few times that the books is for the youth of Pakistan – that left a slightly off taste in my mouth. Yes there is a bit about how Hashwani worked hard but if it is as easy to buy a hotel as saying I decided to buy the InterContinental chain and then I bought it then life would indeed be easy for the youth.

Be born to a good family, make sure they send you to school, have connections in the business community, get handed a job or a sales agency, combine that with hard work and grit and you too can make it. For someone who projects himself as so humble Hashwani stumbles to recognise that though he wasn’t initially from one of Pakistani’s elite business families, he comes from a family which put him squarely in the top one percent.

Hashwani glosses over a lot in his book – as a memoir, or to understand business in Pakistan I found it lacking. There is a lot of of text about how business is hard, but nothing about what Hashwani actually did to make it, besides the platitudes upon platitudes on hard work, honesty and pluck.

Hashwani lists his many accomplishments from working his way to the top of the cotton and grains exporting industry to become the hotel king of Pakistan, yet now while I know he became Cotton King, there is not enough there about the how, the whys and the circumstances.

Hashwani knows many Generals, from corps commanders to Chief of Army Staffs, and some are close personal friends – yet again the book is strangely lacking about these friendships. In a memoir, I expected more. There is hardly anything in the book about the many people who have helped Hashwani’s meteoric rise. Hashwani might be a self made man, but as he says repeatedly, business in Pakistan has many non-business challenges – and all I got from the book is that if you walk the straight and narrow path, and have powerful friendships with powerful generals, things will be ok.

What actually happened along his rise? How did he deal with the politicians and bureaucrats who he says hindered him so many times? It can’t have been just as simple as just saying I am a honest man over and over again. And if he is the rare case who did just that, that is amazing and all respect to the man, but even then I wish he had said more about his trials then just naming names and calling them corrupt.

I felt the book was a selected cataloging of incidents and challenges Hashwani faced, mixed in with his thoughts about Pakistan and the world, and missed out too much on his actual life and how he made it.

The more I think about the book, the more disappointed I am, yet I highly recommend it. I wish more people in the circles which Hashwani moves in write their memoirs. Regardless of how selective they are, it’s still fascinating reading and there is a lot in it.

Read it.

On Urdu, from Pakistan: A Hard Country, by Anatol Lieven

Pakistan, A Hard Country:

The official language of Pakistan is native to neither of its old halves. Urdu – related to ‘Horde’, from the Turkic-Persian word for a military camp – started as the military dialect of the Muslim armies of the Indian subcontinent in the Middle Ages, a mixture of local Hindustani with Persian and Turkic words. It was never spoken by Muslims in Bengal – but then it has never been spoken by most of the people of what is now Pakistan either. It was the language of Muslims in the heartland of the old Mughal empire, centred on the cities of Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Bhopal and Hyderabad, deep in what is now India. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, the language of the state education system, of the national newspapers, and of the film industry; but the only people who speak it at home are the Mohajirs, people who migrated from India after partition in 1947, and who make up only 7 per cent of Pakistan’s population.

Five years of Zardari

A milestone came and went past this year, bigger than most – an elected government in Pakistan completed its full term. The PPP government wasn’t thrown out by the army mid way, though it sure looks like the Army had a few half hearted attempts along the way. Even the Supreme Court got into the game of chucking the government out but only managed to get rid of the Prime Minister, who as everyone knows is just a little toady to the main man, Asif Zardari.

The puzzling thing about five years of the PPP government is how little of a main man Zardari was. That he survived five years is testament to his cunning, scheming, politicking and the many little duplicitous tricks he used to stay in power, but there is nothing else there. No signs of courage, of trying to do right by anyone not related to him, of honour, of attempts to change – nothing.
Continue reading Five years of Zardari

Imran Khan wrote a book in 2011: Pakistan: A Personal History

Imran Khan is a figure writ large into Pakistan, and now with fifteen years of being out in the political wilderness behind him, Imran Khan is once again the talk of the country. I’d never imagined I’d ever be reading a book by Imran Khan, and that too a personal history of Pakistan, but here it is. Continue reading Imran Khan wrote a book in 2011: Pakistan: A Personal History

A list of things Australian

I wished to find out more about Australia and hence this list.


The VICE guide to Karachi

Added without comment, to be watched later. A scene report from the VICE dudes on the ground. It’s in five parts, all up on youtube and embedded below:

VICE Guide to Karachi: Pakistan’s Most Violent City (Part 1/5)

Vice, true to their name, sticks to all the vices of wherever they go, forgoing everything else, but that said, Karachi is changing from a city with a seamy underbelly to a seamy underbelly with huge slums and a urban jungle of a city hanging on for dear life.

Continue reading The VICE guide to Karachi