Racism Deserves Representation?

what's happening to the Canadian political landscape?

The Globe and Mail published an article by John Ibbitson on Tuesday telling us that the PPC deserves representation because it’s a legitimate political party and suppressing those voices “would worsen their estrangement from the mainstream”. The increasing numbers of non-Europeans draws people to the PPC, you see. The PPC promises to screen newcomers to Canada and apply a western values test, requiring them to have Canadian values and societal norms, ie those of western civilisation. Translation: PPC voters don’t like brown people coming to their country, especially if they are Muslim. Values of western civilisation aka Christian-Judeo— a dogwhistle for anti Muslim, and generally, anti South Asian sentiment. Yes, let’s centre the derangement of racists and encourage the growth of white nationalism because it’s not like this takes us down a slippery slope or anything.

I feel like I’m in the 70s, the only South Asian kid in my elementary school and the constant target of racial taunts, and witnessing my dad get called racial slurs in public and hearing him describe the very racist lady at his office. The lady at the laundrette who suddenly yanked her kid away from me as we were playing when she saw my brown dad. Watching all my Desi family drop their Sanskrit names for Christian names to make navigating society less painful.

I feel like I’m in the 80s, sitting in grade 11 social studies class in Catholic high school, listening to India being used to teach a lesson in Malthusian population theory. A few years later, in my university economics degree studies I learned Malthus was wrong, so what was the point of that lesson, even? To make me feel like overpopulated vermin? It worked, then. There’s that flood of memory from growing up in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, feeling the edge of Francophone Catholic pride that morphed into chauvinism and diminished Indian culture and religion. A beastly people with a beastly religion, Churchill once said.

Being mixed, I felt blemished, wanted to erase the Desi part of myself. I wanted to fit in so I hated the part of myself that did not— I would have given anything to have my mother’s cornflower blue eyes, I felt ugly and wrong. The mention of values of western civilisation takes me back to this racial and cultural chauvinism I experienced growing up. Are we really still there? Have we really not progressed? Maybe all that hate never went away, maybe we just covered up the stink with some air freshener. I’ve been reflecting on how our society changed in the 20 years since 9/11 and maybe the racial hatred feels more concentrated, denser.

Between the we don’t want non-Europeans in our country and the white people are racist and Canada is systemically racist and let’s punch racists camps, I don’t know, I see them as equally deranged and destructive and divisive. Because of the extreme far right ties the PPC seem to have, and their propensity to violence, and because they target Muslims, and because Bernier has quoted a mantra of the terrorist group the Three Percenters, I fear them more. However, the everyone I don’t like is racist and everything said I don’t like is hate speech and those people should get fired and have their lives ruined camp seems quite malicious and dangerous in its own way. Destroying someone’s livelihood and wishing violence on those who express benign things which upset you seems as deranged as wanting to physically harm someone because they follow a religion you don’t like.

So, whilst Bernier and his white nationalists definitely do not deserve any representation nor should we give them a platform or voice, I question whether we should platform the wokerati such as those who got an Arab professor suspended without pay for 7 months because of some blog posts she wrote on intersectionality and the patriarchy, or who show up at feminist events where Meghan Murphy is speaking, holding guillotine placards, or who routinely send rape and death threats to women’s rights activists, or who defame women’s rights activists via their federally funded anti hate websites. Maybe we do have a hate problem in this country, and maybe it’s like a hate sandwich, you know, far left and far right.

Maybe the political spectrum is not a line anymore, maybe the spectrum is an arc. Maybe the PPC and the female-hating women are nazis who should die in grease fires and everything everyone says that I hate is hate speech cult are more similar than we openly acknowledge. The far left loves to cling to their illusion that the political right is where haters live. They love invoking Goodwin’s law, yet they are the ones promoting eugenics and dehumanising rhetoric of their designated scapegoat and often with violent fantasies and rhetoric. They tell the same lie expecting that it will become true. The difference between the PPC and the wokerati cult is that the PPC has no chance of governing and the wokerati cult now governs and has infiltrated all levels of political engagement and social infrastructure.

What underlies the rising extremism in Canada? Extremism is a response to suffering and disenfranchisement, so what’s going on in Canada to trigger these extreme manifestations? If I had to pinpoint it, I would say around the time of Trump’s presidential campaign things changed. I remember CBC Radio became unbearable around that time. Trump certainly galvanised extremism— across the board. His rhetoric stirred contempt and division. It triggered an equally contemptible and divisive and malignant response from the left. The whole world felt it because America loves to export it’s derangement and misery.

Scarcely a day goes by that I don’t pinch myself and wonder WTF happened, how did we get to this place where we have so much mistrust amongst the populace, so much weakness and spinelessness amongst the leadership, and some malignant characters pretending to be human rights activists pulling strings behind the scenes, manipulating the political arena? What happened to Moral Courage? Dangerous male sex offenders are being housed in female prison when they say they feel like women and no MSM journalist is tackling that. It’s wild that a country which prides itself on being a leader in humans rights is failing miserably in it’s violation of a basic international human right. And it’s more wild that no one is doing a fcuking thing about it!

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The entire country save a handful of activists and intellectuals has decided to ignore the very blatant human rights conflict and constitutional violation which Bill C-16 has created. We are suddenly pretending sex isn’t real to placate men with erotic target location errors. We have a self declared feminist prime minister who’s enforcing a policy of state-sponsored rape in female prisons and no one is talking about it and no one is platforming the women trying to fight that policy.

Instead we are talking about how we should give white nationalists a voice and representation. Instead we are giving woke anti-gay and anti-female trolls a platform and promoting chemical castration as a remedy for puberty. Instead we are promoting kink culture and the erosion of safeguarding. Instead we are allowing public schools to subvert parental authority and to coach children into new secret identities that will lead them to a lifetime of medical care and possibly eventual disability and reduced life expectancy.

So, while I’m disgusted the Globe and Mail would post something so mediocre and ridiculous as the PPC requires representation, I really wish we could have more balance in our media coverage and political discourse. Because I don’t see the wokerati left as much different or better than the white nationalist right. I think they are very similar beasts— both vehicles for predacious and malignant forces at work. They both express a colonial mindset.

I don’t know what happened to Canada. It often doesn’t feel like itself anymore. The dark triad is running the asylum and it’s disturbing. It’s like someone’s been distributing victimhood asshole passes or something.

Selective Outrage

Why have we normalised the Sauds?

Selective Outrage

Since the collapse of the Ghani regime and the rise of the Taliban 2.0 I have observed with fascination an intense outrage at the Taliban and a chilling apathy at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)—simultaneously. It all feels fuelled by propagandist narratives. Spend some time digging into the connection between the Sauds, al-Qaeda, and 9/11 and it becomes clear that we don’t seem outraged enough at the Sauds and their contribution to extremism and terror and the danger they pose to people in the west. I mean, shouldn’t things that happen closer to home draw more interest and outrage? Why don’t we want to see the real KSA?

Over the past few weeks I’ve heard outrage about the Taliban being on the UN Women’s Committee. Well, so is KSA. Also, in 2015 KSA was appointed Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel on choosing UN rights experts. The world leader in capital punishment, known for its brutal treatment human rights activists, gets to be among those who choose UN human rights experts—it’s farcical, a charade. I’ve also heard outrage at the lack of women in the Taliban cabinet. Well, Saudi Arabia has no women in it’s ministerial council, and there are several other countries as well. But the treatment of women. KSA has had guardianship, a ban on women driving, considers women’s right’s campaigners enemies of the state. But terrorism. By the USA state department’s own admission, more financing of Sunni terrorism comes from within Saudi Arabia than anywhere else in the world. Not to mention the fact that the Sauds supported bin Laden’s resistance efforts against the Soviets and did not expel him for his al-Qaeda work, but because he opposed American military bases on Saudi soil—the Sauds expelled bin Laden for being critical of the Kingdom’s regime, not for his involvement in or promotion of terror.

The Sauds

Definitive proof exists that ibn Salman, aka MBS, ordered the assassination of a Saudi dissident—the intellectual, journalist, and former kingdom insider Jamal Khashoggi. America went ahead and sold arms to the Sauds anyway. The Sauds infiltrated Twitter and hacked into a few accounts of known critics of the Saudi regime. The Sauds have targeted the lives of certain dissidents living in the west, have forced individuals to live like fugitives or under police protection, away from their families. The Sauds held Loujain al-Hathloul in prison for 1001 days, where she suffered mistreatment and torture, for her women’s rights campaigning.

The Sauds held a trial for al-Hathloul in a Specialised Criminal Court — ie one for terrorists in which activists are often tried in abusive trials and receive harsh sentences — in which she received a six year prison sentence under the Kingdom’s counterterrorism law. You can read the timeline of al-Hathloul’s arrest and incarceration here. Rights organisations have … documented the torture and sexual violence al-Hathloul has been subjected to since her arrest, reported Al-Jazeera earlier this year on al-Hathloul’s release from prison. You can read about the documented abuses here, on the Human Rights Watch website.

The Sauds are world leaders in capital punishment—in 2019 the kingdom committed a mass execution of 37 nationals, including children and the disabled, based on testimony obtained under the coercion of torture. Despite judicial reforms promoted as progressive—ie commuting death sentences for minors—prosecutors routinely ignore them and continue to operate in an opaque manner, dodging any accountability for the sketchy human rights practises operating within the criminal justice system. Human rights organisations fear another mass execution may take place in Saudi Arabia.

More pointedly—you know in a Machiavellian sense—in 2010 Wikileaks released a secret state memo written on December 30, 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Kuwait Treasury Department which acknowledged donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.

American Geopolitical Self Interest

Despite all these facts about the human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy and the support of terrorists from within the country itself, the west appears to have normalised international relations with KSA. Westerners seem quite apathetic about the damage rendered by the Sauds. Yet this very same west has an apoplectic fit at every single little thing the Taliban has done since taking Kabul a few weeks ago. I find this phenomenon quite strange and intriguing—I don’t really see why one sect of extremists gains approval and the other remains terrorists. (Well in a cynical way I do, read on to find out).

So, one is a Gala apple, the other a Honeycrisp apple—they are both apples though. The Taliban emerged in reaction to corruption and abuse, both intensified and promoted by American occupation, and fuelled by decades of war. Corruption and abuse unchecked provided a great recruitment opportunity for the Taliban—extremism is a response to suffering. The Taliban have nothing that interests the Americans in a Machiavellian sense. The Sauds, as the largest exporter of oil, second largest producer of oil, with a significantly smaller debt to GDP ratio, and a healthy appetite for arms purchases, have a specific importance to American imperial self interests. So KSA gets an extremism pass and Taliban = terrorists. America and KSA are both Machiavellian regimes with imperial goals, let’s be clear about that.

Osama bin Laden was a Saudi, KSA backed him in his resistance against the Soviets, as long as he was useful they kept him around. 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. Rumours linger regarding the connection between the Sauds and al-Qaeda a full 20 years after 9/11 and the lawsuit of the Saudi regime by some of the 9/11 families continues. KSA denies any connection between itself and al-Qaeda—OH OF COURSE IT DID! Um, yes—this is the same KSA that denied any culpability for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi which took place on Turkish soil. Someone’s pants may be on fire.

Intelligence Investigations and A Cover-Up: KSA

We live in an era in which political leaders make denials in the face of compelling contradictory evidence. Perhaps we’ve become so accustomed to hearing the lies, to the point of apathy. We have been lied to in a massive way about the war on terror. Bush the younger received advice that Sadam Hussein was not working with al-Qaeda to produce WMD, he chose to dismiss that expert opinion, and the British at the time seemed quite happy in their sycophantic pandering of America to play along. What really did happen to David Kelly, the UN weapons inspector who challenged the ridiculous theory which led to the war in Iraq? That’s a good question. Does it matter? In the end—his life was destroyed by political machinations.

In 2005 a joint FBI-CIA report on the nature and extent of Saudi government support of terrorism concluded no evidence existed to suggest any involvement of the Saudi government or royal family and denied any evidence that individuals named al-Bayoumi or Bassnan provided support to the hijackers. That’s interesting because vast evidence exists to contradict this claim.

A 2002 report of U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence provided extensive details of Saudi government employee involvement in supporting the 9/11 hijackers, including detailed information about al-Bayoumi, who received funding from a Saudi company affiliated with the KSA Ministry of Defence, and Bassnan, a supporter of bin Laden and possibly an intelligence officer who received funds from a member of the Saudi Royal Family as well as from the Saudi Ambassador to the US, and others who assisted the hijackers al-Hazmi and al-Midhar. Considerable evidence exists to suggest al-Bayoumi also worked as for KSA intelligence.

In her 2018 sworn declaration Catherine Manherz Hunt stated that, in addition to al-Thumairy, al-Bayoumi, and Smail Mana, FBI investigated the following 6 individuals employed by the Saudi government in connection with 9/11: Abdullah al-Jraithen, Khalid al-Sowailem, Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah, Adel Mohamed al-Sadhan, Mutaeb Abdelaziz al-Sudairy, Omar Abdi Mohamed. The six individuals named worked with al-Thumairy, al-Bayoumi, and Mana—three individuals known to have assisted the hijackers upon their arrival in Los Angeles. The hijackers spoke no English and had no pilot training, so obviously an extensive network had to exist in order to support them to carry out their 9/11 mission.

In her 2020 sworn declaration Jill Sanborn mentioned persons who directed al-Bayoumi and al-Thumairy with assisting the hijackers then names al-Jarrah. Earlier in her declaration Sanborn mentioned that the identity of one of the officials is sealed by an FBI Protective Order and Yahoo News noticed that al-Jarrah had been mistakenly named.

Interestingly, Mussaed Ahmed al-Jarrah was a mid-level official at the Saudi Embassy in DC during 1999-2000. His identity is considered a state secret, a matter of national security because of his status as a mid-level KSA embassy official. Did the FBI/Court forget to redact that name in the Sanborn declaration? Yes, and apparently the court withdrew the Sanborn declaration from the docket, stating the document was incorrectly filed in this case. Did anyone notice that Hunt’s 2018 declaration named al-Jarrah, and that this violated the Protective Order? Alas (sarcasm), electronic copies of both declarations exist.

Also interestingly, al-Thumairy was an accredited diplomat at the Saudi consulate and one of the Imams at the King Farah Mosque in Culver City, California. The King Farah Mosque, built in 1998 with funds from Prince Abdulaziz and known for it’s anti-Western views, received regular attendance from the Los Angeles Saudi consulate staff. Smail Mana worked at the Los Angeles Saudi consulate and also lectured at the King Farah Mosque. A witness puts al-Thumairy speaking with the hijackers in the mosque.

The cover-up appears more obvious at this point, in particular after the FBI’s accidental revelation of al-Jarrah as connected to the hijackers. Really, the only way out is through the truth—admission of the lies and cover-ups and KSA involvement. The lawsuit of a group of 9/11 families against KSA continues, with the Saudis exhibiting a spirit of uncooperativeness. The US District Court in New York ordered KSA to release the relevant documents related to Mana, and Jarrah. Biden has committed to declassifying the documents related to the FBI’s Operation Encore, which investigated the Saudi connection to 9/11.

Geopolitical Revenge Fantasy Chess and A Reckoning

Imagine the all the death, destruction, human displacement, abuse, torture, surveillance, profiling of Muslims, and sharp rise in anti-muslim hatred happened because some unelected men with a malignant narcissism complex decided to play enemy of my enemy. Very poorly thought out military revenge fantasies and geopolitical chess games created power vacuums which cultivated the emergence of terrorism. The military industrial cult of American Imperialism and Evangelical Christian Nationalism must face a reckoning. Uncomfortable truths must see light, families of 9/11 victims, and the whole world really, must know the truth about the involvement of KSA and sources within Saudi itself. America needs to stop giving KSA a pass—how much more evidence do we need to see on multiple levels? Corruption and lies are the anathema to freedom.

A full 20 years after 9/11, having devastated millions and spent a trillion dollars in a bogus and illegal war on terror that destroyed countries, having funded foreign forces committing human rights abuses, having violated the Geneva Convention and the spirit of its own constitution with Gitmo detainment, and having suppressed truth to promote an imperial war narrative and avoid accountability—can we finally have a reckoning, now that America has walked away from Afghanistan? Is it even possible to ever hold accountable the architects of the war on terror?

America is the terror, a geopolitical menace.

*Photo by richard glendenning on Unsplash

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No the Hijab is not Mandatory

The Truth About Hijab

Hijab is fard. God commands me to wear hijab. It is written in the Quran. It is Sunnah.

Ask your average hijabi why she covers her hair and the answer she provides will most likely includes these claims. The most common answer a hijabi will provide when asked why she covers her hair is God commands me. Then you will hear all about hijab being liberating and freeing and empowering. When you remind her that, in Islamic countries haram police exist to enforce hijab and women receive severe punishment when they refuse to wear the modesty dress code, she replies Oh that’s different, I’m choosing to wear hijab. Then you get this puzzled look on your face as you think, Um, literally you just told me the opposite—you told me you wear hijab because God commands you. How is that choosing? At this point you’re met with frustration, a hostile sigh, maybe some sanctimonious accusation of Islamophobe. You remain puzzled, and you still have not received an answer to the question—why do you cover your hair?

You hear stories of women who have reached an impasse with themselves, who feel uninspired and robotic about covering their hair, who feel inauthentic, like they are performing for others, mostly their family—they decide to stop wearing hijab. They receive severe disapproval and even abuse. The perception of many westerners is that parents force their daughters to cover their hair and dress modestly to protect themselves from the male gaze. Put bluntly, a commonly held belief is that Muslim parents force their daughters to cover their hair and body except for face and hands, teaching them it’s because men cannot control their sexual urges when they see women’s shapely and glorious beauty. Imran Khan recently said that women who wear very few clothes will have an impact men.

When non Muslims put all this together, what do we expect them to think about hijab, except that it’s an anathema to women’s freedom? The thinking that women owe us all something persists widely throughout the Muslim community. Pieces such as this one fixate on the dark truth of ex-hijabi influencers, as if some nefarious machinations underlie an influencer’s decision to remove her hijab. I think it’s interesting that people following a faith which specifies no idolatry have placed such significance on celebrity hijabis and regard them as a sort of public property. This seems like the opposite of modest behaviour and not worshipping humans.

Dina Torkio’s story illustrates my point perfectly. Dina is a British Egyptian Muslim designer who wore hijab for many years—since age 11—she became well known as a hijabi influencer and popularised the hijab turban style. She fell into a funk with her hijab, didn’t feel inspired by the daily practise, wanted to take a break. Dina has a business, a marriage, and two young children. You can imagine she’s got her hands full and maybe hijab isn’t the priority for her at this time. No, her followers did not cut her a break, they dog-piled, they raged, they got sanctimonious and spewed fire and brimstone, accusing her of leading their daughters astray, and all manner of other ridiculousness. She called the hijabi community cultish for its reaction to her decision to remove her hijab.

So, let’s recap the Dina Torkio story. We have a hijabi who is at an impasse with herself about covering her hair, so she decides to remove her hijab. We have a community of hijabis—ie women who cover their hair as part of a practise of modesty and humility—lambasting Dina for her personal decision, berating her, casting aspersions on her moral worth, accusing her of sinning, and of leading young women astray, of not being a proper Muslim, etc etc. Now does that seem like modest or humble behaviour to you? It certainly doesn’t to me. It sounds judgemental, and mean-spirited, and egocentric. Covering your hair and dressing modestly doesn’t make you a good person. You can do all the things and still be an insufferably sanctimonious pr1ck.

The point of this story is to remind everyone that a choice requires freedom to and also freedom from. If a woman who decides to remove her hijab receives abuse and judgemental persecution, then hijab is not a choice, because she is not free to choose not to wear hijab. So, this notion that women choose to wear hijab ignores the reality that they don’t really. Let me be clear and state one thing before I continue—any woman who does actually choose to wear hijab (and yes, there are those who do) is not contributing to the oppression of women who live in places where hijab is mandated and failure to comply punished. I’m not responsible for misogynist, radicalised fundamentalists who feel entitled to force women to wear a dress code because they think their mates cannot control their sexual urges. Just like women aren’t responsible for the inability of men to control their sexual urges. I’m not oppressing anyone by choosing to cover my hair/wear hijab. A woman is not protected from being raped by covering her hair/wearing hijab. I’m going to repeat that. Women are not responsible for the actions and behaviour of men.

So, what about the Quran and Hadith? Does God really command women to wear hijab, to cover their hair? No, He does not. First, the Quran does not contradict itself. There is no compulsion in religion (Quran 2:256). Worship does not count unless it is done freely. Second, the verses given as evidence to support the God commands me claim do not actually instruct women to cover their hair. Third, the hadith of the Aisha narration commonly given as supporting evidence of God commands me was written by a chap who was born after her death. Fourth, evidence exists pointing out the problematic nature of the hadith and whether Muslims ought to take them as unquestionable truth.

It is known that The Prophet never wanted his companions or anyone to write about him or his sayings, he warned there must be nothing to compete with God’s word, the Quran. Islam is believing in God, the Quran is His word. Yet we are living in a time when many Muslims are happy to abrogate parts of the Quran—the word of God—which don’t align with hadith, a fallible human’s narration of what The Prophet or Companions said about what God said. And we have all kinds of fundamentalist radicals spinning deranged interpretations of Islam based on hadith—music is haram, women are mandated to cover their hair, apostasy is punishable by death. None of those things has any basis in the Quran, the fountain from which Islam has emerged.

What’s interesting is that The New Testament actually does instruct women to cover their hair, and expresses some other rather sexist rhetoric about women. But for a man it is not right to have his head covered, since he is the image of God and reflects God's glory; but woman is the reflection of man's glory (Corinthians 1: 7). The Quran never portrays women in these ways. In fact the Quran speaks about men and women as equals in several places, such as 49:13, People we have created you from and male and female … and also 9:72 and a few other places.

So, why do hijabis cover their hair? We have many women who cover their hair and cite the Quran, having no idea what those verses actually mean in their contexts. We have the nuanced meaning of the Quran lost and we have the hadith texts essentially competing with the Quran. It is indeed radical to insist that women must cover their hair or face and to insist that Quranic passages which contradict hadith be abrogated. Yes, it is indeed radical to abrogate the word of God because it does not align with what a fallible human said about what The Prophet or His Companions said that God said. It is indeed radical to use a text which expresses God’s mercy and His gift to us of free will to coerce others to worship. Anyone who uses the word of God to coerce or oppress others into worshipping Him necessarily abuses God—God gave each of us free will and it seems quite egregious to use his own words to remove the free will of another.

It’s up to Muslims to apply critical thinking to the messages they hear about God and religion, and to remember religion provides a guide to manage an individual’s relationship with herself. Religion does not give us license to oppress and abuse others and to remove their free will. The Quran provides a timeless message—a fixed text which provides new meanings for different generations of Muslims: 21st century Muslims will have very different lives from 7th century Muslims. One important fact bears keeping in mind—there is no compulsion in religion. We have been placed in this life as a test to freely choose or reject God, our focus needs to be on our relationship with our selves, ie ego, as opposed to haram policing each other.

Religion has no business in politics or governance—theocracies are an anathema to Godliness because they make God a property of the state. Muslims face a great deal of opposition because of the perception of Islam that exists—a perception created in part by the failure of Muslims to critically consider their religion and by the fundamentalists who live in the Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, and others texts which compete with the Quran for importance. Measures such as Bill 21 in Québec exist as a response the perceived intolerance and fundamentalism of Islam. It may be a dysfunctional response, it is one nonetheless, and makes sense in the context of Duplessis and the abuses his Catholic religious governance causes. We need to realise that and engage accordingly.

Muslims need to stop pressuring other Muslims to relate to God and Islam in a certain way. Muslims need to stop dictating to women how to dress, and they need to stop telling women they are sinners if they choose not to cover their hair and other awra. Honouring women for our role as co-creator never meant clipping our wings and locking us in a cage.


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The Enemy of My Enemy

well here we all are, 20 years and a trillion dollars later–did we smoke em out?

So, did we all just spend the past twenty years watching the American-led military industrial cult waste a trillion dollars waging a false war on terror against one of the poorest and most illiterate nations on earth? Did I not distinctly hear Dubya, all those years ago, say he was gonna defeat the Taliban? And didn’t we all just watch Trump and Pompeo essentially hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban, in early 2020? So, am I getting this straight—did we spend a trillion dollars over a period of twenty years, send our boys over there to lose their lives, get their legs blown off or worse, and sustain raging cases of PTSD that will plague them the rest of their lives, only to hand the country back to the entity we went to war to defeat?

The human cost on the surface seems unforgiveable—3,500 western coalition soldiers died, and 45,000 Afghan Security Forces died. In the past 10 years alone the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan cost over 110,000 Afghan civilians their lives. Not to mention those who survived and live with the debilitating effects of trauma, often refractory and unmitigated. When you dig deeper it becomes criminal—this was a war crime and a crime against humanity. All the while, the western ruling elite pretended they had waged their war to empower the women of Afghanistan. Yeah, you deranged imperial clowns, because definitely the way to make a woman’s life easier is to kill her husband, son, uncles, father, grandfather and/or to watch while depraved men kidnap her son and sell him into sex slavery in the service of warlords and other elite men.

A Culture of Rampant Pedophile Corrupted the Ghani Regime

Yes, you read that correctly—the practise of Bacha Bazi, banned by the Taliban who made it punishable by death, flourished under western occupation. The corruption so widespread, that the Minister of Border Security and Tribal Affairs in the Ghani regime was once a CIA-backed warlord known to have had Bachas, ie boy sex slaves. A culture of rampant pedophilia had infiltrated the police and security forces, corrupting the crucial institutions of the ruling establishment and casting the rulers so far from the people of Afghanistan itself as to make any talk of stability or freedom meaningless noise. While the world fixated on Afghan girls and women to the point of fetishising them their literacy rate only rose 3% in 20 years—84% of Afghan women remain illiterate. What’s worst, boys remained invisible, and therefore a perfect fresh target for prey. The west gave pedos a pass and even put them in power whilst claiming its intervening purpose as promoting stability. You don’t promote stability or nation building by letting pederasts/pedos run the establishment, FYI.

His father is dead, so it’s okay said one pedophile in a film clip I have seen during my research this week. In another film clip from the mid 70s, I noticed the groups of older men with one or two boys, and have seen pictures from Central Asia dated early 1900s showing the same scene, groups of grown men and then one boy, their Bacha. The boys are knowing as dancing boys, though you are naive if you believe that dancing in this case isn’t a euphemism for sex—young beautiful boys dressing up in female cloths to dance for powerful older men who then pass them around to sodomise them, that’s Bacha Bazi. The boys are not okay and we need to talk about this. You can’t address or eliminate violence against women or in any way empower women while you are allowing their sons to be trafficked into sex slavery, that’s just ridiculous. Generally speaking, I think we need to talk about what’s happening to boys and men in places where misogyny has reached epidemic proportions.

Think about the Bachas for a moment. What do you think happens to a young boy who is snatched from his mother, repeated sexually abused to the point of having physical intestinal dysfunction, frequently physically abused and then discarded when he grows a beard, ie sexually matures? He grows into a troubled man. Some have no choice but to continue dancing, and by dancing I mean more than just dancing. Traumatised boys will more likely grow into violent men easily radicalised than boys who have no childhood trauma. Poor education, illiteracy and grave abuse will conspire to create an angry and disadvantaged young man. What an opportunity for the Taliban, which actually emerged in response to corruption and debauchery such as Bacha Bazi. In fact, what’s complicated the west’s attempts to ignore what are essentially crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide (forcibly removing the children of one group and transferring them to another group is a definition of genocide and child trafficking seems to meet this criterion), was the fact that the Taliban had begun to use Bacha Bazi victims as honey traps. The west was happy to let Afghan boys be sodomised to the point of physical mutilation because cultural relativity, oh but when it affected the integrity of their western mission, suddenly then these boys mattered? Phhhhhffffft.

The West Gave Pedos a Pass

How derangedly sociopathic and narcissistic—how imperial. The story of Bacha Bazi deeply disturbs and requires a comprehensive and rigourous examination, the deeper I get in my research the more dots I connect. I marvel at how children are not even human to us, how we so easily justify child exploitation and abuse and how facilely we diminish and overlook it out of self interest. I marvel at how children are pawns to adults, even parents, and how despite their importance as our human future, they remain largely invisible to us.

Having spent the past week pouring through US military reports and think tank pieces and investigative journalistic pieces that essentially detail the way in which the western military management instructed its soldiers to ignore the sexual abuse of young boys and justified ignoring child sexual abuse, having read about accounts of soldiers who were ordered to ignore the screams of the boys being sodomised nearby, including the solider dismissed for reacting violently toward an abuser and trying to stop the abuse, having read the stories of some Bacha Bazi victims—I can tell you I found the recent photos of the western soldiers holding Afghan babies a repugnant piece of propaganda. The west, America in particular, has no moral compass and no moral foundation upon which to base anymore claims of spreading democracy and freedom throughout the developing world or anywhere. Unelected powerful and narcissistic men with fiduciary interests in military campaigns and raging neocon ideological hard-ons have been making decisions that impact millions around the world. The military industrial complex has become the unwieldy cult Eisenhower warned it would become.

Enemy of My Enemy Bites America in the Ass

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.

Robin Cook

By now most of us have seen that old magazine cover of Osama Bin Laden, founder of Al-Qaeda, an organization initially started to recruit resistance fighters in Afghanistan to defeat the Soviets. The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend—that’s American foreign policy in a nutshell, along with Defeat Communism at All Cost—a favourite working rationale the CIA has used to destroy countries when it deposed a regime the local people chose to install a corrupt dictator of its own choice. Preserve western hegemony at all cost. We all remember how well this went for America—9/11 is seared into the memory of all who were alive at that time. We all have seen the photos of those who perpetrated 9/11, none among them Afghans.

A classified memo written by Hilary Clinton acknowledges that Saudi Arabia funds more Sunni Islamist extremism and terrorism than any other country. Yet the west has normalised the KSA (not to mention ignoring Khashoggi’s brutal murder on foreign soil) and ignored the terror it subversively promotes because this serves American interests and so it’s of no concern. And yet the Afghans paid a heavy price for 9/11, like many Muslims have in Asia and MENA region—was the war on terror really just a war against muslims? What did the Taliban form in response to—remember that extremism is a response to suffering. Did the American-led imperial cult create the terrorists it waged war to eradicate through it’s own foolish Machiavellian games of geopolitical chess? Question: Are any of the living American presidents truly good men when they have all contributed to the creation of this enormous war crime and crime against humanity? Answer: No. Can we all agree the enemy of my enemy was and is an asinine strategy?

The Propaganda Machine

Tell a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth, said Goebbels. I recently read about how Twitter has partnered with AP and Reuters, both of whom have worked with MI6 and the CIA to propagate political agendas, in develop social media censorship standards under the guise of preventing misinformation or preserving credibility. The western mainstream media has essentially become a propaganda arm of government, powerful lobby groups, and the military industrial cult.

Having spent the past four years, since the Liberal government rammed Bill C-16 (Gender Self ID) through parliament, watching the media lie about the rights conflicts Gender Self ID has caused in the west wherever governments have legislated it, I have had a chance to observe the propaganda machine at work, and see most journalists and their editors as mediocre pawns in a giant propaganda endeavour. I have learned one need not have intelligence underneath an articulate facade. Rapists identifying as women and demanding the government house them in female prison, where they have raped and even impregnated female inmates—this has deliberately gone unnoticed and government funded misinformation specialists, under the umbrella of antihate, have launched a smear campaign targeting feminists organisations fighting for the constitutional and human rights of female people. The lies go unchecked and unchallenged.

If the media can so facilely lie to me about the rights conflict created by Gender Self ID laws when laws to protect female people are already in place then, why can’t it lie to me about the War on Terror, specifically the western intervention into and occupation of Afghanistan? The answer is, it can and it is. Donald Trump and his fake-news mantra did have a point and that’s why it stuck with many people. Fortunately social media provides us with the opportunity for independent media and to connect with people on the ground who have no geopolitical agenda and only want to share the truth.

Independent Media

For example, listen to Sangar and Ahmed-Waleed of the Afghan Eye talk about how America and Canada created the conditions that led to the ridiculous mob scenes we have seen at Kabul airport. When you create a bogus visa document and email it to people in one of the poorest and most war torn countries in which a regime has fallen, you are stupid if you don’t anticipate a mob showing up at the airport with the hope that a bogus document will get them onto a flight to America, where they will automatically get citizenship and have a brand new fabulous life—such is the perception of the west in the poorest parts of the developing world. Spent some time listening to Sangar and Ahmed-Waleed analyse the events unfolding in Afghanistan since the Ghani regime fell and the intrepid western-backed president fled to the UAE with a stash of millions he stole from the coffers—the Afghan Eye has a number of videos. You will find the Yvonne Ridley interview particularly interesting.

Follow this chap on Twitter, who is providing stellar information about what is actually happening in Afghanistan. Take with a grain of salt anything CNN and other similar media outlets say. When Clarissa Ward can stand in front of a crowd of jubilant Afghan men shouting the takbeer—Allahu Akbar—and casually say they’re chanting death to America now, you know you cannot trust that source. Allahu Akbar means God is Great. She didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was lying!! I have watched incredulously over the past few years as the media and particularly ideologically captured journos have lied, have become lazier and bolder in their lies. When someone has deliberately lied to you, common sense dictates you no longer trust that source. I trust few source because I have watched them lie outright.

Accountability and Truth

Accountability and truth go hand in hand—peace, freedom, and stability require both. Truth has been assaulted and without truth democracy doesn’t exist. You cannot freely choose anything when you’re being lied to, when lies become truth and truth becomes hateful. Has complacency cultivated apathy? Has abundance and materialism put us to sleep? Did we forget how to think for ourselves? In some ways I feel as though the tide has begun to shift to reveal the purveyors of bullsh1t for who they are, to reveal those who are articulate and lack intelligence and therefore exist relevantly only as propaganda tools of geopolitical agenda-setters. We were lied to by people who promised to govern and protect us and defend the constitution. Repeatedly. We are being lied to by people whose job it is to report facts.

It’s time for a reckoning—for the forgotten, voiceless, invisible people. Because the voices we have heard regarding Afghanistan have all been elite voices, those with the resources, literacy, and social capital to even make themselves heard and who speak for and promote their own elite self interest. It’s time for a reckoning for the boys whom adults have exploited and other adults have failed to protect.

My research and work on Bacha Bazi continues because I cannot look away now—I have outlined a book and begun the task of research and writing. If you want to learn more, to get a sense of the issue you can visit my lengthy ongoing Twitter thread here. I am just me, an independent writer and thinker who can illustrate devoted to truth and accountability, if you appreciate my work and want to support my Bacha Bazi research and writing you can do so by sharing this post and/or by donating. The illustration of Malcolm X is my original illustration and this piece is an 8x10 and will be made available soon in my Shoppe.

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The Failure of Neocons

in which America gets handed its ass on a plate

I was going to make my next Substack about the BC Trans Care website, however, the events unfolding in Afghanistan occupied much of my intellectual attention today and cause me to see many things in a different light—it is as though Afghanistan has provided a new lens for me to look through. It feels like getting a new and stronger pair of glasses. As I continue my research on the BC Trans Care website, I thought I would write an essay about what I’ve observed vis à vis Afghanistan and American Foreign Policy and Western Imperial thinking regarding the Muslim world. I think it’s important for westerners to come to terms with the way the foreign policy wielded by our leaders has contributed to unnecessary human suffering, and I am really writing this to reconcile with my own conscience as much as to shed light on some things for my readers that rarely get airplay in the MSM.


I think that ultimate responsibility for the current state of affairs stretches much further back in time to at least the Bonn Conference held shortly after the defeat of the Taliban in 2001. Many people have blamed the United States for trying to create a modern democracy in Afghanistan. But the problem lay in the prior decision to create an Afghan state in the first place—that is, a Weberian state that aspired to a monopoly of legitimate force over a defined territory. There was another available alternative, which was to stabilize the country under a coalition of local warlords and tribal militias. This would have built out from the Tajik Northern Alliance that was the key U.S. ally against the Taliban, and would have entailed Afghanistan’s ethnic groups organizing to defend themselves.

A warlord alliance would not have looked pretty from a Western normative perspective. But it may have been more resilient than the centralized state the United States tried to create.

Francis Fukuyama

We can’t negotiate peace unless we start treating the Taliban as predominantly Afghan movement.

Zura Bahman

Taliban are actual humans -many with families who are either desperately poor or have been killed .. before we can talk about which ones are Afghan we have to at least admit they're humans.

Mina Lawangeena

I really feel sorry for those who actually believed all that crap about how the US is a force for democracy and that there's such a thing as a global human rights order.

Something tells me the Taliban themselves are shocked by what happened and did not have immediate plans as to how to run the entire country because they didn't expect to get there so suddenly. It'll be weeks, maybe months, before the dust settles and we can get a read.

Something also tells me that one of the main dynamics to watch out for is tension within the Taliban itself between (1) upper leadership who want to be pragmatic; (2) its heavily indoctrinated base & foot soldiers; (3) others who joined the Taliban for some sorta material gain

Iyadi el-Baghdadi


This week many of us awoke to the eerily familiar site of America hastily and callously pulling out of war it had no business waging, choosing to prevent all civilian flight departures, blocking the travel of Afghans who had paid flights out of the country—in order to prioritise it’s own American evacuation. This is not Saigon, it’s much worse. We listened incredulously to the stories about American-backed president Ghani booking it and his administration pulling out. We watched as a power vacuum formed, and a bewildered Afghan people essentially left behind to fend for themselves. We saw the awful scene at the American-occupied airport. Majid Nawaz made sense for once— when he wrote that, if it was humble enough, the west could take a lesson from the way the Taliban basically took over Afghanistan with hardly a shot fired. Never underestimate your opponent, make certain you want to achieve your goal more than your enemy does, and that you have more drive and less distraction.

I was in a Zoom call on Sunday morning, listening to Mike Ghouse and Safi Kaskas talk about accountability from a Muslim perspective, when we received the news that the Taliban had taken the presidential palace. The man claiming power had spent 8 years in Gitmo before being released. The west scratched it’s head, having been handed its own ass on a plate. Those of us old enough remember Dubya’s claim’s that the war was won, the Taliban defeated. Smoke ‘em out, the neocon American Foreign Policy Strategy, seems to have failed. Who will account for this failure? I believe we must hold accountable the neocons who created this situation and who have time and again shown an abject failure to centre human beings and a lust to decimate Levantine countries and keep the MENA region destabilised to preserve western hegemony.

Let’s remember how the Taliban came to be—in the political environment of the 80s when America was waging it’s ongoing battle against the Soviets. Who backed the mujahideen? Who created a war on terror? Who decimated entire countries and created massive human displacement? Can we stop pretending America ever cared about human freedom and peace? Can we stop pretending that the military industrial complex has not essentially become its own cult, bent on beastly and destructive ways? After 20 years, who is the net beneficiary of this endeavour? Military contractors are looking fairly comfy. Let’s not even talk about how many boys were sent off to a war where they died or had their legs blown off or suffered other severe sequelae from being pawns in a fat cat neocon war game. What did all this enormous suffering on every side accomplish in the end?

*crickets*

Who decided to run away, occupied the airport, prevented all civilian flights leaving, essentially abandoning those who had been allies and helped the Americans when Americans asked? Who is left behind to make sense of what just happened and fight against a return to the dark times of the 90s Taliban, that one led by a chap who (has since died and) had no idea who Jinnah was? Dude, every South Asian knows who Jinnah is, his image is unmistakable and those who know their history know that he was among the modernist/liberal/pluralistic Muslims of that time, and therefore is much loved by Muslims. The west perhaps does not consider the fact that the Taliban may be as surprised as anyone, did not expect to take power so soon, they expected to have time to form a government and develop legislation and policies for governance. Pompeo has tweeted in the past day or so that GOP did not want a situation where a power vacuum was created giving a space for terror to take root. Well, here we are.

What will happen to women? What will happen to all those Afghans the Americans callously left behind, those who worked with and supported the west? Will reprisal killings take place? Will young women be forced into marrying Taliban fighters? Will girls and women be able to continue their education? What about journos remaining in the region? Will Shia minorities receive protection? What will their Shariah look like? (Note contrary to western belief Islamists do not agree amongst themselves on what is Shariah and many Muslims do not either.) Islamic jurisprudence is vast and diverse and contains differing and conflicting opinions and has shifted and changed over time.

Despite the hyperbolic fear-based narrative the western media is trying very hard to forge, the Taliban appear calm and reasonable and polite. In his mobile phone interview with Yalda Hakim, Suhail Shaheen sounded like a PR spokesperson, he could easily work for the White House, he sounded that smooth. Yalda skillfully pressed him, reminding me that there still are gifted journalists around, that not all of them are tools of the propaganda machine—some are still seeking the truth, whatever it looks like. Aida Sanjush, an Afghan now living in Canada, gave an interview in which she stated that her intelligence gathering indicates many women are fearful and in hiding, worried about being targets of the kind brutalities waged against women by the Taliban of the 90s.

These are early days and it remains to be seen how events will unfold. The western media certainly wants to promote a narrative. Few seem capable of humanising the Taliban and instead prefer to remain stuck in the neocon mindset that got us here. To be clear, the Taliban has a history of brutality and oppression. We all know this. To an extent reticence and fear remain prudent and understandable. However, I think those of us living in the West forget that Afghanis want peace and freedom however it comes to them. Westerners have such an arrogance when it comes to the developing world, and in particular the Muslim world, Muslims remain imprisoned in a dystopian triangle of tyrants, invaders, fanatics.

I have spent that past few days pouring over thoughts and opinions and analyses of modernist/pluralist Muslim thinkers from the MENA region and from South Asia, intellects, scholars, of journalists working in the region, of Afghans themselves on the ground. I have reviewed the history of the region in an attempt to gain a geopolitical understanding of Afghanistan. And then I have considered the western media narrative. I find a disconnect, an intellectual gap. I cannot help but feel I’m being manipulated by the MSM, just the same as I am when I read that Brooke Taylor level bullsh1t on how women’s rights are blaspheming trans people. I remind myself that the same people bullsh1ting me about my constitutional rights and my right to set sexual boundaries being bigotry are trying to feed me that hyperbolic narrative about Afghanistan.

Mike Ghouse wrote a post in which he suggested continued dialogue with the Taliban leadership. Safi Kaskas posted a video clip about the need to balance justice with freedom and hoped the Taliban would take heart. When I asked Safi could we be on a cusp of change, he answered be patient and wait, we need to observe what’s happening to really know. Today Marc Garneau remarked that Canada will not be making any decisions just yet about recognising the Taliban government, and naturally the CPC just had to counter that with a virtue signalling press release about how the Taliban is bad and they would never recognise it. Interesting response, considering the cons seemed quite cozy with Modi who is a Hindutva fascist and whose government promotes ugly human rights violations against Muslims and women. Also interesting because we all are watching the west normalise the brutality and derangement of the Sauds and pretend that Ibn Salman is a genuine reformer (despite ordering the brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and the brutal incarceration of Loujain al-Hathloul), as opposed to a self serving malignant and sociopathic narcissist. Maybe the west has the taste of butt-hurt in its mouth at a humiliating geopolitical failure and this is driving the emotional reactivity we’re seeing that’s obscuring rational thought.

So the answer is, IDK and it’s complicated. It seems to me we aren’t going to serve the human interests of the Afghan people by isolating the country and putting the Taliban on the defensive and refusing to even admit they are human beings. The west has a primitive grasp of the varying strains of extremism among Islamists and also of societies that differ from its own. Taliban differs from Wahhabism, and so the counter approach must differ. Taliban has deep vast roots in Deobandi thought, as opposed to Wahhabism. It is a grass roots movement funded by people on the ground as opposed to the Wahhabs’ oil-based funding.

Now is the time to listen to liberal/revivalist Muslims who promote pluralism and freedom and who are working diligently to combat fundamentalist thinking within the Muslim community/world. We don’t want Islamic regimes, or any religious regime or state, that is not freedom. We tried the colonial neocon way, that failed. We are done letting America pretend to be the leading force of freedom and democracy and human rights. American simply DGAF, it engages foreign policy to play geopolitical chess, to promote and protect it’s ideologic and financial interests at all cost, even if that is massive human cost. How do the savage brown man trope and the Rapunzel damsel in distress trope play into American geopolitical games? How does the continued existence of Muslim fundamentalism and extremism serve the west by preserving its hegemony? How do we hold accountable America neocons who wrote this screenplay? What does this new chapter hold for Afghanistan? How can each of us promote peace and balance in human society? I have a lot of questions. We all do. Uncertainty means possibility. Can we strike a path of balance to navigate the challenges? Can we let Afghans build their society and economy up, and take back their lives and country? I hope so.


Image credit: wanttocreate via Unsplash

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