Friday, September 21, 2012

This Thursday...

Assalamualaikum

This post is being wrenched out of me (for reasons that will be clear by the end of this write-up) only so that one fine day, when I have a life - I will look back on this post and think, "Did I really live through this?"

:) *rueful smile*

Let's begin recording. Timestamps and events.

Thursday - 20th September 2012 - 9/20/2012 [they write the month first here - took me a while to get used to this].

4.59 am - Eyes drooping, shoulders drooping, everything drooping, as I struggled to sit up on the bed and blearily tried (quite in vain) to understand the code that was being explained (quite patiently) to me.

5.00 am - Dropped to sleep

9.00 am - Got up, extremely saddened to have missed Fajr.

9.30 am - Prepared breakfast. Marinated fish for lunch.

10.00 am - Ate breakfast. Started to fair out the assignment to be submitted at 3pm today. Got stuck. Left it.

10.45 am - Left home to attend the weekly meeting of my lab.

11 - 12 - Attended the meeting.

12.30 pm - Came back home. Soaked daal.

12.45 - Started working on assignment again. Did it finally.

1 pm - Started work on grading assignments as part of my TA responsibility.

1.51 pm - Got up in a hurry to cook daal and fry fish.

2.15 pm - Lunch ready. Had lunch.

2.45 pm - Prayed Zuhr.

2.50 pm - Left home to attend class (at 3 pm).

3.05 pm - Entered class. Handed in assignment.

4.25 pm - Got free from class. Went to another building for another class starting at 4.35 pm.

4.35 pm - Entered class. Attended it.

5.55 pm - Left class to go pray asr at student center.

6.15 pm - Left student center to wait at bus stop for bus to take me to my lab.

6.25 pm - Bus arrived (the wait time is longer when it's after 6pm).

6.35 pm - Reached lab. Got coffee. Ate biscuits. Sugar level up. Caffeine level up.

7 pm - Started grading assignments.

8.10 pm - Prayed maghrib in lab.

8.20 pm - Resumed working.

10 pm - Car came to pick me up. Sat in car to go back (had to pick a friend on the way).

10.20 pm - Reached home.

10.30 pm - Was in kitchen to make rotis for dinner.

10.45 pm - Served dinner.

11.35 pm - Got farigh from washing dishes, cleaning stove, vacuuming kitchen. It was clean again! Shukkar!

11.40 pm - Prayed isha (had to recite Surah Kahf in it, so Isha was longer than usual).

12.00 midnight - Resumed working on grading again.

1.12 am - Blogging my exhausted brain out.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maybe someday, I will be amazed by this kind of a day (which is becoming the norm now). Not to mention the flu which is not letting me go :S.

A human being can SERIOUSLY be stretched to quite a limit.

Comment of the day to me:
"Kia tum koi jinn ho?"

eh eh eh eh :D


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Provocateurs Know Politics and Religion Don't Mix

It only takes a couple of loonies a few seconds to kick off a miniature war in the Muslim world

By Robert Fisk

September 13, 2012 "
The Independent" -- So another internet clever-clogs sets the Middle East on fire: Prophet cartoons, then Koranic book-burning, now a video of robed "terrorists" and a fake desert. The Western-Christian perpetrators then go into hiding (an essential requisite for publicity) while the innocent are asphyxiated, beheaded and otherwise done to death – outrageous Muslim revenge thus "proving" the racist claims of the trash peddlers that Islam is a violent religion.

The provocateurs, of course, know that politics and religion don’t mix in the Middle East. They are the same. Christopher Stevens, his diplomat colleagues in Benghazi, priests in Turkey and Africa, UN personnel in Afghanistan; they have all paid the price for those ‘Christian priests’, ‘cartoonists’, ‘film-makers’ and ‘authors’ – the inverted commas are necessary to mark a thin line between illusionists and the real thing – who knowingly choose to provoke 1.6 billion Muslims.

When a Danish cartoon in a hitherto unknown newspaper drew a picture of the Prophet Mohamed with a bomb in his turban, the Danish embassy in Beirut went up in flames. When a Texas pastor decided to ‘sentence the Koran to death’, the knives came out in Afghanistan – we are leaving aside the little matter of the ‘accidental’ burning of Koranic pages by US personnel in Bagram. And now a deliberately abusive film provokes the murder of one of the State Department’s fairest diplomats.

In many ways, it’s familiar territory. In fifteenth century Spain, Christian cartoonists drew illustrations of the Prophet committing unspeakable acts. And – just so we don’t think we have clean claws today – when a Paris cinema showed a film in which Christ made love to a woman, the picture-house was burned-down, one cinema-goer was killed, and the killer turned out to be a Christian.

With the help of our wonderful new technology, however, it only needs a couple of loonies to kick off a miniature war in the Muslim world within seconds. I doubt if poor Christopher Stevens – a man who really understood the Arabs as many of his colleagues do not – had ever heard of the ‘film’ that unleashed the storming of the US consulate in Benghazi and his own death. It’s one thing to witlessly claim that the US would go on a “crusade” against al-Qaeda – thank you, George W. Bush – but another to insult, quite deliberately, an entire people. Racism of this kind stirs many a crazed heart.

And has Al-Qaeda – defeated by the Arab revolutionaries who demanded dignity rather than a Bin Laden Caliphate across the Middle East – now decided to cash in on populist grievances to advance their Islamist cause? Libya’s largely impotent government blames the Americans themselves for Stevens’ killing – since the consulate should have been evacuated – and suggests that a Gaddafi clique was behind the attack. This is ridiculous. If the armed militia in Benghazi, calling itself the ‘Islamic Law Supporters’, are more than telephone-gunmen, then al-Qaida involvement has to be suspected.

Ironically, there is room for a serious discussion among Muslims about, for example, a re-interpretation of the Koran; but Western provocation – and western, alas, it is – closes down such a narrative. Meanwhile, we beat our chests in favour of a ‘free press’. A New Zealand editor once proudly told me how his own newspaper had re-published the cartoon of the Prophet with a bomb-filled turban. But when I asked him if he planned to publish a cartoon of a Rabbi with a bomb on his head next time Israel invaded Lebanon, he hastily agreed with me that this would be anti-Semitic.

There’s the rub, of course. Some things are off limits, and rightly so. Others have no limits at all. Several radio presenters asked me yesterday if the unrest in Cairo and Benghazi may have been timed to “coincide with 9/11”. It simply never occurred to them to ask if the video-clip provocateurs had chosen their date-for-release to coincide with 9/11.

Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent newspaper.

© 2012 The Independent