– Their religions vary, but the fundies agree that the punitive but righteous hand of God is responsible for catastrophe.
When a Shiite prayer leader blames earthquakes in Iran on immodestly dressed and promiscuous women, neocons like Michael Ledeen snicker.
When a prominent ultra-orthodox Israeli spiritual and political leader agrees with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyehthat the fire destroying Israel’s Carmel Forest is a punishment from God, there’s silence.
Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, who remains a prominent spiritual and political leader of the Shas party, and Palestinian Prime Minister elect Haniyeh agree that the Deity has been venting His fury by means of the destructive blaze in Israel, but disagree about why.
Read more : Alternet.org
It has suffered disaster after disaster. Its people have lived through crisis upon crisis. Its leaders are unwilling or unable to act. But is it really the failed state that many believe?
By Patrick Cockburn
Is Pakistan disintegrating? Are the state and society coming apart under the impact of successive political and natural disasters? The country swirls with rumours about the fall of the civilian government or even a military coup. The great Indus flood has disappeared from the headlines at home and abroad, though millions of farmers are squatting in the ruins of their villages. The US is launching its heaviest-ever drone attacks on targets in the west of the country, and Pakistan closed the main US and Nato supply route through the Khyber Pass after US helicopters crossed the border and killed Pakistani soldiers.
Pakistan is undoubtedly in a bad way, but it is also a country with more than 170 million people, a population greater than Russia’s, and is capable of absorbing a lot of punishment. It is a place of lop-sided development. It possesses nuclear weapons but children were suffering from malnutrition even before the floods. Electricity supply is intermittent so industrialists owning textile mills in Punjab complain that they have to use their own generators to stay in business. Highways linking cities are impressive, but the driver who turns off the road may soon find himself bumping along a farmer’s track. The 617,000-strong army is one of the strongest in the world, but the government has failed to eliminate polio or malaria. Everybody agrees that higher education must be improved if Pakistan is to compete in the modern world, but the universities have been on strike because their budgets had been cut and they could not pay their staff.
The problem for Pakistan is not that the country is going to implode or sink into anarchy, but that successive crises do not produce revolutionary or radical change. A dysfunctional and corrupt state, part-controlled by the army, staggers on and continues to misgovern the country. The merry-go-round of open or veiled military rule alternates with feeble civilian governments. But power stays in the hands of an English-speaking élite that inherited from the British rulers of the Raj a sense of superiority over the rest of the population.
The present government might just squeak through the post-flood crisis because of its weakness rather than its strength. The military has no reason to replace it formally since the generals already control security policy at home and abroad, as well as foreign policy and anything else they deem important to their interests. …
Read more : The Independent
Prem Chand: His Death Was a National Tragedy; How His Coffin Was Treated a National Disgrace
Amongst the 152 who died in last Wednesday’s tragic crash of Air Blue flight were six members of the Youth Parliament. All death in this tragedy were sad. The death of these talented youth with aspirations of building a better Pakistan was no exception. Maybe it was tragedy compounded. But the story of one of them is sadder even than the others – and because of what happened to him after he died!
This is the story of Prem Chand, a bright young social worker from Sanghar (Sindh), one of the members of Youth Parliament, and one of those who died on the ill-fated AirBlue flight 202. His death – like the death of everyone on that flight – was a matter of national tragedy; the treatment of his dead body a matter of national disgrace.
According to news reports in The News and The Express Tribune young Prem Chand’s coffin was marked “Kafir” – a word that literally means ‘infidel’ or ‘non-believer’ but is mostly used as a serious slur in Pakistan. Literally labeling someone’s coffin as “Kafir” and not even giving them the respect to list their religion by its proper name, is a shameful and disgusting way to disrespect the last remains of anyone. All the more so the last remains of a patriotic Pakistani who was on that plane solely to represent Pakistan and to seek to be a better Pakistani – he was on his way to the ‘session’ of the Youth Parliament!
Read more >> PAKISTANIAT