Feb 22, 2021

An existential threat to Indian farmers

Farmers protest at the Delhi Singhu border in Delhi, India. Getty images
These ongoing protests of Indian Punjab farmers are just implications of what a far-right Hindu nationalist government would offer to its people. In hoping to reboot the economy, the government has passed laws that is, in someway, a form of dispossession and control over agricultural lands to which farmers have special relationship. These bills, that were introduced and passed by the parliament last year and then signed into laws are tailored to only benefit giant corporations while lacking any sustainable, ecological, social and economic integrity. 

What these laws would basically do is to replace the market that is ran and protected by committees of traders and land owners with a free market where farmers will have neither control over the circulation of their products, nor the market values. In the long run, this would result to self-indenturement of farmers to billionaires sitting in Delhi and buying stocks in the US. 

And there is always IMF as a hegemonic force from outside that offers its prescriptions. It is always there to advocate and support any offense a government commits against its citizen. It does not only co-opting neoliberal elites for enforcing their ideals but also crafting and promoting hegemonic norms, especially in developing countries where they are left with no choice but unconditional surrender.

The worse part of these laws is that it does not offer any future to farmers who may loss control over their lands. Right now, millions of people work on farms, what will happen to them when their farms are taken by corporations? It is obvious that they will be replaced by a reduced number of workforce that’s also cheap, and that is what big corporations always do otherwise they can’t make surplus profit. At the time when the India's unemployment is at its highest rate, what opportunities will be available to these farmers who have no other skills than farming? There is not much prospect that these laws would do anything positive but to harm and exploit the lands whose farmers’ livelihood depends upon.

Feb 17, 2021

a time unlike now

I reminisce
that rotting wooden bench
on Louther street
next to the library and
across from the Lutheran Church
we used to sit
you always insisted
"let's tarry awhile"

a time
unlike now,
like ephemeral past
sends new nostalgic
errands

Feb 12, 2021

Happy Dawin Day

It's Darwin's Day. February 12, the day we, anthropologists, commemorate the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809, one of the greatest naturalists in our history. In 1831, he made a voyage to the Beagle in which he observed and collected specimens of plants, animals, rocks, and fossils, some were mostly on land, far apart from the sea. At the time, he was just 22 years old. (this makes me feel bad about myself, what a useless life I have lived so far). On his return, he published his findings in a book called The Voyage of the Beagle. His discoveries and ideas shaped our understanding about the natural world and ourselves. He showed that we humans are just another type of animal living on earth, a small branch on a big tree of life.

My field, anthropology, is deeply influenced by Darwin's evolutionary theories about human evolution. His ideas on the evolution of human traits and natural selections may have been disputed by recent studies on fossil records, but his fundamental arguments that we humans share similar traits with African great apes and that our ancestors first originated in Africa, remain valid.

To appreciate Darwin, let's take a moment and look back at nearly two million years ago to see how our opposable thumbs evolved to its current level of dexterity. Check out this fascinating article.

Feb 11, 2021

Bidel's Wikipedia page

Today, I got a chance to tweak Abdul Qadir Bidel's Wikipedia page. I corrected some of the references and added several others. I also entered that he was the greatest poet of Indian-Persian, next to Amir Khusrau, who lived most of his life during the reign of Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor. This is very close to historical reality than branding him based on cultural biases. I noticed some entries labeled him as a Persian poet from Khorasan or from the Indian subcontinent (though the later has a modicum of truth). The fact of the matter is, he was Indian, born and raised and eventually died there. He belonged to that geographical area, to that culture and people and he should be studied within that context. Removing him from this context is unjust and discriminatory. 

I also added some other sections in his Wiki page, such as bibliography, notes, and works. I entered several bibliography entries, fixed some while redacted and retracted others. I hope others contribute to Bidel's page as well, so that those who are interested in learning about him can have access to an array of resources. 

On a final note, I added mostly references that are available in English language. That means, I disregarded books published in Farsi, Tajiki, Uzbek, and other languages.

Feb 7, 2021

With pots and pans against coup

The pots and pans ring across Myanmar against the military coup. It's a familiar ring for all of us but a special one for people in Myanmar, they use them to exorcise the evil spirit. For the past few days, it has been used against the military coup that seized power last week from a democratically elected - now detained- leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Now the evil spirit is the military. It's pots and pans' clatter and clang that has become a utility of anger and the sound of dissent. Pots and pans have always been a utility of dissonance and so, sometimes became political tool in different manner. When every other means of communication is controlled and the internet is shut down, pots and pans can be the strongest tool for expressing anger and to protest against the military dictatorship. Let pots and pants' clink and clunk rattle the dictators' conscience if they have any, I don't think they do.

Feb 4, 2021

A lesson to be learned from the miners in Pakistan

This AFP news published on Dawn says that after the 10 Hazara miners were killed a few weeks ago, "Pakistan coal miners reluctant to work after Hazara killings." Around 15,000 Hazara miners stopped going to work and as a result, around 200 mines are about to close or slash their production.

The reason for Hazara's reluctance to return to work is obvious. They are not secure and their return to work means their might be potentially more attacks because there is no guarantee for their safety. The Hazaras in Pakistan have been systematically persecuted by various extremist Islamist groups and the Pakistani government has done very little to stop it.

Now that the businesses are getting closed and people are out of work, the government eventually understands what such precarity means and what it would do in the long run in the province of Balochistan. The Hazaras in Pakistan should turn their reluctance into a movement and use it to pressure the federal government to beef up security in their areas.

But guess what happens if Hazaras in Afghanistan takes this lesson and use it for their own struggle against the Afghan government's aggression. If Hazara leaders and elders call on the Hazara men and women, who are now in the battlefield fighting against the Taliban, to come home, the government would stop its onslaught on the Hazaras in Behsud and else where.

This is a trump card that can be used against this government for any type of negations. Hazaras would lose nothing and won't go hungry if their sons and daughters leave the army, in fact, they save their lives, not getting killed in vain by the Taliban.

Feb 3, 2021

On US withdrawal from Afghanistan

These are important suggestions that the Biden administration should take into account while ruminating on the nature of a possible withdrawal from Afghanistan. A complete withdrawal is a disaster that should be avoided and in fact, it should be off the table when negotiation over peace with the Taliban. 

The peace negotiation that was ensued by the previous administration based on narcissistic whims should be rethought. The whole negotiation scheme needs to be reassessed because it was a unilaterally designed between the US and the Taliban insurgents. The Afghan government and the people were not involved in this negotiation from the beginning and even now, they don't have much control over it.

The Biden administration should make a revision to the peace scheme and add mandates to commit the Taliban to reduction of violence; otherwise, any dodgy deals not only perpetuates war and violence, but also emboldens the Taliban and other insurgents for further violence. 

Feb 2, 2021

Afghan security forces open fire on civilians

In my previous post, I mentioned that the Afghan security forces have been deployed to Behsud, a Hazara district in Wardak province, to disarm locals who stood up against the Taliban atrocity. These Hazara civilians were peacefully gathered in front of the district's office to inquire why these forces were there because there was no reason for them to be there, unless they are there to weaken the local's resistance, which would provide some leeway to the Taliban's assaults. 

Here is a video as evidence showing Afghan security forces positioned in armored military Humvees opening fire on civilians and then run over them that is partially captured. So far, more than 10 people have been killed and nearly 30 people are injured.