PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

The Global Social Network

Pakistan Day: Freeing the Colonized Minds of the Elites

Pakistan achieved independence from the British colonial rule 70 years ago. However, the minds of most of Pakistan's elites remain colonized to this day.  This seems to be particularly true of the nation's western-educated "liberals" who dominate much of the intellectual discourse in the country. They continue to look at their fellow countrymen through the eyes of the Orientalists who served as tools for western colonization of Asia, Middle East and Africa. The work of these "native" Orientalists available in their books, op ed columns and other publications reflects their utter contempt for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Far from being constructive, these colonized minds promote lack of confidence in the ability of their fellow "natives" to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness. The way out of it is to encourage more inquiry based learning and critical thinking.

Orientalism As Tool of Colonialism:

Dr. Edward Said (1935-2003), Palestine-born Columbia University professor and the author of "Orientalism",  described it as the ethnocentric study of non-Europeans by Europeans.  Dr. Said wrote that the Orientalists see the people of Asia, Africa and the Middle East as “gullible” and “devoid of energy and initiative.” European colonization led to the decline and destruction of the prosperity of every nation they ruled. India is a prime example of it. India was the world's largest economy producing over a quarter of the world's GDP when the British arrived. At the end of the British Raj, India's contribution was reduced to less than 2% of the world GDP.

Education to Colonize Minds:

In his "Prison Notebooks", Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist theorist and politician, says that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that promotes certain ideas and beliefs favorable to it.  For Gramsci "cultural hegemony" is maintained through the consent of the dominated class which assures the intellectual and material supremacy of the dominant class.

In "Masks of Conquest", author Gauri Viswanathan says that the British curriculum was introduced in India to "mask" the economic exploitation of the colonized. Its main purpose was to colonize the minds of the natives to sustain colonial rule.

Cambridge Curriculum in Pakistan:

The colonial discourse of the superiority of English language and western education continues with a system of elite schools that uses Cambridge curriculum in Pakistan.

Over 270,000 Pakistani students from elite schools participated in Cambridge O-level and A-level International (CIE) exams in 2016, an increase of seven per cent over the prior year.

Cambridge IGCSE exams is also growing in popularity in Pakistan, with enrollment increasing by 16% from 10,364 in 2014-15 to 12,019 in 2015-16.

Globally there has been 10% growth in entries across all Cambridge qualifications in 2016, including 11% growth in entries for Cambridge International A Levels and 8 per cent for Cambridge IGCSE, according to Express Tribune newspaper.

The United Kingdom remains the top source of international education for Pakistanis.  46,640 students, the largest number of Pakistani students receiving international education anywhere, are doing so at Pakistani universities in joint degree programs established with British universities, according to UK Council for International Student Affairs.

At the higher education level, the number of students enrolled in British-Pakistani joint degree programs in Pakistan (46,640) makes it the fourth largest effort behind Malaysia (78,850), China (64,560) and Singapore (49,970).

Teach Critical Thinking:

Pakistani educators need to see the western colonial influences and their detrimental effects on the minds of youngsters. They need to improve learning by helping students learn to think for themselves critically. Such reforms will require students to ask more questions and to find answers for themselves through their own research rather than taking the words of their textbook authors and teachers as the ultimate truth.

Summary: 

The minds of most of Pakistan's elite remain colonized 70 years after the British rule of Pakistan ended in 1947. They uncritically accept all things western. A quick scan of Pakistan's English media shows the disdain the nation's western educated elites have for their fellow countryman.  Far from being constructive, they promote lack of confidence in their fellow "natives" ability to solve their own problems and contribute to hopelessness.   Their colonized minds uncritically accept all things western. They often seem to think that the Pakistanis can do nothing right while the West can do no wrong. Unless these colonized minds are freed, it will be difficult for the people of Pakistan to believe in themselves, have the confidence in their capabilities and develop the national pride to lay the foundation of a bright future. The best way to help free these colonized minds is through curriculum reform that helps build real critical thinking.

Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN2Owcwq6_M




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Alam vs Hoodbhoy

Inquiry Based Learning

Dr. Ata ur Rehman Defends Higher Education Reform

Pakistan's Rising College Enrollment Rates

Pakistan Beat BRICs in Highly Cited Research Papers

Launch of "Eating Grass: Pakistan's Nuclear Program"

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Impact of Industrial Revolution

Hindutva: Legacy of British Raj


Views: 94

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 10, 2017 at 9:38am

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > OPINION
Making ‘O’ levels Pakistan Studies textbooks available to all

By Dr Madiha Afzal Published: February 2, 2016


https://tribune.com.pk/story/1038923/making-o-levels-pakistan-studi...

Those excellent texts are the ‘O’ levels Pakistan Studies textbooks — the required one written by Nigel Kelly, and a secondary one by Farooq Naseem Bajwa. I recently reviewed these, and my latest research paper compares these books with the Matric textbooks in detail. There are big differences between the two sets of books — probably not a surprise to many. I list some of them here.

First, the Pakistan ideology, that central premise and starting point of the Matric textbooks — that the sole basis of Pakistan is Islam — is nowhere to be found in the ‘O’ levels books. This ideology was not born with Pakistan, but was a concept constructed by the Jamaat-e-Islami and introduced into textbooks in the 1970s and early 1980s via a University Grants Commission directive.

Two, the evolving historical and political story of Partition is told in the ‘O’ levels books rather than the linear narrative presented in the Matric books. The Cambridge texts describe periods of Hindu-Muslim cooperation. Kelly mentions Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s initial pronouncements about Hindus and Muslims being one nation, and also mentions Jinnah’s initial opposition to Partition before explaining how events changed their minds.

Third, the ‘O’ levels book shows the positive side of India and Hindus (along with the negatives). Upon Partition, when India withheld the cash it owed Pakistan, “Gandhi was determined that the division of assets should be as fair as possible. He objected to what the Indian government was doing”. The book states that Gandhi began a hunger strike, and as a result, the Indian government paid Pakistan the remaining Rs500 million it owed us.

Fourth, the ‘O’ levels books quote Jinnah’s critical statement: “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” They also mention his title of “protector-general” of minorities. It is then no surprise that Dr Tariq Rahman found in his 2002-03 survey that ‘O’ levels students have more tolerant views of minorities relative to Matric students — with 66 per cent of ‘O’ levels students versus 47 per cent of Matric students supporting equal rights for Ahmadis, 78 per cent versus 47 per cent for Hindus, and 84 per cent versus 66 per cent for Christians.

One criticism of Kelly’s book, and the official ‘O’ levels curriculum, is that it could cover a longer historical period. Currently, it covers the history of the subcontinent from the Mughal Empire onwards. Bajwa’s book casts the widest lens on pre-independence history, (briefly) covering Hindu empires, the Indus Valley civilisation, and the Persian and Greek invaders of the subcontinent.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 10, 2017 at 9:39am

Cambridge International Examinations: Not Pakistani, so it must be good 
By Hooria Imran Published: May 10, 2013

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/17016/cambridge-international-exa...

I began to notice, with increasing clarity, how much emphasis our teachers put upon the internalisation of what I call the CIE ‘exam formula’.

In Pakistan , where people are quick to condemn the local education system for its corrupt policies and inefficiency, the implications of a CIE ‘exam formula’ are heavy.

As a 12th grader currently doing my AS level, I feel that the educational arena and its opportunities are perceived in a very dichotomous manner.

Firstly, people engage in the belief that the local examination boards are excessively inefficient. In true reductionist fashion, they cite instances of cheating in examination halls, laughingly point out the typos in a Karachi Board textbook, and express their dismay at the concept of rote learning that local boards are supposedly the sole perpetrator of.

Such notions, in turn, facilitate the glorification and uncritical acceptance of the international examination boards available in Pakistan, of which the most widely-endorsed one is Cambridge International Examinations.

When viewed within the context of South Asia’s colonial history with Britain, such endorsement poses a problematic picture.

I have had the good fortune of taking high school exams through both, SSC and CIE. My experience with the two boards and its candidates has made me come to understand the assumptions made by the two institutions about and towards each other and I have seen how they play into the post-colonial situation of Pakistan.

O/A level candidates have a very poor impression of SSC/HSSC education. They believe it to be superfluous – somehow sub-par and not wholesome enough.

On the other hand, CIE qualifications always merit instant validation from society and assert one’s social status. When discussing the shortcomings of the Matriculation system, there is always a sense of gratification shown by O level students.

“Thank God I’m doing O levels! I’d never have been able to ratta-fy (rote learn) so much text!”

Comments like this always make me sceptical because such mentality contributes dangerously to the class divide that exists in educational sectors.

Where does this childish superiority complex end and the hegemonic exploitation of the lower social classes at the hands of the British-affiliated education sector begin?

Time and again, especially with the examination date so close, my teachers have emphasised the importance of doing past papers, and frequently impart lessons from ‘What CIE Expects from a Candidate.’

To do well in CIE requires monetary resources. Thus, for the upper classes, education through an international education board like CIE is an easy opportunity. The same cannot be said for the lower social classes. They cannot afford the same opportunities, and are yet evaluated on the same standard that society expects of education from an international exam board.

Many would argue that the CIE curriculum is designed specifically in such a way that it keeps in regard the socio-political situation of the countries that it includes. Even so, the insidious effects of a CIE education as a lived experience are immense.

The social divide that I mentioned before is one. Also, through the endorsement of particular texts, CIE has the power to perpetuate Eurocentric colonial images in Pakistan’s society simply by training students to inculcate the CIE “formula” based on which they’ll be graded in their exams. This is not to say that local curriculum and educational boards prescribe the most objective and undistorted texts either, but Pakistan’s geopolitical history with Britain in particular lends problematic undertones to the issue where a Western education board like CIE is concerned.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 11, 2017 at 10:33am

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-panka...

India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion

By PANKAJ MISHRA
AUG. 11, 2017

August 15, 1947, deserved to be remembered, the African-American writer W.E.B. Du Bois argued, “as the greatest historical date” of modern history. It was the day India became independent from British rule, and Du Bois believed the event was of “greater significance” than even the establishment of democracy in Britain, the emancipation of slaves in the United States or the Russian Revolution. The time “when the white man, by reason of the color of his skin, can lord it over colored people” was finally drawing to a close.

It is barely remembered today that India’s freedom heralded the liberation, from Tuskegee to Jakarta, of a majority of the world’s population from the degradations of racist imperialism. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that there had been nothing “more horrible” in human history than the days when millions of Africans “were carried away in galleys as slaves to America and elsewhere.” As he said in a resonant speech on Aug. 15, 1947, long ago India had made a “tryst with destiny,” and now, by opening up a broad horizon of human emancipation, “we shall redeem our pledge.”

But India, which turns 70 next week, seems to have missed its appointment with history. A country inaugurated by secular freedom fighters is presently ruled by religious-racial supremacists. More disturbing still than this mutation are the continuities between those early embodiments of postcolonial virtue and their apparent betrayers today.

Du Bois would have been heartbroken to read the joint statement that more than 40 African governments released in April, denouncing “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Africans in India and asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate. The rise in hate crimes against Africans is part of a sinister trend that has accelerated since the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

Another of its bloodcurdling manifestations is the lynching of Muslims suspected of eating or storing beef. Others include assaults on couples who publicly display affection and threats of rape against women on social media by the Hindu supremacists’ troll army. Mob frenzy in India today is drummed up by jingoistic television anchors and vindicated, often on Twitter, by senior politicians, businessmen, army generals and Bollywood stars.

Hindu nationalists have also come together to justify India’s intensified military occupation of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as well as a nationwide hunt for enemies: an ever-shifting and growing category that includes writers, liberal intellectuals, filmmakers who work with Pakistani actors and ordinary citizens who don’t stand up when the national anthem is played in cinemas. The new world order — just, peaceful, equal — that India’s leaders promised at independence as they denounced their former Western masters’ violence, greed and hypocrisy is nowhere in sight.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 12, 2017 at 10:26am

Trashing #India sells better for #Western audiences. #Slumdog #Ray #Roy #Gidla #Dalit #Boo #Economist http://www.dailyo.in/politics/intellectuals-satyajit-ray-arundhati-... … via @dailyo_

More contemporaneously, Slumdog Millionaire by British director Danny Boyle was a rage abroad. The one stomach-churning scene in the movie starring Frieda Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Dev Patel where a child falls into an excreta-filled sewer was played and replayed on foreign television networks with feigned horror. (The excreta was, in fact, a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate sauce.)

Books receive the same treatment. Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity which retells her experiences living in a Mumbai slum for three years, sparing no gory detail, was published to international acclaim in 2012.

Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness received an equally rapturous welcome abroad as it wended its laborious way through India’s graveyard of troubles: Kashmir, Maoism, poverty, communalism, violence. Roy’s sense of bitter hopelessness about India enthrals foreign publishers.

Now a book by Sujatha Gidla, Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, is the latest toast of the West. A Dalit Christian, Gidla tells the story of her uncle Satyamurthy, a Maoist leader who fought the Indian state from the jungles of central India.

In a gushing review, The Economist (July 29, 2017) described Gidla as heralding the “arrival of a formidable new writer.” The magazine added: “Ants among Elephants is an interesting, affecting and ultimately enlightening memoir. It is quite possibly the most striking work of non-fiction set in India since Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.”

The names trip of the tongue nicely: Ray, Roy, Boo, Gidla. Of course The Economist wouldn’t dare review Shashi Tharoor’s excellent book An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India which exposes Britain’s horrific crimes during its colonial occupation of India.

Even the British edition of Tharoor’s book was re-titled to make it less offensive to the British. An Era of Darkness became the anodyne An Inglorious Empire: What the British Did To India. In an interview with the BBC for the book’s British launch earlier this year, one of the panelists was dismissive of Tharoor’s evocative and detailed description of the brutalities of the British Empire and the financial ruination it brought upon India.

In contrast, Arundhati Roy’s dark vision of India has been lapped up by newspapers like The New York Times and television channels in Europe and America. Should all of this matter? Emphatically not. India has many flaws – violence, poverty, rape, corruption, casteism. It is right for journalists and authors, Indian and foreign, to write about them.

It is equally right for filmmakers to show the underbelly of India – from the coal mines of Dhanbad to the slums of Mumbai. Sunlight is a disinfectant. Shine it mercilessly on our imperfections. Only then will change take place. The problem though is balance. 

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In its review of Gidla’s book, The Economist gives its Western readers a detailed tutorial on India’s caste system: “One in six Indians is a Dalit, which means 'oppressed' in Sanskrit. That is to say, 200 million Indians belong to a community deemed so impure by the scriptures that they are placed outside the hierarchical Hindu caste system and are commonly called ‘untouchable’. Upper-caste Hindus traditionally treated untouchables as agents of pollution. To come into contact with them was to be defiled, they believed. Indian villages depended on untouchables to provide field labour and clear away human waste. Yet untouchables were excluded from village life.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 15, 2017 at 7:50am

INGLORIOUS EMPIRE
The lies Brits tell themselves about how they left behind a better India

https://qz.com/1053297/independence-day-what-good-did-the-british-d...

Railways. The British built the railways primarily for themselves, using their own technology and forcing Indians to buy British equipment. Each mile of the Indian railway constructed cost nine times as much as the same in the US, and twice that in difficult and less populated Canada and Australia. The bills were footed by Indian taxpayers and British investors received a guaranteed return on their capital. Freight charges were dirt cheap, and Indians who traveled 3rd class paid for expensive tickets.
Tea. The British desire to end their dependence on Chinese tea prompted them to set up plantations in India. Following many failed attempts, they managed to find a local version that worked. For this, the British felled vast forests, stripped the tribals who lived there of their rights, and then paid Indian labourers poorly to cultivate the cleared areas. Once the tea was ready, it was shipped off to Britain or sold internationally. The little bit left in India was too expensive, until the Great Depression when weak global demand finally let Indians enjoy the delights of the drink.
Cricket. “Yes, the British brought it to us,” Tharoor writes. “But they did not do so in the expectation that we would defeat them one day at their own game, or that our film-makers would win an Oscar nomination for an improbable tale about a motley bunch of illiterate villagers besting their colonial overlords at a fictional 19th-century match (Lagaan, 2001).”
English language. The British made it absolutely clear that it was only taught to serve their own purpose. Lord Macaulay wrote: “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.” (This is the same Macaulay who also said, “A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”)
“That Indians seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation was to their credit, not by British design,” Tharoor writes.
The upshot of the empire, as Tharoor puts it, was that “What had once been one of the richest and most industrialised economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75% of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947.”
Inglorious Empire shows in full glory how the British systematically purged India’s riches, destroyed its institutions, and created divisions among its peoples. Worse still, there has been no formal apology for what the empire wreaked on its subjects. Instead, there is rising nostalgia for the empire as nationalism surges in a country that is now three ranks below India in the size of its economy.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 16, 2017 at 10:13pm

How Western media would cover Baltimore if it happened elsewhere

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/04/30/ho...

If what is happening in Baltimore happened in a foreign country, here is how Western media would cover it:

International leaders expressed concern over the rising tide of racism and state violence in America, especially concerning the treatment of ethnic minorities in the country and the corruption in state security forces around the country when handling cases of police brutality. The latest crisis is taking place in Baltimore, Maryland, a once-bustling city on the country’s Eastern Seaboard, where an unarmed man named Freddie Gray died from a severed spine while in police custody.

Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males.

The United Kingdom expressed concern over the troubling turn of events in America in the last several months. The country’s foreign ministry released a statement: “We call on the American regime to rein in the state security agents who have been brutalizing members of America’s ethnic minority groups. The equal application of the rule of law, as well as the respect for human rights of all citizens, black or white, is essential for a healthy democracy.” Britain has always maintained a keen interest in America, a former colony.

Palestine has offered continued assistance to American pro-democracy activists, sending anti-tear-gas kits to those protesting police brutality in various American cities. Egyptian pro-democracy groups have also said they will be sharing their past experience with U.S.-made counter-protest weapons.

A statement from the United Nations said, “We condemn the militarization and police brutality that we have seen in recent months in America, and we strongly urge American state security forces to launch a full investigation into the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. There is no excuse for excessive police violence.” The U.N. called on the United States to make a concerted effort to make databases of police violence public to improve transparency and cut down on corruption in the justice system.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 16, 2017 at 10:13pm

What if Western media covered #Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/global-opinions/wp/2017... …


If we talked about what happened in Charlottesville the same way we talk about events in a foreign country, here’s how Western media would cover it. Those quoted in the “story” below are fictional.

The international community is yet again sounding the alarm on ethnic violence in the United States under the new regime of President Trump. The latest flash point occurred this past weekend when the former Confederate stronghold of Charlottesville descended into chaos following rallies of white supremacist groups protesting the removal of statues celebrating leaders of the defeated Confederate states. The chaos turned deadly when Heather Heyer, a member of the white ethnic majority who attended the rally as a counterprotester, was killed when a man with neo-Nazi sympathies allegedly drove his car into a crowd.

Trump, a former reality television host, beauty pageant organizer and businessman, rose to political prominence by publicly questioning the citizenship of the United States’ first black president, Barack Obama. Since his election, Trump has targeted Muslims, refugees, Mexicans and the media. He has also advocated for police brutality. These tactics have appealed to and emboldened white ethno-nationalist groups and domestic terrorist organizations.

After Charlottesville, Trump has largely refused to unequivocally condemn the actions of the white supremacist groups. In a shocking news conference Tuesday, Trump, fuming after consuming hours of cable television, doubled down on blaming “both sides” for the weekend’s violence. His remarks garnered praise from a former leader of a white terrorist group known as the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville,” Duke said on Twitter.

Beyond Trump’s coddling of white extremist groups, the emboldening of white supremacists and neo-Nazis raises questions about the state of the United States’ democracy 152 years after its brutal civil war over the rights of the white ethnic majority in its southern region to enslave members of the black ethnic minority. After the Charlottesville turmoil, more protests are expected around the country against the removal of Confederate monuments.

“Culturally, Americans are a curious lot,” said Andrew Darcy Morthington, an United Kingdom-based commentator who once embarked on a two-year mission trip to teach rural American children and therefore qualifies as an expert on U.S. affairs. “Donald Trump’s campaign message was that he would make America great again, and that there would be so much ‘winning.’ If America cares about being great, why has it fought so hard to keep monuments to the Confederate losers and enslavers?”

“The worst thing Britain ever did was letting go of our colony and thinking Americans were capable of governing themselves without eventually resorting back to tribal politics,” said Martin Rhodes, a shopkeeper in London. “I can’t believe a once-great empire would threaten everything it has built over generations just because a group of people give in to racism and xenoph…” Rhodes’s voice trailed off as he stared wistfully at a silent Big Ben.

Experts are also linking the weekend violence to the scourge of domestic terrorism carried out by white males, who have carried out almost twice as many mass attacks on American soil than Muslims have in recent years.

“This is the time for moderates across the white male world to come out and denounce violent racial terrorism, white supremacy and regressive tribal politics,” said James Charlotin, a Canadian national security expert. “Why haven’t they spoken out?”

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 20, 2017 at 10:00am

#Trump’s pigs’ blood bullets claim is fake news — but US massacre of #Muslims isn’t. #Philippines #Islamophobia

https://www.dawn.com/news/1352624/trumps-pigs-blood-bullets-claim-i...

I DON’T know what the people of Barcelona think about Trump’s demented and repulsive tale of bullets and pig’s blood — but I know what Mark Twain would have said. He was the finest American political writer of his time — perhaps of all time — and he wrote with bitterness, sarcasm and disgust about the US military’s war crimes in the Philippines in 1906. No doubt Trump would have approved of them.

As so often, there’s no proof — and thus no truth — to the story that General Pershing ever told his soldiers to execute Filipino fighters with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. Besides, Pershing had left the islands and the Philippine-US war was officially over when the Americans slaughtered the Moro Muslims in their hundreds in what became known as the Battle of Bud Dajo. With Trump-like enthusiasm, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt congratulated the US commanders on their “brilliant feat of arms”.

Twain thought differently. The American military had brutally crushed an uprising by the ethnic Muslim Moro people, a final and hopeless battle in the Philippine war of independence against the US. It is a tale not without significance in any study of America’s recent occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

He wrote a deeply cynical essay about the “battle” of Bud Dajo a few days later. Up to 1,000 Moro men, women and children were killed by US forces who had surrounded them in their mountain refuge 2,200 feet above sea level, a volcanic crater in which all but six of the Muslims were killed. A surviving photograph of the atrocity shows uniformed US troops standing above piles of corpses, one of them a bare-breasted woman.

“With 600 engaged on each side,” Twain wrote, “we lost 15 men killed outright, and we had 32 wounded … The enemy numbered 600 — including women and children — and we abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother. This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States … The splendid news appeared with splendid display — heads in every newspaper in this city … But there was not a single reference to it in the editorial columns of any one of those newspapers.”

Twain observed that not one reader wrote to support the US “victory”. But President Roosevelt sent his congratulations to the US Commander, Major General Leonard Wood, in Manila: “I congratulate you and the officers and men of your command upon the brilliant feat of arms wherein you and they so well upheld the honour of the American flag.”

Twain recorded the headlines over the following days — “Women Slain in Moro Massacre”, “With Children They Mixed in Mob in Crater, and All Died Together”, “Death List is Now 900”, “Impossible to Tell Sexes Apart in Fierce Battle on Top of Mount Dajo” — and remarked that “the naked savages were so far away, down in the bottom of that trap, that our soldiers could not tell the breasts of a woman from the rudimentary paps of a man — so far away that they couldn’t tell a toddling child from a black six-footer.” A headline announcing “Lieutenant Johnson Blown from Parapet by Exploding Artillery Gallantly Leading Charge” convinced Twain that the soldier must have been wounded by his own side — since the Moros had no artillery.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 2, 2017 at 5:35pm

The problem with the Quilliam Foundation
TOM GRIFFIN 7 November 2016
The Quilliam foundation's focus on radical Islam leaves equally dangerous far-right movements under-investigated.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/tom-griffin/problem-with-quilliam-...

The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) has a long history of fighting racism, extending back to roots in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, so its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists published last month, attracted widespread interest from those involved in combatting Islamophobia. Unfortunately, this latest publication has been controversial because it includes Maajid Nawaz, the co-founder of the UK counter-extremist think-tank Quilliam Foundation.

Nawaz has denounced this characterisation as 'Islam-splaining', describing himself as 'a brown, liberal, reform Muslim' and denouncing his critics as the 'regressive left', a charge echoed by Nick Cohen in the Spectator. Some elements of SPLC's critique of Nawaz were indeed questionable. It is not clear that the inclusion of some of his more personal peccadilloes shed any light on the charge of extremism. To accuse any self-identified Muslim of anti-Muslim extremism should always give one pause, given the risk of setting oneself up as arbitrator of others’ religious beliefs. There should be a high bar, and the scattershot nature of some of the SPLC's criticisms suggests that bar has not been met, even if other points do illustrate the profoundly illiberal impact of Quilliam's brand of counter-subversion.

This does not mean that a Muslim can never be said to be an anti-Muslim extremist. A good example is provided by a previous row involving Quilliam and a close British analogue of the SPLC, Hope Not Hate. In December last year, Hope Not Hate published a report on the so-called 'counterjihad movement', a self-identified coalition of hardline, far-right anti-Muslim groups, which spawned among other organisations, the English Defence League in Britain.

The emergence of the counterjihad movement had previously been noted in the journal of the Royal United Service Institute as early as 2008. The most comprehensive study of the US counterjihad movement, Fear Inc., by the Center for American Progress, identified its key activists including Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy and David Horowitz of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, both conspiracy theorists who have claimed Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood; as well as Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer, the co-founders of Stop the Islamization of America. These in turn were funded by a small number of key conservative foundations such as the Donors Capital Fund, the Scaife Foundations, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Abstraction Fund. 

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We should think twice about labelling muslims as anti-Muslim extremists, but that must not stop anti-racist organisations from challenging those who abet the counterjihad movement, and that is why groups like SPLC, Hope Not Hate, Tell Mama and others have rightly scrutinised Quilliam's ambiguous role.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 2, 2017 at 6:38pm

One of America's Most Dangerous Think Tanks Is Spreading Islamophobic Hate Across the Atlantic
The Gatestone Institute has pumped out reams of dangerous anti-Muslim propaganda, and its ties to UK groups deserve close scrutiny.

http://www.alternet.org/investigations/one-americas-most-dangerous-...

The Gatestone Institute, a New York-based think tank, has become one of the most important hubs in America’s Islamophobia industry, pumping out reams of dangerous anti-Muslim propaganda of the kind lapped up by far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik. The transatlantic dimensions of Gatestone’s influence have so far gone largely unnoticed, but its close links to several British groups, including the Quilliam Foundation, Stand for Peace and the Henry Jackson Society deserve close scrutiny.

Despite its virulent anti-Muslim racism, Gatestone has been able to maintain a large roster of contributors, including a number of Muslim authors. When I interviewed one former Gatestone contributor, Shiraz Maher, who now works at King’s College London’s International Center for the Study of Radicalization (and built his career on the back of his claims to be a reformed “ex-extremist”), he confirmed he had been paid for articles, but declined to say how much. However, a separate policy analyst, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, named a different UK-based Muslim writer on Gatestone’s books whom he claimed was being paid, in return for producing articles “on demand,” the tidy sum of $65,000 a year.

These figures fit with the fact that Gatestone’s revenue was reportedly $1.1 million in 2012 and that attendees at its events were at one point being asked for a "minimum donation of $10,000." When I pointed out to Maher the prominent Islamophobia in the writing of Peder Jensen aka “Fjordman” and a plethora of other Gatestone authors, Maher said he no longer contributed articles to the think tank. But others in the UK—who similarly style themselves as “anti-extremists” yet apparently see no irony in associating with this extremely Islamophobic (but also extremely well-funded) think tank—have forged links with Gatestone more recently.

Collective blame and the Quilliam Foundation

Chief among these is the Quilliam Foundation. In January 2015, just days after the Paris attacks, Gatestone spent approximately $100,000 taking out a full page advert in the New York Times. To drive home its implicit message that a “good Muslim” supports US power, two out of the three Muslims pictured in the Gatestone advert were posing next to the American flag. Mentioning violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt and “Africa,” the text of the advertisement effortlessly ignored all other violence in the world not involving any of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and simultaneously glossed over the context-specific political factors at play in each conflict. The subtext was clear: Gatestone was advocating a mono-causal explanation for this violence and put the spotlight firmly on Islam.

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