Friday, July 21, 2006

Call for Islamic Fiction

Islamic fiction is hard to come by. The lack of Muslim writers is not to blame for this, but rather the lack of support systems and infrastructure to bring this to me and you.

In a bid to bring about a positive change, The Islamic Writers Alliance is sponsoring a petition to call for publishers, distributors, and book retailers and wholesalers, particularly ones serving the Muslim community to produce and stock more Islamic fiction. If you'd like to sign (I hope you will!) please go to:

My thoughts on the Middle East Madness:

Lebanon Burns – coffee anyone?

Stentorian voices around the world decry the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon. A human tragedy of colossal proportions unfolds amid the wrecked buildings and shattered bodies. World leaders placidly sit by, in silence, observing the disproportionately obscene response from the only Middle Eastern Super power to the kidnapping of two of their soldiers, while America confers unequivocal support on the military operation, saying that another week is needed for Israel to effectively cripple Hizbullah. American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice plans on visiting the Middle East in the near future to see this goal realized.

Says George Bush : Sometimes it requires tragic situations to help bring clarity in the international community and it is now clear for everyone to see that there are terrorist elements who want to destroy our democratic friends and allies and the world must work to stop them…

Are Lebanese lives so picayune that the death of more than 300 innocent civilians can be regarded as necessary in the fight against terrorism?

I am no expert on Middle Eastern politics. I understand little of the imbroglio it has become. But what I do understand is that the loss of even one life, is one life too many. In a war situation, in armed combat where soldiers face each other on a battle field, that death I can understand, though I may not condone it. But when the people being massacred are 4 year old little girls, or drivers bringing medical supplies into an embattled country, then I feel ashamed to be a part of ‘the best of creation’, human kind, where, in the name of greed and a host of other evils, lives can so easily be taken and forgotten.

The figures, as they stand are appalling. A hundred villages and towns have been bombed, 500 000 people are now displaced; water processing plants have been ruined, as has a milk factory, two pharmaceutical companies, grain silos and food factories. There can be no plausible explanation for this senseless destruction.

Fatalities in Lebanon are ten times as much as those on the Israeli side and majority of them are civilian. In Gaza, 100 Palestinians have lost their lives since late June, nine in this last week alone. Certainly this says something about who the real aggressor is.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the situation is equally dire. The war that has been raging in Iraq has claimed the lives of 6000 people in May and June according to official UN figures. This averages out at 100 people a day. Silent genocide is taking place and the blood is on American hands.

All this killing is futile and it must be stopped. At a time like this the question is not about who is right, but rather about what is right.

The voices continue to shout, to plead for an end to the carnage; but sadly, they fall on the deaf ears of the leaders elected by those self same voices. Makes you wonder then, what’s so great about democracy after all?

Yours truly,
Saaleha Bhamjee

The rationale before I get lynched:

The only reason I chose to dwell on the suffering being endured by the Lebanese, Palestinians and Iraqis is because these are the things that the CNN's, of the world never bring to the public eye. Nor do they bring to the public, the protests in America by people of all faiths against the atrocities being played out in these three countries. So the intention was to highlight that there is another story other than the Haassam rockets. I do not say that Hizbullah is right in any way. In fact I listened to an interview with a Hizbullah spokesman yesterday and he was adamant about his refusal to sit at any table and talk. While I disagree with him, I can also understand how oppression breeds hatred. I live in South African and can understand the apartheid that the Israelis have in place against the Palestinians. What they have there is much worse than anything we experienced. In South Africa, when the ANC saw that they would never get the government to negotiate, they started Mkonto we Sizwe, the military wing, and they carried out acts of "terrorism" to the whites, but for me and the millions of citizens of colour, these were acts to gain our freedom, so we supported them, regardless of the human cost involved. By the same token though, there can be no justification for what Israel is doing. They have the most sophisticated army of any in the Midde East, so surely when they bomb a milk factory, or the Roman Catholic Church where civilians are taking refuge, they know what they're doing. They're punishing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and razing to the ground a country that has just begun to walk again after 15 years of civil war.