Industrial Cracks

This blog is a glimpse into the mind of a history nerd sitting behind a laptop screen. Enjoy a series of ideas he hopes to be thought provoking.
I am quite proud of my Contemplations and Discussing Islam pages. Feel free to contact me anytime.

What we all hold in common is our belonging to a species that in principle seeks the unseen, and that is the source of its behavior and its development. If what man sees and feels were enough, he would remain static, but since it is not enough, he goes into motion, a motion that ensures his evolution

—    Ali Shariati in Marxism and other western fallacies

Two images of India that are recognisable to people today in both Britain and the USA are those of poverty and mystery. What ‘sells’ a country like India to the West, as seen in tourism advertisements for example, is its ‘exotic culture’ in the context of its economic poverty. In her exoticism and her misery, the ‘Indian woman’ has embodied the subcontinent itself: attracting and repelling at the same time, she is as absent in the construction of her image as India has been. As Said says: “in discussions of the orient, the orient is all absence, whereas one feels the orientalist and what he [sic] says as presence”. Said’s quote is significant because, as Billie Melman has shown, although he uses examples of the construction of women in literature as descriptive illustrations of orientalist discourses, he does not incorporate an analysis of gender into his conceptual approach. Liddle and Joshi, for example, show how gender formed one of the pillars on which imperialism was built, and that the divisions of gender mediated the structure of imperialism; and Sangari and Vaid demonstrate that both the coloniser and the colonised used the image of Indian women and the notion of Indian tradition in relation to gender to contain political and cultural change in both Britain and India. Although this orientalist discourse was largely constructed by men, Western women also contributed to it.


Feminism, Imperialism and Orientalism: The Challenge of the ‘Indian Woman’

Ramusack identifies the approach of most Western feminists of the time as “maternal imperialists”, including those who supported Indian nationalism but still believed that the colonial government improved the condition of women. As Jayawardena makes clear, they saw Indian women as their special burden, and saw themselves as the agents of progress and civilisation. The subject Indian woman in a decaying colonised society was the model of everything they were struggling against and was thus the measure of Western feminists’ own progress. British feminists saw Britain as the centre of both democracy and feminism, and when they claimed political rights they also claimed the right to participate in the empire, seeing female influence as crucial for the empire’s preservation. They sought power for themselves in the imperial project, and used the opportunities and privileges of empire as a means of resisting patriarchal constraints and creating their own independence.

The truth.

(via mehreenkasana)

(via mehreenkasana)

Marxism and other Western Fallacies by Ali Shariati.

A collection of a series of lectures by the great Ali Shariati on Marxism and other western theories. 

This should put to end any misconceptions that green movement people try to convey about Ali Shariati being a Marxist. 

Iran claims internet censorship is Western propaganda

I have been seeing tumblr reports recently about Iran replacing internet with National alternatives recently. These reports are bullshit. As the Iranian Communication Ministry says.

By Lawrence Latif

REPORTS that Iran is planning to shut down the internet and replace it with home-grown web sites have been rubbished by the country’s communications ministry.

Iran had reportedly planned to block access to the internet and replace web sites such as Google and Facebook with Iranian alternatives, but the Iranian government called such reports Western propaganda. Reza Taghipour, Iran’s Communications and Information Technology minister reportedly said in an interview, “All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August,” however his department distanced itself from the claim by not confirming the minister’s comments.

Iran’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said, “The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry” adding the reports of Iran planning a complete internet blackout was “completely baseless”, adding that the claims were from “the propaganda wing of the West”.

Iran already blocks access to a number of foreign web sites and in the past has blocked web sites such as Facebook, Google and the BBC.

Even if Iran does go down the route of blocking foreign web sites and pushing its citizens onto web sites it can control, history has shown that it is very difficult to stop users from viewing foreign content. Services such as proxies, TOR, SSH tunnelling and virtual private networks can make it very difficult for governments to track and decipher what network users are doing

Source: The Inquirer (

The Bloody Road to Damascus: The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State

The outrage expressed by politicians in the West and Gulf State and in the mass media, about the ‘killing of peaceful Syrian citizens protesting injustice’ is cynically designed to cover up the documented reports of violent seizure of neighborhoods, villages and towns by armed bands, brandishing machine guns and planting road-side bombs.

The assault on Syria is backed by foreign funds, arms and training.Due to a lack of domestic support, however, to be successful, direct foreign military intervention will be necessary. For this reason a huge propaganda and diplomatic campaign has been mounted to demonize the legitimate Syrian government. The goal is to impose a puppet regime and strengthen Western imperial control in the Middle East. In the short run, this will further isolate Iran in preparation for a military attack by Israel and the US and, in the long run, it eliminates another independent secular regime friendly to China and Russia.

In order to mobilize world support behind this Western, Israeli and Gulf State-funded power grab, several propaganda ploys have been used to justify another blatant violation of a country’s sovereignty after their successful destruction of the secular governments of Iraq and Libya.

The Larger Context: Serial Aggression

The current Western campaign against the independent Assad regime in Syria is part of a series of attacks against pro-democracy movements and independent regimes from North Africa to the Persian Gulf. The imperial-militarist response to the Egyptian democracy movement that overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship was to back the military junta’s seizure of power and murderous campaign to jail, torture and assassinate over 10,000 pro-democracy protestors.

Faced with similar mass democratic movements in the Arab world, the Western-backed Gulf autocratic dictators crushed their respective uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The assaults extended to the secular government in Libya where NATO powers launched a massive air and sea bombardment in support of armed bands of mercenaries thereby destroying Libya’s economy and civil society. The unleashing of armed gangster-mercenaries led to the savaging of urban life in Libya and devastation in the countryside. The NATO powers eliminated the secular regime of Colonel Gadhafi and along with having him murdered and mutilated by its mercenaries. Nato oversaw the wounding, imprisonment, torture and elimination of tens of thousands of civilian Gadhafi supporters and government workers.NATO backed the puppet regime as it embarked on a bloody pogrom against Libyan citizens of sub-Saharan African ancestry as well a sub-Sahara African immigrant workers – groups who had benefited from Gadhafi’s generous social programs. The imperial policy of ruin and rule in Libya serves as “the model” for Syria: Creating the conditions for a mass uprising led by Muslim fundamentalists, funded and trained by Western and Gulf State mercenaries.

The Bloody Road From Damascus to Teheran

According to the State Department ‘The road to Teheran passes through Damascus’: The strategic goal of NATO is to destroy Iran’s principal ally in the Middle East; for the Gulf absolutist monarchies the purpose is to replace a secular republic with a vassal theocratic dictatorship; for the Turkish government the purpose is to foster a regime amenable to the dictates of Ankara’s version of Islamic capitalism; for Al Qaeda and allied Salafi and Wahabi fundamentalists a theocratic Sunni regime, cleansed of secular Syrians, Alevis and Christians, will serve as a trampoline for projecting power in the Islamic world; and for Israel a blood-drenched divided Syria will further ensure its regional hegemony. It was not without prophetic foresight that the uber-Zionist US Senator Joseph Lieberman demanded days after the ‘Al Queda’ attack of September 11, 2001: “First we must go after Iran, Iraq and Syria” before considering the actual authors of the deed.

The armed anti-Syrian forces reflect a variety of conflicting political perspectives united only by their common hatred of the independent secular, nationalist regime which has governed the complex, multi-ethnic Syrian society for decades. The war against Syria is the principle launching pad for a further resurgence of Western militarism extending from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, buttressed by a systematic propaganda campaign proclaiming NATO’s democratic, humanitarian and ‘civilizing’ mission on behalf of the Syrian people.

The Road to Damascus is Paved with Lies

An objective analysis of the political and social composition of the principle armed combatants in Syria refutes any claim that the uprising is in pursuit of democracy for the people of that country. Authoritarian fundamentalist fighters form the backbone of the uprising. The Gulf States financing these brutal thugs are themselves absolutist monarchies. The West, after having foisted a brutal gangster regime on the people of Libya, can make no claim of ‘humanitarian intervention’.

The armed groups infiltrate towns and use population centers as shields from which they launch their attacks on government forces. In the process they force thousands of citizens from their homes, stores and offices which they use as military outposts. The destruction of the neighborhood of Baba Amr in Homs is a classic case of armed gangs using civilians as shields and as propaganda fodder in demonizing the government.

These armed mercenaries have no national credibility with the mass of Syrian people. One of their main propaganda mills is located in the heart of London, the so-called “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” where it coordinates closely with British intelligence turning out lurid atrocity stories to whip up sentiment in favor of a NATO intervention. The kings and emirs of the Gulf States bankroll these fighters. Turkey provides military bases and controls the cross-border flow of arms and the movement of the leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. The US, France and England provide the arms, training and diplomatic cover. Foreign jihadist-fundamentalists, including Al Qaeda fighters from Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, have entered the conflict. This is no “civil war”. This is an international conflict pitting anunholy triple alliance of NATO imperialists, Gulf State despots and Muslim fundamentalists against an independent secular nationalist regime. The foreign origin of the weapons, propaganda machinery and mercenary fighters reveals the sinister imperial, ‘multi-national’ character of the conflict. Ultimately the violent uprising against the Syrian state represents a systematic imperialist campaign to overthrow an ally of Iran, Russia and China, even at the cost of destroying Syria’s economy and civil society, fragmenting the country and unleashing enduring sectarian wars of extermination against the Alevi and Christian minorities, as well as secular government supporters.

The killings and mass flight of refugees is not the result of gratuitous violence committed by a blood thirsty Syrian state. The Western backed militias have seized neighborhoods by force of arms, destroyed oil pipelines, sabotaged transportation and bombed government buildings. In the course of their attacks they have disrupted basic services critical to the Syrian people including education, access to medical care, security, water, electricity and transportation. As such, they bear most of the responsibility for this “humanitarian disaster”, (which their imperial allies and UN officials blame on Syrian security and armed forces). The Syrian security forces are fighting to preserve the national independence of a secular state, while the armed opposition commits violence on behalf of their foreign pay-masters – in Washington, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Ankara and London.


The Assad regime’s referendum last month drew millions of Syrian voters in defiance of Western imperialist threats and terrorist calls for a boycott. This clearly indicated that a majority of Syrians prefer a peaceful, negotiated settlement and reject mercenary violence. The Western-backed Syrian National Council and the Turkish and Gulf States-armed “Free Syrian Army” flatly rejected Russian and Chinese calls for an open dialogue and negotiations which the Assad regime has accepted. NATO and Gulf State dictatorships are pushing their proxies to pursue violent “regime change”, a policy which already has caused the death of thousands of Syrians. US and European economic sanctions are designed to wreck the Syrian economy, in the expectation that acute deprivation will drive an impoverished population into the arms of their violent proxies. In a repeat of the Libya scenario, NATO proposes to “liberate” the Syrian people by destroying their economy, civil society and secular state.

A Western military victory in Syria will merely feed the rising frenzy of militarism. It will encourage the West, Riyadh and Israel to provoke a new civil war in Lebanon. After demolishing Syria, the Washington-EU-Riyadh-Tel Aviv axes will move on to a far bloodier confrontation with Iran.

The horrific destruction of Iraq, followed by Libya’s post-war collapse provides a terrifying template of what is in store for the people of Syria: A precipitous collapse of their living standards, the fragmentation of their country, ethnic cleansing, rule by sectarian and fundamentalist gangs, and total insecurity of life and property.

Just as the “left” and “progressives” declared the brutal savaging of Libya to be the “revolutionary struggle of insurgent democrats” and then walked away, washing their hands of the bloody aftermath of ethnic violence against black Libyans, they repeat the same calls for military intervention against Syria. The same liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists who are calling on the West to intervene in Syria’s “humanitarian crises” from their cafes and offices in Manhattan and Paris, will lose all interest in the bloody orgy of their victorious mercenaries after Damascus, Aleppo and other Syrian cities have been bombed by NATO into submission.

Presidency of Arab League seeks to bury own experts’ report
Since the outbreak of the events that have cast a dark shadow over Syria, two interpretations stand in opposition to each other: for the West and their Gulf allies, the regime crushed the popular revolution in blood, while for Syria and its BRICS allies, the country is assailed by armed groups coming from abroad.

To shed light on these events, the Arab League created an Observer Mission composed of persons appointed by each Member State (except Lebanon which declined to participate). This diversity of experts constituted a guarantee against the possible manipulation of the outcome; their number (over 160) and the duration of their mission (one month) would provide a much broader picture than was previously available. To date, no other party can claim to have conducted a survey as comprehensive and meticulous, and therefore can not claim to know better the situation in Syria.

The Ministerial Committee of the Arab League, responsible for monitoring the Arab Plan and composed of five League members out of the 22 (Algeria, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Sudan) ratified the observer mission report by 4 votes against 1 (that of Qatar) and decided to extend the mission by one month.

The problem is that the report confirms the version of the Syrian government and demolished that of the West and the Gulf monarchies. In particular, it demonstrates that there were no lethal crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators and that all the commitments made by Damascus have been scrupulously honored. It also validates the important fact that the country is in the grips of armed groups, who are responsible for the death of hundreds of Syrian civilians and thousands among the military, as well as for hundreds of acts of terrorism and sabotage.

For this reason, Qatar now seeks to prevent the dissemination of the report by any means. Indeed, it is a real bomb that could explode in Qatar’s face and against its communication device.

Qatar currently holds the Presidency of the League, not because it was its turn, but because it bought that of the Palestinian Authority which would have been next in line.

The presidency of the League has decided not to circulate the report of the Observer Mission, nor to translate it, and not even to post the original in Arabic on its website.

The Wahhabi emirate is up against a huge risk. If by chance the Western public were to gain access to the report, it is Qatar and its proxies that could be held accountable in terms of democratic deficiencies and involvement in the killing of people.

The politics of inaccuracy and a case for “Islamic law”

 Lena Salaymeh

A futile exchange:*

Random person:“What do you study?”Me:“Islamic legal history.”Random person:“Oh, sharīʿah law.”Me:“No, sharīʿah means divine law; it’s an abstract concept. I study the interpretations of divine law or laws as actually applied by Muslim societies, which is fiqh in Arabic, and I focus on the medieval period.”Random person:“Oh, so then you study the historical sharīʿah law.”Me:“No, I study Islamic legal history.”


Then the conversation awkwardly ends. Some form of this ineffective exchange has occurred more times than I can count. I sometimes also explain that “sharīʿah law” is redundant becausesharīʿah means divine law (and “sharīʿah law” therefore would be “divine law law”). But I typically sense that the miscommunication between us is so vast that rectifying it would be a prolonged burden. I blame the term “sharīʿah” and all of the imprecisions and mythologies that surround its use in Western discourses.

Like the philosophical distinction between Truth (with a capital T) and truth (with a lowercase T), the terms sharīʿah and fiqh distinguish between the unknowable and the knowable. Sharīʿah is God’s law. But humans have to rely on their interpretive faculties to ascertain what the divine laws are and how they are to be applied; fiqh thus refers to the human understanding of sharīʿah. In Arabic, a jurist is a faqih because his/her role is to interpret law (fiqh).

Since the process of understanding divine law is not a uniform or singular one, there are multiple interpretations of what divine law is, and, consequently, there are many schools of Islamic legal thought. The sharīʿah-fiqh distinction is one that is clearly recognized in Islamic jurisprudential texts and beyond. While I am still in the process of undertaking a thorough historical study, I suspect that the conflation of the terms sharīʿah and fiqh became normative among Muslims in the modern era—particularly in the context of Islamist-based resistance to imperialism. Regardless of the precise genealogy, the use of the term sharīʿah rather than fiqh in contemporary Muslim discourses has political motivations and ramifications; in other words, it is essentially about power. Jurists or political figures who use the term sharīʿah claim more authority for themselves and their opinions (legal or otherwise) than they could if they used the term fiqh.

Some of you might be thinking that Islamic studies specialists use the term sharīʿah, so how problematic can it be? Admittedly, this does not help my case. In the past, when I have discussed this issue with my colleagues, they have argued that we cannot win this terminological battle because the use of the term is too prevalent, and the term is, in any case, used by Muslims innocuously, etc. But these rationalizations have more to do with inertia than anything else.

So why do I think my interlocutor, this random person from the futile exchange above, should not use the term sharīʿah? Because my interlocutor has no idea what fiqh is, and therefore has no idea that there are numerous Islamic legal schools of thought. My interlocutor does not realize that no consensus exists about what is contained in sharīʿah, which animates an intense and fraught socio-political struggle. Who claims to define sharīʿah is just as significant as howsharīʿah is defined. Consequently, when Western media identify a particular country as applyingsharīʿah and that country is actually applying an outlying interpretation of Islamic law, then Western media is legitimating that country’s policies as “sacred” or religiously authentic. Islamic law is defined and practiced distinctly by different people in different places and at different times, but using the term sharīʿah obfuscates those subtle realities. This is why I believe that the term sharīʿah should simply not be used: most people use it incorrectly.

But inaccuracy in Western discourses is only part of the problem. The other side of inaccuracy is an ideological interest in reifying the “Other”—in this context, Muslims and their laws. Why is the transliterated Arabic term sharīʿah consistently used in Western languages instead of the more accurate translation, “Islamic law”? The repeated use of the non-translated term (sharīʿah) rather than “Islamic law” operates as a distancing and vilifying mechanism. It is easier to colonize, to abhor, and to fear people who have “sharīʿah” than it is to do the same to people who just have laws. The usage of the term “sharīʿah” helps generate xenophobia.

I would like to erase the term sharīʿah from our contemporary lexicon and replace it with Islamic law. Many people have and will continue to resist relinquishing the term sharīʿah—perhaps in line with their political agendas—but I hope that at least some will consider the politics underlying the term’s misapplication. Someday, I hope, “Islamic law” will be my interlocutor’s term of choice.

IMF agrees $3bn financing deal with Egypt-Good or Bad?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed a $3bn (£1.8bn) loan deal with the interim government in Egypt.

The IMF praised the government’s attempts to stabilise the economy since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The uprising scared away tourists and investors and cut tax revenues, which has left the government short of cash.

The deal must still be approved by the IMF’s board and Egypt’s cabinet and military council.

Last week, the government approved its 2011-12 budget, which raised spending by a quarter.

Much of the increased spending went on helping low-income households.

The growing gap between rich and poor was one of the factors that sparked the protests in February.

The IMF praised the budget, saying it went, “in the right direction of supporting economic recovery, generating jobs and assisting low income households, while maintaining macroeconomic stability”.


I smell something fishy here. the IMF cutting an economic deal with the INTERIM government? since it is the IMF, i highly doubt this is going to be in the interest of the people. Egyptian revolution’s future is not looking bright right now. But can someone give me more information about this? any Egyptians on tumblr who know what is going on? is the new budget really in the interest of the poor? and what is with the $3bn LOAN the IMF is giving? any information on what it consists of? please anyone? 

I really want to know!