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Norway’s National Day ‘The 15th of May’

May 17, 2018

Congratulations to Norway on the 17th of May!
Gratulerer med dagen!

Today Norway is celebrating its constitution day, commonly called in this country, ‘The 17th of May’.

My hearty congratulations to the people of this country on their national day!

At present, Norway has become a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious country. Despite many social changes, all people living in this beautiful, Nordic country have complete freedom to believe in any religion or reject religions and religious dogmas without any intervention, coercion or discrimination by the state authorities, unlike some countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc., where discrimination and victimization of religious minorities on sectarian grounds is a common norm. The people have also complete freedom to choose any political party they want to without any dictate from any state organ.

Norway’s democratic traditions and its welfare system are a model of a modern egalitarian state.

There is no razzmatazz of military hardware, tanks and missiles or military parades on this occasion. On the other hand, Norwegians’ focus is on the joyous participation of school children and young people in the processions to the great happiness of the enthusiastic onlookers who throng the streets of Norway’s capital, Oslo. But the celebration of the 17th of May takes place everywhere in this beautiful country.

Hurrah for Norway!

— Nasir Khan, 17th May 2018

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Israeli massacres of Palestinians and the Russian government

May 14, 2018

Monday, 14 May 2018 13:57

Have the present Russian ruling elites ever done anything concrete to side with the struggle of the Palestinians who have continuously been brutalized by the Zionist state of Israel?

Palestinian mourners

Palestinian mourners gather around the body of a man who was killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border [AFP]

by Nasir Khan

Russian publisher and writer Mr. Leonid Savin asks, “Why is the Russian Foreign Ministry silent on the murder of dozens of Palestinians by Israel?” To this question, I have no answer. I don’t know how the Russian Government views the Israeli massacre of the Palestinians today.

But I ask myself, and also other friends of the captive population of Palestine, “Have the present Russian ruling elites ever done anything concrete to side with the struggle of the Palestinians who have continuously been brutalized by the Zionist state of Israel?”

To my knowledge, the answer is, No. The Russian government has done nothing at all in support of the captive population of Palestine. However, some occasional words of sympathy by the Russians have been only window dressing, nothing more.

Only a few days ago, prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, was invited by President Putin and his government as a guest of honour on the anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany. In reality, that was an insult to the memory of millions of the Soviet heroes and heroines who laid down their lives to defeat the Nazi aggressors and save the world the Nazi slavery.

Now the successors of the Soviet Union thought it fit to make Netanyahu a guest of honour on the victory day! The leader of the Zionist state is doing exactly with the Palestinians what the Germans did with the Soviets. But President Putin is honouring that person and his terrorist regime. That is sad, but that is how it is. It is realpolitik in action.

On Karl Marx’s 200th Birthday Anniversary

May 5, 2018

–Nasir Khan, May 5, 2018

“All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.”
― Karl Marx

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in the Prussian province of Rhine, and died in London on March 14,  1883, at the age of 65. He was the most influential socialist philosopher and revolutionary thinker, whose ideas have deeply influenced the course of human history and human thought.

His writings cover philosophy, history, political economy, anthropology, social criticism, history, theory of revolutionary practice, and he himself participated in revolutionary activities. When he was a student at the university, he was deeply involved in the Young Hegelian movement. The members of this group in their articles and pamphlets criticized Christian culture. Feuerbach’s materialism was opposed to Hegel’s idealism. He reduced Hegel’s ‘Absolute Spirit’ to human ‘species being’.

Because of Marx’s critical articles in the Rheinische Zeitung, the government closed this paper. He went to Paris in 1843 where he made contacts with French socialist groups and emigre German workers. Here he met Frederick Engels and the two became friends for the rest of their lives. But his stay there was short. He was expelled from Paris in 1844.

After his expulsion from Paris, Marx, along with Engels moved to Brussels, where they lived for three years. After an intensive study of history, he formulated the theory of history commonly known as historical materialism.

In his theory of history, Marx accepted Hegel’s idea that the world develops according to dialectical process. But the two had different ideas about what the dialectic process entails. For Hegel, historical developments take place through the mystical entity called Absolute Spirit. Marx rejected the notion of Absolute Spirit, and said what moved society was not the Absolute Spirit, but man’s relation to matter, of which the most important part was played by the mode of production.

In this way, Marx’s materialism becomes closely related to economics. Human labour shaped society and material conditions determined the superstructures. The part played by labour, not some mystical Absolute Spirit, formed the basis of social life. Marx’s dialectal view of social change is shorn of Hegel’s idealist dialectics. The two stand on different levels and their philosophies of history differ.

For Marx, man working on nature remakes the world and in doing so he also remakes himself by increasing his powers. Marx wrote in the German Ideology, ‘Men have history because they must produce their life.’

Marx went to Paris in 1848 where the revolution first took place and then to Germany. But the failure of the revolutions forced him to seek refuge in London in 1849, where he spent the rest of his life.

He and his family had to face many economic hardships in London. His friend Engels helped him economically and he himself wrote articles as a foreign correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune for which he was paid reasonably well. But he and his family showed no interest to spend the money frugally, as a result they had unending economic problems.

However, the revolutionary thinker devoted much time to the First International and its annual Congresses. The rest of the time, he spent in the British Museum library collecting material and taking notes and analyzing the material for studies of political economy. In 1867, he published the first volume of Capital, in which he discussed the capitalist mode of production. He explained his views on the labour theory of value, conception of surplus value, accumulation of capital and the ‘so called primitive accumulation’ in the final part of the book. He had completed the volumes II and II in the 1860s, which Engels published after the death of Marx in 1883.

The profound analysis of capital, Marx undertook in the nineteenth century is still relevant to our understanding the global capitalism and the forces that control it. He had shown the tendency of capital under the general law of capitalist accumulation. A few own more wealth, but others have little to live on. A recent Oxfam report says that eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. In the global economy, rich industrialists and producers take advantage of the global workforce that mostly lives in the global South. The abundant cheap labour from the poor countries is used to produce goods that are sold at high prices in the industrialized western countries.

The problem to end the exploitation of the working class people was a core issue for Marx, and his theory to end this exploitation can only take place when a more equitable form of society is created that stands opposed to the accumulation of capital by a few and the poverty or meager existence of the majority. That objective of a just and  humane society is not possible under capitalism.

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Why did the United States, Britain and France make missile attacks on Syria?

April 14, 2018

— Nasir Khan, April 14, 2018

The combined missile strikes by the USA, the UK and France on Syria last night was a highly dangerous and risky military action. Such an action has all the potential to ignite the flames of global war where the nuclear powers may even resort to their nuclear arsenals thus pushing the world in the inferno of death and destruction.

It is difficult for me to see what military objectives the three powers had in launching this attack. The whole thing seems so haphazard and foggy. If the aim was to limit the power of the Assad regime, then such an attack will have hardly any effect on him and his regime. In fact, this attack will strengthen the grip of this dynastic ruler of Syria.

Did the Assad regime use the chemical weapons on the innocent civilians? We have no conclusive evidence that such a barbaric crime was committed by this regime. The missile attack by the three countries was based on assumptions, nothing more. There may have been other parties involved in this. That possibility cannot be ruled out.

But if the real aim of the missile strike was to follow the diktat of Netanyahu, who has been trying hard over the years to involve the United States in war against Iran, then the leaders of the three countries have taken a step towards that direction, dangerous and ghastly. It also gives Israel an opportunity to neutralize the ongoing struggle of the Palestinians of Gaza to return to their homes. Their homes were in the country called Palestine from which they were driven out by the rulers of Israel.

There are many questions that need a careful analysis and responsible clarifications.

Terrorist attack in France

March 24, 2018

— Nasir Khan, March 24, 2018

An attack on a supermarket in France yesterday in which three innocent people were killed and 16 injured was carried out by a Muslim, who was a petty criminal but became radicalized by ISIS. The ISIS declared that the attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic Sate”. Thus, once again one Muslim commits an act of terrorism in the name of a terrorist ideology that uses the name of Islam and brings dishonor and disgrace to the Islamic religion and its followers.

Once again, Muslim communities and new immigrants living in the western countries become suspect in the eyes of many people.

What we need to keep in mind and tell others that such individual acts of terrorism and the killing of people have nothing to do with Islam or with the vast majority of Muslims living in Europe or in other western countries.

Muslim people are as much victims of such crimes as others. What ISIS did in Iraq and Syria, and now is targeting people in many other countries, such as Libya, Afghanistan, etc. etc., and other countries is directed against the ordinary Muslim people. The victims are both Muslims and non-Muslims.

On behalf of many like-minded people and friends, I strongly condemn the brutal murders and the harm to the innocent people at the hands of a misguided and pathetic individual, and the people using people like him to commit such dastardly crimes.

Along with many other politically active people, I have also opposed and wrote against the roles of imperialist powers, their policies, their wars and war crimes, and their criminal support for dictators, oligarchs and terrorists for many years. However, we should never use the policies of these governments to justify any individual acts of terror as in the present case in France.

Terrorism in the name of any religion or religious ideology (Islamism, Hindutva militarism, Christian fundamentalism, Zionism, anti-Muslim Buddhist mafia) is vicious and should be fought against by all democratic forces, and we should never compromise on this because some brainwashed maniacs and social oppressors are using the names of religions or religious symbols to advance their objectives.

 

The Idea of One Democratic, Secular State in Classic Palestine

March 20, 2018

Nasir Khan, March 19, 2018

In the whole of classic Palestine, one democratic, secular and progressive state is a possible solution to end the long-standing imbroglio and non-ending oppression against a captive population by Israel, otherwise extremist nationalists and theocratic vandals will continue to play havoc and cause more polarization among the Palestinians and Israelis that will bring only more bloodshed and misery for all. However, the Zionist rulers of Israel will hardly accept this solution.

In theory, a two-state solution is still possible if the rulers of Israel (and USA) accept the 1967 borders as the demarcation lines between the two states and thus start a new chapter in bilateral relations to seek reconciliation and show an honest resolve to solve the remaining issues, such as the return of the Palestinian refugees, but in practice things stand on a very different level. The West Bank has largely been colonized by the expansion of the illegal settlements in the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip has been isolated and kept under siege by the Israel.

All the feigned clatter of ‘peace talks’ was meant as a ruse that allowed Israel to expand further into the occupied territories. Will Israel reverse its policies, withdraw to the 1967 borders and seek a sincere solution to a two-state solution? In my assessment that is not going to happen.

The remaining viable and humane alternative is the creation of a single democratic, secular and progressive state in historic Palestine, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, the followers of other faiths and legitimate political ideologies could live together. That is possible, and we have some examples of such democracies functioning superbly well in the Nordic countries.

The exploitation of religion by using the blasphemy laws in Pakistan

March 10, 2018

Nasir Khan

People around the world have become increasingly aware of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. In fact, in a country where the 95-98% people are the followers of Islam, there was never any danger to this religion, its founder or its holy scripture. Then, why were these laws promulgated in this Islamic country? That has more to do with that limited number of people who have ruled Pakistan since 1947. That ruling elite has frequently played the ‘Islam card’ to bolster their power on the masses. In fact, it has been quite easy for them to do so because the people were rather too eager to accept anything presented to them as being in the service of Islam and God!

Because of the state policies, a vast network of religious preachers and clerics have mushroomed throughout the country. These people comprise the religious establishment that has a real grip on the people. Its influence has also grown enormously in the overseas communities of Pakistanis and their descendants.

Anyone opposing the clerics is in danger of being stigmatized as ‘infidel’ and then made a target. The blasphemy laws have become a fertile ground for many to take revenge for personal disputes against another person by accusing him/her of having insulted Islam, God or the Qur’an! To make such false accusations is so easy. Right from the start, the law is on the side of complainant. The penalties imposed on the victims are incredible – death and life imprisonment. For minor offences, the prison term is three years, fine, or both.

Just for the sake of giving an accurate information what such blasphemy laws contain, I am posting them for the readers to see for themselves.

————
Blasphemy laws in Pakistan

Offenses relating to religion: Pakistan Penal code

295-B Defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.

295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B Misuse of epithet, descriptions and titles, etc. Reserved for certain holy personages or places.

1. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation:

a. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), as “Ameerul Momneen”, “Khalifat-ul-Momneen”, “Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen”, “Sahaabi” or “Razi Allah Anho”;

b. refers to or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ummul-Mumineen;

c. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

d. refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-Bait) of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as Ahle-Bait; or

e. refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as Masjid; shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

2. Any person of the Qadiani group or Lahore group, (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other names), who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, refers to the mode or from of call to prayers followed by his faith as “Azan” or recites Azan as used by the Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C Persons of Qadiani group, etc, calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith. Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves Ahmadis or any other name), who directly or indirectly, posses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8, 2018

— Nasir Khan, March 8, 2018

There are millions of women in poor countries where they have to struggle hard to survive. They are subjected to domestic violence, sexual abuse, and in some cultures treated more like chattels that can be bought and sold. In many countries, misguided and ignorant people fight against their education and want to keep them in traditional social bondage. Child brides are still common in many countries.

On this day, we should renew our common struggle for the equal human rights of all women everywhere and to end the systemic oppression they are subjected to.

 

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Dictatorship of the proletariat?

March 6, 2018

Nasir Khan, March 6, 2018

(A short note on a complicated theoretical theme.)

A veteran Pakistani Communist and political activist Jam Saqi died on March 5, 2018, aged 73. At a later stage in his life, he rejected the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as irrelevant to our present times. That was something with which I concur with him.

There have been enormous political developments and changes in the system of government and the extension of people’s representation in many western countries since the nineteenth century, when Marx and Engels formulated the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The way democracies function at this time in the Nordic countries is the best example of that sociopolitical change.


However, in many Afro-Asian countries the ruling power is still mostly in the hands of feudal lords, old aristocratic families, religious politicians and comprador and raw capitalists. In these countries the form of government may be seemingly democratic, but the power stays in the hands of a minority of the powerful people and exploiting groups that I have briefly referred to.

 

 

Freedom to choose, believe in or leave a religion

January 30, 2018

Nasir Khan, January 30, 2018

In the following article, I had some specific oppressive and coercive states in sight where laws of the countries and religious authorities stand in the way of freedom of conscience and thought.

One fact we need to keep in mind is that no large sections of the populations of a nation willingly leave their religion and their customary ways.

http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/70227-freedom-to-choose.html

dove

by Nasir Khan

Freedom to believe in any religion can also extend to freedom to change one’s religion. For example, when Christianity arose as a major religion, millions of followers of Egyptian, Roman and other Middle Eastern religions accepted Christianity, which had already split and developed into divergent sects.

Likewise, when Islam arose in the seventh-century Arabia and Islamic political power replaced the Byzantine and Persian empires of their possessions in Egypt, Syria and other countries, it gained millions of new followers. The Arabs vanquished the great Persian empire by force of arms and its ancient religion Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam.

One fact we need to keep in mind is that no large sections of the populations of a nation willingly leave their religion and their customary ways. It was also the case during the early Arab conquests and the expansion of the Islamic empire.

Now, imagine a situation where Islamic victories led only to an expansion only in the political power and domination, but Islamic rulers found no converts to the new faith. That would mean Egypt, Syria and Palestine at this time would still be predominately Christian; Iran would be mostly Zoroastrian. But we know things changed drastically.

Millions of vanquished people converted to Islam. However, it would also be a mistake to assert that all such conversions to Islam took place because of imperial force and coercion. In fact, many conquered people and nations were also deeply influenced by the egalitarian spirit of the new faith. That made their transition to Islam easy. Therein lies a cardinal factor that explains large scale conversions to Islam in its early history.

The same thing happened in the Indian subcontinent. The conversions happened due to the missionary activities of Muslim saints, preachers and traders whose behavior and practical modes of living had an immense effect upon the people. If the Hindu rulers and communities had followed the example of the fanatics of present-day Muslim countries and punished anyone leaving the ancestral Hindu faith by beheading and torturing people, then there wouldn’t have been any Muslims in the part of the world I come from – India, Pakistan and Kashmir!

But why should any state or any society reject individuals’ freedom to follow any religion or stop them from converting to some religion as a matter of choice and convictions strikes at the roots of the notion of freedom to believe and follow one’s conscience.

The Qur’anic teaching on this matter is quite clear when it says: “There is no compulsion in religion (Arabic: La iqra fidd-deen). But what the present-day Muslim rulers, oligarchs and clerics say and do surprises the non-Muslim world.