Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Killing - because YOUR God wants it

Say what you like about American wackos spraying bullets around school campuses - given that you can get an assault rifle from Walmart, the recent incident in Peshawar is different. This is endorsed by a political movement, bolstered by a deeply felt religious opinion that there is a God that sanctions the savage butchering of children in his (yeah, this God is definitely a 'He') glory.
This isn't just about Islam though, so don't any of you accuse me of the so called 'Islamophobia' or racism.
I've lived through times when bus-loads of Hindu (and Sikh) wedding parties were machine-gunned by Sikhs, times when Sikhs blew up a plane full of people who had nothing to do with anything, times when a mosque was turned into rubble by a horde of Hindutva adherents with their bare hands and rudimentary tools, times when thousands of Sikhs were brutally murdered in the streets of Delhi, just for being Sikh, times when Ahmaddiya Muslims were savagely butchered in their own mosques - by other Muslims, times when Sunnis savaged Shias and vice versa, times when Hutus machete-ed Tutsis, times when one faction of Christians bombed the other, times when Buddhist monks went on a killing rampage, times when a group of fanatics flew planes into buildings containing thousands of completely innocent people, times when early morning London commuters were blown up, despite their religious affiliation, times when religious institutions - pretending to be all about love, equality, and inclusion, refused to allow marriages among people of different faiths, times when hundreds of people died because someone wrote a book, or made a cartoon... I could go on forever.
Of course, most people will come up with, 'but religion is meant to be peaceful'. Really? The more your set of beliefs claims to be the 'right path' and the 'ONLY path' it creates adversaries. The more you stress 'you gotta look the part' as opposed to 'act the part', you are complicit in the propagation of this meme whether you like it or not. Some of the nicest, kindest and most generous people I know are non-hijabi Muslims, non-amritdhari Sikhs and un-baptised Catholics..
If there is a God, I'll bet it's a sorely disappointed one and we're the worst things he (she?) has ever created. If there isn't one, then we're as stupid as the person who feels it necessary to strap himself up with bombs, blow himself to bits, just so he can finally get laid.
I think institutionalised religion insults God more than it praises God. The all-knowing, all-controlling, all-powerful, all-seeing and all-powerful God, we all claim to love, and adore and sing hymns and psalms and shlokas and verses about is what WE need to be.
We're not. We never can be. Evil is a lot simpler. Especially evil in God's name.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dorian Grey

This actually happened.

I was at this skills & training event in east London, and a former work colleague I hadn't seen for 7 or 8 years recognised me. The only thing about her I remembered, was that she was an English graduate from Kingston University.

"Hey Banti! Great to see you after all this time! How have you been?"

"I've been great! How have you been?"

"I've been good too, I see the years have been kind to you, how come you look younger than I remember you?"

Great line, flattery always works - especially with an ego like mine - but it's not a line everyone uses, so I thought, 'Hmm brainy', and I went with, "Oh, you should see the portrait in my attic."

It went down like a lead balloon. She didn't get it. Neither did her entourage. 

Turns out, you can get a degree in English with just 'Of Mice And Men' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' these days... Gove and now his successor have such an uphill battle on their hands...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Inheritance Tax

So you work all your life to save up some money to give to those you love and care about. And that according to the Left is wrong? What the actual F is inheritance tax all about, bearing in mind these savings have accumulated AFTER all manner of taxes have been extracted from them?.

I hate how the Lefty vultures cast their beady eyes over the remains of the dead. It's like prying off rings and gold teeth off corpses.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Why I Hate Malala

I blogged about Malala Yosefzai before, recognising the importance of her story. This has nothing to do with Islam on its own - Islam may be the perfect excuse, but Malala's story has relevance to ALL societies and communities in the developing world, for sadly, there is a LOT of developing that STILL needs to be done.

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid is a Lahore-based Financial Journalist and Cultural Critic.  He can be reached via Twitter @khuldune. This article was first published in Viewpoint Online. I have reproduced this article with Kunwar’s permission.





Over the past few weeks, what with the Nobel hoopla and all, everyone has had something to say or write about Malala Yousafzai.


Malala Yousafzai.


The politicians propagated their own agenda, liberal fascists whined about their cause and journalists used the issue to put forward their personal agendas through the debate surrounding the teenager.


Some writers wrote satires that were taken seriously, others wrote serious pieces that weren't taken seriously and then there were the white man’s burden, brown man’s burden and burdens that came in other colours, being discussed in articles that tried to complicate a debate that has been pretty simple all along.


Now, as I write this piece, what I intend to do is give you a completely straightforward perspective, one that you will not find in any other article written about Malala.


I have no issue being dubbed a misogynist, fundamentalist, jihadist or a conspiracy theory leech, for I have no qualms in admitting that I undoubtedly am all of those things. And so I shall tell you why I hate Malala sans any inkling of pretention: the absolutely honest and truthful perspective of a true Pakistani.

How much a Pakistani hates someone depends on how easy it is to hate them.  And few individuals are easier to hate than Malala Yousafzai.
Here’s a girl, not old enough to have an ID card, taking on Pakistan’s biggest enemy without an iota of fear.


She takes a bullet to her head not fighting for a jingoistic agenda, but for something as universally celebrated as education.  For her commendable bravery she gets global acclaim, speaks in front of a global audience at the UN, meets the American president and is pretty much the only positive coming out of this country in recent times.


It seems to be more a tale of inspiration than a recipe for hatred.


So, let’s flip the coin.


Here’s a girl, not old enough to have an ID card, siding with Pakistan’s biggest enemy to defame the nation without an iota of shame.  She pretends to take a bullet to her head helping the West propagate their jingoistic agenda under the garb of something as universally celebrated as education.


For her commendable theatrics she gets global acclaim, gets the chance to speak in front of a global audience at the UN, meets the American president and gets to act like the only positive thing coming out of this country in recent times.


Which side of the coin is easier to believe?


Easier, not in terms of being more logical or making more sense, which argument out of the two is easier to digest for an average Pakistani like me?
Do you think it’s easy for me to accept flag bearers of my religion as my enemy?  Do you believe that it’s easy for me to accept the fact that a 16-year-old girl fearlessly took a stand against the biggest threat facing this country while men like me were busy being apologetic on the behalf of the “freedom fighters”?


Do you honestly believe that it’s easy for me to accept that a young girl from our neck of the woods, with all the societal handicaps that one can think of, can single-handedly orchestrate a global rude awakening? The thought rips the bigoted, discriminatory and misogynistic ideals that I’ve grown up with, into tiny little shreds.


How can I accept Malala to be a hero, when her speeches do not have any Islamic or nationalistic agenda?  How can I consider her to be my future leader when nothing she says or does imbues a false sense of superiority in me as a Muslim or a Pakistani?  How can I accept that a young girl was able to highlight who our actual enemies are, when grown up men in our parliaments are still hell bent on befriending them?


How can I rejoice at Malala’s global achievement when I’ve been taught all my life that a girl’s place is in the kitchen?  I just can’t.


The religion I follow is inherently misogynistic.  The society I live in is quintessentially patriarchal.  And I’m supposed to manifest ideals of gender equality and women empowerment out of the blue?


Why do you think we consider it a million times easier to call Aafia Siddiqui the daughter of Pakistan than Malala Yousafzai?  With Aafia there’s a sense of victimhood, with jihad as the cherry on top.  That’s what we’d like in our daughters: fragility, vulnerability and the perpetual dependence on one of the male guardians in her life.


And so please answer this: who is easier for me to consider this nation’s daughter, one who I can ostensibly protect from the conspiring agenda of non-believers or one that is seen hobnobbing with the nonbelievers?


Give me the name of one female who we have taken seriously as our global representative? Benazir Bhutto? But she was always Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s daughter, wasn’t she? How do we trace the illustrious male DNA to justify Malala’s accomplishments?


Do you still not see why instead of going through the hassle of an ideological metamorphosis and purging myself of the ideals I’ve spent all my life with, it’s a million times more convenient to just buy the conspiracy theories? I hate Malala because it’s by far the most convenient choice.


I hate Malala because then I don’t have to look at myself in the mirror.


I hate Malala because then I can keep my head buried in the sand.


I hate Malala because then marrying my daughter off would be my sole responsibility towards her.


I hate Malala because then I don’t have to regret all those times my mother fed me with her own hands while my sister was busy washing the dishes.


I hate Malala because it helps me sleep peacefully, with my sense of superiority very much intact.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

You kip if you want to...

I'm no political pundit, but...

My medium-term predictions for UKIP:
By 2020, despite electoral success (or failure, which by my calculations is less than 13 MPs - you know, like 2% of Parliament) in the 2015 general election, UKIP will be overrun by Red Kippers (Left leaning, pretending to be right leaning; so herrings really, not kippers) and nimbys who haven't travelled more than 20 miles from home. Blue will drain from the purple in less than the course of a single parliament - regardless of who wins in 2015. UKIP's fatal flaw is that libertarianism can't work alongside protectionism and that evolution ALWAYS wins. You either bend, or you break. Or shatter.

Despite many Kippers getting off on the idea; UKIP won't hold the balance of power in 2015. Not because they're right about the EU, or the belief that they'll be forced to marry someone of their own gender, or the fact they're cheesed off that people with no connections, no contacts, no family or community support structures can get a job in the UK, based purely on their work ethic, but because they don't have a coherent narrative, a poor grasp of basic mathematics and economics and that most people prefer the devil you know than the one you don't. And that ANY increase in the UK voter base in the future will be politically astute, internationally-minded, modernistic, young people. Everything UKIP ain't.

Much of the noise UKIP makes is part blue, and now overwhelmingly, part red (so THAT'S how they get purple), and whichever way you look at it, it reeks of populism, high on emotion - like the YES campaign in Scotland - which doesn't translate very well ballotboxwise. That David Cameron won't be around forever will not hurt the Tories in any significant way; I couldn't say the same for Nigel Farage and UKIP. I doubt anyone can.

In countries with fairly homogenous populations - such as much of the west - apart from minor blips lasting no longer than a decade or so, politics will ALWAYS settle into a binary, two party system - one FOR high taxation and spending, and one AGAINST. It's a lot like two rowboats side by side and you have one foot in both. And then, as one boat moves ahead of the other, you make a choice. Jump on one of them, or lose a pelvis.

Bottomline? Post 2015, UKIP will turn into a Nationalist-Socialist Party, hurting disaffected Labour voters more than any other party.


My long-term predictions for UKIP:
There won't be a long term.



Thursday, 18 September 2014

My Last Words Before Scotland Votes...

I don't see any difference between the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish or the English; the fact that some people do, tells me all I need to know about their bigoted minds. In the same vein, I am unhappy with all that see themselves as a minority or in some way special because of arbitrary geographical boundaries; the fluke of chance that they were born into a certain culture, skin colour, and influence of rabid 'commoonity leaders' purporting to be messengers and torch-bearers for an imagined deity and defenders of a misguided faith.

The world is fucked up because of them. Think about what you stand for - people, or just your people?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Pass The Ice Bucket

I learnt a valuable lesson today. I am so ashamed of the person I have become. 

Recently, I poured three litres of tap-water, combined with a kilogram of ice - both of which cost me less than 50p - over my head, and created a video of it to post on Facebook. (See video below, or here on Facebook)

This, I have been lead to believe, is a direct insult to all those poor souls who have internet access, but no water to drink, cook and bathe in. My heart sinks at the thought of those aforementioned poor souls logging on to Facebook, downloading fairly high-resolution videos of people in London (where it rains pretty much every day) and seeing all that water go to waste. I could have done so much better - I could have couriered the three litres of London rain-water to some village in India or sub-Saharan Africa. I am truly a terrible person.

I should tell my kids to stop raising their hand in class if they know the answer - in case the dumb kids feel bad; I should stop making satirical comments and posts on Facebook, Twitter and my blog, because those who don't get it might feel inadequate; I should not post pictures of cupcakes - while millions can't afford one square meal a day; or post updates of me criticizing politicians - while millions can't even vote; or post pictures of me hanging out with friends - while millions suffer from loneliness and heart-break; or posts about what a wonderful poem my child wrote - while millions aren't able to send their kids to school; or write posts about how my new shoes hurt - while millions go bare feet all their lives; or post pictures of me walking, running or playing something - while there are millions of people unable to do the same...

I should just close my Facebook account and stop living. In fact, I should just quit everything and live like a hermit.

Or I could tell all the privilege-guilt-ridden people to do one. A cold shower is known to be effective against many kinds of frustrations and feigned moral merde. 

Some of you could use one. Really.




Saturday, 23 August 2014

On turning 45

Been there, laments my soul
Done that, protests my body
Seen it all, declare my eyes
And yet their claims ring hollow;
For I lurch into another year
Admonishing my flailing faculties 
You're only halfway there
If you stop doing, you start dying
And you ain't seen nothing yet
And many t-shirts remain unsold

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Silly Season - Again

Sooo... here's what's going down. While people are taking sides in a conflict where one side fires thousands of rockets and doesn't hit a thing, knowing fully well that it is the retaliation that will receive eventual worldwide coverage, while D-lister celebrities line up to say something, anything, just to stay fashionable and relevant, while both right wingers and left wingers froth at the mouth in attempts to denounce each other, while politicians scurry around for the ethnic minority vote, not because of its volume, but for its perceived visibility, while strong champions of liberal thought, erroneously post links to sites they're getting their kicks off of, while the Union-funded campaign for the leader of the opposition pulls yet another gaff, making him sound like he meant the opposition against the Allies - (us mainly and this is funny because it's true), there's something far more serious afoot:

ISIS in on the rampage in Iraq & Syria, decapitating, crucifying, executing en-mass, marking minority (non-Muslim, non-Sunni) homes reminiscent of the way Nazis did ethnic and racial cleansing and, yes - extermination, killing far more people in a day than any other conflict we have ever known in modern times.

And what are most people in the West doing? They're listening to Russell Brand, talking about things he knows nothing about, not that Hannity knows any better anyway - so it's one Neanderthal against another really, and squinting at labels in supermarkets to ascertain the origin of the dates they're about to buy, to see if they're not kosher... Ironic doesn't even begin to describe it.

Well done you educated idiots of the first world. Well bloody done.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What You Mean

I sit here, surrounded by nowhere, and no one
By teeming but silent life; exactly where it needs to be
Smiling flowers, that know of their season on earth
Flamboyant butterflies, aware of their transient beauty
And fleeting moments of a warm English summer breeze 
This never does last.

Enveloped by silence; no traffic, no sirens, no words
And yet deafened by the raging thoughts in my head
The incessant beating of my heart; wanton, careless
I breathe you, feel you, conjure you, dream you
You say nothing, but somehow, I hear you still
This cannot last.

It's inexplicable, what you have come to mean to me
It's like the shade of the tree under which I write this
Like the ground under me; hard and uncomfortable
Like the seeds and bugs falling from it's branches into my lap
But yet there is a comfort I can't describe, or escape
This will not last.

This single blade of grass; I ponder its destiny
Of rain, sunshine, rain, and the mower's scythe
It's like me in many ways - it's also like you
Weathering the weather, keeping up appearances
Staying where we're sown, doing as we're told.
Does it have to last?

The rules will never change, or bend, or be accommodating
Our prisons are not forced on us; we build them ourselves
There's a bigger world I know, that you never would
There's a bigger world you know, that I never would
My way is better than your way, your way is better than mine
Neither is going to last.

I think about my grave often, and what I'll take with me
It won't be my accumulations, or favours I've earned
It won't be laments of those that need to be seen lamenting
It won't be the love I give; zero cost bears zero value
It'll be the love I get; my worth is not my own to ascertain
It's the only thing, that might last.


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lunch Break On A Park Bench



Begrudge me not, my moments of solitude
As I soothe my internal torment with whispers from nature
The sun rises, wisps of clouds dance across an azure sky
The breeze blows, over all that is good, all that is bad
All changes in the blink of an eye, relentless, unforgiving
And I cannot fathom why the frenzied pace is lost on me.

That you'd be there to share my melancholy
To hearten a spirit so weary of its cares
Just to be, to feel, to know, to revel
In the Heathrow skies riven with flight trails
Of people seeking solace in distant shores
While, we get it here, inside us, and around us.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Compassion Fatigue

This is reproduced (with permission, of course) in its entirety from a blog post by Louise Mensch, former Conservative MP for Corby. Louise is also on Twitter.



The night before the three Israeli teens were found dead, I had a particularly vivid nightmare. I have no doubt it was caused by seeing too many shots and videos of Isis barbarity; crucifixions, amputations, Muslim men lined up like cattle to be shot in a ditch by other Muslims.

I do not remember most of the dream, apart from the sequence that woke me up. Two children, around seven, were blindfolded and an ISIS terrorist was preparing to kill them. In my dream I screamed out for mercy, saying they were just children, and flung myself towards them and then I woke up, heart pounding, drenched in sweat.


Later in the same day, on Twitter, the UN posted a picture of a Syrian child reaching up for a hug. Assad and Putin are starving these children to death, operating mass torture factories. We didn’t act and now it’s too late. ISIS filled the gap left by Obama. And they spread. Evil against evil.


In Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnapped 90 more girls. These are Christian women who will be forced at gunpoint to pretend to convert to Islam, then raped for the rest of their lives to men to whom they are sold.


In the Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim, Christian, wife of one American and mother of two more, was released from Sudanese custody after the US embassy apologised – yes, apologised – for issuing her a visa. The Sudan is currently detaining her two American children and Obama is doing nothing.


When later that same day I heard the teenagers were found dead, I could not imagine the horror of their mothers, or fathom that Hamas – who at one stage wanted to be thought legitimate – would blatantly say nothing to admit guilt in kidnapping them and shooting them. How scared they must have been.


And my dream came back to me very vividly. How I had screamed out to the man begging him for mercy. I wanted to beg a sorrowing and vengeful Israel for mercy. Please, go after the killers but only them. Please, do not storm into the West Bank and engage in collective punishment. Because then somebody else’s boys might die. I said as much on Twitter and was immediately accused of being anti-Israeli, a typical European and an Arabist.


Israel went in and blew up the houses of the suspected kidnappers. These kidnappers have not been caught or tried, but their house was blown up. A child was injured. Another teen, Yusuf was his name – Joseph, in Western parlance, a Hebrew name – aged 18 was shot in the chest in a refugee camp in Jenin. IDF forces say he threw a grenade at them. Palestinians claim he was a passer by. One thing is for sure, neither the injured child nor the dead teen played any role in murdering the three Israeli boys. But they were the ones who were hurt. If Israel invades Gaza, civilians, probably young children too, will die. That is a fact.


But to say as much is to be anti-Israeli? No; no. And to say to the Muslim world, your silence is disgusting on ISIS, your funding of Syrian terror is disgusting; you fat bastards in your radical mosques in Bradford and elsewhere, radicalising English boys and sending them off to die while you sit at home doing sod all but get fat. Fatness is a part of it. Fatness, slovenliness, warmongering from testosterone free fuckers who would no more endanger themselves than go for a jog in the morning or get a real job. Is that Islamophobia? God no, no it is not. Who is killing more Muslims than anybody else? Is it Obama’s drones or Israeli rockets? No, it’s OTHER BLOODY MUSLIMS – ISIS are the biggest Islamophobes in the whole world.


And so when I say to Israel for the love of G-d, go after those who took your boys and no more, and am greeted by a cry of traitor, I feel like putting my head in my hands.


I think it’s time for some straight talk.


Israel, I don’t care if you are tired of the word ‘restraint’. You need to show some. Because you are losing the West. You have no idea how badly you are losing the west. Yes, Hamas are terrorists. Yes, subhuman pigs slaughtered the Fogel children, and Palestinians just as subhuman celebrated that. By all means, go after them. But if you cannot go in precisely, do not go in at all. When the IRA bombed London we did not strike Dublin. We went after individuals. Israel, I say to you with my hand on my heart; the Gaza rocket strikes have killed NO ISRAELIS. They don’t WORK. They are the weak efforts of losers. you need to understand that the West does not think it is proportionate to reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Would I stand for rockets, would I stand for my children with PTSD because of constant rocket fire, no I would not. But my answer would be just as the earlier operations in #BringBackOurBoys – go in and capture Hamas leaders and politicians. Take the individuals. Jail them. They are terrorists. Try them. In a court. Do not reply to NO DEATH with DEATH. Hamas strikes do not kill Israelis but Israeli strikes do kill Palestinian civilians. And the rest of the world believes this imbalance is wrong.


‘Screw you, why the hell should you care what we think?” Well, you should care because with every settlement you build you are losing American public opinion. And that means that American Jews VOTE DEMOCRAT. And that means you get Barack Obama as your President and John Kerry as Secretary of State. That means you get Syria. And ISIS. That means you weaken Israel. Materially. In terms.


Israel is the victim of amazing hatred, the hatred that posts swastikas on Facebook pages to celebrate the death of those three kidnapped boys. And Israel was right – absolutely right – to build that giant wall. No Israeli buses or caf├ęs have blown up since. The rockets do nor work. Israelis are safe.


But dearest Israel, you have no right to be in the settlements. Nobody thinks you have a right to be in the settlements. The 2012 film the Gatekeepers, featuring the last six heads of the Shin Bet, showed Israeli intelligence forces did not want the settlements. There will be no peace and no security until the settlements come down. You must dismantle the settlements unless you wish to live in this sick and deadly farce until the end of time.


And Palestine. You must stop your vicious attacks, your celebration of dead Israeli babies taken from their cots and decapitated, of the four year old Fogel boy who was reading his book in his bed when they slit his throat. You come across as inhuman, subhuman hate-mongers when you do that. You MUST RECOGNISE THE STATE OF ISRAEL and give up this right to return crap. The land belonged to the Jews before it belonged to you. It is theirs. They are not going anywhere. You should take the occupied territories and build on them and live in a two-state solution with peace.


And Muslims need to stop looking at Israel whose crimes are so few in comparison to those of Assad, of Putin, of ISIS, of Saddam – of the Saudi secret police who burned those girls alive for being improperly veiled. Jerusalem is the least of the enemies of the Ummah. The sick Iraqi cycle of Sunni in power, oppress Shia, Shia in power, oppress Sunni – Islam now is fighting as Christianity did in the 1500s, with all the accompanying tortures and burnings at the stake. They are crucifying other Muslims in Iraq. They are gassing Muslim children in Syria. They are stoning Muslim rape victims and lashing them. They are stoning mothers for adultery. They are hanging Iranian gay Muslim men. I know one thing, I know that Allah – that HaShem, that God – is fucking pissed off with the lot of us.


And here’s the thing. Feel free to ignore all this and write comments saying how awful I am and have no idea. But I will tell you something. The appetite of the ordinary Western voter to lift a finger – even to help in Syria as Muslim children starve – it has totally evaporated. The thought of Israel invading Gaza in some sick act of collective punishment leaves American and British voters cold. Nobody gives a flying fuck any more. The average Westerner is saying to themselves “these are a bunch of savages and who cares if they kill each other.” Iraq will get no help. Afghans will get none. Syrians will get none. We hear no cries of outrage from the Muslim world. We see no moves from Israel to move to a just peace and get out of territory that does not belong to Israel, the settlements. We see no willingness to compromise and nothing more than a bloody merry go round of torture and death by ass-hole adults who will throw children and families to the wind because they will never, ever back down.


And so we just don’t care.


And by “we” I mean almost all voters. Not me – I care, I care incredibly. I wanted targeted air strikes against Assad. Now instead we have ISIS crucifying Muslims and Syrian kids starving.


The Torah says, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” – that means, it is mine to take; it is not yours to take. Te Qu’ran begins “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” Say it and believe it. What is He? What is He? Is Allah the Merciful pleased as you shoot teenage boys in the head for being Jews, or Muslims in a ditch because they follow a different sect to you?


The Middle East is the cradle of civilization. If it carries on like this, it will also be its grave.


And you will all – Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs and Persians – you will all be on your own.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

God


A few years ago, I was part of a group that organised a charity fund-raising event in aid of people that were stranded in Afghanistan, under dire circumstances,  due to their religious beliefs - namely the Afghan Sikhs. The event included a fashion show, some song & dance performances, and a talent show, highlighting some budding performers from our tiny community of London-based Afghan Sikhs - a fairly recent phenomenon in the national demographics of our adopted country - you know the country that gave us refuge when we needed it most - a country whose values of fairness and democracy (British Values, anyone?) appealed to us as a collective, rather than the "free benefits" it offered....

At the time, I received a few threats to my person, threats to my children - one even expressing in detail how we would "feel the true force of the Khalsa", suggesting violence, and justifying it by saying that it would make me realise that singing and dancing are against what "true" Sikhism stands for. This was especially chilling because they knew where I lived and what school my children went to...


The calls were logged and reported to the police, who questioned two people - both Afghan Sikhs. They apologised and I declined to press charges. That's what MY Sikhism teaches me.


At the time, I said nothing to anyone, so the charity event dozens of people helped put together would go ahead. Go ahead it did, and it was a hit.


Why am I bringing this up today then? Well, Iraq, mainly. Shia-Sunni mainly. This isn't about one religion fighting another - this about factions of the same religion fighting each other. This is about people killing people using God as an excuse. Sikhs do that too. So do Christians, and Hindus...


Here's a blog post I just did that will piss-off many people. I speak Hindi, Urdu, English, Punjabi, and Dari fluently, so BRING. IT. ON. I'm willing to learn if you have what it takes to teach. And you better be right and compelling: I take no prisoners.


This is something that has vexed me ever since I was a child...

I was born a Sikh and have been brought up as one - for all intents and purposes - I AM a Sikh. I've read the Guru Granth Sahib; several times over. I can actually quote directly from it. I follow pretty much ALL its basic tenets, and I live my life, trying to be as good a human being as possible - devoting a significant portion of my life towards helping others. BUT - I have this sinking feeling about the assertion that that those who believe in God by another name are in some way inferior in the eyes of an allegedly all-loving God, and those that don't look the part, are in some way, apostates, and destined to burn in hell, or come back as a centipede or a communist or worse, a Labour voter.

That said, I've grown up alongside Islamic teachings too, having lived a significant portion of my life among Muslims - I have read the Koran and ALL the Hadiths, cover to cover, purely out of curiosity to see how an all-merciful, all-controlling, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-forgiving God permits and sanctions amputations, beheadings, and mindless persecutions of those that don't grow their beards and cloak their women.

I spent much of my formative years in a Christian (CofE) boarding school - I know a lot of the hymns, most of the Psalms, and many of the prayers by heart. I pretty much know who begat who, all the way from Adam to Jesus

What I also know, and am increasingly convinced of, is that Sikhism has become more Rehat Maryada than Shri Guru Granth Sahib; Islam is more Hadiths than the Koran, and Christianity is more the Council of Nicea than everything Jesus had to say. Rules made by MEN.


Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.


Somebody tell me ritualised chanting and wearing a uniform, and hating those that don't believe as you do, eating onions, but not garlic, chucking down desi ghee and not wine, facing east and not west, shaping my eyebrows or letting them run riot, wearing a skull-cap or a turban, a helmet or a beanie, breaking an egg from the narrow side or the wide side, supporting Chelsea or supporting Arsenal, following cricket or following tennis, wearing boxers or briefs, will save my soul and appease an all-powerful, all-knowing, benevolent, God more than being a useful and productive member of society will. 



While you're at it, somebody tell me, how fate and pre-ordained destinies work. I mean if it's my fate to win the lottery, I WILL, won't I? So why work? If I'm destined to die a pauper, then again, why bother? If I'm evil and murder children for fun, surely I was 'created' that way. My destiny, isn't it? As for the millions of African kids that perish of hunger, drought, disease, war and famine, it's their fate, so why try helping them? Surely they deserve this? 

Somebody please explain the paradox of evil, say in a place like India - known as the most "spiritually diverse" in the world, where two young women, raped by a dozen men are left hanging from a tree was their fate? Was it their Karma of a sinful past life? And what about those that raped them and killed them? Was that a reward for what THEY did in their past lives? The mind boggles.

Who the hell is getting off on this?


Tell me, convince me. Anyone.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

World Martini Day

Today is World Martini Day. 



This, is how it's done, Khyberman style.


Get this stuff together...

Ice. Plenty of it. Chilled, nay, frozen, stemmed Martini glasses, some Vermouth, a cocktail shaker, some olives, or lemon peel. You can use things like cocktail onions, but then it won’t make a Martini, will it? It’ll make a Gibson. Who the fuck drinks a Gibson?

Finally get some Gin. GIN, not Vodka. Yeah, yeah - I know about 007 and all. Fine, you can use Vodka if you want. Just know that you will go down in my estimation..


So, here's what you do...

1. Pour out a thimble-sized portion of chilled Vermouth. Use the lid if you've never seen a thimble.

2. Chuck eight or nine ice cubes into your cocktail shaker (which should also have been chilled in the freezer - you don't want an overly serious melt problem), and then pour in the Vermouth. Give it a swirl, and then POUR the Vermouth out - as in throw it away - you're only lining the shaker - nothing more. Don't cry. The Vermouth won't.

3. Pour about 3-4 oz. of the pre-chilled Gin (or Vodka - I still think it's uncool) into the shaker, and swirl, not too aggressively, mind. Let the Vermouth and Gin (or Vodka, grrr)  to get to know each other. You want the ice to knock together, not start a fight. Swirl, and then swirl some more.

4. Fish out the olives. Skewer a couple of them with a toothpick. Place them in your Martini glass.

5. Swirl the magic a little more and then gently pour it over the olives sitting there waiting in the Martini glass. You CAN add the olives AFTER, no big deal. I prefer to bathe them before I eat them.

6. Sit back and sip. You are officially the 0.01%.

Friday, 13 June 2014

What Have I Become?

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but there comes a time when you come to terms with who you're meant to be, who you really are, and who you're expected to be. I have, with much reluctance, and despite desperate cries and pleadings from the core of my very being, become the philistine I so vehemently despised and never ever wanted to be. This irrational urge to "fit in", and dumb down wasn't something I ever subscribed to - but for some unfathomable reason found myself succumbing and resigning to anyway. 

Is this the price of love? Of wanting to belong, of acceptance, or conformity? Or is it just a lazy abandonment of the road less travelled that once excited me, with all it's possibilities and adventures?

I'll never do the Bilbo Baggins - it's too late for that, I have too many ties that bind, most of my own making, or resignation, or possibly even cowardice - but perhaps I will do the Frodo. 

I have to destroy the one ring. 

First, I have to find it - and therein lies the rub.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Unrequited

The more I grow, the more I see
The more I see, the more I grow
The more I love, the more I crave
The more I crave, the more I love
The more I hurt, the more I retract
The more I retract, the more I hurt
The more I give, the more I lose
The more I lose, the more I want

And that kills me.