Archive for General

Making malcolm-x.org

In 2000, I created a web site on Malcolm X, which has since become one of the major Malcolm X web sites on the Internet. It reflects a good deal on the ideology I adhered to and the way I approached things at that time, when I was 15 and completing grade 9 in Scarborough as a proto-Islamist. The site has remained stagnant, particularly ideologically — indeed, I put a disclaimer that the site is meant to present Malcolm within “an Islamic context” — although I’ve changed considerably, religiously and politically. It’s also remained stagnant in terms of content, the last substantive update being in 2005.

Academically, there was a surge of sustained interest in Malcolm X in the late 1980s and early 90s, in the midst of which Spike Lee produced the film in 1992. This interest reflected the growing relevance of Black nationalism as a response to the conditions of most Black people in the United States — Public Enemy was on point. Academics were commenting on Malcolm X leading up to and following the film. At some point in the 90s this interest seems to have tapered off. Another surge of interest surfaced in February 2005, around the fortieth anniversary of Malcolm’s assassination — commemorated by a special release of the Malcolm X DVD and mainstream media interest, but not (as far as I can tell) any substantial academic interest. That is, with the exception of Manning Marable at Columbia University who is now writing a biography of Malcolm.

I keep finding myself coming back to the question of Malcolm X, as well as the question of the web site. While I haven’t read anything relating to Malcolm substantially in a while, the myriad videos posted on the Internet have allowed me to instead watch him speak. Recently, I’ve bought several books containing his words and containing words about him. As I’ve developed politically and academically, however, the site has lagged behind.

Additionally, many people don’t know, exactly, what Malcolm X stood for (he himself had a hard time with that) or what his significance is to radical politics — he’s been reduced to a symbol and a phrase, “by any means necessary”.

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Cairo

I’m in an Internet cafe in a mall in a gated community in Cairo — or on the outskirts of Cairo. It’s a carefully controlled, manicured, clean, upper- and middle-class community; keep all the poor folks out unless it’s for labour. It contrasts sharply with downtown Cairo, which looks like stuff was thrown together in a hurry. Particularly the highways, which, it seems, actually were thrown together in a bit of a hurry — built right next to already existing buildings with barely a few feet to spare between the railings and the building’s facade. There’s a lot of European tourists, in tour groups and whatnot, many who dress quite immodestly (a German-ish male, for instance, in short-shorts took off his shirt to bask in the heat or something outside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo) — a little cultural sensitivity never hurt anyone. There’s police everywhere (literally), they wear starched white uniforms. When we tried to enter Al-Azhar University, for instance, a policeman blocked us and said we couldn’t. Also, stuff is spelled in the French-ish form, El Azhar rather than Al Azhar; and the Arabic script is the Urdu-ish type. Cairo reminds me of Karachi in many ways.

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WordPress

For anyone who cares, I switched the blog to WordPress. I’ll be updating and tinkering around with the design for the next few days.

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God, Inc.

Funniest stuff I’ve seen since Arrested Development:

God, Inc. Episode 1 (3:38)

God, Inc. Episode 2 (6:31)

Salaam-e-Ishq music is excellent. The film looks like a take off of Love Actually.

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Tetris and life lessons

Tetris teaches us that even if life is not like a box of chocolates (i.e., in so far as you do know what you’re gonna get), it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be prepared for it or that you’re going to plan it well.

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no time

to blog

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“Raindrops keep falling on my head.”

“And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain.
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape…”

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“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”

I like the rain.

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1, 2, 3, 4 … !

The irony is that not only am I the fucking king of Spain but I also eat humble pie at the same time.

Someone out there has one (or more) video(s) of me dancing to that song. Working for the City has its moments, as well as shitty wages and treatment — “you don’t get me, I’m part of the union,”* my ass.

* “Part of the Union” by the Strawbs, inspiring union song, if you actually believe that unions are worth their salt in your country.

I don’t want to work away
Doing just what they all say
“Work hard, boy, you’ll find
“One day you’ll have a job like mine”

‘Cause I know, for sure
Nobody should be that poor
Say yes, sink low
Because you happen to say so, say so, you say so

I don’t want to work away
Doing just what they all say
“Work hard, boy, you’ll find
“One day you’ll have a job like mine, job like mine, a job like mine”

“Be wise, look ahead
“Use your eyes,” he said
“Be straight, think right”

But I might die tonight

- Cat Stevens, “But I Might Die Tonight”

Some days it’s like some bastard nailed a ticket for the bus tour down to fucking Hell to the front of my brain. For every wild everything-depends-on-it first-week-of-being-madly-in-love kiss on a streetcorner, for every beautiful woman stopping to feel the sun on her face and every child dancing in clean rain, there’s a kid living in its own shit in a dumpster somewhere while Daddy sells his ass for milk money, tanks breaking down unwanted houses just to stop homeless people squatting there….

- Warren Ellis, as Spider Jerusalem in Transmetropolitan #26

And the very fear that makes you wanna die
Is just the same as what keeps you alive
It’s way more trouble than some suicide is worth.

Won’t it be dull when we rid ourselves of all these demons haunting us
To keep us company?
Won’t it be odd to be happy like we always thought we’re supposed to feel
But never seem to be?

- Barenaked Ladies, “War on Drugs”

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Musical Baton

I was passed this ‘baton’ by Yaser, who will now indubitably (and inexplicably) complain about the loss of his anonymity due to my linking to his blog.

Total volume of music files on my computer: 11.28 GB. I have no idea how that translates into song hours or number of files.

The last CD I bought was: The last CD I actually spent money buying (for my own listening) was Everlast’s “White Trash Beautiful.”

Song playing right now: Howard Jones – No One Is To Blame

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

  • Howard Jones – No One Is To Blame. Everything but the chorus, ironically.
  • Mouth and Macneal – How Do You Do. Infectious.
  • Barenaked Ladies – War On Drugs. Not just copying from Yaser, but they say that Jesus and mental health are just for those who can help themselves, but what good is that when you live in hell on earth?
  • Inti-Illimani – El Pueblo Unido… jam�s ser� vencido.
  • Barry McGuire – Eve Of Destruction. Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating, I’m sitting here just contemplating. I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation. Handful of senators don’t pass legislation, and marches alone can’t bring integration, when human respect is distinegrating. This whole crazy world is just too frustrating. And you tell me over and over and over again, my friend, ah you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Three people to whom I�m passing the baton:
Mudasser, Adam, Arif.

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