HAS THE WEST LOST IT? A Provocation by Kishore Mahbubani

 

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for the last 1800 years China and India both were the largest Economies and until 1820 did Europe unseat them and it seems nowadays that that seat is returning to them

the recent period of Western relative over-performance against other civilizations is a major historical aberration. All such aberrations come to a natural end, and that is happening now.

the main thesis of this book is the era of Western Domination is coming to end and the rising of populist and extreme right wing in the West can be the first signs of it, unlike the coastal elites many rural Americans and Europeans are feeling the coming change especially as they saw the recent stagnation of their income and the increase of their job losses usually to Chinese and Indian workers and this what fueled Trump rise and Brexit.

what is trues that middle income American incomes has stagnated and most of the job lost are irrevocably lost but does that also mean that American living standard will deteriorate for me i don’t believe so and one example for that is Japan,

the era of Western dominance and imposing their ideals and customs on others is coming to end and that the last two examples of western intervention on Muslim countries didn’t fare very good in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

the important gift of the West

no one can deny that West world had given Humanity many gifts and improvement and one of the best things the Rest learned from the West is Reasoning which according to The Oxford English Dictionary is

‘To think (something) through, work out in a logical manner’

many non Western nations especially learned from the Western nations by adopting their Technology and Science and due to this adoption many nations has passed through silent revolutions which were political,psychological and the third was in the field of governance and through this Silent revolution that many Asian nations passed through and was able to catch up to the West.

Western catastrophic wars

if there is one thing am sure is that because ww1 and ww2 happened that many non Western nations gained their freedom from Western imperialism and there were no nation in these planet that didn’t face the wrath superior Western nation due to their superior technology and weaponry and this  what made Western nation so superior relative to others not because they were Liberal or humanitarian.

inability Western elites to see the new changes around the world

one of the hardest thing many people and nations can do is to self reflect and Hubris and Haughtiness an blind many people from seeing reality and that is easy to be entrapped in self deception and to be unable to see the ugly and painful truth and one of the ugly truths that many Westerns are unable to accept is that their ideals and customs and political views are not universal as they used to believe and i still cant believe how Western students,politicians and business men still believe the idea that Democracy is universal and that many societies will eventually embrace Democracy

How Hubris lead Western politicians to confrontation with Islamic world and Russia

i believe there is correlation between the increase terror attacks perpetuated by militant Muslims and the increase of Western intervention in Muslims world, i really found it hard to understand why America and Europe is the only nations that are still bombing Muslim nations and the only solution these nations see as response to any Muslim problems always contains security approaches usually bombing them from Mali to my nation Somalia to Iraq Afghanistan to Philippines all the time i see Western nations sending drones and bombing them but what is more strange is that why not man Western nations doesn’t prepare or expect a backlash against their intervention, when 9/11 happened most American magazines aw them as innocent victims which is true but also they also forgot what their government does to these Muslim Militants in nineteenth as they tortured them usually in secret jails, here is a quote written by the greatest writer in Latin America

, Gabriel García Márquez, asked Americans:
How does it feel now that horror is erupting in your own yard and not in your neighbor’s living room? … Do you know that between 1824 and 1994 your country carried out 73 invasions in countries of Latin America? … For almost a century, your country has been at war with the entire world … How does it feel, Yank, knowing that on September 11th the long war finally reached your home

the West must recognize these Militants are not fighting because they hate Western values as their politicians tell them but because they are angry of Western intervention and aiding dictators around the Muslim world, and that by less Messianic Western intervention i believe that the peace between these two world could return

and about the Russia which is a former shell of the soviet union and which were weak in the nineteenth the Western forgot Churchil quote ‘In victory, magnanimity.

they broke their promises to Gorbachev and expanded NATO instead of their implicit assurance given to Gorbachev that they will not expand into former Soviet union satellites but they expanded until they reached to Ukraine and even with Russian warning American still supported Ukraine demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovyc and Putin ultimately know the next nation will be pro West and this eventfully forced him to intervene and take Crimea, the last thing any Russian officials want is American or European base in Crimea.

at last what the author advised to any Western politicians who like to hear

A. Minimalist:  The West need to recognize that its once dominant position has passed and along with it, the belief that it is and always has been a benign force in the world. Interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria show the contradictions in this belief. The West is widely seen by the Rest today as destructive and ineffective.

B. Multilateral: The West needs to listen more to the ‘Rest’ in the United Nations and elsewhere. He approvingly quotes Mrs. Thatcher: “The United Nations is only a mirror held up to our own uneven, untidy and divided world. If we don’t like what we see, there is no point in cursing the mirror; we had better start by reforming ourselves.” This leads him to call for the re-legitimisation of the UN.

C. Machiavellian:  Take more account of new and changing Western interests in the 21st century, where the US, UK, and Europe increasingly have diverging interests. Europe’s interests are not the same as America’s, not merely now in the age of Trump but in future areas of long-run strategic interest – in the Middle East, towards Russia, in coping with Islam and not joining with NATO.

The West can accelerate a two-way street of learning between Western and Eastern Muslims by quietly terminating its two-century-long policy of interfering in Islamic societies. A good start, as indicated earlier, will be to stop all bombing of Islamic countries.

 

  • Allen Lane
  • Published 5th April 2018
  • 112 Pages

Has the West Lost It?

 

 

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La Bastarda: A Novel by Trifonia Melibea Obono

. “If you don’t have a name, you’re invisible, and if you’re invisible, you can’t claim any rights. Besides, the offensive label man-woman implies disdain toward women. It reduces them to passive sexual objects that never act on their own desires. Think about it. From what I can see you’re no fool.”

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although this short novel consists of 120 pages it contains Adultery,incest,polygamy.sexual orgy and many other sexual conducts

we fallow the story of the young orphaned teenage girl Okomo who in the beginning of the novel infuriates her grandfather just by asking him where and who is her father and just after this simple question this novel progresses as the the young girl becomes obsessed in discovering who is her father.

what happens after that question is that her grandfather calls the family four council but since he is very old the meeting topic changes from how to change our protagonist behavior to venerating her grandfathers which consisted of

he described the honorable life of Beká, the patriarch of our lineage. His existence had been so fruitful that he brought thirty men and forty women into the world, in addition to fighting against the mitangan occupation.

although the author of the novel comes from West Africa and i am from East Africa just like the novel i remembered when i was young and listened to my grandfather stories when he was young  most of the time they all consisted of him killing  people to protect his herd of Camels or dwindling pool of water,i guess some norms in Africa can be found in any corner of it.

she meets then her uncle who her tribe calls him MAN Women because he was queer and didn’t wanted to marry or impregnate women as his tribe wanted to do it, and this made the tribe hate and scorn him and eventually tries to kill him.

since this is a short novel which consist of 120 pages i don’t want to ruin your reading of it and so didn’t reveal what happens to our protagonist but the story has happy ending

although this was short novel it really was an eye opener on what it means to be queer and African at the same time and how in some societies which are very ignorant being homosexual can make your life horrible and how still many African societies and head of states usually autocratic see LGBTQ as threat and something that was parachuted from Europe to Africa not something organic.

the last note i wanna add to this small review is how many societies including my own uses Corrective Rape as something which they believe will heal women from being Lesbian which is another painful practices many societies use against women suspected of being lesbian.

But what really made me glad was how the protagonist and other characters eventually left their village to forest where they were free from small minded village people and how they respected  their new home they become vegetarian and don’t kill forest animals

The forest was the only refuge for those who had no place in Fang tradition, like me. I’m a bastarda, a Fang woman; I’m a bastarda, daughter of an unmarried Fang woman; I’m a bastarda, a lesbian.

La Bastarda: A Novel

by Trifonia Melibea Obono translated Lawrence Schimel

Published April 17th 2018 by Feminist Press

120 pages and is $14.65

Amazon link

some stuff that is happening in my life

one of the hardest facts that i have to accept now days is that am losing my sight in a faster rate that i had expected and this sudden deterioration of my eyes has forced me to stop the only thing i know and loved in the world which is reading and since the doctors has warned me from prolonged reading on Kindle it forced me use my time in other stuff which requires not much of my eyes.

i feel little bit angry  and honestly scared of my upcoming loss of sight and sometimes i wonder why this happened while i am still relatively young since i am 24 years old but also why this sickness hinders me from the only thing i knew and loved to do which is reading  also am trying to accept this fact and trying to focus in doing other stuff like socializing and playing sports and exerting little pressure on my eyes

am not good at expressing what i feel and thinking so i thought a little writing in my sight could help and release me from this depression because of lack of reading as much as i used to.

And sorry if i ruined your day and depressed you but somehow i hope this post reminds you how much precious is being able to read since not many people are able to read and those able to read don’t like to read

Banthology Stories From Banned Nations edited by Sarah Cleave

 

Reading can be an escape, something transportative that takes you to different countries, cultures and states of mind.  It can take you to all the places that Donald Trump doesn’t want you to go.

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in January 2017 Us President issued an executive order which called  Executive Order 13769 which later was called the Muslim Ban which prohibited citizens from seven countries from entering US for 90 days and these nations were  Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

well since i am Somali i really felt sorry for how US government saw us never rethink how this ban would affect many US citizens who originally were from these nations, what made America very appealing to many people around the world is now days slowly burning and with every news brief i see i see America i read about metamorphosing into something uncanny and unappealing to any one.

Just as i finished my university degree and though about traveling outside to discover countries and  other cultures  and maybe start my Master outside the country i discovered the meaning of being citizen of failed state which was unpleasant fact of being refused to enter many nations and many nations requires so many documents and exams which is unavailable currently in my country so the ban made the idea of traveling to US less appealing and released me from the elusive dream of visiting there.

but even the Ban will not hopefully affect my love for literature and my curiosity to learn about and hopefully will not affect how we see each other and treat each other.

the book first edition release coincided initially with the Trump travel ban although the ban has gone though many changes since then and the idea of the book was to give these seven nations some representation and who rump collectively see them as Terrorist,

Comma Press has commissioned seven writers from these nation to write in response to Trump Travel ban and the writers were asked to write books which explore themes of Exile, exile, travel, and restrictions on movement”.

the contributors to these book

  • Wajdi al-Ahdal
  • Rania Mamoun
  • Anoud
  • Fereshteh Molavi
  • Najwa Binshatwan
  • Zaher Omareen
  • Ubah Cristina Ali Farah

BIRD OF PARADISE by Rania Mamoun is a Sudanese author, journalist, and activist and this story describes young female who is trapped in Airport with no food and only survives in drinking water from tab and how her life in rural Sudan were and how her older dominated and affected her life choices, and now she is stuck in airport with she do not intend to leave but also unable to live in it since she is broke.

The good thing about airports is the freedom to sit wherever you like; no one asks you to leave or to move on. I sit here day in, day out, utterly bereft of everything. The few coins I brought with me are already spent and my pockets are now empty. I ate my last biscuit two days ago; half in the morning, half in the evening. All that remains is regret.

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SMUGGLING by Zaher Omareen who is is a Syrian writer and researcher based in London and this story describes young Syrian who tries to migrate from Greece to France to Sweden and this one was the most funniest story in the anthology

The day of the trip, I prayed two rak’as1 for good luck and made my way to the airport. This was the only kind of relationship I’d had with God since I was a child: a strictly beneficial one. If I passed an exam, I gave a bit of money to the mosque. If I failed, they didn’t get a penny.

but the most depressing story in the anthology is RETURN TICKET by Najwa Binshatwan is a Libyan academic, novelist and playwright.

the story describes the village of Schrödinger which is cosmic anomaly and the city is able to fly and move around the world and space except for the US whose wall is getting higher and higher that even the town is unable to hover around it for too long and since the town tries every time to return the remains of six American tourists ye each time they fail because the wall is getting higher and higher and even the dead American are giving a voice and each console himself that they died before

‘It’s good that we died before America’s prison warden came to power.’

although this anthology is really short but it shows you literature from countries no one to visit or know about them and since this is my first introduction to Comma Press

The Chibok Girls by Helon Habila

I always wondered why religious extremism especially from my faith was scared of women eduacation or western education in general,why many Muslim insurgents from Boko Haram in Nigeria to Taliban  in Afghanistan fought against women education and actually bombed and killed many students and teachers and their guilt was learning.

Why the sight of young girls trying to learn how to read and write provokes so much anger in these men that they will try to kill them or kidnap them and force them as a sex slaves,seeing some people who shares my same beliefs but still using the same religion we both share as cover for thei evil acts makes me really ashmed of what some Muslims are doing to themselves.

In the last days of Holy Ramadan i picked up this short nook which tells the story of Boko Haram and the young teen gurls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram means Western eduacation is forbidden which is the name of violent extremist group in Nigeria  who did the usual Terrorist group works but risen to infamy by their kidnapping of Chibok young girls from their school dorms.

What makes this group more sinister than any other Jihadist groups in West Africa is that their fixation with using young girls as suicide fighters and even using girls as seven to suicide attack.

the first time Boko Haram attacked schools they killed most of thee young boys in the school and left the girls alone and warned them from going to school and advised them to marry but the second time they attacked the school they simply kidnapped all the girls and sent them to near impassable forest were it hard to follow them.

what made Chibok different from its neighboring towns is that it is the only Christian town in predominately Muslim region which marginalized them from their surrounding and made them an easy target for the terrorist.

interestingly although Chibok is small town is abodes with large stories of kidnapping and violence related either to politics and or religion, and this quote summarize why many nations rich with resources are still stuck in poverty

Actual violence, or the threat of it, helps to keep the populace in check, just as poverty does. Keep the people scared and hungry, encourage them to occasionally purge their anger on each other through religiously sanctioned violence, and you can go on looting the treasury without interference. I used to wonder why the facilities at our airports and in almost all public buildings in Nigeria were always broken and substandard, until I realized it was not accidental. It is a way of controlling the masses. The masses must never be allowed to think they deserve standard service. Even if they get what is theirs, like decent salaries, healthcare, and education, they must first grovel and beg for it, so that when they finally get it they feel it comes from the munificence of their political overlords, and not as a right.

although 5, Nigeria is the world’s twentieth largest economy, with a GDP of more than $500 billion. The country is the seventh largest oil exporter in the world at least half of the population lives below the poverty line and when Nigeria gained independence 9 million people were below poverty line but now almost 100 million people below poverty line and nothing seems to improve still.

our author who was born and used to live in Nigeria reminisce  about his childhood experiences where Islam and his neighboring Muslims were tolerant and there were no single violent incident between his family who were Christian and their Muslims neighbouring.

That version of Islam was able to accommodate tradition and diversity, and didn’t view the rest of the world through a puritanical lens. But all that changed, as if in a day. A stricter, less tolerant version of Islam emerged and took over the scene.

and now even most Christians are becoming also more strict with their faith and

against a backdrop of declining revenues, high unemployment rates, political corruption and rivalries, government mismanagement, rampant materialism, and serious popular concern about the erosion of moral and religious values

most people sought after

people sought answers in religion. But an irrational reliance on religion, instead of giving the people peace and comfort, only made them less tolerant and more desperate.

and this solution still is not helping them to solve their problems.

what brings more sorrow in this book is the social attitude to the returning girls where they are not accepted fully into he family and since most of them are pregnant or have children who their father is fighters of Boko Haram they become outcasts of their society and rather being victim they take the culprit role

Publisher: Penguin Books

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 128 pages

Date Published: 6 April 2017

 

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez translated by Gregory Rabassa

Publisher: Penguin Books

Date Read: May 2018

No. of Pages: 128 pages

Date Published: April 23, 2014

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I find it really hard to explain this word Honor to people who live in modern nations and since this word with its meaning could be found in many societies but unless you lived in traditional society this short novella wouldn’t have much resonance with you.

how can you explain how my people consider Honor which is made up of  certainly a women, and that how my society sees women doesn’t look much different than how this novella town sees them, men honor depends on women and women honor depends on her virginity,what i found strange how a person dignity and humanity can be summarized to a small sheath of skin which determines how good or bad she is.

how many wars between tribes happened and how many people lost their life because of this word and how many societal tragedies has happened because of this word,

for instance in my hometown a women has fell in love and  run away with a man since her family refused the idea of her marrying a man from lower castes and since she run away with man she has dishonored her family name and the family has killed her with her lover,what i found inhumane was that no one tried to save the girl when she screamed for help and  the people divided between those ignoring her call for help and others actually cheering and supporting this crime.

The brothers were brought up to be men. The girls had been reared to get married

this short novella which is my second book i read for Garcia and i have read in almost two hours consecutively and while reading it it both reminded me how sexist societies are and how unfair they are to women and how your gender can determine how your parent would welcome you in the first hours of your birth to how much education you get and how much income your receive.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a novella which the story of Santiago Naser who is murdered by the twin Pedro and pablo Vicario  and how his murder was so foretold that no one believed when it happened and everyone is doubted it could happen.

when Bayardo San Romá  proposed to Angela Vicario she didn’t feel any affection or love toward him and she told her family of her refusal to marry him but

her mother demolished it with a single phrase:
“Love can be learned too.”

and after get married and her husband discovers her loss of virginity he peacefully returns her to her mother who with her twin brothers forced her to say the name of her lover

found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written.
“Santiago Nasar,” she said.

but what is wrong in this murder is that no one was sure that Santiago was her lover since no one saw them together but since Santiago reputation was famous as womanizer around the town no one also thought he was innocent also

 

and since the twins were so much eager to revenge against Santiago but also so hesitant they told all the town about their impending crime so someone could stop them but no one thought their talk was serous so no one tried to warn and save the victim earnestly

eventually crime occurs and the twins will be pardoned since this is honor crime.

although this is a short novella it fills you with so many questions about sexist societies are and  how humans are so fragile and weak that no one remembers the same thing exactly and still in many societies including my own how women value is determined by her virginity and how men value is determined by how he protects his women or how he takes revenge for it.

ironically just as i finished this novella i discovered in Sudan a young teen Noura Hussein who was forced to marry  a man and she accidentally killed him was sentenced to death because of that

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudanese-teens-death-penalty-marital-rape-case-highlights-widespread-problems-2078372463

 

 

The Beekeeper by Dunya Mikhail tr by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail

Staying alive doesn’t mean permanent survival. Anyway,what is survival when the calamity survives along with you? To survive all alone is the worst kind.

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Format eBook
Publisher New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date Mar 27 2018
Language English
Pages 240
Price $16.99
ISBN-13 9780811226134
While i was reading this book i remembered the promise mankind promised to itself when the horror of holocaust was revealed to mankind and that the holocaust would be the last genocide mankind would face, but since humans and nations  have short span memories we repeated the same mistakes and genocides again and again with a short term remorse and a long term amnesia.
while i was reading this book also i remembered some of my friends and cousins who have joined ISIS  in 2014 and 2015 not because of their love for death or killing but because their need for belief and their belief that ISIS was going to change the fate Sunni of Syrian and Iraq who were massacred by their country government, were they among the monsters who have kidnapped and killed the Yazidi women in Iraq,but they are all dead and i cannot ask them about their deeds or beliefs anymore.
this short book took me a three compete days to read not because of my busy life or lengthiness but the amount of horrors contained in it forced me sometimes to stop and run away from it and sometimes contemplating to stop turning the pages.
this book tells the story of modern Schindler the Beekeeper Abdullah who transformed after ISIS attacked his hometown in 2014 from beekeeper to human smuggler who smuggles Yazidi women abducted by ISIS from Syria,
Yazidi plight starts as ISIS starts a ferocious attack in mount Sinjar which is home to small Yazidi religious minority who their faith is linked to ancient Mesopotamian  religions with a small amount of Islam and Christianity and Zoroastrianism added in it.
after the attack the whole population was to school were men were first divided from women and after gathering men in big trucks they were driven to big trenches were they were shot to death and the old women with their grand children were driven to small fish pond  were they were buried alive, the remaining women then were driven either to Mosul or Raqqa where they were sexually enslaved.
these book is collection of victims testimonies and these victims are the lucky ones who were smuggled from ISIS grip but what is lucky if you come to home where most of your family member are either kidnapped or killed.
our first victim is Nadia who according to ISIS price list worth $85
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Nadia was sold to Chechan man who bought her with her children and usually beat her and her children if they didn’t recite Quran correctly and used to rape her in front of her children
 beside being sex slave to ISIS member show was forced to work 12 hours a day making detonator and rockets eventually after tired of her life one day while ISIS member was absent she escaped from the home and went to internet cafe where she called her cousin Abdullah who managed to smuggle her out of Syria and she was able to come home where some of her family survived.
our second victim is miss Raghda
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 miss Raghda with her children also were kidnapped from Iraq and sold in Raqqa slave market with her children and were used as cheap workers in rocket manufacturing and here is a transcript of a conversation with the two young children
What’s your name?
Hoshyar.
How old are you, Hoshyar?
Three.
Where were you before you came to Baadhra?
With Daesh.
Where with Daesh?
In Syria.
Hoshyar, were you in a madrassa with Daesh?
No, I was in one of their houses.
What were you doing in the house?
Who was teaching you Quran?
Abu Jihad.
Why were you there?
They made me go with them.
Where did they take you from?
Raqqa.
The man who was teaching you Quran, where was he from?
Russia.
And how did you know he was from Russia?
He told me.
Who else was there with you?
My mom and my sister and three children with their mother.
Did they teach all of you Quran?
Yes. And we built rockets.
What were you building?
Rocket, rocket.
And what do you remember from the Quran?
I was in Syria with Daesh.
I want to know what you can remember from the Quran.
In the Name of God, most gracious, most compassionate, praise be to God, Lord of the two worlds, the gracious, the compassionate, master of the Day of Judgment . . .
Do you know what that means?
No, no I don’t.
Hoshyar, what did they feed you?
Bones. Abu Jihad would eat meat and then give me the bones. I couldn’t eat the bones but he used to make me stand on one leg for an hour.
Were you afraid of them?
He told me he could cut my head off if he wanted to.
Why did he say that?
He told me to pray, he said that when I grew up, God willing, I would go fight with Daesh.
Hoshyar, where are you right now?
In Baadhra.
Is your situation okay right now? Better than being with Daesh?
I’m at home. I’m good.
Thank you, Hoshyar. Could you hand the phone to your sister?
Hello.
How are you, Rula?
Fine.
How old are you?
Seven.
Can you tell me what you did when you were with Daesh?
They beat me while we made rockets for them.
What kind? And how did you make them?
TNT. From chemicals.
Did you also study Quran and prayer?
Yes.
Did you understand the words you were memorizing?
No.
Who was your teacher?
Daesh.
What was the name of the person who taught you?
Abu Jihad.
Did you learn how to pray?
Yes, but now I want to forget.
using these small children to work in the dangerous manufacturing Chemicals was one of the instances that forced me to cry while i was reading the book and made me rethink about reading this book but i continued and after chapter you dive deep into this innocent people misery and how sometimes life is unfair to certain people.
while this book continues telling the survivors of these genocides the author delves deep into her past and her family past as also a christian minority who were treated better than the Yazidi people and were only forced to leave the city without their belongings.
but most important person is Abdullah who thanks to his dedication to saving his people from ISIS was able to start a small smuggling unit which was able till the publication of the book to smuggle 70 people and return them to their families or what remained of
them