My First 9/11 As a Muslim; Many Conspiracy Theories, One From a Muslim Man; A Learned Scholar Writes For Al Jazeera; Background on Origins of Al Jazeera; A Princess Rescinds An Invitation; A Leap Into the Theatre from a Canadian Podcast; Two Cartoon Contests from The New Yorker Provide Needed Humor

Well, this was my first ‘anniversary’ of 9/11 as a Muslim; before that I was an atheist. It is now a week later, it took me all this time to write about it because I was gathering my thoughts, doing some reading, in the main the literature was limited to USA publications.

An article in the Marin Independant Journal by David Klepper somewhat enlightened me because it buttressed information which was sketchily learned subsequent to my entry into the Islamic faith. “Twenty years on, the skepticism and suspicion first revealed by 9/11 conspiracy theories has metastasized, spread by the internet and nurtured by the pundits and politicians like Donald Trump.” First learned of a conspiracy theory from a 60 year old Muslim man saying that all Muslims were sure that George Bush who was responsible. I have not heard this from a learned Muslim so my information is incomplete. But the whole idea of a few stupid Saudi Arabia guys inflicting all of that damage in such an organized fashion is unbelievable.

Today, decided to see what Al Jazeera had to say about it. Preliminarily, looked at the origins of the network, which of course I knew it originated from Qatar but not much else. Now I know more: “Al Jazeera, (Arabic: “The Peninsula”) Arabic-language cable television news network founded by Sheikh Ḥamad ibn Khalīfah Āl Thānī, emir of Qatar, in 1996.” Arabic names confuse me, instead did some basic math ascertaining that the founder is the Abdicated Emir of Qatar. Here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I met many, many members of his family (including his third wife) in a humble hotel in London, December 2019. (Do think he has seven at this moment). How strange is that?? Alexis, born in Saskatchewan, meets this huge, extremely rich and influential family. What makes it even more bizarre is that three days ago, one daughter, a minor Princess, asked me to come and visit and stay with her, even offering air fare. I guess she did not get ‘clearance’ as, after I made reservations, paying my own air faire, paid my own air fare said there was no room at the inn, offering me hotel booking. I laughingly said No Thanks and then cancelled my plane reservations on Qatar Airlines. I am going somewhere else instead.
Me: I cancelled my reservations. I pity you.
I do pity her. She is desperately lonely but does not have enough influence, or the right ears to allow her to assert any authority whatsoever. What a mess it would be to go there and get caught up in all that intrigue. The one thing those Qatar folks do extremely well, is make money. The ads on Al Jazeera make it almost impossible to read. I am smart enough to know that you make lots of money from advertising. But I have enough money so do not burden blog readers with it. Do not they have enough money????

This article was written by Azeezah Kanji, a scholar and writer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the land of my birth. “Scholars lament the transformation of planes from symbols of “freedom and adventure” into weapons of “fear and suspicion” – forgetting that the use of planes as instruments of terror was not invented by al-Qaeda in 2001 but by Italian, French, and British colonisers in Libya, Morocco, Iraq, and other laboratories of colonial violence in the early 1900s. The use of “air policing” and bombardment to exert mastery over the colonised presaged the physical and psychological ravages of drone warfare today. By the way, as a fellow woman Canadian writer I would criticize her use of big words without definitions, but her research and insight are impeccable.

“The 9/11 narrative of radical historical rupture is sustained by radical historical erasure – obscuring the continuities between the excised colonial past and the sanitised colonial present.
In fact, the supposedly new paradigm of post-9/11 war resembles what military historian John Grenier identified as America’s “first way of war”: the totalising assault on Indigenous nations, lying at the genocidal foundations of the American state. From the “Indian Wars” to the “War on Terror”, the assertion that the targets are too “uncivilised” to obey the (Eurocentric) laws of war has been used to unleash extraordinary violence by the “civilisers”.In its infamous series of War on Terror legal memos, the US government’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) invoked an impressive array of colonial precedents from around the world: from the Indian Wars and US military occupations of the Philippines and Cuba to authorise the deployment of the military to fight “terrorist activities” within the US; from British colonialism in Kenya, French colonialism in Algeria, and apartheid South Africa to strip captured fighters of Geneva Convention rights; from the Indian Wars again, to legitimise the kangaroo court of the Guantanamo military commissions; from Britain’s colonial project in Ireland and Israel’s in Palestine, to legalise torture cloaked as “enhanced interrogation”; and from Israel again, to deny captives access to the International Red Cross. In Orientalist eyes, the use of precedent in Islamic legal traditions (taqlid) has been pathologised as yet more evidence of Muslims’ servile subjugation to the past. On the other hand, Western common law’s adherence to precedent – a vehicle for the continuing reproduction of colonial reasoning – is celebrated as a hallmark of its exemplary rationality and justice.

She quotes from a 19th century British Major General Charles Cavell which contains more than 100 references to savages, barbarians and uncivilized races.
First on the manual’s recommended reading list of “classics” is Small Wars, by 19th-century British major general, Charles Callwell. Originally subtitled A Tactical Textbook for Imperial Soldiers, it purportedly “provides lessons learned [from Callwell’s military experience “Of course, in the contemporary counterterrorism lexicon, “savages” are no longer officially referred to as “savages”. Instead, new terms such as “unlawful enemy combatants” have been devised, to justify expulsions from the protections of international humanitarian law. Similarly, societies are no longer overtly branded as “uncivilised” to rationalise imperial aggression, invasion, and overhaul. Instead, the targets for such interventions are now described as “failed” states, or “unwilling or unable” to eliminate threats harboured within. The “unwilling or unable” doctrine – popularised in the War on Terror – was first advanced by the US and Israel in the 1970s, to attempt to accord a patina of legality to their extraterritorial exercises of military force. The very process of asserting newness [in the wake of 9/11] is a key political manoeuvre that allows proponents of radical international reform to justify, more successfully than was previously possible, many of their pre-existing imperial ambitions,” legal scholar and UN expert Obiora Okafor observed. For example, European colonial jurists such as 16th century Francisco de Vitoria – now memorialised as a liberal defender of human rights – argued that in the so-called “new world” of the Americas, “permanent” total war was “necessary to secure peace”; centuries before George W Bush made “humanitarian” aggression great again.”

She continues: To label this regime of terror as “war” is misleading, since war connotes a situation in which both sides are legally entitled to use violence and are vulnerable to violence in return. Rather, as in the colonial slaughter fields and torture chambers of decades past, what imperial powers seek is a one-way licence for brutalisation and control.
This is manifest in the US’s demonisation and prosecution of Muslim fighters, such as former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, as “terrorists” for killing US soldiers – legitimate military targets, under the international laws of war. In contrast, the prolific killing of Afghan, Pakistani, Somali, and Yemeni civilians by US forces is routinely exonerated, written off as “collateral damage” or “enemies killed in action” if disclosed at all.” She concludes: “What we are told to “never forget” and what we are made to “always forget” are two sides of the same operation of power. And so the colonial present continues, inscribing each new chapter of violence as if it was the first.”

But to add a little variety and some theatrical discourse, my never ending quest for knowledge led me to a podcast, Ideas, Shakespeare’ s Novels: King Lear. Ideas is a Canadian podcast. The familiar post of Shakespeare’s King Lear is also the plot of many novels written for our old times. Hahah Ayed speaks to novelists Preti Taneja and Jane Smiley who have reworded the Lear story. She’s also jointed by Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino to explore what King Lear has to say to us today about gender, power, loyalty, and inheritance. “ Listen to it, it is totally fascinating and makes me miss the theatre. But I am going back to London soon, in about three weeks.

So this again is too serious. Therefore, humor will be provided by one or two New Yorker cartoons. One is a weekly competition with comments from the three finalists. The other with no caption is ‘This Week’s Contest. My caption? “Do not eat the beans, this can happen to you. I did not submit it to the magazine.

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