March 2011



Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed,
Parrots have crackers to crunch;
And, as for the poodles, the they tell me the noodles
Have chickens and cream for their lunch.
But there’s never a question
About my digestion –
Anything does for me!

Cats, you’re aware, can repose in a chair,
Chickens can roost upon rails;
Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
And oysters can slumber in pails.
But no one supposes
A poor Camel dozes –
Any place does for me!

Lambs are inclosed where it’s never exposed,
Coops are constructed for hens;
Kittens are treated to houses well heated,
And pigs are protected by pens.
But a Camel comes handy
Wherever it’s sandy –
Anywhere does for me!

People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
Or mounted the back of an ox;
It’s no body’s habit to ride on a rabbit,
Or try to bestraddle a fox.
But as for the Camel, he’s
Ridden by families –
Any load does for me!

A snake is a round as a hole in the ground;
And weasels are wavy and sleek;
An no alligator could ever be straighter
Than lizards that live in the creek.
But a Camel’s all lumpy
And bumpy and humpy-
Any shape does for me!

Charles Edward Carryl


The bizarre Raymond Davis saga finally comes to a close. The CIA spy, who murdered two Pakistani’s in a busy street in Lahore in a fashion that would have resembled something from a James bond movie, was acquitted today by a Pakistani court. This comes after weeks of intense pressure from the Pakistani people to hang him and from the American government to release him on grounds of ‘diplomatic immunity’.

America as usual threatened Pakistan by cutting off the billions of dollars in aid, and the Pakistan government being a slave to this money obviously had to comply; so the release of Raymond Davis shouldn’t surprise anyone. What is surprising, however, is how quickly this man was released and the means employed in the process.

Although Pakistani law isn’t based on the Shariah (Islamic Law) in its entirety, aspects of it have been incorporated into it. The part of Shariah which came to the aid of the Americans is the concept of blood money in the case of a murder. Islamic law allows for the relatives of the murdered to pardon the accused in return for monetary compensation in certain circumstances. This is essentially what happened and families of the victims were reportedly paid out in the millions; whether or not they were compelled into this agreement remains uncertain considering they were isolated from their lawyers during the deal.

The irony of this outcome is that it happened at time when there is a huge anti-shariah movement in the United States. This movement which is rooted in ignorance has succeeded in introducing bills banning Shariah from a number of states in America. Little do the bigots behind this initiative know that about 95% of the Shariah deals with laws relating to things such as prayer, fasting, charity, dietary requirements and business transactions; banning the Shariah would essentially disallow Muslims from practicing their faith.

Another ironic aspect of this episode is that the religious right which lead the protests in Pakistan can’t really accuse its government of misappropriation since the settlement was based on Islamic law. Its a solution that appeases America and is inline with the principles the protesters supposedly stand for; who would have thought the Pakistani government could have wiggled its way out of this mess so smoothly.

One aspect of this incident that troubles me greatly is the motivation behind the protests that demanded Raymond Davis to be punished. One would think these people were seeking justice for the deceased but really they just wanted to avenge America and punishing a CIA spy was symbolic of it. Hundreds of innocent people are killed in terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan regularly; where are these protesters when its comes to demanding that the government bring the instigators of these crimes to justice? Pakistan is a country of dichotomies and this is just one face it.


Edited version of this piece also posted at Suhaib Webb

Micheal Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, was invited to speak at UC Irvine last February on Israeli-American relations to a packed university auditorium of over 500 people. He was in the midst of his speech when a student bravely stood up and defiantly shouted out to him, ‘Micheal Oren! Propagating murder is not an expression free speech!!’. The ambassador continued speaking after this short disruption only to be disrupted again; and again; and again, for a total of eleven times.

The protesting students were escorted out of the building and arrested for “disturbing a pubic event”, though not charged criminally. An investigation later alleged that the Muslim Students Union organized the protest and the club was subsequently suspended for the term and placed on probation for two years. The student’s protest was of course to Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

About three weeks ago, three days shy of a year after the incident, the Orange County District Attorney decided to lay criminal charges on the 11 students, now referred to as the Irvine 11, for heckling during Ambassador Oren’s speech. This is sparked outrage across the Muslim community and beyond. Debates on freedom of expression and civil disobedience were ignited across university campuses. How can a non-violent protest possibly be labeled a criminal activity in a free democratic society?

Whether or not the method employed during this protest was justified is arguable. No doubt that disrupting the speech of an ambassador is rude and inappropriate. However, there are times when people need to be dealt with harshly and perhaps the actions of Israel warrant such treatment. Perhaps the students could have employed less disruptive means such as holding banners, but then again, their voices would have not reached as far were other methods to be used. Either ways, I think we can all agree that disciplinary actions by the University were enough to reprimand these students and laying criminal charges is going too far.

Speaking of insulting foreign dignitaries, one must not forget that back in 2007 President Ahmedinejad was invited to speak at University of Columbia in New York. He was introduced on stage by the President of the University, Lee Bollinger. Bollinger’s introduction was essentially a verbal assault on the Ahmedinejad during which he said, among other insults, that, “Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” adding, “You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated”. These are the words used by the president of a world-renowned university to introduce the leader of another nation! Who’s to blame students if teachers set out such an example.

Iran is not nearly as affluent in its injustices as is Israel. Sure, President Ahmedinejad makes outlandish and absurd statements denying the holocaust and expresses his wishes to destroy Israel; but when it comes to action, its Israel that is on the ground busy with the genocide of defenseless of Gazans. The Ambassador of Israel is certainly more worthy of such treatment than the President of Iran in my opinion. Also to note, as pointed out on Irving11.com, disrupting speeches has been used as a means to protest on campus in the past and no criminal charges or arrests were ever made. It makes one wonder if these charges were laid because of the importance of the speaker to America or because of the faith of the students protesting.

Regardless of the validity of the methods employed by these students, I must commend them for their courage and gallantry. Risking something as valuable as your entire university career to protest a cause you strongly believe in is the epitome of activism.

As morally conscientious people it becomes our responsibility to stand behind these brave individuals who have been wrongfully charged for defending the oppressed and saying that which is just. Please visit Iriving11.com to learn of ways you can support them.