Friday, March 30, 2012

liberal muslim imperial alliance - the strange case of Nafisa Haji

"Pakistani-American" author, with extensive family in Pakistan, gets tour of Pakistan via US Embassy in Pakistan to learn more about Pakistan! Right, so now the US Embassy gets to present Pakistan... not all that surprising, given that the country's liberal-elites have a colonized mind.

From sometime now, the US state department has been sending wannabe House Muslims (housies) to Muslim countries to spread the gospel of Americanism. The message that the housies bring is basically that America is really pretty good (just ignore the latest killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria etc etc... ) They do this thorough meetings with the liberal - elites, students etc. of the respective Muslim majority countries - and then report back their findings and success stories to the US State Department.   In the war on Muslims and Islam, this is the soft propaganda aspect.  This site, over the years (with some lapses due to time constraints) has attempted to document this arm of the war - while exposing the individuals and groups who partake in this propaganda effort.

 Saba Mahmood has describes this effort:
"Taking the U.S. government’s current project to reshape and reform Islam on a global scale as my focus, I want to think about the place of the secular in relation to the current strategies of domination pursued by the United States. As I will show, over the last two years, in addition to its military “war against terror,” the United States has embarked upon an ambitious theological campaign aimed at shaping the sensibilities of ordinary Muslims whom the State Department deems to be too dangerously inclined toward fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. As such, it is the ideological arm of an otherwise military campaign to subdue and discipline the vast population of Muslims who, in their religious beliefs and lifestyles, are judged to be the recruiting ground for more extremist and fundamentalist forms of Islamic opposition to U.S. strategic interests and what are now loosely termed “Western values.” In this elaborate undertaking, the U.S. government has found an indigenous ally in the form of moderate or liberal Muslims who, in the opinion of State Department planners, are most open to a “Western vision of civilization, political order, and society.”
A recent recruit to this effort has been author Nafisa Haji, who has written two novels depicting Muslim lives - especially focused on Southern Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh etc.) A "sufi" affiliated with the International Association of Sufism Ms. Haji, recently took a trip to Pakistan at the invitation of the US Embassy in Pakistan! Here is her own press release:
Nafisa Haji, Pakistani-American author of “The Writing On My Forehead” and recently published “The Sweetness of Tears”, has just returned from a visit to Pakistan at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. In Karachi, Nafisa attended the Karachi Literature Festival, where she led a Creative Writing Workshop and participated on a lively authors' panel moderated by Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, wife of U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter. From Karachi, Haji went on to Lahore and Islamabad, visiting and speaking at universities and colleges, engaging with Pakistani students who helped to dispel stereotypes about Pakistan and Pakistanis with their eager engagement with the world and the challenges their nation faces. Haji says the visit was eye-opening on many levels, affording her a broader and deeper perspective of Pakistan, far more optimistic than the usual headlines imply. In addition, she was impressed with the cultural and diplomatic efforts of the State Department staff she met with, admiring the hard, behind-the-scenes work they do in a challenging part of the world.
So let's see, Nafisa Haji went to Pakistan at the behest of the US Embassy, so that Pakistani students could dispel stereotypes about Pakistan? This is of-course, plain nonsense, Ms. Haji has extensive family in Pakistan, she has mentioned this in her interviews, and she was able to do a significant amount of research in that country for her books because of her family. And she needed to have stereotypes dispeled on a trip sponsored by the US State Department/US Embassy in Pakistan? This is ludicrous, to say the least.

And praise for the efforts of the US state department, in a country that the US  has been engaged in almost daily killings? All of that she encapsulates in what she describes as "challenging part of the world." The stories of mothers, children, wives, husbands, men and women killed by the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, brushed aside with the word "challenging."

These trips are not organized for what Ms. Haji claims, rather they are organized for the purpose that Ms. Mahmood has identified above, and so that the United States is presented in a softer light by such housies, in a way that diminishes the impact of the relentless wars that the empire has been waging. A way to even further disconnect the liberal-elites, and so-called "open minded" "free thinkers" individuals from the mass of Muslims. Not to say that the liberal - elites and "free thinkers" need any assistance in becoming disconnected, they already live in a different world. But it does serve to reinforce, and create a false sense that the US war policies are pretty OK.
Nafisa Haji ‏ @nafisahaji: Mabrouk #Libya!! People of #Tunisia and #Egypt, look what you started! Your turn, #Syria,#Bahrain,#Yemen! Last stop, #Saudi! Allaboard!
It is interesting to see how an opportunistic "sufi" ended up supporting a reactionary NATO allied group to take over of Libya. Like other liberal imperialists, while she may oppose war and violence led by Republicans, she, apparently has no problem supporting such wars and violence if they are led by liberal Democrats.  The above is a tweet from August 21st, 2011 expressing her support for the NATO led violent takeover of Libya - including a bombing campaign that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Libyans that Ms. Haji has chosen to ignore. This kind of hypocrisy is what liberal-housie-Muslims are made up off...