Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is a moving film. I would rate it 9/10. Also I need books recommendations about the Rwandan genocide.

Hotel Rwanda is a very moving film about the Rwandan genocide. Few films bring me to tears but this one did. It felt so strange seeing the dramatized version of the killings and the inaction of the world community. I wonder if anyone ever meant the “Never Again” slogan about genocide. Now it looks like genocide happening in Darfur and still there is no action.

Anyway the movie was really good and I would rate it 9/10.

I was thinking about reading about Rwanda and the genocide. But I am not sure if I want to read only about the 100 days of genocide and their immediate background or more general histories that also cover the genocide. May be you guys can recommend some books. Here are two books about the genocide that look worth a read:

  1. Shake Hands with the Devil : The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general who was in charge of the UN forces there.
  2. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch.

Any thoughts about these two books? Can you recommend any others?

زنا، حدود اور ڈی این اے

کیا زنا کی حد نافذ کرنے کے لئے ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ ثبوت کے لئے کافی ہے؟

شیپر کے ذریعے مجھے ایک مقدمے کا پتہ چلا جس میں پنجاب ہائی کورٹ نے فیصلہ دیا ہے کہ زنا کی حد کے لئے ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ کے نتائج بطور ثبوت پیش نہیں کئے جا سکتے۔

قصہ ایک شخص کا ہے جو بیرون ملک مقیم تھا۔ اس کی بیوی پاکستان میں تھی۔ جب ان کے ہاں بیٹی ہوئی تو شوہر کو شک تھا کہ بیٹی اس کی نہیں۔ ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ سے اس کا شک درست ثابت ہوا۔ مگر عدالت نے فیصلہ دیا کہ زنا کی حد نافذ نہیں ہو سکتی کیونکہ اس کے لئے چار عینی شاہد درکار ہوتے ہیں۔ شیپر اور نبیل کا خیال ہے کہ آج کے دور میں حد کے ثبوت کے لئے جدید ٹیکنالوجی کا فائدہ اٹھانا چاہئے۔ خیال رہے کہ پاکستان کے حدود آرڈیننس کے مطابق زنا کی سزا ایک شادی شدہ شخص کے لئے سنگسار کرنا ہے۔ ان کے علاوہ میرے والد اور شعیب صفدر نے بھی اس خبر پر تبصرہ کیا۔

سب سے پہلی بات تو یہ کہ زنا کی حد قرآن شریف میں سو کوڑے مقرر کی گئی ہے۔ شادی شدہ زانی کو سنگسار کرنے کا ذکر حدیث میں آتا ہے۔ لہذا علماء میں کچھ اختلاف ہے کہ شادی شدہ زانی کو سو کوڑے مارے جائیں یا سنگسار کیا جائے۔ زنا کے ثبوت کے لئے علماء نے چار عینی گواہوں کی شرط رکھی ہے۔ میرا یہ دعوی ہے کہ یہ شرط بہت اہم ہے۔ حد زنا پر نہیں بلکہ اس زنا پر ہے جسے چار یا زیادہ لوگوں نے دیکھا ہو یعنی کھلے عام بدکاری کی سزا ہوئی۔ یہ اس سے بھی ظاہر ہے کہ زنا کے جھوٹے الزام کی سزا ۸۰ کوڑے ہے۔ اگر میرا خیال صحیح ہے تو ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ کو حد کے لئے قبول نہیں کرنا چاہئے۔

چونکہ یہ معاملہ اولاد کی پیدائش سے شروع ہوا تھا تو آئیے دیکھتے ہیں کہ فقہاء حمل کو زنا کا ثبوت مانتے ہیں یا نہیں۔ لگتا ہے کہ ایک شادی شدہ عورت کے معاملے میں شک کا فائدہ عورت کو ملتا ہے اور عورت کی اولاد اس کے شوہر کی مانی جائے گی سوائے لعان کی صورت میں جس کا ذکر ہم بعد میں کریں گے۔ غیرشادی شدہ عورت کے معاملے میں حنفی، شافعی اور حنبلی فقہاء حمل کو زنا کی حد کے لئے ثبوت نہیں مانتے۔ مالکی فقہاء اس سے اختلاف کرتے ہیں۔ اسی سلسلے میں ایک چیز سامنے آئی کہ فقہاء نے عائلی قوانین (اور زنا) کے لئے حمل کی میعاد بھی مقرر کی ہے۔ جب فقہاء نے یہ میعاد چھ قمری ماہ سے لے کر پانچ قمری سال تک مقرر کی تھی تو سائنس نے اتنی ترقی نہیں کی تھی مگر آج بھی اس کو استعمال کیا جا رہا ہے جس کی کوئی تک نہیں بنتی۔

سوال ہی ہے کہ اگر شوہر کو یقین ہو کہ اولاد اس کی نہیں تو کیا کیا جائے۔ آپ شوہر کو چار گواہ لانے کو تو نہیں کہہ سکتے۔ اس لئے قرآن نے لعان کا بندوبست کیا ہے۔ اس میں شوہر اور بیوی پانچ پانچ دفعہ قسم کھاتے ہیں کہ وہ سچے ہیں۔ اگر دونوں اپنی اپنی بات پر قائم رہیں تو ان میں علیحدگی ہو جاتی ہے اور جس بچے کی ولدیت سے شوہر منکر ہو وہ صرف ماں کے نام سے جانا جائے گا۔ میرے خیال سے یہ موجودہ واقعے کو سلجھانے کا ذریعہ ہے مگر ایک اہم فرق کے ساتھ: آج کے زمانے میں ہم شک کو ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ کے ذریعے یقین میں بدل سکتے ہیں۔ لہذا قسموں کی ضرورت نہیں رہ جاتی۔

میرے ذاتی خیال میں پاکستان کے حدود کے قوانین میں بہت خامیاں ہیں۔ اس لئے میں نہیں چاہتا کہ ڈی این اے ٹیسٹ کو زنا کے ثبوت کے طور پر تسلیم کر کے پاکستان میں عورتوں کی زندگی مزید جہنم بنائی جائے۔ اس کے علاوہ ایک بڑا سوال ہے حدود اور جدید زمانے میں ان کی افادیت کا۔ یہ ایک لمبی بحث ہے جس پر ہم پھر کبھی بات کریں گے۔

Happy Birthday, Munira

Happy birthday, Munira!

Happy Birthday, lil sis. May you have many more! سالگرہ مبارک۔

Yes, I know your birthday is on the 8th, but I am posting this at about the exact time you were born and my time zone is 9 hours behind yours.

Munira, me, Fowzi in Libya

So what are your plans for this special day?

Belated Memorial Day Thoughts

Some thoughts on what Memorial Day means and whether we can differentiate between commemorating the sacrifice of soldiers and supporting wrong or unjust wars.

Monday was Memorial Day here in the US. It commemorates US soldiers who died in service of their country over the years. Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day after the US Civil War.

Now, some people say that Memorial Day is for commemorating all US servicemen (and women) and not for discussing the wisdom (or folly) of specific wars. Both George Bush and Kieran Healy disagree. Let’s hear Kieran.

America has a fine tradition of military service and sacrifice. The best way to respect and honor it is to reflect on what it means to serve and perhaps die for your country, and to think about the value of the cause, the power of the reasons, and the strength of the evidence you would need before asking someone—someone like your brother, or friend, or neighbor—to take on that burden. That so many are willing to serve is a testament to the character of ordinary people in the United States. That these people have, in recent years, shouldered the burden of service for the sake of a badly planned war begun in the name of an ill-defined cause, on the thinnest of pretexts, and with the most flimsy sort of evidence, is an indictment of the country’s political class.

Is it “politically partisan” to point out that this ultimate sacrifice of a soldier, that of his/her life, should only be undertaken for the best of causes? I don’t think so. Jim Henley agrees.

Inadequate thanks are the only kind we have to offer those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” in service to the country. We the living, and we civilians, should be mindful that every one of those deaths betokened an awesome act of trust – trust that, when they made themselves into weapons, they would be wielded wisely; trust that, when they lay down their lives, we would use that coin for worthy purchase. As a nation we have only ever fitfully met the standards implicit in those deaths. Let us be humble, and let us try harder.

As Jim says, we have “only fitfully met the standards” required for the death of our soldiers. The fault for that, in general, lies with us as a people and our leaders and not the individual soldier.

Both Jim and Kieran separate supporting the soldiers from supporting the war. This works okay to an extent. But we are only human. Lots of times we conflate the two. There are lots of people who think supporting the troops means supporting the war they are part of. Memorial Day’s commemoration of our troops can lead to such problems, as Frederick Douglass pointed out a long time ago about Decoration Day.

Good, wise, and generous men at the North, in power and out of power, for whose good intentions and patriotism we must all have the highest respect, doubt the wisdom of observing this memorial day, and would have us forget and forgive, strew flowers alike and lovingly, on rebel and on loyal graves. This sentiment is noble and generous, worthy of all honor as such; but it is only a sentiment after all, and must submit to its own rational limitations. There was a right side and a wrong side in the late war, which no sentiment ought to cause us to forget, and while to-day we should have malice toward none, and charity toward all, it is no part of our duty to confound right with wrong, or loyalty with treason. If the observance of this memorial day has any apology, office, or significance, it is derived from the moral character of the war, from the far-reaching, unchangeable, and eternal principles in dispute, and for which our sons and brothers encountered hardship, danger, and death.

Douglass’s thoughts are much closer to mine in this respect. For men are remembered by their acts and I am not sure how one can commemorate a Confederate soldier without remembering that he fought on the wrong side. Not all wars have a wrong and a right side, but when they do, how can we not be partial to the right one? How can we appreciate the sacrifice of a soldier to a state that wanted to perpetuate slavery, or oppress a people? Yes, I hear you say that it was not the soldier’s fault and the soldier fought for his home and his honor, and I might even agree but ultimately that soldier fought for the wrong cause.

When we are talking of the US Civil War, we at least are looking at one nation. So people probably don’t have much difficulty commemorating both sides. However, can we commemorate Iraqi soldiers under Saddam? German soldiers under the Kaiser? Japanese soldiers under the emperor? (Yes, I am trying to avoid Godwin’s law here.) As a Pakistani, should I commemorate the tribal lashkars sent to “liberate” Kashmir in 1947 but who went on a looting rampage there? How about the Pakistani soldiers who killed and raped so many Bengalis in the Bangladeshi war of independence in 1971? Or even the Bangladeshi irregulars Mukti Bahini? Or should I celebrate the soldiers who followed their army chiefs in taking over the country multiple times?

In my mind, separating the cause from the fighter isn’t completely possible. Yes, I realize that modern armies are made up of professionals. And that soldiers do not really have much choice in such matters. I also appreciate their willingness to sacrifice their lives for the nation. And I do not blame the soldiers for a war I do not like, I blame political leaders and in a democracy the people as well. As Jim points out

We are well aware of the history (or legend) of the US’s last major peace movement, the Viet Nam War one, and how a critical mass of it blamed the soldiers for the war, ostracizing them, calling them “baby-killers,” holding them responsible for the decisions of the political leadership and, in po-mo terms, defining the soldiers as “Other.”

that was not a good thing to do.

Ultimately, it seems to me that the act of commemoration is defined by nationalism. You commemorate the sacrifice of your soldiers. And that is where it becomes difficult for me since I am not exactly a nationalist. In fact, most people would consider me averse to nationalism whether it be Pakistani nationalism or American.

Online Quiz Fun

I decided to do a few online quizzes for fun.

Via Beautiful Horizons:

Your Geek Profile:

  • Academic Geekiness: High
  • Fashion Geekiness: High
  • Internet Geekiness: High
  • General Geekiness: Low
  • Movie Geekiness: Low
  • SciFi Geekiness: Low
  • Gamer Geekiness: None
  • Geekiness in Love: None
  • Music Geekiness: None

How Geeky Are You?

Via Sister Scorpion:

The Monk
You scored 39% Cardinal, 53% Monk, 41% Lady, and 18% Knight!
You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes you way and you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with The Good Book makes you perfectly content.

My test tracked 4 variables. How you compared to other people your age and gender:

  • You scored higher than 51% on Cardinal
  • You scored higher than 81% on Monk
  • You scored higher than 51% on Lady
  • You scored higher than 0% on Knight

Link: The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test written by KnightlyKnave on Ok Cupid

Via ICU Baji:

Star Wars Horoscope for Sagittarius
You are superbly wise and have been known to spread your wisdom widely. You are impatient and pushy when people take your teachings too lightly. And your philosophical side always peeks through.
Star wars character you are most like: Yoda

What is Your Star Wars Horoscope?