Tag Archives: Migration

Floods and after

By Arif Hasan (Published in Dawn on 27 August 2010)

For a sustainable reconstruction of the physical and social infrastructure of flood ravaged Sindh, it is necessary to understand to what extent the damage caused by the flood is man-made. Some of the broad indicators are obvious.

Arif Hasan

Due to the construction of barrages and hundreds of kilometres of flood protection embankments the flood plains of the Indus have been considerably reduced. They can no longer cater to exceptionally high floods. As such, these flood waters are carried away by canals to considerable distances away from the flood plains. The canals in turn flood the colonised areas. An important question is whether the water carrying capacity of the flood plains can be increased and whether engineering works can reduce pressure on the canals in case of high floods? Preliminary discussions with engineers suggest that this is feasible.

Not only have the flood plains shrunk but shrub-lands and forests in them have been destroyed to make way for agriculture. This has increased the scale of flooding and the velocity of water. It has also made embankments more susceptible to erosion and collapse. In addition, settlements, some permanent and other semi-permanent, have developed in the flood plains, adding considerably to the vulnerable population. Continue reading

Imperialism and the Settler State

Bin the Israeli war machine

Today Palestine lies at the heart of the global misunderstanding which was once fashionably called the “war on terror”. The problem, however, is more dated than that. History, through the Balfour Declaration in 1917, testifies to the fact that the Palestinians – the majority inhabitants of the land of Palestine – were relegated to marginality by Britain’s insistence on “the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland for the Jewish people.” Moreover, by way of his infamous letter of 2 November 1917 to Walter Rothschild, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour also reduced the indigenous majority Arab inhabitants to be the “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” whose rights would be protected by His Majesty’s Government. Yet His Majesty’s Government failed to honour its pledge.

The sole purpose of the present writing is to express solidarity with the people of Palestine. The historical subject matter, however, is so complex that it is not an easy task to write anything on the issue at all. For the sake of simplicity, since Pakistan does not recognise Israel, we will make things simple for ourselves by excluding Palestinian bashing (that they are Muslim Arab terrorists) from our analysis. In fact our objective is to repudiate the depiction and caricature of the Arabs as a “terrorists”, a label which has lastingly been stuck on them by a mixture of historical events, poor leadership, and propaganda. We will seek dispel this myth and argue the point from the Arab point-of-view. In any event, apart from killing innocent people, the Israeli state is apt at defending its criminal behaviour by employing the Harvard and Yale gurus and pundits which it uses to disguise its murderous actions. So we can let it be their lot to do this dirty work themselves. But one thing is certain, no matter how demonic an image of the Arab the Israelis and Americans manage to conjure up, they will never be able to wash clean the blood which Israel has spilt to support its six decade long existence. Expressions such as Dier Yassin, Sabra, Chatilla, Qana, and Operation Cast Lead etc are not just household expressions for Israeli atrocities in the Occupied Territories, they also globally used metaphors for murder, loot, and destruction. The characteristic which connects these horrific events is that they were Israeli crimes against humanity whose perpetrators should be brought to justice. Continue reading

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