Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Of Libya, Tsunamis and Wrath of God.......

Say: O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! Thou givest sovereignty unto whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt. Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt. In Thy hand is the good. Lo! Thou art Able to do all things. Thou causest the night to pass into the day, and Thou causest the day to pass into the night. And Thou bringest forth the living from the dead, and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living. And Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou choosest, without stint. Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.
3 : 26-28


The Libyan war has now begun. It pits a coalition of European powers plus the United States, a handful of Arab states and rebels in Libya against the Libyan government. The long-term goal, unspoken but well understood, is regime change — displacing the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and replacing it with a new regime built around the rebels.
The mission is clearer than the strategy, and that strategy can’t be figured out from the first moves. The strategy might be the imposition of a no-fly zone, the imposition of a no-fly zone and attacks against Libya’s command-and-control centers, or these two plus direct ground attacks on Gadhafi’s forces. These could also be combined with an invasion and occupation of Libya.
The question, therefore, is not the mission but the strategy to be pursued. How far is the coalition, or at least some of its members, prepared to go to effect regime change and manage the consequences following regime change? How many resources are they prepared to provide and how long are they prepared to fight? It should be remembered that in Iraq and Afghanistan the occupation became the heart of the war, and regime change was merely the opening act. It is possible that the coalition partners haven’t decided on the strategy yet, or may not be in agreement. Let’s therefore consider the first phases of the war, regardless of how far they are prepared to go in pursuit of the mission.
Like previous wars since 1991, this war began with a very public buildup in which the coalition partners negotiated the basic framework, sought international support and authorization from multinational organizations and mobilized forces. This was done quite publicly because the cost of secrecy (time and possible failure) was not worth what was to be gained: surprise. Surprise matters when the enemy can mobilize resistance. Gadhafi was trapped and has limited military capabilities, so secrecy was unnecessary...............
George Friedman


Dear Nadzru,

As I expected, France, America and Britain, like vultures of old, wasted no time in going in for the 'kill'. France must have been preparing for this moment for years.

Libya will soon be handed to 'Hamid Karzai like' clones to divide piece by piece to MNC's such as Royal Dutch, EXXONMOBIL, Shell etc and etc.

Can our Petronas join in the fray as well ? Ranhill is already counting their losses. "Nadzru et al" has been exceptionally very quiet probably still too busy rehousing and relocating 'their' foreign Libyan workers in Italy.....

This is the socioppolitical Tsunami in the Middle East. Are we Muslims incapable of learning lessons from the present and the past? The Arab League give them a cheque and the 'barbarians' assume they can start burning the whole of Libya ?

When I look at the present I am always reminded of the past. It is painful. It is gloomy. And the future. The possible scenario of a few disgruntled HINDRAF youths parading in KL. Riot here and there. Sinapo joining in the fray.....soon BBC and CNN. Then 'No Fly Zone'...not long after that, North and South Malaysia.

Very far fetch you might say. Very imaginative. NTR and his clowns in Putrajaya may like me for this.

The point is, this new philosophy of international invasion is getting out of hand.
On the same merit israel should be invaded 40 years ago !

Nik Howk


[ from Nadzru Azahari,Arabist par excellence and troubled Ranhill director,'embedded' in Libya for sometime trying to relocate his workers to Italy ]

Dear Nik Hawk,

I was in Jeddah and just got home.

The tardiness and lethargy in reaction from muslim countries in general and arab countries in particular is that, I believe, their leaders do not differ in essence from Muammar Gaddafi. So an affront to Gaddafi is like an affront to their own selves. Fortunately they differ a lot from Gaddafi in the degree of tyranny and personal imbecility. I think Gaddafi is beyond parallel when it comes to his position at the peak of schizophrenia,lunacy and idioticism ;tyranny notwithstanding. Dictatorship is not mentioned as a lot of other African and Latin American leaders are in the same ilk. Dictatorship is soft science compared to tyranny and cruelty. If is just dictatorship then I think Gaddafi is a very pedestrian matter. The beauty of the arab world is that it has enough quorum for every shade of human character. So while, 90 % of the Libyans have had enough of indignity and suppression with and under Gaddafi there is still 10% that find him very acceptable. That 10 % of the Libyan population is 500,000. That is a lot of people! Enough to make a quorum for state TV orchestrated pro-Gaddafi demonstrators, thugs, spies, sycophants, militia leaders, etc. Arab leaders are masters in making that 10% as the only portion of their population that counts and hence Gadddafi is correct when he said that Libyans love him and will with him 'defend' Libya, 'house to house, cluster to cluster and lane to lane ' ( beit beit, dar dar, zangga zangga). Arab leaders always get voted in with 90% majority, as that is 90% from the 10%.

As an oil producing country Libya attracts world attention and business interest. Larger engineering companies in the oil industry in the ASEAN countries could never carry on business on just opportunities that come from PETRONAS alone for instance. So Libya is where opportunities are big. Fortunately for us engineering companies from abroad, the arab world as a whole offers opportunities, not necessarily at high tech level but even at oxidation ponds and sewage treatment plants level! The arab world is still way behind in pee and poo management, street lightings, landscaping, drainage and petrol station design. A top Jeddah hospital is still not anywhere near SJMC! So is Libya. Look at the TV pictures and you will see how unkempt and disorganised their civil infrastructure is. The whole country is still not engineered to sustainability. This, after years and years of oil production and trillions of dollars in revenue. If you wonder why would a humble firm like Ranhill can be still doing simple engineering projects like the design of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the housing connurbation of Tajura in Tripoli Libya, it is because the arab world is low tech! Don't be impressed with the compressed enclaves of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Cairo but look instead at the sprawl of disorganised Jeddah, Riyadh, Medina, Khobar, Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers. The Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Chamber of Commerce in Jeddah Sheikh Maazen told me last week that in summers, they employ bangladeshis to carry plastic water tanks from trucks to the upper floors of expensive apartments, for they have NO water. Come winters and the water from the rainfalls in Taif will rush down the barren hills and enter the sewerage ponds and Jeddah gets threatened from drowning in their own poo. They also use bangladeshis to put sandbags to prevent their poo water from pooing into their expensive homes. The Ranhill engineering office in Jeddah, never seems to stop designing simple stuff for poo management and flood evasion. This is a country that cannot sustain itself. There is no engineering challenge in this country of the Haramaein that can equal what humble Malaysia has ( and had) to offer.

Libya is not about the challenge of putting bread and mutton soup on the table. They have enough of that, indeed they are driven to obesity with food. It is the indignity of having an idiot as a leader and the wherewithalls with him, many of them correctly putting him as a case of clinical psychiatry and his institutions as psychiatric wards. The trigger came from their neighbours Tunisia and Egypt and the rest you have been watching on Al-Jazeera.


Nadzru Azhari
PS :
Let us be fair to NATO and the UN resolution. Libyan oil is organised trade, very well organised. It is not as simple as pummelling Gaddafi to death and stealing the oil away. Gaddafi have been giving oil to them all the time! They are already in control of the export and importation and indeed even price fixing of Libyan oil. They don't have to send bombers to get more oil.


[From Tan Sri WAH]

Thanks Nadzru for filing an excellent view on the Libyan situation. I am comforted that my own personal suspicions of what truly are the issues in Libya and the motives that drive people onto the libyan streets are broadly affirmed by Nadzru's on-the-spot observations. I am deeply challenged and mystified by how much capacity Muslim societies have for pain and injustice from the tyrannical structures they have to live under. I have always viewed the phenomenon of Islam and Muhamammad s.a.w 's mission was revolutionary and liberating in nature; why the legacy of wretched acceptance by the Muslim masses of pain, poverty, squalor and injustice dished out by tyrants and despots? Europe and Christendom saw the start of liberation from feudal and clerical tyranny more than 5 centuries ago. perhaps we are just beginning to see the same finally overtaking Muslim societies, eventually sweeping away the structures of political tyranny, economic thievery and exploitation, intellectual servitude and religious obscurantism.

I am much concerned about Nikhowk's worry over the hypothethical'no-fly-zone-over-Malaysia' : not so much about the no fly zone itself as much as the fact that a sophisticated Malay-Muslim professional of considerable learning and intellectual capacity could think in those terms. the issues that the Arab street is currently engaged in are not unique to the Arab world. we have those issues nearer to home too. So let us save our paranoia for real existential threats from home-bred tyrants and despots - or biro tata negara can mark Nikhowk as a mission accomplished!

I shall be traveling again Sunday. So if the mood is there and the appetite is good, let us meet this week to resolve the Muslim world's problems over biryani and a leg of lamb. salam and kind regards,



[ from Dato Rahim Kamil, who called himself a'tired and retired Muslim activist, consulting engineer etc etc ]

Dear Ru,

With cynicism I almost wanted to say that we should have Islamic dictatorship and democracy in the same breath as Islamic art, science, city, house etc.

Until I reminded myself that Islam, Iman and the Kaabah belong to Him and Him alone, aptly acknowledged by Abdulmutalib when he was confronted by the general of Abrahah's army.

Secularism has cleansed the Muslim world of superstitution fossilized by defeat and intellectual stagnation. We can now renew our Faith, vote Islamists and the onion seller of Qom.

So we hope if we can face the reality that the turbaned ones will continue to grovel at the feet of the Qadhafis and Fahds.

A month ago I wrote to you that Tahir Square would be a picnic compared to Misrata and Benghazi when the mad dog of Tripoli/Sirte unleash his terror.

Why do we continue to deserve this punishment? Because we persist in abdicating our responsibility to the present day versions of Abdullah ibn Ubay, Abu Jahl, Yazid etc..etc.

Inna fatahna lakafathan mubina!


Dato Rahim Kamil


Dear Nadzru and Dato Rahim Kamil,

I am troubled by what is going on in Libya. Already the vultures are taking the Arab League impotence as an unlimited blank cheques. I still remember Italian General Graziani and Umar Mukhtar,The Lion of The Desert in 1905, what these bastards did to him ! The moment when The Ottomans were as weak as a dying gazzele, the Italian jackals moved in. Where is OIC in 2011? Is Libya going to be another Iraq ?

These socio-political Tsunamis hitting the Middle East and the triple whummy Tsunami hitting the Far East, is this wrath of God ?

If this is BALA, forget about the Arab despots and self serving dictators, but of all the people why the Japanese ? Such discipline and industrious lot.

Care to speculate why BALA falls on such stoic and exemplary people?
We know they lie on the geographical fault but so are the rest of us, perhaps even us in Malaysia. That geographical fault line is man's hypothesis only. There could be millions of 'subteranean' fault lines running every where, even under Malaysia as well, we do not know. Only God knows. Let us be humble on this issue. Science does not know every thing despite Dato DC , in his innocence like to belief!

WHY NOT THE Americans or British or the French?....or for that matter we Malays who are willing to subjugate ourselves to all the firauns and the abdullah bin ubays and what have you, come what may ?

Too many hypothetical theological questions, no answers !

Nik Howk


[ from Dato Rahim Kamil ]

Dear Dr Nik,

I will need to paraphrase my response very carefully so that it doesn't encroach on the boundaries of untouchable discourse.

We can't read God's mind but I do believe He will deal with Muslims and non-Muslims differently for the same offense. Still His wrath, onto Melayu or Jepun is too painful to ask for.


Rahim Kamil

[ from Dato' Rahim Kamil ]

Dear Doc,

Some ulama will frown upon the slightest speculation on theology since the demise of the Muktazilah creed. The question you pose is as heavily laden as the Islamic response to atheism. As far as I know mankind is either mukmin (strictly tauhidic) or mushrik. So what about atheism which is not mushrik, unless we take the example of the firaun, or man who claim to be god as being an approximation of Marxism's "god as an image of or creation of man". In Arabic the atheist is Almulhid. I hope Ru can shed some light on whether AlIlhad exist in Quranic lexicon. Indeed it is interesting to read the tafsir of Allamah Tabataba'ie before JAIS raid our private libraries in search of Shii books. Tabatabaie speculated that Gautama Buddha is one of the messengers unnamed in revelation or Islamic history. I have pondered silently that there are reasons why the Jews Christians and Sabians are called Ahlulkitab in the Quran when in history and contemporary world they have waged wars on us, especially the followers of Paul who hijacked the teachings of Isa a.s. If we compare the wars waged against each other the Christians must have fought more against Moslems and Jews than the other way round. It is only recently that we fought the Jews over Baitulmaqdis. We may continue to compete and fight against the Christians because of their sheer number and territory but we cannot alter the fact that they are Ahlulkitab whose food and women are halal (or used to be halal if we follow latter day salafis) to us. The Quran even teach us that it is desirable to befriend them, albeit cautiously with their guile. Our conduct with them is defined, allowing me to speculate that although they have compromised Tauhid, Allah's Mercy on them is a degree higher than other mushrikun. However I am not prepared to call Buddhists Ahlulkitab even when I am tempted to agree with Tabatabaie's powerful tafsir. I used to stay for a long period (many months) for couple of years in Tokyo in 80s. Even before Internet pornography, Japanese hedonism and debauchery are shocking and unashamedly public (and pubic) in trains and printed materials. It is one of the most difficult society to talk about religion, especially Islam. Even "anything can do" Christianity can't penetrate the Japanese soul. I used to host a Japanese AFS student for one full year. The concept of God is alien to him. This was later acknowledged by a Japanese couple who converted to Islam. I haven't been to the Yoyogi Uehara mosque for a long time. If not for the expat Muslims there will be no mosque there. And I was told that pornography depicting sex in public is much worse than the time I lived and commute in Tokyo. I haven't seen a more depraved society than Japan. It's so normal and commonplace. Ironically everything else about Japan is squeaky clean befitting a stoic and disciplined people. Why??? Of course we Muslims have discarded sociology and anthropology so we have to wait very long to answer this. If we see the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from the perspective of Bala I can only surmise that God's wrath has something to do with the godlessness of Japan. On why the Americans and Brits are spared and we wish otherwise, I can only speculate on the theology of our relationship with the Ahlulkitab. And I pray I have not erred and may Allah forgive me for my shortcomings in indulging in a bit of speculative theology to understand the world around me and strengthen my Iman. Jazakallahu khair.

Rahim Kamil


[ from Nadzru Azahari ]

Dear Nik Hawk,

I am of the school of thought that Allah the Almighty and in his Essence, causing calamity and disaster to punish his creation is not in his 'engineering design specifications sheets'. Especially to the human species, whom He created to be his vicegerent , the receiver of his Message, the administrator of his world and who are above and superior to His angels and His satans.

He cannot be creating destruction by design, even to test, His human creation whom he has entrusted with a series of prophets and armed with His revelations that got compiled into treatises of how to conduct their lives in consonance with the nature of the universe that He has created. The universe that He created is a perfect organically engineered product. With all the wherewithalls; earthquakes, tremors, hurricanes etc. The earth plates moves and faults are created by virtue of these earthquakes and tremors the continental shelves that carry the embedment of fossiled organisms which created hydrocarbons in various phases, solids, liquids and gases, get disentrapped by these wonderful earth movements and fractures.

So would all the wonderful minerals that mankind needs to create his civilisation and to live acccording to the treatises revealed to the prophets. With that we have all the wonderful metals , oil and gas that got entrapped plentifully in Libya. Allah also created the wonderful and just laws of physics. 'Discovered' by a silly greek Archimedes while playing with his basin full of water, that when he put a ladle full of olives into it, there was a displacement and the water spilled onto the floor. Archimedes was not smart enough to be elected to the Senate of Athens, he was between elections and so had time to play with water basins and tumblers. So the principle of Archimedes is applicable to earthquakes and movements in the seabed. When the rupture and move, water is displaced and spills onto the shores of the land mass. Water then finds it owns level. Allah has not given water. Wisdom to evade taxes and mankind when it spills, it will simply spill horribly and with such awe until it meets its own level and then recede. Allah had however told mankind about the nature of His creation, how to handle it, avoid it, mitigate it and CONTROL it.

Unfortunately we cannot as his human creation ask for a reprieve that due to our negligence and mishandling of information and database , that He uses his Will and Power to make the water disobey the law of physics for the moment concerned. In the Quranic text, or any Abrahamic text for that matter, I am of the school of thought that ' Bala'' ( with a glottal hamza stop' is not a legal term and has a ' Shariatic' connotation. Neither does ' museeba'. They are not arabic/semitic words that describe phenomena akin to an action of God that has got to do with the ' message' of ' testing' or ' 'teaching a lesson' by creating havoc. They are simple words to describe outcomes of the laws of physics. One cannot produce a text appelled , ' the significance of Bala' and its Islamic intepretation form the Quranic sources and viewpoint'.

It will be as meaningless as Gaddafi's speech about pursuing the rebels house to house, courtyard to courtyard, alley to alley ( dar dar, beit beit, zangga zangga) and killing them with no mercy like they are wet rats ( he referred them to being wet due to his tear gas).

There may be closest to these incidences, like the destruction of the people of Aad and Thamoud ( for their transgression) by an earthquake, the people of Lot ( for homosexuality) and the elephants of Abraha in Mekka. However, that is another thesis that my school of thought would like to view from another angle , certainly not in the same light as the tsunami that hit Japan and Aceh.




Dear Nadzru,

Congratulations Nadzru !
That my friend is political correctness of the highest order.

BALA is BALA. Does not matter whatever colouring you choose to pick what type of sugar or honey you choose to sweeten the ' black coffee'. Cause and effect are just for us mere mortals . God is beyond that but having said that we have a very 'scientific' God, otherwise Einstein would not have to his utter his dissapointment after having discovered HIM in his famous E = MC squared.

Aad or Thamud were probably like the Japanese: very clinical and industrious ,carving out monuments in the mountain and beautiful building and giants of their time, if we can give ourselves a wee bit of imagination. The Tsunami of Noah's time must also have a seismic explanation for the Nadzrus and Dato DC's of that time to pontificate the beauty of science and engineering but at the end of the day it was still BALA. Call it by any other name, but a spade will remain a spade.

It is our collective inability to call it as such is why it is always becoming a recurring theme in these years and age..
The Muslim ummah collectively currently has been in a state of Bala since the Ottomans were swallowed by the vultures of the West post World War 1 after which another Bala came in the form of Ataturk.

The sum total of it all is that since we collectively are unable to recognize this as our BALA,is why we still remain the pariahs and the scum of the earth that we are today.

1.5 billions ummah waiting for crumbs to fall from the High Table of Europe and America ! That to me is the ultimate BALA for us present day Muslims ! That to me represent Wrath of God ! We have lost all our balls and marbles !

It pained me to switch on CNN or BBC nowadays. Even AlJazeera seem to be no longer palatable. Whatever happened to Muslims 'honour and marwah' nowadays ?

Perhaps I need to see my optometrist to change my glass or something because I seem to be the only odd man out viewing it differently.

Nik Howk


[ from Dato Rahim kamil ]

Dear Nadzru,

It sounds a bit of dialectic materialism that tools of production can define morality. The meticulous Zen suited the Japanese soul to produce miniatures but those tools cannot define moral standards. If we begin to doubt Anwar's leadership because of alleged sexual escapades then we must judge nations with the same. Otherwise we "Let It Be" for suspected or proven fornicators and paedophiles or whatever.

Technology didn't make the people of Lut, Nuh etc (peace unto all of these prophets ) different from Japan, Los Vegas or even Malaysia. The Almighty didn't dispute their engineering prowess technology etc but question them on their rejection of His message. His Wrath didnt contradict His Beauty nor His Mercy. I don't see Him as a Newtonian or Nietsche god who construct the Laws of Physics and leave the world to Man to do as he wish. . And He did warn us of wrath didn't He. And He turned Sodom and Gommora upside down on the so-called vice-gerents.

It sounds a bit like Mother Theresa (or Marx) that He is unwilling to intervene in the laws of physics because He had elevated Man to a status higher than angels. If indeed He has constructed the Laws of physics and left the world to His vicegerent, stoic Japanese or stupid Gadafis, Mahathir or Anwar Ibrahim without the threat of His Wratth then why bother revealing the Quran where every 10 ayats or so repeat His warnings. Why bother with Hell? In fact let us all sing with John Lennon "Imagine there's no Heaven. And no Religion too...Nothing to die for.." Because we are His vicegerents. Are We?

Reminds me of my lessons in Marxism in philosophy of science for engineers - "No property, No religion, no family etc. So lets f..abundantly and freely ". The possibility that His wrath visited the Japanese in the form of earthquake or tsunami is always there, especially if we take a closer look at their life behind the veneer of advanced technology. Let's not be as beguiled as Marx was when he thought that the tools of production will define human epoch in its march towards communist Nirvana where everyone is actually good. Stoic, disciplined. From each according to his ability, to each his want. Marx had to construct this path to Utopia to save his Jews by eradicating Jewishness-religion and property.

I agree with the good doctor Nik that Bala can be in many form. Mahathirism is Bala, Anwarism is also Bala although I still don't believe this sodomy charade. Gadafi, Suharto etc are Bala too, besides "natural calamities". As a short-term Marxist (few months la) I tend to be harsh on anything that resembled materialist illusion as if human nature is very different from eon past. From the time of Nuh a.s to Gadafi's 2011, human nature has not changed, otherwise the Creator would have told.

Rahim Kamil



I have gone to see my optometrist at Empire Gallery. He had good news and bad news for me:
" Sir, you do not need new specs. Your eyes are OK. You have what we in the business termed as PHD ?"
"What the f.. is it young man !?"
" Permanent Head Damage, Sir. Some form of chronic inflammation we call 'HAMKA-itis'. No cure. You have to live with the defect ".

OK guys, let us have the briyani kambing tomorrow ! This is depressing.

Nik Howk


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