Tuesday, May 30, 2006

fadiah, you read this if you have the time

i spent almost one hour talking to myself about it
The end of euphoria
Monday, May 22, 2006The massacre at the Council of State has raised many questions that will haunt Turkey for a long time. In fact these questions have been lingering for decades, but we tended to ignore them in the midst of the euphoria caused by the economic and political stability of the past three years. Doðu Ergil
The massacre at the Council of State has raised many questions that will haunt Turkey for a long time. In fact these questions have been lingering for decades, but we tended to ignore them in the midst of the euphoria caused by the economic and political stability of the past three years.
The first question was whether Turkey's economic growth was sustainable without narrowing the ever-increasing national debt arising from the gap between importation and exportation. Put another way, could economic growth be sustained on borrowed money without increasing investment and the volume of production? The second question was whether the political foundations of the republic could be sustained without sufficient modernization and reducing the tension between the modern and traditional segments of society. The last question can be broken to into two further questions: 1-- Can secularism, so far sustained by authoritarian ways and means, persist without incorporating the traditional social cohorts that have remained outside the modern core of society? 2-- Shall we protect secularism at the price of relinquishing democracy and social reconciliation on the basic characteristics of the regime? Indeed, we have refrained from loudly and clearly asking ourselves these critical questions. Now is the time, but we are confused and angry to see the detrimental effects of our neglect. Instead we are watching feelings boiling over as the election of the next president of Turkey approaches. There is a strong lobby that wants to deny Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the presidency of the republic, not only because his wife wears a turban (although that is enough) but also because he represents an obscurantist section of the Turkish population that is believed to prefer a religious regime over a secular one.
Before any further analysis, let us look into the background and identity of the assassin who wreaked havoc at the Council of State, killing one and wounding more than half a dozen of the high judges. He is from Bingol, a southeastern town populated mainly by Kurds. The basic source of income of the town is drug smuggling and selfless aid from a family member who works in Europe and sends money to dependents back home. Family size is around eight persons. There is not a single factory in operation or job opportunities other than government employment. The town, although a provincial capital, is no more than an oversized village. There is not a single restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages except the police guesthouse. Yet alcohol consumption is very high, according to unofficial accounts of security personnel who serve in this very conservative and religious town.
Alpaslan Arslan, the assassin, seems to have found comfort and evaded an identity conflict in Istanbul, where he studied law. He apparently was lured into and socialized with ultranationalist Turkish youth organizations where he, among other status-seekers from small towns, was groomed to “tame” the “godless communists.” His bio has many references to attacks on left-wing university students with clubs, axes and knives. He has recently been identified (and has confessed to) as having bombed the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet in Istanbul before committing his crime in Ankara. The organization he is affiliated with at present, the Union of Patriotic Forces, is the reformed Turkish Revenge Brigade (TIT), which was responsible for the shooting of Akin Birdal several years back when he was the president of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD). Among the members of the former gang were petty security personnel just as the new one harbors a former officer discharged from the army. Were the TIT members acting on their own initiative or were they the cogs in a wider, shadier machine? No one knew until this day. In a country where the organizational affiliations of attempted assassins of incumbent prime ministers (Bulent Ecevit in the late 1970s and Turgut Ozal in the early 1980s) still remain unknown, such questions are irrelevant.

Conflict of values:
The latest attack on members of one of the highest courts of the country, the Council of State, which deals with the most important matters of administration with appellate jurisdiction, has revealed a deep-rooted tension between two sets of values --the traditional values at the heart of which lie religion or religious interpretation of worldly matters or human conduct on the one hand, and the values of the more modern and secular social cohorts that are (or see themselves) as the founders and guardians of the regime on the other. The traditional-modern divide found its reflection in the debate as to whether religion would find its way into the public arena or not. In fact, all this ado was a power struggle of the more parochial and traditional (peripheral) social groups with those that are more modern and Western oriented with a claim that they have created the modern secular state. The former expresses its identity in more traditional terms and refer to religion as an ideological tool for both social solidarity and political mobilization as well as the definition of an ideal polity.
The wish to fashion law after religious doctrine is less a desire to establish a fundamentalist regime than create a world in which they would feel comfortable, with their parochial and non-modern ways of thinking and living. Yet their insistence on clinging on to their traditional practices and symbolism fuels the suspicions of the secular groups who see the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government as the vanguard of a wider conspiracy of fundamentalist takeover. Erdogan's meaningless insistence on penalizing adultery, which almost aborted Turkey's membership claim to the EU only two years ago, the party's constant advances in legalizing the wearing of headscarves (turban) while declaring that it is the “wish of Allah to cover women” (the Turkish Constitution prohibits use of religious symbolism in official institutions and transactions) and provocative rhetoric of the parliament speaker, who does not try to hide his desire to enact laws with religious inspiration have led to the raising of eyebrows many a time. But recently, the scandal born out of the publicity of an AKP deputy with multiple wives (an aberrant violation of the secular civil code), beating his wife and not even been reprimanded by the party organs despite clauses to this effect in the party bylaws was the straw that broke the camel's back. The AKP deputy was not reprimanded by his party, and even the female members of the AKP -- including the prime minister's wife -- remained silent, leaving the poor woman to face her humiliation and isolation alone. This case was a litmus test for the AKP in which it failed morally and publicly to produce a modern and secular presidential candidate
The recent distasteful events were further confounded by a sudden devaluation that plunged the value of the Turkish lira by more than 10 percent, further adding to feeling of a crisis in the making. The combined effect of the events created fertile ground for provocation, and soon enough the provocation came in the form of an attack on one of the most important institutions of the republic that has a critical role in upholding the secular regime through its jurisdiction. The perpetrator is also a lawman (an attorney at law) but more importantly a militant who has been used before to keep dissidents in line. His murder weapon was a sophisticated pistol that is imported to be used by security personnel and which bears the same brand name (Glock) as the one that killed a Catholic priest a few months ago in Trabzon. In that case the assassin was an underaged boy who amazed even his parents by his deed. Who is hiring and using these thugs?
All right, the wish to prevent Erdogan from becoming the next president of Turkey is strong in some circles. Is it stronger than the well-being of the country, which is about to lose its stability and slide back into uncertainty? Is this patriotism? If it is, it must be an odd one based on the love of country but hatred for its citizens. Since those who plan these murders will not change their deadly tactics, to force the AKP to an early election and ultimately out of office, the burden is on the AKP government to wind down the tension and not to push the party's conservative values and practices as a way of life that will be overseen by only AKP-minded people. Insistence on replacing an independent-minded president and installing a like-minded governor at the central bank have caused a credibility gap in the economy that has had negative repercussions to this day. The turban issue is another case that can and will be abused by the AKP's opponents that will escalate the crisis until the calling of early elections, which they hope will bring them to power. But by looking at alternatives (political parties in opposition), one sees cloudy days ahead.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Suara Hati
Apa kabar suara hati
Sudah lama baru terdengar lagi
Kemana saja suara hati
Tanpa kau sepi rasanya hati
Kabar buruk apa kabar baik
Yang kau bawa mudah-mudahan baik
Dengar dengar dunia lapar
Lapar sesuatu yang benar
Suara hati kenapa pergi
Suara hati jangan pergi lagi
Kau dengarkah orang orang yang menangis
Sebab hidupnya dipacu nafsu
Kau rasakan sakitnya orang yang tertindas
Oleh derap sepatu pembangunan
Kau lihatkan pembantaian
Demi kekuasaan yang secuil
Kau tahukah alam yang kesakitan
Lalu apa yang akan kau suarakan
Suara hati kenapa pergi
Suara hati jangan pergi lagi...
..thanx o the one who never fails to share this never ending story with me...
The Constitution of Empire: Who Rules, Whose Rules?byRonnie D. Lipschutz
Since September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration’s lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice have been writing the new constitution of the global American empire.
This is not a constitution like many countries have: it has not been produced by any kind of constitutional convention or representative assembly. It is not subject to review by a supreme court. It does not balance power between branches of government. No, the new constitution of empire is a mostly-secret set of legal briefs that rationalize the U.S. President’s authority to act with impunity around the world. This constitution has been hard at work at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and the CIA’s black detention centers around the world as well as in the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance of electronic communications between American citizens and the Rest of the World. And the contradictions raised by the constitution of empire are reflected in the struggles among the White House, Congress, and Courts over the extent and prerogatives of executive authority. The paradox is that President Bush and his colleagues are asserting an imperial authority that is nowhere subject to the constraints of the U.S. Constitution, although this point has not yet been recognized by Courts or Congress.
The lawyers of the U.S. Justice Department did not set out to craft a constitution for empire, however much the plans of the Pentagon, National Security Council, and the Project for the New American Century pointed in that direction. Instead, Justice’s efforts developed after 9/11 in response to the exigencies of prosecuting the so-called Global War on Terror (GWOT) and, perhaps perversely, attempting to establish the basis for actions and policies whose constitutional legality might be challenged in and overturned by American courts. In doing so, those lawyers—the most notorious is John Yoo, currently on the faculty at the Boalt Hall Law School of the University of California,Berkeley—have laid the foundation for a legal order that transcends and, indeed, displaces international law and its reliance on sovereign states for implementation and enforcement: the Constitution of Empire.
How did this happen? After September 11, 2001, according to many pundits and scholars, “the world changed.” The use of jetliners to destroy the World Trade Center and damage the Pentagon were not only unprecedented in any number of ways, they also demonstrated the degree to which determined individuals could use the technologies of everyday life to mortally threaten America’s global interests and security. Attributing the attacks to members of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda—a name not used by the network itself—based in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the Bush Administration quickly decided to invade and overthrow that government, hoping as well to catch and kill as many jihadists as possible. From the outset of the GWOT, however, the United States was faced with a political dilemma: while national self-defense is permissible under international law, this extends, strictly speaking, only to attacks by one state against another. That the events of 9/11 constituted such an attack was by no means self-evident.
Why should this matter? After all, in the case of Afghanistan, it was evident that the Taliban was offering shelter to and receiving various benefits from Al Qaeda. What was not clear, however, was whether Bin Laden’s network was a foreign policy tool of the government or, instead, an autonomous player running its own international affairs. Nonetheless, faced with American determination to retaliate, and fearful of rendering the UN completely ineffectual, most of the members of the United Nations accepted U.S. claims of self-defense Thus, the United States invaded Afghanistan in October, 2001 with the intention of capturing the masterminds of 9/11 and, at the time, it seemed as though regime change and occupation would facilitate this goal. In retrospect, we can see that overthrowing the ruling regime in Afghanistan—whose role in the attacks was peripheral, at best—had only a minor impact on the jihadis. Hundreds or thousands of individuals were captured and imprisoned, to little effect. Five years later, Bin Laden remains at large—perhaps in Pakistan—the new Afghani regime is incapable of exercising control over the country, and Iraq is the new global center of terrorism (as indicated by the U.S. State Department’s recent annual report).
And what about all of those prisoners, many of whom seem to have been haplessly swept up in the American dragnet? Here is where we run into a serious legal difficulty. States are considered responsible for the disciplining and punishment of those who live within their sovereign territory, and it is individuals who are held culpable in national courts of law for the crimes they (may) have committed against states and the public order. Legally speaking, individuals cannot “declare war” on states; only states can do so. Hence, attacks such as those of 9/11 might better be regarded as criminal acts, as opposed to acts of war, therefore subject to the jurisdiction of domestic courts or the International Criminal Court.
From the political perspective, however, the Bush Administration could not afford to treat the attacks as criminal acts, lest it suffer attacks by both Democrats and neo-conservatives. Moreover, waiting on police and military forces to capture and then try such criminals would lead to interminable delays in exercising justice. Hence, the United States arrogated to itself the right of “hot pursuit,” imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and punishment. To provide a legal basis for these actions, the Justice Department lawyers declared that international law applied only to the citizens of states at war, and that the prisoners caught in Afghanistan and elsewhere did not fit this category. They were “illegal” combatants under the laws of war and not subject to any of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions or other appropriate international legal instruments. In effect, they were nationals of no place and under the legal jurisdiction of no one—except, in this instance, their warders.
Since 2001, a considerable number of such individuals, as well as those caught up by the sweeps have been imprisoned on these terms. They are “subjects” of an imperial executive, living in non-sovereign spaces over which no state has legal jurisdiction (e.g., Guantanamo, which is on Cuban territory but not under Cuban sovereignty, occupied under an indefinite lease that Cuba refuses to recognize yet, according to the Furthermore, the Bush Administration has asserted its legal authority to surveil, arrest and imprison in such spaces any individual who it deems a threat to American interests, wherever in the world these interests might be located. Of course, many of these people are arrested locally and rendered globally, so to speak.
Will the constitution of empire become the basis for the next world system? For the moment, many governments dislike the United States’ flouting of international law, but have little way to oppose it and think they benefit from “getting bad guys off the street.” By the time they recognize fully what is happening, it will probably be too late to undo imperial law and the policies and practices it has brought into being. Nor will anything change on January 21, 2008, when a new U.S. President takes office: he or she will happily follow in the footsteps of George W. Bush—as well as all of his predecessors back to 1946—in establishing the global legal footing for the American Empire.
Ronnie D. Lipschutz is Professor of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (rlipsch@ucsc.edu).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

“Sometimes justice makes its decisions considering the identity of people. This says something about those who are in a position of applying the laws. I am not comfortable with this situation; if someone deceives the prime minister this is not a crime, but when this happens to another person it is a crime!”-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

it's been two weeks im here..yesterday i told nadia that its always true that we have so many things to do with so little time..and its true that all the good things will have to end...but the memories will not fade and that makes life even more wonderful..i guess..

yesterday i had lunch with nadia asma and sarah..we talked about so many funny things..after that asma sent me to kulliyyah as i wanted to print out some materials for my research..sir iqbal was there..we discussed bout so many things...we talked about surah al an'am and he gave me an article that he wrote for his usrah group...in that verse Allah made an equation between men who refuse to acknowledge the truth with livestock animals...indeed this surah is very familiar to most of us..but, the question is..why does Allah equate them with livestock animals instead of wild animals?and what makes it different?these qs were answered yesterday...ill post the detailed discussion on this some other day insyaAllah...and the discussion went on and on..from this verse to the political situation in turkey..the history of the ottoman empire..the nasionalist and secularist movement in turkey...concept of hikmah and tawakkal which is based on my own personal experience..kinda funny though..and last but not least..his never ending interesting stories about his life and experince...from hitchhiking and his handsome macho turkish frens...eheh..

like i said earlier..good things will have to end..it makes me feel a little melancholic today..i cant stay here forever...ill be back soon then...ill meet sir iqbal this evening to give him his keys and then ill go to asma's house to spend some time with her family..and on friday we'll go to radzlan's house-kenduri..and on saturday ill be meeting my kisas frens-reuinion and on sunday and monday i'd have to spend some time with ellia and zai...only then ill be back home...:(...i know that there are some friends who'd be dissapointed coz i cant spend my time with them..im so sorry...i feel really bad about it.. i have to go back coz muy mom has been asking me to come home...

insyaallah..we'll be meeting again..hmm...sir iqbal asked me yesterday..''bile lagi nak datang?'' and i was just smiling coz i dont have the answer...and only time will tell..

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

what a splendid weekend in redang...me and my friends had so much fun in redang...it felt so wonderful getting close to nature with zero connection to the outside world...seriously we never thought that the place was very private...only a specific number of tourists are allowed to be there at one time..basically,3 days stay over there made us recognize every one who was on the beach...

we basically did nothing but enjoying ourselves...i spent hours lying down at the hotel balcony..enjoying the sea view...it felt like heaven as all that i could hear was the sound of nature..we were swimming for hours and we got the oppurtunity to do snorkeling at the marine park..indeed words would never suffice to describe the feeling of serenity and tranquility..hmm..but it was a little funny that we were the only malays there..we also had the chance to play futsal on the beach..very challenging i would say...

just wanna thank kak wana,ellia,zue,fira,and hani for making this vacation unforgetable..it was smashing!!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

it's been 5 days im here in uia..ive done my clearance yesterday..i met asma and nad...we had lunch together..we couldnt hang out much longer coz every one was having the same problem...coz suddenly after 5 years of studies our parents are so reluctant to let us do things that we used to do before..the freedom has GONE!!!my mom just called..''lepas balik redang terus balik umah k''..and i was like..''ayah asma jemput p umah dia..''-i guess that's the best excuse to extend my stay here..if i go back now..it would be another session of interrogatories by the family members...

i met sir iqbal yesterday to pass him the cds that i bought in medan..a non stop conversation on various things...apparently he is the one who's been very supportive of me with this idea of exploring new things while im still young!!yay!!!

i just miss my frens here..to many things to do..hmm..just cant wait to have a nice vacation in redang....cant wait also to have ex5/11 reunion next weekend!!!