Just wanted to note here that I taped a show with Worldview last week on Zaid Hamid. Apparently it was posted on the official Syed Zaid Hamid facebook group which generated a lot of comments. Some of the wise ones went over to the CPR site as well, and left comments. I gathered some choice ones. Now you can enjoy too:
Usman // Sunday, July 25, 2010 @ 12:56 PM
Mr. Manan and respected Host, you can't even begin to perceive that being a patriotic Pakistani directly/indirectly links to the Islamic belief. Zaid Hamid's followers are the school/college/university students that aren't ignorant and have their own way of looking at things. You can not analyze current affairs happening in Pakistan while sitting out. Zionist Brahman Idiology is simply targeting the minorities in India which include and isn't limited to Muslims. Manan Sahab, you better be prepared next time before being a guest on a show as a “historian”. No illusions being drawn by Zaid Hamid.. you are just ignorant and are unable to view events on a larger scale. Our GOAL is the Re-establishment of Khilafah. Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslim by the fiqah and aren't even allowed to enter Mecca.
u illiterate pathetic so called Pakistani historian. Im sure u wouldnt even know when did the Pakistan movement started
this fake manan ahmed is infact india hindo, only acting as pakistani. chicago radio you should be ashmed of yourself.
Mr. Mannan is a bad bad historian & even a worse "Analyst" of situation on ground in Pakistan.
The link didnt work, but I am sure you said good things! Did his 2012 fantasies come up for discussion? I just saw a statement from a Pakistani Taliban spokesman who used that date (he said "America wants to destabilize Pakistan so that they can steal our nuclear assets before 2012"). So it seems that he has an audience in Waziristan. Which is one reason why I dont find his shenanigans harmless fun. I have no doubt that the army psyops people who started him off did not really want his nonsense to become a recruiting tool for the "bad taliban", but things have gone in that direction anyway. And yes, this army psyops statement itself sounds like a conspiracy theory, but if you know a lot of the people in the PKKH stable (Dan Qayyum, Ahmed Qureshi, Moin Ansari, Zaid Hamid, etc) you too will have to believe that the army had something to do with this nonsense.
Link works as advertised, Omar.
Omar, Ayesha Siddiqa covered this ground in her post on Hamid Mir's involvement in the murder of Khalid Khwaja. There was a blog post on Dawn called Puppet Strings that extrapolated on the relation between the only reporters who comment on national security issues and various government agencies. Sepoy, it was quite nice to hear a discussion on Zaid Hamid that didn't degenerate into shrill accusations. Any plans to tackle any other myths or myth peddlers in Pakistani history?
"Zionist Brahman Idiology" Ooo! I like that, like it a lot, lol!
Love the Revjavik quip on the show. What could be better than the Caliphate in Iceland? Wait a minute...I see it now..."If Vikings Were Kashmiris." We could have ourselves a sitcom here, me hearties. Keep slapping them chapatis silly. Khodah Hafiz.
Keep fighting the good fight, my man!
I still think this is my favorite, for the sheer garble of imagery: Listening to Sir Zaid Hamid means hearing your innersole and we get to realise that we are closing our eyes like a pigeon.But rather we should wake up and get the soft revolution in our muslim country.
Ha ha...this reminds me of the xkcd strip on 'youtube comments' ....cant remember the exact number...n btw, it astonishes me how right wingers are the same on both sides of the border(check out Zia Haq's blog on hindustan times)...maybe, we could use them as a uniting factor
@Amit: XKCD comic on Youtube comments: http://xkcd.com/202/
Haters are always gonna hate, but at the end of the day it's people like YOU, the ones that are doing an awesome job matters the most . Not jerks that can only make themselves look good by trashing others. Anybody with any sense at all has nothing but respect for you Just remember, if you don't have haters, you aren't doing something right.Keep up the good work.
I thought I knew Manan but the comments on the show opened my eyes to the light. All these years I was awed [needlessly] by Manan's intellect, infectious charm and spell-binding eloquence. At least now I can see through him thanks to my fellow Pakistanis. As a bonus I have also become aware of the power of the phenomenon that is called Zaid Hamid, All Hail mein fuhrer. Damn, I wish I knew Manan is “infact india hindo” I would have tried to inflict harm upon him the numerous times when he was at arm's length to me filling my impressionable mind with his, to be certified in the future by Sir Zaid Hamid's disciples', dumb idiotic garbage. Well, now thanks to fine fellow Pakistanis and Sir Zaid Hamid's devout followers we know the following and many other facts about Manan: â€¢ You are just ignorant and are unable to view events on a larger scale. â€¢ Only a desperate ignorant would compare Zaid with glen to make Zaid look bad â€¢ People are waking up to your nonsense and its just a matter of time when they'll throw you and your crap out the window. â€¢ doodle do morons from the Zionist western medias â€¢ Idiot Manan Ahmed â€¢ these two very bad people on american radio. these bunch of losers should be ashmed of themselves for making up lies to confuse people. this fake manan ahmed is infact india hindo â€¢ Mr. Mannan is a bad bad historian & even a worse "Analyst" of situation on ground in Pakistan. â€¢ U dumb idiot..!!
Link worked today. Excellent job! that was really balanced and rational.
i knew you were a secret zionist-brahmin! all pakistani intellectuals are! seriously though, i wish the education systems in all countries weren't so tied to nationalism. then people would actually learn some history!
congratulations. this is a serious achievement. my highest accolade till date was when a hindu right wing columnist called me an "obnoxious maggot" in print.
Sepoy, I really enjoyed what you had to say here (and it made me miss having you to talk to in Chicago). That said, it reminded me of the way so many here (can't remember if you were among them) screamed bloody murder when I praised the work of foreign journalists and the NYT in particular in Pakistan. At that time, I was told about how vibrant the public sphere debate inside Pakistan was and how essentially sound were the middle classes. Here you seem to be saying that the middle classes, broadly defined, are precisely those attracted to an increasingly debased and demagogic political commentary. While, as the comparison with Glenn Beck implies, I don't think this peculiar to Pakistan, I do think the prevalence of shrill, far-right rhetoric is not, as you imply here, to be underestimated. Earlier in the year in Chicago Naim, Atiya, and I attended a roundtable of Pakistani journalists who were traveling all over the country which turned out to be quite interesting. Basically one or two young journalists, who were anxious that the cameras be turned off as they spoke, were raising serious alarms about the sort of difficulty they faced in attempting to practice journalism in their native country - whether due to intimidation by outside forces or due to reactionary or simply philistine editors, etc. Others on the panel reacted very strongly to what these young journalists said. Recalling stories of bullying and murder, the younger ones stated outright that they envied the security and editorial latitude that those attached to the foreign press enjoyed. They also lamented the decline of the mass circulation, left-wing or even liberal Urdu, Punjabi, etc. press for which many of them had hoped to write when they first entered the profession (many did not speak English well and addressed the Chicago audience through translators). So, all of this is to ask, do you still agree with what you said before on this subject?
Congratulations. That was an absolutely brilliant interview. Keep up the good work! I was recently pointed in Zaid Hamid's direction by several friends who mentioned that there was this mad man on Pak TV who was absolutely hilarious. And they were right. I watched a few of his rabble rousing sermons with the same kind of train-wreck curiosity which one feels towards Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity (or for that matter Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman on the left side of the ideological divide). But on a serious note, I started thinking that this guy could be the next OBL. And if the general populace of Pak is so taken by his poisonous rhetoric, could Kristalnacht in Pak be too far away? Having met many many Pakistanis in the US- an overwhelming majority of whom are perfect gentlemen- I feel that fears of goose-stepping jackboots (sporting red fezes, in all probability) marching in Islamabad are unfounded. But never having been in Pakistan myself and based on the idiotic comments that have been posted in response to the interview, I am not so sure. What do you think?
I miss you too Spencer. I don't recall screaming at you because NYT has a foreign reporting in Pakistan since that has very little to do with the diversity of media within Pakistan (presumably NYT Bureau in Paris exists independently of French media). So, let us leave that aside. Your larger question is really whether the media itself has grown conservative, whether Zaid Hamid is an aberration or a medium. I think certainly the progressive media from 2007-8 is not with us. There are more conservative voices. There is more doom and gloom. Is it overwhelmingly so? I don't know enough to say. I still read progressive voices in mainstream Urdu papers. English newspapers have actually increased recently. And media watch-dog blogs are quite robust. It doesn't invalidate the comments made by the panelists you heard either - it remains a very populous country, the tv media remains the chief form of entertainment and news, and that media is just as diverse as Glenn Beck or Glenn Greenwald here.
Off-topic: In the interests of "balance", one shouldn't create a false equivalence: I am not the biggest Keith Olberman fan, I don't like that style of punditry/shock jock TV "journalism", but there is no equivalence between him (let alone the more sober Maddow) and Hannity or, worst of all, Beck. First, consider the partisanship: you WILL find Olberman and Maddow calling out (e.g.) the Obama Administration -- you never EVER saw that with the likes of Hannity when Bush was around. Right-wing extremists they may be, but the greater goal -- advancing the electoral cause of the Republican party -- was never forgotten by them. Whereas, be it on the BP oil spill, gay rights, etc., Maddow and Olberman have criticized the Obama Administration. Second, I have not found the same sorts of instances of Olberman and Maddow blatantly lying the way one finds a Beck doing so. This isn't about right vs. left: currently, in America, there is increasingly no serious popular right-wing discourse (the serious and sober ones are increasingly deciding to keep mum for partisan reasons), barring the odd David Brooks sort of columnist. It points to a great impoverishment of popular political discourse in the country. Positions that would have been considered crazy ten years ago are bandied about on mainstream fora. And most of this is associated with the right; there are simply no mainstream/popular analogues on the left -- Maddow and Olberman's shrillness are a very far cry from this.
The comparison with France and the U.S. is spurious, imho. After all, journalists are not an endangered species in France or the U.S. Journalists don't need to ask that the cameras be turned off for them to speak their minds. Of course, the ideological question is different, namely why are people who enjoy rights afraid of freedom? and I see no reason to go into that here. What I would say is that I read the human rights reports on journalism in Pakistan and, to me, it is absolutely clear that, even more than in India, there flourishes a culture of fear and intimidation in Pakistan today. The issue of the NYT arises in a context where journalists are intimidated and require the protection of a prestigious international paper. Again, there is nothing comparable in France. Nor is it the case that young people in the U.S. are the fastest growing (or even a growing) right-wing demographic. Also, the mainstream American right is not about to undertake a violent, quasi-fascistic political project. It is not motivated by visceral racist hatreds of the sort Mr. Hamid seems inclined to stoke. That's not to say that they are not dangerous. They are and all the more because the political stakes for the world as a whole are so high. But, call me complacent, I don't believe that the U.S. is living through the end of the rule of law. The people of Pakistan have never known the rule of anything but despotism from the British on down. Of course, you were not positive as to your assessment as to just how widespread the right-wing turn is among young middle-class Pakistanis, so I should ask, "just how widespread is the appeal of Zaid Hamid?" @ Qalandar - I'm not sure what you are arguing. I'm not talking only about mainstream media. I'm also talking about intellectual journals, leftist papers, book publishing, etc. Obviously, when one starts talking about massive television media, etc., one is dealing with issues of monopoly, etc., and not just with questions of freedom, right, and the security to pursue same.
As far as I know Spencer, journalists are not endangered species in PK. I cannot find the culture of intimidation and fear, that you cite on HR report. I am of course quite willing to accept that I am wrong. I am going merely by reading newspapers. As for how widespread, it is again anecdotal. I can point you to 100 pro-Zaid Hamid sites/facebook pages/blogs and I can also show you 100 anti-Zaid Hamid sites/facebook pages/blogs. It IS a matter of concern and, hence, I have been writing on him, here, in print publication, and talking on the radio since Feb/March.
Journalists in Pakistan operated under a very tight self-censorship regime from 1979 to 2001. Anyone writing against the jihadi operation did incur real risks. I know a lot of journalists and they all have stories of calls from the ISI and worse. Amir Mir had his car burned in front of his house by intelligence people in broad daylight. But after 2001 there was some loosening and in the last 2-3 years its become more of a free for all. Many journalists have been killed in Pakhtunkhwa by the taliban and there are lingering suspicions that the jihadi wing of the ISI may have bumped off a couple of them, but in Punjab and Sindh the consensus has definitely cracked. Of course, the subject of religion continues to be censored by almost everyone. Even NFP writes from the point of view of modern progressive Islam, not un--Islam or anti-Islam.
Re: "@ Qalandar — I'm not sure what you are arguing. I'm not talking only about mainstream media." I was only responding -- and somewhat tangentially -- to Jairam's comment.
@ Qalandar - My apologies. I ought to have understood that. @ Manan & Omar - I think it clear that we all wish for the flourishing of the public sphere in Pakistan and that, for this to happen, a grim legacy of repression and fear will have to be overcome. I suppose what I would want to emphasize is that the old (what I consider to be pseudo-left) concerns about "orientalism" and "covering Islam" (just to take the relevant book titles) are misplaced and grossly oversimplify what is in fact a very complex matter. I'm simply not sure that the NYT, CNN, or the BBC are really "western" in any fundamental sense. Rather, I think many Pakistanis look to these as important news sources, just as they look to "Pakistani" sources in both English and Urdu.
@Qalandar: I agree. You're spot on with respect to the lack of similarity between the right wing nut jobs like Beck, Hannity, Rush et al. and the Olbermans and Maddows who can - at worst - be called partisan schlocksters. I was merely pointing out my initial motivation in following ZH's diatribes. But I am intrigued along the same lines as Spencer. Given the vastly more voliatile nature of Indian and Pakistani societies, the already wounded relationship between the two, and the woefully inadequate safeguards within them, the havoc that can be caused by these kinds of misadventures can be real and significant.
[...] originary myth remained tied to spectacular events; Zaid Hamid was given thorough examination by a “so called Pakistani historian,” who also reflected upon the history of erasures and repressions that culminating in the horrific [...]