Last Monday, at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump questioned the findings of his own intelligence agency and sided with Putin on question of Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016, when pressed by the media to rebuke Putin for his role in the election. This seemed alarming to most Americans, including those in favor of the Trump Administration. Trump’s too-friendly relationship with his Russian counterpart has been under the spotlight since he assumed office. But invalidating the findings of his own intelligence agency in front of world media seems like a step too far even for Trump. Not only did he did Putin’s work for him by defending him in front of the media, he even lauded Putin’s offer to allow American government officials inside Russia to watch interrogations, in exchange for American interrogation of people like Bill Browder, an anti-Russian activist.
Recently a picture of a page of the NCTB SSC religious studies book has been circulating around social media, causing much outrage. It is because of a wrongly translated Hadith, which says Ghibat is worse than rape when the accurate Hadith says Ghibat is worse than adultery.
A string of due process violations have taken place in recent times. However, not many seem to be concerned about this problem, while some have also rejoiced the outcomes.
The recent bout started with the government’s campaign against drugs, which has so far seen more than a hundred deaths, many of which are allegedly extra-judicial killings by the police. Special attention to this issue was brought by the death of Akramul Haque in a so-called gunfight, after which an audio recording was found, where a possible staging of a crossfire can be heard.
Killings without trial, stolen elections, a tamed judiciary, co-opted movements–our country is witnessing the rise of an all-powerful Authoritarian regime. How did we get here?
“Men look not at the greatness of the evil past,
but the greatness of the good to follow.”
-Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
Over the half of the past decade there has been a steady increase in discrimination based on race, religion and ethnicity manifested in the treatment of minorities/less important, immigrants and especially Muslims in large parts of the world. It can be variously understood or described as ultra-nationalism, populism and xenophobia generated by ill fated economic conditions, fear of “Islamist Terrorism” and effects of globalisation. This phenomenon is becoming increasingly rampant in the US under President Trump, in Europe where Hungary, Poland, Austria and Italy are ruled by parties openly hostile to Muslims and immigrants or in Germany, France and UK whose governments are threatened by ultra-nationalist and xenophobic forces. In the Middle East and South Asia as well, countries like Israel and India are ruled by extremist, anti-Muslims, ultra-nationalist leaders. Edward Luce of the Financial Times compared these facts/evaluations to “echoes” of the 1930s.
A signboard in front of the Statue of Liberty read: “Government Shutdown.” This was almost poetic, because the bold idea of openness that the lady upholds is at the centre of the whole US federal government shutdown shenanigan.