Month: May 2017

Driving extremists out…to where? 

There may be few things more difficult than for a Muslim to objectively assess anything Donald Trump says; particularly when he is talking about Islam.

But, if we are honest, a good deal of what he said in Riyadh regarding the Middle East, extremism and terrorism, was quite accurate.  The most obvious inaccuracies, which we have come to expect from any US president, were the glaring omission regarding American atrocities in the region, and the dubious designation of the US and its Arab allies as indisputable agents of all things good and humane. The role this type of narrative has on the spread of radicalization should be obvious.
The arms deal Trump announced between Saudi Arabia and the US translates for most of us as a promise of yet more savagery in Yemen, for example; not to greater regional security.  Telling us that when the US and Saudi Arabia bomb children it is good, and when others do so it is bad, already puts you in a discussion bereft of reason, and radicalization is free to run amok.
Most of what he said about extremism was spot on, however.  Where sensible people would diverge from his comments, though, was where the transcript starts to adopt all capital letters.  After saying that the US does not want “to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be…” Trump did just that when he instructed the Muslim world on how to deal with extremists.   The author of the Muslim Ban, and the advocate of the Border Wall ordered us to:
“DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.

DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and

And, of course, this is exactly the opposite of how you can combat extremism.  ‘Driving them out’ of the institutions and communities in which they can find the knowledge and understanding to remedy their misinterpretations is not helpful.  Excluding and ostracizing extremists instead of engaging and educating them, is precisely how an extremist becomes a terrorist.  If you “DRIVE THEM OUT”, they will not disappear, they will integrate with other like-minded, marginalized, and radical people who not only have no real or emotional stake in the society, but who will self-reinforce each other’s misconcepts and misreading of religious texts, and feed on each other’s hatred and resentment in an insular, angry, uninformed sub-culture of extremism.
As I have written before, what we must do, what we are obligated to do, is to invite them to discuss, debate, and exchange ideas and opinions.  Censoring them, shunning them, and so on, is essentially the surest way to move them down the path of radicalization towards eventual violence.  I take no exception to dealing harshly with the perpetrators of terrorism; but this is where we need to distinguish between “extremists” and “terrorists”.  And we need to approach extremism with even more discretion; a person may have radical views on certain points but not on others; and the only way to correct their misunderstandings is through engagement, not banishment.  This is how the Ummah has always addressed extremism, and this is why extremists have always been a relatively minor problem.  
The mistakes of radical interpretation of Islamic Law can often be exposed and debunked by any well-informed Muslim in a matter of minutes, and by a scholar in one or two sentences; but those with extremist views must be present to hear it.

Market Morality: Telenor’s silence alienating consumers                                     عقلية السوق تؤكد أن: صمت تلينور يُنَفِّر عملائها

لقراءة المقال مترجم إلى العربية انتقل إلى الأسفل

Telenor, I am sure Digi is a good service, consumers in Malaysia could probably benefit from it; but you have to appeal to this market through the issues that matter to the consumers, and you have to adopt the values they share; otherwise it doesn’t matter how great your service is, customers will abandon you; as they have been doing for months now.

The #WeAreAllRohingyaNow Campaign is not your enemy.  We don’t want to see Telenor fail, as it is failing.  But your silence on the Rohingya genocide is starting to look less and less like mere apathy, and more and more like collusion with the bigots and extremists among the government, military, and radical nationalists.

Your recent educational initiative based in monastic schools, excluding the Rohingya, is not the positive PR you hoped it would be; on the contrary, it makes your company appear to be fully aligned with the prejudice and discrimination that is tearing Arakan apart, making day to day life dangerous and miserable for religious minorities like the Rohingya, and undermining even the possibility of reconciliation and peace.

You have to understand that this has a massive impact on the attractiveness of your brand to regional consumers. And it will only get worse the longer you stay silent.  Customers have choices, and they are increasingly making their choices on the basis of how companies behave, not just on the quality and cost of the goods and services they provide.

Telenor needs to get ahead of the curve and adapt to this new dynamic in consumer decision-making.  It is no longer possible for companies to stay aloof from politics; the market rule of supply and demand is starting to include demand for the moral exercise of corporate power.  We want more from you than what you manufacture or provide.

تيلينور، أنا على يقين من أن “ديجي” خدمة جيدة، وأن المستهلكين في ماليزيا يمكنهم جدا الاستفادة منها؛ ولكن عليكم أن تكسبوا وتستميلوا هذا السوق من خلال القضايا التي تهم مستهلكيه، وعليك تبني القيم التي يحملونها ويؤمنون بها، وإلا فجودة خدماتكم لن تهم، وسيتخلى عملائكم عنكم، كما ظلوا يفعلون منذ شهور.

حملة #WeAreAllRohingyaNow ليست عدوة لكم، فنحن لا نريد أن نرى تيلينور تفشل، كما نراها تفشل الأن، ولكن صمتكم على الإبادة الجماعية للروهينجا أصبح يبدو أقل وأقل كمجرد لامبالاة، وأكثر وأكثر كتواطؤ مع كبار الشخصيات والمتطرفين من الحكومة والجيش والقوميين الراديكاليين.

إن مبادرتكم التعليمية الأخيرة التي تركز على مدارس الراهبات فقط، وتستبعد الروهينجا، ليست “العلاقات العامة” الإيجابية التي كنا نأمل أن تكون؛ فعلى العكس تماما هي تجعل شركتك تبدو متوافقة تماما مع التحيز والتمييز الذي يمزق أراكان، مما يجعل الحياة اليومية خطرة وبائسة للأقليات الدينية مثل الروهينجا، ويقوض حتى إمكانية المصالحة والسلام.

لابد أن تفهموا أن ما تفعلونه سيكون له تأثير كبير على جاذبية علامتكم التجارية أمام المستهلكين الإقليميين، وستزداد الأمور سوءا كلما ظللتم صامتين، فالعملاء لديهم خيارات، وهم يتخذون خياراتهم بشكل متزايد على أساس سلوك الشركات، وليس فقط وفقا للجودة وتكلفة السلع والخدمات التي تقدمها هذه الشركات.

تلينور تحتاج أن تعبر هذا المنحنى الزلق وأن تتكيف مع هذه الديناميكية الجديدة في صنع قرار المستهلكين. لم يعد من الممكن للشركات أن تظل بعيدة عن السياسة؛ فقانون السوق الخاص بالعرض والطلب بدأ يشمل “طلب” الممارسة الأخلاقية لسلطة الشركات… أي أننا نريد منكم أكثر من مجرد ما تصنعون أو ما تقدمون من خدمات.

Democracy and the private sector                 الديمقراطية والقطاع الخاص

لقراءة المقال مترجم إلى العربية انتقل إلى الأسفل

When the discontent of the masses over their marginalisation by rich elites is expressed in elections, you get Trump; when it is expressed in disruption of elite interests, you get change. This is how you democratise unaccountable power.

The real existing power structure is untouched by the political democratic process; you can’t vote the rich out of power.  They are permanent incumbents. All you can do is vote in and out of office those who will serve them.  As long as this is the case, political democracy actually serves to deter, not preserve, democratic representation.

Our challenge in the coming decades will be to redirect mass activism towards the power of the private sector; to impose accountability on what is now the impunity and sovereignty of the super-rich.   We need to assert our rights as customers and workers to  political representation by the corporations we built by our consumerism and labour.  We are entering a new stage in the history of democracy; the democratisation of corporate influence.

عندما تعبر الشعوب عن سخطها على تهميش النخب الغنية لها، ويكون هذا التعبير في صورة انتخابات، فستحصل على أشخاص مثل ترامب، أما عندما يتم التعبير في صورة تعطيل مصالح النخبة، هنا فقط يمكن أن نحصل على التغيير، تلك هي الطريقة التي يمكننا بها أن نعيد هذه السلطة غير الخاضعة للمساءلة إلى المسار الديمقراطي.

هيكل السلطة القائم والحقيقي لا تمسه العملية السياسية الديمقراطية؛ إذ لا يمكن أن نقوم بالتصويت ضد الأغنياء ليتركوا السلطة، فالأغنياء هم شاغلوا السلطة الدائمون. كل ما نستطيعه هو أن نقوم بالتصويت لإدخال بعضهم إلى السلطة وإخراج بعضهم الأخر بناء على من منهم يخدمنا، وطالما أن تلك هي الحالة فلن تكون الديمقراطية السياسية إلا معوقة للتمثيل الديمقراطي بدلا من أن تكون محافظة عليه.

التحدي الماثل أمامنا في العقود المقبلة هو إعادة توجيه الزخم الجماهيري نحو قوة القطاع الخاص؛ لفرض المساءلة على ما تحول اليوم إلى إفلات من العقاب وسيادة للأغنياء.  نحن بحاجة إلى تأكيد حقوقنا، كعملاء وعمال، في أن تقوم الشركات التي بنيناها بإستهلاكنا وعملنا، بتمثيلنا سياسيًا… نحن على أعتاب مرحلة جديدة في تاريخ الديمقراطية؛ وهذه المرحة تسمى: تحويل نفوذ الشركات إلى المسار الديمقراطية.