Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

Tracking Global Feng Shui: 15 Years of Soul Searching Columns

For 15 years (January 1997-July 2012), Imtiaz Muqbil penned a hard-hitting fortnightly column called “Soul-Searching” in the Bangkok Post. In July 2012, two editors (Paul Ruffini, Sunday Editor, and Chiratas Nivatpumin, Managing Editor) of the so-called “newspaper you can trust” censored and muzzled it, with no explanation. In defiance against that unprecedented action, and at the behest of many upset readers, a selection of the nearly 400 columns are reproduced here. More will added regularly.

The range of subjects reflect the ongoing Global Feng Shui and the inevitability of the Buddhist concept of impermanence. By challenging the conventional wisdoms of the tumultuous years since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, they underscore the importance of alternative perspectives and powerful debate in shaping the new world order, which has to be just, balanced, fair and equitable if it is to be sustainable. Policymakers, academics and researchers need to take a more sceptical, critical approach towards issues that impact on travel & tourism. As their future is at stake, the younger generation, too, needs to become more watchful.

The thought-provoking columns are Imtiaz Muqbil’s contribution to Asia-Pacific journalistic history & heritage as an Asian Century dawns.

25 Jul, 2012

Home-Grown Terrorism: One Swamp The U.S. Cannot Drain

Commentary by Imtiaz Muqbil

Here we go again. Another shooting in the U.S. Can a society which is incapable of solving violence at home ever be a global champion of peace, stability and the common good? It is a contradiction in terms. Such societies can only implode and self-destruct. The Column The Bangkok Post Censored This commentary was originally […]


24 Jun, 2012

As democracies become dictatorships, what future for democracy?

Originally Published:  24 June 2012 One of the most important geopolitical trends in the emerging world order is the slow conversion of democracies into dictatorships, even while they pretend to be defenders of democracy or, still worse, delude themselves into thinking they are defending democracy. As the U.S. government, the self-appointed curator and exporter of […]


10 Jun, 2012

U.S. Muslims sue NYPD for “unconstitutional surveillance”

Originally Published:  10 June 2012 In a move that could well have global ramifications involving the legal border-line between national security and rule of law, a group of Muslim communities, businesses, mosques and individuals in the U.S. last week filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department over allegations of unconstitutional surveillance. The […]


27 May, 2012

Dynamics of Emerging New World Order on Full Display at ESCAP Annual Summit

Originally Published: 27 May 2012 The trials, tribulations, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the emerging New World Order and the rise of the Asian Century were on full display at the 68th session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific held in Bangkok last week. While the Asian countries […]


13 May, 2012

How colonialism has impacted on the world’s indigenous peoples

Originally Published: 13 May 2012 An intense and fascinating debate on the legacy of colonialism and its impact on the world’s indigenous peoples took place at the UN headquarters in New York between May 7-9. The 11th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues focussed on the special theme: “The Doctrine of Discovery: Its […]


29 Apr, 2012

Exposed: How the Israeli/Jewish lobby has influenced U.S. policy since 1948

Originally Published: 29 April 2012 The Washington DC-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) last week released the full set of video presentations on a workshop organised last March 3, 2012 to expose the workings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its covert/overt efforts to influence U.S. government policy since 1948. […]


15 Apr, 2012

German Poet Günter Grass’ warning to Israel

Originally Published:  15 April 2012 In 1988, the Booker Prize winning British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie published a novel entitled “The Satanic Verses”. Many Muslim groups, highly offended by what they perceived to be its defamatory references to the Prophet Muhammad, organised global protests. The Iranian government also issued a fatwa against him, but later rescinded […]


1 Apr, 2012

Can the BRICS create change we can believe in?

Originally Published: 01 April 2012 The final outcome document issued after the March 29 summit of the leaders of Brazil, South Africa, Russia, China and India is officially known as the Delhi Declaration. It actually reads like a Delhi Declaration of Independence, a blueprint for the emerging new world order that will have a profound […]


18 Mar, 2012

A global ponzi scheme of lies, deception and disinformation

Originally Published:  18 March 2012 The March 11 massacre of 16 Afghan civilians and the March 14 farewell-to-arms by a departing Goldman Sachs executive may appear to be totally separate events but perhaps are interconnected in more ways than can be initially imagined. It would be tempting to attribute both to the Ides of March, […]


4 Mar, 2012

Israel, Iran & Palestine: Exactly Who is Trying to Wipe Whom Off the Map?

Originally Published:  04 March 2012 One of the claims being made to justify Israel’s demand for a blank cheque to attack Iran is that the Islamic Republic poses an “existential threat” to the Jewish state in view of its supposed statements about wanting to “wipe Israel off the map.” This lie has been repeated so […]


19 Feb, 2012

Bangkok attack: Iranians warn of another web of lies, and ask who’s really responsible?

Originally Published: 19 February 2012 Although the anti-Iran campaign is in full swing, major holes are emerging in the story spun so far. Although facing media criticism, the Indian and Thai governments’ cautious handling of the matter is putting counter-pressure on the U.S. and Israeli governments to prove that they are not behind what appear […]


5 Feb, 2012

ElBaradei’s book exposes the lies and liars behind the war in Iraq

Originally Published: 05 February 2012 The sabre rattling over an attack on Iran, now in full swing, is following the identical game-plan that was mounted before the 2003 attack on Iraq, according to a tell-all book by Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The key question facing the world […]


22 Jan, 2012

Thailand Recognises Palestine, So What’s Next?

Originally Published: 22 January 2012 Thailand’s recognition of a Palestine state brings the kingdom in line with the growing majority of countries that have gone down that path. At the same time, the timing of the recognition cannot be disassociated from the arrest of the alleged Lebanese terrorism suspect, and the anti-Arab/Muslim hysteria now raging […]


8 Jan, 2012

TIME recognises “The Protestor”, Now the Lies Must End

Originally Published: 08 January 2012 When TIME magazine recognised “The Protester” as the Person of the Year 2011, my first reaction was: “What took so long?” Protests have been raging all through the last decade, against U.S. military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, against crony capitalism, the IMF and World Bank, the Israeli occupation of […]


11 Dec, 2011

Thais paying the price of hearing but not heeding the King’s words

Originally Published: 11 December 2011 Everything, they say in Thailand, is destiny. It was perhaps destiny that Thailand marked two major events on Dec 5 – the start of clean-up campaigns after one of the worst natural disasters in Thai history and the auspicious 84th birthday of His Majesty the King, the world’s longest reigning […]


27 Nov, 2011

Time for those at the top to start listening to those at the bottom

Originally Published: 27 November 2011 On 21 November, the Paris-based Organisation of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) released a report called “Perspectives on Global Development: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World.” In essence, the report sought to prove that while economic growth in developing countries and emerging-market economies has been strong, it has also been […]


13 Nov, 2011

Pew Research: Injured Iraq war veterans say it’s not been worth it

Originally Published: 13 November 2011 More than six-in-ten injured post-9/11 U.S. military veterans (62%) are critical of the war in Iraq, compared with 48% of recent veterans who were not injured, according to according to a Pew Research Center survey released last week. “In their judgment of the Iraq War, these injured veterans appear to […]


18 Sep, 2011

The Gender Dilemma: Women Leaders As Both Warmongers and Peacemakers

Originally Published: 18 Sept 2011 A group of eminent women from around the region met at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific last week to push for increased involvement of women in peace-building and combat sexual violence against women in conflicts. However, the meeting has only highlighted a view that as sexual violence […]


6 Mar, 2011

When Obama told Jewish Leaders to do some “Soul-Searching” about Middle East Peace

Originally Published:  6 March 2011 When the leader of the world’s most powerful country tells American Jewish leaders to get Israel to do some soul-searching about the future of peace in the Middle East, as President Barack Obama did last week, this columnist stands both victorious and vindicated. In a meeting that was widely reported […]


26 Dec, 2010

“Global Trust Index” Needed to Bridge the Global Trust Deficit

Originally Published: 26 December 2010 Exactly five years ago next month, the World Economic Forum released the results of a global survey that sought feedback on the level of trust enjoyed by public figures, including politicians and business leaders. Carried out in preparation for the January 2006 WEF caucus in Davos, the survey was the […]


26 Dec, 2010

Tackling the global leadership trust deficit

Originally Published: 26 December 2010 Exactly five years ago next month, the World Economic Forum released the results of a global survey that sought feedback on the level of trust enjoyed by public figures, including politicians and business leaders. Carried out in preparation for the January 2006 WEF caucus in Davos, the survey was the […]


12 Dec, 2010

‘Satanic cables’ latest blow to the U.S. empire

Originally Published: 12 December 2010 In the last few days of the first decade of the 21st century, the pen is proving mightier than the sword. A new world war is under way – a war against liars masquerading as truth-tellers. In line with the tenets of all great religions, the liars are losing. Like […]


28 Nov, 2010

Two women activists call on world to heed alternative perspectives on Palestine

Originally Published: 28 November 2010 Two women, one a Jewish-American and the other a Christian-Malaysian, last week provided some deep insights into the Israeli occupation of Palestine and appealed to global activists and media to help the world hear an alternative perspective on the long-standing conflict. Ms Anna Baltzer, a political activist and a grandchild […]


14 Nov, 2010

Why the U.S. “war on terror” is widely seen as a “war on Islam”

Originally Published: 14 November 2010 President Obama’s recent trips to India and Indonesia provide more examples of how the U.S. is seeking to delay and defer its fading global influence. The statements and declarations issued after those visits give clear indications of the U.S. agenda, both overt and covert, and promise further instability in the […]


31 Oct, 2010

The Judeo-Christian world’s great betrayal of its own values and principles

Originally Published: 31 October 2010 This upcoming 4 November 2010 will mark the 15th anniversary since the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by the Jewish fundamentalist fanatic terrorist Yigal Amir. In a few weeks, the world will mark the last Christmas of this first decade of the 21st century. And the countdown […]


17 Oct, 2010

If “Global Governance” has failed, who should be held responsible?

Originally Published: 17 October 2010 The general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly last month was the last of this first decade of the 21st century. The theme, Global Governance, was chosen by Assembly President Joseph Deiss on the grounds that “Poverty, conflicts, global warming, the economic and financial crisis, migration, […]


26 Sep, 2010

Domestic violence against women must be stopped

Originally Published: 26 September 2010 About 30 representatives from Asia-Pacific national statistics offices, ministries responsible for women’s affairs and non-governmental organizations met at the UN’s regional commission in Bangkok last week for a workshop designed to help improve gathering of data on the widespread but largely unreported prevalence of incidence violence against women and children. […]


12 Sep, 2010

The global truth movement is now on a roll

Originally Published: 12 September 2010 Whether or not the Christian pastor in Florida decides to burn the Qur’an, he is only singing the same anti-Muslim hymn that has dominated the global geopolitical choirs in the last decade. Note that those who spoke out against the Qur’an-burning did so only in the parochial context of a […]


29 Aug, 2010

American Presidents don’t walk the talk of their lofty speeches

Originally Published: 29 August 2010 On Sept 20, 2001, former U.S. President George W. Bush stood before the U.S. Congress and delivered a post-9/11 address to the nation. Five quotes stand out: <> I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions […]


15 Aug, 2010

Make the Wagah Border a Zone of Peace & Friendship

Originally Published: 15 August 2010 The death, destruction and suffering in Pakistan caused by the devastating floods never fail to arouse some heavy-duty soul-searching about why such events are occurring with such frequency worldwide. Even India has been affected, although nowhere near the same extent. It is even more heartbreaking that the tragedy has struck […]


1 Aug, 2010

U.S. is No Longer the Country it Once Was

Originally Published: 1 August 2010 The latest whistle-blowing revelations about U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan via the website Wikileaks are in the best traditions of American democracy, freedom, transparency and accountability which were widely believed to be the way of the future. The reactions to it, however, are in the best […]


18 Jul, 2010

Global Trades Union First Female Leader: Economic “Fanatics” Still Pursing Failed Policies

Originally Published: 18 July 2010 One important consequence of the growing number of women rising to prominent positions in the world social and economic order is that they will often find themselves on adversarial sides of many global issues. At that point, it will be very interesting to see who really identifies with isues such […]


4 Jul, 2010

Israel continues to shatter Rabin’s dreams, and fulfill those of his terrorist killer

Originally Published: 04 July 2010 Sept 11, 2001, also known as 9/11, is often termed “the day that changed the world”. It is time to revisit that. In a few months, the world will mark the real day it changed. On 4 November 1995, exactly 15 years ago this year, a Jewish fundamentalist fanatic terrorist […]


20 Jun, 2010

Many Jews now see Israeli government as part of the problem

Originally Published: 20 June 2010 A prominent U.S.-based Jewish peace-activist group has joined a growing chorus of global opinion seeking freedom and independence for the Palestinians with a specific call for people “regardless of your religion, ethnicity or profession”, to join a divestiture campaign against “companies that are profiting from the occupation.” On 16 June […]


6 Jun, 2010

The law of Karma is very much alive, and will prevail until justice is done

Originally Published: 06 June 2010 The crisis in Thailand has destroyed one myth, exposed one danger and highlighted the truth of one divine law. All three points come to light upon reading a brilliant essay by Prof Dr Somparn Promta of the Department of Philosophy, Chulalongkorn University, in the latest edition of the academic journal, […]


23 May, 2010

Thailand After the Red-Shirt Crisis: Will We Learn to Value What We Lost?

Originally Published:  23 May 2010 The people of Bangkok, the well educated, intelligent, middle-class people we claim to be, have just learnt what it is like to be terrorised and occupied. As a result, the nation is in the throes of a long-overdue process aptly reflected in the long-standing theme and title of this column […]


25 Apr, 2010

Now Thais will realise how it feels to live under an occupation

Originally Published: 25 April 2010 Do the Thai people now realise what it means to live and suffer under an “occupation”? I have to thank the red-shirts for this “Middle East conflict in miniature” unfolding in Central Bangkok. When it is all over, I hope the Thai people will see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a […]


11 Apr, 2010

“Casino Capitalism” Will Ensure that the Cycle of Crises Never Stops Turning

Originally Published: 11 April 2010 As the global financial crisis recedes into a distant memory, the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is ratcheting up warnings that the next crisis is only a matter of time unless action is taken to curb “casino capitalism” and reform the world financial system to make it […]


4 Apr, 2010

The tide will turn only when the U.S. public realises how it is being hoodwinked

Originally Published 04 April 2010 Criticism and defiance of Israel in the global media is becoming increasingly strident, vociferous and vigorous. Once it was clearly taboo, then gradually entered the fringe, moved into the sidelines and has now crossed the border to a full-blown verbal barrage. This turning of the tide, which usually begins when […]


14 Mar, 2010

Motherhood: The World’s Most Important “Job”

Originally Published: 14 Mar 2010 The commemoration of International Women’s Day last March 8 has been marked with a special fervour this year. Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is the third of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the anti-poverty targets world leaders have pledged to attain by 2015. According to UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha […]


14 Feb, 2010

All Fanatic Fundamentalists are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Originally Published: 14 Feb 2010 The booming and bustling city of Mumbai, seeking to become the Shanghai of India, has in the past week witnessed some amazing fundamentalist agitation. Mention the word “fundamentalist”, and the image of a bearded, turbaned, scimitar-swinging, suicide-bomber Muslim comes to mind. Yes, a Muslim is involved, but not quite of […]


17 Jan, 2010

Intelligence Failures? Really?

Originally Published: 17 January 2010 An investigative report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has heightened scepticism about whether these so-called “intelligence failures” related to recent terrorist attacks are in fact “intelligence failures” at all, or whether they are in fact great successes in serving a far broader geopolitical purpose. The reputed paper, one of the […]


3 Jan, 2010

Is a second “Decade From Hell” in the making?

Originally Published: 03 Jan 2010 For all those who have been fervently wishing each other a peaceful New Year, be warned that it is likely to be anything but. The same bunch of people who have been at the forefront of wars, conflict and state terrorism over the last few years are sending out clear […]


20 Dec, 2009

Palestinian Christians call for end to Israeli occupation

Originally Published: 20 Dec 2009 A fortnight before Christmas, Palestinian Christians and a number of church leaders have issued a “historic document” calling on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine and the suffering of the Palestinian people. Already making the rounds of Christian media and faith groups, the ground-breaking document for the first time […]


6 Dec, 2009

Cracking the culture of impunity and Asia’s culture of complacency and subservience

Originally Published: 06 Dec 2009 When Dr Nagesh Kumar, Chief Economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), briefed the media on year-end state-of-the-region report on Nov 30, he said that many Asia-Pacific countries will have to indulge in some serious soul-searching about their future growth and development policies. […]


22 Nov, 2009

Yet Another Palestine Day is Commemmorated With More Talk And No Action

Originally Published: 22 Nov 2009 This November 29 will mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, its 32nd year since being approved by the UN General Assembly in 1977. Yet another year has gone by in commiserating a day marking probably the most explosive, expensive and divisive political conflict in modern history. […]


8 Nov, 2009

Asia Challenged To Overcome “Mental Colonisation”

Originally Published: 8 Nov 2009 A series of discussions organised at the UN Economic & Social Commission for Asia-Pacific last week led to some soul-searching debate on whether the lessons of these recurring financial crisis are being learnt, and whether the global system is geared up to handle them, especially as the next crisis is […]


25 Oct, 2009

“Open” societies and democracies commit human rights abuses, too

Originally Published: 25 Oct 2009 On October 21, the International Herald Tribune published a column by the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Robert Bernstein in which he criticised HRW for issuing “report after report” criticising Israel. He suggested that it should stick to criticising the autocratic and repressive Arab regimes and […]


11 Oct, 2009

One man’s climate change is another man’s climate justice

Originally Published: 11 Oct 2009 Just as one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, one man’s climate change is another man’s climate justice. This fundamental difference of perspective goes to the heart of both the environmental challenge as well many other facets of the emerging world order. To the developed world, climate change and […]


27 Sep, 2009

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus: How to Alleviate Poverty and Insecurity

Originally Published: 27 Sept 2009 A little more than a month ago, Bangkok was fortunate to host two Nobel laureates, Dr Joseph Stiglitz and Prof Muhammad Yunus, within the span of a week. In their public appearances, both conveyed powerful messages about how they saw the world today and where they felt it should be […]


13 Sep, 2009

“American Press self-censored, no longer bears witness to what war does to people”

Originally Published: 13 Sep 2009 A debate that broke out earlier this month in the U.S. media over the publication of a photograph showing a mortally wounded soldier in Afghanistan raises much wider issues about the role of media in wars and conflict, especially the mind-bending manipulation required to maintain public support. Many newspapers declined […]


30 Aug, 2009

ESCAP yanks media press cards, citing “security” threat

Originally Published: 30 Aug 2009 Just three months after UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon issued a lofty declaration on World Press Freedom Day (May 3) hailing the “important role of the media in addressing global problems,” the security unit of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific has scrapped the […]


16 Aug, 2009

Kabir Puraskar Award Promotes Communal Harmony in India

Originally Published: 16 August 2009 Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Vice President Dr Hamid Ansari used an annual function for communal harmony awards to remind the Indian public of the need to maintain vigilance against those who continue to seek to divide the country through religious-motivated violence. Last week, the Indian government conferred […]


2 Aug, 2009

Freedom From Fear is Key Challenge For Arab Nations

Originally Published: 2 Aug 2009 If anyone is wondering why the Arab countries, with all their financial power, energy resources and rich culture and heritage, are failing so miserably in attaining peace, prosperity and justice for their peoples at large, and the occupied Palestinian people in particular, they should read the 2009 Arab Human Development […]


19 Jul, 2009

Laying Israeli Propaganda Out in the Open

Originally Published: 19 July 2009 Once in a while, the U.S. media comes up with stories that restore my faith in American journalism. Last week, Newsweek broke the story of the “Global Language Dictionary” created by the Israel Project, a document designed to help those “visionary leaders who are on the front lines of fighting […]


5 Jul, 2009

Assumption University seminar pinpoints why globalisation is failing

Originally Published: 05 Jul 2009 If globalisation is not delivering on its lofty promises, it is largely because it has been pursued from a purely economic, top-down perspective, without ever factoring a bottoms-up social and cultural dimension into the equation. That was pretty much the outcome of discussions at a seminar on “Religion, Politics and […]


21 Jun, 2009

The day Lee Kuan Yew cited the problematic role of the U.S. Jewish lobby

Originally Published: 21 Jun 2009 Aviation industry conferences are not usually where one expects to hear political statements, so it was pleasant surprise, nay, shock, to hear former Singapore Prime Minister and now Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in a meeting of airline leaders in Kuala Lumpur cite the role of the U.S. Jewish lobby in […]


7 Jun, 2009

In Cairo speech to the Muslim world, Obama promises much, but will he deliver?

Originally Published: 07 Jun 2009 Had he given anything close to his June 4 speech prior to his election, Barack Hussein Obama would not have become the 44th President of the United States. Never in the history of modern geopolitics has the world’s most powerful man made one religion and its worldwide followers the subject […]


24 May, 2009

Israel’s Rules of Non-Engagement

Originally Published: 24 May 2009 When President Barack Obama met the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks on the Middle East situation earlier last week, everyone knew who was boss. It was not Mr Obama. The transcript of the press conference made fascinating reading. With Mr Netanyahu’s sly, cunning eyes firmly fixed on him, […]


10 May, 2009

UNESCAP fumbles opportunity to chart an alternative development paradigm

Originally Published: 10 May 2009 The 65th ministerial session of the UN Economic & Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) last month came at a historical juncture for the world economy and indeed Asia at large. It ended, like most UN meetings, with a lot of rhetorical fire and brimstone in the talk-shop […]


26 Apr, 2009

How did Thailand Come to This?

Originally Published: 26 April 2009 When Democrat Party Spokesman, Dr Buranaj Smutharaks spoke at the Foreign Corespondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) last week, his words reflected some deep soul searching about the transformation under way in Thailand’s political scene as well its wider social and cultural psyche. “Such is the divisiveness of politics today and […]


12 Apr, 2009

New Age in the US: Weapons of Mass Deception Exposed

Originally Published: 12 April 2009 “Israel’s choke-hold in America loosens” was the headline of a column by Lebanese newspaper columnist Rami G. Khouri in the Daily Star on April 01, 2009. As this “choke-hold” has been the subject of numerous Soul-Searching columns over the years, it’s loosening marks the start of a new age of […]


29 Mar, 2009

Gandhi’s Message Remains Ahead of the Times

Originally Published: 29 Mar 2009 Inscribed on an ordinary slate hanging forlornly in an obscure corner of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha Ashram (Hermitage of Non-violent Resistance), a powerful message goes to the heart of Gandhi’s fervent belief that “one must entertain the same respect for the religious faiths of others as one accords to one’s own. […]


15 Mar, 2009

No Sign of A Pursuit of Accountability for the Global Financial Crisis

Originally Published: 15 March 2009 Probably the most shocking aspect of the current global financial crisis is the complete absence of any attempt by the political, economic and business leaders of Asia, and indeed the developing world, to seek accountability from those who caused it. There can be no doubt that the developing countries are […]


1 Mar, 2009

Surin Pitsuwan to Civil Society: “Hold ASEAN to Account”

Originally Published: 1 March 2009 The age of accountability in ASEAN took a quantum leap forward over the last week with ASEAN civil society organisations serving notice to ASEAN political and business leaders that they can expect vigorous scrutiny of how they implement the lofty principles and commitments. The bitterness, frustration and anger was more […]


15 Feb, 2009

Equating “war on terror” with “war on Islam” — Islamic world told to start countering smear campaign

Originally Published: 15 Feb 2009 Information ministers from the Islamic countries have agreed on a multi-pronged programme to counter what their senior diplomats and official communiqués have referred to as the “hostile”, “ferocious” and “hate-mongering” media campaign against Islam. Although diplomatic niceties prevent the statements, communiqués and resolutions issued after the Islamic Information Ministers meeting […]


1 Feb, 2009

Stoking the Fear Factor in India

Originally Published: 1 Feb 2009 MUMBAI: Two months after the 26/11 terror attacks in this vibrant hub of commerce and trade, India is being swept along by a strong current of patriotism, nationalism and jingoism identical to that which characterised post-9/11 United States. An incessant barrage of daily sloganeering juxtaposes 26/11 with 9/11. An enemy […]


18 Jan, 2009

Israel’s hypocritical might-is-right strategy doomed to fail

Originally Published: 18 Jan 2009 How many times have we heard this line: “There is no justification for killing of innocent civilians”? The centrepiece of the “war on terror”, this well-known response is invoked each time an act of violence is allegedly committed by “Islamic terrorists.” Now, it appears that there IS a justification for […]


4 Jan, 2009

“War on Terror” is a War Without End

Originally Published: 4 Jan 2009 The perfunctory seasonal greeting “Happy New Year” is becoming less and less happy with each passing year. This year has been particularly symptomatic, what with the impact of the global financial crisis, the Israeli massacres in Gaza and the ongoing political confrontation in Thailand itself. It was not supposed to […]


21 Dec, 2008

Sole of Despair: The “Shoeting” of George W. Bush

Originally Published: 21 Dec 2008 It was truly an act of amazing sole-searching – the “shoeting” of the most powerful man on the planet by an Iraqi TV journalist who decided that his footwear could be a more lethal instrument than the pen in expressing an editorial opinion. When, in a fitting finale to the […]


7 Dec, 2008

Jewish-American writer uses Mumbai terrorist attacks to draw India into Israeli orbit

Originally  Published: 07 Dec 2008 On November 28, just two days into the Mumbai attacks, the New York Times published a column by Samuel Freedman, a Jewish-American writer. Headlined “Between Israel and India, a Link Based on Culture and, Now, Terrorism,” it dwelt at length about what it called “the new linkages between Indians and […]


23 Nov, 2008

Scriptures of Abrahamic faiths ALL contain passages that condone violence

Originally Published: 23 Nov 2008 A remarkable report issued by a Washington DC-based peace institute has acknowledged that all the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – contain passages in their scriptures which appear to condone violence, and come up with an entirely opposite interpretation designed instead to promote peace and harmony. Called […]


9 Nov, 2008

Why Obama will also fail to bring peace to the Middle East

Originally Published: 09 Nov 2008 I am not among those who have clambered aboard the bandwagon named Euphoria following the election of Barack Obama. A man who could not muster the courage to acknowledge his roots, his heritage and his paternal pedigree, and in fact openly sought to distance himself from it for the sake […]


26 Oct, 2008

Nobel Peace Laureate To Lead Fresh Attempt to Liberate Gaza

Originally Published: 26 Oct 2008 The 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire is to be on the next Free Gaza Movement boat that will sail from Cyprus to the besieged Gaza Strip on October 28, designed to further heighten the plight of the people in a land area known as the world’s biggest open-air […]


26 Oct, 2008

Noel Peace prize winner sets sail for Gaza on voyage for justice

Originally Published: 26 Oct 2008 The 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire is to be on the next Free Gaza Movement boat that will sail from Cyprus to the besieged Gaza Strip on October 28, designed to further heighten the plight of the people in a land area known as the world’s biggest open-air […]


12 Oct, 2008

Asia Must Influence New World Order, Not Be Influenced by It

Originally Published: 12 Oct 2008 The current global financial crises has revived nightmares of 1997 redux. Particularly vivid in the memory is former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad’s reference to the role of financial terrorists as they profit from the misery of millions – and walk free. It has also raised serious questions about who can […]


28 Sep, 2008

Islamic world tiring of the “new NATO”

Originally Published: 28 Sep 2008 Everyone has heard of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the security club of mainly industrialised democracies on either side of the North Atlantic. But another group is more worthy of being known as NATO. This is the No Action, Talk Only group of Islamic countries who in the past […]


14 Sep, 2008

The challenge of exorcising India’s demons

Originally Published: 14 Sep 2008 For all the advances by India in the fields of Information technology and economic development, it still has a long way to go to rise above its cultural, social and ethnic divisions that are so vehemently fanned and inflamed by its home-grown fundamentalists and politicians. When India markets itself on […]


31 Aug, 2008

Western Media is Biased, but Can’t Hide it Anymore

Originally Published: 31 Aug 2008 In yet another indication of how the Asian media’s patience with the Western media is wearing thin, Times of India commentator Ramesh Thakur has blasted the western mainstream media for “living in a different planet” over its coverage of the Russian-Georgian conflict. Indeed, Mr Thakur’s comment that “the narrative of […]


17 Aug, 2008

China’s 2008 Olympics the best ever, yet ceaselessly maligned in the Western media

Originally Published: 17 Aug 2008 After the Beijing Olympics 2008 end next week, China should undertake a careful study of the media coverage to pinpoint what has been a clearly designed campaign to play up all that is supposedly wrong with it and downplay its phenomenal eight-year effort to host the best Olympics ever. In […]


3 Aug, 2008

Developing Countries Thinking & Acting Smart, Learning to Hold their Ground

Originally Published:  3 Aug 2008 The collapse of the World Trade Organisation talks is yet another sign of shifting global geopolitics as developing countries become smarter, understand the tricks and traps, and stick together in the face of attempts to play them off and pressure them into accepting bad deals. It is also a triumph […]


20 Jul, 2008

Islam’s Last Stand?

Originally Published: 20 July 2008 Islam’s last stand? The stand-off with Iran has put the United States / Israel and all the other anti-Iran antagonists in a situation where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It should also be a tremendous learning experience for the rest of the Islamic world […]


6 Jul, 2008

US Palestinians Plan Historic Unity Conference

Originally Published: 6 July 2008 Palestinians in the United States are preparing for what they call a historic unity conference in Chicago during the weekend of August 8, 2008, the 60th anniversary of Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe). “At a moment when the Palestinian community and Palestinian rights are under severe attack, Palestinian community organisers and leaders […]


22 Jun, 2008

Call for Israeli Apology to Palestinians As a Prelude To Peace

Originally Published: 22 June 2008 Barely a few months after this column forecast that one day Jews would have to apologise to the Palestinians, a dissident Jewish peace activist has suggested that an Israeli President or Prime Minister do just that, and even drafted a “historic speech” that could be delivered on the occasion. Writing […]


8 Jun, 2008

Ex-White House Spokesman Exposes “Culture of Deception”

Originally Published: 8 June 2008 “I did a lot of Soul Searching,” is how former White House press secretary Scott McClellan described his state of mind when exposing the “marketing strategy” for “selling” the U.S. attack on Iraq, in his new book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.” McClellan […]


25 May, 2008

Are We Finally Seeing The Rise of Moderate Jews?

Originally Published: 25 May 2008 Just under 140 prominent American and Israeli Jews, including diplomats, ex-cabinet ministers and intelligence agents, military staffers, journalists, rabbis and many more, are backing a new political action group established last month to set a “new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy […]


11 May, 2008

Indian Leaders Concerned About People Getting Drunk Off Power And Just Getting Drunk

Originally Published: 11 May 2008 Although India is in the news these days mainly for its massive economic growth and market potential, two side-effects are arousing a high degree of nationwide concern: The rise in both corruption and alcohol abuse. Last month, Indian Vice President M. Hamid Ansari delivered a speech in which he lambasted […]


27 Apr, 2008

NY Times Exposes Pentagon Mind-Bending to Promote Iraq War

Originally Published: 27 April 2008 A New York Times investigation exposing the spin doctors behind the Iraq war has further buttressed assertions that the American people, and the world at large, were lied to about the ongoing conflict. Along with journalists like Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor and Publisher” whose book about the role […]


13 Apr, 2008

Church Leader Blasts One-Sided Narrative of Holy Land Tours

Originally Published: 13 April 2008 Hundreds of Thai Christians heading for pilgrimage to the Holy Land are being exposed to “propaganda travels that further sway international opinion away from the hard facts of Israeli occupation,” church leaders say. Speaking at a consultation of church-backed tourism watchdog groups in Chiang Mai last week, Dr Prawate Khidarn, […]


16 Mar, 2008

Jewish Rabbi: U.S. Officials Quit Over Brothel Visits, But Not for Lying to Start Wars

Originally Published: 16 March 2008 The recent resignation of New York state governor Eliot Spitzer triggered a blitz of global soul-searching analysis in business, economic, political, lifestyle and social publications and weblogs. Perhaps the most enlightened commentary was written by Michael Lerner, the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue-without-walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, Chair of […]


2 Mar, 2008

Is globalisation really making the world safe?

Originally Published: 2 Mar 2008 In spite of all the “progress” made in science, technology, telecommunications, economics, medicine, environmental science and many other fields of study, does the average human feel any more safe and secure than before? The yearning to feel safe, secure and at peace is as much a part of human psyche […]


17 Feb, 2008

Australian Jews Laud Historic Apology to Aborigines, Now Let Israel Follow With One to Palestinians

Originally Published: 17 Feb 2008 I salute the people and government of Australia for the historic apology to the indigenous people. And I promise that a day will come, probably not soon but it will come without a shade of doubt, when the Israelis will apologise to the Palestinians for inflicting upon them same kind […]


3 Feb, 2008

No One is Above the Law

Originally Published: 3 Feb 2008 How many times have we heard this line: “There is no justification for killing of innocent civilians”? The centrepiece of the “war on terror”, this well-known response is invoked each time an act of violence is allegedly committed by “Islamic terrorists.” Now, it appears that there IS a justification for […]


20 Jan, 2008

Palestinians Should Declare an Independent State – NOW!

Originally Published: 20 Jan 2008 In the aftermath of US President George W Bush’s carefully scripted swing through the Middle East, it has become imperative for the Palestinian people to decisively, unilaterally and immediately declare the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no better time, as Israel prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of […]


6 Jan, 2008

Divisive “Elections” Indicate the Makings of a Polarised World Order

Originally Published: 06 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]


4 Jan, 2008

Do Democratic Elections Really Fulfill Their Lofty Purpose?

Originally Published: 4 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]


23 Dec, 2007

Environmental Conference in Bali: Interlinked “war on terror” and “war on nature”

Originally Published: 23 Dec 2007 In Bali last week for the climate change conference, I could not but help notice the stark similarities in the management of the two most important global threats — the war on terror and the war on nature. Both involve human casualties, direct and indirect. Every week somewhere, an act […]


9 Dec, 2007

An Open Letter to President George W Bush: God Does Not Love Liars and Killers

Originally Published:09 Dec 2007 AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH. Dear Mr President, It’s just a few days before the spirit of Christmas, and once again, you appear to on the verge of making decisions that will impact my livelihood and the welfare of my family. The fact I have no way of […]


25 Nov, 2007

Another Photo-Op for the “Doctors” Seeking to “Cure” the Middle Eastern Cancer

Originally Published: 25 Nov 2007 Next week, yet another one of the interminable conferences will be convened in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will be the usual gathering of doctors quibbling over the best treatment for a festering cancer even as the patient dies a slow and painful death. The peoples of […]


11 Nov, 2007

Ex-UNESCO Chief: Beware of Becoming “Simple Recipients of Often Biased Information”

Originally Published: 11 Nov 2007 As calls grow for more assertive “people power” movements in places like Myanmar and Pakistan, even louder calls are being heard for a global “people power” movement against the United States government and its “war economy” policies. Speaking at a global conference in Cordoba, Spain, late last month, Federico Mayor […]