Reconciling Reconciliation

Lay Of The Land

Boycotts That Deserve To Backfire

Pressure from supporters of a boycott against Israel led organizers of an academic conference in December 2018 on “Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma” at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University to disinvite seven professors from three universities in Israel. One of the participants was a Palestinian, Mohammed Dajani, who founded Wasatia’ which aims to bring both Israeli and Palestinian public opinion closerto having more faith in negotiations and dialogue with each realising that the cake needs to be shared not trampled on.”

In an exclusive article for Lay Of The Land (LOTL)Prof. Mohammed Dajani explains  his position why it was so important for him and the six Israelis to participate and how wrong the South African organisations were to oppose their participation.

By Prof. Mohammed Dajani

South Africa has long been…

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FTAC: ALW: Earth Consciousness; Human-Universal Inter-Consiousness

When I started my journey around the world Online (In English), I had never even heard of “Partition”.

While I forget much or what I read, I’ve had the wisdom to keep my reading — my books — close by and may rapidly access what I’ve read.

I have 2,000+ close by reading options and could do my own in-house “Great Books” education, languages included, but I have to match age and mission sense with available resources. ??

As a species, our issues on Earth are profound, and that includes not only our search of political reconciliation and the diminishing of war, God willing, but the greater taking up of the stewardship of our planet, so that we may enjoy the image of our survival much farther into the future than the end of, say, Epoch of Oil.

We can and should open our eyes more widely than we do today:

From another conversation this day:

Do you believe in the existence of conscience? Empathy?

God also may be described as an “inter-consciousness” between man and nature across the universe.

Thomas Berry has promoted “earth consciousness” with our species as stewards.

I’d go the extra light year and may — or not as Internet publishing appears to promoted promote abbreviation and compression of thought.

Many years ago, I played with Heinrich Böll’s “Murk’s Collected Silences“, a short story about revisionism involving a radio host and his indecision about the invocation of that singular and most Proper Noun, “God”. At the end of his career and interested in shaping the memory of himself, he decided to hedge, and instead of the recorded invocations of “God”, he had his technician cut out the world and replace it with “thou higher being whom we revere”. Murk, the technician, then cut even the resulting moments of silence for splicing together.

Here on BackChannels, this editor has been using as a trope, similarly hedging but advancing a concept at the same time, “God, Nature, and the Universe”.

It may be that we humans merely process chemicals faster than rocks, and that is all that differentiates our species and all else that lives from stardust.

Indeed, one may see pools of blood where spilled become flakes the color of rust (for the same reason) and drops of it diminish to powder dissolving in air.

That is all we are.

When dead.

When living . . . what a piece of work!

As a species, we needs must be or become the stewards of all that lives and all that in addition supports the beautiful and thriving mission of life.


“East Pakistan” History Lesson on Infamous Corruption and Hypocrisy Featuring a Note by Waseem Altaf


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From the Awesome Conversation (FB):

Corruption and hypocrisy are part of the evil of the world, doubtless every nation, every religious institution . . . .


I am much a secular and “sex positive” American — I appreciate the body, nature, sensuality and considerate and moderate indulgence in the everyday palette of western vice — wine, women, and song (although I haven’t seen much of women lately and don’t care for men).

Not only are corrupt generals monsters but the more criminal of the nouveau riche have become so — and I have been naive as regards the interface between good and evil. Lately, I’ve gotten curious about Genesis 3 and that “Tree of the Knowledge of Good AND Evil”.

I had thought God had in mind for his children thorns (and “lions and tigers and bears, oh my”) — not Adam and Eve themselves . . . and all their generations universally.

A rabbi I spoke to on Sunday noted that there was no good without evil, but then I asked him in what proportion?

Maybe I didn’t ask him, but whatever the answer, where is the balance, the equilibrium?

We’re part of the good.

Regarding porn and prostitution in general, I would counsel the approach of some European states to vice where emphasis has been place on “Harm Reduction”. The truth, however, may be that the customers and consumers — and most purveyors — need changing.

They need conscience.

And the economies need to account for the lost, the thrown away, the wandering, the sad, and, perhaps with the young (18+ young), the brave.

The generals who have done and continue to do as they please without boundaries, without limits: bastards!

Inspiration for the above comments and republished here with permission: Waseem Altaf’s observations regarding the general of “East Pakistan” (today’s Bangladesh). Altaf initially published the piece in “” in 2011. BackChannels has only very lightly edited the old piece for ease of reading (via paragraph separation) and for easy copy catches. The first paragraph sets the atmosphere and the point of the argument:

Brigade Major Munawar Khan testified before the Hamood-ur -Rahman Commission (The Commission) that the Commander Brigadier Hayatullah had brought some girls for entertainment in his bunker on the night of 11 & 12 December 1971 in Maqbulpur sector while enemy shells were falling on his troops.

The Nights of the Generals
Waseem Altaf

Brigade Major Munawar Khan testified before the Hamood-ur -Rahman Commission (The Commission) that the Commander Brigadier Hayatullah had brought some girls for entertainment in his bunker on the night of 11 & 12 December 1971 in Maqbulpur sector while enemy shells were falling on his troops.

Brigadier Jahanzeb Arbab (later Lieut. General) as SMLA Multan had demanded 100,000 as bribery from a PCS officer who was chairman of Multan Municipal Committee. The PCS officer committed suicide while leaving a note behind which read that he had only earned rupees 15000 while the SMLA was asking for rupees 100,000, informed Brigadier Abbas Beg to the Commission.

The same Jahanzeb Arbab as Commander 57 brigade in former East Pakistan had looted rupees 13.5 million from the National bank treasury in Siraj Ganj.

The Commission concluded that Major General Khudadad Khan Adjutant General Pakistan Army had illicit relations with General Aqleem Akhter Rani whom he helped in suppressing some martial law cases.

He also minted money in a number of business deals during martial law.

General A.A K Niazi had amorous relations with Ms Saeeda Bukhari of Gulberg Lahore who used to run a brothel house by the name of Sinorita Home. She also worked as a tout for “Tiger” Niazi for receiving money and getting things done when he was GOC and later Corps Commander at Lahore.

Saeeda Bukhari also colluded with Niazi in the smuggling of paan from East Pakistan.

Shamim Firdaus was another notorious character from Sialkot who did the same job as Saeeda Bukhari but at a different location.

Major Sajjad-ul-Haq of 604 field intelligence unit told the Commission that dancing girls were frequently brought to a house in Dacca where they would entertain the generals. He further informed that ‘Tiger’ Niazi would even visit some dancing girls in his staff car bearing three stars and the corps flag.

Lt. Colonel Aziz Ahmad Khan told the Commission that the troops said “When the commander himself was a rapist, how could they be stopped”?

General Niazi also shamelessly defended the rapists by declaring that: ‘You cannot expect a man to live, fight and die in East Pakistan and [not] go to Jhelum for sex; would you?’

Yahiya Khan was extremely fond of women and wine. Some of his girl friends were wife of an IG Police, Begum Shamim K.N Hussain, Begum Junagadh, Madam Noor Jehan, Aqleem Akhtar Rani, wife of a Karachi-based businessman Mansoor Heerji, wife of a junior police officer, Nazli Begum, ex wife of Major General (retd) Latif Khan Mst Zainub, ex-wife of Sir Khizar Hayat Tiwana with the same name i.e. Zainub, Anwara Begum, an industrialist from Dacca, Lilly khan and Laila Muzammil from Dacca. In addition, there were actors Shabnam, Shagufta, Naghma, Tarana and countless others. A number of generals and other army officers would accompany their wives and other female relations to presidency and then leave while the ladies would remain behind.

The report contains names of more than 500 women who spent time with the most licentious ruler of this country and in return extracted countless material benefits at the expense of the State. The wives of Generals Naseem, Hameed, Latif, khudad, Shahid, Yaqoob, Riaz, Peerzada, Mian and several others were Yahiya’s regular visitors.

Even when the situation in East Pakistan was degenerating Yahiya Khan used to visit Lahore and stay at the Governor House where the aphrodisiac Madam Noor Jehan used to meet him at least twice or thrice a day- in different dresses, makeover, and hairdo. At night, she made sure that she was there. General Rani told ex-IG Prison’s Hafiz Qasim that once she herself saw General Yahiya pouring liquor over the body of Malika-e -Tarannum Noor Jehan and then licking it, while both were sitting naked on the bed.

This was happening when East Pakistan was burning.

Begum Shamim K N Hussain would come to see Yahiya at night and would leave early morning.

Later, Shamim was appointed ambassador to Austria while her husband was sent as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland. Both husband and wife were not from Foreign Service with no experience of diplomacy.

The father of Shamim, Justice (retd) Amin Ahmad was appointed Director National Shipping Corporation when he was 70 years of age.

Similarly, when Noor Jehan went to Tokyo to take part in a music festival, she got hefty allowances in foreign exchange in violation of rules while many of her family members were sent to Japan on state expense. When Nazli Begum, one of Yahiya’s mistresses was not sanctioned loan by the MD PICIC, Yahiya dismissed the officer.

The address 61 Harley Street, Rawalpindi, a house owned by Yahiya was built and decorated with funds obtained from Standard Bank.

Yahiya and his Chief of staff General Abdul Hamid Khan used to have fun with their mistresses in the guarded premises of this house. General Rani in one of her rare interviews described Yahiya’s idiosyncratic behavior ‘One night Agha Jani came to visit me and was somewhat agitated. The moment he entered, he inquired if I had heard the song ‘cheeche da chala’ from the film ‘Dhee Rani’. ‘I smiled and stated that I had no time to listen to songs’. He then called the military secretary and ordered him to have a copy of the song delivered to my house at once. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the MS had to specially have an audio shop opened up in order to obtain the album. Nevertheless, the command was obeyed and within an hour, Agha Jani was blissfully listening to the song, informed Noor Jehan.

Another widely circulated anecdote during the regime of the philanderer General Yahiya Khan was about actor Tarana.

One evening a woman arrived at the presidential palace and demanded admission, ‘I am actor Tarana,’ she told the security guards. ‘I don’t care what Tarana you are, ’replied the guard, ‘you have to have a pass to go in.’

The woman was incensed and demanded to speak to the ADC to the President.

The guard rang up the ADC and was told to let the woman in. Two hours later when she was leaving, the same guard sprang to attention and saluted her. ‘What change in your behavior!’ remarked the woman very sarcastically.

’Honorable ma’am, when you came, you were the actor Tarana; now you are leaving you are Qaumi Tarana (national anthem), and so I must salute you.’ replied the guard.

General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan continued to live a peaceful and happy life at 61 Harley Street, Rawalpindi while drawing full retirement benefits including pensions as Army Chief and as President. When he died on August 10, 1980, he was honored with a full military burial.

  1. Supplementary Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission Report completed in 1974
  2. General Aqleem Akhtar Rani’s interview published in the Newsline of May 2002

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1971 Indo Pak War – RARE VIDEO – Bangladesh Liberation

Posted to YouTube July 3, 2013


FTAC: South Africa: Look Twice Before Leaping on the White Right Bandwagon


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There is also a democracy that needs to update in relation to national sovereignty from earlier and apartheid days.

Although citing political motivations serve White Right claims, black raiders may as well be brigands for all anyone really cares. That police and other SA domestic defense services are inadequate may be true. The frontier qualities have not receded from the land space nor the need with it for fierce independence to be there.

Would South Africa become another Zimbabwe (God bless the farms of New Zealand and reference When A Crocodile Eats the Sun for that story)? That threat has been used as a bludgeon to stoke white fear, but the ousting of Jacob Zuma this past year may address that question, and the leader of accomplished businessman Cyril Ramaphosa should quell capitalist doubt.

President Putin appears to want a feudal world of absolute power repleted with racial and other forms of segregation. I urge taking a second look at South Africa’s working democracy and Cyril Ramaphosa’s concerns for the further development of a modern democratic African state.

FTAC: An American of Jewish Descent


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Around the world, resurgent nationalism in defense of indigenous culture has refocused too many on the authenticity of their character: “The Real Americans”, “The Real Jews”, “The Real ____________”. 

Whatever the McCoy sought, one might discover a few overlaps.

What answer may there be to so shallow a perception– more than that: a defense! — of legacy in identity?

I spent forty years in the American Wildness before venturing into the synagogue where I live and joining it.

I recall one afternoon lazing on the mall of the Maryland campus when a “Succoth Mobile” stopped not far from where I was enjoying my hour in the sun and a representative came up to me and asked, “Are you Jewish?”


I wasn’t middle eastern.

My American eastern woodlands were nothing like, what, the hills of Judea?

Here for harvest, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

However, I also recall spending hours one afternoon in some lonely part of an upper floor of McKeldin Library (UMCP) looking over the photography of the Holocaust.

I don’t recall the motive, only the moment.

I took my Bar Mitzvah in 1968 reading off a plastic card. The morning may have been a ceremony for two, and, on my side, certainly for the adults. I really hadn’t much to do with it at all.

Forty years later, after walking out of that mill, I walked into a real synagogue where American children spoke Hebrew with fluency at their ceremonies. The “Conservative-to-Reform” Friday night greeting of the Sabbath took place in both English and Hebrew, and the building remains regal and old. There were other European and Hebrew and Israeli features as well as the unmistakable imprint of generations going back 125 years.

In hyperactive America, that’s an old synagogue.

So, one might say, I got to reconnect with family, my spiritual family (although I have spent time with the Unitarians and the Ethical Society as well over the years). I have been also ten years with my synagogue.  I am one of those who, perhaps, visit for a time, but I am Jewish, and that knowledge is as fundamental to my sense of identity as my name, Schmuel. You may call me “an American of Jewish descent” but that in no way would make me less Jewish than thou.


FTAC: Who Is to Educate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?


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While the now Honorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears on the American scene as a “democratic socialist”, one may hope that the nation  indeed produces grassroots politicians, the kind that like Lyndon B. Johnson got mud on their boots and knocked on doors.  Times have changed, and a Go-Fund-Me account seems to work, but the politician has still to knock on doors, something the Congressional freshman has apparently mastered.

The complaints may be guessed from the comment: socialist; knows nothing, and who would educate her — Bernie?


Why not you? Us? Moderates (if there are any left)? She has to listen to her district and seek reelection like any other representative; she has also to know how Washington works; and she is going to have to revisit or visit anew the basics tenets of our democracy. In the meantime, she has seen a lot of misery on her streets.  Ours is a modern Judeo-Christian Greco-Roman democracy. We address our issues. Always have. And we try to find what works in the best ways. She has a right to her voice (and her voice will change with time); her district has a right to its voice, and one should hope that it will do better with time and with better public policy.

Back in the 1960s, which formed our impressions, the Soviet Union put money behind Angela Davis and the Communist Party here in the United States. We know how that worked out. It’s better by far having a grassroots and young politician representing her part of our nation.

I don’t endorse those she admires, but if a bigot like Farrakhan is popular where she lives, that may tell about the failure of America to bring those people closer to our Revolutionary and Constitutional ideals, laws, values, and principles. Our democracy has been designed to make course corrections and, very early in that writing, with interest in domestic tranquility.

As this blog frequently references “Soviet / post-Soviet” politics, one may recall the suite of dictatorships from Cuba to Venezuela and all over the middle east that were within or close to the Soviet sphere of influence.  Most were awful in relation to greater internal economic development in their heyday and most have failed. 


Socialism as known has been the premier sales pitch of dictatorship.

The social political element in modern democracies more effectively produces basic systems supporting common business interests that then through revenue and expansion feed back into working economies. They allow people in freedom to invent new ideas and produce wonderful things, essentially heightening domestic and foreign exchange. All good things. Where there are abuses, only the democracies prove responsive to needed adjustments and amelioration.

Related on BackChannels


FTAC: Overcoming the Once Communist Feudal Legacy Associated with Soviet-Aligned Dictatorships


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On the Middle East Conflict

BackChannels believes that at the end of WWII, Stalin acquired some part of the middle east that Hitler and the Ottoman Empire had lost.  There must have been Nazi agents waiting for arrest or work or both.  There had been certainly Arab families or powers who had been aligned with Hitler through Amin al-Husseini, and with the big war over and a two-state offer for the Palestinians and Israel on the table, the same were presented with a choice: peace (and responsible governance) or war focused on the destruction of Israel.

Whether the Soviet Union believed its own rants about the Jews or just wanted to sell and increase its influence through the promotion of anti-Semitic invective pleasing to some Arab ears, BackChannels doesn’t know.

What BackChannels does know is that Soviet arms and diplomacy helped maneuver the Arab states into a disastrous war, after which it had to keep its hooks in the region.  Pan-Arab Nationalism got its strong bump up (1950s) , and the dictatorships served to block the spread of democratic western liberalism into the region (as much advanced by Israel’s establishment).  The KGB’s grooming of Arafat, the establishing of the PLO, and Arafat’s rise from within would follow in the 1960s as would the wholesale development of “state-sponsored terrorism” through the Andropov years.   

Fly over all that history, and we’re here today with the same “gift” from Russia, the Soviet Era and once Soviet-engineered “Middle East Conflict” that has for remnant the wreckage of old middle east dictatorships — Iraq and Libya at least — and the horror of what has been left — Syria in flames and ruins, ALL of it at the hands of its own leader; Iran environmentally damaged (it did that itself) and economically crippled by way of its own aggression and medieval barbarism.

So this morning started with a comment about moderate and peace-seeking Israelis and Palestinians approaching these issues but with the politically repressive elements born in the Soviet Era or conveyed by it through time armed, entrenched, and powerfully intimidating.  The conversational partner noted that for the many participating in the talk, ” . . . place and time are all wrong . . . .”

The morning’s first response:

One may recognize “too soon” but those with casualties may be more sensitive to “too late”.

So, forward in this conversation.

Given the so many Jews involved in middle east peace activities, the onlooking Palestinian Diaspora of the west, the truth about the Moscow business plainly spreading across the web (the story of Russian Influence through Disinformation is just moving across the web these days), you would think someone would figure out that “the west” was not quite the enemy as promoted in the imagination).

Three things make us feel better — basic income; close family — and if not the one in which we’re born, then the friends we make; and general and personal security. Perhaps the Israelis and Palestinians who understand that have mutual regard and a few old problems in common.

On Medieval Divisions and Modern Multicultural Democracies

Next: a rhetoric assertion to the effect that multiculturalism has died (in South Africa) and with the implication that the medieval divisions having to do with race and religion — and by extension clans, tribes, and states — were resurgent and, by inference, all that the world has to look forward to is the greater chaos and misery of war already too well known.


The “Rainbow Dream” that Mandela had has NOT died in South Africa!

White South Africa left a legacy of now archaic land ownership arrangements, and some are upset about the state’s update or reforms to allow the state to implement policies beneficial to all South Africans.

The state’s related economics — there are too many poor! — and extended state security resources have produced conditions for brigandage — theft and murder — at least, and the aggrieved cast that in racial terms.

To better manage its issues, the people of South Africa recently ejected another corrupt communist aristocrat — the kind that take money from their people and immensely aggrandize themselves in the manners known to dictators.

From The Guardian, here’s a glimpse into how Jacob Zuma “managed” South Africa:

Cheer up: South Africa may avoid the Zimbabwean meltdown at the hands of a nominally communist narcissist (Robert Mugabe, who has been deposed in the past year or so by his own military) and continue its independent development as a modern multi-racial, multi-tribal democracy.

Humankind may never see an end to war, but it may see it diminished.  The drawing down would be a real gift to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

This coming December 25 will mark the 26th year out from the dissolving of the Soviet Union (1991) toward a feudal and perhaps Orwellian politics (i.e., continuous war between three nuclear-armed giants and proxies within their spheres of influence all the way down — or, alternatively, the day may be closer to the end of the end of a long argument between the medieval world habituated to “absolute power” — power unquestionable with its brutality — especially toward the innocent — exercised with impunity — and the modern one in which democratic power is so for being checked, subject to criticism, distributed and balanced structurally (Administrations; Courts, Legislatures) and popularly (via free and fair elections). 


Ukraine: ‘Glasnost Gone’ on ‘Russian Firehosing’


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Posted to YouTube November 11, 2018

“Glasnost Gone” on Twitter


Liveuamap, Ukraine, Luhansk and Azov Sea regions, November 20, 2018 @ 5:35 a.m.

Russian “Active Measures” and “dezinformatsiya” frame Moscow’s targets with multiple libels, the most infamous its depiction of Ukraine as a hotbed of neo-Nazi hotheads.  In the false flag fashion of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings“, Russia has produced an image of Ukraine suited to its ambitions as an invader.

From The Guardian, March 20, 2014 (Luke Harding, “Ukraine nationalist attacks on Russia supporters – fact or Kremlin fairy tale?”):

According to civil rights groups, however, the Kremlin’s account of anti-Russian persecution is a dark fairytale – “entirely fictional”, as one put it. It is, they say, a made-up scenario scripted in Moscow for state TV, and now played out on the ground by pro-Russian activists and bussed-in professionals. Russian propaganda has been extremely effective, they add. Many trust Russian state TV rather than what they see on the streets, which are strikingly bereft of fascists.

“There’s no discrimination against Russian-speakers actually,” Yevgeny Zakharov, from Kharkiv’s human rights protection group, said earlier this week. Zakharov said support for the idea of Kharkiv following Crimea and joining Russia was low – 15% according to the latest survey. He believes last week’s bloody shoot-out was deliberately provoked. “This [Kremlin] campaign is being conducted very aggressively. The idea is to give the false impression that Russians are being humiliated and Kharkiv wants union with Russia,” he said.

Related Resources on the Web

“A Guide to Russian Propaganda”.

“Daily and spot reports from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine”.

Euromaidan Press

Inform Napalm


Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Stop Fake

UAPosition: Focus on Ukraine

UATV English

Ukrop News 24

Posted by Glasnost Gone to YouTube November 2, 2018

Posted to YouTube by The New York Times, November 19 (above) and 20 (below), 2018.

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