Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Zealand loses out in the international battle for skills

Why New Zealand is losing the international battle for skills

According to Wikipedia "Immigration" is the act of passing or coming into a country for the purpose of Permanent Residence. It's a pretty popular idea! According to a Gallup poll run in 2009 roughly 700 million adults would migrate to another country if they had the chance.
Favourite dream destinations were Europe (30%); the USA (24%); Canada (6.5%); UK and France (6.5%); Spain (5%). Interestingly just as any people (25 million or 3.6%) wanted to move to Germany as Australia. New Zealand is not mentioned.
I guess it depends on who you ask, but most of the 500+ people I met at the 2008 Opportunities Expos in the UK were interested in what they call the 'Big Three': Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Big Three
Migration is split into two main groups: skilled (workers and entrepreneurs) and family reunification. What we have seen in the past couple of years has been some pretty big changes with the Big Three:
  • Australia: Increasing their 'Skill Stream' by 11 percent, from 113,850 last year to 125,850.
  • Canada: Increasing their 'Skilled Migrant' stream by 22 person, from 153,491 last year to 186,881.
  • New Zealand: Decreasing the 'Skilled Migrant Category' by 13 percent, from 31137 last year to a capped 27,000 this year.

Skilled Migration Comparison Australia, Canada and New Zealand

Bucking the Trend

So New Zealand is busy heading in the opposite direction to Australia and Canada, but why? Um, actually I have no idea, I was hoping someone could tell me.
Since 2001 the New Zealand Immigration Programme has had a target quota for Residence Approvals of between 45,000 and 50,000 and that hasn't changed. Ministers have constantly spoken about the benefits and need of migration, but keep on cutting numbers.
Residency applications are split into four groups: Skilled/Business (61%); Humanitarian (9%); Parent/Sibling(12%); and Family Sponsored categories (18%) (percentages are averages since 2001). The Skilled Migrant Category, part of the Skilled/Business group, is the single largest sector making up over 55 percent of all Residency Approvals.
Residency Approvals

(Click for enlargement))
The immigration department's year runs from July to June so we don't have a full year to look at, however figures are available to May 2011. 
Comparing the 11 months from July 2010 to May 2011 against the same period in the previous year we see some interesting differences.
#1 difference is an overall drop of 4,721 approvals.
#2 difference is that the group most affected is the Skilled/Business stream.

An uneven drop

As you can see from the previous graph, the drop in numbers has not been even, in fact numbers for the Humanitarian and Parent/Sibling groups have increased slightly. Both the Skilled/Business stream and Uncapped Family streams however have fallen. Looking a little deeper at the Skilled/Business stream (which includes the Skilled Migrant Category, Work to Residence, Entrepreneurs and Investors) the real drop has come from the Skilled Migrant Category. Through this period there have been 5,150 less applications approved in this stream, an actual drop so far this year of over 21 percent.
So while Australia and Canda are increasing their Skilled Migrant streams, New Zealand has cut the capped amount by 13 percent and actual numbers by over 21 percent over the past 11 months. This is not a blip or mistake, this is a policy being implemented. From January 2010 applications being accepted under the Skilled Migrant Category were cut by 30 percent and this is the result.
It takes time for changes like that to filter through the system with the effect first showing in July 2010. This means that numbers will continue to fall over the coming months no matter what changes might be belatedly made to increase the count.
Temporary Approvals

(Click for enlargement))

Temporary Work Visas

So is the New Zealand government leaning towards temporary visas rather than permanent? In a recession this can be a useful strategy to get industry moving. Comparing the same eleven month period of June 2010 to May 2011 to the same period in the previous year we can see that this is not the case. Overall approvals for temporary work permits have dropped by 15,822 (10.3%) to 137,890.
Some areas such as the working holiday schemes are fixed, meaning that this shortfall also comes from the 'Skilled' areas:
  • Graduate jobsearch: down 2,765 to 8,727, a drop of 25%
  • Long Term Skills Shortage: down 154 to 386, a drop of 28.5%
  • Essential Skills: down 7,201 to 20,701, a drop of 25.9%
  • Skilled Migrant: down 308 to 892, a drop of 25.7%
So New Zealand has also cut temporary skilled migration by over a quarter.

New Zealand is losing the international battle for skills

While Australia and Canada are attracting the most desireable globally mobile skilled workers New Zealand has implemented a policy to cut these numbers. As a result skill shortages in New Zealand are reaching a critical boiling point.
While training programmes are planned to provide semi-skilled workers and graduates New Zealand business has been starved of skilled, qualified and experienced staff. Also contributing to this problem has been a drop in wages and conditions over the past two years causing an increase in numbers of the mostly highly skilled staff heading to Australia. Record numbers are now leaving New Zealand for Australia.
A looming disaster
I believe a disaster in New Zealand employment is coming, a disaster which move2nz predicted and warned the Immigration Minister Dr. Jonathan Coleman of in March 2009, soon after he took office. Sadly this feedback has been completely ignored and as a result New Zealand business will soon be in serious difficulties.
While immigration could be used to help the position bureaucracy has massively increased leading to long delays for processing. Any changes to migration numbers to correct this situation will take months to actually filter through because of this and it is my strong belief that New Zealand jobs and businesses will suffer as a result.
So where does this leave you, the migrant?
Some time soon either the current Immigration Minister, or if the government changes in November the next Minister, will need to make swift changes to correct this catastrophic imbalance. Initially this will likely only be aimed at temporary workers, for example with the rebuild of Christchurch, but that will lead to opportunities for Residency.
Migrants with skills and experience who are prepared and ready may very soon have excellent opportunities to find work in New Zealand, helping to grow our economy, create jobs and finally push New Zealand's economy out of the doldrums. So have your application ready, the next six months may be very interesting!
Statistics taken from the Immigration New Zealand website.

Mike Bell

By Mike Bell - 21 Jun, 2011
Your expert on NZ General / living in NZ

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Preserving literature for future generation

Of the hundreds of thousands of books published worldwide this year (not to mention all the newspapers, magazines and websites), which of them will our grandchildren be able to dig out and read in a hundred years' time? Many of us assume that someone, somewhere is archiving all this material, but a debate is raging about how this should best be done to ensure that the world's literature and historical documents are preserved for future generations - and it's far from simple.
The latest chapter in the story is a recent announcement by Brewster Kahle, the man behind the huge, non-profit digital library Internet Archive, who said that the organisation will be storing physical copies of every book it is able to acquire (including those scanned and kept in digital form.) "Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitised versions become more available," Kahle said in a statement.
Internet Archive's motto is "universal access to all knowledge", and it has digitised versions of nearly three million public domain books - a project that started in 1996, long before Google Books launched with a similar goal in 2004.
But, according to Kahle, after a book has been digitised and sent back to a library, it's often moved off-site or thrown away altogether, and sometimes bindings are cut off books to speed up the process. You'd think that such an early adopter of digital methods would be fine with consigning real-life books to the dustbin of history, but in his article, Kahle outlines the reasons it's important to keep an ink-and-paper library.

Firstly, a dispute about the fidelity of differing digital versions of a book could be solved only by consulting an original printed copy, he says. Secondly, once technology improves, archivists may want to scan books at a higher DPI. And thirdly, digital material can degrade just as paper can: perhaps more easily, as problems such as "bit rot" and "flipped bits" can change data even if the physical hard drives are perfectly preserved.
Kahle is backed up by the well-reviewed 2001 book Double Fold: Libraries and the Attack on Paper by Nicholson Baker, which uses extensive research to argue that the microfilming boom of the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the destruction of many documents, which in his view it would have been better to preserve. He finishes by saying, ominously, that: "The second major wave of book wastage and mutilation, comparable to the microfilm wave but potentially much more extensive, is just beginning."
According to an estimate produced by Google in 2010, there are nearly 130 million separate titles out there, and Internet Archive hopes to find storage for around 10 million of them, in various languages, as well as audio and video. The books will be packed into climate-controlled storage containers in a facility in Richmond, California, as of this month.

It's true that there are other organisations with vast copyright libraries, such as universities and governments, but Kahle says the more archives there are, the better: each will have different uses and functions. Internet Archive's library won't be for browsing or borrowing (for that, users can go online). Its primary goal is long-term preservation.
"A seed bank might be conceptually closest to what we have in mind," Kahle says, "storing important objects in safe ways to be used for redundancy, authority, and in case of catastrophe." In other words: we want to avoid another calamity like the burning of the ancient library at Alexandria, which resulted in the destruction of books - by Aristotle and Aeschylus, for example - that were an incalculable loss to humanity.
In some countries, such as the UK and Australia, copyright law requires that a copy of every book published in the country must be kept in the national library, but other countries such as America - the world's biggest publisher - are selective about what they keep.
The British Library and the Library of Congress in the United States, store about another three million books a year. With an increasing amount of published material surfacing each year - not only books but websites, blogs, music and film - will it continue to be feasible to store the world's entire artistic output, and would we even want to? Kahle, for one, is willing to give it a go.
There are other problems, though. In 2005, The Authors Guild and others filed a lawsuit claiming that Google Books is infringing the copyright of books it has scanned, even though it provides only snippets of these books to readers unless they are in the public domain. Google tried to settle for $125 million but this was rejected, and the supervising judge recommended that the case go to the US Congress.
Although the Internet Archive doesn't intend to make its digitised books widely available, the outcome of the Google case will have wide-reaching effects for the future of digital (and perhaps physical) archives. The question isn't just whether our grandchildren in the future will have access to today's books and newspapers, it's also at what price, and who will grant them this access. A global company that relies on advertising for revenue, like Google, might not be the best information gatekeepers - but, as Kahle says, the more archives around, the better for all of us.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cerpen Dari Berita Minggu 12 Jun 2011 : Babi Buto Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap, Cape Town

Cerpen : Babi Buto Bo Kaap
Oleh : Fudzail
“Ada baiknya, kita belajar dari nenek moyang!”
Abdul Wahid melontar suara ke bandaraya Kaapstad. Dari kawasan Bukit Signal, Kuarter Melayu Tanjung (Cape). Di Tana Baru yang menempatkan tanah perkuburan sejak ratusan tahun lalu.
“Saya belajar dari Tuan, dari sejarah, falsafah kepada Yakjuj Makjuj dan konspirasi Dajjal!”
Firdaus, datang dari Moskow menjawab sambil meninjau dua makam ‘keramat’. Makam Tuan Guru atau Imam Abdullah Kadi Abdus Salaam, seorang pangiran Kerajaan Tidore, Maluku, yang dibuang oleh kolonial Belanda ke Ceylon. Beliau kemudian dipindahkan ke Kaapstad dari 1780 hingga 1807. Yang kedua adalah makam Sayed Mogammad Darwis Alawie berasal dari Yaman.
Abdul Wahid tersenyum. Wajahnya tidak ubah seperti seorang pakcik Melayu di kampung nusantara. Bersih menampakkan keikhlasan. Sejemput  janggut yang manis.
Terlalu banyak bagi Firdaus, mahasiswa perubatan itu pelajari dari lelaki separuh abad yang sentiasa berjenaka dalam menyampaikan cerita. Baharu dua hari bersama. Kata-kata penuh kebijaksanaan. Sesekali mengulang bahawa walaupun dalam kad pengenalan zaman Aparteid tertera bangsanya sebagai ‘Melayu’, dia tidak diterima sebagai orang Melayu oleh orang Melayu Malaysia. Membayangkan kesalan kerana katanya, apakah dosa mereka yang dibuang negeri oleh penjajah untuk tidak diterima lagi sebagai bangsa serumpun?
“Orang Melayu Malaysia anggap kami bukan Orang Melayu, kalau datang buat bisnes di sini pun tidak langsung memberi peluang kepada kami. Mungkin mereka sangka kami semua ini penipu, akhirnya ramai yang tertipu dengan Orang Putih, Orang India, atau Orang Hitam!”
“Mungkin juga kerana Orang Melayu Malaysia tidak mengetahui tentang keujudan peniaga dari kalangan  Orang Melayu Tanjung!”
“Itulah, kena belajar dari nenek moyang, kalau datang kampung orang, ada caranya, bukan semberono!”
F irdaus mengangguk. Walau hati tidak begitu bersetuju kerana nenek moyang tidak semestinya betul dan orang-orang muda seperti dia kekadang jauh lebih berpengalaman dalam bidang tertentu. Banyak bangsa dan negara terjual oleh nenek moyang yang rakus dan haloba.
“Memang ramai nenek moyang kami datang dari kepulauan yang dipanggil Indonesia ketika ini, tetapi tiga ratus tahun lalu, mana ada Malaysia atau Indonesia? Bahkan ramai nenek moyang warga Malaysia juga berasal dari kawasan-kawasan seperti Sulawesi, Sumatera dan Maluku!”
Firdaus yang berasal dari Sabah mendengar bersama fikiran jauh melayang kepada kepulauan Sulu. Pernah satu masa kesultanan Sulu atau Sulug, atau juga Tausug menguasai keseluruhan kepulauan yang kini dipanggil Filipina. Nenek moyangnya berasal dari sana, semuanya sekadar sejarah masa silam.
“Kau lihat di bawah itu, kawasan De Waterkant!”
Firdaus menjenguk. Terasa syahdu dibuai bayu berpuput lalu. Perjalanan jauh dari Moskow ke Kaapstad menjadi satu kembara untuk menyertai kem para pemuda ‘Al Kahf’
“Kawasan elit untuk golongan gay yang berkembang di Kuarter Melayu kerana Orang Melayu Tanjung mahu keuntungan, menggadai warisan dan lebih malang, menggadai kepada golongan gay!”
Wajah Abdul Wahid cukup serius. Dan Firdaus  merasakan bahang dari suara yang bernada kesalan bercampur marah.
Di kem pengakap Simonstad, kawasan penempatan lama Orang Melayu , Ryan Abdul Malik Fantuzi menghembus nafas. Jantung mengepam udara segar musim luruh, memberi kenikmatan. Bintang-bintang di langit memancarkan kelipan ke serata pandangan. Pemuda Amerika berusia 25 tahun yang datang bertandang sebagai peserta kem pemuda ‘Al Kahf’ itu merasakan ada sesuatu yang mengulit perasaan.
Dalam bangsal tempat makan, tidak begitu ramai yang masih berbual. Ramai sudah kembali ke dormitori.
Matanya sesekali pada gadis Orang Hitam dari bangsa Khoisan yang sedang membasuh pinggan mangkuk. Berbadan kecil dan tekun dengan kerjanya. Sesekali bernyanyi sendiri.
Apabila gadis Orang Hitam Khoisan itu tersenyum memandangnya, Ryan sama tersenyum. Itu sahaja. Walau dalam minda Ryan tersambar pelbagai persoalan. Antaranya itulah kali pertama dia bertemu Orang Hitam Khoisan, pribumi asal Afrika dan tidak seperti Orang Hitam lain yang menghuni bumi Amerika, ada kelainan ketara. Benarlah Tuhan telah menjadikan manusia pelbagai bangsa untuk saling mengenal sesama sendiri. Bayangkan semua manusia hanya berkulit putih, atau hanya berkulit hitam.
Ryan terus menyambung sembang dengan Mogamat, pemuda Melayu Tanjung yang menjadi koordinator kem. Mengenali tanah Afrika Selatan dari dekat, terutama setelah dimerdekakan dari sistem aparteid.
“Ekonomi masih terus dikuasai oleh Orang Putih, manakala Orang India terus menguasai peringkat pertengahan, manakala Orang Hitam dari segi politik dan pemerintahan negara. Kami Orang Melayu Tanjung yang termasuk dalam Orang Kulit Berwarna, semakin terpinggir!”
Hembusan angin mendesah.  Ryan menjeling ke arah gadis Khoisan.
Semenjak datang di Kaapstad, perbualan di kem berkisar kepada rasisme dalam pasca-aparteid di bumi yang pernah bergolak. Di bumi yang pernah meriah sebagai tuan rumah peringkat akhir Piala Dunia 2010. Di bumi yang kaya dengan sumber alam.
“Tetapi Orang Cina yang sewaktu Aparteid tidak diklasifikasikan dalam mana-mana kategori, Orang Hitam, Orang India, Orang Putih atau Orang Berwarna menuntut di mahkamah untuk diklasifikasikan sebagai Orang Hitam!”
Terkejut Firdaus yang kebetulan mendengar curi perbualan Ryan dan Mogamad sambil cuba melayari Internet dari telefon bimbitnya.
“Apakah mereka menang tuntutan itu?” Firdaus menyampuk.
“Ya! Orang Cina Afrika Selatan adalah secara rasminya Orang Hitam! Mereka mendapat keistimewaan seperti mana pribumi Orang Hitam dan majoriti mereka menghuni kawasan elit Orang Putih! Mendapat yang terbaik di dua dunia, satu strategi bijak dan kini mereka kembali kepada identiti dengan belajar kembali bahasa Cina!”
Ryan tidak terkejut mendengar pendedahan Mogamad dan matanya menjeling ke arah gadis Orang Hitam Khoisan, bangkit dan menghantar pinggan.
Setibanya di tempat membasuh pinggan, Ryan mengucapkan salam. Tersenyum manis menyapa.
Terkejut gadis Orang Hitam Khoisan yang terasa tiba-tiba dihargai kerana yang lain sekadar meletakkan pinggan dan berlalu. Tiada yang lain menegur. Apalagi berbual.
Dr. Amira mengambil gambar sekitar perbukitan Faure, manakala Firdaus melihat jauh ke arah kawasan pertanian Macassar, yang asalnya bernama Zandvliet. Makam keramat Sheikh Yusuf Abul Mahasin Al-Taj Al-Khalwati Al-Makassari Al-Banteni yang berasal dari kepulauan Sulawesi dan orang yang membawa agama Islam ke Afrika Selatan. Dibuang negeri ke Kaapstad dalam tahun 1693 bersama 49 pengikut dengan kapal Voetboeg kerana menentang kezaliman Belanda. Ada tugu yang didirikan penjajah Inggeris mengenang jasa beliau. Mula-mula dibuang ke situ untuk mengelakkan Islam tersebar, akhirnya Zandvliet menjadi pusat dakwah pertama di Afrika Selatan.
“Orang yang tidak kenal sejarah, tidak kenal dirinya sendiri!”
Dr. Amira, pelajar graduan perubatan dari New York bercakap dengan penuh semangat.
“Kalau saya tidak datang ke kem pemuda Al Kahf ini, saya tidak tahu yang Islam dibawa ke sini oleh Orang Melayu!”
“Orang Melayu Indonesia!” Sampuk Abdul Wahid, sedikit mengejek.
Firdaus ketawa, sudah tahu Abdul Wahid pastinya cuba menekankan isu yang sama.
Mereka beredar dan Abdul Wahid membawa kedua tetamu dari Malaysia itu kembali ke rumahnya di Simonstad.
“Inilah Khayelitsha !”
Dr. Amira dan Firdaus terdiam menatap ke arah saujana kawasan yang dipenuhi oleh bangsal-bangsal.  Seakan kandang kambing. Dengan zink sahaja. Ada yang tidak bertingkap, hanya pintu. Sampah merata-rata. Sukar untuk membayangkan yang mereka berada di kawasan yang sebegitu teruk keadaan fizikal dan prasana. Kata Abdul Wahid, bancian terakhir lebih dari satu juta manusia Orang Hitam menghuni di situ.
“Dalam bahasa Xhosa, Khayelitsha  bermaksud Rumah Baru. 70 peratus tinggal dalam bangsal, satu pertiga tiada air, tandas semua di luar. Kawasan lama sewaktu era aparteid jauh lebih baik dari selepas Orang Hitam memerintah. Lihatlah, pemimpin Orang Hitam lebih teruk dalam kebajikan Orang Hitam!”
Suasana nampak sibuk dengan ramai manusia di mana-mana.
“Kawasan ini tidak selamat, tiada orang berani buka kedai. Bila-bila masa sahaja boleh kena rompak! Selepas aparteid, standard kehidupan semakin menurun dan jurang kaya dan miskin terus besar apabila kekayaan negara terus berada di tangan minoriti, terutama Orang Putih!”
“Apakah struktur aparteid masih tidak dirombak?”
“Bukan mudah untuk dirombak setelah hampir 50 tahun. Sekurangnya dua generasi dan hampir semua telah di brainwashed. Sehingga ramai Orang Hitam masih belum dapat menerima yang presiden Afrika Selatan adalah Orang Hitam, mereka masih bersedia menerima Orang Putih sebagai ketua. Bahkan untuk kami yang buat bisnes, Orang Hitam atau Orang Melayu Tanjung sukar untuk bekerja dengan mereka yang bukan Orang Putih!”
Firdaus tergelak. Tidak melucukan tetapi realiti yang seakan memutarkan sejarah ke masa kini. Mereka yang menjajah berjaya membasuh otak orang tempatan mengenai keunggulan Orang Putih. Sesuatu yang sama berlaku di tanahair.
“Zaman Aparteid dahulu, penekanan kepada segregasi fizikal mengikut warna kulit. Pendidikan umpamanya percuma kepada semua ke peringkat universiti, perumahan diberikan sewajarnya kepada setiap orang, malah jauh lebih baik dan murah. Dibeli dari kerajaan tanpa faedah. Yang kejamnya kerana adanya segregasi, Lihatlah mutu dan saiz rumah kami semasa dan selepas aparteid!”
Sambung Abdul Wahid sebaik tiba di perkarangan rumahnya.
“Hari ini selepas habis Piala Dunia, kami penghuni Kaapstad terpaksa membayar bil lebih tinggi untuk air dan api kerana kerajaan menanggung hutang dari pembaziran menjadi hos. Stadium-stadium yang dibina berharga berbilion Rand sekarang semuanya menjadi gajah putih dan pengangguran terus meningkat, maka jenayah juga meningkat!”
Melihat keadaan sekeliling kawasan rumah Abdul Wahid, kedua anak muda itu seakan berada di salah sebuah kawasan luar bandar di mana-mana nusantara.
Ryan dapat mengagak yang Goitsemedime, gadis Orang Hitam Khoisan itu mula menunjukkan sedikit perubahan, sudah mesra.
“Apakah ada makna nama Goitsemedime itu?”
“Hanya Tuhan yang tahu!”
Ryan tergelak sambil berlalu kembali ke arah meja makan, menyambung perbualan berkaitan Yakjuk Makjuk. Tema kem pemuda Al Kahf, satu kumpulan anak-anak muda dari pelbagai negara yang membicarakan persoalan realiti dunia. Berkaitan dengan tafsiran surah Al Kahf dalam kehidupan terutama buat para pemuda bagi menangani kemelut dan krisis dunia. Baik dari segi politik, kewangan yang dipenuhi riba, bencana yang semakin mengorbankan nyawa dan juga kedatangan Imam Mahadi.
Dari perbincangan dengan maulana Imran yang pernah menjadi mufti Trinidad itu, mereka bersetuju yang ada keperluan untuk keluar dari suasana kehidupan masa kini, dan mencari tempat perlindungan, seperti cerita pemuda dalam surah Al Kahf. Di era fasad dan Dajjal, pemuda sebagai penggerak revolusi mesti melihat keadaan semasa dari perspektif yang berteraskan Quran  dan hadis.
“Gadis itu bercakap mengenai Tuhan!”
Bisik Abdul Majid, pemuda dari Kongo.
“Itulah, bayangkan yang kita berkumpul bercakap mengenai dakwah dan sebagainya, kenapa tidak cuba menghampiri mereka yang berada di keliling kita?” Ujar Ryan, pemuda Detroit yang baharu setahun memeluk agama Islam, walau sebelum itu pernah menjadi seorang yang cukup anti dengan orang Islam selepas September 11. Mahu membakar Quran sehingga hidayah dari seorang yang menyampaikan salam kepadanya, menyebabkan dia mula mencari makna salam secara lateral.
Pemuda lain terdiam. Ramai yang lahir sebagai orang Islam yang tidak pernah pula mahu menjadi pendakwah. Ramai yang perasan mereka pandai dan tidak perlu belajar lagi.
“Malah di Detroit, ramai orang Islam masih dalam asobiyah. Mementingkan bangsa dan komuniti sendiri. Semua mahu membina masjid sendiri!”
“Sama seperti di Kaapstad, masjid dibina bukan kerana taqwa, tetapi kerana pergaduhan dalam perkara-perkara remeh seperti mazhab dan untuk dana!”
Mogamad menyampuk.
Masing-masing terus berhujah dalam lingkaran asobiyah, sesuatu yang menarik kerana ada 32 bangsa berkumpul di kem itu dan sudah menunjukkan perselisihan dari segi fahaman feqah.
Ryan menjeling ke arah Goitsemedime.
Goitsemedime tersenyum.  Sudah habis mencuci pinggan.
Ryan bangkit dan mendekati.
“Benarkah Goitsemedime bermakna hanya Tuhan yang tahu dalam bahasa Xhosa?”
Goitsemedime mengangguk.
“Nama yang baik!”
“Dalam ramai-ramai yang berada di kem ini, hanya kamu sahaja yang memberi salam dan menegur saya!”
Ryan tersenyum. Misinya sudah hampir ke matlamat. Sampaikan walau satu ayat dan dia telah bermula dengan salam.
“Kami memang sudah kehilangan jatidiri kerana kehilangan bahasa, betullah bahasa jiwa bangsa!”
Terdengar suara Abdul Wahid sebaik keluar dari muzium kecil Bo Kaap. Muzium yang mempamirkan khazanah tinggalan Orang Melayu yang dibawa ke Afrika Selatan sebagai hamba abdi dan tahanan politik.
“Hanya beberapa perkataan yang tinggal, ada yang berlainan maksud!”
Dr. Amira dan Firdaus mendengar sambil melihat-lihat ayam panggang di jalan Dorp, berhampiran masjid Al awal, masjid pertama Kaapstad. Dengan latarbelakang Gunung Table.
“Bukan kami mahu melupakan bahasa sendiri, cuma kami dipaksa kerana Orang Putih menyangka yang kalau bahasa Melayu dihapuskan, agama Islam boleh juga dihapuskan. Sebab itu penting untuk belajar dari nenek moyang, kenapa Melayu itu dikatakan Islam, jangan kata bangsa tidak penting dalam Islam!”
Abdul Wahid tahu yang Firdaus masih tidak begitu bersetuju kerana nenek moyang bangsa Sulu yang menyebabkan kejatuhan bangsanya sendiri. Menyebabkan generasi bangsa Sulu bukan sahaja kehilangan sejarah, malah identiti. Walau ada yang mengatakan bangsa Sulu sudah Islam sebelum Nabi Muhammad lagi.
“Saya sudah beritahu yang perkataan seperti babi dan buta mempunyai maksud yang berlainan setelah ratusan tahun, bukan?”
Dr. Amira tidak dapat menahan gelak apabila mendengar Abdul Wahid berkata, “Perkataan Kafir yang digunakan beratus tahun untuk Orang Hitam oleh Orang Melayu Tanjung sudah menjadi perkataan menghina oleh perundangan selepas aparteid berakhir dan siapa yang memanggil Orang Hitam sebagai Kafir, boleh didakwa di mahkamah!”
 Firdaus cuba memahami kerana pertama kali mendengar.
“Orang tua seperti saya, yang makan riba kerana menipu pelanggan kalau menjual di Bo Kaap ini dipanggil apa?”
Sebenarnya Abdul Wahid mempunyai makna tersirat dari perkataan yang sudah bertukar makna. Dia maksudkan secara literal. Sesuatu yang Dr. Amira sendiri terperangkap.
“Babi buta di Bo Kaap!”
-          Tamat -

Kaapstad – Cape town
Simonstad – Simon’s Town
Mogamad – Mohamad
Babi – Peniaga kurang jujur di belakang kaunter
Buto – Orang tua

Friday, June 10, 2011

The New American Century (2009)-Full Length Documentary

This documentary film goes in detail through the untold history of The Project for the New American Century with tons of archival footage and connects it right into the present.

It exposes how every major war in US history was based on a complete fraud with video of insiders themselves admitting it. This film shows how the first film theaters in the US were used over a hundred years ago to broadcast propaganda to rile the American people into the Spanish-American War.

This film shows the white papers of the oil company Unocal which called for the creation of a pipeline through Afghanistan and how their exact needs were fulfilled through the US invasion of Afghanistan.

This documentary shows how Halliburton under their "cost plus" exclusive contract with the US Government went on a mad dash spending spree akin to something out of the movie Brewster's Millions, yet instead of blowing $30 million they blew through BILLIONS by literally burning millions of dollars worth of hundred thousand dollar cars and trucks if they had so much as a flat tire.
Produced by Massimo Mazzucco.

"A stunning film. It should be seen as widely as possible, in cinemas, bars, clubs, at meetings and, of course, through the internet. I'm sure the film will continue to be a source of debate and political education for many years. Maybe until the war criminals have been brought to trial." - Ken Loach While Massimo Mazzucco's first political documentary, GLOBAL DECEIT (2006), focused on the long list of inconsistencies in the official version of the 9/11 attacks, THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY explores the historical, philosophical and economic background that suggests a matrix for such events that is much closer to home than the so-called "Islamic terrorism". The film provides solid evidence for the true reasons behind the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, whose unfolding is described in chilling detail in a document called "Project for the New American Century", published in the year 2000, that seems to have served as the actual blueprint for such dramatic events.

This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder. It is a fair use under copyright law.
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

The media material presented in this production is protected by the FAIR USE CLAUSE of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and education.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2009

In a dimly lit corner of a Paris bar a delighted young divorcĂ©e describes in a soft voice how she spent the day throwing snowballs for the first time in her life. That is not remarkable. This is: Nujood Ali is just 10 years old — and was, until recently, the youngest known divorced person in the world.

Slender with thick hair and a shy smile, Ali made headlines in Yemen last April when she walked out on a man more than three times her age, to whom her father had married her off. It was an act driven by terror and despair.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced [Book]

Nujood's ordeal began last February, when the family gathered to celebrate her wedding to a motorcycle deliveryman in his 30s. She first set eyes on the groom when she took her marriage vows. After spending her wedding night with her parents and 15 brothers and sisters, Nujood was taken by her new husband to his family village, where, she says, he beat and raped her every night. After two nightmarish months he allowed her to visit her parents, who rebuffed her pleas to end the marriage.

Nujood finally found her moment to escape one day, when her mother gave her a few pennies and sent her out to buy bread. Instead she took a bus to the center of the capital, Sanaa — a city of 3 million people — where she hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to the courthouse. She had never been inside a courtroom but had once seen one on television, she says, and knew it was a place where people went for help. There she sat silently on a bench, uncertain as to what to do, while crowds of people scurried past, scarcely glancing at the quiet child. It was only once the courthouse emptied during the lunch recess that the judge noticed her and asked why she was there. "I came for a divorce," she told him. Horrified, he took her to his house to play with his 8-year-old daughter, and granted the divorce two days later.

Nujood's story might have ended there, had it not caught the attention of reporters from Sanaa's newspapers, then of journalists from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Last November, New York City–based Glamour magazine gave Nujood its Woman of the Year award in a splashy Manhattan ceremony with fellow honorees that included Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Now Delphine Minoui, a French reporter for Le Figaro, has ghostwritten Nujood's autobiography.

[ABOVE: Yemeni Girls Preparing For Marriage]

Asked how she spent her week in Paris, Nujood's eyes widen as she says, "I saw the Eiffel Tower; I saw the Seine." Shaken by the testimony of violence during her divorce trial, Yemen's lawmakers raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18. Two other girls in Sanaa — one age 9, the other 12 — have since sued for divorce, while an 8-year-old in Saudi Arabia has won a divorce suit, apparently inspired by Nujood's tale. Nujood says she hopes to ignite a far broader movement of girls to quit their child marriages, adding, "They should not be scared of their fathers or their husbands."

That might be easier said than done, especially in cultures where a girl's honor is held as supremely important. Minoui, who has spent considerable time with Nujood, says the girl still risks attacks from male relatives who believe she has sullied the family's reputation. But her fame appears to have protected her from that possibility for now.

Nujood says she thinks only about learning now — hardly the typical response from a 10-year-old child. As though she has no time to lose, she cut short her stay in Paris this week — including canceling a press conference — saying she wanted to get back to school. She says she ultimately hopes to work for women's rights in Yemen; in Paris she discussed the problem of child marriage with France's Human Rights Minister, Rama Yada, and Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara. And Nujood says she has already chosen her future career: "I want be a lawyer."

Nujood's services would be welcome. Despite Yemen's laws against child marriage, about 52% of Yemen's girls marry before the age of 18, often as the second or third wives of far older men. Worldwide, child marriage has been slow to change, according to UNICEF's "State of the World's Children" report released last month. About 49% of South Asian women in their early 20s were married before the age of 18, according to statistics gathered by UNICEF, which links early marriage to high rates of infant death and maternal mortality in very poor countries. "Often families marry off girls very young because they want to protect them, not realizing the dangers they face," says Stella Schumacher, a UNICEF child-protection specialist in New York. "It requires a change of social norms. Legislation is not enough."

Laws were certainly not enough to win redress for Nujood. Although her father and ex-husband were arrested for arranging an underage marriage, both were released within 10 days. Nujood's father, an out-of-work laborer, told the judge he simply wanted to shield his daughter from possible violence on Sanaa's streets. Nujood's ex-husband slipped out of sight last summer as the media attention grew. A sympathetic friend reimbursed him for the dowry of about $250 that he had paid to Nujood's father. Asked by a reporter in Paris if she hopes to meet her Prince Charming one day, Nujood sat back in her chair, crossed her arms and said bluntly, "I no longer think about marriage."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The People of Lut and The City which was Turned Upside Down

The People of Lut and The City which was Turned Upside Down

The people of Lut rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a violent Tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them), except Lut's household: them We delivered by early Dawn,-  As a Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks. And (Lut) did warn them of Our Punishment, but they disputed about the Warning.
(Surat al-Qamar:, 33-36)

Lut lived at the same time as Ibrahim. The Old Testament says that Lut was Ibrahim's nephew and that they travelled some distance together in Ibrahim's long journeys.

Lut was sent as a messenger to one of Ibrahim's neighbouring communities. These people, as the Qur’an tells us, practiced a perversion unknown to the world up to then, namely sodomy. When Lut told them to give up this perversion and brought them Allah's warning, they denied him, refused his prophethood, and carried on with their perversion. In the end, these people were destroyed by a dreadful disaster.

The city where Lut resided is referred to as Sodom in the Old Testament. Being situated at the north of the Red Sea, this community is understood to have been destroyed just as it is written in the Qur’an. Archaeological studies reveal that the city is located in the area of the Dead Sea which stretches along the Israel-Jordan border.

The Qur’an tells how Lut warned his people and what they said in reply;

The people of Lut rejected the messengers. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: “Will ye not fear (Allah)? I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. So fear Allah and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!”
They said: “If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!”
He said: “I do detest your doings.” (Surat ash-Shuara: 160-168)

The people of Lut threatened him in response to his inviting them to the right way. His people detested him because of his showing them the right way, and wanted to banish both him and the other believers beside him. In other verses, the event is told as follows;

We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women : ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”
And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” (Surat al-Araf: 80-82)

Lut called his people to an obvious truth and warned them explicitly, but his people did not heed any warnings whatsoever and continued to reject Lut and to deny the penalty of which he told them.

And (remember) Lut: behold, he said to his people: “Ye do commit lewdness, such as no people in Creation (ever) committed before you. Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?” But his people gave no answer but this: they said: “Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth.” (Surat al-Ankaboot: 28-29)

Receiving the above answer from his people, Lut asked for the help of Allah,
He said: “O my Lord! help Thou me against people who do mischief!” (Surat al-Ankaboot: 30)
O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!” (Surat ash-Shuara: 169)

Upon Lut’s prayer, Allah sent two angels in the form of men. These angels visited Ibrahim before coming to Lut. Giving Ibrahim the good news that his wife would give birth to an infant, the messengers explained the reason of their being sent: the insolent people of Lut were to be destroyed.

(Ibrahim) said: “And what, O ye Messengers, is your errand (now)?” They said, “We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin; To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of clay (brimstone), Marked as from thy Lord for those who trespass beyond bounds.” (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 31-34)

Excepting the adherents of Lut: them we are certainly (charged) to save (from harm),- All - Except his wife, who, We have ascertained, will be among those who will lag behind. (Surat al-Hijr: 59-60)

After leaving Ibrahim’s company, the angels, who were sent as messengers, came to Lut. Not having met the messengers before, Lut first became anxious, but then calmed down after talking  to them;

When Our messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: “This is a distressful day.” (Surah Hud: 77)

He said: “Ye appear to be uncommon folk.” They said: “Yea, we have come to thee to accomplish that of which they doubt. We have brought to thee that which is inevitably due, and assuredly we tell the truth. Then travel by night with thy household, when a portion of the night (yet remains), and do thou bring up the rear: let no one amongst you look back, but pass on whither ye are ordered.” And We made known this decree to him, that the last remnants of those (sinners) should be cut off by the morning. (Surat al-Hijr: 62-66)

Meanwhile, his people had learned that Lut had visitors. They did not hesitate to approach these visitors perversely as they had approached others before. They encircled the house. Being afraid for his visitors, Lut addressed his people as follows;

Lut said: “These are my guests: disgrace me not: But fear Allah, and shame me not.” (Surat al-Hijr: 68-69)
The people of Lut retorted;
They said: “Did we not forbid thee (to speak) for all and sundry?” (Surat al-Hijr: 70)

Thinking that he and his visitors subjected to evil treatment, Lut said:

“Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support.” (Surah Hud: 80)
His “visitors” reminded him that they were the messengers of Allah and said;

(The Messengers) said: “O Lut! We are Messengers from thy Lord! By no means shall they reach thee! now travel with thy family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back: but thy wife (will remain behind): To her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their time appointed: Is not the morning nigh?” (Surah Hud: 81)

When the perversity of the city people reached its fullest extent, Allah saved Lut by means of the angels. In the morning, his people were destroyed by the disaster of which Lut had informed them in advance.

And they even sought to snatch away his guests from him, but We blinded their eyes. (They heard:) “Now taste ye My Wrath and My Warning.” Early on the morrow an abiding Punishment seized them: (Surat al-Qamar: 37-38)

The verses describe the destruction of this people as follows;

But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning, And We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold! in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And the (cities were) right on the high-road. (Surat al-Hijr: 73-76)

When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,-Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! (Surah Hud: 82-83)

But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! : Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. (Surat ash-Shuara: 172-175)

When the people were destroyed, only Lut and the believers, who were only as many as one “household”, were saved. Lut’s wife did not believe either and she was also destroyed.

We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?  For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women : ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who legged behind.
And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime! (Surat al-Araf: 80-84)

Thus, Prophet Lut was saved along with the believers and his family with the exception of his wife. As described in the Old Testament, he emigrated with Ibrahim. As for the perverted people, they were destroyed and their dwellings were razed to the ground.

“The Obvious Signs” in the Lake of Lut
The 82nd  verse of Surah Hud, clearly states the kind of the disaster that befell the people of Lut. “When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer”

The statement of “turning (the cities) upside down” implies that the region was totally destroyed by a violent earthquake. Accordingly, The Lake of Lut, where the destruction took place, bears “obvious” evidence of such a disaster.

We quote German archaeologist Werner Keller as follows;

Together with the base of this mighty fissure, which runs precisely through this area, the Vale of Siddim, including Sodom and Gomorrah, plunged one day into the abyss. Their destruction came about through a great earthquake which was probably accompanied by explosions, lightning, issue of natural gas and general conflagration. (1)

As a matter of fact, the Lake of Lut, or the Dead Sea as it is otherwise known, is located right on the top of an active seismic region, that is, an earthquake zone:

The base of the dead sea is located with a tectonic rooted downfall. This valley is located in a tension stretching between the Taberiye Lake in the north, and mid of Arabah Valley in the south.(2)

The event was expressed as “we rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer” in the last part of the verse. This is in all probability meant to be the volcanic explosion that took place on the banks of the Lake of Lut, and because of which the rocks and stones that erupted were in a “baked form”. (The same event is related in the 173rd verse of Surat ash-Shuara as “We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!”)
In relation to this subject, Werner Keller writes;

The subsidence released volcanic forces that had been lying dormant deep down along the whole length of the fracture. In the upper valley of the Jordan near Bashan there are still towering craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches of lava and deep layers of basalt have been deposited on the limestone surface.(3)

A satellite photograph of the region where the people of Lut lived.

These lava and basalt layers constitute the greatest evidence that a volcanic explosion and earthquake had once taken place here. The catastrophe depicted in the following expression as “we rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer” in the Qur’an most probably points to this volcanic explosion, and Allah knows best. The expression “When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down” which occurs in the same verse, must be referring to the earthquake which caused volcanoes to erupt over the surface of the earth with devastating impact, and to the fissures and debris brought by it, and only Allah knows the truth of it.
The “obvious signs” conveyed by the Lake of Lut are indeed very interesting. In general, the events which are related in the Qur’an take place in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. Right in the middle of these lands, is the Lake of Lut. The Lake of Lut, as well as the incidents that have taken place around it, deserves attention geologically. The Lake is approximately 400 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean. Since the deepest place in the Lake is 400 meters, the bottom of the Lake is 800 meters below the surface of the Mediterranean.

The Lake of Lut, or Dead Sea as differently called.

This is the lowest point on the earth. In other areas which are lower than sea level, the depth is at most 100 meters. Another property of the Lake of Lut is that the salt content of its water is very high, the density being nearly 30 %. Because of this, no living organism, such as fish or moss, can survive in this lake. This is why the Lake of Lut is called the “Dead Sea” in Western  literature.

The incident of Lut’s people, which is recounted in the Qur’an, occurred around 1800 B.C. according to estimates. Based on his archaeological and geological researches, the German researcher Werner Keller noted that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in fact located in the Siddim Valley which was the region at the furthers and lowest end of the Lake of Lut, and that there were once big and widely inhabited sites in those regions.
The most interesting structural characteristic of the Lake of Lut is an evidence showing how the disaster incidence recounted in the Qur’an took place;

On the eastern shore of the Dead Sea the peninsula of el-Lisan protrudes like a tongue far into the water. El-Lisan means “the tongue” in Arabic. Unseen from the land the ground falls away here under the surface of the water at a prodigious angle, dividing the sea into two parts. To the right of the peninsula the ground slopes sharply down to a depth of 1200 feet. On the left of the peninsula the water remains remarkably shallow. Soundings taken in the last few years established depths of only fifty to sixty feet. That extraordinary shallow part of the Dead Sea, from the peninsula el-Lisan to the southernmost tip, was the Vale of Siddim. (4)

Photographs of the Lake of Lut taken from satellite.

Werner Keller noted that this shallow part, which was discovered to have formed subsequently, was the outcome of the aforementioned earthquake and the massive collapse this earthquake had caused. This was the place where Sodom and Gomorrah were situated, that is, where Lut’s people lived.

Once, it was possible to cross this region by walking. However, now, the Vale of Siddim, where Sodom and Gomorrah were once situated, is covered by the flat surface of the lower part of the Dead Sea. The collapse of the base as a result of the dreadful catastrophe that came to pass in the beginning of the 2nd. millennium B.C., caused salt water from the north to flow into this recently formed cavity and filled the basin with salty water.
The traces of the Lake of Lut are visible… When one takes a rowing boat across the Lake of Lut to the southernmost point, if the sun is shining in the right direction, one sees something quite fantastic. Some distance from the shore and clearly visible under the surface of the water, there are the outlines of the forests which the extraordinarily high salt content of the Dead Sea preserved.

The trunks and roots in the shimmering green water are very ancient. The Siddim valley, where these trees were once in blossom green foliage covered their twigs and branches, was one of the most beautiful locations in the region.

The mechanical aspect of the disaster that befell people of Lut is revealed by the researches of the geologists. These reveal that the earthquake which destroyed  the people of Lut, came about in consequence of quite a long crack in the earth (a fault line), along the 190 kilometres distance making up the bed of the River Sheri’at. River Sheri’at makes a fall of 180 meters in total. Both this and the fact that the Lake of Lut is 400 metres below sea level are two important pieces of evidence showing that an enormous geological event has taken place here.
The interesting structure of River of Sheri’at and the Lake of Lut make up only a small part of the crack or split passing from this region of the earth. The condition and length of this crack have only recently been discovered.

The fault starts from the outskirts of Mount Taurus, stretches to the southern shores of the Lake of Lut and proceeds over the Arabian desert to the Gulf of Aqaba and continues across the Red Sea, ending up in Africa. Along the length of it, strong volcanic activities are observed. Black basalt and lava exist in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, high plain regions of Jordan, the Gulf of Aqaba and other areas nearby.  
All these remains and geographical evidences show that a catastrophic geological event took place in the Lake of Lut. Werner Keller writes,

Overhead view of the mountains around the Lake of Lut

National Geographic makes the following comment on December 1957;

The mount of Sodom, a barren wasteland, rises sharply above the dead sea. No one has ever found the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but scholars believe that they stood in the Vale of Siddim across from these cliffs. Possibly flood waters of the Dead Sea engulfed them following an earthquake.

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (Make it us STUPID?)

Nicholas Carr: Why the Human Brain Can't Multitask by FORAtv

The internet's not just making us stupid, it's possibly also feeding our egos, leaching away our empathy and making us poor. That's if you believe a whole host of writers currently making a living from predicting that the web is ruining us all.

Among them is Nicholas Carr, the technology writer and author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, who explained his views to the Seoul Digital Forum last week.

"The medium does matter," Carr writes. Unlike a book, which focuses our minds, he says, a networked computer "is designed to scatter our attention... It's hard not to conclude that as we adapt to the intellectual environment of the Net our thinking becomes shallower."

It's easy to agree: tabbed browsing seems designed for procrastination; Facebook and Twitter encourage us to spend time reading and writing short, shallow remarks; and Wikipedia and Google provide access to way too much information to properly process.

On the other hand, laziness, gossip and a surfeit of facts are nothing new - surely it's up to us to make good use of whatever technology is at hand. Alarmists such as the 15th-century Venetian editor Hieronimo Squarciafico were warning people against the dangers of publishing long ago: "Abundance of books makes men less studious," Squarciafico wrote, just after the invention of the printing press.

This anxiety dates all the way back to Socrates, who worried about scrolls, as William Powers recalls in Hamlet's BlackBerry, another book warning against the incessant allure of the pinging smart phone. Once people could read and write, the philosopher thought, they would no longer need to remember things - and they could absorb a biased view rather than engaging in dialogue.

But a 2009 study suggests that a bit of internet browsing might boost concentration levels, by giving the brain a timely rest. "People who surf the internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office - are more productive, by about nine per cent, than those who don't," Dr Brent Coker of the University of Melbourne said following a study of 300 workers. He also identified less-productive workers, however, who use the internet an unhealthy amount.

Even if it does interrupt us now and again, the internet can be seen as a sort of external memory drive for our minds, expanding our consciousness and doing the hard work of remembering things so that we can free up more space for other mental work. In Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action and Cognitive Extension, the philosopher Andy Clark argues that machines such as iPhones and computers with Wi-Fi, in taking over functions that we used to perform, have become part of us.

So perhaps Google is increasing our brain power and not making us more stupid - so long as we make use of it in the right way. Which perhaps means looking up facts when we need them and reading whole articles online, as opposed to updating social network sites and jumping from link to link.

Even so, there are writers who take issue with the digital age for different reasons. The virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier argues in his book You Are Not a Gadget that file-sharing will bankrupt society's creativity. In Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Sherry Turkle (a social science professor at MIT) looks at the psychological effects of the web: the way texting is easier and less awkward than calling, virtual worlds demand less of us than the real one, and time spent on social network sites only gives us the illusion of interacting.

Although some studies have shown that social networking online usually supplements, rather than replaces, face-to-face socialising, Turkle warns that interacting via machines is always easier than the real thing, and that can have a creeping effect. Who hasn't experienced the modern situation of sitting at a table in a restaurant, with friends, only to look up and find everyone looking at their phones?
The neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer disagrees with Turkle, calling the internet "just another tool, an accessory that allows us to do what we've always done: interact with one other". The written word may have damaged oral storytelling traditions, but not many of us would give up our bookshelves. Nor would we advocate a life spend reading, without any other forms of communication.

The internet's easy to access in countries like this one: it's tempting to spend too much time there. But TV didn't kill radio and films didn't kill books. The internet, then, probably doesn't spell the end of culture, empathy and socialising. I'm with Lehrer: the digital kids will be all right.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Preventing Israel’s final solution

Palestinians, united in their action, are the only real impediment to the evil scheme

This year’s marking of the anniversaries of Al-Nakba, the birth of Israel on usurped Palestinian land, and Al-Naksa, the Six-Day War which resulted in the occupation of the remainder of historical Palestine by Israel, have underlined one clear fact; that 63 years since the creation of Israel and 44 years after the fall of Jerusalem and other territories, the Palestinians have not given up on their rights. It’s an important element in the ever-evolving conflict which remains unresolved to this day.

And it brings into focus the two concrete rights of the Palestinian people; the right to return to their ancestral homeland and the right to live in a free and independent state. Israel would like to dismantle these rights and force a humiliating conclusion to the struggle. It denies the right of return, even though it is enshrined in international law, UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. And it is moving to abort Palestinian attempts to declare an independent state based on the pre-1967 war lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In light of Israeli rejection and refusal to honor its commitments under international law and previous agreements with the Palestinians it is difficult to imagine a just and lasting settlement of the decades old conflict happening any time soon. Israel has the upper hand because it controls the occupied territories, rules over millions of Palestinians and is indifferent to regional and international pressure.

The Israeli position has been made amply clear by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech before a joint session of Congress last month. He has rejected President Barack Obama’s declaration that the future Palestinian state will be negotiated along the 1967 lines. He has reiterated that Jerusalem shall never again be divided, that the Israel Defense Forces will remain in the Jordan Valley to secure Israel’s borders. He has tossed away the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees, insisted that settlements in the West Bank are part of Israel and asked President Mahmoud Abbas to break his accord with Hamas before negotiations can resume.

Netanyahu's position, which is being challenged by political leaders in his own country, was embraced with overwhelming enthusiasm by US lawmakers. They cheered him when he denied the right of return and vowed not to withdraw to the 1967 lines, even when the latter was the official policy of their own government. Even if Netanyahu had rejected the creation of an independent Palestinian state, which he did in so many words, the US Congress would have also applauded him.

Nearly two decades of US sponsored grueling, frustrating and shaky peace negotiations have finally come to naught. The Palestinians, who have recognized Israel and accepted UN resolutions, have emerged empty handed. Peace negotiations had failed to deliver the Palestinian national dream of independence and freedom. Today they have neither. During the past 20 years or so, Israel has confiscated more West Bank territory than any time before and separated Arab towns and villages by running an illegal concrete barrier, separation wall, through them.

It has encircled East Jerusalem by Jewish settlements and prevented Palestinians from traveling to the holy city. On the ground Israel is preparing for a final solution, a scheme to keep the Palestinians prisoners of Bantustan-like areas; the largest prison camp of its kind.

This is the most sinister state-sponsored aggression against the Palestinian people since the end of the British mandate over Palestine more than 60 years ago. It is a final solution because its clear objective is to end all realistic chances for the creation of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 lines. In reality Netanyahu’s Congress speech was a declaration of war on the Palestinian national struggle; and he was lauded for it! Other than the mooted reaction of the Palestinian leadership, the rest of the world, including Arab governments, remained largely silent or ambivalent. Arab foreign ministers threw their symbolic support behind President Mahmoud Abbas, but stopped short of killing the Arab Peace Initiative or escalating the confrontation.

Netanyahu has belittled Palestinian determination to go to the UN seeking recognition of their state. He knows that he cannot stop it, although he wants the US exert pressure on Abbas, but according to him a victory at the UN will not change the facts on the ground. He may be right. But the Palestinians, united in their action, are the only real impediment to Israel’s evil scheme. They have tried negotiating with their occupier for years and failed. The Palestinian National Authority has renounced violence and cooperated with Israel in security matters. It has proved that it is capable to honoring its commitments and build the foundations of a civic and democratic state.

But now the Palestinians have their backs against the wall. They cannot afford to waste time and allow Israel to continue with this comfortable and cost-free occupation. Before they go to the UN, Abbas should call for an all-Palestine convention bringing representatives of Palestinians from across the board; from the occupied territories and in the Diaspora, to agree on one course of action: nonviolent resistance to occupation, a peaceful Palestinian protest that does not end until the occupation ends!

The spirit of the Arab Spring must now move to Palestine; a just and honorable cause which Israel has tried to distort and bury. Israel will not succeed in carrying out a final solution if Palestinians rise, peacefully, to demand their right to live free of occupation on their ancestral land. The world will not blame them and their sacrifice will change the current course.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Dewan Sastera Jun 2011 : Ke Nibiru dan Kembali ke Bumi

Dewan Sastera Jun 2011

Cerpen: Ke Nibiru dan Kembali ke Bumi
Oleh : Fudzail

1.      Masjid Muayyad
Paparan ruang angkasa merentas imaginasi. Bintang-bintang berkerlipan. Bersinaran memancarkan keindahan. Menambah kesyahduan dalam kedinginan Muharam.
“Ada sesuatu berligaran nun di sana! Sesuatu yang penuh misteri menjangkau sempadan lingkungan sistem solar. Menyentap gerakbalas antara Uranus dan Neptun”
Rana, teman kembara yang dikenal melalui Facebook, berasal dari Lubnan mengorak ilusi. Saya sama terpesona dalam memetik bintang-bintang, menggapai mimpi-mimpi di tengah laman luas masjid Umayyad kota Damsyik. Ramai pengunjung yang beristirehat. Menikmati kedamaian yang terserlah di wajah-wajah. Merangkai jaringan persaudaraan tanpa kenal latarbelakang. Senyuman merentas keasingan dalam menjejak destinasi minda dan jasad di bumi anbiya.
“Ada kuasa grativiti terus menganggu dua planet besar tersebut, menyebabkan pergerakan orbit menjadi tidak teratur. Kuasa graviti misteri itu menguatkan kemungkinan ada sesuatu yang jauh, tidak kelihatan, objek besar, Planet X!”
 “Maksud kamu planet ke sepuluh dalam sistem solar kita?”
Rana tersenyum. Menggambarkan keceriaan. Dia mengambil kursus bidang sastera Arab, tetapi cukup berminat dengan astrologi.
“Teorinya, matahari mempunyai pesaing, sebutir bintang gelap yang mengawal percaturan cakrawala!”
Alunan kata-kata yang bersemangat menambah perasaan ingin tahu.
Kemudian saya menyedari yang Haniyeh, di sisi masih bercerita mengenai Masjid Umayyah yang dibina sewaktu zaman pemerintahan Khalifah al-Walid bin Abdul Malik, Khalifah Kerajaan Umayyah pada tahun 86  ke 96 Hijrah, bersamaan tahun705 - 714 Masehi. Di dalamnya ada makam nabi Yahya yang turut dilawati penganut Kristian sebagai John the Baptist.
“Masjid Umayyah ini dibangunkan di atas kesan runtuhan tempat penyembahan orang-orang Rom iaitu tempat pemujaan Dewa Jupitar. Ia dibina mengikut reka bentuk Masjid Nabi dengan mempunyai tiga buah menara yang juga projek pembinaan menara yang pertama di Sham.”
Sambung Haniyeh, siswi bangsa Iran yang tidak begitu peduli tentang bintang-bintang di angkasa, masih sahaja dengan apa yang berada di muka bumi. Juga kami berkenalan melalui Facebook, dikenalkan kawan yang menuntut sama universiti di Dubai.
Kedua-duanya seakan bersaing untuk mendapatkan perhatian saya, seorang gadis Melayu yang asyik dengan misteri alam semesta. Keajaiban di angkasa, di galaksi, di muka bumi, di daratan, di lautan dan segala yang tidak kelihatan oleh mata kasar. Segalanya adalah fenomena keajaiban yang melakar kehidupan. Jisim dan zarah yang menggerakkan kesementaraan. Betapa kerdilnya insan berbanding makhluk mega lain yang menjadikan kembara minda mencecah ketaksuban pada Yang Maha Mencipta. Sesungguhnya, semua yang terbentang untuk akal berfikir dan menganalisa dalam mencari siratul mustaqim. Kehidupan adalah kembara yang membawa ke syurga atau neraka. Dan kembara kami membawa persahabatan ke satu ujian untuk mengenali sejarah dan diri masing-masing.
“Planet X itu empat hingga lapan kali lebih besar saiznya dari bumi di orbit condong dan kira-kira 7 bilion batu dari matahari!”
Saya terpesona bersama alunan suara-suara mengaji dari dalam masjid. Mengurangkan ketegangan apabila Rana dan Haniyeh berentap hujah di dua dimensi berlainan. Walau berlainan dimensi, selari bergerak menuju satu destini, kemuncak kehidupan yang berliku dan penuh dengan tipu daya.
“Menurut sejarah,  tapak masjid ini asalnya sebuah kuil bagi tuhan Jupiter oleh bangsa Aramaik. Apabila kerajaan Rom mengambil alih kuasa pemerintahan di Damsyik, fungsi kuil ditukarkan kepada gereja. Sebaik kerajaan Islam Saidina Umar Al Khattab berjaya menakluki Damsyik sekitar tahun 630 masihi, sebahagian tempat ini dijadikan sebagai masjid yang kekal kekal hingga ke hari ini!”
Saya mengkagumi keindahan masjid sambil menatap angkasa yang terus menggamit. Diantaranya, ada kami bertiga menyilak perjalanan masa dan ruang.
“NASA sendiri akui tentang keujudan Planet Z, bernama Nibiru!” kata Rana.
“Lihat itu, Menara Isa yang turut di kenali sebagai Menara Putih. Ada tercatat dalam hadith Sahih Muslim bahawa Nabi Isa akan turun dia satu menara di kota Damsyik dan menara tersebut di namai dengan Menara Putih!” Sambung Haniyeh dengan pandangan ke arah makam Sultan Salahudin Al Ayubi.
“Menurut kalendar Mayan, ada sesuatu yang akan berlaku pada 21 Disember 2012. Kemusnahan dunia apabila Planet Nibiru kembali ke dalam orbit sistem solar kita, seperti yang pernah terjadi 3,600 tahun lalu!”
Tiba-tiba suasana menjadi hening. Kami berpandangan merangkai nafas seorang penganut Kristian Orthodoks, seorang penganut Islam Sunni dan seorang penganut Islam Shiah dalam satu renungan.
Rana matanya beralih diangkasa, saya terpaku dari pancaran lampu masjid menyimbah dan Haniyeh sepenuh tumpuan ke arah menara Putih yang tiba-tiba bercahaya.
Seakan ada titik pertemuan antara angkasa dan bumi di masjid Umayyah. Seperti mana penganut Kristian dan penganut Islam berkongsi sebuah tapak tempat beribadat di Damsyik!

2.       Ashabul Kahfi
Saya mula menafsir jauh ke ruang halusinasi yang terakam dalam Al Quran sebaik masuk ke dalam gua Ar Raqim di pinggiran kota Amman, Salah satu dari gua kisah Ashabul Kahfi. Kisah lagenda sekumpulan pemuda yang tidur selama tiga abad menganjak perspektif tentang perjalanan masa, tentang segala yang merentas logika. Tiada yang mustahil dalam kalam Tuhan.
Kisah yang sama dikongsi dengan Rana kerana ketika pemuda-pemuda itu bangkit dari tidur, adalah zaman pemerintahan Maharaja Theodosius II yang beragama Kristian. Lagenda yang mengisi satu kesedaran mengenai turutan perkembangan agama yang bermula dari Nabi Ibrahim.
“Apokalips akan datang dalam masa terdekat!” Sekali lagi Rana mengulang ramalan yang amat dipercayainya dalam meninjau gua. Terdapat kubur dari batu yang boleh diintai, kelihatan tulang temulang dari lubang. Membaca catatan dari dinding membawa emosi ke satu tahap penuh kekaguman.
Suara Rana sedikit menganggu perhatian. Mungkin Rana terlalu taksub dengan filem-filem Hollywood seperti ‘2012’, ‘Armageddon’ dan ‘Apocalypse.’ Atau terlalu mengikuti puak-puak yang tersebar melalui Internet dengan dakyah dunia akan kiamat dalam  tahun 2012. Pelbagai spekulasi, ramalan dan telahan dari pelbagi sumber mencemaskan jiwa Rana yang kalut kerana bimbangkan survival. Dia mahu berkahwin dalam tahun 2013, sebaik menjadi graduan. Tidak mahu mati sebagai gadis bujang.
“Kamu perlu tidur dalam gua ini dan bangkit tiga ratus tahun lagi!” Haniyeh sedikit jengkel kerana dia mahu memberi tumpuan pada gua bersejarah itu.
“Seperti ramalan bangsa Mayan ribuan tahun dahulu, 2012 adalah tahun dunia akan kiamat!”
Kata-kata Rana yang penuh keyakinan itu memang merimaskan juga. Semenjak dari pertemuan di masjid Umayyah, tidak henti membicarakan sesuatu yang absurd. Yang karut marut. Mungkin dia dihantar sebagai ujian dalam meneroka ruang yang dikongsi.
“Seperti kata abang saya, kacau bilau, huru hara boleh berlaku dengan perkara yang sedikit, seperti kekurangan makanan atau harga barang naik melonjak. Apalagi kalau tiba-tiba tiada kuasa elektrik. Semua orang panik, bayangkan betapa kehidupan kita begitu bergantung kepada elektrik!”
Kami menyusur keluar untuk meninjau kawasan sekeliling. Cuaca aman di kota Amman memberikan kesegaran.
“Bayangkan kalau terputus bekalan elektrik dan tiada satelit, tiada alat komunikasi, tiada media berfungsi, tiada radio, tiada TV, tiada Internet. Secanggih mana gajet, alat atau teknologi yang ada, tanpa elektrik kita boleh sahaja dalam kegelapan walau di siang hari. iPhones, sistem GPS, alat penggera, sistem komputer dan kemudahan moden lain tidak berfungsi!”
Saya pernah membaca yang Osama bin Laden mengajar keluarganya untuk hidup ringkas, kadang-kadang tidur dalam lumpur di padang pasir kerana yakin suatu masa, begitulah keadaan dunia, kembali kepada asas.
“Kalau ada peperangan pun, tanpa elektrik banyak yang tidak berfungsi. Huru-hara dunia!”
“Sebab itu aktiviti naik kuda, memanah itu sunnah Rasulullah, bukan sahaja menyihatkan badan, tetapi mungkin satu hari nanti kalau ada peperangan, kita kembali gunakan kuda dan anak panah!”
Tiba-tiba Haniyeh menyampuk. Kata-kata itu mengejutkan pula Rana.
“Kalau ada time machine, boleh sahaja kembara melihat masa lalu, bertemu Ashabul Kahfi dan ke masa hadapan. Boleh lihat sama ada 2012 akan kiamat, atau ada peperangan yang kembali menggunakan kuda dan panah!”
Saya menyambung dengan sinikal, memperli Rana yang menjeling dengan wajah serius. Haniyeh tersenyum sambil mengambil foto untuk kenangan di muka gua Ashabul Kahfi.

3.       Jabal Qassiyum
“Ada anjakan kawasan kutub utara dan selatan yang boleh mengubah keadaan cuaca dan membawa mala petaka ke seluruh bumi. Kutub telah beralih sejauh 1,100 kilometer sejak abad lalu, dari Artik Kanada ke Siberia!”
Tergiang suara Rana sewaktu melihat ke arah kota Damsyik dari Jabal Qassiyum. Menyusuri gua tempat Habil membunuh Qabil. Tanpa Rana yang tidak naik ke bukit dan masuk ke dalam gua, minda saya digamit pelbagai maklumat sepanjang perjalanan. Bukan sekadar dari laman WikiLeaks, malah laman-laman yang menyebar pelbagai ramalan. Rana tidak henti bercerita dari pembacaannya di Internet. Pun ada asakan menggusarkan terutama apabila diberitahu yang paksi bumi sedang berubah secara gradual.
“Pertumpahan darah dan pembunuhan pertama di muka bumi!”
Bisik Haniyeh di pintu gua yang seperti mulut ternganga, dikatakan sebegitu kerana terperanjat melihat pembunuhan. Saya membayangkan peristiwa yang menjadi sebahagian dari sejarah manusia. Dari konflik antara Habil dan Qabil, berulang pembunuhan, peperangan, penyakit dan bencana menjadi penyebab ramai manusia terkorban.
“Interaksi antara teras dan seluruh bumi membentuk sifat elektromagnetik. Pembalikan kutub yang berterusan menyebabkan polariti terbalik antara kutub utara dan kutub selatan. Teras dalaman dan teras luaran bumi melalui gangguan serius, lantas mempengaruhi litupan cairan separa likat. Hasilnya, perolakan dalam kelikatan meningkat secara substansial. Proses ini turut dipengaruhi oleh pembalikan kutub matahari. Di zaman moden kita tidak mengalami pembalikan kutub matahari dan darat serentak. Antara sekarang dan tahun 2012, gangguan ini akan terus meningkat membuat kerak bumi dan plat tektonik begitu terganggu menyebabkan gunung berapi dan gempa bumi yang teruk. Zaman Ais, polar pembalikan, aktiviti gunung berapi, gempa bumi besar, Tsunami, angin taufan - kita berada di kitaran 11,500 tahun yang bakal memusnahkan alam dan membunuh kehidupan semesta, ya, kiamat dalam tahun 2012!”
Seketika kami menikmati pemandangan ke sempadan, sebelum Rana memecahkan kebisuan perjalanan ke Beirut, ke makam Habil sebelum melintasi sempadan ke Lubnan. Kembara terakhir jejak rasul ke bumi kelahiran Rana.
“Bagaimana dengan Nibiru?”
“Nibiru juga akan kembali di waktu yang sama, bertempuran daya elektromagnetik dari langit dan bumi, itu ramalan Mayan!”
Haniyeh menggeleng-geleng.
“Dalam Islam, hanya Allah sahaja tahu bila akan kiamat. Bukan Nostradamus, bukan pendita Mayan, bukan kamu. Tetapi tanda-tanda akhir zaman sudah ada di mana-mana, malah dalam diri kita juga!”
Saya sama mengangguk walau ada gangguan dari pencerahan minda semenjak Rana menjadi jurucakap bangsa Mayan. Semenjak kembara mendekatkan jasad ke daerah-daerah yang disebut dalam Al Quran. Jauh perjalanan, luas pemandangan.
Dan terlalu banyak maklumat yang menggelirukan boleh menyesakkan jiwa!

4.       Beirut
Kami menyusur kota Beirut dalam meninjau persekitaran yang cukup berbeda. Kota yang pernah dipanggil Paris Timur Tengah sebelum perang saudara meletus dan menjadikan Lubnan dalam kekacauan. Apalagi dengan sembilan agama yang berkongsi penganut dari bangsa yang sama dan bercakap bahasa yang sama. Selepas konflik, kawasan dipisahkan mengikut agama. Segregasi yang boleh mencetuskan ketegangan. Bagai telur dihujung tanduk. Bila-bila masa dari insiden dan isu yang kecil.
“Kawasan timur Beirut bermajoriti Kristian, minoriti Muslim, manakala kawasan barat bermajoriti Muslim dengan minoriti Kristian dan Durzi. Kawasan selatan dipenuhi orang Shiah dan utara orang Protestant!”
Rana menjadi pemandu pelancung yang becok di kota kelahirannya. Dalam menyabarkan Haniyeh yang mendesak untuk ke satu tempat yang pernah mencetus tragidi, kem pelarian Shatila dan Sabra.
“Tragidi penyembelihan pelarian Palestin serta orang awam Lubnan oleh puak pelampau Kristian dan disokong oleh regim Israel, menyayat sekali. Semua ini adalah dari dendam manusia yang boleh memusnahkan, tidak perlu tunggu planet Nibiru datang kembali untuk memusnahkan bumi. Senjata nuklear yang ada di Israel sudah cukup untuk dunia kiamat!”
Sepatah kata Haniyeh apabila kami tiba berhampiran sempadan Israel. Kawasan yang dikuasai pihak Shiah dan Haniyeh cukup ceria melihat gambar-gambar ulama Shiah yang banyak tergantung. Walau kawasan itu seakan bandar koboi yang tidak teratur dan tidak begitu selamat. Beruntung kerana abang Rana, Ali sudi menjadi pemandu dan pengawal keselamatan. Sebagai seorang anggota militari yang tahu mengenai sekuriti, cukup arif mengenai jalan-jalan yang selamat untuk dilalui.
Dari pandangan, gerombolan tentera Israel berada di mana-mana. Lengkap bersenjata dengan kereta kebal. Begitu juga militari Lubnan. Bersedia untuk apa sahaja kemungkinan. Kami tidak dibenarkan lebih jauh kerana berbahaya, begitu kata Ali. Ada sahaja serangan yang berlaku hampir setiap hari. Kematian menjadi satu perkara yang tidak lagi luar biasa apabila kehidupan normal tidak sunyi dari prasangka, dendam dan kebencian sesama manusia.
Kami menjadi bisu dalam menyaksikan sempadan antara dua negara, antara yang baik dan yang jahat. Kembara kami sudah sampai ke kemuncak walau hajat mahu menyeberang untuk ke Baitulmuqadis. Tentunya tidak selamat untuk kami yang tiada muhrim dan saya yang berpaspot Malaysia. Belum lagi berani untuk berdepan dengan risiko, berdepan dengan pihak keselamatan Yahudi yang tidak kenal erti kemanusiaan apabila terasa terancam.
“Lihat di sana, bumi Palestin, tempat bermulanya sejarah dunia, para anbiya lahir, tempat konflik berpanjangan sejak Nabi Ibrahim. Konflik demi konflik menjadikan dunia tidak aman dan barangkali itulah tempat dunia akan berakhir!”
Tiba-tiba Ali melontar suara yang memecah suasana penuh debaran. Wajahnya serius dan kami berpandangan.
“Dunia tidak akan kiamat sebelum Baitulmuqadis ditawan kembali!”
Haniyeh menyusun kata-kata dengan hati-hati. Dia tahu yang Perang Salib berkurun lamanya boleh pula mencetuskan ketegangan diantara kami, terutama Rana yang kuat sekali pegangannya. Perang Salib masih berterusan walau bumi Palestin sudah dicerobohi dan dijajah Bani Israel, dengan dakwaan itulah bumi yang dijanjikan Tuhan kepada mereka. Bumi yang mesti dihuni oleh bangsa Yahudi semata-mata. Dengan melebarkan ketuanan Yahudi yang sama mencengkam dunia melalui pelbagai wadah, termasuk mempergunakan Amerika syarikat untuk berperang diatas pihak Yahudi. Malah Yahudi telah lama masuk ke dalam rumah, dalam sanubari melalui media dan Internet.
 “Tentunya tidak kena mengena dengan planet Nibiru!” Saya menyambung, menanti sekian lama untuk mematikan hujah-hujah Rana mengenai apokalips di tahun 2012, ramalan Mayan yang seakan menjadi ramalan keramat.
Rana menggeleng-geleng, cuba bersuara. Tetapi Ali lebih terdahulu bersuara.
“Nibiru? Itu mungkin dakyah dan konspirasi Yahudi semata-mata, mereka boleh memalsukan Injil, apalagi dengan pelbagai yang karut-marut, untuk mengalihkan pandangan kepada agenda besar Yahudi, membentuk sebuah negara Yahudi antara Sungai Nil dan Sungai Eufrat!”
Rana memandang wajah abangnya. Tidak percaya yang kata-kata itu muncul dari mulut Ali. Tidak percaya yang selama ini dia terpedaya dengan pelbagai dakyah bangsa yang tidak pernah sunyi dari keganasan. Mereka pernah membunuh para nabi, apalah manusia biasa yang lain seperti anak-anak Palestin yang mempertahankan tanahair sendiri.
Kami terdiam. Kembara seakan mencapai klimaks dari perburuan maya. Sama ada Sunni, Shiah atau Kristian Ortodoks, ada musuh yang sama sedang menerkam di mana-mana. Tiba-tiba ada perspektif bersepadu yang lebih mantap untuk diterokai. Ada pencerahan bersama matlamat yang kudus dalam menghadapi kembara rohaniah generasi abad ke 21 yang celik Internet dan terbuka untuk menilai imej-imej di perjalanan. Untuk menganalisa dan mencari persamaan tanpa melihat warna kulit disebalik kekalutan yang bertalu menghimpit minda dan emosi.
Petang itu, di ruang bersejarah yang terus bergolak, berdarah dan bergelora. Kami berdiri  berhampiran ‘garis biru,’  sempadan Israel dan Lubnan yang memisahkan kepercayaan sebagai pegangan walau telah bermula dari langit. Kami diserbu suara Ali yang berdentum melantun ke segenap ruang. Bergema diantara bayang-bayang kemanusian dan seribu lagenda yang datang dan pergi bersama mitos dan realiti semasa. Nada keras menutup diskusi yang menjalar ke bintang Nibiru dan berhimpun merentas suasana perang yang sureal. Kembali logika ke bumi tua yang melatar serakan prejudis dalam persepsi yang diwarnai fatamorgana.
“Percayalah, dunia tidak akan kiamat tanpa ada penyelesaian dan kedamaian abadi di Baitulmuqadis!”

 - Tamat -

Planet X, Nibiru and the Annunaki return 2012