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anarkali has commented on (2) products.

Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West by Benazir Bhutto
Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

anarkali, March 15, 2008

This book has two strands. In the first strand, BB outlines her political world-view, arguing that Islam is not incompatible with democracy, women's rights, and religious tolerance. This element of the book is cobbled together from other scholars - I suspect it is largely the work of her collaborator, Mark Siegal, although it bears BB's authorisation. It reads like a fluent undergraduate essay, providing selective summaries of the available scholarship but not adding anything new. It is only of interest because of who BB was.

The other strand of the book is a defence of BB's own political record, which stands in stark contrast to the values she espouses in this book. I don't doubt that BB would prefer not to have supported the Taliban's rise to power in neighbouring Afghanistan. Or that she would have liked to overturn the Hudood ordinances, under which so many Pakistani women have been jailed for adultery (many of them having simply fallen victim to rape, or to vindictive reports by their former husbands). And BB would probably have prefered not to have been engaged in power-sharing negotiations with president Musharraf, even as she passionately denounced him in the pages of this book. But she valued power above all of those things. Now she is gone, and it is a tragic loss for Pakistan. But it is even more tragic that Pakistan has been reduced to the point where BB was its last best hope.
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The Gift by Hafiz
The Gift

anarkali, March 15, 2008

It is misleading to the point of deceptive to describe this book as a "translation" of Hafiz. Ladinsky does not speak Persian, and so cannot read Hafiz in the original. Nor has he based his poems on previous translations. Rather, he believes these poems to have been divininely chanelled - what Hafiz might have written if he were an American baby-boomer disciple of Meher Baba. You may or may not choose to believe this, and you may or may not enjoy the poems, but it is certainly worth buying a "real" translation of Hafiz so that you can compare for yourself. Personally, I far prefer Hafiz (and Rumi, and Kabir and all the various poets that Ladinsky has claimed to channel over the years) to Ladinsky.
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(23 of 44 readers found this comment helpful)

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