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Conversation with Assistant Professor Simon Olling Rebsdorf on Background, Work, Philosophy, and High-IQ Societies: Assistant Professor, VIA University College (1)

Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: May 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,215

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Gulalai Ismail is a Co-Founder of Aware Girls. She has been awarded the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy, the Anna Politkovskaya Award, and recognized as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 by Foreign Policy. She discusses: reportage in North Waziristan; most dangerous person in Pakistan; Pashtun Tahafuz Movement; human rights and humanitarian law; freethinkers; most dangerous woman; and a lifelong commitment.

Keywords: Aware Girls, freethinkers, Gulalai Ismail, human rights, North Waziristan,  Pashtun Tahafuz Movement.

Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted April 24, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You did some rights work and reportage in North Waziristan looking at the cases of women who were raped or sexually assaulted by security forces of Pakistan. What were some of those findings? And what was some of the protest you gave over those acts of the police forces? Also, what was the reaction of the police force or the state forces?

Gulalai Ismail[1],[2]: It was January 2009, when I saw a video on the internet. It was a video of a small boy. Maybe, he was 11 years old. His name was Hayat. In that video, the young boy was saying that he was from North Waziristan. He was saying that his brothers had been picked up months ago by security agencies. However, their home was continually barged into by the security forces. He mother was harassed regularly. He was so fed up with it. When this video came out, there was a lot of anger about the issue of harassment by security force. The security forces tried to shut down the woman. They tried to claim this was a lie, etc. The mother of the little boy, she presented herself in a local council meeting with local elders. She gave a testimony. She said, ‘It is true.’ She is regularly getting harassed by security forces. Home is regularly getting barged into by security forces. Her husband and son have already been taken by the security agencies, as in missing persons. Victims of forced disappearances. A s women’s rights activist, I felt a responsibility. When she spoke about sexual harassment, in a tribal area, where women do not have access to public spaces, where there are not enough schools and the literacy rate is really low with women’s less than 10%, they do not have access to media. There is not internet.

The government has still not given the right of the internet to people of Waziristan. There is not internet over there. It is a complete information blackout area. A woman who is so brave and courageous stood and spoke out against sexual harassment. As a women’s rights activist, I felt a responsibility to go visit her and show solidarity with her. To tell her, she is not alone. I, along with other women activists, I went there to meet her. When we went there, dozens of women came to see us. We were told a number of stories of sexual harassment by the security forces. Also, some of the women claim that some women have been abducted aby security forces. Those women have never been given back. They have not been returned to their families. We got to know the story of the woman who was part of a later incident. It was a policy of the state security agencies. It happened regularly. It was a common policy. The women from the area, it is such a taboo for a woman to be in public spaces all around Pakistan. Every woman in Pakistan is not comfortable to be on media. They are not even allowed by the men in the community and the family to be on the internet or to give any interview. This one woman was very brave. She had a small piece of paper with 25 lines on it. She said that she wanted to give the media an interview. Her husband had been picked up by the security agencies. The security forces keep barging into her home. They come and harass her every time. She drew one line on this paper for every incident. She had this paper with 25 lines marking every time of the harassment by the security forces.

This helps us know sexual harassment is either a policy or the security forces keep on enjoying immunity for the crimes committed against women in the areas, where they are engaged in military operations. Of course, in Pakistan, the mainstream media is not allowed to cover any issues in which people are critical of the Pakistani military. Also, the mainstream media is not allowed to give coverage to any activist of the movement known as Pashtun Tahafuz Movement. We were not given coverage. The story was not given coverage on any mainstream media. Of course, there are some channels like Voice of America or Europe Radio, which gave coverage to the story and gave voice to the issue. We also wrote letters to the international commission on the status of women to take notice of it. To make sure justice is done, the reconciliation commission should be established. Nothing was done. Instead, activists who went there. I went there. I started experiencing harassment by state authorities. A few days later, I was arrested from a protest. We were doing a protest against the murder of a peace activist. Right from there, I was arrested. We were all arrested, who were doing the protest. I was made a missing person. I was kept incommunicado for almost 48 hours, for two days. My family did not know where I had been kept. No one was given any access to counsel, to a lawyer. Soon after it, the crackdown started against me, which never ended. I was released. Even then, I was released only after immense international pressure. Even after the release, the crackdown did not stop.

Then when I highlighted the issue again in May of 2019, I highlighted the issue when protesting against the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl in Islamabad, which is the capital of Pakistan. We were protesting this. She was raped and murdered by someone in the neighbourhood. The police had not lodged a complaint of the girl gone missing. When the girl had gone missing, they went to the police to find their girl and file a complaint. The police refused to take the complaint, ‘She must have eloped with someone. So, we won’t take the case.’ A few days later, she was found dead and raped. Then the hospitals were not even willing to do her post-mortem. So, a protest was happening. Civil society was doing a protest against it. In the protest, I highlighted the issues of sexual harassment in North Waziristan. [Laughing] For that, I was booked under a case or clauses under the anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan for defaming Pakistan military and for promoting ethnic violence, for engaging in treason, which is a life sentence. I do not know what they would have done if they had arrested me. Soon after the speech, I became the most wanted terrorist in Pakistan. I was highlighted as a terrorist, as someone who is a terrorist. Soon, they started raiding our homes. The digital surveillance was started. My parents were under digital surveillance. The raids were not any raids.

We are talking dozens of commandoes and police who raid our homes, check our homes, every corner of the home, harassing my sister and siblings and parents who were home; they took our mobile phones. We had CCTV cameras installed in our home. Those were taken from our home. Every few weeks, our home would be raided as if it were the home of the biggest terrorist or the headquarters of the biggest terrorist organization in Pakistan. Similar raids were done on my relatives’ homes. Soon, we got to know. My name was put on some state kill list. I was on a blacklist. Before that, my name was added on some personal special interest list. I used to be investigated, interrogated, by the counter-terrorism department of the special investigation agency of Pakistan. It was non-stop for more than a year. It has been a non-stop harassment by the state. I risked disappearances, booking me in cases of terrorism. It has been crazy. The past one-and-a-half year has been really crazy.

Jacobsen: If stated to Pakistan as the most dangerous person, let alone women but person, in the country, many people know the name and know the purported crime. I would assume statements were made in public by them, about you, about then movement you are involved with, or about your organization. If any, if my assumption is correct, what were they?

Ismail: The movement has always been presented very negatively in the mainstream media because the mainstream media is not allowed to invite us or members of the movement. They discuss us. They portray us as traitors. In April, it was the 29th of 2020. The director of the ISBR, the media public relations wing of Pakistan military. The director or the spokesperson of the Pakistan military, he did a press conference and threated the PT movement saying, ‘The time is up for the PT movement. It is time for action.’ His famous sentence, “The time is up for PTF.” Shortly after the press conference and the statement about strict action taken against us, and we’ve crossed the red line and will not be tolerated anymore, many videos emerged online on YouTube saying, “The time is up for Gulalai,‘ and two others. This was the kind of statements that were given about us. They were always threatening and outrageous statements against our basic rights, our fundamental rights. Besides this, when I was still in hiding because of the situation created for me, my life was at risk. Imran Kahn was visiting the United States. He was giving a speech in the United States Institute of Peace. He was asked about me and the crackdown about me. He started using the question as an excuse to promote more propaganda against the movement. He did not answer the question and promoted more propaganda against us over there.

One of the unfortunate situations for us is the political leadership have not come forward. In a way, they should have come forward in support of the movement. They have not come forward against the crackdown against us, in the way they should have come down against the crackdown against us. The political parties did not take a strong stand in support of the movement because, in Pakistan, the elections are engineered b the Pakistan military agency. Anyone critical of the military agency are afraid that they will not win and will not be able to get into the Parliament. They do not put themselves in trouble by questioning, or issuing support in solidarity with people like me or the movement. It is unfortunate. If there was any talk, then it was negative and only negative statements of propaganda.

Jacobsen: For the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, what is the history there? Of course, you have Pashtun heritage. However, in Pakistan, this is a particularly sensitive issue. One, as you have noted, among many others with some overlap and, in other ways, not. What is the status of the movement? What is the trajectory?

Ismail: The history of the movement is after 9/11, the militant organizations started to organization in the Northwest of Pakistan. The state let them organize. The state hesitated and let them have access to resources because they were a strategic asset of Pakistan. They tried to establish Islamic state in Pakistan. They were killing people, even attacking the government institutes. Military operations started against them. Many more military opens have been dozen affecting millions of people. Millions of people are displaced from their homes. Most of them were displaced on very short notice. Not enough support was provided to the people who were displaced. They were not even given the label of Internally Displaced people. Because when you are given the label, the certain rights apply to IDPs, Pakistan avoided it, even called Intermittently Displaced People., or ITTPs or something to prevent them from having rights of displaced people. Thousands of families, even today, are living in those camps. They are not able to return to their homes. The camps were more like concentration camps. They are guarded by the military, the Pakistani military. They are not controlled by civilians. The civil society is not allowed to enter the camps and meet with the people inside the camps. Political parties are not even allowed to visit these camps. Only the military controls it. Landmines were used, which are against international law. No landmines, no excuse can be used to fill whole villages with landmines, even if you are doing a military operation. However, dozens of people have lost their lives. Dozens have people have been disabled because of the landmines.

Then extrajudicial killing is another phenomenon that emerged. Extrajudicial killing was done not just in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but all over Pakistan. When killed extrajudicially, they would be labelled “terrorists” rather than be given a free and fair trial. Hundreds of them were killed in fake police encounters. They were not real police encounters. They would be abducted, tortured, and killed, and the dumped, and then a fake police operation or encounter would be staged. Then the this would be labelled the “terrorist running away, so he was killed by the state.” Most were killed extrajudicially and were innocent people who do not have any link with a terrorist organization. Thousands of innocent people were killed extrajudicially. If you look at the whole military set of operations, not a single leader of these terrorist organizations was killed in these military operations. Who were these people? These were never shared with the public. Who were these terrorists who were killed? How did the Pakistani military come to the conclusion that this person was a terrorist? No kind of information was given to this day. No one knows, never even names have been given, the information has not even been given to the Parliament. There is one parliamentarian who belongs to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement.

He has raised questions in the Parliament. He asked the Defense Department to give him the list of the terrorists killed in military operations because more than a dozen have been done. He wants the list. Not even the list of names of people has been provided. Similarly, extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearances became a big phenomenon. Most of the people, even if someone is not innocent, you cannot make them a victim of enforced disappearance. So, thousands of people became victims of enforced disappearances. They are brought internment centers. They are not given the right to a free and fair trial. They are not given the right to access family. They are not given the right to access to a lawyer. Once someone has gone missing, I have met families whose family members are missing for years, for 10 years, for 14 years. They do not know where they have gone. Enforced disappearance is another issue with targeted killings too. The local head witness and the Pakistan military, itself, has allowed terrorist organizations organize in their villages and to kill the local people. No action will be taken against the terrorist organizations, except in the name of military organizations crimes were committed. All of the human rights abuses were committed by Pakistan state military during the war against terror.

Jacobsen: With the lack of transparency with the public comes the basis for a lack of accountability to the public and to the international community, especially around human rights and humanitarian law, what is the status of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Pakistan?

Ismail: If you speak about the tribal areas of Pakistan, then there is complete informational blackout. There is no T.V. There is only in some parts where you can listen to radio. No T.V. and no internet, the Pakistani government and the Prime Minister of Pakistan speaks so much about the lockdown of Kashmir. He speaks so much against the shutdown of internet in Kashmir. In the tribal areas of Pakistan, this has been like this forever. I do not if internet was ever even given to the trial areas of Pakistan. So, there is complete informational blackout in the tribal areas of Pakistan. In the rest of Pakistan, the situation for freedom of expression is really difficult. It is dire. There is no freedom of expression for voices of dissent. People who are dissidents. People who think differently; people who are critical of the state policy. In Pakistan, only religious clerics has freedom of expression. Only terrorist organizations have freedom of expression. Only banned terrorist organizations have freedom of expression. Human rights activists and common people do not have freedom of expression. IF they dare to use freedom of expression, like my father, then they are booked for cases for terrorism or cybercrime. The cybercrime case filed against his because he has been accused of speaking against the government. In the whole civilized world, you would not put someone in prison because they are being critical of the government. The FIR of my father says that he has been charged for cybercrime because he has speaking against the government. So, the regressive laws like cybercrimes laws and anti-terrorism laws of Pakistan are used against voices of dissent. I am not the only dissident. I am not the only human rights activist who had to flee the country to save my life. Many dissidents have to flee the country, to leave the country, to save their lives. There is a huge community where so many people had to leave Pakistan because it was no longer safe for them living in Pakistan. It was because of their political opinions. They were no longer tolerated in Pakistan for their political opinions.

Jacobsen: How many cases of humanists and others of a similar freethinker stripe, given the information blackout when bad things happen to them, whether injury, death, or otherwise, simply go unnoticed via the information blackout?

Ismail: I do not know how many cases go unreported, Scott, to be honest; because if there is no information, I don’t know the real figures. However, based on the religious fundamentalism and the support militants have enjoyed, I am sure many cases go unreported. The data available, I am sure this is unrepresentative and the persecution by state authorities and by the community is much greater.

Jacobsen: Are you still considered the most dangerous woman from Pakistan?

Ismail: Well [Laughing]…

Jacobsen: …[Laughing]…

Ismail: …just last week, Pakistan submitted an appeal in the court asking to cancel the appeal of my father, as he was booked on a cybercrime case. He is on bail now. But Pakistan is trying to cancel the bail of him. He has been tortured and persecuted because he is my father. In January when my mother received a letter, she is on the Exit Control List. This is based on my being the most dangerous person in Pakistan.

Jacobsen: This title, the most dangerous woman in Pakistan, whether a formal title or informally implied, is going to follow you for the rest of your life. This is not something that just goes away.

Ismail:  Yes, I think those who are ready for war. Those who support terrorism. Patriarchal institutions too, I am glad that they see me as the most dangerous person.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Ismail: They should be really, really afraid that, now, they have a strong woman who is out there to expose their agenda [Laughing].

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Ismail: She will not sit back. Until, they are all held accountable. I am glad that they think I am dangerous.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Founder, Aware Girls.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3) [Online]. May 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, May 15). Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, May. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (May 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): May. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismakil-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, North Waziristan, and Being the Most Dangerous Person in Pakistan: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3) [Internet]. (2021, May 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-3.

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Conversation with Uwe Michael Neumann (1)

Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: May 8, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,919

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Gulalai Ismail is a Co-Founder of Aware Girls. She has been awarded the Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy, the Anna Politkovskaya Award, and recognized as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 by Foreign Policy. She discusses: faith, misogyny, and uplifting women; science, religion, and the status quo in Pakistan; Aware Girls and Saba Ismail; and extremist organizing.

Keywords: Aware Girls, extremists, faith, Gulalai Ismail, Humanism, Islam, misogyny, Pakistan, religion, Saba Ismail, science, Zia-ul-Haq.

Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted April 24, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In some cultures where there is some of the more extreme forms of violence against women and girls, where we see genital mutilation, infibulation, and clitoridectomy, it is mixed up between culture and faith.

How are forms of explicit misogyny in practice – let alone an attitude – reflected in religious values and in cultural values? On the other side, which religious and cultural values appear to uplift women in Pakistan?

Gulalai Ismail[1],[2]: Very interesting question, religion, Islam, has been part of our cultures and every community for hundreds of years. It has mixed with the local culture. So, faith and culture are very strongly linked with each other. I think faith is part of the culture. It is one sub-part of the culture.

They are strongly linked to each other. The religion has changed a lot. It has influenced in so many ways. Faith has influenced and shaped the culture, the festivals, the community activities. In Pakistan, especially in the Northwest of Pakistan, I have seen – and my parents have seen – how regularly the religious fundamentalists took up more political space.

They gained more political space and gained more cultural space. So, the cultural events, the cultural festivals, were declared by the religious clerics as non-Islamic and bad. They were banned or abandoned by the people under the influenced of the religious extremists.

So many cultural events and cultural activities, which used to happen a decade ago, or two or three decades ago, they used to happen; they are not happening now. All the faith-based festivals or mostly faith-based festivals are happening now.

Even some of the cultural events have still survived, however, they are always under attack. People from the agricultural communities, especially from the Punjab, would come together and fly kites.

They would sing. They would dance. They would fly kites. Now, the festival is under attack by state actors and by the religious fundamentalists calling this un-Islamic and part of Hindu culture. Therefore, they should not celebrate it.

Pakistan is such a diverse country because many nations live in Pakistan. Every nation has their own culture. So, sometimes, the festivals are very beautiful. The languages are very beautiful. Not much has been done by the state authorities to preserve the culture and the music.

There is only one federal institute alongside the Pakistan National Council of the Arts at the federal level. These are the two state institutes, federal level institutions, working to preserve languages, music, and culture. They are just two institutes.

There is not much at the state or the culture level to preserve the beautiful parts of the culture because, in Pakistan, the resources is linked to the polices. Pakistan is a country where the resources are invested heavily in defense and security.

On the whole, it is promoting the narrative that Pakistan is a security state. The money is spent on the manta that we are under attack by India and Israel, and the Jews, are conspiring against us; India is conspiring against us. We are under attack on all sides.

Therefore, we need a stronger security and more investment in defense. So, much of the money is spent on tanks, bombs, on the nuclear bomb, education in our curriculum, children are not taught about the music, the heritage, the diversity. They are mostly taught about religion. You will find religion in English course books.

You will find religion in Pakistan study books [Laughing]. You will find religion in Islam study books. You will find religion in Urdu study books. Religion is studied so much in Pakistan. Religion and religious intolerances are taught as the thinking for the kids in education.

Religion has been a huge space in the cultural and political life. Look at the corona pandemic, in the midst of the corona pandemic, every country of the world is asking its people and issuing guidelines to stay at home. The countries are on lockdown.

The whole world is under lockdown. The governments are asking people only to come out for necessities. Only on necessities is business ongoing. During the month of Ramadan, the month of Ramadan has started.

When it starts, even countries like Saudi Arabia, which I think is [Laughing] the epitome of a religious country, when Saudi Arabia mentions the closing of the mosques during the month of Ramadan, people have to stay at home.

The Kaaba is one of the holiest places for Muslims. It has been closed down due to the coronavirus. In Pakistan, the president invited the delegation of religious clerics before the month of Ramadan started. They had twenty demands from the government.

The twenty demands were the mosques must remain open for prayers and prayers much continue. All demands were accepted by the government. It was announced the mosques would remain open for Ramadan prayers during the month of Ramadan. That is a very dangerous president.

Pakistan does not have accessible healthcare. We have a very bleak healthcare system. If the pandemic hit us the way it has hit countries like the U.S. or Europe, then Pakistan will be seeing dead bodies on the roads. Because our healthcare system cannot afford it.

We do not have a strong healthcare system, even the strongest healthcare systems are breaking down in the pandemic. We do not have a system. The government of Pakistan, they agreed to the demands of the religious clerics at the cost of lives of the people.

During the corona pandemic, when all over the world, the media channels are inviting either the mayors, governors, who are giving briefings to people, and the doctors and medical experts. They are coming and giving information on it.

In Pakistan, every media is bringing religious leaders to talk about corona pandemic. Too much media, public space has been given to religious elements at the cost of the lives of people, at the cost of the destruction of the society of Pakistan.

Jacobsen: The former Nobel Prize winner Abdus Salam noted one thing to Steven Weinberg who he collaborated with in the past. He noted that an individual who is in many Middle Eastern countries with Muslim heritage. They will very easily and widely accept the technological and technical masteries that are brought about by science. All of the technological marvels and wonders that one can see implemented in Dubai or in the United Arab Emirates in general, or elsewhere. At the same time, the attitude and thought process of science that brings about the findings through that methodology. Those, he noted, were very, very hard to bring to a wide audience because the religious leaders and some of the political leaders saw this, in essence, as a threat. This is according to Steven Weinberg. In that, this would be an erosive or corrosive force on fundamentalist ideologies. How is this reflected in some of the Pakistan? Not only in the press briefing with religious clerics, but also in the attitudes of the public towards technology, on the one hand, and science as an attitude, a methodology, and a set of findings, on the other.

Ismail: In Pakistan, religion has been used in so many different ways for the benefit of maintaining status quo. It goes back to the history of Pakistan. For example, in Pakistan, if you raise the question, “What does it mean to be a Pakistani?” Who are you when you say you are Pakistani? In Pakistan, the Pakistani identity has been made synonymous with being Muslim and to Islam. It has roots in the subcontinent of India. Pakistan was made for Muslims. It was a country to be made for Muslims or in the name of Islam. Religion was made for the subdivision of the Indian subcontinent in the first place. Also, it was made to define what is meant by a Pakistani. That is why you can see how religion slowly, and gradually, took a huge part in the constitution of Pakistan. Pakistan was formed in 1947, but many years later in 1956 when the first constitution was formed; Pakistan was given the name the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” The Preamble of the Pakistan Constitution is known as the Objective Resolution. It says, ‘This country made in the name of Islam. The country will be ruled according to Islam.’ According to the Objective Resolution, people are not sovereign units of the country. God is the most sovereign. God is the most sovereign entity. The Objective Resolution was about how it Islamic the whole country. Slowly and gradually, religion was used by religious political parties. The same religious political parties who initially opposed the formation of Pakistan. After the formation of Pakistan, those religious political parties started using religion to gain more access to politics to have more say in the decision-making.

So, religion was mainstreamed by those religious political parties. The political parties and the military dictators were the biggest users of the religion. Zia-ul-Haq was a military dictator. His justification for overthrowing democracy and establishing a military dictatorship was Islam. He started the Islamization of Pakistan. He Islamized the laws of the country. To this day, we have not been able to recover from the Islamization of Zia-ul-Haq. He was the one who introduced many Islamic laws, which we are still part of the laws of Pakistan. They are still used. Sharia courts were established. The religious leaders have been given a role in the judiciary in the form of Sharia courts. Similarly, there is a religious council, an advisory religious council, which gives advice to the Parliament (of Pakistan). The only time the Parliament consults the religious council is when the Parliament has to legislate about women’s rights. The only time the Parliament thinks that they need to counsel these advisors is for women’s rights. Women are at the receiving end of the mainstreaming of religion in Pakistan. As I said, it has been used by Pakistan military. Then religion has been used for the strategic interests. The military establishment of Pakistan along with the political parties have used religion as a strategic asset. For example, when Pakistan had been supporting Taliban in Afghanistan. Religion was used to recruit people for Jihad.

There are hundreds of madrassahs, hundreds of jihad training institutions, founded all over Pakistan, so people could be brainwashed and trained for jihad in Afghanistan. The school curriculums were changed all over Pakistan. More religion was inserted in the curriculum. The narratives of jihad could be promoted. They are still part of the curriculum. Those jihad materials are still part of the curriculum. So, religion has been used by the military establishment and the political parties. They have been using religion to enjoy more control at the cost of destroying the social fabric of the society. As I said to you, religion is a big part of the curriculum; so, critical thinking skills are not part of the curriculum. People are never given – children, young people – the skills to criticize, to question. Criticism or raising questions, the whole school culture in built in a way that students are discouraged from raising questions. Students are not encouraged to raise questions; they are discouraged from raising questions and from critical thinking skills. So, religion has been used to maintain status quo in Pakistan. Throughout the previous decades, the military establishment, and mainstream political parties, have mainstreamed religious political parties. Most of the terrorist organizations in Pakistan. They try to emerge in the form of political parties. They run their election campaigns. They secure a huge amount; they will not be able to make it to the Parliament, but they secure a huge number of votes.

Jacobsen: When you founded Aware Girls, was it 16?

Ismail: Yes, I was 16.

Jacobsen: A co-founder with Saba (Ismail), what were some discussions that you can recall between Saba and you?

Ismail: While living in a girl while we were witnessing, even becoming victims, to the gender discrimination, we really wanted to do something to change it. One of my cousins was almost our age when she wanted to become a pilot. She was taken out of school and married to a person in the family who was almost twice her age. It was a time when we were very shocked and traumatized how one of our own cousins could be taken out of school and not be given the opportunity to go to school and pursue her dreams. This was the breaking point for us. We could not do anything. We discussed this a lot with our families. No one would listen to these two small girls who were discontented with the cousin’s marriage. We could not do anything to stop the marriage. We wanted to do something. So, it would not happen to any other woman. We talked to women and girls in our neighbourhood, in our schools. Most of the time, when we would discuss this with girls, we would not find a lot of interest among the girls. [Laughing] Starting a revolution against the gender discrimination, most of the girls had internalized it. I think the discrimination is internalized as a defense mechanism. We were these young girls. We thought, “These young girls are not allowed to make a movement, to resist against Patriarchy. Because they are not aware of their rights.” We decided to start by giving them education and awareness of their human rights. We started this campaign with the name of “Aware Girls.” It was a campaign to give girls awareness and education on their rights.

Once in our head, the idea, ‘Once they are aware of their rights and have some leadership skills, they will be able to speak up for their rights. We would go and the girls would have discussions about the issues faced in their daily lives. The kind of discrimination aced by them. What can be done, how they can negotiate for themselves inside of the home in their families for their rights, how to negotiate their rights, that is how it started. Once we started, of course, the more we learned. It is not just about lack of knowledge with the young girls. It is about lack of opportunities, lack of platforms, and about a conducive environment. Girls need a conducive environment to exercise their human rights. It needs supportive families. It needs supportive communities. It needs a state there for young girls to protect their rights. We got involved in advocacy work. We were working on changing the laws. We were working on leadership skills for girls in leadership. In 2009, we started working on peacebuilding after the region was threatened with terrorism and recruitments by the Taliban or by the militant organizations.

Jacobsen: How do terrorist organizations, extremist organizations, encourage men into their ranks, women into their ranks? And how do those men and women who end up in them become slotted to particular roles?

Ismail: The recruitment was started by the state. When they wanted to recruit people for jihad. The number of madrassahs were increased, and the number of terrorist institutes were founded. The media was used by the state. The media was sued to promote the narrative, the extremist narratives. The curriculum was used. In Pakistan, most of the people have been indoctrinated with a fundamentalist form of Islam. It is really easy for militant organizations and for terrorist organizations to identify the most vulnerable in the community and to reach out and recruit them. The madrassah training centers have been used to recruit people. Most of the time, these are the centers for recruitment. Mosques have been used. These militant organizations’ leadership, even until now, visit mosques and introduce themselves. They ask people to come and down join them. They have been given a lot of power to do huge political gatherings. Even last year, there was a huge political gathering of banned terrorist organizations, where they asked people. They took bait. They took promises of people offering for them to join jihad. They do huge public gatherings. They recruit people through mosques and religious madrassahs. Also, they recruit people who are vulnerable, who have different issues, who like the idea of war, who like the idea of weapons, or who like the ideas of jihad.

Also, they recruit through community. There are a number of women madrassahs. Most of the women have been recruited through those religious madrassahs. For example, there was a very famous case, where a madrassah teacher was going to join ISIS along with more than a dozen students of the madrassah. She was arrested and brought. It is not just mosques and religious schools. It is, as I said, generally through community and online recruitment is done and social media is used. Our public schools are good enough to indoctrinate people. There was a very famous case a few years back when a student from medical college. She was a student of medical college. She was recruited online for ISIS. Then she was brought back. This was how we got to know of the incident. Women are recruited are online from public universities, and from religious schools. The militant organizations have a huge network. Their network is limited to universities, schools. They have networks in the bureaucracy as well. They are in the military of Pakistan as well. Even within the military of Pakistan, you could see. People have been indoctrinated with the idea of jihad. It is real. Therefore, they should go for jihad. Almost every part of the society has their network, their people.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Founder, Aware Girls.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2) [Online]. May 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, May 8). Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, May. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (May 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): May. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Gulalai Ismail on Zia-ul-Haq, Misogyny, Religion, Faith, Science, and Pakistani Politics: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2) [Internet]. (2021, May 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/gulalai-ismail-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on: Member, World Genius Directory (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: May 8, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,013

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Mr. Sudarshan Murthy is a Member of the World Genius Directory. He self-describes as follows: “My name is Sudarshan Murthy. I am 41 years old male from Bangalore, India. I have studied Master of Pharmacy and working in the research and development of Nutrition Products for general wellness and disease-specific products. I am a creative individual and published research papers in journals and also published books on appropriate strategies for curing acidity and ulcers of the stomach and intestine. I have developed a product called Glucovita Bolts which is a chewable tablet of Glucose and Vitamins and Minerals for energy and reduction of fatigue. This product can be taken by individuals who suffer from chronic fatigue. My hobbies are numismatics, philately and travelling. My interests are astronomy, reading books, solving IQ tests, understanding the secrets of ancient knowledge particularly Indian Vedas which I believe is a storehouse of profound knowledge on various aspects of life and the cosmos.” He discusses: grandfather; proposed medicines; importance of education; missing out on meeting with close relatives; education; innate ingenuity; Mysterium; theories or ideas; Newton; Leonardo Da Vinci; Sushrutha; Bhaskaracharya; “deep observation”; the mind of a genius; the more promising paths; order; the disagreements among “different religions”; scientific principles; eternal mysteries; rule utilitarianism; situational ethics; politics; tripartite metaphysical formulation; and societies.

Keywords: Bhaskaracharya, family, genius, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, metaphysics, order, Rule Utilitarianism, Situational Ethics, Sudarshan Murthy, Sushrutha.

Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: As your grandfather was illiterate and living in a village without formal education, your story seems like one of triumph in spite of the circumstances. Why did he study Ayurvedic by himself?

Mr. Sudarshan Murthy[1],[2]*: My Grandfather was an orphan. He was in a small village. He then came to the city in search of a job. When he came here he was taken into the shelter by an elderly gentleman who was an Ayurvedic physician. He took my grandfather as an office boy for his clinic. My grandfather was having sharp intellect. He developed an interest in medicines and gradually became a compounder and then finally started to understand the medicines and Ayurveda under his master’s guidance. As the master’s children were not interested in Ayurveda the master started teaching Ayurveda to my grandfather. My grandfather took a keen interest in this and then started his own clinic. Since he became well-versed in Ayurveda he started developing his own medicines.

Jacobsen: What were some of the proposed medicines by your grandfather?

Murthy: He developed Ayurvedic medicines for memory, hairfall, diarrhea and high fever. He was doing clinical trials on medicines for children’s health when he suddenly expired.

Jacobsen: Between the home life, the surgeon, the doctor, and the electrical engineer, what is the importance of education within the family?

Murthy: I personally believe that education is important to get formal accreditation to start our professional practice but everything depends on our ability to apply our knowledge in our chosen education to be successful in our life. Education, by itself, cannot guarantee success in life. It is the innate ability and ingenuity which is required to succeed in our life. There are many such examples. Baba Ramdev from India who started Patanjali Ayurved became a Rs.10000 Crore company in a span of 6 years which many multinational companies have failed to achieve. He is having no formal Ayurvedic education. He is now invited to IIT and IIM to coach students on how to achieve success in life.

Jacobsen: Do you regret missing out on meeting with close relatives in a different start when younger?

Murthy: Yes I feel bad that I was not able to meet and stay with close relatives during my younger days when intimate relationships do form and stay long-lasting. Now I am not having any close relationship which helps to build emotional strength. This makes me feel lonely and insecure.

Jacobsen: Why pursue the education in pharmacy, business administration, food and nutrition, writing, and the sciences regarding clinical trials?

Murthy: I am crazy as far as education is concerned. I am interested to learn a variety of knowledge, especially in medical field. But only technical knowledge is not sufficient to progress in life but it requires business sense also so I studied business administration.

Jacobsen: Why are internal qualities of “innate ingenuity” so often unseen or unobserved without a formal test, even by the person with the innate ingenuity? It seems counterintuitive at first blush.

Murthy:I think that the world is based on the principle of “what you see is what you believe” and every person is also framed like that. We don’t believe ourselves till we see what we have done. This is a problem with genius people. They don’t believe themselves till others make them see what they have done.

Jacobsen: Is Mysterium still extant?

Murthy: I saw the group on facebook. Mr. Monte Washburn is the admin. The name is “Mysterium Society”.

Jacobsen: Do you have any particular theories or ideas that you’re trying to advance?

Murthy: I don’t have any particular theories or ideas to advance. I believe any theory which is made for common good without exploitation.

Jacobsen: What makes Newton one of the great historical geniuses, in character and in productions?

Murthy: Newton is great because he first observed the theory of gravity operating in the earth by observing and thinking why did apple fall on the ground why did it not go up. As I mentioned before this quality of profound observation is what makes a person genius.

Of course his three laws of motion and various other inventions make him one of the greatest historical geniuses.

Jacobsen: What makes Leonardo Da Vinci one of the great historical geniuses, in character and in productions?

Murthy: The same argument which I put forth for Newton applies here also. Many people know about him and his various inventions but what I admire in him is that he could write with both hands and he could write the words /sentences in their mirror image as well simultaneously. This shows his profound imagination and his ability to visualize the mirror image without actually seeing in mirror. This is an extraordinary quality of usage of his mind.

Jacobsen: What makes Sushrutha one of the great historical geniuses, in character and in productions?

Murthy: Sushrutha is considered the first surgeon of India. He was so brilliant that he could actually fit the nose to a person who had lost his nose. In those olden times, he could perform surgery when knowledge of medical science was not so advanced. This makes him one of the historical geniuses of India. Some even say that he could perform cloning and also able to fit one animal’s body part into humans. Even today we don’t know how this can be done without eliciting organ rejection by the body.

Jacobsen: What makes Bhaskaracharya one of the great historical geniuses, in character and in productions?

Murthy: Bhaskaracharya was an ancient Indian mathematician and astronomer who is said to have discovered gravity much before Newton. He is also known for developing various mathematical equations on algebra, geometry and trigonometry. His achievements can be found on google search. This makes him one of the historical geniuses of his time.

Jacobsen: Can “deep observation” be trained, or is it more innate?

Murthy: I believe deep observation can be trained.

Jacobsen: What explains the level of creativity in the “application of ideas that originates from the mind of a genius”?

Murthy: Let me give you an example of the Wright brothers. Every human being saw the birds flying in the air on an almost daily basis. But it was the minds of the Wright brothers who thought why humans can’t fly. This gave them the idea of designing a machine like a bird having wings that can be used to fly off humans. The result we see today is the aeroplane.

This shows that geniuses can convert the ideas into reality, i.e., they not only get ideas but also know how to apply them as well.

Jacobsen: What are some of the more promising paths for the “various medical and nutrition products in the healthcare industry”?

Murthy: Hippocrates once said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. This explains that the food that we eat should be healthy and suitable for our body and mind. Also, the medicine should be in the form of food and not be a separate entity which we take only when we fall sick. The ultimate meaning I believe is that food is healthy to our body and mind i.e.it should make our body and mind fit and should act as medicine to ensure we do not fall sick. The junk foods and synthetic medicines of today are not healthy. They do harm our body in some way or the other. Many medicines are not without side effects.

Jacobsen: Why can “such order” not “happen on its own”?

Murthy: This is a mystery to me. If we the events around us happening or happened in the past it becomes clear that order did not happen on its own. This is because nature is always in the process of change. The process of constant change does not allow the order to happen on its own. For example, seasons change so do the flowering pattern and birds migration. This changes the order. Some plants bloom in winter while some die. Some viruses become active in winter while some lie dormant or die.

Jacobsen: What do you make the disagreements among “different religions” on the aspects, form, and interactions with humanity, even representations to human beings, of “this supreme intelligence” called “God”?

Murthy: There is a story about 7 blind men describing the elephant in seven different ways. All of them are partly true but none correctly describing the elephant as it is. This is what applies to different religions representing the supreme intelligence in their own ways without any knowing correct representation of God. The religions still today is similar to the blind men describing an elephant, partly correct but not wholly true.

Jacobsen: What scientific principles most intrigue you?

Murthy: One scientific principle that intrigues me and also teaches me that all are created equal is the free fall principle. When two or more objects of different masses are allowed to fall freely at the same time from a similar height they fall at the same time irrespective of their masses but our thinking says that objects with greater mass should fall first. This is the most intriguing phenomenon in science.

 Jacobsen: What things about nature seem like eternal mysteries rather than problems with the potential for solution?

Murthy: There are two such things which appear as eternal mysteries of nature: – Why does the natural death occur, i.e., why do animals age and die? The second mystery is: why children born to the same parents have different life events?

Jacobsen: Why rule utilitarianism for an ethical philosophy more than others?

Murthy: Ethical philosophy is concerned with morally right or wrong and utilitarianism is based on morality which advocates actions that bring happiness and pleasure and opposes any action that causes harm. Hence any action which is done to bring happiness and pleasure automatically becomes morally right and otherwise actions that bring unhappiness and pain to all is morally wrong.

Jacobsen: What make situational ethics best for a social philosophy? Does this tie into rule utilitarianism?

Murthy: As I said before social philosophy concerns itself with social behaviour and interprets the society in terms of ethical behaviour i.e. right or wrong and situational ethics is concerned about the particular context of an act when evaluating ethically. Both these are concerned with ethics i.e. what is morally right or wrong. Thus situational ethics is best for social philosophy as helps in evaluating morally right and wrong actions. Rule utilitarianism is concerned with actions that bring the greatest good. I believe that any actions/behavior in society that brings the greatest good for all is morally right. Thus situational ethics is best for social philosophy and both these can be linked to the philosophy of rule utilitarianism.

Jacobsen: Why should politics be above religion or beliefs of people? It seems as if a formal argument for secularism.

Murthy: The politics should be for the benefit and greatest for all. The religion or beliefs of people may not always be for the greatest good of all people but maybe only for their specific religion or belief. Secularism is something seen away from religion and not based on the greatest good for all. It is a viewpoint and not necessarily for the greatest good of all people. Politics should be for the greatest good for all and includes secularism but not necessarily secularism.

Jacobsen: What is the “spiritual” in this tripartite metaphysical formulation of the physical, the mental including emotion and perception, and the spiritual?

Murthy: Spiritual means relating to our soul and not to material or physical things. Being Spiritual means we become consciously aware that we are all one and are a part of the whole divinity which exists and surrounds us. This is something more than the sensory experience.

Jacobsen: What societies seem to fit these social, economic, political, and philosophical views in one more than others, i.e., practical manifestations of them?

Murthy: As of now I am unable to see any societies that fit all these dimensions. But if all of them come together as one society then maybe it will be.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2) [Online]. May 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, May 8). Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, May. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (May 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): May. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Mr. Sudarshan Murthy on Grandfather, Education in Family, Regrets, Newton, Da Vinci, Sushrutha, Bhaskaracharya, Science, and Ethics: Member, World Genius Directory (2) [Internet]. (2021, May 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/murthy-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,817

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Saba Ismail is a Co-Founder of Aware Girls. At the age of 15, she co-founded Aware Girls for the empowerment of young women in leadership capacities and to advance social change. She completed a Masters in Biotechnology from COMSATS University Abbot Asad and the Hurford Youth Fellowship with the National Endowment for Democracy. She has worked as Youth Ambassador for Asia Pacific Youth Network (APYN: 2012-2013), the Steering Committee of UNOY, and is an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program in the United States. Ismail was recognized by Foreign Policy as one of the 100 Leader Global Thinkers in 2013. She is the recipient of the Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention. She discusses: Mubarak Bala in Nigeria; Gulalai; most talented person; and ethical exemplars.

Keywords: Aware Girls, Humanism, Mubarak Bala, Saba Ismail.

Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted July 2, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: There’s the ongoing case of Mubarak Bala in Nigeria. This is a very common people who are cofounders of organizations, presidents of organizations. How is this being received in the United States, which is known as a hub of Humanism?

It is one of the areas where secular Humanism took off in the 21st-century.

Saba Ismail[1],[2]: We have gotten support in a good way from our friends and supporters. People that we know. We have really good supporters from senator Schumer’s office, and others. We have got really good support.

Also, there were senators who actually said things on their Twitter publicly supporting the case. Senator Schumer wrote letters when our father was abducted from the high court. He was made a missing person, abducted, and disappeared.

It was the pressure from the U.S., including U.S. senators and State Department. Any support kept our parents safe to some extent. We were told by many people and friends around that it’s because we have the support, international support, in the form of the stories coming up on the New York Times, senators’ offices, and others – high level support, is the reason our parents are alive.

Gulalai and our parents would not be alive anymore. Having a voice when people know you as a credible person, also, I want to mention this. Gulalai didn’t become famous in the last two years. She has been well-known before.

He got a prize in the U.S. Congress in 2013. She got the Shirac Prize in 2013. There was all this international recognition. That is good on the one side. Yet, not everyone will get this recognition and encouragement at such a huge international level. What do you do with other humanists, where people may not know them?

They are not internationally known. It becomes hard to make sure that they are safe, to make sure that they are going through due legal procedures. We are lucky in this. We had a very credible history of 18 years of work.

People saw us when we started as teenagers. People saw us growing up and evolving in Pakistan and outside of Pakistan. I think, definitely, when someone has become part of this theme for decades, almost two decades.

They know what kind of person you are and what values and principles you stand for. That’s why people are still with us. There were several institutions, several organizations that should with us. Not because we knew them shortly or something, but because we had a really long relationship with each one of those individuals or institutions.

There are so many activists in Pakistan. Recently, I found this one doctor. She had to record a video statement for what she supported, what she said. Humanists issued a statement, recently; even though, she is well-known in Pakistan.

People stood up for her. But because she is not so well-known, she is not so safe. People have different kinds of priorities. What I am saying, if humanists don’t have the really strong support working, it is hard for them to be safe.

Our family’s case, I was based outside of the States. I was not being monitored by these security agencies. I was not be surveilled all the time. Because we would go together all the time. Gulalai was going through hiding all the time.

I was going through a different experience. My parents were going through a different experience. What helped us, I had the privilege to contact and do all this communication, whether with civil society, international community, UN, diplomatic channels.

It was only because I had a really known history of work and experience and people knew me. If a lot of people didn’t even know me. I also knew how to communicate my message. Who are the people who I should contact in this situation? How should I build my strategy?

I couldn’t contact my parents. I didn’t talk to my mother for months when Gulalai was in hiding. Her phone was taken away by security agencies. It was not safe for her to turn her phone on. When you are really disconnected, I didn’t know if she was safe or if arrested, or in custody.

I couldn’t talk to my mother. I couldn’t speak to my father. “This happened. This many people came.” That’s all I could get from him. It is important for humanists and activists to build strategies. I know situations are different and know the different persecution activists face.

From my place, having a strategy, having a person as in our case, it really helped. Gulalai didn’t know anything about these stories coming out of the New York Times. There were statements by humanists and several other institutions and Frontline, Lines for Peacebuilding, Global Observatory, FIDH, etc.

They were several statements. One day, on the day when our Imran Khan was doing his speech, we mobilized people who can go to the embassy. Every day, it would be petitions and all these supporters. Some were public petitions.

Some were open letters. All of that diplomatic work that happened, as I said. It is really important, as least from our experience, what really helped us. I was outside. I was not going through what my parents were going through.

Of course, I was in extreme stress, but I was not going through what they went through. I was in a position. I was in a privileged position. I had more privileges compared to my parents. I was able to mobilize everything.

We did a lot of background work before Gulalai became public and filing her asylum case. We did several visits to Washington, D.C. Several before she became public. It was a lot of work. Everything she went through, where do we want to go? Who should we contact? It was making her safe.

We met with F.B.I. We met with N.Y.P.D. We met at the highest level possible that we could do with the State Department. We made sure that she was safe and that the law enforcement was on her side, so they know and everything. It was a lot of work.

Definitely, if it is not someone immediately in your family, as not every family has one person is an activist and then they have siblings and parents, people and friends should advocate for them. This is a reality for people.

If someone doesn’t want to take responsibility in the family advocating for advocates, people can do it. A lot of these organizations would not have happened if I had not contacted all of these people. Because of where they would get the information, it is that it is not their intention and where they can get credible information.

I was the representative for Gulalai in all letters written for her. It is a lot of work. It is really for humanists and activists working in such environments. It is important that they are aware of the risks and should be trustworthy people who will stand up and do all those.

As a humanist and an activist, we have to go through personal trauma as well. We have to go through the trauma. We couldn’t allow ourselves to be affected by the traumatic experiences. We wouldn’t be able to fight if we were affected by this whole situation.

It is a mental toll. It is really stressful. There are a lot of things that humanists can learn from other humanists if they share. I am not sure if I am directly responding to the question. Also, digital security is important, especially for humanists, to ensure secure and safe communication channels.

I can even share through this email. ProtonMail is one of the safest. Signal for texting. In the process, I learned so much when I had to communicate. Even when I had to go outside, I was always at risk. There were attempts to bug my phone and my devices. It happened in that time.

Humanists’ lives and communication are at risk. Even in normal life, even when they aren’t being persecuted, digital communication so important. Because of the work that we did at Aware Girls, we used to teach girls about safe online spaces, about digital security. All of that.

We were the ones working on it and how important it is. If we hadn’t taken all those measures, Gulalai wouldn’t have been safe. In this time, when the whole world has become a digital world, if someone doesn’t say something on digital media or through a phone, it is a different world now.

In a digital world, you have to be safe digitally. You don’t know if people communicate in unsafe ways.

Jacobsen: Now, I want to touch on a particular individual influenced by Gulalai and you at Aware Girls. She recently graduated from a prominent British university. Who is this young woman?

Ismail: [Laughing].

Jacobsen: How did her story, in fact, start on the ground before fame through Aware Girls?

Ismail: Actually, I think she already had the potential. The way her father brought her up. She already had the potential. When we were in touch with her, she became part of a program for domestic violence awareness.

You mentioned Malala. She took part in a program from Aware Girls. I think it was a year before being shot in the head. I don’t want to take that kind of credit, saying, “Because of Aware Girls, she is Malala.” She already had the potential, won awards.

She is an alumni of Aware Girls. Definitely, a very talented Pakistani girl who we are extremely proud of.

Jacobsen: Who is the most talented person you’ve ever met in general?

Ismail: This is a hard question because there are so many. The world doesn’t have a measurement for talent. There are these IQ tests. Aside from that, we can’t say, “This person has a lot of talent.” Because we can learn things from people who aren’t the extremely genius talented people.

Life is about learning new things. You can learn things from people around us. I can’t say this is the person who is the most talented because I have met many people who are talented in many different walks of life or in the work that they do or in their personal lives.

There are many people. There are people who I have been inspired from, who I look as a strong person, as people who I can learn. I wouldn’t name one person or someone as the most talented who I have ever met.

Jacobsen: What about ethical exemplars who come to mind?

Ismail: For me, ethics are at the institutional level. I see ethics more at an institutional level. I don’t know. It raises the question, “What kind of ethics are we talking about?” It is about basic respect. I understand the question you’re saying.

I wouldn’t tie it to a person.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Founder, Aware Girls.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4) [Online]. May 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, May 1). Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, May. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (May 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): May. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Mubarak Bala, Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Talent, and Ethical Exemplars: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (4) [Internet]. (2021, May 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-4.

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Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,721

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Saba Ismail is a Co-Founder of Aware Girls. At the age of 15, she co-founded Aware Girls for the empowerment of young women in leadership capacities and to advance social change. She completed a Masters in Biotechnology from COMSATS University Abbot Asad and the Hurford Youth Fellowship with the National Endowment for Democracy. She has worked as Youth Ambassador for Asia Pacific Youth Network (APYN: 2012-2013), the Steering Committee of UNOY, and is an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program in the United States. Ismail was recognized by Foreign Policy as one of the 100 Leader Global Thinkers in 2013. She is the recipient of the Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention. She discusses: the formal charges; more recent case or cases; the justice system within Pakistan; different minority Muslim backgrounds; extensive periods of having to be in hiding; and the New York Times.

Keywords: Aware Girls, criminal justice, Gulalai Ismail, Islam, law, minority religious groups, Pakistan.

Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted July 2, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What were the formal charges at the time towards your parents, your siblings, and yourself?

Saba Ismail[1],[2]: At that time, there were no formal charges. At the time, the raid, they were restless ordinary people without uniform. We never knew their identity. There were no charges and no cases. None against Gulalai.

At the time, Gulalai and I were receiving international awards. We were on the 100 leading global thinkers of 2013. Both us won several awards. We were getting the recognition and acknowledgement.

At one occasion, actually, when we both received the 100 leading global leaders award back in 2013, my father had a reception party at our village. The next day, some people came to my father.

It was a reception, but it was family, friends, and relatives. They said that if they knew the party and reception was here. We would be attacked. So, it is not a party as in Western culture. It was people getting together and eating food. It was people coming and chatting and having good food. That’s it.

Even that, my father received a threat that it would be attacked. Always, it received threats and different forms of persecution in one form or another. There was never a formal charge. There was never an FIR (First Information Report) or a police report, or anything.

Jacobsen: In the more recent case or cases, what were the formal charges at that time?

Ismail: Before Gulalai’s speech, she was charged. In total, she has been charged with inciting hatred and violence, inciting people to attack the army, of terrorism, and financial terrorism. These are the kind of charges that my family has been facing.

Gulalai was on the Exit Control List, No Fly List (can’t leave the country). My mother has been denied the right to have a passport. It was denied to her at the end of 2019. When her passport expired, she cannot get a passport because under the instructions of ISI; she will not get a passport.

She doesn’t have her identity documents on her. There is a cybercrime case against my father. There are multiple cases against my parents. On the 2nd of July, Gulalai and my parents were acquitted in the financial terrorism case.

That case started back in 2018 when Gulalai was put on a person of special interest inquiry. There were enquiries from the counterterrorism department. On the 12th of July, in 2019, there was a police case against Gulalai.

They accused Gulalai of taking money from India and transferring it to our accounts from India. The judge decided there is no evidence at all. With no evidence, the case is dismissed. Gulalai and my parents were acquitted in this case.

Because there was no evidence at all. They couldn’t provide any.

Jacobsen: This is insane.

Ismail: How can you charge someone based just on accusations? Because they couldn’t submit any single evidence. The judge was like, “This has to be dismissed and is malicious.” There are still so many crimes against Gulalai and the cybercrime case against my father, Exit Control List of my parents, and Gulalai was on a state kill list. There were orders to kill her.

There were all these charges. The past year (2020) have been a difficult time for our family fighting the legal ways.

Jacobsen: Now, if this is the status of the justice system within Pakistan, how is for other humanists?

Ismail: For other humanists, it is really hard. Same for human rights defenders and activists. It is not easy. It is really difficult. You can imagine. It took one year and multiple court appearances. My father was abducted, disappeared and spent 35 days in prison.

The police raids, everything, at the end, this case was used on social media and troll and spread hatred against my family. Of course, it cannot undo the harm done by Pakistan as a state against our family.

Our family is not united. We cannot go back to our country. Definitely, this is the situation. Even without a single piece of evidence, it still took one year and multiple appearances in course to bring our parents back and be acquitted in this case.

Other humanists are not safe. We have seen professors being accused of blasphemy. We have seen professors being killed in the name of blasphemy. Students have killed their professor.

Jacobsen: Holy smokes.

Ismail: Yes! Yes, recently, another person was accused of blasphemy. A humanist released a statement in favour of the professor. Generally, the space as a country is not safe for humanists. Anyone who dares to speak out will face crackdowns or being killed, false accusations of blasphemy, e.g., Asia Bibi who was falsely accused of blasphemy, spent 8 years in jail.

When she was released, the religious extremists were going crazy to get her killed. Also, a few year ago, a young brilliant student named Mashal Khan was killed by a university fellow at the university, again, because he was accused of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is not only a card used against religious minorities in Pakistan, but against anyone with a different opinion. They will say, “This person has committed blasphemy.” The justice system is not strong enough to protect them.

Or the crazy people, if the justice system fails to get them, there is mob violence to simply kill them if they are a humanist or a committed blasphemy. All the propaganda being spread against Gulalai on social media.

They say, “Okay, look at Gulalai as part of a humanist organization, she is a secular person. People should follow her and her ideologies because she is a secular humanist.” People reference the humanist groups and her being on the Board of Humanists International.

It has been used to spread hate against her. It is on social media. Several years ago, several bloggers were disappeared. They were accused of blasphemy. A lot of these cases stay this way. Because they believe if someone has a different political opinion; that’s where they use it.

Humanism is not a safe opinion at all. It can cost lives in Pakistan. This is a gruesome reality. This is the reality of Pakistan.

Jacobsen: The subtext or the elephant in the room is the idea of blasphemy as a generalized law in public, when, in fact, it’s only religious legal concept. So, the idea of applying a religious legal concept to those without a religion or those with another religion using religious legal law or different religious laws.

It shouldn’t be legitimate, but it comes at the most costly thing: someone’s life.

Ismail: But in Pakistan, it is not just religious persecution. Mashal Khan was a humanist and born a Muslim. He called himself a humanist. It applied to people who are not Muslims. Christian houses and communities have been burned because of these false blasphemy laws.

It is a very easy thing to provoke people in Pakistan. That’s what they’re using to promote. It is a very easy card to provoke people to kill someone or defame someone, or to make sure they don’t listen to someone’s ideas.

Jacobsen: Islamic backgrounds, minority Muslim backgrounds, is there a different reaction to different minority Muslim backgrounds, like the Ismailis? Are there different reactions to the minority Muslim backgrounds amongst the more dominant Muslim groups?

Ismail: Yes, definitely, people who are from the Ahmadi community. By law, they are not Muslims in Pakistan. The irony on top of all of it. I was born a Sunni Muslim. Now, if I want to have a national identity card, and when I am applying for a passport, I have to sign a document saying, ‘I, as a Muslim, do not consider Ahmadis as Muslims according to the Constitution of the country of Pakistan.”

If I don’t sign it, I don’t have an option to not sign it. If I don’t, though, then I will have to show my religion as another religion, such as a non-Muslim, in my identity documents. The amount of persecution that religious minorities within Muslim communities face is immense.

Imagine, people know that they are born in a certain religious identity cannot become the president or prime minister of a country. They know their dreams have limitations because of the religion they are born into.

Also, the persecution of the faith is immense. It is hard to say anything in support of these religious minorities. You say it. There are so many trolls and online armies ready to attack the family and to kill.

It is really hard. They have done it constitutionally, outcast the religious minority in Pakistan. There’s this Pakistani physicist, Abdus Salam. They have disowned him because of his religious identification. It is common to see a warning in a job warning, “Ahmadis are not allowed in this shop. Ahmadis are now allowed to do business in this shop.”

Where they sell clothes, telephone shops, there will be proper notices on the entrance of the doors of the shop. That these people from these religious minorities aren’t allowed. People growing up in a certain country see all this.

Because they’re a religious minority. Their certain rights are being withheld. They are not entitled to basic human rights in this country simply because of that. It is definitely not okay. Also, it has been taught in schools that Ahmadis are not Muslims.

It is repeated by the educated system. People propagate this online. It’s on a daily basis. You see it all around you. The way they are being targeted are several instances. People will travel on a bus. They will be asked to identify themselves and then shot and killed on the spot.

Whether non-religious or religious minorities, they have faced things so inhuman and unconstitutional.

Jacobsen: For some of the family, there have been extensive periods of having to be in hiding. So, without details for safety reasons, how does one even go about making that decision to say, “Okay, this is something that we have to do. We’re going to do it. We’re going to go forward with it”?

Then you drop everything in your lives to come to some form of safety without any certainty of safety in the end. 

Ismail: You’re in a different mode. You don’t have any other option. You don’t have many choices. You have to be resilient, extremely resilient and extremely strong because every step that we did at that time.

There was always chances of us not being safe and us being killed, losing our lives. That is when you know, constantly, about your safety or your parents’ safety. There is no other choice but to fight. You do your best in that time.

We have been through so many situations. My father has been going through so much in his life. He was accused of blasphemy before 9/11. When you live a life of such persecution, we had to do something like a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

That kind of analysis. “If I take this route, what are the risks?” Definitely, in those kinds of situations, you can discuss it with your friends. You cannot simply take advice from other people, the community, everything.

We had to do a lot on our own. One person has to be resilient enough to stand in that kind of situation and to come up with solutions. This is what we did. We couldn’t stay in the house anymore because it was not safe for us. In order to save our lives, also, because we come from a middle-class family, we don’t have properties in different areas of the country.

We’d go to a farmhouse in some other part of the country. We didn’t have choices on our plate. We had extremely limited options in what we could do and did our best. Each of us is safe in our situation after going through so much.

We have to understand the risk, but have to be resilient in what we do. Also, it is all the security measures and the precautions when it came to the physical security situation.

Jacobsen: When the stories came out in the New York Times, several of them, about your sister’s case, in your father’s case, it came out in the most influential publication in the Western world. Two members of the same family with similar stories in different circumstances.

One with your father in Pakistan. Two with your sister in New York in the United States. How, in in a very short period of time, were these stories, when they came out, portrayed in the countries that didn’t want things for either your father or your sister?

Ismail: I’m not sure if I will be able to answer this. The people who were definitely not happy with why these stories came out in such a high profile way. I really commend the work of Jeffrey Gettleman. He put in a lot of work to the stories that came out at that time.

It was a lot of background work. When the first story came out, it took weeks and weeks of calls and emails between Jeffrey and I at that time. When the stories came out, it really helps a lot raise the awareness of the case.

The day the New York Times story was published when Imran Khan came to give a speech in the United States. Nancy, the Speaker of the House, asked Imran Khan a question about it. It really helped us. Of course, it was courageous of Nancy to ask the Prime Minister of a country about the persecution of a women’s rights activist at the time.

The New York Times helped bring the awareness to a higher level. Also, when the journalist from the New York Times visited our parents back home in Islamabad, she saw how much military people guarded with weapons and everything.

She saw those people outside watching of the house. They had weapons with them. There were cars with people. The journalist saw everything and documented in a pictorial way. They took pictures as evidences for everything.

When the story of the New York Times got published, those vehicles that would stand there all the time, day and night, were gone. That stopped on the day the article got published. Definitely, at the time, it was a big relief for us.

These people with weapons and guns were watching our parents all the time. It was a really good timing. When questions were being asked of the Prime Minister of the country, some of the persecution stopped because of this coverage.

I love the way Jeffrey articulated the story. I love the way he put his effort into this story towards ensuring that the story was told in a really good and neutral way. At that time, there was so much hatred and propaganda on the media against Gulalai.

No one was taking our side at that time. So, it was really important for us to tell or story to the New York Times. Here is our story, you shouldn’t listen to the Pakistani authorities and the media. In Pakistani, the anchors would say Gulalai should be hanged and shown as an example – how dare she speak against the Pakistani military.

My parents watched this all day. For three days on television, people were repeatedly saying, “She should be hanged in public.” What my parents went through because of that, they still cannot process it. It was a huge mental stress for parents to see all this.

All the stories being covered by the media in Pakistan. No one bothered to tell our story. It was told through social media, through Twitter. Those were the only means for us to actually say things, “This where we stand.”

Later on, I met people who read the story, but I didn’t meet those people. They knew the story of my sister. But they would mention, “Do you know this woman in Pakistan? I read this story.” I would say, “That is my sister.”

It gave us voice to tell our story and to be able to go to the higher levels. We got so much support from U.S. senators. Now, it has become an introduction of Gulalai. If Gulalai introduces herself, the two New York Times stories help.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Founder, Aware Girls.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 22). Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Criminal Justice, Dominant Faith Group Tied to Military State, Minority Muslims, and Humanists: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (3) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-3.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,532

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: some of the paths Humanism could evolve into the future; Humanism’s unification; Humanism and the rejection of the supernatural versus strict atheism; democratic ideals and issues; and limits of an empirical moral philosophy.

Keywords: empirical moral philosophy, future, Golden Rule, Herb Silverman, Humanism.

Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I want to take an interlude session into unifying evolutionary ethical frameworks as exemplified in part, in Humanism. One widely touted claim by individuals with a leaning towards the secular and a sympathy for religious sentiments is a claim to unified moral principles or frames in every ‘great’ religion, as in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese traditional religions, and ethnic religions. One group of more superficial thinkers will point to a feeling or some loose intuition about religion, “All religions teach the same things.” I understand what they are meaning, but what they are saying, as a matter of fact, is false. Why have different religions if so? Another group will be selective about the observations. Ignoring the parts of brutality, cruelty, bigotry, and supernatural superstition, only focusing on the Golden Rule, saying, “Oh, it’s the Golden Rule. It’s in all of them. All of the religions teach this as the same basic element of their ethical teachings.” Generally, one can find passages. However, it seems both incredibly naïve and selective, because different formulations of the Golden Rule exist and different religions teach the Golden Rule unequally well. Still others turn into postmodernist philosophers, they ramble off into incoherency and don’t make any sense, while puffed up and self-proud as a cock (rooster) on a dunghill. Humanism is an advanced 20th-century philosophy. It’s about a deep dive into reflection on the depths of human depravity and reformulating, and formalizing, the positive, proactive ethics found in all periods of human history in which civilized advance society existed for those times, when naturalism and the humanities were the dominant discourse of the time. What are some of the paths Humanism could evolve into the future?

Dr. Herb Silverman[1],[2]: It may be true that just about all religions have some version of the Golden Rule about treating others as you would want to be treated. And a version of this can also be found in almost every ethical tradition, with no gods necessary. In my Jewish tradition, the first century BCE Rabbi Hillel was allegedly asked by a prospective Jewish convert to teach him the entire Torah (Hebrew Bible) while standing on one leg. Hillel replied, “That which is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour. The rest is commentary.”

Some equate the Golden Rule with the rule about loving your neighbour as yourself. The problem arises with who we consider our neighbour. In the Hebrew Bible, neighbours were the “chosen” people, other Israelis. Jews were supposed to kill outsiders on their way to the Promised Land. Today in America, many White Christian Nationalists view only their fellow Christians as neighbours and so justify discriminating against non-white immigrants.

Another problem with the Golden Rule is that some people may not want to be treated as we want to be treated. Our values may be so different that the Golden Rule makes no sense. For instance, some fanatics have no aversion to death, so the Golden Rule might inspire them to kill others in suicide missions. For humanists to live by the Golden Rule, we must empathize with other people, including those who may be very different from us and might want to be treated differently.

When you mentioned “dunghill,” I thought of Thomas Jefferson, who in many ways (but not all ways) was a humanist. As he correctly pointed out, there are some words of wisdom in the Bible, but I agree with Jefferson when he referred to them as “diamonds in a dunghill.”

When you ask for paths where Humanism could evolve in the future, I think Humanism is a philosophy that is continually evolving. That’s why we have had three Humanist Manifestos, and will undoubtedly have additional “manifestos” as we learn more about how better to live ethical lives, along with new scientific discoveries.

Jacobsen: Continuing from the previous question, there are areas in which Humanism is a laundry list of principles rather than a unified ethical framework. Such a framework in which it can continually, dynamically evolve while maintaining its former evidentiary coherence, in fact, many of the declarations are such listings. Do you think that there are ways Humanism can be more compact, more unified, showing how its principles interact with one another to create a whole other than a simple titular stamp: “Humanism”?

Silverman: A compact way to talk about Humanism is to describe, without a laundry list, its basic principles, which serve as guidelines for how we should live. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that also aspire to the greater good of humanity. We are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change, and ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience, along with a greater knowledge of the world. Humanists are guided by reason and inspired by compassion.

Jacobsen: Are there any parts of Humanism that you think should just go, not be there? I believe you had some qualms in earlier variations of declaration with the inclusion of supernatural versus atheist or non-theist as an appeasement to some who couldn’t quite stomach a complete rejection of the impossibility of the gods. 

Silverman: I know some good people who can’t stomach a complete rejection of the existence of gods. They may act in a lot of ways like humanists, leading ethical lives and aspiring to the greater good of humanity. I just don’t like the god baggage that might go along with it. I can’t prove there are no gods. An atheist is simply someone without a belief in any gods, and I think we should not claim to be guided by imaginary beings. That’s why my brand of Humanism is atheistic. I can’t prevent the Pope from calling himself a humanist because he supports immigration, opposes wars, and accepts that humans are partially responsible for climate change.

Jacobsen: Human rights and democratic ideals feature prominently in the humanist lifestance. Are there any particular weaknesses in the claims of human rights, as said in the formal documents of human rights, or in the principle of majority rule (adult age majoritarian voting rule)?

Silverman: The notion of human rights is a modern concept from the 18th century Enlightenment, not from ancient times when the Golden Rule was first quoted. Thomas Jefferson incorporated such “inalienable rights” into the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a milestone for its universalist language, which recognizes that all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights regardless of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religion.

I do have some problems with majority rule, especially if we have an uneducated populace, and leaders (dictators) decide who constitutes voters. After all, Adolf Hitler came to power in a democracy in 1933. Not that it is any way comparable, but democracy may not be working so well in the U.S. now, with many Republicans trying to make it difficult for some African Americans to vote. So, I must agree with Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Jacobsen: Are issues of an empirical moral philosophy found in the epistemologies informing the ethics? So, the ideas of the limitations of induction to give answers about the world – its scope and limits – and then the limitations by logical implication extended into the moral philosophy of Humanism, as in some things can never be known, others partially known now, while others known with a reliably high degree of accuracy. A sort of variation in accuracy of reality maps meaning variations in the reliability, and validity, of the application of humanistic ethics. Sometimes, there’s tons of informations; other times, there’s little; still others, we have, basically, none, and may never have any data to inform the ethic, which would make ethical decisions solely grounded in the lattermost equivalent to a base-level faith-based moral decision-making frame of reference (that which we try to avoid at all costs). 

Silverman: When it comes to what we know and don’t know with a reliable level of accuracy, I usually look to science. I recently read a wonderful new book by Jeff Hawkins called, A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. It compares our old reptilian brain to our new mammalian brain (the neocortex), with implications for moral behaviour.

I’ve been in debates with Christians who insist that objective morality must come from God. My contention is that we don’t know if there is such a thing as objective morality but, if so, we are coming closer to it by learning more about human nature and what works best for individuals. We often learn this through science or experience, not through ancient “holy” books. We need to be careful when we talk about what we know, and, even more important, about what we don’t know. To quote Mark Twain: “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman. 

Silverman: Thank you.

Appendix I: Footnotes

 [1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism [Online]. April 2021; 26(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 22). Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.E, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.E (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.E (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 8 – Possible Futures for Humanism [Internet]. (2021, April 26(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-8.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,651

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Saba Ismail is a Co-Founder of Aware Girls. At the age of 15, she co-founded Aware Girls for the empowerment of young women in leadership capacities and to advance social change. She completed a Masters in Biotechnology from COMSATS University Abbot Asad and the Hurford Youth Fellowship with the National Endowment for Democracy. She has worked as Youth Ambassador for Asia Pacific Youth Network (APYN: 2012-2013), the Steering Committee of UNOY, and is an alumnus of the International Visitors Leadership Program in the United States. Ismail was recognized by Foreign Policy as one of the 100 Leader Global Thinkers in 2013. She is the recipient of the Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention. She discusses: human rights and the family in Pakistan; and Gulalai Ismail and Aware Girls.

Keywords: Aware Girls, girls’ rights, Gulalai Ismail, Pakistan, women’s rights.

Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted July 2, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Now, how was Aware Girls seen within Pakistan or Pakistani society for years up until a few years ago? Was it mostly positive or mostly negative?

Saba Ismail[1],[2]: It was both. Our work had a great impact on women in Pakistan. We advocated for anti-sexual harassment laws in Pakistan. We advocated for gay rights. We advocated for women in the informal sector, their rights.

We advocated for enhancing the political participation of women in the political process of the country. We helped young women to run in local elections, in the last local elections, in Pakistan. It was historic.

In some villages, it was the first time that women ran for elections. They were amazing. Young women and girls wanted to be a part of the organization and part of the programs. In our organization, we would not just do a one-time training or a one-day activity.

We would engage people over a long period, as long as 1-year. Some have been engaged for years in our programs. Women felt safe working as employees and being part of the programs. They knew it was all women as a platform.

They felt safe to be part of the institution, felt safe to be given opportunities. As I said about these women who ran in the local elections, we are seeing the change brought by Aware Girls. So, there was definitely a huge impact of our work, in our community.

There were men who started supporting women’s rights and women’s issues, e.g., women’s political participation. One of these women who ran for local election. One was run by men in the family. It was helping these women to win these elections.

It wasn’t just women. It was for men too. We reached more than 10,000 young people, preventing them from being taken by the militant organizations. We have been able to help them to promote the values of tolerance, non-violence, and peace.

The impact was huge reaching out to so many young people directly, helping women running elections, helping women run in and participate in political processes. We help run something started back in 2012.

We had something on young women in leadership. We had this in the 16 days of activism. We were raising awareness among women, “If there is violence, report it.” Women were like, “We can report violence. We should report it.”

There should be a place if an action is taken. If a woman is in danger, or if a woman needs a shelter or psychological support, medical support, we started a helpline, started provided free legal services to women facing domestic violence. We established strong educational institutions across the province.

We would do partnerships and programs. We would go to the colleges and campuses and talk on women’s rights, sexual reproductive health and rights, the issues of human rights in general, and peace.

We had good networking and partnership-building with other civil society organizations, including institutes. Even with government agencies, we had good working relationships.

We had women who worked in the informal sector. We developed a good relationship with the Labour Department. Women who were domestic workers or who work in the home are not considered labourers. They are not entitled to basic income.

They’re not entitled to sick leave. They are not entitled to anything anyone working in the formal sector would get normally. We worked with the Labour Department. So, they can help us in making women who are working in the informal sector seen as doing proper work.

Aware Girls established the first ever union of women domestic workers and home-based workers. It was the first ever time, where we organized hundreds and hundreds of women from the informal sector and built their capacity first.

It was educating why labour rights were important for them. We developed programs for them. When we were working in the Pakistani Labour Department, we had relationships with the media. When we ran these conferences and programs, we would always get really good coverage from great media channels.

It would always be people coming from the media. Whether the media or the government offices, educational institutions, or other civil society organizations, or even communities, we used to work with the communities.

It was the only young women led organization in the whole country. Definitely, it was safety. They knew that they would learn something. Also, families would see the change in their own family members.

For example, one story I remember, when I was working with the domestic workers and home-based workers in 2014, when I was organizing some of these programs, we had to postpone some programs because the army public schools were attacked.

It was attacked where more than 140 children were killed. We had to postpone. There were some other administrative issues. We had to stop our programs for 3 months. When we started the program, when everything was set to restart the programs, our team went to the homes of these women to inform them. We were restarting the program.

One woman was not home. Our team member left the message with the husband. This woman, at that time, when we stopped the program, this woman went to Afghanistan because people have relatives in Afghanistan.

But they are refugees. They are doing the work in the informal sector. She went to Afghanistan to meet her relatives. When our team went back and said, “We are restarting the program.” The husband called the wife and said, “You need to come back because your program is restarting. So, you need to be here.”

You won’t believe. This was such a huge change in this family. Because only when this woman started coming to our program. On the first day home, she was beaten by the husband. The husband said: How would she dare go to this? NGOs are viewed negatively in Pakistan.

How dare she go to a program organized by an NGO, the woman was like, “I learned so much on the first day. I have to come here.” She continued to go for the rest of the program. While coming, she learned so much. She transformed her husband so much.

A few days ago, the woman was beaten by her husband for joining a program. Only a few weeks later, the same man was calling his wife and asking her to come back because the program is being restarted.

So, when I think of the impact, it was definitely so huge. At times, we wouldn’t even know the impact or the change that we are bringing in the families, what changes we’re bringing in the society.

We cannot expect some few activities will change anybody’s life. It is not a realistic expectation. But definitely, what we saw, I know, of course, so many years have passed now. I still remember her: her face, her name.

That keeps us going. Gulalai and I are not on the ground anymore now. It was so important, brought so many changes to the lives of so many women. So, we have to continue the work. We have been receiving so many calls on the helpline, which I mentioned earlier.

They needed help in one way or another, help and support. This was the kind of impact. This was the kind of work that we had been doing on the ground. So, this was the positive side. You say, “Okay, how was Aware Girls seen?”

On the other side, we faced a lot of challenges. For example, it was girls at such a young age who can be leading an organization. When we would organize activities, we would be an all women and girls team, not just women and girls but young women and girls.

They would ask, “Where are the organizers of the event?”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Ismail: We would say, “We are the ones.” They would say, “No, no, the man behind the organization.” We would say, “No, there is no man organizing all this. We are the leaders. This is our team.” It was an unbelievable thing for people to see young girls leading an organization and doing all this.

This is the kind of thing that we faced. We definitely faced confrontation from State and non-State actors. This was before the last year or couple of years. We were countering violent extremism in parts of the country.

We were addressing the root causes. Addressing the root causes is not so easy when you talk about the policies the country is supporting and changing all that, Gulalai and I were threatened to be among the missing persons.

This is back in 2013. So many years ago, we were told that we can be missing persons because we are working on these sensitive issues. They’re causing red flags for the national security of the country because we were preventing young people from becoming part of the militarized groups.

We did face these kinds of challenges. On one occasion, we were organizing on International Women’s Day back in 2012. This one government office called us and asked me to give them a bribe to have this event.

NGOs usually have a bad reputation. They would say, “We don’t allow you to organize events. You are an NGO.” All of that. When they asked us to give them a bribe on International Women’s Day, we were engaging different stakeholders.

Civil society organizations, men, etc., we were also engaging the government. When they said, “If we have to become a part of this program, then you have to give us a bribe.” I refused to give them a bribe.

As soon as I said, “I am not going to bribe anyone.” They immediately said, “International Women’s Day is vulgarity. Aware Girls is promoting vulgarity and Western culture.” They told me that they are going to ban the organization, are coming to raid our office, and then not allow us to do the activity.

The activity was the next day, March 8th. I had this conversation on the 7th of March. You can imagine the stress. We were organizing five activities in one day. We were really a small team, maybe 10 people in total.

We were organizing these five activities at once. There were more than 100 people per event. You can imagine the stress. Yet, we resisted this. We contacted the authorities and told these people, “These people are asking for bribes and saying International Women’s Day is vulgarity.”

There’s a mentality. Women’s rights are a problem. We face this problem in 2014 in Peshawar for the work that Gulalai and I did. At that time, Gulalai was on a trip. They attacked our home. They started to shoot, firing guns.

So, it was a very brutal attack. When I still recall that, that was really, really a difficult time. It was in the middle of the night after 12. These men who really stormed our house and were firing on the house.

They were firing in our direction and to destroy our work. That’s when we decided that city was not safe for us. That was another time relocating. We have been relocating because of these kinds of attacks that we have both faced.

In Pakistan, I haven’t seen such a case in which families are being tracked. Not in the past two years, those have been another story. Our family has been persecuted because of our work. Our family was attacked.

We had to move from one city to another. We went into hiding. That was a short time. We went into complete hiding and strategized how we would move forward with all of that. We have been receiving threats, attacks, challenges, harassment, as being women working on women’s rights or women working on peace.

There has been the good side and the challenges on the other side. In that, our father really stood in that. People who even travel to the US or countries outside. The intelligence agencies will come to our office, to our home, and will gather information and all that.

In our culture, you can’t imagine. The intelligence agency visiting our house to violate the house is really something. You won’t see it; it’s not common. Our father stood up with us. He would be helping us navigating whatever those challenges were.

Jacobsen: What is the feeling of being raided?

Ismail: It was scary, definitely. The society shouldn’t let this happen. It was definitely traumatic. It was hard. At that time, of course, when that happened, it was denied. We weren’t ready, of course. That kind of raid was not something that we were expecting at all.

We were not people to fight back with guns. Because, definitely, we are peaceful people who believe in peace and peaceful protest. It was really hard. It was like Gulalai was not harmed. It was Shola, my parents, and I.

It was the four of us. The hardest thing after the firing happening. Those people left. My father had to go to the airport to pick up Gulalai. He had to leave all of us back at home. We knew that if these people are still outside on the corner waiting for our father to come and to kill him.

We didn’t know. It was an uncertain event. Our father had to go and pick up Gulalai. When she got home, I told her the whole story. She narrowly escaped that situation. Because, what if she was outside? They would have killed her.

It was really hard for her to sleep at night. It was not easy. In Pakistan [Laughing], there was no electricity when she got home with our father. We were – literally – sitting with no lights waiting for Gulalai to come back safely.

It was a sigh of relief. The moment Gulalai came; we thought, “What should we do now? What is our next step?” That is when we went into hiding. Of course, it wasn’t easy. People were so suspicious of things happening. We saw one person standing in front of our house all day smoking a cigarette, all day.

There was another woman the next day who tried to enter our house by impersonating someone else. She was saying, “I have to drop something because someone ordered something from here.” We know that we never ordered anything.

There were people who tried to get in. They impersonated. There were people standing in the street in front of our house. There was a beggar who was actually spying on us. So, the very next day, we noticed some of these suspicious things, especially my mother.

She is good in catching these kinds of things. There was a person impersonating a mentally sick person. They tried to get into our home. He tried to get into it. My mother said it was suspicious and had seen suspicious people outside.

It was the incidents before and after this raid. It was not safe to spend one day in the house. It is not easy. We were a small family. You live so much in your house. Even then, you pack small. Those that can fit in the car. Then we left the home at that time.

There were people in cars following us. We ended up being safe, went into hiding. We moved to safer places. We thought that Islamabad may be safe. But in the last 2 years, everything has changed, because my father was abducted.

There were attempts to kill my father, attempts to kill Shola because they thought she was Gulalai. Even in the city, which is the capital of the country, my family is not safe anymore. That is why we moved back in 2014.

Of course, what happened in the last two years in Islamabad, as you all know by now, so much has happened in the last 2 years, my parents are not safe even in the capital.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Founder, Aware Girls.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 15). Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Saba Ismail on Pakistan, Women’s Rights Organizing, and Raids Against the Ismail Family: Co-Founder, Aware Girls (2) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/saba-ismail-2.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 26.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (21)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: April 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,624

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Chef Craig Shelton has over 40 years of experience in science-based cooking and teaching in the hospitality business. He trained in eight of the world’s greatest restaurants, including “El Bulli”, “Jamin”; “Ma Maison”, “L’Auberge de l’Ill”, “Le Pré Catelan”, “Bouley”, “Le Bernardin”, and “La Côte Basque. Chef Shelton has earned countless awards as Chef-Owner of his own restaurants including a James Beard Best Chef medal, NY Times 4-Stars ratings on four separate occasions, a 5-Star Forbes rating, the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef title; and Number One Top Restaurant in America in 2004 from GQ. Mr. Shelton is also an instructor at Princeton University in the Princeton Environmental Institute, where he teaches a freshman seminar on the interrelationships between public policy, agriculture, diet-related disease and anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Shelton began his expertise in this area while an undergraduate of Yale where he earned his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is a co-founder of the think tank, Princeton Center for Food Studies, the founder of King’s Row Coffee, and a co-founder of Aeon Holistic Agriculture, Inc. He is recognized as a consummate business consultant with specialization in macro finance. He is known for his ability to generate excitement in his cooks and instill in them the drive toward excellence by connecting all aspects of gastronomy to the larger intellectual landscape – chemistry, ecology, literature, art and human physiology. His great passions are reading and ocean sailing. His full C.V. can be seen here. More about Aeon HospitalityMountainville ManorAeon Holistic AgricultureKings Row Coffee, and Princeton Studies Food (in the hyperlinks provided). He discusses: economics of hospitality; and banking systems.

Keywords: Aeon Hospitality, banking, British Banking, Chinese Banking, Craig Shelton, finance, German Banking.

Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: To close off, what about the economics of everything?

Master Chef Craig Shelton[1],[2]*: Also, the economics of it. I have a passionate love of the study of economics. The moral and historical basis, the heterodox basis, this expression, which I’m talking about, or the transmogrification of agriculture and the food system.

The industrialization of the food system, the Frankenstein’s monster that it became; it is symptomatic of an even deeper problem faced in the world, which is the systematic regressive wealth distribution caused because of the form of banking most of the world uses referred to as British banking.

Unlimited money creation power is given to commercial banks and other financial institutions. We don’t even understand. It almost changes capitalism into a command economy, which redistributes wealth from the bottom to the top and the young to the old through a mechanism of artificial asset price inflation.

This is concerning and one of the key observations of a book, which I am working on now. A contrast of various forms of capitalism possible – trying to bring to light little policy space with such phrases as “How are we going to pay for it?”

The reality: There is massive amounts of policy space, once we are willing re-examine the first assumptions embraced by us – without even knowing it. That’s a long-winded answer as to what I have been trying to do with my life and the food system, and trying to bring back authentic food systems back to it.

It is to restore human health and planetary healthy. It is looking at the looming problems. The British banking system compounded worse with income-based taxation. I think about the fact that when the entire history, of recorded history, of human beings back to ancient Sumer; taxation was always based on wealth.

80%, 90%, 100%, of taxes were property taxes, which corresponded very well with net worth back in the day before derivative instruments and such. So, what we’re living in, the idea today is this radical transformation, where almost 100% of federal revenues are collected on the basis of income.

This is a radical experiment in the history of the world. It has helped to de-tether real estate from the rest of the economy. Germany discovered this over 200 years ago. Germany had a different style of banking. It is called variously, “German Banking.”

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shelton: Or Industrial Banking, in Germany, commercial banks are not allowed to use this power of money creation for financial transactions. Meaning, an asset not being created new. It is an asset pre-existing and changing ownership.

When you change a piece of land, nothing new is created. You cannot get a commercial bank on that. You would need something resembling a credit union in America. It is more community banking. There, and only there, you are borrowing true savings.

We have this mythology. We were led to believe. Banks are simply intermediaries or financial mediation via a bank. That the role bankers play is purely middlemen. They collect savings and then they allocate those savings out to someone less patient, more impatient, who charges that person a higher interest rate than the depositor. They live off the margins.

That is the simple folk tale people have been told. It is a malicious folk tale. It is the single greatest contribution to the world’s immiseration. There’s simply nothing out there doing more harm to more people.

It’s the reason that inequality keeps skyrocketing. I said at the beginning of my book. Let’s look at these 9, 10, or 11 graphs, here is America since the end of WWII, we see a nearly straight line of tax reduction for the richest and for everyone else.

Down, down, down, down, we ask the corporations to pay in taxes. You would expect profits to be up correspondingly over the next period of time. We look at the next graph. Labour share of sales, of GDP.

Down, down, down, down, every year since the mid-60s. It is a complete straight line down. You would expect the profits of the companies of America to be up. You look at the velocity of money. It is down, down, down, down. You would expect the profits to be up.

You look at the reinvestment of profits into new capital goods – down, down, down, down. It is every single year, a straight line. Look at the profits of American corporations, they are down every single year.

This is extraordinary. How can it be: all of the expenses to businesses are going down and profits are not going up, but going down, too? Then you see the buildup of corporate debt. It is due to the artificial asset price inflation of commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate is rising 10 times, 20 times, even 100 times faster, then the company is able to raise its own retail prices. It creates a massive expense wedge, which is first taken out of labour. This is the reason all productivity gains, not one percent went to labour.

Basically, this is from the 60s forward. These are fascinating observations. This accumulation of debt. The size of the money supply, when you include credit as money, money is a commodity. I think it is tautological.

I think that’s a false construct. Money and credit identical, not merely equal, that produces a theory of banking, which then is called the Credit Creation Theory of Banking. If you use Credit Creation Theory of Banking and substitute that for the Financial Mediation Theory of Banking used by all economists, you develop an economics, a mathematics, with a strong predictive power.

That is the weak link in the whole thing, in my humble estimation. Once you start to think in this out of the box fashion, one cannot un-see the seen. Its explanatory powers go down to agriculture. Why, on Earth, would human beings be so suicidal, so stupid?

In the last 40 years, the finite quantity of crop land, high nutrient dense topsoil; we’ve lost 1% every year. We’re down to 60% of the original size, even as population has doubled or tripled in this time.

How can we account for that? Industrial agriculture is, certainly, to blame. Because when you made it your decision to grow the cheapest possible food, like corn, wheat, rice, and soy, unfortunately, when you grow the cheapest possible crops, you are limiting yourself to the cheapest possible agricultural techniques.

Amongst them, how are you going to irrigate? With corn, you end up with lime on the cheapest form of irrigation, which is, usually, a pivot. It is aerial. It comes from above and drops down onto the soil. The first problem: it is not ecologically sound, and wasteful of a precious commodity, which is water.

Equally important, the ground water coming up is filled with minerals and salts. The process of evaporation only concentrates them. If you use twice as much water as a surface irrigation, you use four times the amount. You end up with salinization.

Eventually, the soils will become inert. That is, you can’t get any nutrients across the salt membrane. We are seeing this across the world now, in many locations. Much more damaging has been the plough, turning over the soil 18 inches as pest control or as weed control.

People need to understand. Plants don’t have a digestive system, like we do. It is the microorganisms on the surface of the soil, which are the effective digestive system for the plants. When you turn it over, you are killing them, temporarily, at least.

In the state of nature, you do not see this type of erosion. But when you start turning over the top soil like this, you see, in the near 100 years or 150 years, since the great migration West; we used to have 12 feet of topsoil across the entire Great Prairies.

Almost all the agricultural lands in America were 10 to 12 feet of topsoil. Now, it is 1 or 2 inches. As bad as it is in America, it is as bad or worse everywhere else. It is the second biggest reason for the loss of volume and square acreage of top soils.

But the single largest may surprise you. The single largest contributor for the loss of top soil is real estate development. This frenzy of selling debt, this embedded growth obligation of the British banking system.

The need this system acquires. This inexhaustible appetite for doubling the quantity of credit in the world again, and again, and again. It is the story of the person who did a favour for the sultan. When promised by the sultan, the man asked to take the chessboard and put one grain of corn on the first square, two on the second, and so on.

Hastily, he laughs and agrees to this. The court mathematicians come and say, “There isn’t wealth of corn in the entire world worth what you have just promised him.” This grotesque, insatiable demand for the doubling of credit in the world.

It needs placement. Credit, the bank credit has this one limitation. Banks, literally, can create money out of thin air, but only out of crediting it into existence. Some project or purchase has to happen.

The present value of the land for the farmer who has been brainwashed into growing corn, for example. The last time I checked, the average yield for a farmer who grows corn is only 60$ an acre, including all the government subsidies going into it.

So, the present value of the land, if you’re using for industrial corn production, is almost zero. You figured out a way to squander one of the most precious resources in the world to its lowest possible use.

It cannot stand up to the competition from real estate developers. The system is designed. They can get $200,000 an acre at present value in real estate development. To understand why this is happening, not just what is happening, it is a passionate concern because the system itself has taken on its own life.

I do not ascribe this to a lot of evil people at the top wanting to destroy the world. It is following rules blithely passed from one generation to the next. It set us on a path of self-annihilation. It takes a lot to not see the symptoms and connect them all together, when they have a root cause in the British banking.

It is made worse with a tax system based on income rather than property, wealth, or net worth. Of course, it is made worse. We act surprised that we have poverty or homelessness, or bad health outcomes, opioid crises.

It is so absolutely obvious. We have chosen this. These are all a result of our public policy choices. British banking was rejected by Germany 225 years ago. It is for that reason Germany didn’t lose its industrial base.

The German worker has relative parity in purchasing power to their grandparents. They can still afford to raise a family. They can still afford to buy approximately the same house, in approximately the same sized lot, in approximately the same location.

With some variation, it’s not perfect. There are no tariffs on foreign money coming in, which does destroy markets. But still, the difference is extraordinary. China adopted the German style of banking to a large extent with something called Guidance of Credit.

Guidance of Credit have three macros. There’s consumer credit used to buy consumer goods. Let’s limit the amount of consumer credit in our nation, so, we don’t produce consumer price inflation.

What about the second macro? The second macro are financial transactions e.g., when you buy houses, when you buy land, shares in publicly traded stock, and so on. In most cases, you cannot lose new money printed out of thin air.

You have to borrow pre-existing savings in a German system, in China. The third category is industrial banking. You will create something new, a new factory, buy new equipment to expand the factory.

That’s called new capital good creation. They allow it. That’s where the banks create the money out of thin air. The goal of German banking and Chinese banking is to make sure that the private debt to GDP ratio stays relatively flat.

That way, new money creation goes to the good of society in expanding the economy rather than just producing windfall profits that punish the buyer and reward the seller in an artificial fashion. This is the reason for the German miracle and the reason for the Chinese and a couple of other miracle nations.

They took this German banking system and elevated it. It is sometimes called Window Credit, Window Guidance. There are various names for it. There is variation between the nations. But here’s the kicker, Germany has never had an internally created banking crisis ever since it made this switch in 225 years.

What you begin to realize, this thing we call the “business cycle” is a complete misnomer. There’s no such thing. It should be called the ‘British Banking Cycle.’ Economists identified more than 100 years in the most persuasive cycle.

All this misery, great depressions and little depressions, are all caused by banks printing money out of thin air for the wrong purpose. Basically, collateral-based lending rather than for the creating of capital goods.

It is a mission for me to get this word out. My industry suffers from the distortions caused by British banking more than any single other industry in our economy. We have what is called the lowest productivity. Most people don’t know what productivity means.

They think of it as a virtue. It is not. A company’s productivity could go up, even as their sales and profits fall. Productivity means how successful are you in eliminating jobs and replacing those people with equipment.

In other words, the true definition is taking the annual sales of the company and dividing by the average number of full-time workers or their equivalent. When you do that, you see the average – 10 years ago, probably not different today – of all the industries in America combined is about $420,000.

But if you pick apart the various industries, you realize, “Oh my God.” Big tobacco is at the highest productivity. At the time, it was close to $3,000,000. Restaurants at the absolute lowest or $50,000. This is another area of gross incompetence, which is the way we pay for a social safety net.

It baffles the rest of the world, “Why could the wealthiest country in the world not have even the basic health program for its most vulnerable, poorest, and working people?” Not people out of work who don’t have it, but working people, nobody asks the most obvious question.

“How do they pay for it in the rest of the world?” Every other nation has it. They never said it. It is because it is distributed. The cost of the social safety net is distributed across businesses, but on a fair topline basis.

Everyone shoulders it equally based on sales. In America, we count on a head tax basis. It means a restaurant will pay 100 times the rate of employment tax that big tobacco will, as a percentage of sales. 100 times!

So, these are the kind of baked in policy choices that encourage a maximum degree of wealth transference from the poor to the rich and from the young to the old. These are choices that have been made through the use of power and wealth.

It’s baked into our cake now. We’re feeling the consequences of it ever more sharply. What a great time.

Jacobsen: Thanks so much.

Shelton: My pleasure, very much appreciated.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Aeon Hospitality.

[2] Individual Publication Date: April 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4) [Online]. April 2021; 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, April 15). Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A, April. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 26.A (April 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 26.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 26.A (2021): April. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Master Chef Craig Shelton on Economics and Banking Systems: Founder, Aeon Hospitality (4) [Internet]. (2021, April 26(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/shelton-4.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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