Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Life in Darra

Darra Adam Khel is a town in the northern region of Pakistan. It is home to the Afridi tribe of the Pashtuns. There are 2 things in Darra that catch one's immediate attention - the scenic valleys and the weapons market!

Darra's economy runs on sales of ordinance handmade by craftsmen who have replicated almost every gun/rifle in the weapons market. The prices are really cheap and the quality pretty close to the original.

Since it is next to impossible for an ordinary person to gain access to Darra, I am posting this 8 minute video on Darra's weapon market.



Blogger Veiled Muslimah said...

Ah, the all famous Darra Market.

Coincidentally enough, a friend forwarded this to me a few weeks back and I'd thought I'd blog about it too. Her comment was, 'The Muslim World has its own Weaponry Market in its backyard, we just need to visit Darra'. She was joking ofcourse, but there is an element of truth in it. :)

I found the Video pretty fascinating and interesting. Especially how the people are so skilled. It isn't easy making guns from your bare hands.

Secondly, I agreed with the speaker. The U.S went wrong on so many levels. They thought they could invade places like Afghanisan and Iraq and leave in a a few weeks or months. Little did they know what they were putting themselves in. The last thing they expected was the heavy resistance that was put up/still is. Obviously they had no inkling about the Culture, Religion, tradition or the geographical structure of these Countries.

Espeially Afghanistan, it's foolish to expect Men who've come from the the city-life to fight against People who have lived their whole lives in those mountains and know them like the back of their hands.

December 12, 2007 11:07 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...

You mean there clandestine weapons available in Pakistan??!!


December 13, 2007 12:42 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...


Clandestine?? Dude, every guy and their neighbor's dog knows about the Darra weapons market!


I actually think that America realized what it was getting itself into. They knew this would be a long and protracted war. It were our leaders who suggested "short and concise" strikes and leaving the place in a hurry.

The neo-con agenda is to protect American interests in these regions. The Democrats agree with Republicans too on this; the disagreement is on how belligerent they should be about it.

I feel this is a battle that will be won with patience. America and the "free" world has reasons to believe they can win this. They draw inspiration from the World Wars and the way they humbled Germany, Japan, Korea and everyone who dared to stand up to them.

Let us remember that God helps those who believe in what they fight for. He can very easily give victory to the kuffaar. Look what happened to the Jews. They lost Allah's help because they abandoned His Deen and got arrogant about how they are the "chosen" ones.

December 13, 2007 2:32 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...

Let us remember that God helps those who believe in what they fight for.

Obviously, your 'brothers' don't believe very much then, do they, because they have gotten their arses kicked since 1947 on a regular basis! Hahaha!

December 14, 2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger al-republican said...


Unlike your secular friends from the West, every defeat me and my brothers face, we are drawn closer to the Almighty. This way when the final victory comes, in sha Allah, we will count our blessings and humble ourselves in front of our Creator rather than rubbing it into others :)

December 15, 2007 2:03 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...


Unlike your secular friends from the West, every defeat me and my brothers face, we are drawn closer to the Almighty.

Lucky you! Try and get into English national football side.
You'd be able to get reallly close to Almighty.

December 15, 2007 6:23 AM  
Blogger rosh said...

Al - your thoughts are sort of worriesome, unless you are joking ofcourse? Eye for an eye is never a solution. It's amazing how Nick & you have such crisp clarity on thought processes & views, yet seem totally parallel - almost destined never to agree on each other?

December 15, 2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...


What is worrisome about humbling one's self to Allah rather than mocking the down-trodden? I think you should be more worried with attitudes such as those of Nick that laugh at the poor and helpless, dont you think?

If you think my views on fighting an ideological war is worrisome, then welcome to the real world, my friend! It is much easier to sit on a fence and talk about "freedoms" and live and let live. But, in the real world, there are interests, greed, cut-throat competition, resources etc.

Why do you think with all the evolution of the human mind and the freedoms that the West preaches they happen to be involved in all the major wars that have been fought? It is because those "freedoms" are subjective and do not apply to others as Nick demostrates. Whether you like or not you are a part of that system too. So am I.

The truth of the matter is that as man sidelines God in the name of separation of religion and state, he is increasingly showing the capacity to be greedy and usurp the rights of the weak. So much so that such men (and women) are establishing themselves as the new gods of this earth where they dictate the destinies of others. If this isn't worrisome then I don't know what is?

December 15, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...

Also, Rosh, do not detach yourself from history. If you do that, these same champions of freedoms will misguide you into lala land. You will be caught up in the American Idols and the daily chores of work and all you will see on TV is "terrorists" blowing up "innocents" in Israel.

If you keep yourself oblivious to these facts then another Israel is going to be formed in the Middle East, which will lead to even more problems. For heck's sake we have seen Iraq and Afghanistan sagas unfold in our own generation! Why do we forget what the instigators do and then "worry" when the reaction comes??

December 15, 2007 10:06 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...


I think you should be more worried with attitudes such as those of Nick that laugh at the poor and helpless, ..

I don’t laugh at the Palestinans because they are poor and helpless.
I can’t keep a straight face because it shows up the hypocrisy of the Muslim Arab world, in failing to unify and put their weight behind a political cause.

I find it wonderfully ironic that the very reason why the Arab world is being outsmarted by the West (including our outpost, Israel) should be the source of pride for Muslims, i.e. the absence of political consensus, which seems impossible in / between non-secular political systems.
Do you follow me?

While religion is the only thing that ‘unites’ Muslim countries, the ‘ummah’ across borders, religion is so all-encompassing and important in the respective public realms of each one of these countries that any ‘real politik’ is made impossible by religious sectarianism.

Religion clouds the mind. It’s too unreasonable and touchy-feely.

As long as it’s more important to Shia to kill Sunnis I can sleep well at night.


Why do you think with all the evolution of the human mind and the freedoms that the West preaches they happen to be involved in all the major wars that have been fought? It is because those "freedoms" are subjective and do not apply to others as Nick demostrates.

Your simplistic premise that secularism and freedoms lead to war is bollocks. More than that, it’s incorrect:

The ‘West’ has been involved in several major wars because of geopolitical economic reasons.

In fact, those countries that actually tried hard and often managed to stay out of the many (continental European) conflicts were those that were more secular than others, namely the United Provinces of Holland, Britain, and lesser powers like Sweden. If they didn’t wage wars it is because they tried to concentrate on business instead. Relatively secular, open and free-trading Britain more often than not just provided loans to allies rather then sending forces!
Whilst the Lower Countries were embroiled in conflict for hundreds of years as tug of war between France and Habsburg Austria/Spain, and Prussia later on, the (protestant and secular) United Provinces, and Britain, more or less invented modern commerce – and keep doing this until this day!

Conclusion: Secularism is good for peace and commerce.

December 15, 2007 11:58 PM  
Blogger al-republican said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 16, 2007 1:05 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...


I actually agree with whatever you are saying - as unbelievable as it may sound! However, secularism will NOT work in Islamic countries.

The reason for Europe being at peace is NOT because it is following secularism, rather it is the fact that they have already fought over their bones of contention and have now come to mutual agreements with one another. Church and State were separated quite a while back, Nick. The wars continued. It is only after World War 2 when the dynamics changed (not to mention Europe fell in deep debt) that they decided to call it a day and hang their military outfits.

What followed then was America taking over from the UK and the West in general. So now they are the new "crusaders". And they just won't sit idle; they always have some "Evil" to fight, dont they? I guess they are waiting to be bankrupt, too :P

The Islamic countries (and even non-Muslim African countries) are still recovering from the fallout of colonialism. Don't forget, you guys packed up and kissed us goodbye only 60 odd years ago. You also left us nice gifts you call "borders" and the ultimate gift of Israel. So we are in the process of redefining and aligning our priorities. It takes a while to get the place in order and bloodshed and infighting are unfortunate realities of such an arrangement.

Eventually, we will reach to agreements just like the Europeans countries did. Then you will see a more positive side of Islam. But, for now, enjoy the show.

December 16, 2007 1:08 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...


The reason for Europe being at peace is NOT because it is following secularism, ..

Wrong. It IS, because secularism greatly enhances chances of reaching political solutions.

Simply ‘flip’ your assertion:

“The reason for Europe being at war is because it is following religious agendas.”

And you see how this holds true of Northern Ireland until recently, Bosnia and Kosovo until very recently, and the Albanian part of Serbia today.
Wherever religion is (still) strongly entrenched in a particular ethnic group, there are troubles.


You inadvertently put your finger on a point with which I agree. Christian belief and ethics is after all one of Bush’s grand motives. Give me a Kissinger any time over a Reagan, Bush or Rumsfeld!
Oil and security may be the ultimate underlying motive but it was only when morality was invoked that Afghanistan and Iraq became politically feasible.

The irony! You always lament lack of religious sentiment in the West and blame secularism for its ills – and then those in the West who still fervently believe harness their beliefs for waging war against Islam!

Haha. We just can’t do anything right, can we?


The Islamic countries (and even non-Muslim African countries) are still recovering from the fallout of colonialism.

My words exactly. The World would be a safer place today had we stayed. We should have never pulled out!

December 16, 2007 5:13 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...

Wrong, Nick, you should have never stepped in! And now that you have, you are stuck. And guess what, we have followed you all the way back to your homes. Fun :D

Morality is ALWAYS invoked to justify pre-emptive strikes, Nick. They didn't hit Afghanistan saying "We are going to do the work of Christ"; they went there to "liberate" Afghani women and the like. All the things your secularism stands for today. You are in Eye-rack to "spread democracy" and are going into Iran to finish off ayatullah rule to be replaced by a "pluralistic" government. Don't kid us, Nicky.

You can harp about it all you want, but it is us "end-users" who know what the agenda is. It's not about christianity (although independent Christian evangelists do take advantage), but rather about SECULAR values.

Sorry, but you goofed up again :P

December 16, 2007 11:17 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...

I dedicate this little poem to an old bearded friend

Chalk and cheese

Chalk and cheese
Like Al and Nick,
They are each other’s nemeses.
Religion is everything for one.
But the other would rather run
and be called a secular prick.

(This was a limerick.)

December 17, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...

Uff man, can you stop trying to copy SD?? Nowadays everyone is taking a stab at "poetry" :P

December 17, 2007 5:12 AM  
Blogger i*maginate said...

Tomorrow's breakfast includes European poached eggs: any US conflict on that front?

December 17, 2007 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this video! It was funny, a good job in journalism for once from the eastern world! Good work.

S - i suggest you bring more of these of these contents "from the other side".


December 21, 2007 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the occasion of Eid al Adha, i would like to reach out to the ENTIRE ummah thru my freind's blo and give hearty congratulations on the merry occasion of Eid Al Adha, and a few words of wisdom:

Why is every1 so afraid of Israel? Its like we have israel phobia?! Come on folks - lets get on with it. I mean we have Israel now where there used to be Palestine. Boo hoo hoo, big deal, that happened many years ago. Live with it. If we will get over that then we can MOVE ON and go onto build bigger better things (such as real estate).
And besides we should give love to our neighbors. They are our neighbors now. Lets share our lamb with them. Lets all live and let live and live in peace!

Thats the way to do it lads - including all of those in the mountains. Live and let live. Be Merry HO HO HO. HAPPY EID!

And before you all get all worked up and start huffing and puffing and threaten to blow my house down... let me warn you... tsk tsk... I am Muslim. EID MUBARAK :)

December 21, 2007 12:33 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...


You sound like Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League :P

December 21, 2007 6:15 AM  
Blogger rosh said...

Eid Mubarak Al - hope the future bring much needed peace, understanding & goodness across all of mankind :)

December 22, 2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger al-republican said...

Thanks Rosh :)

I didn't do much this Eid - no slaughtering even though the cattle market is right behind where I live!

In any case, Merry Christmas to you! Hope you have a good one.

December 24, 2007 6:15 AM  
Blogger i*maginate said...

*nick, why run to the defensive when you are confronted with the reality of an openly gay man sharing your blogger nickname on the UAE blogger community?

Surely there was no need to add "the real" to your existing nick?

December 26, 2007 1:42 PM  
Blogger al-republican said...


It is because he knows being gay is hogwash! He has to be politically correct about it by defending it, but this reality was just too close to home :P

December 27, 2007 2:42 AM  
Anonymous Khurrm Bhai said...

Yaaron, Ahbaab! If you really want to understand this issue of weapons of (nearly) mass destruction in Darra, please


It would clear alot of *issues*:D

December 28, 2007 6:33 AM  
Blogger al-republican said...


Tera jpke flop hogaya hai... really is a website :P

December 28, 2007 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Khurram Bhai said...

al-republican sahab -


December 29, 2007 5:08 AM  

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