Agile for Peace – Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering South Asia

South_east_asia It is a privilege to be provided with an opportunity to share with the Agile Scrum community what has been an experimental journey for the past 4 odd years applying Agile methodologies to social transformation projects in hard and occasionally hostile environments.

What started off as a micro-fail experiment by Peace Through Prosperity to ‘see if it works’ has in true Agile fashion evolved into a successful program of socioeconomic transformation with a strong emphasis on preventing radicalisation or the slide to the far right. From the get go the ambition has been to open source it and engage individual communities across the third rock to embrace the program, modify it for the nuances of their community and environment so that we can as a large collective lift many if not all of the 99% out of poverty and out of harms way (for us harm is the mass non-violent radicalisation of the populous by any far right movement religious, political or otherwise).

However Open sourcing it hasn’t been all that easy! its wasn’t the program, the methodology or the underlying ethos of Peace Through Prosperity’s work, rather the challenge has been finding willing individuals as partners to approach, embrace and take the program to their own communities. 

Agile for peace Scrum Alliance Meet up Back in January 2015 we had that breakthrough, when Raju from Chennai contacted me enquiring about how Peace Through Prosperity’s been using Agile in non-tech projects and whats the secret sauce for Boundaryless Agile – the conversation lead to exploring taking the Peace Through Prosperity model from Karachi, Pakistan to Triupati, Andra Pradesh in India. As a starter for ten Raju kindly invited me to speak at the Chennai Scrum Meetup which of course coincided with the ICC World Cup match between India and Pakistan; we dubbed it ‘Agile for Peace’ and you can watch the talk here 

The next natural step was introducing the program and approach to local Agile practitioners and aficionados and start exploring the migration process for exporting the Peace Through Prosperity program across the border. The Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering in India seemed like the most apt place to reach out to local and regional practitioners, particularly given the theme for the year ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which I am told stands for ’The World as one Family’, something that resonates very strongly with Peace Through Prosperity’s community ethos ‘for the 99% by the 99%’, and so it was decided, Raju and me submitted a session for the Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering; ‘Transforming Lives Using Agile & Scrum’ and here we are!  

The only down-er has been my inability to secure a visa to India in time to be presenting in person, I have been informed I travel a lot to countries of ‘interest’ and therefore processing a visa for me takes longer than usual! Though the lack of a visa won’t be keeping me from co-presenting (Goto Meeting Zindabad!) it will be keeping me from meeting some awesome folks from the Agile community in India that I have been in touch with over the past 3-4 months! but friends we shall right that wrong soon!

Raju and my joint presentation can be viewed below, a complete guide to tailoring and migrating the Peace Through Prosperity program will be posted up on my blog soon too and do keep pulse on how the Peace Through Prosperity program fares in Triupati, and lastly thank you to Scrum Alliance User Group in India for the opportunity to share this with the Agile Community. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam!


Transforming lives using agile – Scrum Alliance Regional Gathering South Asia 2015 from Kubair Shirazee

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The beacons of Gondor

riders_of_Rohan Following much debate at Peace Through Prosperity we agreed on the principle for launching the Peace Ambassadors Program, and it goes like this:

“We believe engaging marginalised individuals would be easier if the funding was generated from real people with a common goal of preserving and bettering global civil society as a community…. this would maintain our neutrality from any government’s policies and help us maintain a position of trust amongst our target audience.
To expand and do more, reach more and fix what is broken across the globe we need more likeminded people on board helping us spread the word through social media, helping us generate funds to keep the projects going and helping us build a better society for all the inhabitants of the third rock.”

It is built upon our belief in the spirit of the community, the community of the third rock.

Will it work? many moons in and still struggling to raise the total required funds for the Haripur project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa I am sceptical, having said that I  believe we need our independence to engage with our target audience, it is critical for developing the level of trust we need to be able to have the conversations we do. We need friends not masters to help us prevent radicalisation.

Its a huge gamble. Will individuals or groups of individuals come to the aid of a distant community that Peace Through Prosperity is engaging with? a community sieged in their stand against a great evil.

The beacons of Gondor are lit.

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Al-Qaeda’s new problem: Talent crunch!

Talent_War_Terror On July 22 Al-Qaeda in Iraq launched attacks on the prisons of Abu Ghraib and Taji, freeing as many as 800 prisoners. On July 27, an attack in Benghazi, Libya, freed more than 1,000 inmates, on July 29 more than 150 heavily armed Pakistani Taliban (affiliated to al-Qaeda) attacked the prison in Dera Ismail Khan freeing more than 250 prisoners and then drove away in a convoy in one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world.

Whether elements from within each one of these states was involved or not is not the object of this post, lets examine why Al-Qaeda has adopted a new tactic as suggested by Ahmed Rashid in the FT. Mr Rashid it is simple, it is a talent crunch that is being addressed by prison breaks! its head hunting with IEDs and AK47s!

There has been an influx of Al-Qaeda jihadists into Syria with the hope of creating an Al-Qaeda state in Middle Earth but engaging the Syrian Army backed by urban warfare specialists (Hezbollah) in a warped conventional sense has lead to unexpected heavy losses and hence a shortage of necessary talent in Syria and other theaters where Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are operating. No where else have Al-Qaeda jihadists faced such stiff opposition as they are facing in Syria from the Syrian national Army and Hezbollah (who have more experience of fighting in urban theaters than the Al-Qaeda jihadists). Al-Qaeda though suffering losses is committed to the cause, calling in re-enforcements from as far afield as Pakistan! The net effect of which has been a global talent crunch for Al-Qaeda that is being addressed by prison breaks.

Right now for Al-Qaeda recruitment and on-boarding cannot keep up with the losses in the field! and for that we have Syria’s tyrant and the Hezbollah to thank!
This is a great opportunity if our policy makers can capitalise on it – the opportunity to deal a significant long term blow to Al-Qaeda and its ability to commit and export terror!  A significant win for our camps in the Long War! At the moment our policy makers in London, DC and Brussels are guilty of the same sin as the Pakistani ISI…  looking both ways!  and there is much to be learned from the outcome of the ISI dancing with the devil!

Those of us who live in the realm of common sense know that targeting the ability of an organisation to acquire talent affects the ability of the organisation to operate effectively in the ‘now’ as well as its ability to grow in the future. Its time for soft war to take the front seat, its time to dent the ability of extremist networks to recruit and retain, time to go to war on their talent! its time to support Peace Through Prosperity; a preventive approach — intervention before individuals are radicalized and recruited.

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#Genocide #Fascism

Genocide Having received the nth invite to sign a Facebook petition to call for an end to the Genocide of Shias in Pakistan I ask myself; what will it take to put an end to this. Surely a Facebook petition is not the silver bullet!  

This is not a knee-jerk reaction to Abbass Town! there is Quetta before it, Gilgit before that, the daily targeted slaughter of Shia doctors, teachers, civil servants, lawyers, businessmen, the bombing of Shia processions and places of worship in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Rawalpindi,  the 5 year long siege of Para Chinar in the tribal belt, the list goes on. Extremists bleed this community on a daily basis across Pakistan and have been for the last 30+ years.

Successive governments in Pakistan have been cosying up to, harbouring and promoting the very extremists that the majority of the populous wants them to reign in,rehabilitate! or exterminate!

It is common knowledge there are many within the Pakistani army and political parties (those in power and those sitting on the opposition benches vying for it) that are in cahoots with the extremist outfits, some for ideological reasons and others for vote banks and protection.

The judiciary is responsible for acquitting people like Malik Ishaq and other monsters amongst men. The intelligence agencies for providing such monsters protective custody; to rain terror and continue to brainwash, coerce and recruit radicals to swell the ranks of their extremist organisations and of course to continue the genocide and the mass murder of those who stand against it from within other sects (as is now the case with the Barelvi muslim community in Pakistan).

The enforcement agencies are complicit by their inability to protect civilians or witnesses that can enable the judiciary to take the monsters to task.  The politicians increasingly depend on the extremist outfits for votes and propping up their power base (particularly in Punjab).

International pressure would certainly help; determined international will with follow through is the only type that could yield results. The kind of determination and will that has been levied on Iran, will bear fruit.

In Pakistan’s case the only sanctions that will work will be the ones put on its military industrial complex. From embargoes on military hardware to doing business with the commercial concerns of the military industrial complex.

Do international governments by which I mean the EU, Britain, USA and BRIC  have the will to impose sanctions on the Pakistani military that Cameron so rightly said looks both ways! Do Obama and Cameron have the will to raise this as a centre stage issue and lead on it? Right next to Assad’s war on his populous in Syria and Iran’s determination to acquire nuclear technology?

Specially at a time when their troops are pulling out of Afghanistan and need the safe passage through Pakistan, I think not.

Unfortunately the lobby in Washington, London and Brussels simply does not care for the genocide taking place in Pakistan. Nor London, Brussels or Washington will bear down on the Pakistani government or the military to put an end to the continued slaughter of Shias in Pakistan, nor speak a word of their continued oppression in Bahrain or elsewhere. Our governments are indifferent to the plight of communities on the rock, unless they have oil or other natural resources to offer.

In the grand game it seems the Shia community is expendable, and unless they butcher 6 million; as another extremist monster did another community 70 odd years ago no one will take note, or perhaps even then the condemnation will not go beyond words, perhaps 60 million might do it!

This would not be the first genocide that people of the rock choose to ignore whilst it happens, only to lament later.

The Genocide of Shias in Pakistan will only stop when the 99% realise that we; who occupy the rock are ‘a’ community and what affects one affects all, regardless of your creed, who your god is and which part of the rock you occupy.

The Shia community is sh!t out of luck, lets hope the extremists run out of bombs and bullets before this community runs out of innocents for them to kill. I wonder when there are none left will you remember the ones you knew as friends, neighbours, peers and colleagues once.

May your god be with you. I await my legion.

#ShiaGenocide #Genocide #Fascism #Anonymous #Hope #ICRtoP #GenocideWatch


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Against Genocide

We can play ostrich or we can blog, tweet, re-tweet, like, post, re-post, share, protest, sit-in or occupy.. whatever it takes to get our governments to recognise and react, to pressurise, persuade, coerce or simply take out tyrants that commit, condone, turn a blind eye to crimes against humanity in any crack, crevice or corner of the third rock. That is what it should mean to be a global community… collectively we don’t take shit being thrown at others like us… at home, in the next town or any other time zone.  Be it the Chagossians fighting for their right to return to their homeland in the courts of Britain, the Bahrainis protesting for representation in government, Syrians taking up arms against a tyrant, the shias of Pakistan clinging on to peaceful protests in the face of genocide being carried out against them. 

In Pakistan the educated shias are being systematically killed day in day out, the shia masses are being bombed, dragged off buses and shot, the only thing remaining is gassing them or putting them in giant ovens – the Pakistani government is undeniably inept at best or implicitly involved at worst, but the civil society in Pakistan is not far behind. Life is cheap, a minority’s life is cheaper still.

Those who know me know my views on organised religion will find it curious as to why have I started beating this drum.. it is simple… I protested against the Serbs in 1990s not for the Bosnian muslims or the Christian croats but for the people being butchered and our governments reluctance to jump into it (eventually the governments across Europe had to relent), I started Peace Through Prosperity for I do not see hard-war as the solution to increasing radicalisation on the third rock and likewise it is not the shia that I was born as but the human that I try to be that will not be a silent witness to what is happening with minorities in Pakistan, systematic culling to drive them out of the lands they were born in, live in and belong to. It was no different for the Jews in Nazi Germany, had I been around then I would have protested for them too till my government woke up, manned up, grew a pair and did something about it.

Regardless of our beliefs, religious badges that we were born with or wear of our own choosing If we stay silent we will witness bloodshed the likes of which have not been seen since the second world war. Three days after 100+ shias are killed in Quetta, a dozen odd gunned down in various parts of Pakistan, the government of Pakistan saw it fit to allow Malik Ishaq, a  preacher of hate to take to a stage and address a gathering of thousands in Karachi stoking flames of sectarian divide and hatred against the shia minority. 

Today it is shias, killing whom is fair game – road to heaven they say! tomorrow it will be Barelvis, Ahmedis, Ismailis, Hindus, Christians, Zorastrians… you and yours.

The most I can do is protest  and write to my MP Michael Fallon, engage other MPs I know or know of, and ask my family, friends and acquaintances to blog, tweet, re-tweet, like, post, re-post, share, protest, sit-in or occupy.. do whatever you can but do not play ostrich for this demon is not going away and none of us are invisible to its evil designs.

#againstshiagenocide #shia #shiagenocide #genocide #HRW #Amnesty

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