Gaza,FATA,Nazi Germany, Israel and Pakistan: Some random thoughts for my troop worshiping Pakistani friends
I have been writing for some time against crimes committed by the Pakistani/USA and other forces in this fake war on terror and Israeli occupation and bombings of Palestinian territory. I have also been observing the reactions of people against and in favor of both operations, wars, genocide or mass murders (Whatever you want to label them).
What I see is that most of us believe in the concept of humanity but for most people the main issue seems to be their definition of the entity called “human”.
The definition seems to be greatly dependent on race, religion ,sect, nationality, political ideology and other sources of discrimination. This discrimination blinds many people to the extent that they start considering the lives of a 2 years old on one side of the conflict as less important one than on the other side of the conflict.
If we look at Israeli attacks over Gaza and Pakistan army attacks over FATA then we will see that there is not much difference between Benjamin Netanyahu and Nawaz/Raheel Sharif operations. Same logic of targeting particular groups but in reality damaging lives and properties of common people. Also there is not much difference between pro-war Israelies who were shown on the media enjoying bombings over Gaza and pro-war troop worshipers and fake liberals (In reality sectarian and social class fascists) of Pakistan who support and enjoy aerial bombings and heavy ground bombings over populated areas of FATA. Not to forget another thing. Israel and Egypt’s dictator Al-Sissi both have closed their borders for Gaza refugees and here in Pakistan both Sind and Punjab are doing the same with IDPs.
Ask a Pakistan army supporter about Israeli actions and he will use the all the harsh words he or she has against the Israelis and will condemn the attacks strongly. Ask him if these attacks are similar then you will receive harsh words for your self and things like, “There is no general public living in Waziristan & FATA area where Pak Army is doing bombing.” Similarly ask an Israeli army supporter about war in Gaza and similarity between their actions and the actions of Hitler’s Nazi Germany and he will say ” There is no general public living in GAZA area where Israeli Army is doing bombing”
Reality is people don’t care as long as its their men doing their job and it’s not our head facing the bullet or bombings.
No one is asking from Pakistan army that which high-profile targets were targeted? what are the identities of all those hundreds of so-called Uzbaks? what is the proof that all these so-called Uzbaks were terrorists or they were the refugees we accepted for many years or they were from the younger generation of the old soldiers Pak/US trained to fight the Soviets or were they common tribal people?
Similarly not many in Israel will ask their army about the hatred these bombings will create in the region against Israelis or how long can they bully the whole region and how the actions are different from what Hitler did?
The thing is that long as boots on the ground are our’s , bombs from sky are our’s and it’s not us or the people we care are being targeted, all is OK!
We need to oppose the idea of using aerial bombings over civilian population areas (whether so-called enemy areas or so-called our areas) on principle not on prejudices.
Fear of the other kind is a useful tool in the hands of people like Hitler, Netanyahu, Pakistan’s very own dictator Yahya, Musharraf, Bashar al Assad, Stalin, Mussolini, Bush, Obama and others like them.
It’s up to the common people to reject this “creating fear and controlling masses” policy. We need to do it not just for the other side and their rights as humans but also for our rights and freedom too.
Wrong actions and policies, if accepted as norms or principles will eventually hit us too and we will have no moral justification to oppose such actions if we would have supported them in the beginning against other people.
According to latest media reports, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has suspended the licenses of Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Tez. This is another attack by establishment on freedom of media and must be condemned.
If the biggest media group of Pakistan (Geo) goes down like this then forget about smaller media groups and wait for the time when establishment will exercise their patriotic totalitarian madness over blogs, news websites, websites of political parties or even their speeches. Worst part of this madness is that a political party like PTI and a leader with great potential like Imran Khan were used like a toilet paper. The establishment did it with ease. All they needed to do was to exploit the right fault lines and play cards like religion, nationalism, blasphemy or some personal differences.
Geo did bad journalism on many occasions including in 2013 elections but we need to know that media freedom also includes bad or biased journalism. Giving up freedom to satisfy some personal hatred is a sign of slave and weak mind.
People need to learn that if you don’t like something use your TV remote. use the control in your own hand instead of giving it to PEMRA or Army. . I opposed Geo for their support of Swat operation or supporting army in this war or for 2013 election coverage but on Hamid Mir issue, they rightly stood up with the victim.
I hope sanity will prevail and this attack by establishment will fail.
Update: Next day government, after pressure from local and international circles, distanced itself from the decision and termed the meeting illegal. Still Geo is not available in many parts of the countries as cable operators are under pressure from military.
I really hate myself while writing this but need to write it to give an honest view point.
I am really disappointed with almost all of my Shia friends who support this war. I thought there must be some good significant number of Shias in Pakistan who don’t blindly toe the line of that Jerk Khemenei or Seestani but here it seems its not the case and almost all are determined to push not only their selves in this more war mess and resulting terrorism but also others too. Almost all my Shia friends cannot see the fact they are being used as a fuel for this war by Pakistani and other pro-war establishments including their beloved Khomenist regime in Iran.
I also criticize sunni or deobandi or ahl-e-hadith or other sects and social classes for the hate based crap some of their leaders or other people do (LeJ or ST or Mumtaz Qadri or Malik Ishaq types) but a clear thing which disappoints me is that others have broad range of views and diversity at extremes (almost all against innocent killings except few mad people) but for my almost all Shia friends it looks that they are toeing some kind of deep rooted hate based agenda against others with no room for reconciliation.
They need to know no anti-war on terror person supports suicide attacks on Hazara or on other Shia communities but what I have seen is that almost all (not all) of my Shia friends feel really happy when they know about deaths of people including children from other sects in tribal areas, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or any where else. Even in Pakistan, they don’t really sympathize with anyone else but merely use one majority sect like Barelvi against the others like Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith. The trend is not just in religious maniacs but also evident in so called liberal or moderates.
I have always criticized army for this war mess but those who think they are being victimized should also see where they are going or what they are becoming in blind hatred.
They are trying to eliminate any space for those who want peaceful resolution of this war issue as probably it doesn’t fit into their hate based agenda to settle some centuries old good for nothing historical issues. Anti-war on terror people always condemn LeJ or other groups but unfortunately my Shia friends almost never condemn aerial bombings or military’s use of heavy conventional or even chemical weapons against other sects which is a crime even in worldly laws.
I don’t have any sympathies now for those who want innocent killings on both sides to satisfy their hatred for other sects and social classes. my only concern is those unrelated (who do not support this war or resulting terrorism) people who die as collateral damage but unfortunately there is no way to discriminate one from the other in aerial or suicide bombings which Shia groups want when they support this war.
May the wrath of Allah be on those from both sides of the conflict (Army, TTP, MWM,LeJ,SUC,SIC, PPP, ST,PMLN,MQM or others) who support these mass murders either through aerial/drone/military bombings or through suicide attacks.
Even India never does aerial bombings (drone or jet) on civilian populated areas despite almost 2 dozens of insurgencies.
I pray for the hardest wrath of Allah on those who consider innocent dead kids as an unavoidable or tolerable or necessary collateral damage.
I still pray for the blind followers of this corrupt system to get on the path of justice and peace but it seems we are going for complete self-destruction.
If the hatred is about religion or sects then at least while supporting aerial bombings, we should remember what the holy book says:
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do.” [Al-maeda ,8]
For past few months, government has adopted the stupid method of shutting down cellular phone services along with all the businesses for religious events. These policies are apparently supported by some religious groups.
This madness and policy of fear and control should stop.Our economy is already crashed due to this bogus war and now the affects of this bogus war are furthering coming to our throats.
Why everyone has to shut down their businesses? I think these so called special days have become more of a competition to show strength. This is not only for Muharram but also for whatever Sunnis do when they observe “their days” and not forget that belief has become a slave of days, mob strength, chanting slogans or doing fun mela or crying out loud in group.
Spirituality doesn’t require to block MA Jinnah road or other business centers, a spiritual event can be observed by keeping in mind the sufferings of others. One other example is the AIHTRAM E RAMADAN ORDINANCE in which people who are not fasting are also forced to observe partial fast and food businesses are forced to close just because other people are observing fast. In this case again the spirit of a ritual is undermined and irrational behavior towards religion is evident. If the spirit of fasting is to be patient and tolerant then why people cannot show patience towards others who are not fasting or why people cannot control their hunger if others are eating in front of them.
For many of us religion has become an exercise of MANANA (celebrate), SAJANA(decorate) AND RAJJ KAI KHANA(eating a lot). Element of learning has gone. But still as I said earlier, I don’t have a problem whatever people follow or observe but it should be done in a way that businesses and lives of others don’t get disturbed.
If people require businesses and other activities to be stopped to provide a sense of security for religious processions or mosques then its better for them to stay at home and pray there. I will favor the closure of mosques if people in the mosque require shutting down of businesses around them so that they can feel safe while praying. its better for people to pray at home who are too much worried about security. mosques or processions which do not require closure of businesses do not come under that and people who focus more on prayers than showing off strength by closing businesses of others should do as they do.
It seems many people have found their way of releasing frustration, from this fake war, unemployment, electricity crisis, corruption and many many other issues, by damaging public and private property in the name of their love of Prophet (S.A.W). If these idiots want to show their anger on other issues then they should not use the name of Islam of Prophet (S.A.W) and if it is about Islam then this type of violence, attacks on embassies/diplomats and damage to civilian property is not taught by Islam.
Attacks on ambassadors and diplomats are not allowed. Even the ambassadors of worst enemies of Prophet (S.A.W) were not harmed by Prophet (S.A.W) or Sahaba (R.A). What sort of love of Prophet (S.A.W) that people are clearly violating his teachings in the name of the religion he preached. If people have issues with war or foreign policies then they shouldn’t do it at least in the name of religion or the love of Prophet (S.A.W). Even in the war case, Islam doesn’t allow attacks on diplomats.
It seems all this anger is not just about a rubbish movie but the movie has worked like a spark to ignite the fuel. We should not let these morons who made such films to do things which are against Islam and the teachings of Prophet (S.A.W) and that too in the name of Islam.
Recent reports of violence from all over the Muslims world and today in Pakistan on the day of Yaum e Ishq e Rasool (S.A.W) are not very helpful in spreading the right message of Islam. The way people are protesting, it seems they are more interested in looting and plundering the wealth of others than showing any love for the Prophet (S.A.W). I condemn such violence in the name of religion especially in the name of a religion which doesn’t allow such actions.
We strongly condemn the restrictions imposed Chinese government over Uighur Muslims for practicing Ramadan. According to reports Uighur population especially students are being pressurized to surrender their religious practices including FASTING, during the month of Ramadan. China needs to realize forcing people to leave their religion will only create tensions between ideologies. This action by Chinese government as against religious freedom and basic human rights.
China steps up campaign against Ramadan fasting for Uighurs; experts fear backlash
BEIJING — China is discouraging some Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang from fasting during Ramadan. The government says the move is motivated by health concerns, but others said Friday that it’s a risky campaign to secularize the Muslim minority that will likely backfire.
Several city, county and village governments in Xinjiang have posted notices on their websites banning or discouraging Communist Party members, civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the religious holiday. Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during the 30-day period. Read complete…
My generation grew up at a time when colonial hang up was at its peak. Our older generation had been slaves and had a huge inferiority complex of the British. The school I went to was similar to all elite schools in Pakistan. Despite gaining independent, they were, and still are, producing replicas of public schoolboys rather than Pakistanis.
I read Shakespeare, which was fine, but no Allama Iqbal — the national poet of Pakistan. The class on Islamic studies was not taken seriously, and when I left school I was considered among the elite of the country because I could speak English and wore Western clothes.
Despite periodically shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in school functions, I considered my own culture backward and religion outdated. Among our group if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah.
Because of the power of the Western media, our heroes were Western movie stars or pop stars. When I went to Oxford already burdened with this hang up, things didn’t get any easier. At Oxford, not just Islam, but all religions were considered anachronism.
Science had replaced religion and if something couldn’t be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies. Philosophers like Darwin, who with his half-baked theory of evolution had supposedly disproved the creation of men and hence religion, were read and revered.
Moreover, European history reflected its awful experience with religion. The horrors committed by the Christian clergy during the Inquisition era had left a powerful impact on the Western mind.
To understand why the West is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see the torture apparatus used during the Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy had convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive.
However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practiced by most of its preachers. In short, there was a huge difference between what they practiced and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an overemphasis on rituals.
I feel that humans are different to animals. While, the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Qur’an constantly appeals to reason. The worst, of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups.
Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence my mother wielded on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.
However, my Islam was selective. I accepted only parts of the religion that suited me. Prayers were restricted to Eid days and occasionally on Fridays, when my father insisted on taking me to the mosque with him.
All in all I was smoothly moving to becoming a Pukka Brown Sahib. After all I had the right credentials in terms of school, university and, above all, acceptability in the English aristocracy, something that our brown sahibs would give their lives for. So what led me to do a ‘lota’ on the Brown Sahib culture and instead become a ‘desi’?
Well it did not just happen overnight.
Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited gradually went as I developed into a world-class athlete. Secondly, I was in the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both societies.
In Western societies, institutions were strong while they were collapsing in our country. However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life. I began to realize that this was the Western society’s biggest loss. In trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives.
While science, no matter how much it progresses, can answer a lot of questions — two questions it will never be able to answer: One, what is the purpose of our existence and two, what happens to us when we die?
It is this vacuum that I felt created the materialistic and the hedonistic culture. If this is the only life then one must make hay while the sun shines — and in order to do so one needs money. Such a culture is bound to cause psychological problems in a human being, as there was going to be an imbalance between the body and the soul.
Consequently, in the US, which has shown the greatest materialistic progress while giving its citizens numerous rights, almost 60 percent of the population consult psychiatrists. Yet, amazingly in modern psychology, there is no study of the human soul. Sweden and Switzerland, who provide the most welfare to their citizens, also have the highest suicide rates. Hence, man is not necessarily content with material well being and needs something more.
Since all morality has it roots in religion, once religion was removed, immorality has progressively grown since the 70s. Its direct impact has been on family life. In the UK, the divorce rate is 60 percent, while it is estimated that there are over 35 percent single mothers. The crime rate is rising in almost all Western societies, but the most disturbing fact is the alarming increase in racism. While science always tries to prove the inequality of man (recent survey showing the American Black to be genetically less intelligent than whites) it is only religion that preaches the equality of man.
Between 1991 and 1997, it was estimated that total immigration into Europe was around 520,000, and there were racially motivated attacks all over, especially in Britain, France and Germany. In Pakistan during the Afghan war, we had over four million refugees, and despite the people being so much poorer, there was no racial tension.
There was a sequence of events in the 80s that moved me toward God as the Qur’an says: “There are signs for people of understanding.” One of them was cricket. As I was a student of the game, the more I understood the game, the more I began to realize that what I considered to be chance was, in fact, the will of Allah. A pattern which became clearer with time. But it was not until Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” that my understanding of Islam began to develop.
People like me who were living in the Western world bore the brunt of anti-Islam prejudice that followed the Muslim reaction to the book. We were left with two choices: fight or flight. Since I felt strongly that the attacks on Islam were unfair, I decided to fight. It was then I realized that I was not equipped to do so as my knowledge of Islam was inadequate. Hence I started my research and for me a period of my greatest enlightenment. I read scholars like Ali Shariati, Muhammad Asad, Iqbal, Gai Eaton, plus of course, a study of Qur’an.
I will try to explain as concisely as is possible, what “discovering the truth” meant for me. When the believers are addressed in the Qur’an, it always says, “Those who believe and do good deeds.” In other words, a Muslim has dual function, one toward God and the other toward fellow human beings.
The greatest impact of believing in God for me, meant that I lost all fear of human beings. The Qur’an liberates man from man when it says that life and death and respect and humiliation are God’s jurisdiction, so we do not have to bow before other human beings.
Moreover, since this is a transitory world where we prepare for the eternal one, I broke out of the self-imposed prisons, such as growing old (such a curse in the Western world, as a result of which, plastic surgeons are having a field day), materialism, ego, what people say and so on. It is important to note that one does not eliminate earthly desires. But instead of being controlled by them, one controls them.
By following the second part of believing in Islam, I have become a better human being. Rather than being self-centered and living for the self, I feel that because the Almighty gave so much to me, in turn I must use that blessing to help the less privileged. This I did by following the fundamentals of Islam rather than becoming a Kalashnikov-wielding fanatic.
I have become a tolerant and a giving human being who feels compassion for the underprivileged. Instead of attributing success to myself, I know it is because of God’s will, hence I learned humility instead of arrogance.
Also, instead of the snobbish Brown Sahib attitude toward our masses, I believe in egalitarianism and strongly feel against the injustice done to the weak in our society. According to the Qur’an, “Oppression is worse than killing.” In fact only now do I understand the true meaning of Islam, if you submit to the will of Allah, you have inner peace.
Through my faith, I have discovered strength within me that I never knew existed and that has released my potential in life. I feel that in Pakistan we have selective Islam. Just believing in God and going through the rituals is not enough. One also has to be a good human being. I feel there are certain Western countries with far more Islamic traits than us in Pakistan, especially in the way they protect the rights of their citizens, or for that matter their justice system. In fact some of the finest individuals I know live there.
What I dislike about them is their double standards in the way they protect the rights of their citizens but consider citizens of other countries as being somehow inferior to them as human being, e.g. dumping toxic waste in the Third World, advertising cigarettes that are not allowed in the West and selling drugs that are banned in the West.
One of the problems facing Pakistan is the polarization of two reactionary groups. On the one side is the Westernized group that looks upon Islam through Western eyes and has inadequate knowledge about the subject. It reacts strongly to anyone trying to impose Islam in society and wants only a selective part of the religion. On the other extreme is the group that reacts to this Westernized elite and in trying to become a defender of the faith, takes up such intolerant and self-righteous attitudes that are repugnant to the spirit of Islam.
What needs to be done is to somehow start a dialogue between the two extreme. In order for this to happen, the group on whom the greatest proportion of our educational resources are spent in this country must study Islam properly.
Whether they become practicing Muslims or believe in God is entirely a personal choice. As the Qur’an tells us there is “no compulsion in religion.” However, they must arm themselves with knowledge as a weapon to fight extremism. Just by turning up their noses at extremism the problem is not going to be solved.
The Qur’an calls Muslims “the middle nation”, not of extremes. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was told to simply give the message and not worry whether people converted or not, therefore, there is no question in Islam of forcing your opinions on anyone else.
Moreover, we are told to respect other religions, their places of worship and their prophets. It should be noted that no Muslim missionaries or armies ever went to Malaysia or Indonesia. The people converted to Islam due to the high principles and impeccable character of the Muslim traders. At the moment, the worst advertisements for Islam are the countries with their selective Islam, especially where religion is used to deprive people of their rights. In fact, a society that obeys fundamentals of Islam has to be a liberal one.
If Pakistan’s Westernized class starts to study Islam, not only will it be able to help society fight sectarianism and extremism, but it will also make them realize what a progressive religion Islam is. They will also be able to help the Western world by articulating Islamic concepts. Recently, Prince Charles accepted that the Western world can learn from Islam. But how can this happen if the group that is in the best position to project Islam gets its attitudes from the West and considers Islam backward? Islam is a universal religion and that is why our Prophet (peace be upon him) was called a Mercy for all mankind.
By Imran Khan