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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Fanatics Have The Last Laugh

Truth be told, we are beyond a crazy nation. Any difference of opinion, having even a remote mention of non-Muslims, the west or, worse yet, the words, ‘the US’, ‘Americans’, can bring our fanatics into full-blown action almost instantaneously.

The irony of this callously belligerent attitude is that we are extremely oblivious to certain basic facts — some very basic realities of life. There is one basic principle of universal acceptance, the principle of right versus wrong. We take pride in killing people at close range on suspicion or difference of opinion. Barely a month ago, we witnessed such a pathetic scene in our capital, where a governor was killed in broad daylight. To add insult to injury, there was no collective condemnation from the nation. Voices of reason were threatened and a murderer was glorified in unison.

Our boiling fanatics with their overflowing and seething rage took the streets by storm. They shouted for death and destruction to anyone who dared to disagree with them. The so-called ‘liberal’ government became literally terrified of such mass protests and gave in rather easily. Instead of siding with a stalwart of its own party, who stood firm in his bold stand, it went into defensive mode. There were multiple clarifications from various quarters within the administration, trying endlessly to appease the fanatic crowd.

Thousands have gathered at various venues and reiterated their stance about a law, which, in its theory, may be right and well intended. However, in its practicality or implementation it has been extremely biased and discriminatory. The unyielding position by our fanatics, to say the least, is shameful and illogical. Drawing a parallel between injustice towards a minority based on subjective hearsay or innuendo and real blasphemy is downright lunacy.

The government, facing pressure from the vociferous ‘morality brigade’ and certain partners in its fragile coalition, has made every effort to bury this issue forever. A parliamentarian who had introduced a bill for an amendment to the application of this law has been threatened. Now the bill has been withdrawn.

Here lies the biggest irony of this whole episode. Morality and righteousness are being enforced at gunpoint. I have argued with many who wrongfully accuse our religion of being spread by the edge of the sword. With this misplaced fervour of our so awfully pious people, I am left speechless and dumbfounded in front of the critics of my faith.

Dissent is being killed almost every day in bloody suicide bombings and indiscriminate shootings. Any place of worship, any gathering point and any moment of happiness and joy are all being tarnished by such ‘saviours’ of my faith. It is these same saviours who once thought that carving out a homeland for a significant majority of the Indian subcontinent by a ‘supreme infidel’, was a gross error of epic proportions. What a pity that the same crowd is considered the only band of patriots in my land. They dictate their terms and the otherwise sturdy corridors of power crumble like sawdust in minutes. Day in and day out the business of hate and bigotry is traded like the hottest commodity on the stock exchange.

Pakistan has become a place where those of differing viewpoints are considered as being ‘sub-humans’, where self-analysis and self-criticism is unacceptable, where ‘conspiracy’ is the operative word in any and every conversation, where fault or blemish is always attributed to another person, party, faith or nation, where glory is awarded to those who demonstrate the highest acts of cowardice and where we are the judge, jury and the executioners.

A sane though very young person from a distant land with a straight spine took a stand against such ruthless cowards. But he is still way too young, naïve and unprepared to take this crazy crowd head on, a crowd that consists of those who are laughing out loud and mocking the basic principles of my faith. There is no distinction between my faith and the basics of humanity. If my faith is the divine message brought to this world by the best of all humans, the Prophet (PBUH) of all prophets, it does not need to be in the clutches of such hoodlums. It can withstand any malicious attack; after all, it is always truth that keeps evil at bay.
Original Article: Daily Times Dated: February 09, 2011
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C02%5C09%5Cstory_9-2-2011_pg3_6

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