Is there a silver lining in the cloud…….

Raza Habib Raja

The story which is developing headlines right now is of a young girl being shot by Taliban. This story is horrific and completely disgusts me. This understandably has attracted a lot of international condemnation and deservedly so. But it is not the international condemnation which interests me. Something has happened, which despite the tragedy gives me hope. Perhaps every tragedy despite its ugliness also gives us the opportunity to have a fresh look at the situation. At times a tragedy to someone innocent, completely flawless and lovable shakes even the most naïve ones awake.
Here over the years, Taliban have largely been projected as some kind of “victims” who are bravely resisting the US hegemony. Moreover, all the suicide blasts have largely been brushed aside through conspiracy theory mode of analysis. Swat, from where Malala hails, has witnessed an army operation which had been resisted like anything by Pakistani media and its main target audience, the urban middleclass. Before the army action, a flogging video had appeared which had shown a young woman being canned for coming out of the house without a “permissible” male chaperon. I remember, instead of being appalled, the entire media thrust was to prove it as a “fake”. Instead of being horrified, Pakistanis were spinning to absolve Taliban and portray them as victims of propaganda.
I have written before also that today that it is not hardline Islam which is the main problem but the denial of the so called moderate Muslims which actually gives “soft” support to the hardliners and allows them to flourish. This moderate Muslim is generally fully convinced of moral superiority of Muslims and consequently finds it extremely difficult to believe that those who visibly uphold Islamic values ( the way Taliban try to show that they deliver justice without “favors” ) can be guilty of these hideous crimes.
As evidence kept on mounting the conspiracy theory paradigm was increasingly supplemented by “victims” of US aggression explanation. Reactionaries like Imran Khan have been instrumental in further propagation of this narrative.
I have written before also that if the entire nation is not even ready to recognize the source or in case they recognize it, then the severity of the problem, NOTHING will happen. Recognition does not mean that problem will disappear but at least initiates building of political will to tackle the issue. Government and army ( Yes because now their created Frankenstein monster has largely turned against themselves also) need backing of their public to start and pursue a military action against these pests.
A 14 year old girl who first gained fame for bringing attention to the plight of little girls under the so called “victim” Taliban, has through a potential fatal tragedy once again shown Pakistanis the ugly reality.
But there is a silver lining in the cloud. Right now as I write these sentences, I know that the Malala Yosuf Zai’s shooting is being condemned across the board. And this protest is cutting across ethnic and religious spectrum of Pakistan. In a normal country, such a reaction is normal and very much expected. But in Pakistan, this is frankly positively surprising. Even the religious leaders are finally uttering what should have uttered a long time ago.
This 14 year daughter of Pakistan, has through her blood, done what nobody could imagine. As the global spotlight is once again in Pakistan and internationally Taliban are being condemned, for the first time a huge majority of Pakistanis are feeling revulsion and are getting embarrassed that a gross thing like this happened in their country.
This time the reality is so shocking that even the naïve have been jerked awake out of their amnesia. And those who are still not seeing it are eternally damned and deserve the same fate which their pig like heroes, Taliban deserve.
And shame on you Imran Khan…
Frankly a 14 year old girl has more courage and comprehension than you..

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