Raza Habib Raja
I was recently tagged to an article (written in Urdu) by the famous mainstream journalist Mr. Orya Maqbool Jan. The article was basically his take on the “Malala Controversy”. I must give credit to Mr. Maqbool Jan for so “brilliantly” shifting the entire blame to the West away from TTP who had actually shot the girl. The article was argued in way that it was bound to evoke anger in any person with even the slightest love for his religion. For those who can read Urdu, here is the link: Malala-Aur-Ubeer-Qasim-Humza Al Janabi.
The article compared Malala with the 14 year old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, who was gang raped by US soldiers. Needless to say that the episode was narrated in a language that was heart wrenching and left you fuming with rage. Any person with an inkling of humanity would have felt moved by that narrative.
Then very cleverly, the Malala incidence was linked and compared with Abeer Qassim’s tragic ordeal and a question was asked: Why was West silent on that?
There is nothing wrong with this question except the purpose for which it was put and the way it ended up deviating attention away from hideous crimes of TTP which is an organized militant outfit to war crimes of US soldiers conducted in individual capacity. The fact that those soldiers were subsequently tried and given punishments was of course omitted.
The article went viral and was being shared as “evidence” of hypocrisy of the West. The moment someone would try to be critical of TTP and praise Malala, the response by some was pasting link of the article.
Now the Abeer Qassim incidence is real and there is no doubt that it was a hideous crime and not only that but the entire invasion of Iraq was based on nothing but mal-intention. To deny an obvious reality would be intellectual dishonesty. But the way it was used to turn attention away from TTP and divert criticism towards West was amazing. The rationale given was of course that West should see the behavior of its own soldiers before criticizing TTP for killing OUR countrymen! West is a hypocrite for elevating Malala ( the girl who was shot in the face by TTP) and condemning TTP who ironically are not killing them but us!
I pointed out the anomaly of our behavior in an article and in response got the Orya Maqbool Jan’s article again and again! And yes, I was told by some that I did not “understand” the issue and had weak grasp of it. Pakistanis are behaving like this because West has been unfair to Muslims.
Yeah sure! TTP is killing our own and we are getting angry over West when they condemn the former. .Rather than feeling the revulsion about those who have killed 40,000 of our own, we are busy reminding West of unfairness to Muslims and in fact end up giving apologetic defense of our own killers.
My mind also flashes back to a bombing at Islamic International University a few years ago. After a few days, the enraged students hosted a demonstration which was not against TTP but aimed at registering their protest at Kerry Luger Bill, a bill which promised Pakistan billions of dollars in aid!
And also to what happened in Swat valley when militants captured the entire valley and then started to demand a different legal code ( Sharia). As they kept on capturing village after village, USA started to voice its concerns.
Our media erupted in protest. Go and mind your own business. These are not militants. It is your propaganda that they are burning schools. Needless to say, eventually an army action had to be conducted, something which US was pressing upon from the very beginning. But just because they were saying it, we had to oppose it. We ended up entrenching the militants and the fight in Swat, that could have been won through far less bloodshed was eventually won through far more.
This mindset is even more irrational than of those who give apologetic defense for Muslim extremism directed at West. For example, the point of view of some Muslims who tried to rationalize 9/11,( though this kind of thinking is ethically wrong) could still be understood. They thought that hijackers by killing the US citizens were “avenging” the death ( though that is still gross) of the Muslims killed by Israelis whose ability to do so is underpinned by unconditional US support.
There (though frankly there is never any moral justification) at least, the rationale had an air of understandability. The logic though amoral is simple and is underpinned by the ancient law of revenge: You kill our people, so your cries reek of hypocrisy, when our crazies kill your people.
Some or the other, we have slipped more along the slippery slope and now entered a collective irrationality bordering on outright lunacy. We are getting hurt now and crying out loud to the West: You killed our people, now our people are killing our own, your protest on our people killing us reek of hypocrisy. Those who are killing our people in crowded bazaars, shrines and streets are misunderstood humans, who have gone astray because of you. They are killing us just because of YOUR unfairness in Palestine and your merciless killing through drone attacks.
Yes, we find these drones an outright insult to our sovereignty and our screwed up national honor. So what if we do not even know what the hell is sovereignty. So what if these drone attacks are sanctioned by our military and are aimed at killing those who are killing us. Thirty deaths from a drone are far more draconian than three hundred deaths from a suicide blast. In other words, we will proudly act as their apologists because you are the culprit.
Our leading politicians will blame drones when someone indulges in a suicide bombing in Shrines. Suicide bombers are nothing but protestors of your atrocities and they act on this protest by killing us!
It is an insult to us when someone points out towards the barbarity of TTP and it does not matter if that someone has received a bullet to her face. You see, she is being used as a ploy by the West to insult us. We take as an affront when TTP are condemned internationally. So what if they are killing us!
Do not elevate Malala to a pedestal. She is not a drone victim but victim of TTP. Only drone victims belong to a pedestal and that too because you killed them. Had they been killed by TTP, we would have just come with a twisted apologetic defense of the TTP while maintaining a deafening silence on the causalities.
We get riled up on Malala and the appreciation of her by the West. How dare they use her to insult our killers! They should first look at their own killings first..
Yeah this is how we operate and this is how we are teaching valuable lessons to the world about how to commit a collective moral and intellectual suicide.
Our “intellectuals” today are people like Orya Maqbool Jan, Ansar Abbasi, Haroon Rasheed and our political spokespersons are reactionaries like Imran Khan. In Pakistan, News Channels make much more than entertainment because News is not News but entertainment. The narrative which constantly comes out is: Oh West is so unfair and is insulting us.
As George Fulton, wrote so beautifully when saying good bye to its once adopted country:
“Pakistan, you are on a precipice. A wafer-thin sliver is all that stands between you and becoming a failed state. A state that was the culmination of a search for a ‘Muslim space’ by the wealthy Muslims of Northern India has ended up, as MJ Akbar recently pointed out, becoming “one of the most violent nations on earth, not because Hindus were killing Muslims but because Muslims were killings Muslims”.
This my dear is Pakistan