Freedom of Hatred

by Syed Foaad Hassan
The day former Punjab governor Salaman Taseer was assasinated by self-confessed murderer Mumtaz Qadri,this action was praised by a majority of Pakistanis. Even eduacted lawyers in courts and bars  welcomed the assasin with flowers, while no one dared condemning this act publicly, except some people from the liberal intelligensia. The judge who passed judgment against Qadri had to move abroad eventually. Similarly, no one condemned the brutal murder of Shahbaz Bhatti and it was a nightmare for liberals, creative artists, advertisers and human rights activists based in Pakistan. Pakistan is moving again towards being a theocratic State as was witnessed during Zia’s regime.When Federal ministers and Governors are not free to speak and cannot practice their freedom of speech then who will dare to speak with freedom and express himself? When movie “Khuda Kay Liye” was being advertised, Mullahs set on fire dvd shops and posters, why? Just becaue the Mullahs felt exposed by the message being presented in the movie? Why is Malala still a hated figure in her own country? In Pakistan, Advertisers have to walk a tigh rope before they execute their ideas. We have mixed the indigenous culture of sub-continent and traditions with religion so much that anyone who dares to oppose this state of affairs is termed blasphemous. The space for constructive debate has been constricted. Due to lot of criticism, AIDS ads were banned and ads of products that prevent AIDS were banned. In our country children are brain washed at school level, hate is a subject to be taught in our schools and colleges, A fifth grader questions about different sects, gender discrimination and religious issues, While getting admission to educational institutes, one has to declare one’s sect.

The prevalence of “taboo subjects” limits creativity of children; they live among stereotypes of society and are afraid of blasphemy while expressing their ideas or vision. An artist should ideally have no boundaries and ethnicities, he thinks above from this level. So we are killing artists, journalists and scientists inside a young one , because he is afraid of society , he is afraid of laws against freedom of speech .Another big hurdle is feudal culture , Feudal in different areas don’t allow their public to watch television , read newspaper even to get education so how an advertiser will convey his message to them ? They don’t allow anyone to build schools there. People are being ruled by them like people bowed to Pharaohs. Other main issue is corruption at every level and feudal mind sets of general public, people who are sitting on chairman seats still think that they are superior from others and they approve what they want and disapprove what they want. Gatekeepers are not replaced by young, energetic and educated people so it’s a huge obstacle. Their mindsets are bit backward and new generation thinks in a different way so clash of generation occurs and their ideas are not approved and youngsters get demoralized.

In our society woman is considered as a marketing tool and unfortunately I feel ashamed to say that she is used as a “throwaway product” so when you talk about fashion industry how can you justify it in this society? When a woman is involved in Wantonness she is always guilty, why a man involved with her is not corrupt or guilty? Why always woman is killed in the name of honor? If you talk about Islam, it always suggests same punishment for men and women who are involved in any wrong act. It is a common observation that men and women who works for television or if they are singers and models even if they work for stage theatres they are always degraded in our society and people call them with derogatory terms and those terms are now considered as abuse in society . Like when “black” and “nigger” were used as a derogatory terms and they were made to be inferior terms and they depict inferiority same is the case with the terms used for singers and actors in our society, So due to these social taboos families and parents don’t allow their kids to study art and media, according to them it’ll reduce their honor in family and society, no one marry those girls who are models and work for entertainment media. Killing woman and burying them alive in Baluchistan was never condemned like marathon race in Lahore was condemned in Punjab during Gen Musharaf’s era , Acid throwing cases are never condemned , killing one’s mother and sisters are never condemned, killing whole families along with little children, killing one’s three year old daughter , raping 10 years old girl is never condemned but Salman Taseer’s comments about minority rights are seriously condemnable in this society , If Ahmadis worship then it is also a condemnable act and it hurt feelings of Mullahs and according to them every Muslim’s feelings but killing Shia’s in buses ,targeting them and taking them out from buses never hurt feelings of Mullahs and vandalizing Temples and Gurdwaras never hurt feelings of any Pakistani. If Veena Malik works for an Indian show it ‘ll hurt feelings of whole Pakistan but When Tasleem Solangi a girl from Baluchistan who was killed by hounds of feudal was condemned like Veena Malik’s acts ? Or like advertisements to prevent AIDS? Or like Geo TV’s campaign for Women rights during Musharraf era? Answer is a simple “NO” but who cares in Pakistan where everyone is a true Muslim and his feelings get hurt when his women work in fields, when he sees billboards and watches commercials endorsing women and commercials of sanitary napkins and AIDS preventing drugs and items but he will never condemn honor killing of women and religious persecution.

Culture of hatred in society caused all this mess, if we don’t like anyone or any act and if we think that it is wrong in religion then we always try to impose our interpreted religion on others, we always hate those people who disagree with us and who have different point of view and then we teach hatred to our children and then the cycle moves on and generations come out which hate those people who have different thoughts and point of views, we never teach our youngsters to compromise and accept opposite views, we impose our interpretation on others and this thing is spoiling our society and people don’t accept anything about which they are brain washed by specific clerics. We should welcome opposite viewpoints and should have discussions and peaceful negotiations without declaring anyone “Kaafir” and miscreant and without teaching our children to hate him/her or to hate a specific group. “Swords can win territories but not hearts, Force can bend heads but not minds” so if someone thinks that dancing, singing, modeling is against Islamic values then he should teach those people or peaceful discussions with them instead of killing them or creating a culture of hating those people, by adopting culture of “Hatred” and derogation of people we don’t like we have killed our society and we have killed “Human inside us, we cannot even compare ourselves to animals even they are not like us, when a lion finishes his hunger he don’t attack. Our major concerns about living should be within our homes not to other’s homes and how others spend their lives, if we think that some acts are wrong then we should not do it except hating everyone who is doing that and spreading hatred against him/her. When Religion is mixed with personal traditions and cultures then it make things wrong, No religion teaches Hatred and to kill others, we should teach religion or morality but not impose. So the reason models, advertisers and artists face difficulties in this society is due to ‘Lack of Moral Courage” and culture of “Hatred” among us and misinterpretation of religion and imposing our misinterpreted religion on everyone. If culture of “Hatred” is abolished from society then it can also solve other problems too, No one will feel insecure and inferior in this society. As Nelson Mandela said “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin and his background or his religion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love or love comes more naturally to the human hearts than its opposite”.

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