Pakistan: a nation with confused Motives and a Clear Demise
By Mona Hassan
February 10, 2015
When I Googled the above-given painting by Pablo Picasso, in an attempt to understand what it meant, I was led to a publication by Kaitlin Tremblay, entitled “Where Art Belongs: The Interactivity and Politics of Video Games.” Her thoughts on the painting were:
“It’s a very moving painting and through the coloring chaos we feel the tragedy and the confusion of the bombing. Not just the confusion on the part of the civilians, but we, as spectators, can feel this also: the painting doesn’t entirely make sense. It is disorderly, chaotic and senseless – the same feelings we are meant to feel about the bombing and war. This feeling is stirred in us, and we have to be ready to see and accept this.”
To me, her description perfectly fits what the Pakistani nation is going through for decades. Bomb after bomb, tragedy after tragedy; each new government brings a new hope that dies soon after and the nation slowly gets closer to its ever-painful demise.
Just a few days ago, while some were celebrating the Super Bowl with succulent hot wings and guacamole, cheering for the Patriots, a father was stumbling through the rubble of Shikarpur Imam Bargah collecting pieces of his children’s’ bodies. Imagine the agony. He couldn’t leave even a single strand of hair behind; he had to gather the whole of his child, all of his children. Following the incident, our very own Jibran Nasir with a handful of civil society members came out asking the government to stand on their own two feet and do something right, for a change. He, with other protestors, sat in front of the CM house in Karachi for 30 straight hours demanding the government to identify banned organizations and repeal any luxury that those organizations are enjoying, including full protocol and security from Pakistanis’ tax money. The group demanded to take that security and protocol back, declare these organizations as terrorist organizations, arrest them and take them to court for cases that are already registered against them. It is appalling to know that our very own government is feeding and protecting terrorist organizations that have terrorized and killed thousands of its own citizens.
Well that was about the government, crippled and impotent. as always. It’s an old news, not worth wasting anyone’s time and insulting anyone’s intelligence. What about the public? It is true that our general public is very kind. When Shikarpur was flooded with blood and body parts, it was the public who started helping people out and managed to get them to the hospital. I noticed how for thirty hours Jibran kept the update going and kept appealing to the people to come out and sit with them and raise their voice against this terrorism. In his video that’s been circling around he said that it’s easier said than done. A very fiery message that sent chills down my spine, he called upon all the Shias saying it’s easy to call yourself a Hussaini but it’s very hard to become one and do what Hussain did, standing up against the tyranny. This should have been a country-wide protest, not just of a handful of civil society members. All of us saw, with dropped jaws, the amount of people who came out after the Charlie Hebdo incident, including French Muslims. Not just in France, where the streets were packed with vigils, people showed their solidarity for the killed cartoonists and against Islamic terrorism all over the world.
What if Shikarpur had happened in Palestine or Syria, and the perpetrators were Americans or Jews? Wouldn’t the whole of Pakistan have come out on the streets? Why is it that when their own people are killed and butchered right there in their own backyard by their “own” people who are walking around fearless right around them, it doesn’t make their blood boil? Why do Pakistanis lack care and empathy so much for their own people? The same people who took all the wounded to the hospital in their arms and on their shoulders before ambulances arrived, are now quiet. Why do they feel more for the children who are killed in Palestine, than their own who were killed Peshawar and Shikarpur? Well, there is no explanation other than the idea that they have no humanity left; that, or, the idea that they protest for the dead children of Palestine, not for their sake, but to protest against Israel. The preference is different and so is the motive.
Pakistanis have proven themselves to be a dead nation who has gotten into a habit of asking for everything and not earning it. They are indifferent towards everything, but Skipper’s marriage, which makes them dance and play dholkis in their houses and/or slut-sham his wife for being too “westernized.” But when he makes a bad move and keeps protecting the Taliban, they remain quiet, or even support him. How easy it was to come and gather around Imran Khan’s container every day and night, but so hard to gather around the CM’s house in Karachi demanding the Government to stop protecting the terrorists? It wasn’t hard, if the motivation was there.
It is a fact that our government is supporting terrorism. It is also a fact that Pakistanis as a nation passively supports terrorism. They are harboring terrorists in their mosques and in their jails. They are protecting the idea of killing other people on the basis of religion by calling its critics “Islamophobes,” and “infidels.” Neutrality isn’t a choice in this situation and neither is the fight to protect Islam. Elie Wiesel once said “we must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Silence doesn’t help the victim, but the offender – the terrorists, in this case – because it is one less voice against them.
So when Muslims like Mehdi Hassan say that even though it wasn’t right to kill Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists, yet the cartoonists shouldn’t have made cartoons that offended Muslims, they are actually putting the blame on the cartoonists and not the killers. Which side are they on: the cartoonists and their free speech, or those “Muslims” who avenged the insult to their Prophet by slaughtering unarmed men? Well, we don’t know. Similarly, when we say that the Taliban’s terrorist attacks are in retaliation to the military operation in Waziristan, we are not doing the victims of Shikarpur or Peshawar any favour. We are condoning terrorism by not condemning it, and by not condemning the actors directly or indirectly responsible for this. We are also helping the terrorists by not coming out and raising our voice against them, as well as the government that is protecting those terrorist organizations. France didn’t stand up behind any Jibran Nasir; Paksitan should consider itself lucky that it has people like him who have taken the most vicious of all in the world head on. He has done it and has shown that fighting consistently against terrorism leads to results and you don’t even have to break a single wind screen for that. It’s called “public power” – something that everyone possesses but only the most courageous, the most honorable ones utilize.