8:51 PM

Yeh mera Pakistan hai, Yeh teray Pakistan hai?

I have wanted to write about this since forever.

Every second day I get a forwarded email. One day it will be addressed to the Muslim Ummah, asking them to stand-up and understand their 'place' in the world. (that of the international morality police?). Some days its about how muslims are being targetted all over the world, especially in the 'West'. During times when tensions with India are running high its videos of hindu extremists beating up muslim students, or some hindu Indian student giving out a patriotic speech, which in our part of the world means just yapping on racist and bitter comments about the 'neighbouring' country.

It all means the same thing. How today's muslims are tortured souls. Its just a We Vs them situation. They hate us. They want to bang our daughetrs, take our money and burn all copies of Quran. We will always be in a state of Jihad.

I find all this majorly repulsive, extremely high on hypocrisy, low on the spirit-of-Islam, rich with hate, bigotry and propoganda and utterly and completly void of the teachings of the Quran or Sunnah and not to mention, the biggest threat to Islam , there is.

This small incident comes to my mind. When we were young, we had christian servants. Once we had a few guests over who asked my mom, on the dinner table as to who had cooked the food. My mom told them that she had made the main dishes and how the servants made the chapattis. Then to our horror, they asked if there was any bread in the house, as they didnt eat food which was cooked by christians especially rotis as you touch it while you cook it. I can still hear the uncomfortable silence.

For me, on the risk of sounding pretentious, its very simple. I believe I have the right to live with respect and dignity, and that I have the freedom to make my own believes. I believe that I should have the freedom of speech and not be faced with bigotry or any form of discrimination from anyone based on the choices I make with respect to my life style. I believe I have the right to live in a just society, which is based on the humanitarian principles of equality, peace and love.

I dont think these rather simple and very universal concepts should be made available just for me. I believe every single person REGARDLESS of their ethnicity, religion, cast, race, language, social class, sexuality, political and social affinities etc has the same rights. No exceptions. No 'whats','buts' and 'ifs'. Every single human being under one umbrella.

Especially in Pakistan, the land of all things pure. We found this country on these very principles. We understood how it felt to be discriminated against. We sacrificed our lives, our families, our assets for this land because we believed in the importance of equality and justice.

Now the real slim shady please stand up and tell me how did we get from there to the Post-Blasphemy-Law Pakistan? To the Pakistan which allowed for Gojra and Shanthinagar incidents to take place? To the Pakistan which has, especially for the past 30 years, permitted ostracizing the Ahmadiayyas and robbed them of their basic rights?..

The Pakistan which could allow for the arrest of four innocent school going boys without even a pretense of justice, let alone a fair trial based on witnesses, proof, and .. a lil common sense?

Sometime back I caught this awesome show 'What would you do?' by ABC Primetime in which different mock situations are made and then through hidden camera the general reaction to those situations is recorded and later on discussed. They did a series of these on racism, and how people would react if they saw racism against Blacks, Latin Americans and Muslims etc. I am putting up the video, where a Muslim girl is denied services in a bakery, and the anchor, famous ABC correspondent John QuiƱones then goes and questions different by standers about how they felt about the whole experience.



This video literally brought tears to my eyes, for a simple reason. No girl this age should be subjected to such cruelty. No one, for that matter deserves this kind of treatment.

Now if you show this video to the majority of our masses what will be the end result?

They will shake their heads, and cuss out the west and how the poor muslims have to put up with this kind of treatment everywhere.

Will this make them ever stop and rethink the way they treat the non-muslims around them?.. Does any of you know of a single Pakistani who is aware of the racism which exists in our own country? Against the Afghan refugees?..Against the Bangalies back in the 70's?.. The mahajirs?...The Shiates', Ahmadies, Ismailies, Qaddianies?...and what about the Hijras?

We as a nation really need to stop with this. Its weird how noone addresses how relevant this concept is, in today's Pakistan. How bad we need a serious reality check?

I remember the wave of repulsion I felt when I first heard the story of Mr Gul Masih. For those of you, who haven't

"In November of 1992, Gul Masih, a Christian, was sentenced to death after having remarked innocently about Mohammed’s marriages. His neighbor Mohammad Sajjad, a Muslim, had made a comment stating that the Virgin Mary must have been a prostitute. Masih, in turn, replied he had read "that Mohammed had 11 wives, including a minor." Sajjad decided to file charges against Gul Masih who was then sentenced to death.

It is notable that Gul Masih had made these remarks in a private conversation, without premeditation or any deep-seated malice, clearly without any political intent, yet received the death penalty. Gul Masih's comment had merely followed the remarks of Mohammed Sajjad, and were in keeping with the tone set by Sajjad. But while Sajjad was never charged with 'insulting' Gul Masih's Christian religion, Gul Masih's seemingly harmless and perhaps factually correct rejoinder had led him to a death sentence. "

Copy pasted from: http://members.tripod.com/~INDIA_RESOURCE/ifpakistan.html

It is time that we start doing something. (it was time a long time back, actually..maybe back in the 60's). If nothing else maybe talk to the people around us. Maybe start with a pinch of awareness and a dash of tolerance.

But something REALLY needs to be done!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nicely written.

Religious hatred and sectarianism aside, its boils my blood to see how racist we are as a nation. By nation I mean this collective mob of many nations juxtaposed together. Just a few days ago someone who had been to interior Baluchistan, was telling me as to how it was considered honorable to kill a Punjabi. They actually boast about the number of Punjabi's they're raped and murdered. If you haven't killed a couple of Punjabi's, you don't deserve to be called a Balouch. Thats the kind of country we're living in.

It also has to do with the concept of religion. It is a sacred concept. Every religion, whether it be Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or Islam teaches humans to live a better life, co-operate and create heaven on earth. I don't know of a single religion which promotes violence or teaches to kill those who don't hold the same beliefs as you. Yet, since ages past, people have massacred literally thousands in the name of religion.

But I guess this is the nature of humanity, we cant accept people who are different than we are. Sad but true.

Media Junkie said...

nicely written.

there's a saying: "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"

people should remember that.

Sarnaf said...

This all may seem like seprate to your topic but it is not :-) World has changed, history repeats itself. This is the time when Lie becomes Truth.

You must have heard of Obama getting Nobel Prize. " When War becomes peace, When the Lie becomes the Truth".
When concepts and realities are turned upside down, When fiction becomes the truth and truth becomes the fiction.
When a global military agenda is heralded as a humanitarian endeavor. When the killing of civilians is upheld as "colleteral damage". When those who resist the US-NATO led invasion of their homeland are categorized as "insurgents" or "terrorists. When preemtive nuclear was is upheld as self defense.
When advanced torture and "interrogation" techniques are routinely used to "protect peakeeping operations"
and when when when
When the Lie becomes the Truth.

"Yeh Na tera Pakistan hai ne mera Pakistan hai"

Anonymous said...

@Sarnaf: I think the author was specifically talking about the sectarianism violence and racism in Pakistan. Your comment was a bit out of context :)

Also, most of that has happened throughout human history. Its just that now we find out about these things more often cause of the media/internet.

BeKn|GhTeD said...

This is my third attempt at writing a 'comment' to this post. The first became overly aggressive, the second one became too insincere. They say third time's the charm so here goes nothing:

Every time i read a post like this, preaching tolerance and harmony across the universe my heart is filled with great sorrow and nostalgia and i end up unwittingly offering a prayer for the writer even though i don't believe in god.
I wanted to leave you a comment on your last post because i was extremely impressed by the strength of your character and spirit that came through so vibrantly in that post but i refrained because i felt that it was too personal a subject matter for a random stranger to come and leave his two cents worth on. Unfortunately this post, which is ripe for random strangers to drop in and say share thier opinions, does not permit me to offer you any compliments because in your efforts to preach tolerance you have also exposed your intolerance for intolerant people.

You are in for one rude awakening lady, best of luck.

Annie said...

Thankyou everyone for your comments.

@beknighted- hahah, that is true I guess. I will not apologize for that, however. Thanks a lot though :)

Sarnaf said...

@Anonymous Yes I mentioned at start of my comment that it will seem like out of context.

I am mentioning here the reason for it.

I agree to your point that "now we find out about these things more often cause of the media/internet." thus increasing voilance and decreasing tolerance
:-(

pishipotty said...

@beknighted : Your argument might be logical but it doesn't hold any weight.

Yes, this post exposes her intolerance for a certain kind of intolerance, but I think that was her point.

Tolerating all kinds of intolerance does not make one a "tolerant" person, it makes one an indifferent person.

Annie said...

@Everyone

Sarnaf is allowed to say whatever, whenever, no matter how irrelevant. He is my elder brother. The dude taught me how to speak. Enough said

@Sarnaf
I bub you.

@pishipotty
awww...

@Annie Nafees
You the best.

::kacy:: said...

THIS post was very moving and beautiful. the video made me cry...it just hurt me so much to see such ignorance. thank you for writing this.

mehreenkasana said...

The video almost brought tears to my eyes. I remember being told I'm not American once just because I'm brown. And it hurt real bad. But I honestly thank all of those people who stood by me during that incident. The portrayal of both sides is biased. Not every American is racist and Islamophobic. Similarly not every Muslim is subjected to such discrimination; There are many people out there who respect us for who we are, not what we believe in.

Anyways. I remember one thing they say about being American:

The American spirit, is not defined by color, creed or religion. It is defined by one's passion for freedom, prosperity, tolerance and peace. You may be white, holding the red, white and blue flag but you're not American unless you stand right next to your Hispanic, African, Asian, Jewish or Muslim neighbor. You're not American, an inhabitant of the land of dreams, if you don't acknowledge and respect difference in form of humans, values, caste, creed or color. You're not American if you subject these matters to intolerance. For America is not a country, it is a dream to be achieved by us all. White, brown, black, yellow.

- Marlene Dietrich.

Annie said...

I know. My sister went to the states in summers and she had all these stories. Stories of how people were so sweet to her and asked her questions and this and that ... and then occasional uncomfortable racist remarks..

You cant judge an entire country based on a handful of experiences... but living there, having that feeling must get to people sometimes..

Nida said...

I absolutely loved this and I totally agree with you! Thank you for taking the time to write this. It's very touching and impactful!

Cheema Changezi said...

Leave issues like world peace and racism in the able hands of beauty pageant queens. lol
And this hidden camera show is funny if not all about making bystanders feel a bit bad about not feeling bad about it, but seriously, Hello? You rather want to live in a world where everything is mixed up and unpredictable. Where you can honestly tell job Quinones that he is downright fugly. :)

Annie said...

@Cheema

Me understands no sarcasm, babydoll

*annie waves (in a Stefania Fernandez style) and smiles*

Farhan said...

Religious tolerance is a long long way to go. We have to start with tolerating the sight of each other. Its not just religion. It's also language, ethnicity, social class and what not. Speaking of tolerance, maybe you'll like this http://mfsdiaries.blogspot.com/2009/11/let-me-have-my-3-second-space.html