Guest Post by a Contributor
Like many of my peers I had the misfortune of having been handed down packaged views and opinions as I was “educated” in a few schools in the suburbs of Quetta. The flow of the curriculum kept the environment highly charged and where it existed, the competition defined the length and quality of one’s stay at any school. As a curious pupil of the day I have scant memories of a year five experiment where our science instructor passed on whispered short stories starting with the students at the front passed on gradually to those at the corner end; the conclusion presented portrayed a version of the original story that wasn’t in either its longitude or multitude even remotely similar to the original version whispered to those in the front row.
In retrospect this small experiment conducted in an insignificant corner of a dismal part of the world speaks volumes about the potential for traditions and stories to change, not necessarily for the worse, as the tide of time perpetuates forward. An example in context is our obsession with the extremities; the protagonists in our stories are usually unimaginably gallant and profoundly pious while the antagonists are vile beyond measure and corrupt such that their presented description leaves no more room for any further degradation. Similarly people alive have little to no value but the instant they die, our recollections propels their characters into charades of good deeds, here death is a qualification for instant societal vindication.
In the same boat the diversions of our spoken history is also very interesting. As people we have always been on the good side of history, throughout our communal existence we have alone shouldered the last signs of civilization. We assume that we have always been vigorously autonomous, we have always had the superior culture and our political leadership, far from being judged on their conduct our religious and political figureheads’ appearance and symbolic positions alone have been in our best interests. Goodness me, we dare not question our past and present leaders, we dare not critically analyze our communal beliefs and behaviors. We live under a blanket of purity, immune to any historical miscarriages and worthy revisions. The businessmen specializing in the trade of beliefs and ideals can come up with any and all they please to; we abide and listen through our ears, eyes and wide open mouths. Thus in an incredible feat of traditional, cultural and historical misconduct, we, as a society, have turned into a pudding of conspiracies, fears, lies, fundamentalism and question marks.
Worry not, for this is the fruit of a corrupt, cancerous education system and a trainload of traditional and cultural nonsense where the essence of historical records is “preached” to the innocents in black and white. this education system is in turn a product of a culture that thrives on lost military glories, religious perversion and tales from “koh-e qaaf” and the Arabian desert and nothing in-between or outside. nowhere in the humanities textbooks is there a mention of lost battles, there are no body counts and historic wrong-doings have been twisted into moments of test and heavenly experiments where every social, economic, political and military turn is interpreted through a prism extended between the “seventh sky” and the preacher’s bedroom with direct phone-line available just in case.
Case in point; the events of September 3, 2010 are behind us but the legacy and carnage committed on that horrible day have left us with deep wounds. On the one hand there was the fanatic hot-head who took his own life as well as that of dozens of others in an monstrous act of terror, one the other hand were young kids, teenagers, students who, I dare say, would have had greater concerns about sports and movies than about the ignorance they were being lead by, more informed of the plot of a Bollywood movie than of even the recent history of the people they were claiming to protest for and against. Baby-faced youngsters repeating chants of potato-head Mullahs, kids who were attracted by the hustle and bustle of being in a mob than by the message the gathering conveyed, there were teenagers who had for ages been bombarded by issues dugout of the ruins of Babylon like kids brainwashed by the Taliban, teenagers who had never left the outer bounds of Quetta city but had been led to forming convictions about people and events on the other side of the world by listening to summarized news from the dark alleys of thousands of years of history. There were people there who could not have located their own coordinates on a map let alone finding the map of the countries they were verbally defending and abusing with “murda-bad”, “zinda-bad” and “marg bar …” This, my friends, was and has been the real atrocity; this was the crime we, as people, should be more worried about.
But this episode does not end here; to follow this up a bunch of hypocrite cheerleaders then went on a stage-managed campaign of exploitation and propaganda visibly on behalf of local and provincial shareholders based in Karachi and Lahore. Carefully orchestrated speeches, carefully photo-shopped images of the deceased decorated with emotional slogans, and cunningly chosen Q&A with grieving families of the victims; they stage-managed a manipulation of this heinous crime and the abuse of great loss of life in order to promote a socio-political agenda that promises far worse atrocities. Mothers were shown, on repeated videos, claiming to be proud of a young death, sons were displayed chanting big words and empty slogans from memorized speeches. Colorful posters on online social networks instructed readers to commit anything and everything to fulfill “the mission” of the deceased, missions the victims themselves never fully grasped but merely kept hearing from mosque loudspeakers and propaganda books carefully designed to use and abuse the religious convictions and emotions of the readers. This process is bridged between schools and madrassas where school books do the initial work through everyday prayers, nationalist jargons and colorful stories of thousand year old battles and then when in mosque, young brains are fully ready and available to digest nonsense and propaganda of any color as they are made ready to go even to the extreme lengths to kill and die for things they never understood – like starving sheep that would go mad at the sight of green grass, like little kids rejoicing at the sight of harmful junk food, like perverts climaxing at the sight of bare skin, like cattle being dragged here and there by herders seeking better price. Ask any of the Quds day protestors to narrate a 10 year history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they will stare at you failed and ashamed, best of all they will parrot the exact lines of a propaganda book or the exact words of a potato-head Mullah or Sayeed. Ask them for names and the only names they know are of long-beards and empty heads, powerful people who barely know of the existence of the individuals protesting and dying for their propaganda, the only faces they would recognize are those portrayed in photo-shopped posters showing fake smiles and photo-shopped innocence but hiding decades of misery and tyranny. The history they are taught is one side of the coin painted with blind-faith and piousness, the side of the history they never get to see or read is the filth, blood, murder and atrocity committed by the same people they follow.
Another tradition is that of practices of Moharram where potato-head kids gather to beat and torture themselves top to bottom by claiming that it’s their heritage when clearly, many of the practices did not even exist a hundred years go but were brought in by travelers to the Middle East. These are people claiming to be celebrating a time when the righteous stood its ground in the face of powerful but evil people – point taken and you have every right to do so but I question your hypocrisy in practice, the ignorance you preach using Moharram as a pretext by actively trying to subvert any and all people who are weak but would disagree with you and your beliefs and practices. In your “momin” society women can’t walk their streets and girls can not escape their lazy eyes without psychological social torment, abuse is rife, your men have to right dress as they please but girls have to be locked in a black cage. This is a society where in the dead darkness of the night, thousands of people, mainly women, flock to a local “mojiza” mosque to go crazy over a sparkle of moonlight reflection forgetting that the actual great work to celebrate was when a human being invented the light bulb or discovered the mechanism for the flow of current or worked on penicillin or so on and so forth.
Why the hypocrisy?
Well, they did this a thousand years ago and so shouldn’t we?
Why would you do that?
Well, that mullah and his book said so.
That guy would say anything and you would believe and do it?
Well, that mullah quoted this guy who quoted that person who overheard that while speaking to such and such person about such and such topic on the question of the contents of such and such book by another person who had overheard it from such and such source.
Further point in context, your hypocrite Mominin have enough to buy chains, blades and new black costume but they have little care for the old fruit-seller who stands on a road side all day long in freezing cold weather to make 50 rupees for the day, they don’t have enough for the poor widow who has to sell herself to the fat and smelly Haji or mullah in sigha as that’s the only way she can earn protection in a brutal, hypocrite and stupid society; they don’t have enough for war stricken refugees who they label as this and that; they don’t have enough to fill the holes they dug up in the local public road but they have all the money to pay for the akhond and bodyguards, for khoms, for travels to Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and for the pockets of Wilayat-e Faqih. The rituals are jargon; many practitioners are hypocrites and the slogans shallow and meaningless. Lately a few Mominin who chose to run and lie for their lives have taken the disease to the streets of Europe and Australia where Sayeeds and Akhonds get a golden day to morph in to a socially superior breed.
If they cared, they would weep for the millions of dead in Darfur, if they cared they would speak of the genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Caliphate; if they cared about good and bad, they would know of the 60000+ people murdered by the Islamic regime in Iran; if they cared, they would protest for the thousands who died in Irani concentration camps of Sang-e Safeed and Tal-e Siyah; if they cared they would protest for the hundreds of thousands of victims in Afghanistan brutalized under the Communists and the Mujahideen/Taliban; if they cared, they would protest for the rights of millions in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran who have no food to eat, no place to call home and no clothes to keep them warm; if they cared they would pay for their hospitals, roads, schools, parks and other facilities they need but lack; if they cared they would treat their women as equals not as if they needed the control of men as if social paradigms never changed in over a thousand years; if they cared big fat men would not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to perform Hajj when their neighbors have to work and die in coal mines to find food. If they cared, they would think of themselves and the laughing stock of humanity they have become.
They did not care, they still do not care and unless something really drastic takes place overnight, they will not care. What is bought and sold in this market place of conspiracies are ignorance and arrogance.
Don’t label this as heresy or apocalypse. Get out of the box you have been pushed into, open its doors and there is a world out there that is far more complex, more complex than your wildest imaginations. You are not the only people in the dark, there are bad people and good people out there. Agree and disagree with any and all but without perversions. Stopped listening to the same old story every year if you are never going to learn anything from it; please stop listening to the same bunch of people every year who do it as profession to earn a living in deceit and who will go to any lengths to play with your emotions and beliefs. Find a mirror, look at yourselves and think of where you stand in world and among world cultures. Think of and for yourselves, your communities. Think of the people who have been manipulated and brainwashed by decades of propaganda and think of how easily they are manipulated. And … DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!