Friday, October 12, 2012

Malala, we stand with you and your commitment to education.

Malala, we stand with you and your commitment to education.

Children, women and men joined in this evening in support of Malala, to stand up for what Malala stood; education. It was the right thing to do.
More pictures:

The event was organized by Jawed Siddiqi at Subzi Mandi place,  the purpose was to stand in support of Malala Yousafzai and send a message to Pakistan that extremism is condemned across the world. 

The program appropriately commenced with the famous poem of Dr. Iqbal - A child’s prayer, one of the most beautiful poems I grew up with. It was sung by Sister Zohra Chisti and all joined the chorus.

Lab pe aati hai dua ban kay tamana meri
Zindagi sham’a key surat ho Khudaya meri.

My wishes become my supplication,
Let my life  be the light  to the world, dear God.

Dur dunya ka maray dam say andheera ho jaye!
Har jagah meray chamaknay say ujala ho jaye!

May the world’s darkness disappear through the life of mine!
May every place light up with the sparkling light of mine!
Ho maray dam say younhi meray watan key zeenat
Jis tarah phool say hoti hai chaman ki zenat.

May my homeland through me attain elegance
As the garden through flowers attains elegance.

Full poem at (randomly picked video):

I am a volunteer, and I don’t remember the names of every one that spoke, if I missed your name, please mention it in the comments, I will add back.

Thanks to Krishna and Manohar of Desi Plaza TV for capturing this event on their video, and it will be uploaded at you can check them out at . in a day or two.

Roha, Esha, Shahina and Maha were among the teenage girls who spoke, they had a message to Malala to get well and continue with her commitment to education.  Dr. Tasnim Agha spoke eloquently about the need for education and our support.

Sajjad Azhar’s message was perfect and precise, I was pleased with the inclusive message he shared, and he concluded with good parting remarks as well.  Brother Muhammad Suleman led a short prayer and blessings. There were two other speakers who extolled the value of goodness taught by the prophet, one of them emphasized the first word of Quraan- to read and understand. Naeem Sakhia said it well, Malala brings a transition in the society, extremism will end and a new culture of education and acceptance will begin.

Jawed Siddiqi has offered help to further her education.  

I shared my thoughts as well

Evil exists because good people do nothing about it. If you let a bully get by, he thinks he has your permission. How dare can one get?

The extremist was intolerant and did not believe education for women and shot at the girl, because she dared to go to school.  A woman should never be deprived of education, it should be a crime if any one discourages, makes it difficult and prevents girls from getting an education. 

Had those guys mothers been educated, they would not have behaved this way, It is the female under-education that has brought backwardness to people in the subcontinent in general and Pakistan in particular, the only one who can uplift a child is mother, and the mother can change the nations if she has the wherewithal of education.

I was at a book launch today, and the conversation rolled on to Malala, and it was a delight to see one of them speak up - he said, the entire nation of Pakistan is condemning the extremist. The positive word gets around. This is the reason more and more people need to spread the good word, so the world knows that Muslims are the first ones to condemn terrorism. 

We need to condemn the acts of the extremism, rather than condemn the extremists, as Jesus had said. We need to pray for the well being for them, following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We need to dialogue with them and weed out the root cause, rather become confrontations and have them dig in their heels.  Mother Teresa’s wisdom cannot be lost, if you want to make peace, go talk with the enemies.

This event sends a message to the extremists that the world is not with them, the more events like this happen, the greater the momentum it builds.

Don’t forget to attend another event organized by John Hammond of FunAsia on Sunday at 8:00 PM FunAsia’s address is 1210 E. Belt line Rd. Richardson, TX 75081.  

 MikeGhouse is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, civic affairsIslamIndiaIsrael, peace and justice. Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several other periodicals across the world. The blog is updated daily. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Zardari, get the attackers of Malala or get the hell out of governance.

Zardari, get the attackers of Malala or get the hell out of governance.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, the gangster chief of Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl who wanted to go to school.  He shamelessly claims, "We carried out this attack," and adds, “"Anybody who speaks against us will be attacked in the same way."  

I hope enough Pakistanis get outraged to bring about a change. If you let a bully get by, he thinks he has the permission to do more. How dare can one get? Government of Pakistan is to be blamed for not protecting her citizens.

What is Zardari doing about it?

Zardari needs to protect every Citizen of Pakistan. He can unleash the entire army and get those rascals, every one of them.  Don’t kill them that would be barbaric, but get them and put them to work.

Give them the Quraan and ask them to study it, until they get it right, keep pounding them, but reward them if they get it right. Keep the process until they get the religion and hopefully come out as better humans. A Judge in Yemen did that successfully.

It is the female under-education that has brought backwardness to Muslims, the only one who can uplift a child is mother, and the mother can change the nations if she has the wherewithal. A woman should never be deprived of education, it should be a crime if any one discourages, makes it difficult and out rightly prevents girls from getting an education. 

What can you do about it? 

They say evil exists because good people do nothing about it. The least you can do, is write your comments at the Pakistani Newspapers, and inundate the papers to build a momentum and a movement. The bad guys need to know that they are losing support.  Where ever you get a chance, write a short note, copy and paste it every where. You can do it. 

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on the topics of Pluralism, Coexistence, politics, interfaith, Islam, Israel, India and foreign policy.  He is committed to building cohesive societies, and offers pluralistic solutions on on issues of the day. chronicles his daily work, and indexes all of his work and sites. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Speak up Pakistan, that is all it takes

Your statement, “When the magnitude of chaos gets wider and bigger, hope emerges from it.” Has a lot of history behind it to support. That is what we all should aspire and hope for.

I do agree with your suggestions and we all need to be work on it. Drone warfare is wrong and evil. However, I am not sure if drone attacks are the single largest factor in polarizing Pakistani society. Society has been polarized much before.

It is the silence of the society that has contributed to the evil.

Even though the criminals are a handful, just a few, the silence of the majority has authorized them to continue vandalizing Ahmadiyya Mosques, abduction of Hindu women, forcing Sikhs, burning churches and hurting Christians went on unabated. The least that the public could have done is protest it. Those who hide behind can also write to the newspapers in the readers write columns, call ins, and other media expressions, or even take to the streets as a sense of fairness to stop that madness...

Evil multiplies when good people do nothing about it.

 I will give two short examples - in a dinner gathering, prior to serving the dinner, several groups formed, I was in one such group, and an Imam was in the group as well - he was proudly telling how Muslims got a synagogue through some sneaky deal and converted to a Mosque, and telling how we beat the Jews… I stood up, that was evil conversation to me, and asserted that if Prophet were here, he would have told you to stop spreading ill-will and hatred towards any one....

There was a dead silence for 15 seconds, it felt like eternity… then one of the men jumped in and said, Mike is right, and within a few seconds all of bakras jumped in and looked at the Imam questioningly… I said; Imam Saheb, I don’t need the apology in words, but in action, and he agreed not to spread hate anymore and I know he lived up to it.

Imagine those 15 seconds, if the first one had said, Mike you are wrong, he is the Imam… what would have happened. I had an exact same experience with a Jewish gathering... they also did the right thing and said they will speak out against falsity, even if it suits them. Guess what? I was in a kickoff party amidst what appeared to be the right wing of Republican Party, I carried my conversation… and not one, but nearly 20 of them agreed that President Bush was wrong going to the wars; I asked them why did you not speak up? We don’t want to rock the boat was the answer.

Another greatest example is when John McCain jumped on Michelle Bachman for her attack on Huma Abideen, claiming she is infiltrating the government from brotherhood… McCain jumped in harshly… and what did the Bakra’s do? They jumped in one after the other..

That is all it takes to change Pakistan, that won’t cost a dime to anyone. Just opening the mouth and speaking up. Would you do that Next time a Shia is murdered, a Hindu girl is abducted, and an Ahmadiyya is harassed? I am not a Pakistani, but a Muslim that embraces the whole humanity, I do speak up, but when you speak up as a Pakistani, it carries greater weight. Will you do that?

Mike Ghouse

Dear Mike,

Although it is a nicely written article from literary point of view, but it has depicted the bleakest picture for Pakistan. And I also feel sorry for Natasha that she left Pakistan while we have started towards the upward pinnacle of our flow. When the magnitude of chaos gets wider and bigger, hope emerges from it. I believe Allah SWT has created humans in a way that they start towards order after touching the trough of the chaos. This is what has happened in Pakistan.

What Natasha described in her article might be true from bird’s eye view; but the ground reality is that Pakistanis are now resisting all the factors detrimental to their national health, whether it be ethnical hatred, corruption, religious extremism or FOREIGN INFLUENCE. The act of few bandits (sometimes planted internally or externally) shouldn’t have reflected for the whole nation, but Pakistanis after realizing that the act of few is being magnified to reflect the whole nation, are resisting strongly against those few. The mental transition which Pakistanis are achieving now might prove the acme for leading the world in the future.

The subject of your email is What can you do for Pakistan. Let me suggest few things which the concerned community living in US can do to help us:

Start a campaign on urgent basis against the drone strikes. I have seen another of your email on drone strikes, but the tone is very light. You should be STRONG in your point that killing thousands and displacing millions to get the few wanted people is REALLY A BARBARIC ACT. This factor is the single largest factor polarizing Pakistani society.

Make a strong influence on US foreign policy to stop infiltration into Pakistan, be it bureaucratic, military influence, economic sanctions etc.

Depict the true picture of Pakistan, not through the lens of media, but through your interaction with Pakistani community in Pakistan.

 Since US is the strongest foreign influencer in Pakistan, I think its equally important for the concerned community there to be equally strong and influential within.

Best regards,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What can you do about Pakistan?

The following piece, “Dear Pakistan by Natasha De’Sousa” is one of the most powerful, moving pieces I have read about Pakistan. I feel her anguish, and I had to drop everything for about ten minutes to meditate about the situation. Finally, the good ole song is soothing me out…

Lagta nahin hai dil mera, ujde dayaar may….

It must be very difficult for each one of the Pakistanis around the world to see the destruction of their nation; it must be utterly frustrating that you cannot do anything about it.
There is always that hope, there are things you can do.

On Monday, I spent a few hours with a Pakistani Delegation of Scholars, a Maulana, a Professor, an activist, a news paper editor and an Imam to discuss Pluralism and what can be done about Pakistan. We all wished we had a few more hours, but I admire them for the “dukh” they are carrying about the state of affairs in Pakistan, they are committed to do things about it.

If facts did not matter to our past President, it won’t matter to those few either, who will react violently upon anything contrary to their belief.   My suggestion was to initiate a process of getting them involved in discussions, not to decry, but to understand, they must be valued for what they believe, then work on developing a common understanding based on Quraan and the Character of the Prophet. No one wants to change, so we have to change our attitudes, if we need to partner with them.

I keep bringing Mother Teresa up all the times, she said, if you want to make peace, go talk with your enemies.

One of the greatest examples  comes from the Yemeni Judge who asked his prisoners to study Quraan, and find for him where it says to kill Americans or infidels, he asked them to study the whole chapter instead of a verse. The results were incredible, they felt duped by Bin Laden and committed to follow the Quraan and were subsequently released.

As a Muslim who cares about humanity, I have learned to prioritize the Sunna,   the practices of the Prophet in the order which they were given.

Prioritizing Sunnah

The most important Sunna (Prophets example) and the first Sunna is to be the Amin; the trust worthy (81:21), someone who mitigates conflicts and nurtures good will. 

Wasn't that the first example of Muhammad (pbuh) to be a good citizen? Wasn't that the first model that prophet had set up for us to follow? Mind you, he was called Amin by non-Muslims. Shouldn't we start with the same first foot forward? To be good citizens, whether in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil or America, we have to earn it by being a participant and contributor towards the well being of the nation.

The second most important Sunna to follow is to be Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to mankind) (21:107). To be a Rahmat (Mercy) to fellow beings who are Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Wicca, Natives, Zoroastrians and others, we must be kind to them, no one should be afraid or apprehensive of us. Should anyone be afraid of a Muslim, then we have not followed the Sunna of the prophet, we must go back to the first Sunna and start all over again before we follow any other Sunna.

Take 15 minutes a day, cut the unproductive conversations and write letters to the editors in every Pakistani Akhbaar, TV and Radio stations. Encourage what is good, and discourage what is bad. The more people write about it, greater the momentum you can build. Yes, you can do it.

Condemn the desecration of Hindu Temple, and encourage the local authorities to punish those who vandalized the temple. It must not be acceptable. Allah in Quraan could not be clearer than this - do not make a mockery of other people's faith, if you do, you are inviting them to make a mockery of your faith. When Christians, Hindus, Sikhs,  Shia, Ahmadiyya, Ismaili, Bohra and other people are harassed, shout it out loudly and write to the papers quickly. You will make the difference, over a period of one year, you will see the results.
Be a gutsy Muslim; vigorously condemn any mistreatment of any individual regardless of gender, religion or any other affiliation. Stand up for others, and see the difference you can make in a year’s time, you must be consistent.

Our Journalists friends can post a list of all the Pakistani News papers and their emails here or wherever they want, but start writing to the papers. The more people write to them for the print edition, greater the momentum. we humans are bakras, if a few of us jump, most will jump with.

Will you do this for your country? It will be a mental nijaat to you and will be worth it. Next time someone starts taking, ask them to write to the news papers.

I will keep reminding you.
Mike Ghouse

Dear Pakistan,

Late last year when i was told that I would have to leave you, I was heartbroken. I had tried hard and wished with all my heart that I could have a few more years with you....despite your troubled state. I felt then that i wanted to be by your side, to see you through it, to offer some kind of help or just to not abandon you in your most difficult time. But it seems, destiny had paved a different path for me, a road that would lead me to watch and observe you from a very different perspective.

As I packed up the pieces of our time together Pakistan, I smiled at our many memories but cried at the possibilities that never saw the light of day. You had so much potential to become a strong independent nation, so many talented and highly intelligent people to support you but, somehow you seem to have drifted from the dream your fore fathers had for you, fallen into bad company and collected a group of rather nasty and selfish friends. You trusted the wrong people who promised to take you and your people to great heights, only to push you down every time your step was bigger than they wanted it. Like many others, I too am guilty of watching you fall, silently, frustrated, with the anger only burning me inside but making no difference to what was going on. 

I remember when i was a young girl, my father told me how he had left his home and family in the coconut covered hills to come and be with you, as you were a fledgling young country  earning to walk, needing all the help you could get. My father told me how thousands of other young lads like him, got on a ship and headed to Karachi all looking forward to a bright future with you. My father told me how your father Jinnah had dreams and visions for you, and had invited minorities from across India to share his dream. 
But dear dear Pakistan, I'm deeply sorry that you lost your father when you had barely even learnt to crawl, followed by a tormented adolescence and then an intensely aggressive puberty with greedy feudal and military foster  parents. Looking back, we thought then that this was the darkest period of your life where you were brainwashed into believing that the sole purpose of your existence was to defend and protect your faith.... and faith became your identity. You turned away from all the people who supported you as a toddler, you spat hatred towards anyone who disagreed with you. You became violent, cruel and egotistical with the illusion of power you were shown, and instead of becoming a beacon of light and prosperity for the region, you became a source of darkness.
No one could get through to you anymore. And those who could, thought it might be better to observe silently from the comfort of their living rooms. While your good side kept silent, your bad dared to come up to the surface and be heard, not just within your boundaries, but across the globe. Suddenly your bad side brought you into the limelight, the negative publicity matched the large ego you had by now developed, nurtured carefully by your evil step father Zia. 
Many of the young minorities who left India to be by your side when you most needed them, realized they were not needed anymore and uprooted themselves and their families and quietly made their way to whichever country would accept them with tolerant arms as India had closed its doors on them and they could never return home. You didn't notice of course, you were too caught up in your own self-righteousness and pig headedness to realize that it was NOT them that betrayed you but vice versa. As the decades passed, more and more communities left as you were blinded by your own beliefs and bigotry. Thousands of educated Muslim families too decided to get going with the wave of exodus, willing to deny you as their loved one, desperately seeking new nationalities where ever they could.

I watched this.... I watched the entire Goan community leave. 98% of the Christian, Parsi and Chinese friends in school with me, had migrated by the time we got to college. Their parents sold everything they had, left stable corporate jobs to once again start from scratch either filling gas at petrol stations in Canada or making subway sandwiches, they obviously felt anything was better than being around you. Those who had chosen to stay with you, would realize later that they chose the devil instead of the deep blue sea. At least the deep blue sea is a much more tolerant environment.

As the years went by, we patiently hoped you would change. Yes, many of us still had our hopes on you....Many still believed your good side would get the better of your bad.... We loved you....We wanted to see you successful and prosperous. But you let us down, each and every one of us with that ray of hope. You became increasingly darker and aggressive. You became a shelter for the wicked instead of the weak. Thieves, Murderers, liars and killers walked your lands rampantly with your constitution in their back pockets. Justice was made blind and honesty became an endangered species. 
Yet, you publicly proclaimed your righteousness. You publicly killed the weaker sex in the name of honor, you publicly burnt churches and temples, you publicly defended your faith by burning anything that came your way including villages with innocent women and children. And as if that wasn't enough, you turned to killing people who even shared the same faith, if they dared to follow a different sect or doctrine. Somehow you felt that if people were different from you, they didn't deserve to live. Your hatred became so ingrained into your subconscious that parts and provinces within you, began to hate and kill each other. Your own physical body at war with itself.

If one's arms and legs start fighting amongst themselves, the body soon becomes useless and ceases any productive function. I have to be brutally honest here Pakistan, what you have become today, is the darkest, most vile nation that̢۪s exists in the world with numerous enemies and even more fair weather friends. The friends who will chew you and spit you out while they pat you on the back. They will use and abuse your every resource and potential until you are left worthless and crippled with a cancer that will slowly consume every part of you.

Your birth was a bloody one and it seems that to this day, your soils thirst for blood. Everyday, dozens of innocent people who love and believe in you, die needlessly. Bomb blasts and target killings are your new social norms. Even those who share your faith are threatened by your version of misinterpreted faith that gets a kick out of falsely convicting a mentally retarded minor on blasphemy charges. I wonder what nefarious activities we will hear of next.

I am now glad that the Universe and Gods conspired to take me far far away from you. You are not good for anyone's health or sanity.... I have come to hate you for all that you have become, but will still love you always for all that you could have been.

Sincerely disappointed,

Natasha De’Sousa.