Friday, July 26, 2013

Harvest of Hate - The story of Malala

Intisar Abbasi, thanks for sharing these piece about Malala and the people of Pakistan. The article, and additional article relating to this topic and about Malala can be found by placing "Malala" in the search box of this site.



Mike Ghouse

A harvest of hate

From Dr Abdus Salam to Malala, there is a long list of heroes who became our victim­s and eventu­ally our enemie­s.

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Published: July 26, 2013v

The writer hosts a show called “Capital Circuit” for News One and tweets @FarrukhKPitafi

Masters as we are of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, we have always ensured that we fall in love with the wrong causes. The art of belittling excellence, not aspiring for it, has become our recent obsession. Anyone who dares to excel in any field is loathed, often excommunicated, ambushed or abandoned. That’s how open-hearted we have become. From Dr Abdus Salam to Malala, there is a long list of heroes who became our victims and eventually our enemies. How dumb can you be to do something so stupid? Evidently dumb.

But then there is the legacy of pain and hate. That pain begets hate or hate gives birth to pain, is anybody’s guess. There is no gainsaying that we are a nation born in pain, brought up in misery. And yes, we live in a rough neighborhood that makes us more susceptible to paranoia but how long will we deny that most of our demons are of our own inventions? Like an insolent child, we can refuse to accept our fault, find excuses for everything that we have done, but that will change nothing.

We sowed seeds of pain, expecting love and happiness as a produce, and now the harvest of hate is ready for reaping. Amazingly, while we always had some taste for conspiracy theories, fuelled by our desire to reconcile ignorance with some thirst for knowledge, the last decade has done more to poison our minds and souls than the rest together.

Dictators know the knack of gathering around them a deadly coterie of sycophants. When the dictators go, this coterie, just in order to survive, uses its former glory to blind people and deceive them. And their gift of creating discord is amazing. They divide and penetrate the ranks of every division and lead the flanks to Lilliputian wars of egos. And hence, the chances of a democratic and intellectual recovery are lost for decades.

Just close your eyes for a second and place yourself in the shoes of Malala. Try living through the fear of a young girl ambushed on her way back from the school. Try imagining her pain after being shot by a grown-up criminal. And ask yourself which idiot would spew hate against her after this ultimate sacrifice. Had she been in India and done this much for their country, a temple would have already been built in her honour.

They now say Malala is a conspiracy hatched by the West to propagate against the peace-loving citizens of this country and our culture. Sirs, if you notice, it is no Western message. Your state has been telling the world how much we have sacrificed in the war on terror and that while we are facing the unending scourge of terrorism, we are resilient. Malala, then, is an embodiment of our message.

Then why do they accuse of her of bringing a bad name to the country? That is because somewhere in our hearts and minds, we have not stopped owning the Taliban. Had we disowned them, we would have realised that Malala is on our side and they are killing us all with impunity. Forty thousand and counting and yet, we cannot stand up with one symbol that defines us all. What a pity.

This sad realisation brings back bad personal memories. Almost two decades ago, I came to Islamabad to study further, a simple Pakistani and a simple Muslim. Arriving in this city, I was informed that that is not my identity and that my ethnicity, my mother tongue and sect defined who I was, not my nationhood. I have fought this reductionism all my life. But I have repeatedly been defeated. Today, I stand here a beaten, defeated man.

The tragedy of this state is that it fears change. It has no realisation that what it calls its world view and view of itself is not objective reality but just an infection. It tries to shoot down anyone who tries to administer medicine. Like it or not, we have made up our mind. We have chosen our assassins over our rescuers. Now, they will sow more seeds for posterity. More hate in return.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.

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Pakistan: The Malala backlash 

It was a shameful display of how Pakistanis have a tendency to turn on the very people they should be proud of. Prof Abdus Salam fell victim to this peculiar Pakistani phenomenon.

Source/Credit: The Star / Daily Dawn
By Bina Shah | July 21, 2013

Naysayers in her own country tore down the young woman, her father and Western nations for supporting her in her quest for education.

WHY has Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the UN on July 12, her 16th birthday, created such admiration all over the world, only to be met with a nasty backlash against the young education activist in Pakistan?

Perhaps the negative reaction of many Pakistanis to the young girl is the carping of jealous nobodies, but it bears examining because it says something profound about Pakistan.

The reaction to Malala’s words was swift in Pakistan; barely hours after she made her inspirational speech, people began complaining about its contents, the fact that the UN had dedicated an entire day to her and the adulation she was receiving from world leaders by her side.

Ignoring the text of her speech, which spoke out for the rights of girls and women and implored world leaders to choose peace instead of war, the naysayers tore down the young woman, her father, and Western nations for supporting her in her quest for education.

The insults flowed freely: Malala Dramazai was a popular epithet that popped up on Facebook pages and Twitter. The whole shooting was staged by “the West” and America, who control the Taliban. She was being used to make Pakistan feel guilty for actions that were the fault of the Western powers in the first place. Posters were circulated that showed Mukhtaran Mai and Malala with Xs through their faces, and berated the two women for speaking out about their experiences in order to receive money, popularity and asylum abroad.

Another popular refrain was “drone attacks”. Why had Malala not spoken out about drones at the UN? Why did everyone care so much about Malala and not the other girls murdered by drones? Why did America kill innocent children with drones and then lionise the young Malala to make themselves feel good that they actually cared about the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan?

It was a shameful display of how Pakistanis have a tendency to turn on the very people they should be proud of. Prof Abdus Salam fell victim to this peculiar Pakistani phenomenon, as well as the murdered child labour activist Iqbal Masih, Rimsha Masih, who recently received asylum for the threats to her life after the blasphemy case, and Kainat Soomro, the brave child who had been gang-raped and actually dared to take on her attackers.

Pakistanis have very deliberately abandoned these brave champions of justice, and each time one more joins their ranks, the accusations of fame mongering, Western agendas, and money ring out louder and louder.

The insults to Malala had a decidedly sexist tone, the comparison to Mukhtaran Mai – another Pakistani hero – making it obvious that rather than embracing female survivors of hideous, politically motivated violence, Pakistanis prefer them to shut up and go away, not to use their ordeals as a platform to campaign for justice.

What does this say about Pakistani mentality? Firstly, it illustrates the fact that most Pakistanis are very confused. As British journalist Alex Hamilton said: “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”. Because we don’t know what to stand for, we fall victim to conspiracy theories, wild imaginings, and muddled thinking about what is so clearly right and wrong.

Secondly, people who deflect from Malala’s speech to the issue of drone attacks may believe they care about drone victims, but it is hard to find what, if anything, they have actually done for those drone victims besides register their displeasure on social media. Instead, it is a way of deflecting the guilt they feel about their own impotence, their own inability to make any substantial change or impact in this country.

A note of warning: Malala and her cause must not be hijacked by opportunists, money-makers, politicians, or those who wish to use this pure young woman for their own selfish ends.

In celebrating Malala, the world should not forget about the thousands of girls who are still in danger from extremist violence in Pakistan.

Malala’s beautiful words must be a source of inspiration for solid action on the ground in the areas most affected by the conflicts she describes.

Whether you support her or not, nobody can deny the urgent need to bring education and peace to Pakistan.

Don’t ignore this message, even if you feel like shooting the messenger all over again.

-- The writer is a novelist.

Kaafir Factory

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