By Humayun Gauhar
A speech made to a parliament a long time ago still holds true today.
“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!”
This speech was made by Lieutenant General Oliver Cromwell, Commander-in-Chief of the Modern Army, after he took over the House of Commons on April 20, 1653, threw the Speaker out of his august chair, plonked himself in it and placed his muddy boots on the fine velvet bench in front. The House of Commons on the Rump of the Long Parliament was dissolved and Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. The aristocracy hit back, lost and England went places, soon ruling most of the world. We, however, will go nowhere until our “pack of mercenary wretches…grown intolerably odious to the whole nation” they who were “deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are [themselves] gone!”
Today’s parliaments are teeming with liars with fraudulent university degrees, sycophants, many with criminal cases hanging over their heads, embezzelers and kickback specialists, conartists, bank defaulters, many bewigged or with transplanted manes, many dyed and what have you. Have we no fear of God that we tolerate this nonsense, indeed celebrate it as ‘democracy’ in what we claim is an ‘Islamic Republic’? Our performance and hypocrisy are a stigma on the good name of Islam and democracy.
Our politicians make asses of themselves and a mockery of our country every day. Our situation today is no better than England’s was in 1653 when a king ruled the roost surrounded by his landed robber barons and the rest of the aristocracy that thrived on exploiting the people, their resources and their land. Human beings reduced to chattel was rempant then; it is rampant still in the ‘land of the pure’ – and slavery too. Dynasticism is rife in most political parties. Democracy is just a word, neither undestood nor practised. When even Islam is misunderstood what chance does democracy have? We don’t only have feudal robber barons, we also have mercantile and media barons, bureaucratic and judicial overlords, and the most primitive of all, tribal warlords.
In 1653 England’s army, bureaucracy, the church and the robber barons were protectors of the iniquitous status quo that benefitted only them, their cronies and hangers on. It is the same in Pakistan, which is why whenever political failure leads to military intervention the army just fixes the system that gives birth to the status quo instead of changing it for generals don’t have the solutions. How could they anyway since they too are beneficiaries of the status quo? It requires a lot of wisdom, knowledge understood and digested and clear thinking. They are helped along by clerics, the judiciary, bureaucracy and feudal-tribal-mercantile lords. ‘Democracy’ is forgotten just as it is when the elected take over, bar the symbolosm and window dressing. In both instances the poor and downtrodden remain poor and downtrodden. The situation is similar whether you have elected leaders running the country down or generals taking us one step forward, two steps back. Bereft of solutions, the generals dent and paint the system and return power to political robber barons under the guise of democracy that the people have nothing to do with because it doesn’t deliver to them. The same clerics and robber barons remain in parliament. The politicians, clerics, generals, feudal, tribal, media and business barons all belong to the same robber class except that they dorn different garb. That is all. Nothing of substance ever changes except the faces of these bloodsucking vampires. It’s a merry go round in which everyone from the ruling class gets a chance for pelf to increase their power, privileges, pomp, panalopy and wealth – all questionably of course. The few exceptions are tarred by the dirty brush of the company they keep. Meantime the people get more wretched and the country more degraded. We have now reached the stage where the people have hardly a drop of blood left in their veins while the country is on the verge of either crumbling or falling into the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists who would take it over in the name of God by defiling His Word. This, my friends, is the ‘Land of the Pure’? Or is it ‘Pure Land’? Either way, neither applies.
If half the Senate holding its sessions on a road spouting gibberish wasn’t bad enough, we now have clerics spouting greater gibberish, declaring that the droned terrorist Hakimullah Mehsud is a ‘shaheed’ or martyr while the soldiers killed by terrorists are not. If you have ever heard anything more convoluted please let me know. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a lot of knowledge undigested and misunderstood is even more dangerous because it leads to incorrect conclusions where one is unable to distinguish between martyrs and mass murderers.
The word ‘shaheed’ mean ‘witness’ as does the Greek word ‘martyr’. He who embraces ‘shahadat’ or martyrdom bears witness to God’s greatness by upholding the Truth and gives testimony to God’s Glory, His Unity and His Mercy.
Jihad means struggle. The highest form of Jihad is against one’s baser self. The second highest is the Jihad of the Pen. The third is Jihad of Wealth, those who make material contributions to a true Jihad. A person who is killed fighting in a true armed Jihad is a shaheed. A true armed Jihad can only be launched by a state’s central authority. Only in the absence of such authority can groups launch Jihad to free their homeland, as in Palestine and Kashmir. In Pakistan there is a central authority so terrorist groups cannot arrogate to themselves the right to launch an armed Jihad. A true armed Jihad is fought against occupiers and against ‘Fitna’ or mischief that spreads ‘Fasad’ or discord and disharmony in the land by misinterpreting the Word of God. To launch terrorism in the name Jihad without the command of the central authority comes in the category of mischief that spreads discord and disharmony in a selfish power struggle.
Those who say that terrorists are shaheed and the soldiers they kill are not are fitna who spread fasad. The cleric who said this recently has successsfully spread further discord and disharmony. Parliaments that behave like the one Oliver Cromwell threw out are fitna too for they spread discord and disharmony on facetious issues while ignoring the plight of the people. So are the governments such parliaments beget and the judiciaries that protect the constitution that legalizes the satanic status quo. Those who think that they can get rid of such a powerful cabal of the status quo’s beneficiaries and replace it with something better should understand what a difficult struggle or Jihad it is going to be. Oliver Cromwells are not born every day, nor are the brilliant founding fathers of America.
The terrorists and their sympathizers say that since America kills innocent Pakistanis in its drone strikes it is right to wage Jihad against it. But the cental authority is supporting America’s strikes covertly on grounds that they are killing terrorists and their leaders who are a bigger danger to Pakistan. If you disagree just think for yourselves and answer the difficult quesiton: would you rather have people like our awful politicians ruling us or the likes of Hakimullah Mehsud and Mullah Fazlullah? Rock and a hard place, what? Our central authority has decided to side with America and that is that. If you don’t like it, don’t take money or arms from America, don’t take Fulbright scholarships, don’t send your prime minister to beg for investment and “trade not aid”, stop hankering after their visas, don’t have anything to do with them at all. Don’t send your sons and daughters there to study, your wives and families there to hide or make merry. Why do we have to prove our patriotism and faith in God to our leaders, clerics and media all the time? Why don’t they prove it to us by their actions? Take your families out of America my dear mullahs, politicos and media moghuls and never go there on junkets, freebees or to prostelyse. Why don’t you embrace shahadat? Why do others have to always embrace martyrdom in your stead?