Pride of Pakistan
By Humayun Gauhar
A clarification. I said in my last article that India is attacking Pakistan along the international border at Sialkot and killing innocent civilians. Actually, it is the ‘working boundary’ that India is attacking because across it lies disputed Jammu, which like Kashmir should also be allowed its right of self-determination Eminently democratic, one would have thought, but what do you expect from the ‘largest democracy in the world’? Democracy in India is as big a farce as it is in Pakistan where over 70 percent of the people live in democratic hunger and poverty. Thus Pakistan does not recognize the border near Sialkot as an international boundary but a disputed working boundary.
Like America, India still doesn’t understand that conquering and illegally occupying territory that belongs to others, stealing their resources, exploiting their labour, making captive their markets, holding energy and water routes hostage to hegemonic impulses no longer works and eventually leads to decadence and deadly decline of both the occupier and the occupied. They need to understand that conquering territory no longer works but conquering world market shares does. They need to understand that people everywhere have become aware of their God-given rights, especially their self-evident rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as America’s Declaration of Independence states. They will no longer be denied. China understood this four decades ago and went about conquering world market shares. Today it is the second latest economy in the world, a rising military power to which the centre of global gravity is shifting, all in one lifetime. India and America should learn from an emerging power like China instead of clinging to outmoded methods that waning states unable to move with history do and get trampled over. Just over half a century ago Britain and Europe were international occupier-exploiters, as are the US, India and Israel today. Where are they now? They are hard put to save their own economies, their currencies and even the integrity of their states. The British Pound is no longer Sterling.
Now for the good news. Pakistan’s 17-year old girl Malala Yusufzai has won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first Pakistani to do so and only the second to win a Nobel after the great Dr. Abdus Salam in quantum physics. Malala should be regarded as the pride of Pakistan, but sadly there isn’t consensus on it in a country that specializes in turning heroes into villains and villains into heroes. Thus a Facebook page of ‘Malala Haters’ has been created which, according to newspaper reports, “depicts the teenager with fangs. The aim is to suggest that while she is glorified, the stories of victims of western violence remain untold.” The West’s violence has many innocent victims the world over, but Malala was the victim of terrorists because she stood for a cause, the right of girls to education. Terrorists are called ‘special assets’ and allowed to run rampant, not realizing that they are actually ‘special liabilities’ that have damaged Pakistan most, not least its mindset. Corrupt proliferators best at projecting themselves falsely and who accept pardons that is open admission of guilt are regarded as great heroes. Women who get into parliament through the back door because of amazing sycophancy skills without being elected are paraded as intellectuals, analysts, writers and champions of women’s rights and respected, while Malala is reviled for not hiding the embarrassing truth about her country. Looters, plunderers, murderers and blatant liars, all bonsai politicians created by the army are called ‘leaders’ and repeatedly elected to high office while those who perchance do some good are tried for treason. Need I go on? We steal God’s function and pass judgment on who is a good Muslim and who is bad or not even a Muslim, wrongly calling people of the Book infidels, and yet have the temerity and crass gumption to call themselves Muslims. Look at the mirror and ask: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is a Muslim amongst us all.” I don’t think I need to give you the answer.
Malala shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 with 60-year old Kailash Satyarthi of India, she for campaigning for the rights of Pakistani children, especially girls, to education and he for campaigning against child labour, bondage and slavery in India. Many made a rapt display of their rank ignorance and stupidity by making a big thing out of a Pakistani sharing the Prize with an Indian. We should look over our shoulder and see how much slavery and bonded labour we have in Pakistan, how many girls our feudal robber barons marry to the Quran and don’t regard it as blasphemy. We don’t wince at repeatedly electing scoundrels, charlatans, freebooters, degenerate liars, murderers and looters to parliament and high offices. And then we lament our sorry lot.
Malala’s critics are hard put to criticize the sub-humans who tried to assassinate her, which shows that at heart many don’t really oppose terrorists. They will when terrorism and tyranny reach their own doorsteps. There are many who loved Zardari and Nawaz Sharif once but are now vociferously against them because they feel that they were hard done by when they didn’t get what wasn’t their due and others who love them for wrongly getting what they did. Our likes and dislikes are based on personal benefit, not on principles. One can only pray for such people, that God in His Infinite Wisdom shows them the Light.
While Malala is accused of being a western agent, Dr. Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate made a breakthrough in subatomic physics by predicting the existence of the ‘God particle’ known as Higgs Boson. It is to find the ‘God particle’ that they made the hadron collider in Switzerland. Sadly, Pakistanis know none of this because Salam’s achievements have been expunged from our books and our history, as if he never existed and his grave has been defaced because he is an embarrassment for being a Qadiani or Ahmedi who were declared outside the pale of Islam by Bhutto’s rump parliament whose constitution we accept as legitimate, and yet he claims to be Muslim. Whether someone is a Muslim or not is for God to decide, not for people who would do well to worry about the Judgment that awaits them on the Day. Being crassly ignorant of God’s Word and His Intent, they pompously claim expertise in it and have hijacked God’s functions and give judgments on His behalf. Could there be greater blasphemy?
In expunging Dr. Salam from our history we don’t realize that we are actually going towards non-existence ourselves. As long as the world and human beings exist there will always be natural nations and countries but manufactured states created by conquest, occupation and decimation of entire nations or by retreating hegemons will always be in danger of ceasing to exist if they don’t deliver to their people. The graveyards of the world are littered with the decomposed bones of many states that refused enlightenment and emancipation, the Divine Light that informs the Sufi’s quest.
Like a large number of Malala’s critics would leave Pakistan to settle in the West if they got the chance, the ‘proof’ for her being a western agent is a photograph with the late US envoy Richard Holbrooke and the fact that she found treatment, succor and safety in Britain when none was available at home, though one has to praise the Pakistani doctors who kept her going to enable her to go to Birmingham for treatment. Malala’s father is accused of ‘exploiting’ her celebrity and being a ‘crook’ without proof that would stand in a court of law. It’s not sad for Dr. Salam and Malala. It’s very, very sad for us Pakistanis, a depressing commentary on our degenerate mental and emotional state.
That Malala winning the Nobel Peace Prize evoked much delight everywhere but churlish criticism at home comes as no surprise. My compatriots find it difficult to praise the good and easy to heap fictitious praise on the bad. Such people need exactly what Malala is campaigning for: education of the proper and holistic kind, an opening of the mind and freedom of the intellect from bigotry and dogma that has come to be accepted as religion or emancipated thought. They have to reclaim their abdicated thought processes.
We are adept at pulling down those who are rising, like the frog in the well that his fellow frogs pull down whenever he is about jump out to freedom. We live in denial, turning villains into heroes and heroes into villains and then spewing demented vitriol concocted from a heavy mixture of lies, delusions, hatred and envy and showering it from rooftops to justify false praise and false criticism, not realizing that we are making perfect fools of ourselves.
Do such a people have a chance? Not without proper education, just what Malala is campaigning for, especially for girls who are being targeted by prehistoric monsters in the name of mutilated and adulterated ‘religion’. Proper education means learning to differentiate between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil in the contemporary.
Malala’s critics say that other girls have been shot too. Sure they have, and boys, women and men, young and old. But they were mostly victims caught in the headlights of state or non-state terrorism, not deliberately targeted for an eminently worthy cause like education. When ‘Mullah Radio’ who had then occupied Malakand where Malala lived closed all girls’ schools she took up cudgels against him. Her would-be assassins found her in a bus with other girls, asked who Malala was and then shot her in the head at point blank range like the great illiterate oblivious fired by a misplaced zeal or for money, just like the ‘green splatters’ firing hellfire missiles from drones while sitting thousands of miles away in America.
After her rehabilitation, instead of stopping her mission due to fright, Malala continued her struggle. Obviously, a young teenaged Muslim girl from the depths of Pakistan’s badlands showing such courage and zeal for her cause attracted much attention. She was a huge departure from the caricature of Muslim girls in the western mind and media. She won recognition and now the highest accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala has won; her critics have lost.