By Dr. Haider Mehdi
“Nothing comes very easy to you, human creature –
least of all the skill to live humanely.
My body in the grave, scarred with its disappointments,
and yours, alive as the rainbow glistening through the orchard.”
Wars have happened endlessly in human history. But the fact of the matter is that wars, violence and resultant destructions are assaults on humanity’s dignity and nature’s gift of life. Organized violence destroys the very essence of humankind’s existence and its purpose on this planet called Earth. And wherever and in whatever form the regimentational and methodical killing takes place, it leaves deep scars of agony on human minds and souls for an indefinite span of time. Wars decimate human dwellings and destroy societal organizations, rendering endless misery to the community of people in the nations under siege.
The victors write the history of their military glory while the vanquished are mercilessly thrown into the dustbin of great historical events. It is ironic that the vanquished’s struggle and sacrifices to defend themselves against the aggressors, the occupiers, and the invaders are never acknowledged and recognized as a source of inspiration for justice, equality and self-defense. But that is the way it was in the past (indeed local literature and poetry reflected and lamented the atrocities committed against them without being translated into a universal humanitarian appeal). However, with the dawn of the information revolution in the late 20th and 21st century, this process of historical judgments on repeated assaults of powerful nations against the weak ones is undergoing a phenomenal change. The American-led NATO warfare against the Afghani and Pakistani people will be judged on the basis of awakened public consciousness and transformed awareness of global issues and the fresh 21st century parameters of conflict management.
Was Osama Bin Laden a “hero” for millions as his disciples believe? Was he a “demon” reincarnated in person as the Americans and West project him? Was Bin Laden a revolutionary teacher who instructed his pupils to fight injustice at all levels, global as well as regional and domestic? Was it Bin Laden’s call to fight oppression and invaders from the West? Was Bin Laden a revolutionary whose life-mission was to struggle against historical forces of foreign military, political, social and economic occupations of Islamic and other weak nations in the Third World? Only future political historians and conflict management experts will have answers to these questions – perhaps, in the distant future (did the US-Nato not have an alternative political option to resolve the Afghan conflict?). Equally important in this context will be the verdict of “revisionist” war historians’ on US-Nato military aggression against Afghanistan in the light of US-West’s foreign policy and geo-political objectives at the start of the 21st century. But that judgment will come in due course – we will have to wait.
Was Bin Laden killed in the Abbottabad raid as claimed by the US? Or had he died a long time ago as some quarters believe? There is no concrete evidence of the American claim. No one had ever seen Bid Laden in Abbottabad. There are no eye witnesses of his presence in that house or of his assassination on that night. But these are not important questions.
The fundamental and vital issue is: how did the Abbottabad attack by the US SEALS come to happen? How could the Americans violate Pakistan’s territorial and political sovereignty? How could a foreign military force operate deep inside Pakistan in a garrison town and escape military political reprisal? These are the important questions that the Pakistani public has been asking and will continue to press for the truth on this matter.
Were Pakistan’s armed forces complicit in facilitating the US SEALS Abbottabad military operations? Who had advance knowledge of American plans of attack on Pakistan’s military garrison town in close proximity of the national capital and nuclear installation sites? These are matters of grave national importance and must be addressed, should they not?
In the aftermath of the May 2nd attack, the global media quietly reported that Pakistan’s armed forces had in fact mobilized: the air force fighter jets had been ordered airborne and a military battalion had reached the spot where the US military operation was taking place. The top military commander had tried to establish direct contact with Pakistan’s President and was instructed not to intercept the incoming US SEALS helicopters or engage the American forces on the ground. The question is: Were these media reports true? And if these reports were accurate, then why was the Pakistani political establishment, at its highest level, engaged in such political conduct tantamount to national treason? What Pakistani national interests were being served by the incumbent President and his political administration facilitating the US invasion? The point is that neither the President nor the Prime Minister have ever clarified their position on the subject. There seems to be a regular trend in Islamabad to keep the public in the dark and conduct business with the US in absolute secrecy; more of it will be forthcoming soon in the wake of restoring US-Nato supply routes.
It is not difficult to understand where things have gone wrong in the overall dynamics of Pakistani politics. Decades of colonization have been followed by six decades of political mis-management by a colonial-minded national ruling elite, both civilian and military rulers, who have been self-seeking and self-serving, focused on preserving vested-interests while pursuing political power to manage their economic-financial benefits. The result is a depleted Pakistan and a bankrupt political leadership that lacks moral-ethical development . The Abbottabad episode was just a fragment of what is and can be possible under the watch of the incumbent PPP regime and Pakistan’s present political structure and culture. Anything, just about anything, is likely here.
Think of the “memogate” scandal and its national ramifications. Think of NRO: think of who designed it and who implemented it in letter and spirit. Think of our nuclear assets – and think of their safety. Think of how we kill our own people to give safety to others. Think of how many times we have sold our armed forces to fight other’s wars. Think of how we have espoused a war which was never ours. Think of the havoc and devastation we have unleashed on our own people in exchange for dollars and cents. Think of how we have surrendered our sovereignty to US dictates. The tale is sad and long and unfortunately an end is not in sight.
Osama Bin Laden’s killing or, more accurately his theatrically-staged assassination, was just a tip of how far our ruling elites are capable of going. Think about it.
Will someone tell the ISI to stop claiming credit for its role in locating Bin Laden? It’s an admission of guilt – simultaneously hurting public sentiment and being a bad PR strategy to please Americans. Anyway, the Americans are not willing to buy it!
Think about it – Think of the inhumanity of our times in the name of democracy! And think about the hypocrisy and deceit of the powerful against the weak.
That is the lesson we should have learned from the May 2nd warfare – and we should have corrected our political discourse by now!