Thursday, January 6, 2011

Extremism – Not the lesser of Evils.

Every dark cloud is supposed to have a silver lining, but here in the motherland, the lining has long been ripped off. Every day seems to push us further into the abyss of hopelessness and despair. With time, it is getting harder and harder to stand up for the truth.

As Faiz puts it;

Nisar main teri galiyon kay aye watan
Kay jahan chali hai rasm
Kay koi na sir utha kay chalay

Aghast at the evil spread around, we look at everything horrified, disgusted, but mostly we close our eyes, play the ostrich and refuse to believe we’ve hit rock bottom. Cities bleed, children die of hunger and cold & people spill out of streets burning tires, protesting, desperate and angry.

But when you look up at those who are responsible for fixing it all, they blame the past, the terrorists or the war on terror. Since the terrorists are so obviously evil, generally we are happy blaming them too. But then, something happens and you are shocked into looking at the entire situation in a whole new light.

A guard empties his gun into the chest of the very person he has sworn to protect and thousands including the supposedly educated; hail him as a ‘hero’. Two brothers are beaten to death by a street mob & later a segment of the society apologetically states ‘well they did rob the killers’. Dacoits are caught and burned alive and everyone agrees they deserved that. No one sees anything wrong with the fact that all these people have taken decisions that were not theirs to take. No one is disturbed by the idea of random people becoming the bearer of justice and the general masses endorsing their actions.

Recently one of our 'federal ministers' said and I quote ".. extremism and terrorism are two different things and while we cannot do much about extremism, we are trying our best to fight terrorism".

Our leadership needs to realize that public would continue to applaud those who chose to take the law in their hands until they start believing in the judicial system and government itself. They need to realize that certain malicious forces would continue to exploit individuals and masses in the name of religion until they are given the education and awareness to start thinking for their own selves. When merit is not taken into consideration, the government and the system would be treated like an opponent not a lead. And unless the government curbs the frustration building up in our society, the extremist forces would continue to have easy targets to brain wash.

Fighting terrorism is urgent and necessary but combating the extremist mindset that provides recruits for terrorism and motivates an ‘elite force personnel’ to assassinate a governor on as lofty grounds as ‘hearsay’, is way more urgent.

As long as all resources are spent gaining weapons, carrying out military operations, erecting barricades and deploying forces, nobody will stop to pull ‘out’ the seeds of radicalism that are breeding these monsters in the society.

Taseer’s tragic death by the hands of a radically religious mind can be summarized in Faiz sentences;

Bohat hain zulm kay dast-e-bahana-ju kay liye
Jo chand ehle-junoon teray naam leva hain
Bannay hain ehl-e-hawas muddai bhi, munsif bhi
Kissay wakil karain, kis se munsifi chahen?

In this tyranny that has many an excuse to perpetuate itself
Those crazy few that have nothing but thy name on their lips
Facing those power crazed that both prosecute and judge, wonder
To whom does one turn for defense, from whom does one expect justice?

The government, the political & security forces need to admit that ignoring the basic needs of people are brewing extremist tendencies in general masses and working justagainst the terrorists and terrorism is somewhat like clipping the branches while tending the roots.

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