My country has its share of timed segments propelled by right and left wing morons alike but the beauty of a timed segment is – you can switch it off for that period without having to swear off the entire channel.
However, since everything is on a grander scale in America, they have Fox News; complete with a twenty-four-seven display of general hysteria and freak-outitude (thank you Jon) by anchorpersons that could sensationalize the pants off any blitzering wolf at CNN.
OBL was a Muslim. All terrorists are Muslims (except the 94% that aren’t). The Quran surely must command O ye who believe! Kill Americans! Especially the white ones ‘cause like – there are so many of those! So, obviously Islam is the root of all evil.
Let’s freak out further, shall we?
Hitler was a Christian. (OMG! How’d that happen?!!)
Some say he was a self-loathing Jew so please take your pick and detest that religion accordingly. I never knew him personally so I’d go with the popular belief. And since we’re blaming religion for the deeds of its followers, Hitler being a Christian alone should suffice for hating Christianity and all its followers till Kingdom come. No need left for any other Holy Book to order thus.
After decades of victimizing the Jews, the Christian world suddenly remembers what Jesus had taught them. And they set off to help the poor people – not by turning the other cheek and accommodating them in their homes but by handing them a piece of land in a way that was bound to make it disputed territory. So now, aside from Hitler, Muslims hate the Jews too. And while the Jews and Muslims bomb each other, the Christians sleep cozily in their warm beds.
As if helping the Jews wasn’t enough, USA (now synonymous with the West/Christian World in the new world order) decides to help Afghanistan. They create Taliban, who fight off the Russians for the Americans. The Americans tell their people and the world of how they stopped an oppressor while Pakistanis are left to clean up the mess and aftermath of a war in the neighborhood. We take in thousands of refugees from a very war-torn Afghanistan. They give us heroin as gratitude while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (brought to you by Lawrence of Arabia and ilk) gives us, and the rest of the world, Wahhabism.
Then 9/11 happens; perhaps the first incident in ages that actually rocks the West as it is a direct attack on American soil. Approximately 3000 deaths and 6000 injuries dish out a mixed plate of emotions. The Americans go from being stunned to feeling cheated to livid to downright war-mode ballistic.
We, in Pakistan, get confused.
Some of us are truly devastated, deeply sad for the loss of lives but angrier about the crimes committed in the name of Islam. We’ve never heard the name al-Qaeda before. We don’t know who OBL is – perhaps an ex-CIA who felt wronged by the Agency regarding something we have absolutely nothing to do with – like Mir Aimal Kansi. But none of that helps us ignore the fact that this is massive. And is done in the name of Allah and must be set right. We want to help. But we are in minority.
The majority amongst us are those who have paid dearly for years first for the Divide of 1947, then 1971 and then for a war that the Americans claim to have won ages ago (remember Afghanistan v Russia?). They hear of the 9/11, the 7/7 and all other similar tragedies and feel sorry but cannot cry because they are busy nursing their own wounds and burying their own dead. Truth to tell, for them this is Frankenstein gone home. And when the Americans scream it’s the Muslims! They blink in surprise and say Oh no honey, it’s you. Your prodigal son’s just come home to you years after devouring us.
And then there are the Talibans and their sympathizers. They’re a minority on the other side of the spectrum but can make noise very effectively. They have their tools to harvest a fresh crop of militants every season: poverty, unemployment, lack of education, misfortune of the locals to never really have known peacetime so that the only way of life they know is war at most and gang mafias at least, the Islam-hating-Muslim-profiling West…take your pick, they got more.
Let’s add to this, the wafer thin knowledge base of the general American public regarding their Enemy #1 – the followers of Islam. I mean…seriously. This is humiliating. After more than a decade of obsessing over Islam this much must be evident, wouldn’t you say:
- Sharia Law is not synonymous with Taliban and/or al-Qaeda Law.
- Snatching a hijab off a Muslima’s head drives one clear message home: you are the non-Muslim equivalent of Taliban. They force women into hijabs, you force them out. See a pattern here? The ideology of force, coercion and overall lack of respect for human dignity sound familiar?
- If you decide to hate a country and/or believe a country should be wiped off the face of the planet, we’d expect you to know where it is on the planet.
- Pakistan is NOT in the Middle East (for the gazillionth time) so do not expect us to even listen to conversations beginning with If you understand Arabic… Now if you were to say Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit or even Persian, many of us would rise to the occasion (God bless South Asia, Iqbal’s poetry and Bollywood).
- Iran and Afghanistan are not part of the Arab world. They have more in common with Alex the Great Greek Guy and Genghis Khan rather than Muhammad Bin Qasim (and no, for the love of Christ, this Muhammad is not The Prophet Muhammad).
- While every word falling out of an Arab’s mouth may sound like a Quranic verse, rest assured it is not. Therefore, if one is flinging insults at you, they’re less likely to be in the name of Allah and more in the name of O ye ignorant American.
- Lashing out at Muslims in general does not help fight against terrorism. The Quran burnings and Let’s Draw Muhammad days do not help either. This merely confirms that when the going gets tough, mass hysteria prevails regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, intelligence, age, economic status and address.
- Most of us immeegraannts do not drop by all willy-nilly to chow down the country’s GDP for free. We work very hard to build our lives here. We pay our taxes to build this country. And in case it still needs to be said, everyone knows about the Native Americans a.k.a. not the European colonists. So please, get over the them foreigners, us locals frenzy.
- Even we don’t understand why the Islamic radicals insist upon using underwear and kitchen utensils to terrorize public when clearly the NRA is exceedingly in favor of guns.
- A mop sink is no reason to cause alarm – seriously.
I wonder if the panels of mixed nuts at Fox News or the Right Wing rallies they cover are seriously as mentally challenged as the participants have me believe. They must’ve vowed to never make sense! But then I reprimand myself for being so unfair. It’s not their fault. It’s the way God made them – petty and insecure.
It is a mindset. A mind set in paranoia.
The same mindset that ridicules American Muslims attending a community fundraiser also compels people to chant obscenities at an American marine’s funeral. Bigotry, thy weapon is fear. It surpasses all boundaries. And like a friend of mine said, it is the same mindset that we first struggled against in our countries and then finally escaped from when there was no hope left for betterment.
I’ve read about a country thrown to hate and bloodshed (my father’s homeland). I’ve seen a country devoured by hate and bloodshed (my homeland). I do not want to see the same happening to my children’s homeland. But hopes, dreams and wishes can only go so far if denied constructive action.
Peace be with us and within us.
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