“Pakistan’s Image” is a strange animal.
If one were to believe the rhetoric that goes in the media is Pakistan and fanned by some ministers (like Sardar Nabil Ahmed Gabol, minister of state for shipping) , one would come to believe that India’s sole obsession is with sullying Pakistan’s Image. Because of this one reason it conducted:
– Mumbai Attacks on ITSELF, killing its own citizens and hurting its tourism and other industries.
– Lahore Attack on Pakistan, killing Pakistani citizens hurting Pakistan’s cricket now.
So, no matter who gets killed and where he or she gets killed, the sole and the greatest motivator for such killing remains – Pakistan’s Image.
One would assume that this elusive thing that India is after, namely “Pakistan’s Image”, must be really a spectacularly shining and exquisite commodity that everyone wants to own… and if one cannot own, as ostensibly India may not, then it is a strong enough reason for us to go ahead and dent it. Such is the clamour for image like that Pakistan has been able to build for itself in the 60 years of its existence through a series of failed democracies, junta rule, and export of terrorism and Nukes.
Now, lets look at the Islamic world as a whole and you will see a similar pattern… the constant blaming on the “other” and rejoicing in the magnanimity of one’s own “victim status”.
The furthering of Victimization plea in the Islamic world is so prevalent that no matter where an upheaval occurs, somehow the culprit is someone else. Chechnya, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan – wherever there is a fight, its always the “other” side which is guilty, and after the Muslim blood. The Muslim fighter obviously by most of the Islamic scholars’ (who matter and affect the common perception) analysis is just “defending” himself or herself.
In fact if one were to seriously take the extent and regularity of the Islamic rhetoric, then it would almost seem that whenever any child is born in the world, the mother repeatedly suggests to the child “Well, the milk can wait my kid, first let’s start plotting on how to kill or hurt a Muslim.. and if you cannot hurt “them”.. let us try and see how we can kill ourselves… so at the very least their “Image” gets sullied!!”. followed by Smirks… and evil smiles of violent satisfaction..
The situation on the “other” side is obviously as pious as pious gets. The kids from the villages of Sudan to the poor neighborhoods in Pakistan to the mountains of Afghanistan, are taught on how everyone is so nice.. and no matter which religion a person believes in, their Gods and beliefs are as pious as our own and so we must love all. Of course if anyone hits us.. we will take the hit and throw stones at them, NOT because we have not been educated enough to create anything sophisticated enough, but because we are peaceloving and born VICTIMS incarnate!
Give Moderates some “Space” Plea
There is another line of argument by the moderates. That they need to be “strengthened” to bring about a change in the Muslim world and so one should not challenge the Islamic hardliners or hit them, because then they “lose the ground” on which to argue for “peace”.
This was also the argument that I saw repeated ad nauseum on Fareed Zakaria’s program last Sunday. And, in my view, it is the most nonsensical argument I have ever heard! It shows an utter lack of understanding of sociological history and lessons from peaceful revolutions. Whenever there has been a revolution or societal change in the history of mankind – in modern times, by Dr. Martin Luther King, or by Gandhi and by moderates in India in general during the Independence Struggle – it has been brought about by people who had ZERO help from outside.. and more importantly had ONE common factor – FEARLESSNESS.
Peace is the business of the FEARLESS!
Timid, dependent and the needy of external props and doles cannot, have not, and will never be able to bring about any change! Worse, they keep strengthening the apetite of the Violent and the Gory and extend their might. We saw that under Hitler, we saw that under Saddam and we are seeing that now.
And there is a reason why the FEARLESSNESS is central to Peaceful initiatives. The Violent and the Gory live and govern by FEAR. Fear is the central tenet to all those who want to bring about violence to bear upon a situation. And they back it up with a strong ideology. The Violent of Islam have used the tenets of Quran and Hadiths for that. Hitler had his own ideology based on hatred for Jews and Aryan superiority. So, every Violent group has two main things to perpetuate violence and bloodbath:
– Fear-based rhetoric
– Firm “commitment” to an Ideology
The only way to fight such a mad group is to challenge BOTH: FEAR and Ideology. You cannot ask for “concessions” in any of these two. The fight has to be ruthlessly honest and comprehensive in its depth and breadth. Anything short will be only a failure. No one can teach anyone on how to challenge a defunct and inherently counterproductive ideology, only one’s own intellect and honesty brings one to that point. Fearlessness is the ONLY partner on that journey.