Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A flower for every bullet?

Some thoughts on Muslims and global terror. Not mine but of others. But how well they echo those of mine and of many others:

From Prof Amitava Kumar's blog who quotes Gandhi in this excerpt:

Will someone fax the following quote from Gandhi, on p. 70 of the galleys, to Washington DC:

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

Here's a quote from Indian journalist Burkha Dutt's article on Mohammad Haneef (thanks again Prof Kumar):

...And yet, an innocent man continues to be held in solitary confinement with the ludicrous explanation that the solitude is actually designed to give him more ‘privacy’. Haneef has eloquently argued his own innocence, describing himself as a “Muslim with moderate views” who believes that “every drop of blood is human”. When Australian Prime Minister John Howard still goes on to declare grandly that he is “not uncomfortable” with the young doctor’s continued detention our outrage is spontaneous and entirely legitimate.

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy on the Lal Masjid (Pakistan) shootout:

What explains the explosive growth of this phenomenon?
Imperial America's policies in the Muslim world are usually held to blame. But its brutalities elsewhere have been far greater. In tiny Vietnam, the Americans had killed more than one million people. Nevertheless, the Vietnamese did not invest in explosive vests and belts. Today if one could wipe America off the map of the world with a wet cloth, mullah-led fanaticism will not disappear. I have often asked those of our students at Quaid-e-Azam University who toe the Lal Masjid line why, if they are so concerned about the fate of Muslims, they did not join the many demonstrations organized by their professors in 2003/4 against the immoral US invasion of Iraq. The question leaves them unfazed. For them the greater sin is for women to walk around bare faced, or the very notion that they could be considered the equal of men.

M J Akbar in his column, Byline:

Five years ago, there was only one terrorist in Iraq: Saddam Hussein. He terrorized his people, perhaps the worst form of terrorism. There was one reason for anger five years ago. Who can count how many reasons jostle for attention in a young person's mind after four years of war, mayhem and occupation? Four million Iraqis have been displaced; the demographic equivalent in India would be more than 200 million uprooted. That is the scale of the human disaster. No one has an accurate count of the Iraqi dead. Bush spends a quarter million dollars a minute on just the war in Iraq. Read that again, it isn't a mistake: A quarter million dollars every minute. That bill doesn't include the costs in Afghanistan. Even the British appetite for Bush has ebbed, with a Cabinet minister saying that British policy will not be joined at the hip to Washington. British casualties are now approaching the rate suffered in World War II. And only 22 percent of Iraqis support the presence of Anglo-American troops.

Whatever the cause, such are the effects. As Paul Wood, defense correspondent for British television's Today program, said on Friday, "Who wants to be the last man to die for a lost cause?" A newspaper is life distilled into still life. If the siege we mentioned is global, then perhaps a good checkpoint is a global newspaper through which we might ponder the mysteries of cause and effect.

The top of the front page of the July 12 edition is a moving photograph of a woman, her head bowed beyond sight, her tears hidden in the cusp of an anguished hand, sobbing on the coffin of a lost son or husband, one of the over 8,000 Muslims massacred by Serbs in Srebrenica twelve years ago, during the ethnic cleansing that began on July 11, 1995. They have just identified a fresh lot of 465 victims.

Where is one of the principal leaders of this genocide, a mass murderer called Gen. Ratko Mladic. If you want to chat with him, down at the nearest cafe. If you are the European Union or America, then he becomes invisible. He cannot be found.

Below this picture is the story of Lal Masjid, a citadel of paranoia, xenophobia and terrorism masquerading as a mosque and madrasa. There are no Christians or Serbs in this battle in Pakistan, which has taken at least a hundred lives. This is a war between different attitudes to faith. And this is proof that terrorism is a fire that can also burn the hand of those who feed it.

And, here's a great piece on this issue by Saaed Naqvi:

The Muslim elite in Delhi and Oudh had been decimated during 1857. Globally, they were smashed when the Ottoman empire was liquidated in the wake of World War I. None of that was on TV. But in March ’91, Muslims in particular saw with their own eyes the defeat and humiliation of a Muslim state, Iraq, with roots in one of the world’s great civilisations. Then followed the two "intifadas", the four-year-long brutalisation of Bosnian Muslims, Srebrenica, rape camps, the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan, the continuing occupation of Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, desecration of the holiest of shrines in Samara—and all on live TV.
Any wonder, then, that the Muslim world is in a state of rage? Just as the workers of the world had nothing to lose but their chains, a section of Muslims feel they have nothing to lose but their daily humiliations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza etc. This is the way it comes across to them, riveted as they are on a diet of live TV. But responses of the world’s Muslims vary. Indian Muslims belong to an exceptional category for a simple reason: the world’s second largest Muslim population has the good fortune to operate in a multicultural, secular democracy. Remember, a massive demonstration at Ramlila grounds thwarted US President George Bush from addressing a joint session of Parliament. The vent of democracy keeps Indian Muslims from terrorism.

Can the oppressed of the world learn some Gandhigiri and put an end to this circle of violence? What about sending a bouquet of flower to the oppressor for every dead body? A flower for every bullet? Can we do it anywhere and everywhere? Let us bury all hatred and violence under the unbearable lightness of the flower power? You think it is not possible? Gandhi showed us how to do it nearly a century ago.


Dolek & Rubi said...

Hey Zaf,

This was a good read. Thanks!

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks but thanks to the original writers whose quotes appear here.

Hill Goat said...

lovely collection and lovlier footnotes. but zafar you are shooing me away. i am having second thoughts indeed on coming over to this blog before "my" sleep hours... it is so unsettling at times, that I tend to rush back to laughter challenge channels.