Guardian Angel

Sometimes, all she had to do was wish for it. Wish for it and think about it and it would happen.

Just look at Billy sprawled on the pavement near her. Thank you my guardian angel, she thought. Now he’d obviously think twice about yanking any little girl’s pigtails. If he ever got up again, that is.

For some reason, it looked to her as if Billy would now forever be asleep.

Oh, well. Good riddance. He had begun to annoy her a lot.

With that, she skipped on towards home, looking forward to her spaghetti supper that her mom had promised her.

Independence Day?

Another 14th August is around the corner. Pakistan turns sixty-four years old.

Celebrations? Sure.

Five killed in Sindh. Vehicles set on fire on in Karachi. One person burned alive. Sarfraz Shah’s ‘murderer’ sentenced.

Torrential rains, with threat of flooding in lower Punjab and Sindh, killing many in latter province.

Some more robberies. A bomb hoax and a kidnapping. Another blast. Attack on a military cantonment. A few more target killings. Someone protests over something.

These are just some of the news in today’s papers from all over the country. A dismal state indeed.

This is independence and freedom?

Nope! It’s the ‘elites’ having a life-long ball at the expense of everyone else. It’s ‘insurgents’ killing people they consider unfit. It’s terrorists making people afraid of their own shadows. It’s government officials filling up their own private coffers. All of these people are ‘independent’ to do as they wish.

But we really don’t need another article highlighting all this. The media has this area covered, I would say. Complaining and blaming will not take us anywhere. If it had to, it would already have done so.

What we need is a revolution.

Sadly, we have already been pumped full of ‘anesthesia’ for it to take a mere suicide or an act of police brutality for us to come out of the rocks we have been living under. Such statements always bring a sarcastic reaction from all of us. Steeped in our apathy and sarcasm and criticism, we tend to think about giving up. And we just go on…

But I am not giving up. I am not going to give up.

It is just a matter of time. And a matter of finding the right catalyst.

Tomorrow morning, I am still proudly going to wear my green jora and the badge sporting my flag and watch all the special transmissions on TV and hope to God that nothing untoward occurs and pray for Pakistan to get well soon.

This might all I be able to do right now but this is how I show all those people who try to convince us that all this is proof that Pakistan is a failed state and should not have been ‘made’ and blah blah blah. It might not be much but it’s way more than sitting at home and complaining.

I’m not giving up. You’re welcome to join the bandwagon.

Pakistan Zindabad!

History Repeats Itself

This is not really a lesson in Islamic history, nor a post where I declare that only Islam provides the correct way (although it does). All I aim to do is a small comparison.

In pre-Islam Arabia, the people were steeped in the worst kind of jahaalat. (To be politically correct, when I say ‘Arabia’, I basically mean the city of Makkah).

Literally, jahaalat can be translated as ignorance or being uneducated. When used for the Arabs living some fourteen/fifteen hundred years ago, it means they were ‘unaware’ of the true path to an unimaginable extreme.

They worshipped idols that they had placed, ironically enough, in the Ka’abah. Separated only by tribal boundaries, they were in a constant state of warfare. Might is always right was the rule of law. Money and other material things meant everything and they would resort to lying, cheating and fraud to gain them.

While they were a hospitable people, they treated women worse than the cattle they herded around. So much so that the birth of a daughter was considered the worst thing that could happen to a man. The only way out of this ‘humiliation’ was to bury her alive.

It was only when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came to them with the teachings Islam that these conditions of this society improved. Although it didn’t happen overnight, it was Islam that guided these people to the true path and eradicated the evils from the land.

All of these are facts, recorded down in history.

But this is not really a lesson in Islamic history, nor a post where I declare that only Islam provides the correct way (although it does). All I aim to do is a small comparison.

Today, we live in an educated, modern and civilized world, where women have rights (comparatively, if only in theory). We built a country in the name of the religion of Islam and for the freedom of the Muslims. It is still considered an Islamic State, even if the current ideology seems to have shifted away.

Fine. I can live with that.

What is interesting to note is that we seem to be going back to that state of jahaalat. Maybe even worse.

OMG! How could I say that? How could I go against my own country?

And my own religion? I’m probably committing blasphemy.

It’s simple.

The Arab tribes fought each other constantly and sometimes, on the merest of excuses – hell! – on the merest excuse of an excuse! But, in certain ‘holy’ months, they refrained from any and all kinds of conflict. And everyone, everyone, respected this rule.

To us, on the other hand, nothing matters. No rule of law. No religious directive. Nothing. We kill and we kill, with no thought of the consequences.

It’s funny how we forget that Islam is a religion of peace. The word íslam’ literally means peace – how can it advocate anything else for its followers? Moreover, fifteen hundred years ago, it was only through peaceful and non-violent methods that Islam spread its message to the people.

Yes, there were wars but in the ultimate ‘fight’, the victory over Makkah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and his followers, not one drop of blood was shed. Today, however, we kill in the name of a religion that condemns all of mankind even if one person is murdered. Mindless killing, increasing death toll, no thought as to where all this is leading us.

It would seem that we’re going back to the practices of our ancestors.

History is repeating itself…backwards.

The Piñata Philosophy

In Western movies or cartoons, the celebrations of a child’s birthday usually include a piñata. Whenever I saw one, I wished I had one too. Smashing a colourful ‘horsie’ to bits and pieces at first and being rewarded with candy for the effort – what kid would not want the same? It is only recently, however, that the people of Pakistan seem to have embraced the Piñata Philosophy very closely.

The only difference is that there is no candy involved.

The reason behind it is simple: we people are fed up.

We are fed up of all the problems and issues and controversies and concerns and incidents that never seem to end but just keep on piling up on us. There is no respite whatsoever from the crushing weight of the halaat for the general population of Pakistan. There is no aspect of our lives these days, not even one, that we can look to for some comfort or point out and say that this bit right here – yeah this one, a little to the left of the debt problem, very much obscured by the rest of the things, waiting for us patiently in the corner – this bit is good; we have no problems with this bit.

And we feel entirely helpless.

Complain and bemoan as we might, staging protests and dharnas and holding strikes, nothing has been done. The media has become our strong mechanism of defense, or at least, given us a voice. But nothing effective has been done. Or is being done.

Or will be done?

So, of course, there is anger. On the surface, every semblance to a ‘normal’ life is maintained, but the anger keeps on bubbling just beneath the skin. It festers a little as a new issue emerges, rankling the ‘normal’ existence some more. Till one day, the kettle of rage boils over.

And it boils all over some poor soul who has the misfortune to get caught.

At that point, it doesn’t matter whether it is his first time ever or not, whether he is innocent or guilty, or whether he was just in a wrong place at a wrong time. He is going to pay, pay dearly and maybe even with his life, for all that is amiss in our world.

We beat the poor bloke with our fists and any sticks and stones we can lay our hands on to. We kick him and punch him. We tie him up and drag him around the dusty streets. For this is the solution, the only solution perhaps, it seems. It is the candy that this human piñata gives us – a way to make us feel in control of our miserable situation.

And they totally deserve it.

How can they even think they can commit a crime and get away with it? How dare they think they can commit a crime and get away with it?

But how dare we think that we have a right to make a piñata out of others? How dare we think we can get away with taking the law into our own hands?

Yet, we do dare.

It is precisely because we dare that we have incidents like the lashing of ‘thief’ brothers in Sialkot and the shooting by the rangers of a cell-phone ‘thief’.

And the episode that I saw on the news the other day where another man who had snatched a woman’s handbag was beaten to a pulp.

And the one…fill in the blanks.

Although, from a people deprived of candy and any positive steps to make life even zero-point-one percent better, can anything else be expected?

Especially when we have such impressive role models in the form of the current leadership and the political elite. They haven’t yet been caught using force on each other but they are black belts in verbal bashing – no one can beat them at the ‘sport’ they’ve taken to Olympian heights. Their minions, however, have been known to repeatedly succumb to the lowly non-verbal piñata bashing, be it a rally or a polling station or anywhere they accidently come face to face.

Maybe it isn’t that ‘lowly’. Lawyers and doctors certainly seem to be aspiring to their standards. Or maybe it is the other way about.

Now where did I put that hockey stick? The neighbour’s generator is getting on my nerves.