"To ascertain why they turned extremely violent needs honest analysis instead pinning the responsibility on religious elements, as a number of columnists and intellectuals have done," writes sect-general of Jamaat-i-Islami in today's The News as he gives us some answers from the 'other side'.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Protests now under fire
Goverments, all of them, are calling for end to protests and these calls are falling on deaf ears.
Yesterday saw strikes in scattered parts of the country--no huge rallies in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, but Peshawar, Quetta, and other major cities in Sindh, NWFP and Punjab are still seeing demonstrations against the cartoons. No reports of voilence thank God.
Calls for nationwide strike. We want to loose business, drive away the FDI t-r-i-c-k-l-i-n-g into the country and scare away poor relief workers. Bravo!
What role have the Muslim leaders (not politicians, not the socalled-jihadis) played to pipe down the negative propaganda forcing people to spread hate? David Yonke in an Ohio newspaper, "There has to be aggressive, assertive Muslim leadership that stands up and says, 'No, that's it,' " said Imam Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and a spokesman for the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America.
If 'freedom of expression' is coming under fire in the West, media coverage of the protests is also coming under fire in the Islamic World. Writes Ramzay Baroud: "What the cartoons truly exposed – among many other realizations - is the frightening extent of vulnerability among Arab and Muslim nations and the lack of any meaningful and effective Muslim and Arab media strategy that forcefully attempts to alter the misconstrued Western discourse that endlessly denigrates their culture, disparages their religion and positively questions their humanity."
I'm looking out for a thought-provoking article on the Rational Clerics role during these protests. Please email us if you find one.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Our home on fire
STOP in the name of God.
You're burning OUR home.
Who are you hurting? Who are you after? Who suffers when you walk away from this debris?
And there's more to follow :(
OIC attempts to take a stand
Pushing the right paper is one way to react to cartoon's published insulting our Prophet. It just takes mobs of people to stage demonstrations that propel govts to do so.
On Pakistan's proposal, the OIC held an extraordainory session to chalk out a solution to the cartoons. What is expected out of this session? The proposal will be under discussion in Pakistan as the Sect-General arrives in Islamabad today. The future: "Prof Ihsanoglu has already informed Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, that the 57-member OIC was seeking the EU’s cooperation to end the conflict as quickly as possible. It has suggested a five-point proposal to the EU for the resolution of the issue."
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Pelting tomatoes, more burns and killings :(
I have searched and searched and searched in vain for good news...a sign that tempratures are cooling down, that the powers that be are sending a bold message across for tempratures to cool off, that there are no silly calls of beheadings, killings, and embassy-attacks in the news...
In vain. A Church burning already reported from Pakistan (sob!), 16 dead in nigeria, indonesians showing force outside the US embassy and a call for 'off with his head' from a muslim politician--of all places--in India.
"Don't burn the world," remarked Oyvind in an email. Amen to that.
Hope for peace
Is it too much to hope for expecting no news of death and voilence after nearly a week of scary headlines?
Islamabad was under seige by security forces in anticipation of the 1million march. The human cost of sporadic voilence across the country is immense. Schools are closed in Karachi for a week. We've been reporting to work under a lot of stress (its taking its toll!) and now comes the economic cost of filling the streets of Pakistan with fire.
In the current year, $2-3b of FDI are now at stake. Writes Mehmood ul Hassan Khan: "According to independent estimation Karachi the industrial hub of the country has to bear Rs.2-3.5 billion losses if the business activities are closed for only a single day." His article Economics of Agitation and Agrression gives a broad view of the damage the Pakistani economy suffers in view of last week's tragic events (riots, Chinese Killings et al).
If you want to know what it does for the average joe, switch on Geo/ARY-1. Teary-eyed men will point to the carnage of motobikes on Mall Road, Lahore--their sole source of livelihood. What did their daily bread have to do with cartoons in Europe? They haven't seen them and they don't want anything to do with them, except express their regrets that 'it has happened'.
There are calls of peace and calm amidst noisy declaration for boycotting everything from medicine, to cheese to phones to fast food. Who are we hurting?
"While Muslims globally have condemned the ridicule of their religion, the voices of civilized objectors have been drowned out by a noisy minority of sensationalist hooligans. These attention-seeking firebrands know well that violence sells in the international press; they often stage scenes just for the cameras. The spiritual love-ins of mainstream Muslim protesters simply don’t make the headlines," writes Aisha Ahmad who notes the morning-after made it obvious the riots hurt the local economy and humiliate Pakistanis.
You don't need to read too much to see how there has been another dent in the govt's efforts to add a dash of positivity to Pakistan's image. We're hurt. We're hurt not simply because there is more about Pakistan and violence in the newspapers than it has been for months but because we believe there is more to life than watching out for a strike call, tension or whatever we Pakistanis got used long ago. There's no economics that can make up for our loss of peace of mind.
Friday, February 17, 2006
American bloggers are wondering why the good people of the USA are suffering the scorn of Pakistanis and Muslims during the current protests. Europeans are wondering how a bunch of countries expect them to rethink their principle of freedom of expression. Muslims are wondering why it is difficult for the West to understand this isn't about a cartoon, its about provocation during difficult times for the international community.
- Robert Wright does acknowledge that small, peaceful demonstrations held in Denmark back in September never made it to the media/international radar screens.
- He also draws an interesting analogy between the civil rights movement of the 60s and the current spate of voilent outbursts across Asia ("what triggers an uproar? what fuels it?" and that history is littered with voilent movements).
- Wright muses what's making the Europeans shirk in horror over the concept of self-censorship. "The Danish editor's confusion was to conflate censorship and self-censorship. Not only are they not the same thing - the latter is what allows us to live in a spectacularly diverse society without the former; to keep censorship out of the legal realm, we practice it in the moral realm. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but worse things are imaginable."
Well said, Wright, well said indeed.
Looks like the media hounds were waiting to pounce on an imam, any imam, who would say the words, "off with their heads". Yousuf Qureshi has found his 5 minutes of fame all thanks to AP who broke the story of the imam in Peshawar offering US$25,000+car (no idea what make) to anyone who would behead the 'cartoonist'. There's a sum of $1 million offered by some random jewellers association--according to the imam--and the scribe hasn't bothered to verify this vital piece of info either.
Is anyone, other than AP, taking our man in Peshawar seriously? We hope to God NOT!
Moses or Abraham will pull'em out too
"Tomorrow if Moses or Abraham or any other prophet is insulted you will see me here. There is absolutely no difference," says a protester marching in Dhaka today.
Outside the American consulate: "Lahore, Lahore Aye"
Mubarik ho: Its been smooth sailing yesterday
An SMS from a friend last night: Congratulations on peaceful protest in Karachi today. Proud to be a karachiite!
It has come as a pleasant surprise after 48 hours of watching voilence on TV. Ishrat ul Ebad's briefing on Wednesday seems to have worked (DAWN).
Fingers crossed it stays this way after Jumma prayers.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Good news: We're not alone
SMS now circulating
"If jews wish to destroy muslims and Pakistan, it is quite easy for them. They just publish a few more cartoons and the Pakistanis will burn themselves and also burn everything else. Isn't it? Pass this one for awareness."
This email comes from PASBAN in Rich HTML.
WE LOVE OUR PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH)
REMEMBER THE PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH) MIGHT ASK YOU ONE DAY WHAT DID
YOU DO WHEN THEY MADE FUN OF ME?
REGISTER YOUR PROTEST: PEACEFUL STRIKE FRIDAY – 17TH FEB’ 06
PROVE YOUR LOVE WITH PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH) BY MAKING THIS STRIKE CALL A SUCCESS PASBAN
REGISTER YOUR PROTEST PEACEFUL STRIKE FRIDAY – 17TH FEB’ 06
PROVE YOUR LOVE WITH PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH) BY MAKING THIS STRIKE CALL A SUCCESS.
PASBAN –VOICE AGAINST INJUSTICE
Riding in buses with flags on a day of strike
Petrol pumps and shops have cordoned off their entrances, anticipating trouble in Karachi today. We've all arrived at work after frantic session of phone calls confirming whether everybody really intended to come out. Slowly, traffic flowed into the city with public and private transport out on the road, if not in full force.
Its very quite. And then, a cordon of buses rushed past our office...it was a huge convoy. All men, hanging onto buses and trucks loaded like chicken. They were fairly organized carrying green flags printed specially for the occaision perhaps.
Who are these people? Why are they out on a working day? Are the rational questions.
Don't be rational. These are simple minded folks brainwashed into a one point agenda, 'go out and conquer'. Who takes responsibility for their life? Who takes responsibility for the life of those they may harm?
Awais Saleem attempts to answer this question in Who are the miscreants?". 'Groping in the dark....unseen hand...not expecting such a turnout....clamp down would be with an iron ahnd'...all vague phrases. The political parties visible among the 'miscreants' claim no responsibility for the incidents of ransacking and demolition in Lahore. Every party is claiming they were out for a peaceful protest. And most of us are tired of hearing the word 'vested interests' behind each accident that occurs on the Pakistani soil. Fittingly, Saleem ends his thoughtful article, "However, the million dollar question for the quarters concerned (with no possible answer in sight) before taking any remedial measure is, ‘Who were they’?"
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Outlook India sounds confident the Indian team will march on to finish the series right up to Karachi.
We hope they do. We really hope they can show up, however, judging by the atmospheric pressure, it sounds unbelievable. "Security for the Indian team was strengthened following fresh protests in Pakistan over cartoons of Prophet Mohammed," says Outlook. So far, the PCB Chairman and Indian High Commissioner have met and said, "...there's no question of calling off the series." Dare we say, YAHOO?
After Bryan's recent gig, Karachi was very eager to receive both the Cricket teams.
Schools, universities shut down for a week
Peshawar: And who's loss is it now that students get to do nothing but watch TV for one whole week?
While they sit at home and mull over matters that few have managed to grasp, they might get bored and excited about joining more mobs.
If clamp down is the ultimate solution, I say put on a curfew! But not before giving tons of homework to those students with nothing to do.
Caught in a demonstration!!
From Zahrah Nasir
I got caught up in a 'protest' march in Islamabad yesterday & couldn't help but notice the 'miscreants' in amongst the students egging them on. It was awful. Who are these people? Who is organizing this? Who is getting any benefit? Students are so easily lead!!!!!!!!!
when will this stop?
this is so sureal...
there is a part of me that cannot grapple with what is happening around us,
this is the 3rd day and tomorrow the fire will burn in karachi??
today a young boy was shot in the head admist the protest!!!! a little boy!
where is this all going?
we continue to hurt...only ourselves...
More deaths, more destruction today
We've officially entered the third day of rioting, ransacking and....casualties. 3 dead in Peshawar.
"More than 70,000 people flooded into the streets of the northwestern city of Peshawar, said Saeed Wazir, a senior police officer. The massive crowd went on a rampage, torching businesses and fighting police, who struck back with tear gas and batons." I can't believe police have not been able to control the violence in Lahore even today! 1500 more students took to the streets.
Why are young people not able to understand this is only causing insecurity and fear among civilians. Is this changing anything?
CNN Protest Video Link
Video footage from Lahore yesterday. I was suprised with the young turnout...school kids??
Follow this link.
Let's Get on Camera Vs. Let's Scare Them Shitless
Spot on Amina!
While we rampage the streets of Pakistan, I think its important to remember there is a difference between motives and sentiments.
We realise people feel, get hurt and emotional and that's why they take to the streets.
The problem is, increasingly goverments are slower to respond to a situation which makes it difficult for people to wait too long for action.
One can safely stage a march, form human chains without buring our own property and scaring our own people!
Do you think that's too ideological an approach?
help stop this madness
i am saddened and upset about pakistan's reaction to the cartoon issue, as muslims we should not engage in or support violence,
we only serve to harm ourselves by burning offices, restaurants and banks.
and we only tarnish the image of islam and also pakistan by resorting to violent protests, wouldn't peaceful protests be heard much louder,