Heart of Darkness

Discussion in 'China' started by maomao, May 15, 2010.

  1. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Heart of darkness


    Most tourists in New York will have visited Times Square, with its bright lights, buzz and non-stop energy. Named after the New York Times when the newspaper moved to its current premises in 1904, the area has seen its ups and downs.

    Now, after being relatively sanitised, its drug dealers and other assorted low-life have been pushed to other parts of the city. But the shops, theatre district, bars and music halls hum with activity round the clock.

    This, then, is the heart of America, and has come to represent a dynamic, thriving country both for its own citizens and for foreigners in all parts of the world. Therefore an attack on Times Square is construed as an attack on the United States. When Faisal Shahzad carried out his botched attack recently, he wasn’t just trying to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible, he was lashing out against the country where he had studied, got married and made a comfortable life for his family.

    He was no suicide bomber brainwashed by jihadis and intent on claiming his share of virgins in heaven. Rather, he was a privileged member of the extended Pakistani military network: born in the knowledge that his father’s rank in the air force would open doors shut to most Pakistanis, he was given a visa to the United States, and then citizenship. There was little to suggest that he would choose the path he did. So much for the theory that education can make young Muslims reject terrorism.

    Soon after, we learned of Mohammed Saif ur Rahman, a Pakistani interning at a hotel in Santiago, Chile, where he was arrested with traces of explosives on his hands and in his personal effects. While he has denied any attempt to blow up the US embassy where he had apparently been invited to discuss the cancellation of his visa, one does not innocently acquire gunpowder traces under normal circumstances.

    So here we have two men with close connections to Pakistan who stand accused of attempted acts of terrorism in two continents within a week. Small wonder that newspapers like the Daily Telegraph can print highly speculative stories like the one that appeared on May 11 and expect readers to believe them. Headlined ‘Pakistan agents linked to US plot’, the story alleges:

    “American investigators believe rogue Pakistani intelligence agents could have been involved in the Times Square bomb plot. They are examining a possible connection between Faisal Shahzad and Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment, a potentially devastating blow to the country’s shaky anti-terrorism credentials. Mr Shahzad’s background as the son of a senior Air Force officer might have brought him into contact with intelligence agents who helped build the Afghan Taliban and who have channelled cash and training to home-grown jihadis, according to a source familiar with the investigation…. Pakistan has a history of using jihadi groups as a tool of its foreign policy. Its Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped train and equip Afghan Mujahideen … They have also supported militant groups in Indian-controlled Kashmir.…” And so on.

    While completely unsourced, the story is likely to be believed by many readers simply because Pakistan is now seen — and not without reason — as the epicentre of jihadi terror exported to different countries in an unending wave. While our default reaction is one of denial, the fact is that in many cases of terrorism abroad, there is an element of a Pakistani connection. Even when the terrorists are not themselves Pakistani citizens, they have visited training camps to obtain training, or have been brainwashed in one of our many madressahs.

    Living as we do in post-Zia Pakistan, we do not notice how the poisonous environment created by extremist rhetoric amplified by an irresponsible media has infected millions of young minds. Like a virus, the call for jihad spreads across the land. Voices such as Zaid Hamid’s are provided a powerful platform like television to spout his violent brand of Islam where unsophisticated viewers lap up his vision. No anchor or regulator stops him — and others of his ilk — in mid-flow.

    School curricula have been replete with hateful stereotypes of non-Muslims. God only knows what our madressahs are teaching their students: the government has washed its hands off these institutions and the hundreds of thousands of children unfortunate enough to be instructed there. The recent discovery of a substantial cache of weapons and Jaish-i-Muhammed propaganda material from a mosque in Karachi underlines how radicalised our centres of religion have become.

    Despite the clear evidence of the involvement of many jihadi organisations in local and global terrorism, the government keeps its eyes firmly shut to the reality of the situation. No serious attempt is being made to rein in these killers, and to shut down their camps and training centres.

    Together with the Jaish’s arms, receipts from donors were also found in the mosque. It should not be a very difficult task to find who these financiers of terror are, but I have no doubt the government will buckle under to threats and pressure from religious parties and not follow through with its investigation. Many similar enquiries have got nowhere, and as a result, the jihadi terror network continues to thrive.

    Even when some of these terrorists are arrested, they are seldom convicted. Often the investigation is botched; in other cases, the judges are either too scared or too sympathetic to the cause of jihad to lock these people up. The result is that cops become reluctant to risk their lives to arrest these killers just to have the courts release them time after time.

    Obviously, there are no easy answers. Jihad is now too deeply rooted in the country’s psyche to be quickly and painlessly excised. But if we are to survive as a nation, we need to agree that we cannot allow successive generations to be brainwashed by an ignorant coterie of mullahs and media talking heads.


    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...columnists/irfan-husain-heart-of-darkness-550
     
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  3. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

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    I think the Title is a bit offensive
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    calling mods.......................................................for title change.................................................
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Our combined failure​


    A common reaction to the almost universal conclusion that one of Pakistan’s main exports is terrorism — bolstered by the latest would-be hero of Times Square who fortunately failed — is that the larger majority of the Pakistani nation and its would-be leadership exist in a state of denial.

    Apart from the fact that most deny historical fact with impunity the trend is to ignore the mote in one’s eye and focus on how mean and nasty is the rest of the world by its censure of many of the country’s inadequacies. By far the most sensible reactions to the incompetent bomb-maker (by design or accident one does not know) come from Pakistanis in America, many naturalised US citizens.

    They are puzzled as to why a seemingly well-educated well-settled man, albeit of apparently modest means, would be prompted to attempt to kill and maim fellow citizens — or to even merely make a statement (if that is what he was doing).

    One e-mailer this week has it that “the biggest problem is we are a group of people, not a nation, who are ruled by well-known and well-qualified thieves. We have been deprived of everything of which an educated person such as Faisal Shahzad and other Pakistanis can be proud of or have respect for. We are embarrassed in front of the entire world by the deeds of our leaders, past and present. Our identity is deformed and distorted. Thus we can easily be trapped by the so-called mullahs into ‘serving’ our religion.”

    This from a young expatriate Pakistani — he went on to say that Pakistanis now living abroad, when applying for jobs, often declare themselves to be Indian or of Indian extraction to avoid being turned away. Not a happy situation
    There are, of course, some who in line with the current fashion squarely put the blame for the spread of terrorism and the adoption of its methods by the young men of Pakistan on to the western world, particularly the US, for its ‘use’ of Pakistan, its attitude and its superiority in so many fields — resentment is a great spur towards senseless reaction. They ask why the Americans are doing what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, why are they there? (Strangely, there has been no mention of Palestine.) What one needs to ask these expatriates is why are they in the US.

    From a man of Pakistani descent who has been working and living in the US for 30 years came valid comments, that it took Pakistan an inordinately long time to acknowledge that terrorism did exist; for years those who killed and destroyed bore the euphemism ‘freedom fighters’. It was not until the bombs started going off in the heartland of Pakistan that we began to acknowledge that, yes, terrorism does exist, it was not until we saw killings and bombings in the house of God that we stopped in our tracks and realised something was wrong. To this gentleman both Pakistan and America have failed as far as Pakistan is concerned — the Pakistanis, generals and politicians, because of their corruption, incompetence and double-dealing and their failure to deal with the US.

    “We failed miserably,” he wrote, “our military failed in properly analysing the threat level and future assessment of the damage our incompetence and lack of action would do. We all thought of it as a game, our military and politicians toyed around with the Americans with sporadic arrests, selling men for $500 a head, and we failed to understand or look at the larger picture. ...We have failed our children, we have failed to instil in them the unique identity of being a Pakistani first and foremost, and until we do that our boys will run around like rudderless boats seeking causes which have nothing to do with their identity.”

    The younger writers are less thoughtful, they are angry, disillusioned and clueless as to where their allegiance should lie. They have no nexus with their nationhood, simply with the religion they have been taught from a very young age, a religion that has been distorted by the politics Pakistan has adopted and its firm denial, through fear of clerical vengeance, of its maker’s exhortation that religion is not the business of the state.

    Too many of our youth, within and without the country, may have roots in Pakistan but thanks to 63 years of political and religious dishonesty combined with bungling, they have no cause when it comes to their country of birth or descent.

    And these present politicians? Last Wednesday in the Senate cries of ‘shame’ were raised about a Newsweek article which had quoted from Husain Haqqani’s book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, published in 2005. Haqqani tells “how the government’s jihadist connections date to the country’s creation as an ideological, Islamic state and the decision by successive governments to use jihad both to gain domestic support and to hurt its perennial rival, India. Describing the military’s distinction between terrorists and ‘freedom fighters’, he notes that the problem is systemic. ‘This duality ... is a structural problem, rooted in history and a consistent policy of the state. It is not just the inadvertent outcome of decisions by some governments’.”

    To deny this is foolish as it factually sets out one root cause of why we are what we are today. Haqqani, our ambassador in Washington, ends his book: “Pakistan was created in a hurry and without giving detailed thought to various aspects of nation and state building ... Both Pakistan’s elite and their US benefactors would have to participate in transforming Pakistan into a functional, rather than ideological state.”
     
  6. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    The sinking middle-ground

    The sinking middle-ground

    It fails to explain the emergence of young religious extremists such as Omar Shaikh (involved in the murder of American journalist, Daniel Pearl); Shahzad Tanveer and Hasib Hussain (7/7 UK bombers); and recently, Faisal Shahzad (the failed Times Square bomber). Each one of these young men came from educated middle-class families.

    Saying they were products of the western societies that they were raised in or thrown into is a weak retort. This attitude simply refuses to seriously address the issue of educated young Pakistanis falling for an extremely myopic and nihilistic brand of the faith — something that was once explained as a vocation only of the illiterate and the financially desperate. There has been an alarming rise in the number of young, educated middle-class Pakistanis (here and abroad), embracing the most reactionary and anarchic strains of the faith, believing it to be a justified and logical portrayal of ‘true’ Islam.

    The state and the government of Pakistan will have to thoroughly investigate and rectify this alarming trend. While actors like the 7/7 bombers and Faisal Shahzad are an obvious embarrassment to Pakistan and to the Pakistani communities in the West, so are the growing number of rabid, tech-savvy young people floating around various interactive websites to mouth the most obnoxious ideas about Islam and politics. There are websites out there glorifying utter mad men and the most twisted conspiracy theories, and many of these are owned, run and frequented by Pakistanis who work and are comfortably settled in western countries.

    For example, last year columnist Fasi Zaka was being pestered by a young man (through email) who accused him of being an American agent. When Zaka discovered that this person (a Pakistani) lived in the United States, he wrote back, sarcastically offering him help by reporting his dislike of American policies to the notorious US Homeland Security agency. As expected, the emails came to a dead stop. The cyber jihadi had chickened out.

    Then there is a gentleman who runs a pro-Zaid Hamid website. He lives and works in the US, but has the audacity to call a number of journalists (including me), ‘Zionist/CIA agents.’ He also frequently litters his site with ridiculous conspiracy theories involving the US. He has a fetish for fast cars as well.

    Just as the sudden rise of certain crackpots (via TV) in Pakistan was keenly followed and supported by a chunk of young, urban Pakistanis, various cranks are happily catering to the already confused religious and ideological bearings of Muslim Pakistanis living abroad. Much has been written about people like Zaid Hamid, Aamir Liaquat and Zakir Naik — men who cleverly represent (and glorify) the increasingly chauvinistic mindset of the current generation of young, urban Pakistanis. The situation is equally distressing in the West.

    A recent book on Farhat Hashmi’s organisation, Al-Huda, (written by a Pakistani woman), accuses her of spreading hatred against Christians, Hindus and Jews among Pakistani women living in Canada. Recently, in the wake of the Faisal Shahzad episode in New York, the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), a group of liberal Muslims living in Canada, accused American Islamic organisations of refusing to distance themselves from the doctrine of armed jihad, as did the Deobandi ulema’s conference back home only recently.

    The MCC goes on to state that many young Pakistanis living in the United States and Canada regard Pakistan as a safe haven for their preparation and training for waging wars against the West. Organisations like the MCC have also come down hard on outfits such as Al-Huda, ridiculing their claim that they are on a mission to convert westerners to Islam.

    A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader about a Pakistani living in the United States who (on Facebook) accused me of being a ‘Zionist-backed agent of secularism’. When someone asked the gentleman that, if he hated the US so much why was he living there, he conveniently (and without any hint of irony) claimed that his mission was to convert as many Christians and Jews in the US as possible. Imagine what might have happened to a European or an American Christian in Pakistan if his/her ‘mission’ was to convert Muslims to Christianity.

    The best was when a friend of mine told me about another such agitated Pakistani’s Facebook page. According to my friend, the following were the Facebook groups the restless young man was a member of: “Proud to be Muslim”; “I Hate Zardari;” “Free Dr Afia”; “Zaid Hamid”; and, hold your breath, “Big Boobs!”

    Saying that such young people are wilfully delusional and dangerously hypocritical would be an understatement.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect...-f-paracha-the-sinking-middleground-650-hh-02
     

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