[symple_box] Sabeet Raza is a young Pakistani who aims to bring about an end to the way his compatriots pessimistically view the Pakistani society. He is the founder of the Religion Humanity Initiative, an NGO working to bring about an end to religious intolerance. [/symple_box]
Pakistan has been a country plagued with terrorism, and since the beginning of the war on terror, it has suffered tremendously. People have lost hope, thinking has gone down into an abyss and there is a dark cloud of pessimism that is spreading its negativity instead of being flown away by the wind, why? Because there is no wind. We need the world to let loose of the stereotypical stares that are suffocating us and helping the fire of hatred grow. We barely have air to breath.
I am myself a student, one who aspires to bring change. What response do I get when I divulge my aspirations? You can’t bring change; our leaders couldn’t so how dare you would? This phenomenon exists not only because of the over breeding of the idea of failure in our society but also because we have been forced to this corner owing to the lack of support from the global citizens themselves. We have been labeled a terrorist state; our grounds are left to turn into deserted ruins, our chances of freedom from corruption are just like the chances of light escaping a black hole and our mindset has forcibly been converted into an extremist one. Either you are labeled a vehement liberal or an ultra-conservative Muslim who has to follow each and every idea placed in front of him by the cleric who leads the congregational prayer on Friday. Our people want to escape these labels but unfortunately for us, very few are able to raise their voices.
Yes, I confess, we are turning into a nation of extremists but are we the only extremists? Is carrying an AK 47 and raising slogans of “End Islam” not extremist? Also, why is it that when a cry for help is raised from our side, no one comes to our aid? Forget help, why is it that our religion is taken as an excuse to produce a stereotype that has brought nothing but a reign of havoc for those of us who want to live peacefully. Most of us are in fact trying to escape from the tyrannical reign of religious boundaries and labeling, but when our religion is publically denounced and we are included in a list of chaos loving, self-destructive intolerant animals –the real animals get a good chance to instigate hatred into the mindset of the local public– we are indoctrinated with hate for Westerners and Non-Muslims. Why is it that that feeling of hatred only augments as time wears on despite the efforts of many to extinguish this fire? It is simply because no one from the other side is ready to say that they have faith in us. We have people who stand against their own communities, people like the late Sabeen Mehmud or our students who try their best to convince the elderly that the west is not the threat but the threat lies solely in our own self-destructive mindset. Unfortunately, whenever our attempts are just centimeters away from culmination, the news of a drone attack in South Waziristan or FATA brings us back to the starting point. We have to start over, again and again eventually leading us to frustration, giving up on our own objectives. Just as Germany was a perfect breeding ground for communism after the First World War, so is Pakistan turning into a perfect breeding ground for extremism and it will soon be ruled by chaos if we do not bring a revolution in the thinking of the public.
I might be wrong; I might be received with criticism but I have to scream out. Our attempts are nearly about to bear fruit when our trees are cut and the people we consider friends betray us. The global village needs to understand that in order to bring about a change in the extremist thinking of our societies, they must cooperate. They must have faith in us. We might have failed you but have you not let us down too? I urge you to reconsider. Please do not kill my young friends roaming in the valleys of North West Pakistan. Give us a chance to infiltrate every level of our enemy and change them and their thinking. Extremism is a disease that cannot be destroyed by bullets. The only thing capable of bringing about an end to extremist ideas is to change the thinking of their society. An adult might be a terrorist but is his 2 year old daughter a threat to humanity too? Does the linkage of blood make one deserving of such severe punishment that the chances of hatred vanishing from their generations become unsubstantial? It is not possible for you to label the death of an innocent child as mere collateral damage. Honestly, it’s a shame on humanity when people sit quietly watching these events and celebrating the death of innocence. The doom of our future in nothing but imminent if we are to carry on with this level of inhumanity.
We too are humans in Pakistan, we are like you. We want a good peaceful life. We want to eradicate extremism but just if you may, give us a chance. Stop killing our innocent brothers and elderly in the North west of our country, stop these drones, it is doing nothing but giving our mutual enemy a reason to propagate against us.
Just as the idea of extremist Muslims dwells around in the mind of well settled so called American comsoplatian people, they themselves seem to have reverted to extremism as recently armed anti-Muslim protestors gathered for an “End Islam” rally in the United States. What surprises me is the proclamation of US being a country of free men when there is barely any tolerance for religious minorities in the country.
Nonetheless, at the end, you might hate Muslims, you might despise Pakistanis, but unfortunate for you as it may seem, we too are humans. I do not mean to be rude, neither to say that you are the enemy, but to spread the message of eradicating extremism is not possible without collaboration, particularly if others keep on sabotaging all our effort to bring about peace and tolerance in our as well as your societies.
[symple_box]Please Note that the views expressed in all opinions on The Moroccan Times are the authors’s own and do not reflect The Moroccan Times editorial policy.[/symple_box]