It has to be colder than a witch’s tit in hell when I tip my cap to Keith Olbermann and Thomas Friedman in the same week.
All I can say is that I hope the Devil’s rubbing a lot of sticks together today.
Mr. Friedman of The New York Times proposed a rallying cry for the Pakistani people — the civilians who voted to oust a military dictatorship twice this year. In his Op-Ed yesterday, “Calling All Pakistanis,” Mr. Friedman hits the nail on the head:
On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?
After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets….
First of all, it seems to me that the Pakistani government, which is extremely weak to begin with, has been taking this mass murder very seriously, and, for now, no official connection between the terrorists and elements of the Pakistani security services has been uncovered.
At the same time, any reading of the Pakistani English-language press reveals Pakistani voices expressing real anguish and horror over this incident. Take for instance the Inter Press Service news agency article of Nov. 29 from Karachi: “ ‘I feel a great fear that [the Mumbai violence] will adversely affect Pakistan and India relations,’ the prominent Karachi-based feminist poet and writer Attiya Dawood told I.P.S. ‘I can’t say whether Pakistan is involved or not, but whoever is involved, it is not the ordinary people of Pakistan, like myself, or my daughters. We are with our Indian brothers and sisters in their pain and sorrow.’ ”
But while the Pakistani government’s sober response is important, and the sincere expressions of outrage by individual Pakistanis are critical, I am still hoping for more. I am still hoping — just once — for that mass demonstration of “ordinary people” against the Mumbai bombers, not for my sake, not for India’s sake, but for Pakistan’s sake.
Why? Because it takes a village. The best defense against this kind of murderous violence is to limit the pool of recruits, and the only way to do that is for the home society to isolate, condemn and denounce publicly and repeatedly the murderers — and not amplify, ignore, glorify, justify or “explain” their activities.
Sure, better intelligence is important. And, yes, better SWAT teams are critical to defeating the perpetrators quickly before they can do much damage. But at the end of the day, terrorists often are just acting on what they sense the majority really wants but doesn’t dare do or say. That is why the most powerful deterrent to their behavior is when the community as a whole says: “No more. What you have done in murdering defenseless men, women and children has brought shame on us and on you.”
Why should Pakistanis do that? Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process.
“I often make the comparison to Catholics during the pedophile priest scandal,” a Muslim woman friend wrote me. “Those Catholics that left the church or spoke out against the church were not trying to prove to anyone that they are anti-pedophile. Nor were they apologizing for Catholics, or trying to make the point that this is not Catholicism to the non-Catholic world. They spoke out because they wanted to influence the church. They wanted to fix a terrible problem” in their own religious community.
We know from the Danish cartoons affair that Pakistanis and other Muslims know how to mobilize quickly to express their heartfelt feelings, not just as individuals, but as a powerful collective. That is what is needed here.
Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village — all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.
This was a timely article that serves its purpose — to point out the absurdity of the Pakistani people’s lack of relative disdain for the Mumbai attacks.
A similar article can be written for India, though. FOX News Middle East correspondent, Reena Ninan, has been in India reporting and blogging for days, observing complete unrest and hatred in Mumbai during a rally on 3 Dec:
1:15pm: As we made our way to The Taj Hotel LIVE shot position, just before sunset, we knew we had problems. Thousands of Mumbai residents were marching to the hotel. It was supposed to be a peaceful solidarity march but there was lots of negative energy.
3:13pm: The crowds are getting out of control. We can’t find our driver to head to The Oberoi Hotel for lives. No one has a cell phone signal. Crowds keep streaming in from all directions.
We decide to take a cab. All the taxi drivers refuse to take anyone. After the fifth cab refused us. I just opened the door to the sixth cab and got in. Cameraman Pierre, Producer Mark and Varuna, and I pile in.
4:42pm: [Cameraman] Pierre was attacked by an angry mob last night while we where in between LIVE shots. One man started shouting and threatened to beat him. They were looking to pick a fight. Varuna stepped in and spoke to them in Hindi. That managed to calm them down. People are so emotionally charged here. Tonight feels like the climax. We took no chances. We headed to the area of The Oberoi Hotel to do our LIVE shots, instead.…
Some signs read:
“Die Pakistan Die”
“Make Pakistan history”
“8% GDP growth, 100% terrorism growth”
The Christian Science Monitor digs deeper:
New Delhi; and Karachi, Pakistan – Akash Maheshwari has no doubts about what will happen in the standoff between India and Pakistan. The Indian businessman says his country will present its evidence that Pakistani-trained militants carried out last week’s attacks in Mumbai (Bombay) – and Pakistan will do nothing.
Years of diplomacy have not stopped the violence, he says, adding: “If we don’t take military action, then the government is a fool.”…
“India blamed Pakistan too quickly,” says Yahya Khan, a truck driver in Karachi. If India wants to go to war, he says, “we are ready.”
In Pakistan and India, old suspicions have reemerged after the Mumbai attacks, and there are signs that public anger on each side of the border is shaping diplomacy. The political posturing threatens to polarize the situation further, imperiling four years of steady progress between the two nations.
“It seemed as though the stage was being set for substantive advances,” says Najmuddin Shaikh, a former foreign secretary of Pakistan. “Nothing could have been less welcome at this time.”…
“After 9/11, America acted quickly to finish Afghanistan,” says Mohammed Ismail, a tout for a nearby crafts store, noting the initial success of the US operation in Afghanistan.
Mumbai was India’s 9/11, he says, but “in India, we do not do such action.”
“If I were the prime minister, I would finish it, fully and finally,” he adds.
The Indian gov’t absolutely needs to better communicate to the Indian people that the “‘elements’ within Pakistan” that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed last Thursday for the Mumbai attacks are ISI, that ISI is a rogue agency within the Pakistani power structure, and that the goals are not to attack Pakistan and its people, but to aid the Paki gov’t of ridding Pakistan of this this cancerous cell — in part — by helping them shape public opinion in the way that Mr. Friedman is suggesting. This will weaken the safe harboring of terror cells within Pakistan and lessen the muscle of ISI.
(I’m approaching ISI as I do with the domestic Federal Reserve monetary system of fractional-reserve banking in the US.)
When an institution is inherently corrupt, its authority is absolutely illegitimate; therefore, you change the methods and people of the institution GET RID OF IT!
ISI cannot simply be reformed. It must be dismantled to the point of non-existence like a tumor. The tumor of terror is precisely the reason why the “War on Terror” cannot be fought territorially via the demolition of flesh, bone, and blood.
It cannot be fought substituting men at the top of a State’s power structure alone i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, Pakistan.
It cannot be fought by simply freezing assets, economic sanctions on States, long distance arial strikes, and lofty, demonizing rhetoric as that 60 year old trick has seen the result of more devastating terror, worldwide.
Ridding Pakistan of ISI cannot be done with the stroke of a pen. Every effort to dismantle the agency, solely from within the Paki gov’t, will face the risk of catastrophic blowback — terror attacks from those financed by ISI — as every troop who enters the Afghan-Paki border, every bomb dropped there, and every terrorist killed there does.
Terrorism doesn’t come from hate alone. That hate comes from clever propaganda which exploits the poor and down-trodden — revising history to the extent of scapegoating in order to create a demon, not human enough to be protected by the grace of God against being slaughtered — and that hate is organized and financed into terrorism.
The best weapon against this propaganda is a good example of what it means to be free, cooperate, understand, love, and protect these virtues.
I’ve read a lot of mumbo-jumbo about what Gandhi would think of the Mumbai attacks over the last week. Yes, Bapu would be sad right now to see this violence. But, as an anarchist, Bapu would also be disgusted at the inhumane pandering Mr. Singh is doing to be in favor with the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) months before an election.
This sabre-rattling, in the effort to further legitimize the unjustified authority of the State, is exactly what Bapu demonstrated against — resisting illegitmate authority, performing hunger strikes, and voicing appeals (based, not on ideology, but on reason) that drew a nation toward a cvilian — which resulted in our Father’s assassination.