Monday, 5 November 2007

State of emergency

At midnight on Sunday, 4 November (Pakistan time, so GMT +5), Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan. Opposition politicians, including cricketer Imran Khan, were placed under arrest, as were many other Pakistani citizens. The Supreme Court was disbanded just days before they were to rule on the legality of Musharraf's election.

Predictably, the UK and US howled in outrage. Condoleeza Rice, a woman who betrayed her gender and race by becoming part of an administration that hates both, has done what a true Republican does - threatened to pull Pakistan's aid package.

Hmmm. Let's see what happened in the weeks preceding the state of emergency, shall we? Islamic fundamentalists taking hostages in the Laal Masjid; 130 people killed in a single suicide bombing; more people killed as various outbursts of violence occur. We all know Al-Qaeda wants to isolate Pakistan from the West and turn it into a draconian Islamic state. They're punishing Pakistan for being close enough to the West to receive American aid.

And so, when Pervez Musharraf reacts the only way a Pakistani president knows how to react when the country is falling apart, Ms Rice, who doesn't know a damn thing about the culture or history of the place - and doesn't have the sense to ask anyone who does - threatens to isolate the country even further, destabilising it and driving it right into Osama's hands.

Not too surprising, since she actually believes that George W. Bush sees non-whites as equals.

Do I agree with what President Musharraf has done? Absolutely NOT. Do I understand in light of the culture and the way Pakistan works? YES. And the way to get Pakistan out from under this is NOT to push Musharraf further into the corner he's already in, but to talk to him and help him find a way out.

And let's be honest. Does either the US or the UK have a leg to stand on? The US instituted the Patriot Act; tortured prisoners in Abu Ghraib; locks people in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely. When I went back for a wedding four years ago, despite the fact I carried a US passport and had a US accent, I was asked rather aggressively, "Why are you here?"

I very nearly responded, "I was born and raised here, and carry an American passport, you c**t. Tell me, what are *you* doing here?"

I thought better of it and said I was going to a wedding, but I filed it away. Along with every time I got patted down by a man on my way to the plane, not because of the way I acted, but because of how I looked.

The UK doesn't fare much better - no pics of them abusing prisoners of war, but their Prevention of Terrorism 2005 Act, allowing the imposition of 'control orders' on those suspected of terrorism, doesn't give them the moral high ground. You know you're in trouble when one of your own judges calls your law 'an affront to justice' because it violates the European code of human rights.

To quote a favourite youtube video (see below):

"I AM afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of other things, too. I'm afraid that Western government is using terrorism as a Trojan horse to limit civil liberties..."

That is exactly what Western government is doing - it is using the fear generated by terrorism to exert greater control over a people who trust it less and less.

So if I were you, Condoleeza and Jacqui, I'd keep my mouth shut about human rights. You don't want to be looked at too closely - with centuries of constitutional liberties behind you and peaceful lands, you don't have the excuses that Musharraf does.

Amnesty International is watching you.

If you'd had any sense, you'd have brought the children of immigrants, like myself, on board. No one can hate Muslim extremists more than those who have grown up fighting the repression of Islamic culture so they can be free to be themselves - especially the women.

In my darkest revenge fantasies, I'm standing on a football pitch surrounded by pyres, on which burn the bodies of every single Taliban and Al-Qaeda member, along with every male of his line - each one shot, execution style, by a Muslim woman he abused.

No one can hate them more deeply than we can. No one wants to see them ripped out, root and branch, more than we do.

If you'd done your homework, you'd have known that. Instead, you assumed a Muslim monolith. You've paid for it in time, resources and goodwill lost.

Why are you here, indeed.

Sorry, Condo, you were saying, about Pervez Musharraf and the state of emergency...

no? What's the matter, cat got your tongue?

Or did you think you might want to take the plank out of your own eye before you remove the splinter from his?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A powerful piece of writing. If only it could get a far wider audience so that more could take in what you are saying...