Wednesday, December 17, 2014

For Our Children: Powerful Editorial in Pakistani Daily // 'Samjho kuch ghalat hai': Prasoon Joshi's tribute to Peshawar victims

NB: Plain speaking is indeed powerful. We can thank the writer of the editorial. Can we Indians also speak plainly? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the "senseless act of unspeakable brutality" in Peshawar. He himself presided over acts of senseless brutality in 2002, for which he would be liable under international criminal law (India has not ratified the Rome statute setting up the International Criminal Court). There have been serious allegations of RSS involvement in the Samjhauta Express blast of Feb 18, 2007, in which 68 passengers died. There were 25 children among the dead. Many suspects have been arrested, but does anyone believe that the guilty will be punished? 

Even now the ideologues of Hindu Rashtra are celebrating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.  Mr Modi and his political family have played havoc with the rule of law in India - is it not complete hypocrisy to talk about  a "senseless act of unspeakable brutality" in Peshawar? Nor should the political leaders of the previous regime be allowed to forget what their fellow Congressmen did in 1984It is not just the Pakistani establishment and leading lights of civil society, but their counterparts in India as well, who need to face their own complicity in violence and extremism. Anything less is the same old mindless self-delusion that we have indulged in for decades. Let us hope that this carnage of children will stir our consciences and awaken all of us to our basic humanity. 

Agar iske baad bhi sar utha kar khada ho sakta hai insaan
Toh samjho kuch ghalat hai

Speak the truth
Stop the killing

For Our Children (The Nation)
16 December 2014 is one of the worst days Pakistan has had to live through since its inception. This national tragedy, which has caused unimaginable grief and pain across the landscape, will not and must not be forgotten anytime soon. Muhammad Khorasani of Jamat-ul-Ahrar, also known as Omer Khorasani, of the Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Mullah Fazlullah, has accepted responsibility for the attack on the school. In his statement given to the media, the militant commander termed the attack as retaliation for the ongoing military operation in FATA.

Some say that at a time like this, it is not wise and appropriate to blame the government or state institutions. Such a tragedy calls for unity, and criticism doesn't help to achieve that purpose. But no consensus can be built, no wrong can be corrected, no problem can be solved by deciding against speaking the truth. And the truth is this: Not just terrorists, but everyone, from the wider population to the civil and military leadership is responsible for the barbarity our children were subjected to.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, your government has contributed absolutely nothing towards building a narrative against extremism. Operation Zarb-e-Azb started without your permission, and it continues absent meaningful political ownership. You have refused to act against seminaries funded through Saudi money, which are poisoning the minds of our youth and turning them into zealots. Instead of putting them behind bars, the Punjab government protects sectarian elements as they return the favour by not attacking you and taking out rallies in your support.

Chairman Imran Khan, you are the most mainstream and consistent Taliban sympathiser in the country. Despite the murder of 132 children in the capital of the province where your party is in power, you couldn't muster the courage to name the Taliban. You have done a great disservice to this nation by repeatedly justifying the murder of your fellow countrymen and pushing a toxic narrative based on factual inaccuracies and ignorance.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, despite all that has happened, despite the many sacrifices of the brave soldiers who have died fighting terrorists, you refuse to employ a blanket policy against non-state actors. While the military conducts operations against bad Taliban in FATA, it continues to protect sectarian elements in Quetta, the Afghan Taliban and other 'jihadi' organisations such as Jamat-ud-Dawa. The country is reaping what it has sown over decades.

Citizens, you seek comfort in conspiracy theories to avoid facing the ugly truth. What will it take for you to unite against extremism unequivocally and without provisos? The idea is not to berate or discourage, but to offer a reality check and prompt change of policy for the sake of our children, for the sake of our country's future. Only the truth will set us free.

'Samjho kuch ghalat hai': Prasoon Joshi's tribute to Peshawar victims

Jub bachpan tumhari goud mein aaney se katrane lage
Jub maa ki kokh se jhankti zindagi bahar aaney se ghabrane lage
Samjho kuch ghalat hai

Jub talwarein phoolon par zor aazmane lagein
Jub masoom ankhon mein khauf nazar aane lage
Samjho kuch ghalat hai

Jub oos ki boondon ko hatheliyon pe nahin hathiyaron ki nok par theherna ho
Jub nanhe nanhe talwon ko aag se guzarna ho
Samjho kuch ghalat hai

Jub kilkariyan sahem jayein
Jub totli boliyan khamosh ho jayein
Samjho kuch ghalat hai

Khuch nahin bahut kuch ghalat hai
Kyonki zor se barish honi chahiye thi
Poori duniya mein
Har jagah tapakne chahiye the aansoo
Rona chahiye tha upar wale ko
Aasman se
Phoot phoot kar 

Sharm se jhukni chahiye thein insaani sabhyata ki gardanein
Shok nahin soch ka waqt hai
Matam nahin sawalon ka waqt hai

Agar iske baad bhi sar utha kar khada ho sakta hai insaan
Toh samjho kuch ghalat hai

See also:

Hafiz Saeed on TV Threatens Terror Attacks Against India
Hafiz Saeed, one of the world's most-wanted men, blamed India for the massacre of children at a Pakistan school and vowed revenge.  Not a single politician in Pakistan condemned the remarks of the man behind the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 people were killed. 

Our denial killed children in Peshawar
The children that survived the ghastly attack will never be the same again; their innocence, their childhood gone. It takes years for trauma victims to recover. Some don't recover even after that. The question on every mind is, when the grieving is over, will the nation unite against the spectre of terrorism? If the past is any guide, the sad answer would be no. Pakistan is given a lot of credit for being a resilient nation. I think most of that is down to the state of denial we choose to live in. There are always a myriad conspiracy theories circulating within our society. For reasons unknown, we choose to believe them. We find the distant, often most improbable explanations for simple acts of violence plaguing our nation. Our workplaces, public places, government offices, security installations, hospitals, places of worship and now schools all have come under attack. After every gruesome incident, TTP or one of its uncountable affiliates takes responsibility; often releases video clips with the assailant’s taped speeches before attack, and yet we refuse to believe it. That state of denial, in essence, is the terrorist's biggest weapon and his ultimate victory...

Shekhar Gupta - National Interest: Secularism is dead!