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Reflections on 'Infinite Justice'
25 September 2001
Not more than a generation ago, the Pakistan Military had come to the rescue of the American Interest. The enemy at that time was the Soviet threat to 'world peace and democracy.' Now just 20 or some years later, we enter another such event, again under the leadership of a military rule. This time the war is on terrorists, ironically the same ones who had been in the last war termed as heroes by the Americans.
It is well known that the 'Afghan War' had been fought by the American by creating the Mujahedin, the leaders representing Osama bin Laden and many of his type. Billion of dollars had been provided to the Mujahedin for training and supply of the latest weapons and warfare technologies, all done under the aegis of the United States CIA and the British MI6.
According to Moran of MSNBC, the CIA had understood that Arabs may create a problem for later on, but at the moment they were serving their purposes in fighting the anti-Soviet war. Islamic militants from many Islamic states including Pakistan were bosom brothers of the Americans then, now the very same are terrorists wanted 'dead or alive'.
The question, which we need to ask ourselves, is what did we 'gain' from 'hosting a war against the Afghans' especially so in the light of the fact that, shamefully, we are bent on doing it once again. That our country has been given no other choice (except of course being smashed into a time zone some four centuries back) is another matter. Are threats like these not terrorism? Maybe as a mere woman from a 'backward barbaric' country, I am just too dumb and don't understand world politics and the diplomacy that captitalist patriarchs work out for our protection and long term prosperity.
Is it not interesting that if you ask the common person he will blame the 'weaponization' of Pakistan on the Americans? As they were equipping the Mujahideen for fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, many of the weapons delivered reached hands of many in Pakistan. With violent repercussions for the Pakistani population. Of course. Weapons are for violence and no hands in the world are safe for their use. How come rules are written such that in the hand of our 'heroes' they are 'safe' and in the hands of 'terrorists' not so. But then in this rather confusing world how do we know who is 'the terrorist' of the moment? The same who were our 'Mujahideen brothers' just 20 year ago or so ago are now terrorists. Some fifty years ago the Japanese had to be 'taught a lesson' hence no less than nuclear bombs were used. So what if millions were killed then and generations to this day pay the price of their 'sins'. Maybe this is what 'infinite justice' means.
What other thoughts come to the mind of a person who has lived in country in the aftermath of 'hosting a war'? The hundreds of homes that now bear the very visible wounds of a destroying demeaning evidence of drug addiction. The hopelessness, the misery, the fear, the weariness in the eyes of many, many women who now live side by side with this filthy devil. In other words, drug trafficking was the poisonous fruit, which came along as a product of war in Afghanistan. Now there is just about no squatter settlement in this country, which does not house this ever-present enemy. Women are afraid to walk those narrow dark alleys, scared of being pulled in, used, and sold, of those who are lost to all sense and decency of human life.
And what was the fate of the Afghani people on whom the war was waged? Pakistan housed four million Afghan refugees, the largest number of refugees to be housed by any country ever, at least according to CIA reports. A country already poor, with meager resources to feed its own, the burden was awesome. The result has been the presence of massive poverty and misery on the streets of our country. It has been a common sight for the past 20 years or so to see young Afghan boys scavenging garbage dumps looking for food and recyclable material so that they could earn some meagre sum to feed their stomachs and that of their families. What of the Afghani women? Not seen or heard, as usual the invisible presence but who cares. They are only worth mentioning as a victim of the 'fundamentalist Islamic faith'. Their daily existence is seldom mentioned or thought of.
The Afghan people seeking refuge in any part of the world are facing not only the loss of a homeland, but fighting racist discrimination. Remember the Norwegian ship carrying 400 Afghan refugees seeking a refuge? Does anyone know what will be their plight after the New York and Washington DC tragedies? This no doubt reflects the plight of many other millions across the globe.
And what of Pakistan? For us, offspring of the Afghan War are the Talibans and with them the tightening grip of fundamentalism in our country.
What has this fundamentalism done to our children? Religious madrissas (seminaries) abound. It has now become common for children to be sent to these madrissas rather than school. Children have been the tools of these militant groups, taught to hate all that defy the narrow confines of religious purity as defined by them. One can only imagine the horrors awaiting us when these children turn into adults and start practicing what has been taught to them. Girls, even as young as six and seven year old, are made to wear hijab. Who knows what is in store for them? Though one can almost predict the wrath of the 'pious' will fall on their unprotected heads.
We have become used to walking with our heads down, scurrying through our streets, ashamed to be seen, guilty of our very existence. Hatred towards women knows no bounds. All atrocities under the pious flag of religion and conservatism are practiced. Pakistan is constantly under criticism by the so-called civilized world for honor killings practiced widely in this country. Much of this is part and parcel of the values that have increased with fundamentalism. In the end, we are left facing the criticism of the 'civilized' North of our 'harsh, fundamentalist, backward' culture, but never any acknowledgement from them about their 'crowning role' in proliferation of these 'fundamentalist' practices.
Any now once again our country has been forced to have a central place in a war that should never be fought. What will this new 'crusade' deliver? What will this 'new friendship' bring in its wake? What new weapons will be developed to bring 'infinite justice' by the hands and minds of the insane capitalist gods of our 'global village'.
Azra Sayeed, Roots For Equity,