Crucified freedom-in memoriam Mashal Khan and many other unknown victims of bigotry

A painfully lucid analysis of brutal chain of events in Pakistan and India. But how far are we from this? How did we end up with a Europe that is ruled by mediocrity and where the ugly face of fascism is rising again, winning places in national parliaments, generating “exits” from a the union of nations?
If there is something to mourn these days of holy days, then I feel that this time its Humanity that we should mourn. We silently crucify our valuable ideals, we hammer the nails of fear, prejudice, bigotry into the hands of our hopeful Future. We build walls instead of bridges and we hide in mindless fear and hate behind them. Where are our dreams and love of freedom, when we build prisons for ourselves inside those walls?
As this brave and wonderful young man writes in his piece of thought below, silence is not an answer.Silence is acceptance. Here you can read his point of view:

“Recently, Cow Vigilantes murdered Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer over suspicion of cow slaughter. Now, over allegations of blasphemy, students murdered Mashal Khan in his own university. The first incident occurred in Alwar, India and the other one happened at Khyber-Phakhtunwala, Pakistan. Both incidents occurred in broad daylight.
Most people only speak when it hurts their community and remain silent when their own community is the perpetrator. This is hypocrisy at its worst.
Lynch Apologists say- “Killing is wrong, but one should not hurt the sentiments of the people”
By saying that they indirectly hold the victim responsible for his own murder. People should learn to take offense and still keep violence out of their response. Killing is wrong there is no ‘but’ to it.
Moreover, If your religion does not allow you to eat something, draw something or say something, don’t do it nobody is forcing you to, but don’t impose your own views upon others.
Some add, “These are the extremists, most people of this community are peaceful”
Killers of Pehlu Khan include an accounts’ teacher, a school physical trainer, three students, and one nurse. Killers of Mashal Khan were his own colleagues from his own university. In both incidents, perpetrators were not poor, uneducated or connected to any terrorist organization.
Which is responsible for it now? Lack of Education? Poverty? Radicalization? Or blind adherence to faith?! Or incredible zest to impose tenets of one’s own faith on others?!
One cannot rationalize one of these incidents without legitimizing the other. Those who ask for Sharia Law should not cry foul when Manuvadi Ram-Rajya befalls them. Both of these incidents are mirror images of each other. India is quite behind Pakistan in intolerance, but we are catching up fast. We should be wary of it.
Muslims should condemn Mashal Khan incident in the same vein as Alwar Lynching. Silence is not an answer. Silence is acceptance.” ( Azhar Khan)

 

Those of you who have not heard of Mashal Khan, here’s his last poem written shortly before his brutal death:

“”I am lost
It has been several weeks
that I filed a complaint before police
I go to police station daily ever since
and ask the station officer
Any clue about me?
The sympathetic police officer shakes his head in disappointment
He says in his shaking voice
That I found no clue about you
Then he consoles me
One day
you will be found
unconscious
on a roadside
or critically injured
in a hospital
or dead
in some river
I get tears in my eyes
I leave for the market
to welcome me
buy some flowers from a flower shop
for my wounds
from the chemist
some bandage
some cotton
and pain-killers
for my funeral
a shroud from the shop near the mosque
and for remembering me
some candles
Some people say
when someone dies
candles should be not lit for them
but they don’t tell
that when the apple of some eye goes missing
where do you get the light from?
If the lamp of a house goes missing
what should they burn?”

No one should end up lynched. No one should be lynched for his ideas and ideals. No one should remain silent when such horrors occur. Because the moment we turn our heads and look aside, we open the door to murderous madness…. the one that sooner or later will set the whole world in fire the way it did too many times.

We owe to the memory of this young man, Mashal Khan to not let it fade away. We owe this to us and to the next generations. The time to speak up is now. The time to act is now.

 

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Even if ignorance is bliss, the dragon is still out there

I had the chance to be born and raised in a less complicated society.  There was a great respect towards scientific education and religion was kept inside churches and homes. Religious belief was not a norm but it wasn’t forbidden either.

My parents were free thinkers and they held no prejudice against anyone. I have never encountered discrimination or bullying in my life, either against me, or against anybody else around. This wasn’t by far a perfect society but certain aspects of social behavior were missing from the everyday life.

Though homosexuality was outlawed and was considered a health problem, people were not pursued or persecuted, or seldom. Information was scarce, attention and interest in this field almost zero. My basic knowledge came mainly from literature (novels, short stories) and magazines from a neighboring country that was at the time largely opened to a wide range of information.

Since by nature I’m interested in everything concerning human behavior, feelings and diversity, I kept an open mind about gender diversity. Never had a chance to talk about, since the subject was a taboo. Even before I had read about the genetics of gender identity, I knew deep inside that this was not a personal choice and that gay people were just like anybody else. Nothing more, nothing less.

Then the revolution came, along with freedom and democracy, or least it looked like. Religion emerged from its den and claimed a bigger chunk in everyday life…then took over whatever it could, hand in hand with the mediocre politicians ruling the country. As a free thinker, I became for the first time member of a mostly silent minority. Along with religion, prejudice surfaced and the moment somebody spoke out publicly in the name of gay people, I saw the ugly face of bigotry and hate.

This was something I would’ve gladly missed. Tens of years I had been oblivious how full of prejudice my fellow countrymen were. Tens of years I’d seen no such ugliness around me, nor did I suspect that they are capable of it. My faith in humanity and the people around me was deeply affected. It still recovers from the initial blow. Ignorance had been bliss for such a long time.

Well, this is childhood’s end. No more innocence. The moment the truth was revealed, I couldn’t pretend I knew nothing about. I started to read and learn. Now there are days when what I learn about human downsides wear me down and I’m unable to read another paragraph. But I know that the dragon is still out there and it feeds on blissful ignorance. So I take a deep breath and keep on reading, writing and learning.

As long as I had no means of proper information, I had an excuse for my ignorance and naivete. Now I live in a troubled, complicated and not very functional democracy but I have access to proper information. In this case, my ignorance would be a matter of choice. I cannot afford this; people who are hurt and discriminated cannot afford my ignorance. That would only mean that I support their tormenters. I would not.

I would not silently support injustice, discrimination, murder in the name of narrow mindedness and mental comfort of people who are disrespectful towards other’s basic human rights. AWARENESS IS MY REAL CHOICE.

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