Turmoil Of Hate – Imtiaz Alam

Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq warns Pakistani liberals to migrate to India or accept the Islamic state that he wants to establish in Pakistan, while condemning the Hasina Wajid government for trying to execute the ‘war criminals’ of the 1971 genocide of Bengalis.

The pride of Bollywood, actor Amir Khan, is being asked to leave India for his remarks about the insecurity that his family feels because of the intolerance being fanned by the Hindutva’s communal brigades.

It seems that the turmoil of hate is spreading like a prairie fire all over the world.

Instead of responding to the genuine quesyions being raised by international human rights bodies over violations of due process in the trials of the alleged ‘war criminals’, the nationalist government of the Awami League in Bangladesh seems to be asserting its Bengal nationalist identity vis-a-vis Islamic fundamentalism in trying to reach a closure to the past through retribution, rather than seeking reconciliation as the great Nelson Mandela did in South Africa. The Al government is going ahead with its electoral promise to bring to justice all those who indulged in atrocities in cohorts with the perpetrators of massacre in the then East Pakistan – from General A A K Niazi to General Tikka Khan.

Forgetting our own crimes, as verified by the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, the Pakistan Foreign Office has strongly condemned the hanging of our “true Pakistanis” in violation of a tripartite agreement that called for forgetting past atrocities.

It is quite shocking that, instead of repenting their fascist crimes, the proponents – the same people who dominated during the military operation against Bengalis in this part of Pakistan – of the hate narrative against Bengalis are trying to befool the people by glossing over those who committed heinous crimes in the name of a convoluted ‘patriotism’ that was instrumental in dismembering the Islamic Republic.

As the Bangladesh foreign ministry accused Pakistan of acknowledging – in its rejoinder – its complicity in the mass crimes committed during their (the Bengalis) resistance to military action, the Senate Committee on Home Affairs under the PPP’s Rehman Malik demanded to bring the corpses of the hanged ‘pro-Pakistan’ Bangladeshi politicians to Pakistan. Rehman Malik’s statement reminds us of the role Z A Bhutto also played, along with the leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and other fascist groups, in paving the way for ‘Operation Blitz’.

Similarly, with the rising communal hate against Muslims and other minorities in India, those who are raising their voice against intolerance or are resisting efforts to turn a secular India into an India-for-Hindus are being asked to go to Pakistan. No less ironic is the overwhelming sympathy being expressed across the board in Pakistan, with the secular intelligentsia, artists and writers in India protesting against the communal Sangh Parivar, while most of us keep quiet or sympathise with the sectarian/religious extremists and a variety of jihadis or terrorists in Pakistan who outshine all other extremists.

When the liberal/secular democrats try to raise their voice against the mass atrocities being committed against the religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan and raise questions on ‘our own good’ Taliban/lashkars, they are in invariably dubbed as agents of the West/America, Jews and Hindus by a wider sections of right-wing politicians and intellectuals. When the chief minister of Balochistan reminded the ‘establishment’ to change its mindset at a function in Lahore, few could understand what he was calling for – a reversal of the colonising mindset that had alienated the Bengalis, and is now alienating the Baloch.

This malice is not confined to the Subcontinent or to one religion or ethnic identity. The Muslim world, the Arab and Persian Muslims in particular, are locked in the most atrocious internecine sectarian conflict across the Arab/Ajam world. Look at what the Maliki government in Baghdad did to Sunnis in Iraq – pushing them to embrace Daesh/Islamic State which, in turn has annihilated Shias, Kurds, Allawites and Yazidis, and is targeting innocent European people.

Think about the Kurds, mostly Muslims, being persecuted by Turkish Istanbul, Shiite Baghdad, Alawite Damascus – all at the same time. And let’s not forget the once most humane Buddhists – the way they hounded Tamils in Sri Lanka or the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

It’s a vicious cycle that starts and ends with atrocity to provoke further atrocities. In its reaction to the most ghastly acts of terrorism of 9/11, the world empire or sole superpower killed millions, destroyed more than half a dozen countries and fuelled a conflict that is now beyond the control of anybody.

In the post-Paris terrorism, there is a 300 percent rise in hate crimes in London. Look at the inhuman attitude being expressed by various US state governors and Republican presidential candidates towards Syrian refugees escaping from the war the US had ignited. Then there are these lumpen ‘fisadi’ outfits, such as Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Taliban and the various lashkars living in our midst, who work as provocateurs to instigate the militaristic powers to come down heavily upon mostly innocent and peaceful coloured communities with Muslim name-tags. These communities end up paying for the crimes of organisations that kill all of humanity by killing one innocent human soul, against the commandment of the Quran.

Hatred amongst various religious or ethno-racial identities reinforces and feeds into the other’s hate, as the turmoil of hate versus hate engulfs communities and people across the world – who passively suffer at the hands of their tormentors in the name of religion, race, nation or ethnicity.

This scribe recalls a documentary of Palestinian and Arab mothers who had lost their sons and daughters in the protracted Israel-Palestine conflict: their sense of loss, cries, sorrows and helplessness were indistinguishable and the way they shared their grief with each other as if with their own.

The most painful aspect of this hate-versus-hate cataclysm is that the affected communities become hostage to the propaganda of their misguided and hypocritical extremist leaders. The extremists need to be ideologically and politically confronted by all those who feel for humanity over and above their narrow identities and faiths. There is nothing more hypocritical than cursing others for the same sins and crimes against humanity that you yourself commit or endorse.

Hate cannot defeat hate, nor can violence stop violence: they are self-perpetuating. To put an end to this a larger, universal human solidarity is needed – above religious, racial, ethnic and geographical divides. There is nothing pettier than to rejoice or ridicule the wrong side of the other, while behaving worse than them. In this turmoil of hate, can we in South Asia extend a hand of humane solidarity towards each other to avert a catastrophic future?