Pakistan, you are a failed state. Not because of Zardari. Not because of America. But because you are a failed people, all of us undeserving of sympathy. We are diseased, rotten to every brain stem, world please make an impenetrable fence around us, keep us all in so we don’t spread it to other people, other countries.
These were words I posted on a social networking website. I have an unusually negative mindset these days. It happened after I saw the video of the two teenage brothers brutally clubbed to death by a crowd frenzied with blood thirst in Sialkot. The police watched gleefully. The video has blurs at certain parts, but even this sensible sensitivity does not prevent one from seeing mists of blood flaying from the heads of these teens as they are hit relentlessly, and remorselessly, again and again.
The murderous crowd was truly representative of the richness of Pakistan. Some wear jeans, others shalwar kameez, some were bearded, others clean shaven. The Pakistanis had gotten together to have some fun.
Do not be shocked. This wasn’t isolated, it’s just that the crowd wanted to make sure their orgasmic moment could be captured for later viewing, at one’s pleasure. We blame our ill-educated brethren for the barbarity we witness, but that’s a self-serving lie.
The middle and upper classes are immune to education it seems. They hold opinions of everyday violence even if they have never raised their hand at anyone. If you believe Jews are the scum of the earth, all Ahmadis deserve to die or that Hindus are inferior, well why not two teenage boys?
I want Pakistanis to feel shame, in fact a substantial loss of self-esteem would be great. This is the only way for us to begin to doubt ourselves and the incessant excuses we make. Yes, the world is right to add restrictions on our visas, to see us as dangerous. If for even a while we felt we were the cockroaches of the human race, maybe we would get to the point we stopped the lies we tell ourselves and let this continue.
The fact is, if we had real democracy, there would be no internet in Pakistan, women would not be allowed out of their homes, education would come to a standstill and we would begin a programme of killing off every minority. Thank you corrupt generals and politicians, you keep this at bay with some sense of being answerable to a world that still has some humanity in it, even if you don’t.
And please, no excuses, no excuses. Don’t give us that, “If only there was true Islam they would be better”. I think a thousand years is enough, we can’t wait longer. And there was no America in existence for most of that, or even western colonialism.
You want to know just how sociopathic we are? In response to these killings some are happy to say we deserve earthquakes and floods. Typical. Don’t change yourself, but give credit to the indiscriminate and inhumane forces of nature. The floods are a tragedy, an atrocity and should never be used to bolster an argument that really only demands self-reflection.
And please, in your self-reflection don’t call us animals, most of them are benign vegetarians. Also don’t blame Sialkot; they were just unlucky because they are subject to scrutiny. There is so much more out there.
There is such a sense of sickening moral superiority in Pakistanis, it needs to be addressed. All we care about is foreign policy, eager to point out the hypocrisies of the world, silent on our domestic, or even local life. Why should the world take what you say seriously, why should you be a regional power, or a leader in the comity of Islamic nations?
Truth is, there is only one way to get change, and it’s not hanging the people who killed these boys. It is raising your voice to contradict people who advocate death for others, no matter who they are speaking of. To internalise that murder of any kind, for anyone is wrong. Sounds easy? Well just try it.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2010.