Herod’s Tribe

Published: December 20, 2014
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The writer is an O Level student at Karachi Grammar School and is the co-founder of Eternal Hope, a social-service organisation that has contributed to community development

The writer is an O Level student at Karachi Grammar School and is the co-founder of Eternal Hope, a social-service organisation that has contributed to community development

Herod is best known for slaughtering every male infant in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus. This event that happened centuries ago was re-enacted two days ago — not for the same reason but for something as cowardly! This horrific, extremely saddening and shameful act brings to my mind a barrage of questions. I am 16, I could have been there. What has my nation done and is continuing to do to bring upon itself such inhumane acts of terror? I come up with an answer, based on more thought-provoking and analytical questions.

What happens in the dynamics of a nation when wrongs start becoming right and a lack of ‘sense and sensibility’ is justified? From littering the streets, to parking and driving on the wrong side of the road, to breaking a ‘red signal’ to beating up a journalist, to burning alive human beings, to the cowardly and hellish act of killing at least 132 students are all signs of a nation that is lost. A nation that relies on and thinks that their saving will come from a ‘divine source’.

Religious violence and religious intolerance ravaged Europe in the 17th century. We are seeing it in the current times. We are faced with voices urging Christians not to tolerate Islam, Muslims not to tolerate the West and atheists not to tolerate religion. Should religion not engender dispositions and behaviours that benefit communities? Should religion not result in mitigating aggressive and destructive impulses and provide scaffolding for adherence to moral norms? What I see is that religiosity and intolerance seem to be going hand in hand in my country. Religiosity, sadly, is measured by overt and shallow expressions, for example the purdah, wearing the pants to a certain length and eating with the right hand, etc. Should religiosity not be measured by adherence to rules of humanity — by being compassionate, empathetic, tolerant, honest, truthful and trustworthy?

Alas, we do not realise that it is us, we, ourselves, who are wholly and solely responsible. Why have we let ourselves into this reign of terror? What are we doing individually, and then collectively, to counteract all this? Our strength and our weakness, our children, were attacked. How can we wait for tribunals to assess what has happened? Have we become so blind and insensitive not to understand what has happened? Do we need tribunals to assess the damage? The answer lies in us — in our actions. We do not need someone to bring about this change — we are the change! We have to change our mindset. What other catastrophe will we wait for to realise that we need to clean up our act? We don’t need social organisations, political parties, fancy promises to ensure a safe present and a safe future, we need to bring a change in ourselves. We need to start ‘being human’ again! We need to re-establish a sound moral system, not based on religion only, but based on humanity. Let’s leave behind this idea of ‘entitlement’ based on religion. Let’s live our lives in a disciplined way based on tenets of morality and ethics. Let’s clean up our act first. My brothers and sisters, your sacrifice in Peshawar will not be forgotten. Your sacrifice will pave the way for the nation’s re-alignment on the ‘right path’.

I am 16. I will not be pushed back by this state of affairs. My like-minded brothers and sisters will counteract this wave of barbarism and humanity at its lowest ebb by moving forward in the right direction, by re-aligning ourselves for it is my firm belief, and I quote, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” All great journeys begin with one small step.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th,  2014.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • C M Naim
    Dec 20, 2014 - 1:54AM

    And I say More power to you and others like you. God bless.

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Dec 20, 2014 - 1:58AM

    Nice article by one so young. Time to rediscover the process of rational thought.

    Recommend

  • mehmood
    Dec 20, 2014 - 2:58AM

    Thank you my little friend, at this tender age, your views are indeed heartwarming.

    Recommend

  • Murthy
    Dec 20, 2014 - 1:24PM

    As a retired professor from India, let me congratulate you on your sane and sensible article on the reasons behind the Peshavar tragedy. I felt like commenting on it, because today there is another column in this same paper titiled “Our Indian Headache”, which finds fault with the Indian media for talking about Mumbai attack, while analysing the Peshavar tragedy. It is people like you who are more needed on either side of the border and not adult authors like the Headache finder.

    Recommend

  • Tousif Latif
    Dec 20, 2014 - 1:27PM

    Really a very motivating article by a promising young man .My son I teach in a remote area where students cannot write a single sentence in English .More than two hundred newborns have lost their lives in Thar.Study the history of Pakistan and you will find this country was run without any constitution for the most part of its history .In this country millions of children are not going to any school.This is probably the only country where lies the difference of Hamalayan propotions between the perks prhivileges and life style of a teacher civil servant and an army officer serving in the same scale .We are fostering a discontent in our society and want it to be peaceful.Recommend

  • Hemant Dubey
    Dec 20, 2014 - 2:06PM

    Great beginning. It’s good to see that thought of being “Human First” than any other label like being Muslim first or Christian First is being picked up by young generation of Pakistan. Thoughts like this are the only hope which assures that Pakistan will have a future. It’s time for “Humanist Muslims” everywhere to take their religion back from “Political Islamic Jihadis” like Taliban, ISIS, Hafeez Saeed, LeJ & many like them. Muslims first stop blaming others & fix internal issues. In Sensible Pakistani’s moment of grief Indians have cried & mourned. Every sensible Pakistani must ask what their so called Ummah was doing? A thinking & open minded Pakistani won’t tolerate any hatred towards anyone & will support civilian government over Army & Jihadi organization. I still have hope if writer’s tribe is growing in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Toticalling
    Dec 20, 2014 - 2:48PM

    If there are kids with your views and their number is at least 30%, we will get out of this mess by the time you grow up. The emphasis should be what we can do to change and not what old books tell us. And if one day you become a majority, others will be jeolous of us.

    Recommend

  • Baba
    Dec 20, 2014 - 3:49PM

    I am 16. I will not be pushed back by this state of affairs. My like-minded brothers and sisters will counteract this wave of barbarism and humanity at its lowest ebb by moving forward in the right direction, by re-aligning ourselves for it is my firm belief, and I quote, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” All great journeys begin with one small step.

    Best thing you can do with your time is to work hard on your studies so that you can emigrate to a better country. Don’t waste this opportunity.

    Recommend

  • Imad Uddin
    Dec 20, 2014 - 5:15PM

    Oh my God Sameer! You are my man of the Day! May Allah bless you…
    “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” All great journeys begin with one small step.
    Very well said.And remember, in the beginning hardly any one would share your vision. You direction is your belief, no one will accept your vision unless you prove it. So take that small step if you truly know what you are doing. Others wont even bother to listen to your thoughts and understand your world view properly, before calling it a fools paradise and rejecting it.
    One key: never stop, never give up.
    You are one Huge thinker! Best of Luck!

    Recommend

  • inam
    Dec 20, 2014 - 10:01PM

    nice dear brother we are with u . u r not alone in this country

    Recommend

  • inam
    Dec 20, 2014 - 10:04PM

    nice dear we r with u,

    Recommend

  • Visibly
    Dec 20, 2014 - 10:12PM

    Excellent. Maybe one should state the order of loyalty to be taught to all citizens.
    E.g.: Humanity first, then family, nation, religion. Or perhaps it would be better with family/friends/class/cast after nation to ensure rule of law?

    But I think we all can agree that Humanity first is essential. And that religion, of these four, should be the last. If one can be loyal to the three first at the same level as loyalty to religion, very much will be solved.

    Recommend

  • amir jafri
    Dec 21, 2014 - 2:00AM

    @Visibly:
    It is secularoon/liberaloon preachers like you who are no different than Taliban mullahs and westoxicated priests, professors and pundits.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 21, 2014 - 1:03PM

    Herodus is the right example to be compared with Pakistan current leadership, though there were others such as Pharaohs before Herodus.

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Dec 21, 2014 - 9:40PM

    @Visibly:
    And pray how does one establish humanism without moraliy and ethics which emanare from scriptures and not from paganism or neandathalers?

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • pkj(u.s.a)
    Dec 29, 2014 - 8:01AM

    God bless you my son.you are the boy Recommend

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