THERE is a photograph of a group of protesting Pakistanis holding typical banners and placards (June 9, p13). Most mouths are wide open in vociferous sloganeering and hands raised in the universal gesture of outrage, now the hallmark of near-permanent Pakistani shock/awe/grief. What makes this picture poignant is that it was taken in Athens where ‘immigrants living in Greece shout slogans as they march during an anti-racism rally’.
The caption of the article accompanying the photo reads: ‘Immigrants in Greece bear the brunt.’ Thanks to the exported ‘Jihadi Islam’ and our own embellishments, Muslims in general and ‘Pakis’ in particular have overtaken ‘niggers’ and ‘kikes’ as the universal target of the world’s fears/hates/revulsions.
The picture does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, but one wishes to assume that most are poor, essentially honest and hardworking people who have fled poverty, bigotry and grinding deprivation of their motherland to work in distant, strange-tongued, occasionally unfriendly, if not downright hostile, environments with no support systems.
More power to them.
Much of their hard-earned money is sent to family back home, helping to pay for our leaders’ and military’s excesses.
What riveted my attention was the bearded figure standing right in front of the others. He is also the only one without upraised hands or protesting mouth and with a most content face! He sticks out like a sore Greek thumb.
Some may have gone as babies or small children as their parents left for richer climes in better days or when the religio-economic repression constitutionally started by Bhutto and later perfected by Zia started biting. Many have possibly sold everything to run away as young adults within the past 10 years when hell became permanently resident in Pakistan.
The lurid tales of unscrupulous ‘agents’ who lure many, some to fates worse than death, and the horrifyingly graphic accounts of many of those poor people who fail to reach friendly shores or die in the passage are legion.
It is not just simple economic opportunity that is today driving away low - paid workers. In the exodus are the more privileged strata of society massively joined by a shrinking middle class -- the buffer in any society -- willing to risk all and pay allegiance to foreign laws and customs. As long as our national hate focus is only on India and the US to divert attention from the real enemy within, we remain doomed.
The rampant and violent lawlessness; murderous religious bigotry, a military empire that will not see the impending implosion: all contribute to our being a terrorist state that is destroying us more than it ever will hurt the rest of the world.
Increasingly, as an economically pressed world hates us more for what we visibly manifest, our immigrants, good or bad, will increasingly ‘bear the brunt’ of discrimination. And that turbaned, bearded man and veiled woman, no matter how useful or innocent, will be the foci of hate that irrationally extends to most Pakistani - origin Muslims.
We are already seeing the domino effect from visa strictures to the case in the photo. For what it was worth, and short of total anarchy, the Supreme Court as the only constitutionally-functioning organ of state, that recently woke up and smelt the stench of a Pakistani winter, was our only real hope. The sudden attack on that institution’s moral right to bring in the Rule of Law is indeed ominous.
Dr MERVYN HOSEIN Karachi