Over the decades, Rushdie has secured his position as the enemy of Islam who allegedly desecrated the integral and founding members of the religions. Since the book was banned and the content was flagged as blasphemous, very few people actually got the chance to read what the book contained. So in short it can be said that the religious decrees and ensuing violence was perpetrated on hearsay and rumors. If the book was allowed to be circulated; perhaps the damage and loss of lives could have been minimised.
Sixteen years later, in the September of 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons that require no introductions. With the emergence of the Internet and strong social media, the word spread literally like wild fire. The campaign to hurt the culprits ranged from petitions to kill the cartoonists to boycott all Israeli, Danish and US products sold across the world. The violent attacks claimed over 100 lives throughout the world, whereas the social media was bombarded with images of infant soldiers carrying guns and desecrating the Star of David and the US flag. I fail to understand what Israel or the US had to with the Jyllands-Posten cartoons controversy but I believe that it is convenient to lay the blame on them — our so called mortal enemies — than look for a plausible solution and act rationally.
Pakistan, as was expected, witnessed unprecedented violent protests which claimed at least five lives amongst which none were even remotely associated with the printing or publication of the aforementioned caricatures.
Six years down the same road, in 2012 a convict indicted for bank fraud known as Abenob Nakoula Bassely produced a movie which mocked Islam and its principles. As predicted, furious Muslims outraged at the blasphemous content retaliated in all Muslims countries. Embassies and Nato bases were attacked by angry protestors demanding justice for the disrespect. The magnitude and intensity of violence was highest in the Arab World, especially in Libya where an American ambassador and three other Americans were killed in a rocket attack on US consulate located in Benghazi. However, Pakistan also witnessed a fair share of violent attacks and protests in retaliation of the movie, killing at least one person. Unfortunately, the violence has only just begun and has already engulfed more than half of the world.
How are the people who are killing and attacking innocent bystanders any different from the people who are behind the controversial video? To me they are the offshoot of the same tree as they both negate the ideology of coexistence and respect for human lives. Do not mistake my intentions. I am chagrined at the outrageous video and consider it a cowardly act to entice violence, however, I must say that I am equally disappointed at radical elements living in different countries playing on human emotions and watching how people react to their bait. Their “hard work” paid off when we retaliated and killed our own people. Isn’t it evident that by vandalising public property and creating a state of anarchy we are harming no one but ourselves?
Have we ever actually thought about who are behind these violent attacks because as far as I know, most of us do not protest and act destructively when antagonised? It’s difficult to categorise the significance of lives lost, however, being a Pakistani it is most saddening to hear that the protest staged outside the US embassy in Karachi killed a man and injured many.
I fervently hoped and prayed that the violence would stop but the strike on Friday shattered my hopes when violence took at least 23 precious lives. What sort of a catharsis is this? Or is it that we enjoy destruction and killing our fellow countrymen just because?