Denial is like popping a tranquiliser to cure a severe headache and then swallowing an aspirin to address stress.
Confused? You should be. Actually you shouldn’t. Because you are a citizen of what is turning out to be perhaps the largest nation of deniers, and maybe even the most confused. So, okay, in that case, it’s okay if you are confused.
Though we tend to almost always look at things in black and white, yet when we do come across something that is really black and white, we are more than likely to explain it as blue and green or just plain orange.
Still confused? Okay, let me put it this way. Imagine a press conference in which the police bring a young suicide bomber (rather a bomber-to-be) arrested before he managed to blow himself up in public at a shrine, mosque or market.
The young lad is paraded in front of media men and asked to tell them what he told the cops.
“I was taken in by the extremists, told that it was my duty to kill infidels who were insulting our faith. I was told that my parents would be taken care of after I die and that I will go to paradise because God had ordained me to kill infidels,” says the boy.
“Who were the extremists?” asks a pressman. “Are they Pakistani?”
“Yes,” the boy answers. “They are Pakistanis.” “Are you sure?” Asks another media man. “Yes, I am.”
“No, I mean, really, really sure?” “Yes, yes… ” The boy confirms.
“You look a bit nervous. A bit stressed,” says a TV anchor. “Maybe that is affecting your memory.”
One of the senior cops intervenes: “Sir, of course he is stressed. He is hardly 13 years old, and was picked up from his home, taken away from his family, brainwashed and then asked to blow himself up in a crowded marketplace. And now he is under police custody.”
“But how is he sure that those who asked him to do this were Pakistanis?” The anchorman asks.
“Who do you think they were if not Pakistanis?” asks the cop. “Members of some third force?” the anchor alludes.
“No, sir, our investigations have proven that they are very much Pakistani,” the cop explains. “Muslim Pakistanis?” a press man enquires.
“Yes, Muslim Pakistanis.” “How can you prove that?”
The cop is bemused: “What do you mean, sir? We have names and identities of some of the people who picked and brainwashed this boy. They are all Pakistani Muslims.”
A thoughtful looking journalist stares at the boy meaningfully, runs his fingers across his chin and then speaks: “Excuse me? May I ask if this boy is circumcised?”
The cop smiles and says, yes, the boy was circumcised. “So you checked?” “Yes, sir, we did.” “Hmmm …” the journalist runs his fingers across his chin again, “why?”
“Why did we check?” “Yes, why?” “Because that’s what we are always asked by a lot of people whenever we nab a terrorist,” the cop explains. “Why?” the journalist enquires again.
“You should know,” says the cop, now sounding a tad irritated. “You are the media. Why do you ask us these questions?” “Can’t this boy be an agent of an enemy country just like his handlers?” the journalist suggests.
“No, sir, as I said, our investigation led straight to the boys home and family that is very much Muslim and very much Pakistani and his handlers too were Pakistani Muslims many of whom are already on our wanted list and have bounties on their heads,” the cop elucidates.
“I see,” says another TV anchor, “were they all circumcised?”
“Sir, we are more interested in apprehending the culprits than going through old medical and family reports and logs to find out if they were circumcised at birth…” the cop replies now clearly irritated.
His irritation is not about to subside when a reporter stands up and points: “How do we know this kid was really a suicide bomber?”
“Because he told you this himself!” the cop replies. “Maybe you asked him to say this.” “No, sir, we didn’t. You can go and ask his poor parents if you don’t believe us.” “What is his name?” asks the reporter. “Gul Khan.” “Is that his real name?”
“Yes, that’s what he told us, that’s what his parents told us and that’s what his school record says,” “He went to school?” “Yes, in the Lower Dir District.” “The Lower Dir District in Pakistan?” “Sir, is there a Lower Dir District elsewhere as well?” asks the cop. “Yes, right, of course not. But maybe Gul Khan is his code name!” The reporter now adds.
“No, sir, as I told you… why are you people investigating the police?” The cop shouts back, now almost fuming. “It was the boy and his handlers who wanted to kill innocent men, women and children, not the police!”
“Hmmm …” the thoughtful looking journalist runs his fingers across his chin again. “He doesn’t have a beard.” “He’s hardly 13,” the cop reminds the gathering. “And usually the extremists ask their bombers to shave so they are not stopped and checked by the cops.” “Hmmm … so cops check bearded men only?” says the journalist. “Isn’t that discrimination?”
“Sir, we check everyone, so much so that there have also been cases where the extremists have used women bombers in burqas to avoid being checked by the police,” the cop informs.
“Was the boy in a burqa?” asks the journalist. “No, sir, he wasn’t. But there have been some male extremists who have used burqas too.” “Pakistani males?” “Yes, sir, Pakistani males.” “Muslim Pakistani males?”
“Yes, sir.” “Hmmm… in that case, I have another question for you …” The cop interrupts: “Yes, sir! They were all circumcised!” “No, that wasn’t what I was about to ask you.” “Oh sorry. Please ask.” “I was about to ask you if you were circumcised?”