Chewing the cud | Pakistan Today

Chewing the cud

  • ‘A word of truth to tyrannical rulers’

I’m making reappearance after some time. It’s not that I had the much-vaunted ‘writer’s block.’ It’s because with so much going on in Pakistan and the world, one is at a loss know what to choose to write about and be sure that it is likely to stay relevant by the time it sees the light of day. Thus one gets stuck in, not a writer’s block, but a sort of mental traffic jam.

Few understand what’s really happening and why; fewer still know what’s going to happen and when. The people who make things happen, those in authority, don’t understand what their actions will lead to. They have become reactive, no longer proactive. They are mired in how things were done in the past, not realising that times have changed. The old slogans of the past — “liberty or death”; “liberty, equality, fraternity”; “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;” “man is born free but is everywhere in chains” — and all that jazz have changed. There are new self-evident truths. Modern man hankers after other “self-evident truths”. But because people and rulers are slow to catch on to change, they remain mired in ways of doing things as in the past, conjecture, chatter, gossip and the near-nonsense spewed out by know-it-alls and wiseacres. At such times it’s best to cogitate, chew the cud and contemplate one’s navel and remember that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “A word of truth spoken to a tyrannical ruler is the highest Jihad” or struggle.

Problem is that it is in the nature of man to react to change at the rate that it takes place. They find solace in the status quo, finding comfort in their prevailing lot, much less understand and adapt to it. Thus, speaking unadulterated truth has become a sin. It’s a sad world where one can hardly speak a word of truth without fear of being accused of partisanship or trust the news without thinking whether it is an exercise in mind control. Every day we are bombarded by a mixture of fake news deliberately concocted to make us believe in a certain way or highly embellished news to put us on a certain thought track. The challenge is to sift the good from the bad. Pity is that certain important people and establishments are leading the purveying of fake news, including certain heads of government, former and would-be heads of government.

America’s failing effort to occupy Afghanistan is for many a nefarious reason, but I can assure you that it is not because they love the Afghans, and this failure too is being blamed on Pakistan

This is how prejudices raise their ugly heads, the latest being ‘Islamophobia’ in the West, this time meant to cover up western governments’ own failures and divert us from the original sin that caused what they call Islamic extremism and terrorism. We forget that almost always non-state terrorism is a product of state terrorism caused by states that would occupy other people’s lands to take control of their wealth and resources. It comes back to Man’s innate desire for hegemony that I talked about in my last article, ‘Crisis of Civilisation’, which is a desire to ensure survival.  

The West’s project to create a Zionist Jewish State by stealing Palestinian lands led to their right to fight to liberate their homeland. But sadly the West has successfully made the world believe that the Palestinian struggle for liberation is ‘terrorism,’ It’s happened in every land that Western imperialists have conquered and occupied to steal resources, cheap labour and make captive markets to enrich and develop themselves. In the process they created a ‘democratic’ narrative, but only for themselves, and in time to be used as a weapon against others to cause their stooges to take power in other lands to do their bidding.

To the British, the American war of independence was terrorism too. India’s denial to give the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris has led to a fearsome war of independence there, which the Indian expansionist hegemon would have us believe is terrorism, encouraged if you please by Pakistan. America’s failing effort to occupy Afghanistan is for many a nefarious reason, but I can assure you that it is not because they love the Afghans, and this failure too is being blamed on Pakistan. It’s the usual failure to own up to one’s sins and mistakes and sins.

Such things lead to stupidity and deceit. Consider Trump holding a “my weapon is bigger than yours” military parade to show Kim Jong Un. What he is showing the world is that America is more capable at hegemony than anyone other. Childish. It seems that the species Homo Sapiens is still very primitive.

Humayun Gauhar

Humayun Gauhar is a veteran columnist in Pakistan and editor of Blue Chip magazine.



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