This column was published on the op-ed pages of Express on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, written by Orya Maqbool Jan and addresses a wide range of issues from geo-political realities to political ideology. Orya takes on his usual enemies, “the West”, “America” and the liberals in Pakistan whom he and the likes of Ansar Abbasi call “liberal extremist” and most amazingly blame for all evils in Pakistan.
Orya Maqbool Jan, a former bureaucrat and recognized as a very widely read columnist for the past many years is inarguably the biggest Taliban apologist in our print, and now electronic media. It’s not that supporting the Afghan people’s right to govern as they wish is wrong or that vilifying the Taliban is a necessity for rational thought, but is the claims made by super-fundos and bigots like Orya that boil my blood. Orya’s biggest and most amazing of claims has always been that the Taliban government was the most just (as in provision of justice), honest and social welfare oriented government the world has ever seen since the time of the four caliphs. A lie of such biblical proportions if stated twice a week in a widely read newspaper for years and then repeated on a TV channel every weekday, supported by a plethora of prominent bigots in the media, has immense effect on public thought. Painting the Taliban rule as some fairy tale era where flowers blossomed on every nook and corner of Kabul and Afghanistan was eternally peaceful requires one to be seriously retarded.
If the translation seems very literal at various points, then that was somewhat intentional since the tone of the column was more like a personal grudge narration and I wanted to keep that. Read on for the vitriol that he spews.:-
Which idol will you worship now?
All of these people were in a state of euphoria. They had been dreaming of Red Revolution for ages. That day it seemed that their dream was going to come true. Russian military tanks invaded Afghanistan which was independent, sovereign and faithful. There is no a single claim that was not made in the month of December 79. A lot was said under a state of influence. Everybody in every university and college of Pakistan and each literary, social and political organization, who had embraced Marx’s teachings and considered Lenin’s strategy as a way towards salvation, boasted as if in a few days the name of Pakistan would become Socialist Republic of Pakistan. That a red flag would flutter instead of green crescent one and a hammer, sickle, plough or a spade would replace the crescent and star in the flag. The poets who used to write poems for Angola and Vietnam and used to abuse America, wrote triumphant verses and narrated accounts of the arrival of spring at the borders. All of them had already been disgraced a year ago. When a movement started against the Shah of Iran in 1978 then every youngster in the universities of my country who preached a red revolution and every intellectual who considered communism the salvation for humanity started singing with the same choir. That America is to be disgraced in this region. His watchman Shah of Iran is about to go and instead Iran will be ruled by the communist government of Tudeh party. Then we shall see this revolution come to Pakistan. We will chase America out of here. These ignorants did not know that a revolution based upon Iqbal’s poetry and Quran would have no influence from Marx’s ideas. The place, in which they dreamt of a communist revolution and talked to chasing America out of that place, went into the lap of orthodox mullah after America exited from that region. Revolution happened but the image of the lion in the flag was replaced with Allah. Iran’s name became Islamic republic instead of a communist republic. But this time around, there were huge expectations. The powerful global army of the Socialist Russia had reached Torkham and Chaman. There was just the need to cross the Durand Line and Pakistan would be under the Red Revolution.
But their bewilderment knew no bounds when unarmed Afghans fought the soviet army with homemade guns and then the whole world jumped in, not just to defeat Communism but Russia as well. It were the Afghans who fought and recorded tales of bravery, but these intellectuals gave credit for it sometimes to the CIA or sometimes the ISI. Russia was defeated and the great communist country was split up into many parts. When Lenin’s statue was brought down by that very nation, these poets wrote “What if the statue has been demolished?” When Communism departed after living a seventy year life, all these intellectuals of my country who used to abuse (gaallian daina) America from breakfast to late night gatherings changed so quickly that they jumped into the lap of American and the West that they used to abuse, chanting slogans of human rights, women’s rights, rural development, social welfare and enlightened thought. Someone became a consultant, another opened a NGO. Some started working against Islamic laws and another remembered sharing the grief of and consoling with a poor woman. Everyone obtained projects from the Western world and rich countries and the number of these rented gorillas became so big that a civil society was born in the name of American interests, Western thinking and enlightened thought. Living in comfortable homes, fond of commentary and analysis, isolated from the crowd of 160 million common people. This time their new sweetheart America infiltrated Afghanistan with the massive army of another 48 countries, where only recently had their previous sweetheart Russia been humiliated. It’s global terrorism has been going on for nine years now. There was no CIA or ISI with the unarmed Afghans this time, no neighbour to give refuge to the homeless people of that land. The neighbours allowed American planes to take off from their lands, bomb settlements and come back. This time around these commentators, intellectuals and analysts had no excuse to claim that the war had been won with the help of somebody else. The war has been won. Won by defenceless Afghans who only had believe in the words that Allah says that even if you are a small group, I shall empower you above large armies.
In the last week of October, 2010 western journalists were gathered together in a Kabul hotel with mid-level Taliban commanders, who were brought from Kandahar and Helmand with full NATO military protocol so that there could be negotiations with them and there could be a peaceful exit out of Afghanistan, with minimum loss of human life. The story of the VIP treatment of these Taliban commanders can be found in all newspapers and magazines of the world. There are references in all the leading newspapers and magazines of the world about maps prepared by the international security agency “ISOC” according to which 54 percent of Afghanistan was under Taliban control in November, 2007 and only one year later i.e. in November, 2008 72 percent was under their control and battles were being fought in the rest of the areas. The Taliban are now present not just near the Pakistan border but along the banks of River Aimoon i.e. along the borders of the former Soviet Union. 40,000 more American soldiers were sent. The miracle of Marjah happened, America was defeated and the situation now is that besides some small parts of Kabul, the rest is ruled by the Taliban. There is hue and cry everywhere. An American leader like Brzezinski says that the history of the Soviet Union is being repeated on us. At the time of the defeat in Vietnam, America used to allege that that Ho Chi Minh was in Cambodia. Now it is being said that Mullah Omar is in Quetta. But who wants to accept defeat, and especially defeat at the hands of unarmed and homeless people.
America will leave, it is the writing on the wall but these people – who spent 50 years in the lap of the Soviet Union and 10 years in the lap of the US – are worried. What will happen? Everybody is stunned. Only one way was left, spread fear and scare that if America leaves, the Taliban will come and people with long beards will eat you alive. Nobody tells that the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1995 to 2001 and nobody went there. This was the time when Afghan refugees returned to their homes in large numbers. Durand line had become a respected border for the first time in 90 years. Their way of live, their traditions and their own Taliban. These were the only five peaceful years in Afghanistan’s 100 year history. They want a government and system of their own choice of their own choice in their country. But our fear never leaves us. How can our fears end? There is economic fear that if America leaves then there will no longer be any need for consultants and America will no longer be interested in setting up human rights organizations here. There is another country involved in this fear with these intellectuals, India. [It] Has spent a billion dollars in Afghanistan. Where will we [as in Indians] go? What will the Baloch youth in our [as in Indians] refuge do? Where will the Taliban of Northern Alliance madrassas who do bomb blasts in Pakistan go? Our ship will sunk. America has fears as well. How will the oil of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan reach the west? Everybody’s fear is the same. But the fear of death surmounts everything. Who will fight? Will the civil society go there and fight? Will India send forces there? Everything is collapsing. In the hotels of Kabul, Taliban commanders are telling western journalists that victory is their fate and the statements and faces of the ones whose fate is defeat are in front of everyone – whether it be Obama, Manmohan or Pakistan’s enlightened class.
Did you want to punch him in the nose after reading this? One has to be a super bigot and hate-monger to write such stuff. For people like Orya, Afghanistan had no culture, tradition and values before the Taliban. The Taliban are somehow the epitome of true Afghan values. To claim that 95-01 was a peaceful time requires one to be so convinced about his lies that he really begins to believe them. I have my own problems with the Pakistani left and other self styled liberals, but to accuse an entire spectrum of political thought in such a way in downright spectacular. I think I don’t even need to breakdown the lies in this column, since they would be very much visible to anybody who sees this blog.
The composition and values of the Pakistani left according to nutjobs like Orya is the following:-
- The left is just a small bunch of drunk elites. No poor man has ever been associated with Marxist thought (Hashtnagar didn’t happen, all other peasant and labour movements flying red flags are myths).
- The left is composed solely of “liberals” and progressives whose roshan khayaali (enlightened thought is the best translation but no word can encompass the hate that is accompanied with roshan khayaali) is just a veneer beneath which is hiding their true reality i.e. paid agents of “the west”.
- Liberal thought, since that is what left politics is all about, only means religious liberalism which just means atheism. There is no such thing as political liberalism and the only aim of progressive thought is to undermine religious values and proclaim a war on Islam.
- The left is solely composed of Marxist and Communist thought. Anarchism and other ideologies of the left do not exist. There is no difference between socialism and communism and as stated earlier all the left seeks is to undermine religion.
- Secularism is just another word for atheism, and this is the biggest goal of all liberals. In the absence of state religion, people procreate on street corners and great values such as karo-kari and stoning people to death are replaced by prostitution and denial of the existence of God.
- Liberals in Pakistan are paid by “the west” to carry out their nefarious agenda. As such, they are merely prostitutes serving their masters and talking and writing ill about Pakistan, a country marked solely by peaceful coexistence (there are no recorded instances of persecutions of minorities and sectarian violence).
- Liberals and the left have no ideology of their own, and since they are prostitutes, they change pay-masters time and again easily since they have no governing ideals. As such, the left was chanting the tunes of the Soviet Union before the dissolution of the USSR and switched over to serving Amrika shaitaan the very next day.
- Leftists are responsible for all evils in Pakistan. Remember, they tried to topple the government in 1951? They also campaigned against Independence while Maulana Maudoodi was singing Pakistan Zindabad. Leftists are responsible for economic bankruptcy in the country and the failure of imposition of “true Islamic values” in the country. Terrorism is also their by product (sectarian terrorism as stated earlier is a myth).
- The left welcomed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The left invited the US to invade Afghanistan. They want the US to invade Pakistan and impose their governance (whether it will be a red flagged Socialist republic or a capitalistic one is debatable and left open to interpretation).
- The left today is hiding under the name of development consultants and running NGOs. Their aim is to proclaim a state where religion is banned and adultery is compulsory. Pakistan was bound to become “Aslafic/Wahabic Caliphate of Bakistan”. This is what Jinnah talked about on August 11, 1947.
- Left leaning university professors and development consultants write fictitious reports on the state of human rights and religious freedom in Pakistan. Ahmedis are allowed to pray, as long as they don’t do it in public, don’t call it a prayer and don’t claim to pray to our God. Shias are infidels and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is fighting a just war.
- The left has been a darling of “the west” and “Amreeka” since time immemorial. At no point in time did the United States ask the Pakistani government to crack down on Communist parties. The US consulate paying Rs. 10,000 to the JI to spread anti-communist literature in East Pakistan is not true.
- The other darling of the left is Bharat. The left unequivocally denies the existence and merits of the two-nation theory and wants re-integration with India. As such, they are traitors.
The Taliban, Afghanistan and geo-politics in the region according to Orya and his likes:-
- Afghanistan is solely composed of Pashtuns. There is complete ethnic homogeneity.
- Afghans have no history before the Taliban regime. They had no cultural values and traditions before that. The Taliban epitomize true Afghan and Islamic values.
- The Taliban rule in Afghanistan, recognized only by holy abba jees Saudi Arabia and Islamic Republic of Pakistan was the most peaceful of times any country has ever seen. Justice was done to every aggrieved party, mostly in public squares with Ak-47s and usually with opposing tribes.
- The Northern Alliance was a solely foreign paid resistance movement (wait, there was no civil war as earlier stated. Confused…). They had no moral or valid political claim to govern or participate in governance. Since many of them were Shias, they were infidels (oh wait, this has become a politically unacceptable statement but never mind). Northern Alliance’s support for ISAF troops showed that they were stooges from the very start. Ahmed Shah Massoud was the devil incarnate.
- All stories about the inhumane treatment of women in Afghanistan are fake. Women were highly respected, free to bear a minimum of 12 kids, allowed to wash clothes at all places (except river banks), they were free to pursue education, careers of their choices and the Taliban never carried out public executions of women they gave “justice” to in summary open trials.
- As stated earlier, Taliban epitomize true Afghan values. As such, all other tales of Afghan music, dances and romantic poetry are fake.
- Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union because it wanted to reach the “warm waters” of Arabian Sea. Any claims of the Afghan government itself inviting Soviet troops to help quash the Jamiat Islami insurgency under a treaty signed between the countries are fake. The true aim, as stated earlier, was to overtake the “Fort of Islam” aka Pakistan.
- The resistance to Soviet Invasion being funded by the US is a forgettable fact. Help can be acquired even from the devil for seeking legitimate political and ideological goals. The “mujahideen” were just 200 in number and they killed 1 million Soviet soldiers each.
- Remnants of these “mujahideen” did not form break away factions that have terrorized the whole region.
- All things will return to normalcy, which as stated earlier was complete peace, as soon as the US pulls out of Afghanistan. TTP, LI and the entire spectrum of monsters waging war against Pakistani civilians is an ignorable reality or can be claimed to be mere American, Israeli and Indian war in Pakistan.
Coming out of satire, yes, quite a few leftists and people who could be bundled up as liberals did open up development consultancy firms and NGOs, but the way people like Orya paint these firms as hired goons for painting a miraculously peaceful and perfect Pakistan as a devil before their paymasters is not new. Only recently at a talk show where the topic was the distortion of history in our text books, JI’s Fareed Paracha accused A H Nayyar and SDPI of publishing fake reports on the murder of history in exchange for money. The right wing and religious groups constantly accuse development consultants and NGOs of minting money in exchange for what they term as fictitious reports that portray Pakistan as a devil. A group of people who minted American money in the ’80s and have been minting Saudi money for quite a long time in exchange for ever changing goals accusing people addressing human rights issues and fighting for women’s rights in a misogynist and patriarchal society in Pakistan is laughable. At various times, nutjobs lose their plot too. Aiming to blame the left for all evils results in very funny situations whereby associating them with India, Israel, US and “the west” results in so many loyalties that things start to get funny.
What goes in the making of such a bigoted and fanatic mind is something I cannot even begin to imagine. These are the people who accuse Asma Jahangir of being an Indian agent, Hina Jilani of using rape stories to become rich, women rights organizations of portraying a “bad image” and any progressive of being an enemy of the people, the state, religion and responsible for all social evils and political realities. In a country divided along religions and ethnic lines, marred by violence, religious extremism, misogynistic social values and exploitation of the poor, right wing nutjobs continue spreading hate against people of other faith and other countries and spewing venom is almost always accompanied by a plethora of lies. The title of the column lays out what he thinks of the liberals (remember, liberalism is the same as left politics). Since the Taliban have won Afghanistan, according to him, and the US has been defeated, the left is now going to look out for new masters to worship and work for. Ignoring the debatable nature of who has won in an ever changing war, at various times Orya and his likes like to gloat about the economic crisis and with their super-economist thought term it an outright failure of “Amreeki nizaam” (not capitalism since that is not the devil seeing how Islam promotes a very much capitalistic system). In the view of these protectors of our moral, religious, ethical and political boundaries, the righteous and divinely gifted ones, Amreeka has been defeated in Afghanistan and their liberal sympathizers have been left master-less. Predictions about whose pole will they scratch now will depend on the mood of the writer – India is always there alongwith Israel, China is a all weather friend and cannot be talked of in a negative light (ignoring that it is ruled by the Communist Party of China and a country with historical irreligious values) but I predict the new pay masters are going to be a more ambiguous version of “the west” but slightly skewed towards Europe. Orya – learn fast about Germans, Belgians and the Dutch since they are my new paymasters.
This was perhaps not the most shocking and disgusting of self-righteous rants but the way in which a marginalized, isolated, small and weak left is blamed for so many problems with such ease was mind-blowing to me. The way in which the left is portrayed as just a bunch of irreligious rich people (religious tolerance and/or liberalism is always equated with irreligon by these folks) is not surprising. Not able to see beyond their crooked noses, the likes of Orya can and do lie for strengthening their ideological claims. In one small para, he blamed the left for being traitors to their country, their people and their religion (since everyone in Pakistan is supposed to be a Muslim). In that very para, the left was claimed to have kept on inviting the Soviet Union to invade Pakistan and hoping to be imposed as the ruling government. Stating that the left sided with the US at the time of the invasion of Afghanistan is altogether comically, since even as a neo-surkha I find the obsession of left intellectuals with “American imperialism” to be somewhat unacceptable in which they unintentionally lend their support to the likes of Taliban at various times (the debates on drones on SPN often move into the area). Almost always, these rightist rants term the voice of the left to be nothing more than “danishwar” and “tajziyanigaar” crowd and in a way try to undermine any words coming out of the mouths of the small number of rational and sane people invited on television talk shows. Having had many friends whose sole source of information about Pervez Hoodbhoy and his “karnamay” were the words of JI and people like Orya, I have seen how they were altogether ignoring anything Hoodbhoy, Sethi or various other liberals (not that there are many) would say on television and anything said by these people is labeled to be the works of agents, traitors, etc etc. The constant repetition of these accusations and narratives (such as this op-ed) cement the views in budding minds and close them to listening, reading and rationally deciding for themselves.
Linguistic divide in Pakistan creates a near apartheid in the media where journalists churn out vitriol in Urdu newspapers while keeping a tab on venom spewing and conspiracies in English newspapers. It is ironic that when I talk of the effects of linguistic divide, my reply is in English and the message cannot get across to majority of the populace whom Orya and his likes target. Nawai-e-waqt, Ummat and Islam are the leading names in venom spewing in Pakistan. While Majeed Nizami might be mostly focused on hating India and Ahmedis, the other two excel in hating what they term as the enemies of Islam and their stooges at home. Other papers can’t fall behind in this national past time of blaming others for our failures, finding deep rooted conspiracies out to destroy us and carving demons out of “the west” (read with as much contempt as you an). The portrayal of the war that has consumed more than 30,000 Pakistani lives as a borrowed war continues in urdu newspapers.
If this appears to be an obnoxious, self-righteous rant that does not adhere to liberal values and more like what a right wing nut job would do, then I’m sorry but I think it’s right to call a spade, a spade. The left has been guilty of many things, ranging from infighting to somewhat elitist and being opportunistic at times, but it has not been responsible for unleashing the monsters of terrorism on this country or passing laws that require a blind woman to produce four witnesses to support her claim that she was raped or else be sentenced to life. For people who think that stoning to death and blood money are just laws and who want to impose their ideals on others to have the audacity to falsely accuse an entire spectrum of thought in such outrageous manners is unacceptable.