19 June 2005

One Struggles...

... to be reasonable when faced with the outrageous, and doubly so when that which is outrageous wraps itself in the cloak of reasoned discourse.

I'm actually kinda proud, you know. I've been labeled an "outside agitator." Well, not me specifically, but me and the scores of bloggers and journalists who've been going out of their way to spread the world about Mukhtaran Bibi. Tom Watson links to a great article by the BBC's Karachi Bureau Chief, and has some really great thoughts of his own. He's really on top of it:

Yet the apologists continue their braying about patriotism and PR. Their work in the pro-Musharraf Pakistani media is obvious and really not worth quoting; generally it goes like this: Musharraf is "on Mukhtar Mai's side, this is a Pakistani problem, we are handling it." More troubling are the views of the prominent social critic Dr. Aslam Abdullah, a naturalized U.S. citizen who is editor of the Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as the director of the Muslim Electorates Council of America. Dr. Adbullah's work appears on sites like alt.muslim and Islamicity - sites that are inherently progressive because they allow many differing viewpoints of the modern Islamic world. In a nutshell, this is Dr. Abdullah's view of the case (from Islamicity):

This case exposes an aspect of Pakistan's social reality and must be condemned, but when such cases are selectively exploited by government officials and special interest groups for political purposes, it also exposes a hypocrisy that must also be taken to task.

Ah yes, I can see it now: from his perch in Vegas, Dr. Abdullah is going the "special interest group" route or the well-worn "outside agitators" route used for so long in the old segregationist South. Here's more:

It is not their concern for the victims of rape as their commitment to their own agenda that has brought them in the forefront. If they were serious about her case, they would have allowed the judicial process to take its full course before deciding any action specially in a situation when the highest executive authority of the country himself stood by her and assured the nation that justice shall be done.

By bringing her to the US or to the UN, they were not helping Mukhtaran but promoting their own agendas. What was done to her was inhumane and Un-Islamic? The feudal and tribal system that promotes this kind of action must be challenged because who knows how many Mukhtarans have been living in the agony of harm done to them. By exposing her to a society where there is a growing anti-Islamic environment the activists are primarily serving their agenda to humiliate those who stand for Islam or Pakistan.

But he saves the best for last:

What a load of dung. Sure, my agenda is to "humiliate those who stand for Islam or Pakistan." That's clearly Nick Kristoff's agenda. And it's the agenda of the 100 bloggers who have sounded the call in Mukhtaran Bibi's defense. Throw in the Guardian, the Independent, and the BBC - all of which have been all over the story. It's the ANAA's agenda, alright. And that of MercyCorps and Amnesty International. And it's surely a goal of the U.S. State Department, which lodged a needed but too-mild (in my view) protest of Ms. Mai's treatment by Pakistan.

Read this well Dr. Abdullah, and you agents of President Musharraf, and everyone else who would see Mukhtaran Bibi and her supporters as just another public relations problem in the cause of power and regional hegemony - as somehow disloyal to state and religion:

It is Mukhtaran Bibi who stands for Pakistan and for Islam. She is clearly a patriot and a Muslim
For those of you who haven't bothered to follow the thread of Tom's posts for the e-mails of the Pakistani officials, I'll make it easy for you. Get off your duff and vent your own outrage (politely) to:

His Excellency Mr. Jehangir Karamat

Mr Mohammad Sadiq is Deputy Chief of Mission and assists the Ambassador in the overall functioning of the Embassy. He deals with both political and administrative issues.

Mr Aslam Khan is Minister (Political) and deals with political issues

Mr Shahid Ahmed is Counsellor Community Affairs and deals with the Pakistani community in the United States.

Brig Shafqaat Ahmed is the Defence & Military Attache of the Pakistan Embassy. da@embassyofpakistan.org

Mr Ashraf Hayat is the Minister (Trade) and deals with Pakistan-US trade issues. commercialsection@embassyofpakistan.org &

Mrs Talat Waseem is the Press Minister and Media Spokesperson of the Embassy pressinfodiv@embassyofpakistan.org

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