Farewell, Salman Taseer
This is an unorthodox eulogy to Salman Taseer, and Jinnah’s dream of a secular nation that shall be buried along with him.
I’ll refrain from commenting on the governor’s history. Whether he had made too many mistakes, or was simply misunderstood, shall be divulged at a later time when it wouldn’t come off as overly callous. What’s heart-wrenching is that he was killed for something that he did right. He followed his conscience, which evidently in this country, leaves you with with 22 bullets lodged in your body.
When I heard the news, I was half-expecting Taseer’s death, however tragic, to leave the finest of silver linings: a wake-up call for ignorant, fanatical Muslims (a class that now constitutes an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis) – to help them see that this phony war against blasphemers has been taken too far.
Alas, that never happened. In fact, Taseer’s death revealed the true face of Pakistan, and it is a sepulchral one. We are no longer beset by extremists – we ARE extremists. In the last seven hours, I’ve seen hordes of human cockroaches (if I may borrow the term from one of Fasi Zaka’s popular articles, which has earned even more credence in the light of the recent tragedy) celebrating the death of our country’s top government official, claiming that he got what he deserved.
I won’t argue Islam here. But I will stand for a Pakistanis right to contest a constitution that governs him. That’s what Salman Taseer did. Muslims have deluded themselves into thinking that they have all rights reserved to the state constitution and that no one should be allowed to question it, let alone change it. Muslims believe that they have a divine license to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, whether they like it or not.
So allow me to make use of a certain word that Muslims blame the West for crying out unjustly and way too often. I’m afraid this word fits perfectly here..
We’ve become a nation of coward Islamofascists, who’d much sooner shed a fellow human’s blood than to acknowledge that he has just as much right to speak out as we do – for he’s a man just as Pakistani as we are. Many readers may object to my choice of words in this case, for they would like to remain segregated from reality, trying to convince themselves that this was a one-bad-apple scenario. And that my use of the term “nation” is unfair generalization.
But I see what I see. What I and many fellow rationalists view as a horrific assassination, most of the Pakistani public views as a justifiable assault. I find myself being bombarded with jovial messages about how a “courageous slave of Muhammad has killed a blasphemer”. I see similar reactions on the internet. What’s worse is that these people are the educated class of our country – engineers, medical students, business students – and not some witless hicks living in far-off countrysides.
Taseer never committed blasphemy. He never even succeeded in revoking the blasphemy law. He merely proposed an amendment to it. What gives him the right to do so? Quite simply, his Pakistani nationality.
It is only those who are wrong and tainted, who fight so fiercely to keep people from conducting inquiries and asking questions. Those who have confidence in their purity, never shrink away from criticism. The ones who fear that open discussion may lead to unwanted divulgement of filthy secrets, are the ones who struggle to keep the freethinkers silent by threatening them with bogus charges of “blasphemy”.
Fight words with words. That is, of course, unless you’re certain that your words will not be able to hold their ground in the court of logic and be admonished by human conscience. In that case, grab a gun and do what the “religion of peace” expects you to do…