Archive for the ‘ Social Issues ’ Category

Moderates: Fuck em’

“Moderate” is the most ridiculously overused and irritating term of the 21st century. Often, people swaying unmistakably towards the liberal or conservative side of the median, declare themselves to be “moderates” in a pitiful attempt to appear more rational than others.

In Pakistan, everybody’s a moderate! We have moderates who hate fags; moderates who are Taliban-apologists and Mumtaz Qadri fans; moderates who call you a whore for not wearing a dupatta..

..and then we have the closeted-liberal moderates – the ones who are too coward to embrace the much-sullied, stigmatized party of liberalism, and choose to describe themselves with less controversial terms like “centrist” or “moderate”.

These are the kind of people who would keep repeating the same asinine, insipid shit over and over and over and over again:
“You know, the extreme of everything is bad. So I just choose to take the middle-ground!”

Choke on a musical dildo! I insist!

Of course the extreme of everything is unhealthy (God, what an epiphany!) but unfortunately, there is no objective definition of what counts as “extremism” in this country. In Pakistan, a right-winger usually has to blow up a bunch of schools; issue fatwas against people for…I don’t know…wearing brown socks or whatever; support murderers; call for oppressive laws against the minorities…

..before he finally earns the title of “extremist”.

You know what a liberal has to do here to become an extremist? He has to support Veena Malik’s right to flash a side-boob! I’ve not met a single Pakistani liberal who isn’t mocked as “liberal extremist”, “pseudo-liberal” or “liberal fascist”.

In Pakistan, “liberal extremists” are an imaginary party created to balance out the “religious extremists”, who are the real threat to our nation’s social, economic and political stability. The worst that you can charge the “liberal extremists” with, is snobbery, elitism or perhaps, political inertness.

The middle-ground isn’t always the right answer. If the matter of protecting Ahmadi minorities from discriminatory laws comes up, I wouldn’t want you to say, “Yeah, I support the liberals, but I also think the oppressive mullahs make a good point”. I would want you to take a fucking side and stop pussyfooting around the central pylon. And learn what argumentum ad temperantiam means.

Calling yourself a moderate is “in”, because the title requires no real credentials, and makes you look smart and impervious to highly polarized rhetoric. But you know what I hear when you announce yourself a moderate? I hear a person too stupid and uninformed to take a real stand for anything.

Of course, you don’t have to pick the same side for every matter. I’m a liberal when it comes to LGBT rights, and a conservative when it comes to GMO labelling. But I’m not going to label myself a moderate or a centrist because of the 10-15% of the cases where I side with the conservatives. It is because I lean heavily towards the liberal side of the median, that I find it appropriate to label myself a liberal.

A proud, happy liberal!

Secular Groups and Intra-House Politics

It’s bad enough that the free-thinkers are among the most widely persecuted groups in the world; that many of us are forced to keep our identities secret just so we can avoid being yelled at, discriminated against, or shot for apostasy. Evidently, I need to guard my ass from factions within the secular groups too.

Pakistan Atheists and Agnostics (PAA), and countless other secular groups around the world, are not just social clubs. Our cohesiveness is a defense mechanism. This group supported me when I had to climb out of my dorm window as a mob at my university tried to attack me for being an atheist. They were there to ward off the feeling of crippling isolation I felt in the year following my de-conversion. They were there to assist me through the daily frustration of hiding my identity from everybody, including my parents.

Naturally, I feel that people who allow unpleasant experiences with group members to generate rifts within the group itself, can go fuck a jagged keyhole.

We’re not a cult, but we are a support group. And we stick together for more reasons than just religion-bashing. Atheists and agnostics who deny this persecution are invited to step out of whatever sorry Defense, Bahria or F-sector bubble they live in and smell the air of real Pakistan.

It is becoming increasingly painful for me to introduce myself as a feminist, knowing what self-proclaimed feminists they have done locally and internationally to secular groups. I sympathize with women who have faced sexism within these circles, but I have nil respect for the ass-lords who treat misogynism as a uniquely “secular” phenomenon, instead of a general phenomenon which is present among all groups including, yes, the atheist ones.

I’m talking, of course, about people like Rebecca “Elevatorgate” Watson and the Atheism+ crowd. They are the ones who have almost completely dedicated their lives to sabotaging the secular movement by portraying sexism as an “atheist problem” rather than a pandemic that’s pervading the secular community just as it’s pervading others.

While providing additional ammunition to a world that is already starkly anti-atheist, they tend to ignore the fact that atheists and agnostics are far better aligned with the cause of feminism than the general population. Without religion, we have one less excuse to support the anti-abortion, hetero-normative, “cover-yourself-in-a-trashbag-so-I-feel-less-tempted” attitude.

PAA, and I’m certain this is true for other groups too, is hounded by people who have allowed bystanding members to become collateral damage in their personal relationship battles; who have downed group websites, and threatened to rat out their fellow atheists possibly putting their lives at risk; who are engaged in a perpetual vendetta, an endless bitch-fit against an atheist group(s).

Get…a…grip!

I’m not advocating tribal mentality. Perhaps secularists in the developed world are in a better state, but we in the developing countries, particularly the Muslim world, have enough extrinsic shit to deal with without the unending intra-house politics.

A Note on Bisexuality

The bliss of bisexuality transforms all of humankind into a buffet of sexual delicacies. Gender is simply irrelevant.

But do bisexuals truly exist? Most certainly they do, but those who put the B in LGBT are far less common than people believe. Remember, this is primarily a blog for Pakistanis, who are generally not well-informed about homosexuality. If you’re a reader from a nation where adequate awareness is being raised about the queers, you might find this post a bit blah. Nevertheless, I’ll try to be entertainingly offensive enough to hold your attention.

If there’s anything we’ve learned from Alfred Kinsey, it’s that the population is not divided strictly into gays and straights. Each of us is attracted to either a man or a woman to a variable degree.  On Kinsey’s scale of 0 to 6, where 0 is an exclusive heterosexual and 6 an exclusive homosexual, a person can lie anywhere in between. At 3 or 4, you’re bi. So yeah, they’re absolutely real.

But only half of the people claiming to be bisexual are actually so…

A boy growing up realizes that the sight, scent and behavior of another man makes his penis act funny. It’s a reaction, he discovers, that most of the other boys have for girls. He is told that boys who are attracted to other boys are “fags”. No, no, no, no, I can’t be a fag!

He cannot argue with his erection, and he knows he’s stimulated by men. But he attempts to convince himself that this is just one part of the story. He is also sexually attracted to women, which means he must be bi. It’s a tactic that allows him to avoid the label of “homosexual”, which carries greater stigma.

Now, how can he convince himself that he’s sexually attracted to girls? If there’s anything we’ve learned from science, you cannot force yourself to want to have sex with somebody. If you’re not aroused, you’re not aroused.

What he does is exploit the Kinsian law of fluidity  Except for those falling in groups 0 and 6 of aforementioned scale, every individual is attracted to every other individual to a variable extent. A Kinsey-5 lesbian is at least mildly aroused by men, even though this feeling isn’t nearly as strong as what she may have towards other women. She may use this fact to trick herself, and others, that she is bisexual.

This, of course, is a blatant lie because in just about any situation, she’d pick a sexual partner of the same gender. While she may be bisexual theoretically, she’s gay for all intents and purposes, regardless of whatever label she may choose for herself.

In a corrosive, homophobic environment, most bisexuals are just partially-closeted gays. As societies evolve to become more tolerant of homosexuals, we’re likely to see a dramatic decline in the proportion of people calling themselves bisexual.

The 11-year old blasphemer

Apparently, the glory of Islam has been threatened by an 11-year old girl with Down’s Syndrome.

A Christian girl has been jailed by the police, under intense pressure from the locals, for allegedly burning pages of the Noorani Qaida. She was severely beaten up, along with her mother and sister. Some homes of local Christian residents were burned, and the Christian population has left the area.

You think this is just satire? No, this is a real report. This comes just a few weeks after a psychiatric patient was brutally tortured and burned alive by a mob in Bahawalpur for, guess what, blasphemy.

So here’s the situation. The Hindus are leaving Pakistan in droves. Christians are being jailed and killed. Ahmadis and Shias are being slaughtered. Women are being abused, raped and paraded around the streets naked. And atheists and agnostics..well, they don’t even exist (Shhh!).

We are a country made exclusively for circumcised dicks. Not penises, dicks. Which means that if you’re a non-Muslim or a woman, tough luck. Minorities who dare strive for equal rights are often shooed away with the retort, “This is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Only Islamic rules will apply here!”

Oh, our bad! We should’ve chosen to be born in a secular country instead. Silly us! Now we must shut up and pay the penalty for being the non-Islamic citizens inhabitants of an Islamic Republic.

Today, I’m more frightened and exhausted than I have ever been in years.

I’m tired of gambling with my life every time I speak up against the unending, and largely ignored, injustices against this country’s minorities. We’re not being threatened by a handful of fanatics. It’s never a single crazed person who attacks Pakistani Christians or shias or Ahmadis. It’s always mobs. Always well-funded organizations that seem to be invisible to the authorities, even when operating in broad daylight. The constitution itself is against us.

I simply do not have the energy to tie this post up in a funny or thought-provoking way.

A Word from my Sponsors (United Western Kufar) on Polio Vaccines

I guess the cat’s out of the bag, so I might as well embrace my identity. Hey, a dozen angry emails in full caps, can’t possibly be wrong!

Kidding..

The cancer of conspiracy theories has officially invaded a sector I hold quite dear: public health.

Back in Feburary, there was the glorious report by Muba-shit Luqman about expired polio vaccines causing people to develop polio. Surely a person as pitifully dim as Luqman cannot be expected to spend four and a half minutes on Wikipedia to find out how vaccines work. Polio vaccine is a weakened virus that is expected to activate the body’s immune system against the actual polio virus, if it ever comes along. Because it is weakened, it causes no symptoms of Polio to develop.

When the vaccine becomes expired, that weakened virus dies (if the word “expired” is any indication). Dead men don’t tell tales and dead viruses don’t cause diseases.

But knowing that it’s Pakistan, you KNOW it gets better!

Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti of Muzaffargarh surrounding rural area, has declared jihad against polio vaccination. He claims that it is a Western conspiracy (what isn’t these days) to make Pakistanis impotent, and he’s basing his claim on…nothing really. The polio vaccination team ran back to the city, leaving the kids unvaccinated.

The next child to develop polio in that region shall have a free pass to shove both his crutches up Chisti’s ass, from which these conspiracy theories emerge like unremitting diarrhea.

I can tell you, those who believe that polio vaccines cause impotency probably deserve to be impotent. The world could do a lot better without their progeny.

This has now become an all-out war against the health and social welfare of the Pakistani people. In a fair world, these people would be tied up in a public square as the families of polio patients line up to whack them with heavy construction equipment. In the real world, imprisonment should suffice.

A Lesser Pakistani

Have you wondered what it’s like being a non-Islamic person living in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?

There’s no street in this country you can walk in without having Islam rubbed into your face. Muslims barely notice that any more, but non-Muslims do. Ironically, many Pakistani Islamists would still argue that the problem with this country is too little adherence to Islamic values. Continue reading

Disaster in Japan and Selective Humanitarianism

We’ve all seen the news. Japan’s been hit by a tsunami sent forth by a magnitude-8.8 underwater earthquake. Hundreds are feared dead…the death toll is rising and may well exceed a thousand.

All eyes are on Japan. Google has set up a link on its front page for resources related to Japanese earthquake and tsunami, while US carrier ships are already en route to Japan to help those left stranded by the disaster. The world media is on fire, and humanitarians all around the globe are already clamoring for donations.

Now, I don’t mean to be callous and divert attention away from this crisis. Any loss of life, wherever it takes place, is tragic. But one can’t help but wonder – where were these wailing donors and screaming journalists the day three-fifths of Pakistan were being swept away by flash floods?

Again, I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for the victims of this tsunami. But watching the media explode over this disaster is reflective of the western world’s selective humanitarianism.

In Pakistan’s time of need, with her people suffering from a disaster that UN described to be greater than the 2004 tsunami, the media was silent. We begged for help, but other than a few measly aid packages and an American gori, we received very little. We found ourselves being showered by pathetic excuses like “donor fatigue” (since the flood had been preceded by the Haiti earthquake), as well as reluctance of the international aid agencies to assist, due to the possibility that the aid may leak to the terrorist networks operating in the country.

Donor fatigue was the world’s way of saying that it had a limited stock of tears, which got depleted over Haiti. And the phobia of terrorists was ironic, since many of the dying Pakistani children had likely never heard of “Al-Qaeeda” in their lives.

The dead-silence of the media in the matter was shameful. I’ve seen BBC and CNN raise more of a ruckus over Ms.Spear’s hair disaster. I’m not suggesting that the media is overreacting right now with the tsunami – this disaster deserves every bit of the attention that it’s receiving. It just pains me why Pakistan was denied the same.

My viewpoints often vary markedly from the usual Pakistani weltanschauung. I don’t dislike the United States or the Western World, and I seem to have a problem with just about all and everything that is Pakistani. I have no love for this country, but I’m not apathetic about the loss of human life.

I wouldn’t like to think of it as a competition, but yes, Pakistan suffered more. The casualties faced by Japan don’t even skim the surface of those endured by Pakistan. Where were Madonna and Clooney and their fund-raising concerts when Pakistan was begging for assistance? Are we children of lesser gods, or do we not feel pain the same way our brothers and sisters in Haiti and Japan do?

(Note: This piece was published before the nuclear emergency triggered by the earthquake, when the expected death toll was in hundreds)