سوچو تو سہی

10346525_291152757736144_4074733604929174168_n سوچو گر کوئی جنت نا ہو
سوچو تو سوچ بھی سکتے ہو
نہ کوئی دوزخ پاؤں تلے
بس ایک کھلا آسمان ہمارے اوپر
سوچو گر سارے انسان بس آج کے لئے جیئیں تو

سوچو نا کوئی سرحدیں ہوں نا کوئی ریاست
کوئی ایسا مشکل تو نہیں
نا کوئی وجہ مارنے کی نا لڑنے کی
اور نا ہی کوئی مذہب
سوچو گر سارے انسان بس امن سے رہیں تو
 
شاید میری بات ایک خواب معلوم ہو
پر ناممکن تو نہیں
کاش اک دن تم بھی ایسا سوچ سکو
اور یہ دنیا کے لوگ سب ایک ہوکے رہ سکیں

….
جان لینن کے گانے “امیجن” سے ماخوذ

14th August Resolutions

Dear Pakistanis,

While its easier to get carried away with all the emotional stuff we see during our independence day celebrations, it takes courage to sit back and list down the things that we need to do in order to create a better place for our future generations to come.

10617375_294118764106210_1795607521_nI’m sure you’ll be able to add a lot to the following but trust me small baby steps will go a long way provided we do things with good intentions, here is the list:

  1. Stop making excuses and lets start taking responsibility for where we are today
  2. Put an end to Religious Extremism, no ifs and no buts, just a big No No
  3. Its we who do corruption, let stop blaming everyone else for it and begin the self realization process from ourselves first
  4. Women are half of our population, they are the back-bone of our future growth. Put a permanent end to the misogyny. When women grow in their career the whole nation grow two folds
  5. Lets stop discriminating our minorities, it should be none of our business to ask them who they are and what their beliefs are
  6. Lets put an end to the culture of showing off with the bigger houses and expensive cars, its time to rebuild the country not our personal ego
  7. Lets come up with a road map of where we are and where want to be
  8. Lets start building more hospitals and schools, there is nothing more important than to have a healthy and educated future generation
  9. Lets stop worrying about others and start focusing on our own house, let them sort out their matters themselves while we are sorting ours
  10. Lets start thinking form today, if not now … When ?

Israel, Gaza and Libertarians

There are very few topics that attracts as much heated response as the Israeli Palestinian conflict and no matter how much you try keeping it civil or rational the discussion usually ends into sharing pictures of Palestinian kids being killed by the Israeli Armed Forces.

Problem is that this particular topic has become a sort of Political Cancer for almost everyone, the conservative Muslims, the moderate Muslims, the confused Muslims, Westerners who hate Israel, westerners who support Israel, and above all the true and genuine Libertarians. Perhaps the Libertarians find themselves in the most awkward position on this conflict because they see both sides doing equally wrong things and they would rather like to be upfront about the fact that this conflict is driven by crazy religious sentiments more than anything else but given the sensitivity and the kind of hype this matter creates it becomes extremely difficult to keep yourself in a balanced position.

There are some burning issues related to this conflict, such as:

1. Israeli Occupation: Yes, In a sense it can be called an Israeli occupation but there are multiple problems with this. Fact is that Palestine did not exist as a country itself, it was simply a British Colony just like any other colony. In terms of helping Israelis to settle there, that isn’t any different to helping British people settling down in Australia, New Zealand or other colonies. We hardly (ever) sit down and cry over how Britain created settlements in New Zealand and the poor Mauri people. We never consider Australia an illegally occupied country. Why is it so ? Is it just because Mauri or Aboriginals were not Arabs or they never accepted Islam as their religion ? Or is it because they didn’t have the population as big as Palestinians have.

2. Invasion: Muslims consider Jewish Migration to Israel and setting up their Government an Invasion. While it certainly can be defined as an Invasion, question is that do we oppose all invasions or is it just one exception that we feel we should call it an Invasion. How come we never jump up and down for Russian Invasion into Ukraine, how come we never have a problem with all those Islamic Invasions throughout the history from India to Spain ? Were those Invasions alright just because they were trying to spread Islam ?

3. Land Issue: When we say it’s a war of two religions, we get a counter argument that no its a Land Issue. The question arises that whose land is it really ? History tells us that it was Muslim Forces who captured Jerusalem back in 8th century and no Muslim ever lived there before that time. So when we say its Palestine and its Muslim Palestine why do are we so desperate to ignore the historical background of this land. Some Muslim friends even go the length of denying that Jews ever lived there, conveniently forgetting what Quran say about Bani Israel.

4. Self Defense: On the other hand, Israel considers its right to retaliate in self-defense whenever Terror organizations such as Hamas fire a missile or carry out an explosion in Israeli city. However, we can deny the fact that innocent civilians do die on both sides. How on earth genuine libertarians can justify the killings of innocent civilians whether Arabs or Jews ?

5. Holocaust: The WWII Holocaust undoubtedly left a long-term psychological effect on Jews all over the world. So much so that it may have made them accept anything in the name of Self Defense. They just forget that the way Innocent Palestinians are dying today, the same way Nazis were killing Jews during the early 20th century. How can you sit down and enjoy watching rockets being fired on civilians (even if there are Terrorists hiding in those areas) and not compared it to the Holocaust.

Pakistanis on the other hand have some special interest in this conflict. The same Pakistanis who fail to show any sympathy to the Minorities (Hazara, Shia, Ahmadi, Hindu etc) being brutally killed in Pakistan will ask you to change your Profile Picture on Facebook to show solidarity with Palestinians, as if the blood of Pakistani Minorities is not red enough.

I also fail to understand how we can’t compare the situation of Gaza with North Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal areas. According to Pakistani Government there are some terrorists hiding in Waziristan region and its important to attack them without having to worry about Civilian casualties. The same thing happens in Gaza, Israeli Government says that there are terrorists hiding behind Civilians and its important to attack them and not having to worry about the civilian casualties as well the large number of locals who had to flee from their homes in order to save their lives. Perhaps the only difference is that Pakistani Government has blocked access for Reporters and Journalists which means we don’t get the correct figures on casualties.

I know its very hard to keep the emotions on side and look into this matter objectively and blame both sides for their actions but until we don’t do this, I don’t see anything improving in that region …

Islam, problem or solution ?

Is being ‘Moderate’ always the best thing ? Does it really hold the key to our problems and does maintaining the balance is always the right way to go ? The voice of Moderate Islam or Moderate Muslims as they like to call themselves is on the rise as more and more people who find them unable reconcile their sense of belonging to the faith they are born into with the Ground Realities around them. But how much their voice makes sense and how much it is actually helping to reduce Extremism in Muslim Societies ?

Moderate Islam

Moderate Islam

I just came across an article by Sana A Siddiqui “Islam: Problem or solution?” and it immediately reminded me some of the friends on Facebook that I’ve had regular conversations with. There are some common arguments that most of the Moderate Muslims are raising, I’ll try to answer each argument in detail and then we’ll look at the question asked by Sana in her Nation’s article.

1. Moderate Islam is caught between Extremist Islam and Liberal: This is their main complaint, they feel that their voice is not heard properly because the Extremist Islam gets much more attention than these Moderate Muslims are able to attract. These people also complain about the growing criticism of Liberals (and increasing Atheist community) on Islam where Islam is seen as the actually root problem rather than solution.

Liberal critiques of Islam are often labelled as “Liberal Fascists”, as if you’re raising voice against the Extremism and Hatred with the same intensity as the Extremism itself then you’re seen one of them. Its like if you hate the hatred you are hater yourself or you refuse to tolerate the intolerance you’re an intolerant person yourself. It doesn’t even matter how much rational or articulated you have tried to be while raising your voice, you’re still classified as a Left-wing Extremist as soon as you disagree with Islam being a remote possibility as a Solution

If you always have to reinterpret the scripture according to the new observations of modern times, isn’t it a failure of the scripture itself which came from a divine source as a Guide for you.

2. Lets focus on Good side of Islam: Moderate Muslims insist that we need to ignore or brush off the side of Islam that is anything but Peaceful, we should rather look at the good sides only. This is an argument full of Logical Fallacy, if you’ve to pick and choose Moral Lessons from the ideology that should have responsible to teach you Morality then you are already much more Moral than the Ideology itself. Question that these Moderate Muslims never ask themselves is that why these not-so-peaceful messages have been part of Islam for so long ?

3. Mullahs have distorted Islam: Playing a victim card is usually the fist form of Denial which is part of the Defense Mechanism. Believing that the ideology itself is fine but the Mullahs have been involved in the corruption clearly contradicts with the actual teaching of this particular ideology in the first instance. Islam claims to be the Final Religion by God that provides solution for each and every problem you may have had in life. Islam also claims that the previous messages / religions sent by God were manipulated by People and then God decided to send one last final message. Now, if Mullahs have managed to manipulate God’s one last final message to human-kind where do we go from here ? Secondly what guarantee we have that lets say 50 or 100 years from now, our next generations wouldn’t be debating on the same lines and blaming today’s Moderate Followers and / or Quranists screwed the whole message of Islam during early 21st century and the real Islam was in fact something else.

Islam claims that previous messages by God were manipulated by people. Now, if Mullahs have managed to manipulate God’s one last final message to human-kind where do we go from here ?

4. Reformation, not Rejection: For how many times really ? Since the 8th century or so we have had calls for Reformation in Islam. It was Mutazilla who called for Reformation, their voices were finally crushed in 12 century by a movement lead by Imam Ghazali and then in every age we have had calls for the Reformation in form or another. Ahmadiyya Sect is itself a product of this so-called Reformation call and today those same Ahmedis are considered Heretic by not only Conservative Muslims but also by these same Moderate Followers as well.

Point is that if are have to keep reconciling our faith with the challenges of current times and if you always have to reinterpret the scripture according to the new observations of modern times, isn’t it a failure of the scripture itself which came from a divine source as a Guide for you.

5. No more Hadith please: The growing dislike and frustration of Moderate Muslims with Ahadith is quite understandable and fits in quite well with the “The Great Muslim Apostasy” view I described in my previous post. Ahadith and Seerah books clearly depicts Islam and Prophet Muhammad as a person which was anything but Peaceful and anything but a wise man to look forward to as a role model (unless you go cherry picking the selective ahadith). With Quran however, its much easier to play around because of its language and style we can literally translate any verse as we like it.

Are you denying the Ahadith because they contradict with the view or model you have developed for Islam and Prophet Muhammad ?

Some Quranists believe that Islam Critics love to bring in the Ahadith because it makes Islam look really bad. I really doubt that is the case, problem is that Quranists simply fail to convince through their argument that why Ahadith cant be true or why it couldn’t have happened ? Are you denying the Ahadith because they contradict with the view or model you have developed for Islam and Prophet Muhammad in your mind or do you reject it because of the fact that these were orally transmitted years of Prophet Muhammad’s death ? If oral transmission if your problem then what makes Quran so divine in your view, wasn’t it orally transmitted, don’t you think there couldn’t have been a chance of mistake in that transmission ?

Where is the powerful movement that we should see coming from the Moderate Voices that should challenge, fight and then finally over-take the Extremist Elements in Muslim World ?

Besides the points I mentioned above, I would like to ask my Moderate Muslim friends as what exactly they are doing to help reduce the current wave of Extremism ? Where is the powerful movement that we should see coming from the Moderate Voices that should challenge, fight and then finally over-take the Extremist Elements in Muslim World ? Why do we see more and more youngsters drifting towards the Extremist Islam in Western countries than going towards the Moderate version of same ideology ? Why do you find it offensive when you see Islam Critics using Islamic History in order to make a point that Islam is a violent ideology but you are never seen as jumping up and down when the Islamist are using same history to make their point ?

In terms of the answer to Sana’s question regarding whether Islam is a problem or solution, I’ll let my readers decide what they think about it …

Solution for Taliban Issue

This post is going to make a lot of my left wing liberal friends unhappy, but does that mean its going to make the right wing conservative Muslims happy ? Probably not. So, who is this post going to make happy ? Very few in my opinion who have the patience to look at the bigger picture and focus on longer term solutions.

For years, I kept hearing various theories on Taliban. Some said they are CIA agents, some called them a conspiracy against Pakistan and some (in fact vast majority) denied their existence. After recent attacks on Karachi airport, the latest trend is to link Taliban with India. Every single gathering with Pakistani friends will give you new insights into what Taliban really could be.

But something that no one will be willing to recognise is the fact that it was none other than our own agencies who were behind the creation of Taliban ideology. I know that some of you will immediately think that it was actually US who used these Mujahideen against Soviet Union but again thats just one side of it. Every single war is fought by using allies in your favour and crushing those who appear to be on the other side of fence.

Truth is, Pakistan needed Taliban to maintain its strategical appearance in Afghanistan but with the change in geo-political situation after 9/11 and an Afghan Government that is not as friendly tonPakistan as it is to India the frustration of not only Pakistan grew too far but also of Taliban. For years, we made Taliban Taliban think that one day they will be able to implement Shariah style Islamic Government in not only Afghanistan but also Pakistan. And now suddenly, when you tell them that their version of Islam is not the correct version, I believe they have a right to ask that then which version of Islam is the right one and why ?

Problem isn’t with Taliban, they believe in what they believe in, the actual problem lies around the fact that the majority of Pakistani population lives with a confused ideology where they do like to assert that Islam is the religion of Peace and Islam is the perfect way of life but that same Islam when they are asked to implement in their own life they just wouldn’t like that idea. No moderate Muslim has ever been able to decide which version of Islam is really the perfect one for them and how come a perfect way of life comes in so many flavours that it literally makes it impossible to agree on one particular interpretation.

Look around and you will find that the most vocal opposition of Taliban ideology comes from none other than our Shia minority of Pakistan which is yet another hypocrisy. While there is no denying that Shia (along with other minorities) have suffered a lot at the hands of Taliban, the truth is that these same Shia will support the Shariah Implementation in Iran and will have no problem with Mullah ruling there but the similar Mullah ruling in Pakistan will not be acceptable to them.

So, let go back to the actual topic of what is the solution to this problem really ? More and more Liberals are now leaning towards a full blown Army operation in Taliban areas. But the question, we don’t want to ask ourselves is that if that is the longer term solution ? Will killing one generation of Taliban ideology make sure we wouldn’t see next generation of Taliban with even more aggression and the desire to fulfil the ultimate dream of implementing an ideal Islamic State.

Does that mean that Imran Khan’s solution of negotiating with Taliban has any worth consideration ? By bringing them to the negotiating table, you’re actually admitting that they are a significant political force in not only in Pakistan but also on the regional level ? Isn’t negotiation all about Win/Win scenario ? Do you expect the Taliban to come to the negotiating table without getting any favours in return ? So why is it that PTI’s die-hard supporters feel so offended when Pervez Rasheed calls Imran a strategical partner of Taliban ?

Personally, I don’t believe any of these two solutions are going to work on longer term basis. I agree with the premise that Imran wants Taliban to appear as a major political force and negotiations is just an Entry point to the larger political setup in which Taliban are part of the picture. But I also dont agree that by wiping out certain sections of these people will make the problem go away. The Taliban ideology thrives on the back of hypocrisy of moderate Islam, nothing is going to act as a longer term solution until you address the double standards …

Movie Review: Grace of Monaco

Having a deep interest in History and world politics makes you run into risk of ending up in a Cinema watching a movie where less than 10% seats are occupied and you’re the youngest in audience, or at least the only one who isn’t retired yet. Thats what happened to me when I went to watch Grace of Monaco this morning but the movie turned out to be an excellent production and the credit goes to Olivier Dahan … well, for most part of it really.

posterWhile the movie has already started attracting controversy as the Prince Albert and the other members of Royal Family members from Monaco refused to attend the Cannes Film Festival and accused film of historical inaccuracies and some of the critics have been unhappy with Nicole Kidman‘s acting, the best part for me was the Cinematography. Some of the camera work was simply stunning and the creation of 60’s environment was a phenomenal job.

The story basically revolves around the real life events related to the Prince Rainier‘s marriage with Grace Kelly, the marriage which is often remembered as the fairytale story of real life but the actual story then goes deep into the life of Grace after her marriage and when has had kids. It’s not historically inaccurate that Grace did consider going back to Hollywood and work for Hitchcock’s movie “Marnie“, what is also correct is that she didn’t learn French until the Monaco – French blockade Crisis but what was probably made a fiction story by Oliver was the assertion that Charles de Gaulle changed his mind only after Grace’s speech as he showed it in his film.

France had multiple reasons to stop the blockade and most of the reasons were related to International pressure rather than Grace’s speech but it can be argued that Grace was an influential figure in creating a massive support and sympathy for Monaco on world stage with her charismatic personality. The role of Prince Rainier’s sister was also a partial Fictitious work as its true that there was a sister (Princess Antoinette) of Prince who wanted to ensure her son became the next King of state and she did betrayed her brother but that incident took place much before the Monaco-French Blockade Crisis of 60s. The story of betrayal was incorrectly used in the movie perhaps because it made a good case for a spicy story.

However, overall I enjoyed the movie a lot as I have special interest in movies which use the Real Life stories such as we had Argo last year. If thats your passion too then I suggest you go and watch the movie, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Pakistan 2018 – A short novel

Pakistan 2018 is a short novel, a story based on the life of a couple who started their married life in Melbourne but ended up living separately as Ayesha couldn’t reconcile with her husband turning into an Atheist. However, Ayesha’s own views of Moderate Islam were being seriously challenged during fast changing conditions under Imran Khan’s Government who came into power since 2016 and started empowering Taliban and their version of Shariah in Pakistan.

Pakistan 2018

A short novel by Raheel Hassan

Please download the PDF copy of Short Novel and leave your feedback on word-press blog or on Facebook.

Please note that this short novel is based on a fictitious story and all characters are imaginary. Author takes no responsibility for resemblance to any living or dead person ….

Direct Link to the PDF Copy of Novel: https://raheelq.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/pakistan20181.pdf

 

Can you stand up against injustice ?

One of the problems that Liberals face is the failure to understand their role in society, they sometimes assume that by just accepting popular terms such as human rights, women rights and so on they have done enough to become a humanist. We hardly sit back and critically look at our own actions to critically analyse where we are going wrong or what is more that we can do to help create a better society around us.

If you are unable to let go the following from your life you have a long way to reach the pure humanism and enlightenment:

1. Hanging on to power or the desire to grab a powerful position
2. Staying quite when you see abuse of power and authority
3. Bow down to authority regardless of whether or not you agree with it
4. Not having enough courage to call it wrong when you feel it is wrong
5. Not saying truth (whatever you perceive it) as it might upset some of the closed ones or family / members
6. Not having enough courage to challenge rules you don’t agree with
7. Not accepting other’s arguments because the argument came from a person you don’t like personally
8. When your personal Ego is bigger than principles (whatever you believe in)
9. Not reacting to evil until and unless you yourself have been the victim
10. When criticism hurts you more than the realisation how wrong you have been

 

Lets open those windows

Come with me my friend, let me open those doors for you,
come with me, let me show you what is outside,
could it be something you never knew,
or something you thought you should never see,
how would you know if you don’t explore

Closed Windows

Nothing grows here

Do you feel the fresh air ? Smell you never experienced before ?
That is flowers, lots of them. Butterflies ? Yes those too,
But they don’t grow here, inside these closed doors,
butterflies, they love it outside when you admire them, run after them,
they die when you keep them them here, behind closed doors

Nothing grows here my friend, nothing except our false wishes,
You’ll have to come out with me, you’ll have to open those windows,
You’ll have to let the fresh air in, you’ll have to come with me …

Let me open those doors for you ….

Are you a Humanist ?

Dont be a Sheep

Dont be a Sheep

One of the misunderstandings we develop is around being Humanist, we start taking it for granted and assume that just by supporting women rights, opposing religions and supporting rights for homosexuals, we have done enough to take ownership of Humanism.

In reality, it involves much more than that, its not only about treating others on the same level but also constantly evaluating your own position as if you’re able to stand up against the injustice without any particular bias. If you’re against Taliban’s killings of innocent people but you cant feel the same pain for an innocent person died because of the bombings carried out by US forces then its time for re-evaluating your own position if you really understand what humanism is.

If you cant stand up against injustice wherever you can, you havent understood the Humanism yet …

Same way if you let injustice happen in a group where you are a member and you decided to stay silent just because you don’t want to get into trouble , you’re a long way short on Humanism.

Humanism simply means to stand up for your own rights and for the rights of others, it was some crazy Humanists who stood up during 1st May’s protests more than 100 years ago which lead to a historical change in the world we live today.

If you would like to see a better tomorrow for your next generations, its time to stand up and abolish the chains of Authoritarian Hierarchies which is only possible by applying the same standards for others that you would like to see for yourself.

Dont be a sheep …