May 2nd, 2011

ACT | loose lips sink ships

(no subject)

I wish I could say I have thoughts, even feelings on Osama being found and killed that were separate from fear, I wish I could talk about this in a rational manner but I can't. I don't have internet at my uni house so I heard about it this morning from my mother and I am glad, I am glad for the relief that the people who suffered at the hands of Al Qaeda's terrorism, particularly during the attacks at 9/11 feel and my heart goes out to them. Obama's speech was wonderful and it was tempered and I'm sure many people were proud of it.

It cannot, however, be an instance that brings me unabated joy because my stomach is in knots. Osama was found in Abbotabad, a sleepy, privileged town in Pakistan that is far from the outlawed North West Frontier province that we'd believed him to be in and already, the geographical significance of his whereabouts is making itself abundantly clear and the blame game has begun. I cannot in anyway support the Pakistani government or the ISI and I never have done but the international media and also, the Western powers in general have a long, muddied history of being unable to separate a government from its people. Pakistan is not one entity. It is a country. A country made up of many people who feel different things, who react to things differently, it is a country, it is perhaps more fragmented and more fractured than any other country in the world. It is not a monolithic entity. No land is.

The implication that is being bandied about that Pakistan mourns his death or that the Pakistani people as a whole were hiding him is absurd and more than that it is dangerous, it is terrifying to me because the entire reaction to this event has been quartered into either a celebration that devalues the effect that this event has on any country other than America or to attack Pakistan for its role. The country has already been under drone attacks, however little they may be publicized. These have formerly stuck to the more provincial areas. My natural reaction is to think that they may now progress to the much more densely populated cities. I really hope I'm wrong. If they progress into any part of Punjab, the country might not survive it given that the bulk of our revenue is situated there.

Ironically, political commentators are already struggling to unravel the myth as to how Pakistan could possibly be a victim of terror given that it has housed a criminal leader for so long. Simultaneously, Al Qaeda has declared war on Zadari's government. I wonder if this will mean attacking and killing leaders or just mindlessly blowing up mosques and places of work in our cities. This is the devil and the deep blue sea. I don't see an escape route.

Simon Tisdall of The Guardian has already called Osama an iconic figure in the Muslim world. I know of no Muslim who considered him a hero, which is not to belie that some must exist but to call them anything but the extremists and fundamentalist that they must be is -- I don't know what it is. I am out of words.

If anyone with more expertise or knowledge on the matter wants to elaborate my understanding or correct any mistakes I have made, they are free to do so. I will only appreciate it.