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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hypocrisy, Not Conspiracy


I’ve wanted to say this for a long time, and have reached the boiling point today. Hypocrisy in the Pakistani society is consuming every last bit of humanity within us collectively as a nation. Adherence to cultural assumptions in addition to selective adaptation of Islamic laws is a norm of our culture. I'm a helpless spectator to this abhorrent mixing of inherited traditions with religion. Furthermore, the insatiable desire to somehow re-enact what happened in the Middle East 1400 years ago, coupled with severe lack of education has led to intolerance and irrational hatred towards minorities. These trends continue to grow despite efforts to increase awareness and improve literacy rates in the country.

There's a variety of reasons that can explain the mental sickness an average Pakistani suffers from. Pakistan is a male dominated society. Whether or not the average alpha male spends time at home, he is the rule maker, the source of guidance and wisdom. His decisions in all matters are to be considered correct, his word final, and his judgment binding. He's considered street smart, and tells his kids what the "real world" is like. The only problem with this scenario is that this person is often a hypocrite because he was raised by one.

After he spends his teens and 20s ogling at every female within range, this dominant male of the household will take every step possible to protect his own daughter from the eyes of the world because it’s a matter of "honor ". This behavior is also valid because it is consistent with "what our religion says". But at the same time, he continues to ogle at all other females within any proximity, even if they're completely burqa clad. Islam becomes irrelevant at this point and this is what's passed on to the sons of the family as a norm.

This is the story of our society today. Sex starvation, illiteracy, and the race to demonstrate piety defines us today. We will go out of our way to show how much we love God. We will give sermons on the dining table about Islam. But the dirt inside our brains prevents us from going beyond putting up a religious facade for the world. This is the mullah's Islam: Emphasis on what is apparent to the public rather than cleansing the mind. The results of any treatment are self-evident with time. Had they been treating the mind well, the results would have been different. But sadly, mullahs that roam the streets of Pakistan today are a product of a sick approach that leads one to work on appearance only. These radicalized minds feed on hatred of others. And that's where "Jihad" starts, not with pens against illiteracy, but with guns against the non-believers.

This philosophy also teaches us that foreign powers are responsible for all our ills today. Even if we're ranked number 1 on Google for the keyword "Donkey Sex", it’s because Google is complicit in this conspiracy against us, the pious Pakistanis, living in the fortress of Islam. I understand that there are injustices being done to Muslims around the world, but if most Pakistani men are busy watching porn, hoping that their wives and children don't find out, I wonder how much relevance does religion ultimately bear in all of this mess. If we can't stop staring at women in public, and if we can't stop watching "Donkey Sex", why do we try to act like the Sahaba in all matters pertaining to war and peace? Is all this fanaticism and the resulting loss of life really worth it when we lose our soldiers in war, kill our daughters and wives in the name of honor, while we ourselves watch porn when everyone else is dead or away?

I urge all Pakistanis to think rationally today. Be honest to yourself and to your God if you believe in one. Let's get real. Let's stop depriving women and minorities of their rights. Let's stop enforcing "parda" on our women if all we want to do is ogle at others'. Let's stop confusing cultural and traditional norms with our religion. Let's quit the race to be the most pious and start getting the basics right first. FYI Pakistan, we're one of the most corrupt, lying, and cheating bunch of people in the world today. Let's wake up and first admit that we're not at the center of the universe, we're not the fortress of Islam. Let's just start taking small steps towards being better human beings in addition to being better Muslims. Let's stop giving public sermons on religion if we can't stop ourselves from staring at every woman we see. Let's stop killing people for honor and for laws that we don't obey ourselves, because this is truly madness...and not Sparta.

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