Tag Archives: denial

Living in Denialistan

Raza Rumi

The recent attack on Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine is another reminder of the plain truth that the Pakistani state needs to focus on its domestic crises rather than remain obsessive about external threats. The unholy conglomerate comprising al Qaeda, sectarian outfits and elements within the state has targeted Karachi’s best-known public and cultural space. This is a continuation of Islamist battles against Pakistan.

Yet, apologists remain adamant. Butchering of civilians and annihilation of a plural Sufi culture is a reaction, we are told. First, it was the US occupation of Afghanistan, then the invasion of Iraq and now drone attacks in Pakistan. True, Muslims and Pakistanis are enraged at US policies and its sheer arrogance in dealing with the region. But using anti-Americanism as an excuse to overlook the growing cancer of bigotry at home is disingenuous and dangerous for our future. Continue reading

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Denial-istan

by Farrukh Rehan

Every morning I roll out of bed and scan the papers on the net. Today, like most days, I find something distressing about Pakistan. As part of my new routine I call my younger brother in Lahore. The exchange is familiar to both of us: No, he wasn’t near the suicide bombing/commando attack/ mammoth demonstration/drone fired missile. Yes he will be careful and will not visit fancy restaurants where he may be targeted in an attack against “Western” establishments, and yes, he agreed, he will not go to pray at mosques either, which perplexingly also seem to be a favoured target of the radical Islamic extremists who send the suicide bombers.

It is a devastating failure of state for any country when its citizens have to think twice before going to their place of worship. But the biggest failure of all is the utter inability of the leadership of Pakistan, both civilian and military, to unite the Pakistani people against this grave and imminent threat, and to explain to them what is going on, who is attacking the very core of the republic and what needs to be done to defeat this threat. Continue reading

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Pakistan at Cross-roads: Democracy, Terror and the Politics of Denial

Shaharyar Ali’s candid expose is a summary of Pakistan’s woes and afflictions that have once again brought us closer to war. We hope that the current tensions will subside when both India and Pakistan use diplomacy, cooperation and trust-building as strategies that will replace jingoism and war-mantra. At least, some of us in Pakistan are willing to be self-critical. Let’s hope our friends across the border undertake a similar exercise. (Raza Rumi -editor)

Pakistan is not a democracy; it’s a country in democratic transition. After a long military rule, the oligarchy which has been ruling this country since day one has agreed to share some power with politicians. This arrangement is being hailed as “democracy” in Pakistan and which is also being blamed for every thing, from incompetence to corruption, two of the most frequently used charges which have been used by oligarchy to take power directly in their hands. Whilst corporatization of media is being hailed as “freedom of media”, aestheticization of radicalism is going on, the anti-establishment slogans of democratic forces are being converted into mantras chanted by every one from Jamate Islami to General Hameed Gul, and no one bothers to understand what the values of oligarchy were and what the values of democratic forces in Pakistan were.

With a country in democratic transition, we often forget that policies of post-colonial states especially those like Pakistan which had taken Neo-fascist turn some time in their history [Zia era], cannot be reversed in few months. It needs a structural reform within the state itself. With a few months of PPP-ANP coalition such a structural reform has not yet occurred. Attempts to do such reform have been severely criticized by dominant classes in Pakistan and hence have to be abandoned. Attempts by PPP to bring ISI under political control were converted into a scandal by corporate media and its allies. Similar campaign is going on with the Pakhtoonkhawa issue where Right wing has openly come up in arms against government. These two issues represent the core issues when it comes to challenge the oligarchy. ISI has been blamed by almost all political forces in Pakistan for its attempts to control democracy and for spreading Jihad. [Jamate Islami and PML-N joined this anti-ISI campaign during Musharraf era, once he has gone both of them have again joined the so called “patriotic camp” as opposed to Socialists and Nationalists who were historically considered Indian agents and security risks]. Continue reading

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Islam has become its own enemy:Subverting the discourse of exclusion 3

“Discourse” is nothing but all “written and verbal communication”. In line of Gramsci and later Foucault we have to understand “discourse” as “institutionalized” way of thinking, or in words of Judith Butler “limits of acceptable” speech. Its these limits which must be subverted in order to reach a true libertarian discourse. The discourse is controlled by means of “exclusion”, no other opinion simply exists. Foucault writes:

“I am supposing that is every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organized and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is to avert its powers and its dangers, to cope with chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome materiality. In a society such as our own we all know the rules of exclusion. The most obvious and familiar of these concerns what is prohibited

“Of the three great systems of exclusion governing discourse — prohibited words, the division of madness and the will to truth ———“

“I believe we must resolve ourselves to accept three decisions which our current thinking rather tends to resist, and which belong to the three groups of function I have just mentioned: to question our will to truth; to restore to discourse its character as an event; to abolish the sovereignty of the signifier…. One can straight away distinguish some of the methodological demands they imply. A principle of reversal, first of all…. Next, then, the principle of discontinuity ….”

I am planning to do all this , i am trying to bring forward the “prohibited voices”, those which have been totally eclipsed in the society by the dominant discourse. This is not “endorsing” one and rejecting “others”, rather, its simply a act of breathing , an act of subversion ,of saying what is not pleasant to hear, Its simply an act of living in the rotten stagnant conformity.

Due to the overtly political nature of “war on terror”, Islamism has suffered a qualitative change , it has taken the postmodern shape. The Progressive Islamist circles have in turn become “Post-Islamists”, the result is emergence of a discourse which is reactionary, anti modern and some times overtly racist and fascist.

Islam has nothing to do with violence

Islam needs no re thinking or change

Its all Jewish conspiracy

Its all America’s fault. Continue reading

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