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Opinion

January 1, 2015

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Dark words

Part - I
These words are steps into darkness – the void of the murderous minds that committed the horror in Peshawar. Desecration begins with the killers’ identities. Their faces – four of the seven – frozen by death. Two with their eyes still open, but closed to what they had wrought. One of them with an expression somewhat wry, thoughtful. One with protruding teeth, a nasty sight. Two with fine features, possibly the only fine aspect about them. With eyes shut, unable, finally, to witness their own madness.
Then their names – of prophets, saints, messengers of peace. Umar, Imran, Yousuf, Uzair, Abuzar, Qari. And the odd man out called Chamnay, with a weird alias like Chamtoo. Names chosen for them by mothers and fathers who knew not then that their toddlers would become monsters. What’s in a name? Plenty of history. Yet entirely disconnected with reality.
In the dense unseen, at least nine possibilities hover and disappear. Where does the willingness to kill children, then kill oneself or be killed, originate from? Revenge is probably the first source, against our armed forces for Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists in North Waziristan. Or for previous operations or against drone attacks, operated by the Americans but with Pakistan’s complicity. For the loss of dozens of leaders, friends and colleagues. Revenge for the destruction of their houses – frugal, but after all, homes.
A sense of betrayal jostles shoulders with revenge. Betrayal by elements, previously, or even presently, associated with the infamous agencies that are supposed to manipulate persons like marionettes. Betrayal by former patrons now under new management, no longer willing to support old shenanigans. Betrayal by the state of Pakistan, of their version of pure Islam even as the state calls itself the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The constitution explicitly does declare that no law repugnant to the Holy Quran or the Sunnah will be enacted, nor will

non-Muslims be eligible to be president or prime minister. Non-Muslims, being barely three percent of the population, stand little chance of being nominated leave alone elected to those two positions.
Betrayal of the Shariah, which should have been the supreme law – while not knowing much about which part of the Shariah is undisputed. Betrayal by the state of Pakistan through its friendship with the satanic USA and its Nato allies and their collaborators in Afghanistan.
Hatred darts forward to be a strong third. Visceral, vicious hatred of the ‘other’. Of modern education. Of Malala Yousafzai. Of her male counterparts, who wear ties to boot. Of women principals and teachers, and those who dare to work outside their homes, who wear no burqas, even in Peshawar. Who freely walk in markets, look at mannequins dressed in colourful new fashion displayed in shop windows. Hatred of any of the symbols and substance of new conditions that disrupt the long-familiar. Rage against the rapid , bewildering simultaneity of new trends and technologies. Because they challenge notions of timeless heritage and honour that should never succumb to the temptation of change.
With hatred, or perhaps before it – who can ever know which rumbles first? – comes sheer fear. Of what will happen if one lets the acid of change erase what is said to be written in stone. But unlike revenge, or hatred, or betrayal, fear cannot be acknowledged publicly or privately. Fear hides within oneself. Because fear is the most unmanly attribute of all.
Envy glints as another possibility. There seem to be many who prosper amid all the talk about the economy’s crisis. The urban spreads to the rural. Roads, electricity, new housing estates, new shopping malls, millions of cell phones, conspicuous consumption of fast-moving brands. Beauty soaps, cola drinks, motor-bikes paraded every few minutes on TV, on billboards, even rich new mosques. All of that, and the spill-over from drugs smuggling, Nato trucks for Afghanistan etc pass one by. Even if these are all about exploitative market greed and capitalism at their worst.
As the children of the middle and the upper classes flock to shiny schools, especially Army Public Schools, many others are left to the mercy of solemn madressahs and government schools.
Perversion coughs for attention somewhere in the cave one is exploring. Sadism wants to be noticed. Some odd gene inherited from an ancestor or a parent that permutates into a new DNA of one’s very own.
To gain sickly pleasure derived from causing someone pain. It could also have been acquired, or injected through abuse as a child. An unseen, unspeakable atrocity one had to suffer in total silence because the perpetrator was so close, so well-known to the family, possibly in the family.
To be continued
The writer is a former senator and federal minister. www.javedjabbar.com

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