Monday, February 24, 2014
February 21, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
The chips are down. The fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force have finally pounded a few hideouts of the murderous Taliban who have been wantonly killing the innocent civilians and military personnel alike. That action came in retaliation to the slaughter or slaying of 23 captured Frontier constabulary soldiers by Taliban.
It is good that finally a reluctant Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to swallow this bitter pill and order such indispensable and overdue action. His move to strike a deal with the unyielding and unpredictable Taliban was indeed well-intentioned and an earnest effort to attain peace through dialogue and quid pro quo.
However, the dialogue takes places and produces expected outcome when both the interlocutors are on the same page and genuinely interested to come to amicable terms. Perhaps Taliban underestimated or purposely or even disdainfully disregarded or misconstrued the government’s offer of olive branch to end the bloodshed.
The military action has been delayed certainly but it is yet not too late. The PMLN regime has earned a dividend of choosing the peaceful course first and thus it stands exonerated from the blame or stigma that it opted for use of force without first resorting to the peaceful overtures and amicable endeavors.
It should be expected that the military onslaught would not be halted and punctured halfway without rooting out the menace and scourge of militants destabilizing Pakistan with their orgy of blood and incessant terrorism. The Taliban militants have been attacking the military complexes and headquarters with impunity inflicting heavy losses both human casualties and serious blows to military equipment including blowing up military air-crafts.
If the strikes and anti Taliban offensive continues unabated for quite some time, one can forebode the crippling and elimination of this furious pedigree of religious fighters who by their savage militancy are serving neither Islam nor the people at large.
Their strategy is to drive fear and terrorize the people to blindly and docilely accept their version of an Islamic regime which means the country should be renamed as Islamic emirate, chief boss of the country should be called Amirul-Momineen (the leader of the faithful) and his second in command should be titled caliph.
Now this concept of statehood flies in the face of a modern, democratic and nation state. The kind of state or caliphate that this ignorant lot of renegades wants to impose on Pakistan and even Afghanistan cannot find its parallel or model even during medieval and early eras of Islamic dynasties. From Omayyad to Ottoman Empire all were secular and family kingdoms or authoritarian reigns.
Even in preset times of democracy and enlightenment, Saudi Arabia is called the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. Saudi Arabia is the abode of Islam, and yet negates the Islamic rule of choosing the head of the government by popular vote. In sheer violation of the Islamic canon or practice of Khilafat-e-Rashida it is not a caliphate but a kingdom ruled by Saud family and is named after the ruling family.
The other states and emirates in the Middle East or Arab peninsula too are the family fiefdoms and thus have nothing to do with such lofty concepts that” power belongs to the people” as well as, equality, justice and fundamental rights.
A modern secular state offers most conducive conditions and congenial environment for religious freedom and fear-free practice of one’s religion. A rigid dogmatic, ruthlessly orthodox, bigoted and sectarian state leads to the suffocation and stifling of religious pluralism and diversity of faiths.
An isolated island of merciless, intolerant and narrow minded regime as the Taliban want to establish never existed, nor can it function. Such a regime cannot be compatible with the norms of independence, fusion of cultures and integration that is pervading the globe.
So the elements and forces within Pakistan that harbor some kind of sympathy and support for these queer and freak guys and later day Islamic warrior should rethink their outlook. The Taliban are the product of the last two or three decades.
Jamaat Islami for one is condemning the military action vehemently by accusing the army of killing innocent people which means Taliban. They supported such an action in East Pakistan over four decades ago. If Taliban are innocent then all devils and killers should also be treated as sinless.
Jamaat-e-Islami opposed the creation of Pakistan and now is busy in dismantling it. They are wholly or partly responsible for separation of former East Pakistan. Ironically they are sympathizing with a band of thugs and heartless bounty hunters and accusing Pakistan army for an overdue and belated action.
Such crony religio-political outfits such as JUI are lashing out at the army and denouncing the army operation. This is also one of the political parties that opposed the creation of Pakistan. They have been pulling every trick in their kitty to weaken Pakistan and at the same time blackmailing every government and making hay while the sun shines. Their leaders always speak with their tongues in cheek and grudgingly support any plan that leads to a better Pakistan.
Neither the incumbent government nor the armed forces should relent in their indispensable blitz against these monsters called by default as Taliban. The use of brutal force surgical or targeted is the only option to debilitate the infrastructure of Taliban. This option should remain open and used whenever there is a blast o terrorist attack by these enemies of Pakistan.
If the Taliban attack anywhere in Pakistan the armed forces should retaliate with full might. Their presence and continuation among the civil society and damaging Pakistan’s economy its infrastructure and social peace is like a proverbial “Damocles Sword” and constant threat to the solidarity, integrity and progress of Pakistan. It is overdue to break that sword. It’s time to nip this evil.
Monday, February 10, 2014
February 9, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
The incumbent PMLN regime in Pakistan is striving hard to normalize relations with neighboring India. It is bending over heavily backward and ready to go extra mile for a new beginning of peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship with the big neighbor.
But such an earnest ambition and thrust may not fructify because India would never be ready to part an inch of Kashmir to Pakistan or to Kashmiris. It is another matter if both agree to declare the line of control as the permanent border.
Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s outlook and perception about friction-free relations between India and Pakistan is laudable and promising for the stability and progress of both the countries. During his earlier two stints as the Pakistan’s prime minister he has addressed this prime issue very diligently. As a result of that the then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made an historic visit to Pakistan in February 1999 to inaugurate the Delhi-Lahore bus service.
The Lahore Declaration signed by Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Vajpayee enshrined among others, such momentous clauses as initiation of process for permanent settlement of Kashmir dispute, expansion of trade relations and denuclearizing South Asia.
Unfortunately the Kargil conflict watered down that milestone accord as military under Musharraf did not want a rapprochement with India. Furthermore, Mian Nawaz Sharif was deposed on October 12, 1999 in a military take -over throwing up the then COAS Pervez Musharraf as the head of state.
The bitterness and the malaise of strained relationship are spawned by the hardliners and fanatics of all sorts on both the sides, most notably the religious outfits. As such in a festering animus loaded environment, it is difficult to presage if Pakistan and India can forget their strife ridden past and embark upon a path of abiding friendship.
Unfortunately, India and Pakistan thus far have failed to sort out their mutual disputes for lasting peace and good neighborliness. There is no precedent in the past that they worked out a bilaterally acceptable solution or agreement with regard to such thorny issues as the demarcation of borders, mutual trade, the apportionment of water from rivers flowing down into Pakistan or the paramount lingering Kashmir issue. The Indus Basic Treaty was breached by India being the upper riparian.
There is no record of accomplishments for the two neighbors liberated from the British colonial yoke in 1947 of sitting down and coming up with a recipe of veritable peace and friendship. India will not give up her hold on Kashmir, nor will Pakistan or Kashmiri nation relinquish or forego their claim about holding a pledged plebiscite to elicit the local population’s opinion as to which country they would prefer to join.
Indian deems Kashmir as an integral part of Indian federation while Pakistan’s standpoint is that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status has yet to be determined by the people of Kashmir though a plebiscite.
The three wars, in 1948, 1965, and 1971 followed by brief skirmishes in Kargil in July 1999 have failed to bring about change of hearts on both the sides. The fact is that primarily it is Pakistan that would be the major beneficiary of the illusive settlement of the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
For that matter, India would not let Pakistan off the hook lest it can move forward on a course of stability, progress, and prosperity. By facilitating cross border trade Pakistan would earn 12 billion dollars per annum.
India’s military intervention in Bangladesh in 1971 led to the dismemberment of Pakistan and a humiliating defeat for the Pakistan’s armed forces. The Simla Agreement signed in 1972 between India and Pakistan, binds both the countries to settle all contentious issues via parleys to be conducted in the framework of the UN Charter.
Now building of 22 barrages by India on rivers emanating from Kashmir apart from being a violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, would give a complete control to India to stop or release water to Pakistan, which is a lower riparian. India agreed to sign Indus Basin Treaty because it deprived Pakistan of three rivers. Otherwise, she would have never agreed if such a treaty had impinged upon her interests.
There can never be a consensus agreement on water distribution and a workable arrangement for water share to Pakistan because India would never do anything that would even marginally benefit Pakistan. Indus Basin Treaty or no treaty, Pakistan agricultural sector would always remain at the mercy of India for release of water that she would do after taking care of her domestic needs.
If Pakistan doesn't get enough water, it would be exposed always to a looming threat of drought and famine. Tacitly India’s preference has been to turn Pakistan into a market for disposal of her products both industrial and agricultural.
Both the countries have not been able to smoothen and ease flow of cross border travel because of stringent visa rules that bar the travelers from either country to go beyond the cities specified in the passport. The intelligence operatives chase and keep a strict watch on the visitors until they depart. There have been many instances when a visitor was apprehended on mere suspicion and languished in Indian jails for years.
Besides, since the inception of both the states in 1947, Pakistan has remained under unrelenting diplomatic, military, economic, and psychological pressure from India. So the talk of CBMS (confidence building measures) is a mere ploy to obfuscate the real issues. Both countries have varying and different interpretation for CBMS.
For Pakistan, primarily it is the easy movement of citizens of both the states without much of harassment and strict conditions. For India, it is to allow India to export her goods to Pakistani without any let or hindrance. While Pakistan has ever remained ready to talk on substantive issues India’s priorities and prerogatives have been focused on pushing them to back burners or keeping in a state of limbo.
Good neighborly relations between Pakistan and India have remained elusive because there is no overwhelming goodwill or an earnest desire to resolve the contentious issues bedeviling their relationship for almost seven decades. At people’s level, the deep-seated animus can be witnessed when a match is being played or a situation of tension like the attack on a Bombay hotel arises.
The Hindu extremists have been demonstrating the anti-Muslim vendetta by lynching and burning the Muslims and their houses in ethnic and communal clashes. One such horrible mayhem happened in Gujarat and Ahmadabad when Muslims suffered a kind of carnage and mini genocide at the hands of Hindu extremists. These anti Muslims riots continued for three months causing unspecified number of deaths and casualties and loss of property.
The hate and the animosity have a history of a thousand years between the Muslims and Hindus. Hindus think that Muslims were primarily aliens and intruders into the sacred Hindustava or Bharat Mata and they have no right to live and survive in the Indian subcontinent.
Muslims, though, have been rulers in India until the British came, seldom indulged in the persecution or ethnic cleansing or proselytizing their religious minorities. The Muslim rulers like Akbar married with Hindu women and invariably treated Hindu population well and on equal level.
While Pakistan is caught in the throes of a civil war at home front and also has been fighting a proxy war for the west, it cannot afford to ignite a crisis situation that can lead to a war and military confrontation with India. Given the Indian expanding role and interest in Afghanistan, Pakistan is genuinely worried that it night get a push both from the eastern and western fronts once the foreign occupation troops leave Afghanistan.
Only the time would unravel if the future Afghan government would allow India to carry on its anti Pakistan activities and be able to incite pro-Indian Afghan and tribal militants against Pakistan for an insurgency. There are rumors that India was backing the insurgency now going on in Balochistan for separation. However, hopefully Pakistan would be able to stem the extremists’ militancy in Balochistan as it did in Swat, Dir, and Malakand and of late in South Waziristan.
. India is more interested in dislodging China in Balochistan. India is deeply incensed over the Chinese running the Gawadar port. Moreover it would not want an increasing influence of China by way of a motorway linking Karachi with Kashgar or establishment of industrial zones on Pakistani territory.
However Chinese presence in Pakistan in a way would also be a redeeming feature for Pakistan. India may not venture creating further troubles for Pakistan or military action for fear of Chinese reprisals in safeguarding here own commercial interests.
Therefore, in the backdrop of this endemic and seething hostility, any goodwill visits to other country by politicians would hardly make any difference in generating genuine and sincere cordiality between India and Pakistan.
The former Indian External Affairs Minister, S. M. Krishna came to Pakistan on a three-day visit in July 2010 with a “message of peace and friendship from the people of India”. Yet that proved to be another futile attempt in mending fences even marginally between two inveterate adversaries.
Since then four years have passed and there doesn't seem to be any demonstration of goodwill. As the past betokens the possibility of a far reaching or watershed breakthrough at present or in future looks remote. Such visits have been window-dressing and cosmetic without throwing up tangible outcome for fostering a real era of friendship and peace between India and Pakistan.
However one would wish that China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and even Iran can join hands through a regional treaty to work for the uplift, peace and economic cooperation of this part of South Asia. Wars and military engagements are not lasting answer to the stability and advancement of this thus far neglected region especially war-torn Afghanistan.
One can hope that better sense prevails. The first giant step towards lasting peace, enduring goodwill and abiding mutual understanding between Pakistan and India is the dire need to resolve their lingering disputes. One such paramount bone of contention is the Kashmir issue.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
February 5, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
There seems to be a slim chance for the negotiating team put up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to strike a deal with the shrew and battle hardened Taliban and to convince them to lay down arms and join the society as peaceful and law abiding citizens. The sticking point is obviously their focus on a bloody struggle for enforcement of rigid and radical Islamic shariah in Pakistan.
If their brand of Sharia is even partially enforced and interpolated in the constitution, then Pakistan would recede to the times of Assassins in the Middle East and Vandals in Europe. Any reconciliation between an elected constitutional government and renegade Taliban is inherently contradictory, i.e., savage inhuman system vs a representative rule.
The assassins were eliminated by the Mongols to rid the Islamic regimes from that curse. Same unforgiving blitz is needed to wipe off this scourge from the soil of Pakistan. Bu perhaps there seems to be a kind of catch and trickery behind this overture of the incumbent regime not to be blamed later that it did not offer an olive branch to the brute Taliban. The refusal from Taliban for a deal could morally justify the military action against the TTP network of hordes.
According to a news report TTP’s monthly earnings from extortion, kidnapping, drug trade and bounty killings in Karachi alone have exceeded 115 million dollars. Therefore, they would go down fighting but would not submit.
As a ferocious, religious conglomeration, their affiliates and members prefer dying for a swift placement in paradise. Such is the level of powerful indoctrination by the zealots of that outfit created by Pakistan herself in yester-years.
Taliban would not relinquish their militancy no matter Pakistan goes extra mile, to accommodate their conditions. Such a hope is prematurely doomed for the obvious reasons laid out in the foregoing narrative. The taming of hardcore religious bigots and tenacious fighters is a far cry and cannot be attained by solicitation or sweet overtures.
The underlying purpose of Taliban and their supporters from the mainstream politico- religious parties is to revive the pristine Islamic caliphate and towards the attainment of this objective they would never compromise or budge.
Even if by a miracle they join hands with the government, they would not abandon their option of falling out with the civilian or democratic government. They would not abandon their fanatic creed anyway. The induction of Taliban factions into the democratic political culture of Pakistan would remain like strange and incompatible bedfellow and would backfire.
The ongoing, unrelenting mayhem of terrorism is primarily being spawned and tenaciously carried out by Taliban and sectarian rivals. It would be spine-chilling to imagine what would happen to Pakistan if such rigid, extremist and ruthless militants as Taliban, in tandem with the homegrown religio-political groups, become shareholders in power.
In that horrid situation would Pakistan be any different from Syria and Iraq or certain African countries where religious insurgents are braced against the states and also fighting one another on the sectarian basis?
The Al-Qaida and Al-shabab and various shades of Taliban are a newborn face of the erstwhile religious fundamentalist forces. The present day religious outfits with stubborn agenda and unflinching will to fight the heathens are a spillover from the past.
It is mind boggling to watch that in these times of enlightenment, liberalism, free societies, the human rights, the planet Earth is still infested with such rogue bands that want the obscure dogmatic orders to be revived and implemented in entirety.
So the only effective and absolute mechanism for dealing with the radical militants is to exterminate them physically and destroy and debilitate their militancy with full might of the state. If in Pakistan the skirmishes with the Taliban and Al-Qaida continue unabated, there would never be an end or any tangible result coming out of these.
The compelling reason is that those who are killed among the insurgents are filled by new cadres and volunteers indoctrinated and motivated by religious zealots and fiery demagogues with a dainty and alluring promise of straight away going to paradise as martyrs.
In the hindsight let us recollect that Pakistan along with other Islamic regimes created a force of universal Islamic crusaders to fight ungodly Russians in rugged Afghanistan as allies of a free and religious Christian world led by the United States.
What a hoax it was that while the Islamic countries were arraigned against the Russian with a resounding spirit of Islamic resurgence, the underlying catch was to bring victory of capitalism over communism.
While the second purpose has been ideally served, the first one (creation of militants) has became a lasting millstone around the neck of Pakistan. It is like a Frankenstein ever ready to swallow its own creator which in this case is Pakistan. Pakistan allowed its land and manpower for the fulfillment of a goal that was extraneous to its national interests. Hence we see the proliferation of terrorism all over Pakistan by Taliban and hardcore religious fanatics.
The pitiless Taliban and their cohorts had virtually occupied Swat valley in 2007. They were driven out with full-fledged military operations in 2007 and 2009. One could gauge the resilience and the devious way the Taliban broadened their tentacles based on primitive orthodoxy in that marvelous enchanting valley.
From Swat valley they were planning to march towards the federal capital of Pakistan Islamabad and terrorize the local population through coercive regimentation. They and their agents forced the people to abide by religious injunctions such as for the ladies to cover their head in the market places.
The Taliban and their ilk would resist, thwart and block, by every conceivable means, all such endeavors that overhaul Pakistan into a modern frame. The fundamental question is whether Pakistan survives as a modern state or succumbs to the dictates of Taliban and fanatic orthodox religious entities.
The choice is certainly a modern state with a secular and pluralistic edifice erected on the foundation of an enlightened Islam. It would not be advisable or thinkable to live with a monster like Taliban and then expect to remain unscathed.
The dream of crafting a modern egalitarian, Liberal, pluralistic and democratic society in Pakistan is entirely out of sync with the crude model of statehood envisioned by the obscurantist and the conservative Islamic forces. Islam fundamentally is a progressive religion and can tailor itself with the changing times.
The creed and ideologies of fundamentalists and reactionary religious assortments are retrogressive and negate the fruits of modern times such as advancement in technology, universal culture of humanism, pluralism, inclusiveness, emancipation of women folks and a fusion of religion with modernity and so on.
The sectarian and ideological conflicts now rife in the Islamic countries are the formidable hurdles in their progress and getting into the strides of modern nation states. With the advent of a fossilized version of Islam imposed on Pakistan, the country can transform into a medieval state but not the one that is indispensable in the present times of enlightenment and awakening.
The conservative Islamic societies are in a state of flux and groping how to explore an identity that simultaneously serves both their religious obligations and the imperative of the present times.
Monday, February 3, 2014
January 24, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
My considered opinion is that PSNT (Pakistan Society of North Texas), a patently white elephant representative body of the Pakistanis residing in DFW should be disbanded. I have no grudge against the stalwarts or officer holders of this merely showoff organization of expatriate Pakistanis in the metropolitan region of Dallas and Forthwith.
They are good looking glamorous individuals dressed in fine and custom made sartorial elegance and enjoying lot of clout and goodwill among the Pakistani and even in Indians community. I am purely talking about the efficacy and usefulness of this good- for- nothing outfit that somehow looks like pain in the neck or a kind of redundant body that if dissolved would not bring any harm to the Pakistanis as it is not dispensing any good either.
The best or the distinctive role that the PSNT has been focused on is to hold two functions once a year. One is Pakistan’s Independence Day on 14 August. The other is Pakistan Day on March 23 in commemoration of the passing of the Pakistan Resolution in 1940 at Lahore.
These are very laudable programs but what else? A representative society as the PSNT is ought to address the social, economic, legal, and medical and a host of other problems of its ethnic groups or the people hailing from the same country of origin.
Let me mention an incident exposing deliberate apathy on the part of the incumbent PSNT bosses towards a distressing humanitarian cause. Last year a poor lonely Pakistani Junaid Khan died of a heart attack. While the dead body of Junaid was kept in Rahma funeral home, a fellow Pakistani Ali Rizvi appealed to the Pakistani community to donate for sending his dead body to Pakistan. Only three good hearted philanthropists offered to bear the expenses for that cause. The funds apart, the bigwigs of the PSNT did not even bother to issue a statement of condolence.
In contrast, the same year in the month of March, PSNT celebrated the Pakistan Day in a posh hotel with lot of fanfare and gusto. That evening must have cost the PSNT a good amount of money and this money must have been collected from the members or shared by the PSNT executive body.
The point to ponder is that while a grand gala function fits into the priorities of the PSNT, a humanitarian appeal, first of its kind, was ignored under the pretext of regulations. It is a public knowledge that the PSNT has a sizeable amount deposited in its account.
Now the mandate of such a prestigious entity ought to bring the people together, cultivate their former countrymen or those with dual nationality on a variety of issues ranging from integration to education. It should hold cultural meets, variety shows depicting Pakistan dresses and other cultural manifestations.
It can also encourage or patronize cultural fairs, poetic sessions and celebrate American special days.
It should foster goodwill among the low and high, advantaged and disadvantaged, educated and uneducated. It can generate sense of togetherness and loyalty to both our new and old country of origin. It has to visit the afflicted people in their homes and meet the families involved in domestic disputes, help those with health problems and create pro bono cadres of Pakistan or South Indian attorneys for legal assistance. The office bearers should call upon the people hospitalized due to serious sickness.
When Mr. Irfan Toor was the president of PSNT, he initiated a useful program of informing the Pakistani community through a special supplement or magazine that would detail ongoing programs of PSNT. This bulletin would be published prior to special days of Pakistan like Pakistan Day and the Independence Day.
Even otherwise there would be lot of activities and Mr Toor would take personal interest in promoting goodwill and keeping in touch with the Pakistani community. Those days are gone and these are now merely glamour, feast and music that are observed and that too at a huge cost and in the company of select gathering that can pay for costly tickets.
We have observed that special interest groups within the Pakistan community try to take over the PSNT reins for perhaps business or personal interests and to be effective to talk to the local authorities for benefits and perks and advantages. In the past there used to be one dominant group that was like a king maker and any executive body or president could not be appointed without its approval.
During Mr Toor’s tenure perhaps for the first time fair elections were held. Thereafter and before him, it was only change of hands and mere transfer of PSNT from one powerful and elite group to another.
We have also observed that shady tactics and devious bottlenecks are deliberately created in the way of holding genuine elections. The lists of the voters are tempered with on one excuse or another. There must be thousands of Pakistani origin Americans in DFW but only a minuscule are members of this otherwise prestigious body.
Why the Pakistanis are not motivated to take membership and thus making this organization more powerful to safeguard the interests of the American Pakistanis? Such a meaningful and far reaching effort has never been made and a kind of stale and outdated list is being maintained for the elections. We all know how the last elections of PSNT were manipulated and through trickery a special group was inducted into PSNT.
So when the PSNT is not delivering what it ought to deliver then better it is disbanded. More productive are the services of individual philanthropists and social activist like Dr Basheer Ahmed, Mike Ghouse, Farooq Khan, Azad Khan, John Hamid, Irfan Ali, Ghulam Jhangra, Khaliq Qureshi Sahib, and many others whose record of service to the Pakistani community is much brighter and profoundly selfless than the PSNT.
The Pakistan community doesn’t need a showy organization to represent them. They need sincere and dedicated spokespersons and custodians who work hard and sincerely for the community.
January 27, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
Let me first of all warmly compliment Mike Ghouse and his companions for holding the Seventh Exhibition cum Symposium on a crucial phenomenon that we all know as holocaust. This august event took place on January 26 in the spacious hall of the Unity Church of Dallas.
Holocaust is a dreadful and ghastly dimension of human civilization that has been happening since the dawn of civilization and perhaps even earlier than that. Let me quote one important episode from the known history preserved in Bible and also in the holy Quran.
When Prophet Moses liberated the Jewish nation from centuries old stranglehold of the Pharaohs who were the mighty emperors of their own time, they marched into the Sinai desert and settled there for 40 years. Thereafter they perpetrated the first distinctly documented genocide of the peaceful population in the land of Canaan. They killed the inhabitants including the infants indiscriminately and with savagery that is beyond description.
The Jewish nation itself suffered terrible genocides at least four times in history: one at the hands of Babylon Empire, second under the Roman Empire, third in Spain and fourth in Nazi Germany. The Muslims too faced the similar appalling genocides. Apart from other cities of Muslim rule, the Mongols, laid waste the capital of the Islamic caliphate Baghdad in 1258 and killed 1.6 million Muslims. This mass annihilation of Baghdad is recorded as the most heinous genocide carried out during the Middle Ages.
Besides the Muslims suffered terrible genocides in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Spain at the hands of the victor Christian crusaders. In Spain where they ruled for seven centuries, they were entirely massacred and expelled along with the Jews. Those left somehow were finally deported in 1609.
In history the Muslims, the Christians and Jews have been alternating in killing each other adopting a parched earth drive and ethnic cleansing policies. England passed through a spell of genocides at the hands of Romans and Vikings in early times.The Holocaust and genocide can be treated as synonyms carrying the diabolic connotation that implies the wholesale massacres and extermination of a race of segment of human beings. During the last two centuries several grisly genocides have taken place.
The British colonial armies in their frantic onslaught to expand the abominable colonialism marched on the vast continent of America. Those who arrived first were called pilgrimages. Their beastly annihilation of the local population have no parallel in history. They kept on wiping off the local population called native Indians with such a diabolic obsession that continued till it culminated into a civil war between the federalists and the co federalist.
The native inhabitants called red or native Indians and now American Indians were easy prey to their superior weaponry and fighting tactics. The natives fought back with primitive arrows, batons and swords against the merciless pogroms of the invaders who were more like bounty hunters. The natives’ mainstay of living, cattle and buffaloes were totally wiped off.
They were infested with deadly epidemics of diseases like small pox to die if left alive from the pointblank shooting of the well armed and disciplined killers. Even children sucking their mothers’ breasts were not spared. The slogan of the British generals was that “only good Indian is dead Indian”. Approximately 100 million native Indians perished in this the most macabre genocides in the human history after Mongols’ curse.
The exhibition of the Indian genocide displayed extremely heart wrenching and harrowing scenes making the onlookers wonder how human beings could be as callous and barbaric as to slaughter a helpless, primitive and defense segment of human race.
The exhibits and graphics showed huge piles of dead bodies with killer soldiers standing aside with devilish smiles on their faces after performing this hideous job. The copies of the scrolls, orders and parchments issued by the British commanders were also displayed. In those documents reflects the hate and obsession to kill the local population without any compunction. The exhibition continued from 3p.m.to 7 p.m. when the whole program came to close.
I was thrilled and rather entranced by the presentations and speeches’ during the two hours session conducted in the main hall of the church. The speakers’ spoke about the Native Americans holocaust, the 2002 Gujarat massacre and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in India. The Jewish holocaust at the hands of the Nazis in Germany was portrayed in video clips, prepared by Christiana Amanpour, the celebrated CNN anchor. Mike Ghouse, the principal organizer of this phenomenal yearly event told his side of the story about the genocide.
The keynote speaker and host of this memorable evening Mary Ann Thompson-Frank expressed her empirical impressions about the Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 humans were killed. Mary is immensely knowledgeable, highly articulate with flair of oration. She was eloquent, vocal and gave an excellent account and grasp of the subject and kept the audience riveted to her discourse.
I was personally greatly impressed by fluency and candor in dishing out her thoughts and observations. This highly fruitful and greatly enlightening session included a peace pledge by Mike Ghouse followed by a poignantly sad and moving Native American Mourning Song.
This distinctive and remarkable seminar would add another feather in the cap of Mike Ghouse and his associates in highlighting and rekindling an issue for the civilized nations to reflect and ponder how to foster love and harmony among the people of this planet mother earth. It should serve as a grim reminder and resounding lesson for the human race that never again any genocide or holocaust be allowed to happen.
Such seminars and symposiums emit the divine and cardinal message that the age of barbarians and beast is over and we should all live in harmony and peace and work in unison for the collective good of the entire human race. Those who voluminously collaborated and sponsored in this effort among others were ‘Muslims Together’, ‘American Indian Genocide Museum’, Mnemosyne institute and Foundation for Pluralism. A sumptuous dinner was served at the end to all, the speakers and the spectators alike.