Since 10 am this morning, our cell phones have been switched off; apparently to prevent miscreants to communicate with each other to create wider violence; result, however, is that I cannot invite guests for my evening show since we have lost the habit of using landlines and we don’t even have land line numbers of most people..I had to talk to my lawyer for a court hearing but can’t; I am doing a consulting project but cannot reach my team members… meanwhile, I am looking at the bizarre scenes of loot and arson by mobs consisting of very young kids – sometimes as young as 8 or 9 – they are attacking cinemas and video shops; police is over-stretched to the point of losing all control except strong presence across diplomatic buildings…. it is obvious that situation in Pakistan has transformed itself into something different; it’s no more about the “film” and that idiot who made it or was persuaded by some “mastermind” to make it… At this moment it is the situation in Pakistan that should concern us; it’s the responsibility of all educated aware citizens like yourself to do some “audit’ and “soul-searching” on what things have become and why we need to learnt to protest in different ways.
it is obvious that situation in Pakistan has transformed itself into something different; it’s no more about the “film” and that idiot who made it or was persuaded by some “mastermind” to make it… At this moment it is the situation in Pakistan that should concern us; it’s the responsibility of all educated aware citizens like yourself to do some “audit’ and “soul-searching” on what things have become and why we need to learnt to protest in different ways.
I understand people when angry must be allowed to protest, and protests can become wild and violent in developing countries; also I think governments are faced with a political situation in which “right wing religious parties” are exploiting the film issue to empower themselves and push the politics to the right; secular parties like PPP, PMLN, PTI and MQM are thus fear losing space; I have seen many reasonable politicians saying film maker is “wajib-ul-qatal” on tv and I know them intimately and I know that they are only saying this because of the fear of their religious minded constituents; but all this has created a totally new situation; I am not absolving the US government for failing in their responsibilities, they could have shown a more robust action against the film maker and it would have helped across the Muslim world but then they too have their right wingers, secular fanatics and Islam haters who would pounce upon the Obama Administration the moment it would be seen sympathetic to Muslim concerns…but leave all this aside for a moment and just look at the “style of protests” Why protests means attacking video shops and cinemas? beating anyone who is not willing to walk along? why throw stones? I wonder why district governments and the leaders of the protests – especially when the governments have welcomed protests- could not agree on large grounds & squares as venues, where leaders could deliver speeches, public can shout, resolutions could be passed and tv cameras can cover and do spot interviews? why not provide water bottles for the thirsty and religious poetry in the praise of Prophet be played in the background?
Please join me in spreading this message across that protests too can bring a more humane face of an angry and hurt people…I did not hear any Naat-e-Rasool; some of them are so powerful that they move the soul irrespective of any religion and language; why violence? why not sing and recite to remember the great man whose memory unites us and in whose name we protest? why not remember how many enemies he forgave and how he united everyone instead of dividing?
Moeed Pirzada is prominent TV Anchor & commentator; he studied international relations at Columbia Univ, New York and law at London School of Economics. Twitter: MoeedNj. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy. This piece was first published in Moeed Pirzada’s official page. It has been reproduced with permission.