Providing Clear Knowledge To The World
Published on Countercurrents, by Mehroz Siraj Sadruddin, 14 May, 2009.
Over the last few months, the media in Pakistan and around the world has been filled with news reporting, analysis and commentary on the ongoing military operations in Pakistan’s North-western regions of SWAT, Malakand and Waziristan.
Under extreme pressure from Washington and from the people of Pakistan who have borne the brunt of the casualties and other externalities of George W. Bush’s failed war on terror, Pakistan’s civilian government and the military’s top brass decided to scrap a controversial peace deal, which had already been violated by the Taliban many times, and to launch a decisive military campaign against the organisation and their allies in Pakistan’s tribal areas …
… The general idea of the Taliban and imposition of strict Shariah Law had actually been imported from Afghanistan, as an off-shoot of the Saudi brand of rigid Islam, known as Wahhabi Islam.
The main purpose of these strict religious laws was mainly to restrict the regional impact of the Shiite Islamic Revolution in Iran of the late 1970s, as leaders in the Sunni majority neigbouring Pakistan believed that the revolution could create political problems for that country.
The ideas being propagated by the Taliban have been complete aliens for the people of Pakistan, where the dominant form of religious understanding and practice has been ‘Sufism’, which teaches about love towards humanity and does openly accept democracy as the only valid form of governance authorized in Islam.
Religious practices which are followed in Pakistan by communities such as the Ismaili community, the Bohras and the Memon communities (which is a Sunni conservative community) actually inculcate the the spirit of unity, equality, humility, hard work and democracy within the hearts and souls of ordinary Pakistanis.
People across the Western world do not understand these things, which have played a key role in the massive swings of public opinion against the Taliban (and their heinous terror practices) in Pakistan.
What adds salt to the wounds is the fact, that rather than challenging this ignorance of the White people, the western media, the 24 hour television news cycle and the massive public relations industry in the developed world, only reinforces these misperceptions.
All this mass hysteria, sheer ignorance and lack of knowledge of Pakistani languages and cultures in the West, is generally being seen in that country and the wider Muslim World as part of a concerted and well-focused international conspiracy to destroy Pakistan from within.
These facts are never mentioned in the bastions of good journalism in the Western media, such as the New York Times or The Washington Post.
It is good to see that a major consensus between Washington, London and Islamabad arising is that the battle for the hearts and minds needs to be won in order to ensure long lasting peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas.
However, it needs to be clearly understood and forcefully ascertained that this battle can not be won till the time the Western governments and the masses do not come out of their veils and curtains of self-destructive ignorance.
Just as much as the western politicians and law makers need to change the way they make their laws and policies, the media must also change its posture and way of reporting on international issues.
Those who speak about practicing good investigative journalism, should practice that as well, in all its entire honesty … (full long text).