Excommunication for Condemnation

Source: EPA/rferl.org

Source: EPA/rferl.org

We have a serious problem at our hands.

We are in the middle of a war. We can see that we have an enemy, even though we are not willing to fully confront them.

How can the Taliban be our enemies?

We have always known them to fight for the righteous cause and how can they be evil if all they want is to enforce the will of God?

Such questions perplex the entire nation.

We are even not willing to call our enemy our enemy, because everything we know, everything we understood about the world, tells us it’s not true.

We simply cannot accept the fact that we can be at war with an entity that is not our enemy.

It can’t be their fault. Must be someone else behind all this mess.

How can our enemy be of the same faith as ours?

So in order to escape this confusion, we have two parallel explanations.

  1. Our enemy cannot be Muslims, because Muslims are not capable of acts as heinous as the Peshawar massacre, so they must be funded by the RAW, MOSSAD and the CIA
  2. Our enemy is cruel, so we need to excommunicate them from our religion.

 Why do we have to excommunicate someone to condemn them as our enemies?

Where does this insane idea that we can only be at war with non-Muslims come from? Well, even if you believe that, apparently our faithful enemy, which is far more self-righteous than we are, does not believe in it.

Oh, wait, I forgot. The faithful army of the enemy also believes that we are infidels.

So no matter what we do, no matter how much we suck up to them, we are going to be infidels in their eyes.

Our lifestyle is going to be the lifestyle of an infidel.

Unless we succumb to their Shariah, give up our way of life, and give up every freedom that we enjoy, it is not going to make us people of the faith in their eyes.

What we think about it is pointless.

And pretending that they could not believe in whatever in the world is the true faith does not matter too.

They don’t give a damn about our excommunication. But apparently, the faith of our enemy matters to us a lot.

We make our national decisions, declarations of war and truce, on the basis of whether our enemy belongs to our faith or not.

And that they must be excommunicated before any action against them is taken.

We come to realize that the people killing our children and the loved ones should be declared our enemies because they actually don’t follow true Islam.

We might claim that we, in Pakistan, are not a medieval culture. But apparently, our behavior tells us otherwise.

The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.

Don’t Hate People Because They Disagreed

Are you one of those people who reject everything said by the people they don’t like, just because of their opinion about them?

Our emotions, and even more importantly, our prejudices can badly affect our reasoning. In fact, our negative emotions and prejudices themselves become our reasoning while dealing with people or matters which can trigger their appearance. People representing conflicting political viewpoints are a good example of that.

Prejudices are not something to feel guilty about. Everyone has prejudices and nobody is an exception. Prejudice of the race can be the most instinctive of all prejudices, because of the immediate realization of a physical difference.

Although as citizens of the global village, we may have overcome prejudices of race and ethnicity, but they stand as strongly today as they did ever since humans first came to realize it. Everyone has this prejudice even in the modern world, although it largely goes unspoken, showing its face from time to time. Prejudice against gender is also an important factor.

Then come more sophisticated types of prejudices, such as against religion, country and political orientation. Although all three of these factors can easily be integrated into political prejudice. Our civilized minds have given rise to these entities, and have only offered ourselves new reasons to hate each other.

Prejudices have always been there, and they will always remain to be there if the masses of the world continue with the same kind of upbringing that they had been subjected to. But how can we overcome prejudices is the question.

You can overcome prejudices with education and tolerance. And when I say education, it certainly does not just mean academic degrees and several years in college. Some of the most academically decorated people who I knew of were the most prejudiced ones, coincidentally.

This, by no means, suggests that academic or formal education is not important and must not be pursued, but the point to understand is to recognize the difference between being educated and being literate.

Education tells you of the evils of violence and of the advantages of tolerance. Education can make you a tolerant person, and a tolerant person can curb his or her prejudices more easily than an uneducated and violent one.

Therefore, you can suppress your prejudices through education, as you cannot destroy them from your unconscious.

Largely, the way we are brought up is responsible for deep-rooted hatred and prejudices. Only if you are able to educate yourself can you be able to get rid of your childhood prejudices imprinted on your minds by your environment, most importantly, by your parents and teachers.

It is prejudices like these which can be a hindrance to the common understanding of the importance of peace and the willingness towards it between the conflicting parties. Countries like India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, USA and Iran and many other examples like these can illustrate how prejudices can easily come into play as a hurdle to peace.

Children of one conflicting party are brought up being taught by their elders to hate the other conflicting party, and when I say hate, I literally mean hate. Just like hatred was used by the Catholic Church as a tool during the Crusades, and as it is used by Islamic extremists for terrorism.

Even if you want to be realistic to teach the young ones of the possible dangers from a potential “enemy”, then you can warn him or her of the possibility, while strictly discouraging any feeling of hatred. History should be learned as objectively and scientifically as possible.

An educated person knows about the importance of life. And as soon as you realize what being alive means and that you have no right to take the life of another, you immediately come to realize that you should abstain from violence and that you should respect every living being, not only your fellow beings, humans.

This realization will help you to understand that there are humans, and more importantly, living beings, with the same feelings as you, on the other side of the conflict. And that they may be having ideas as valid and reasonable as you, if only you chose to consider them for a while, and tolerate them. Believe me, if you do consider them for a while, you will be able to tolerate them.

Abraham Lincoln once said, ” I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

This is what overcoming a prejudice or hatred is all about.

You  should not change your mind about people just because of political changes.

You should not hate someone just because they disagreed. What if they were right?