The Blasphemy Hunger Games

Source: poplr.pk/dunyaurdu.com

Source: poplr.pk/dunyaurdu.com

Our public inquisitors and blasphemy scanners, who have taken it upon themselves to inform the public of every little mischievous soul taking the Lord’s name in vain, are dominating the TV waves.

The biggest problem is who would decide that it is a blasphemy.

The answer is simple. The public inquisitors and blasphemy scanners themselves.

The rule is simple too.

If it looks like a blasphemy, and if it sounds like a blasphemy to certain people, rest assured that it is.

Hey, I am not even presenting the same old liberal argument of insanity or fake profiles. Let’s talk about things that people actually say.

Even Hamza Ali Abbasi asking about the rights of a minority community is considered blasphemy in this day and age.

Thou shalt not question the Second Amendment, even if you are not really doing so.

This is hilarious and dangerous at the same time.

In the Indian subcontinent, one of the perks of living in a society with so many religions is that people are just so easy to offend.

You would feel as if you were watching the moral policing version of the Hunger Games on your TV.

The only difference is that in the Hunger Games, the condemned contestants actually stand a chance to save their lives by winning.

We are witnessing a race on national TV to nominate blasphemers and waiting for the faithful to take them out. It’s a thrilling game of survival.

It may come across as free speech but it is precisely the very opposite, because this sort of behavior is not only meant to shut people up. It is meant to shut them up for good. As in the case of the murdered Bangladeshi bloggers.

Now do not forget, such behavior comes from this taken-for-granted belief that the society needs to think in a certain way, and anything and everything must be done to silence the deviants.

Our former philosopher-kings such as Orya Maqbool Jan and the inquisitor-in-chief Mubasher Lucman, who often pretends not to be concerned with others’ private affairs, are just the prominent faces of this reality witch-hunting show.

Blasphemy and public morality scanners have a certain goal in mind.

It’s not that such elements are not present on the liberal side of the political spectrum, but their goal is usually confined to naming and shaming. They get their orgasms out of people being publicly humiliated instead of offering allusions that people could hack you to death when out of control.

Many of my naïve friends ask me why secularism is needed in the presence of an Islamic state, not to be confused with the menacing political entity in Iraq and Syria.

With public inquisitors in charge, whose tone claim authority over the national discourse, considering atheism as rebellion to the Constitution of Pakistan, you do need secularism.

You need secularism because otherwise even existing could have serious consequences in an Islamic State, again not to confuse with the menacing political entity in Iraq and Syria.

In my opinion, witch hunters such as Orya Maqbool Jan and Mubasher Lucman themselves are the biggest argument in favor of secularism.

Because apparently, the very existence of a community in a country is a source of offense to the supposed view of the majority.

Now don’t bring up Jinnah’s view, please. Haven’t we trashed that already with the 1973 constitution?

Now as entertaining as they are, the blasphemy hunger games are nevertheless dangerous.

They are dangerous because not only are they intellectually bankrupt, but also socially authoritarian.

Sometimes, I do feel sorry for the people on the religious conservative side of the fence. Because the very presentation of their ideological view involves violating others’ free speech and personal security. And that is precisely how theocratic forces have been enforcing their view for centuries.

However, this does not absolve them of their sheer idiocy, lack of information, moral hypocrisy, and malicious intentions.

But since it is an Islamic State, the Blasphemy Hunger Games must go on.

The post was originally published in The Nation blogs.
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The Mayan Apocalypse Day Post

Source: Bizarro.com

Source: Bizarro.com

So today is December 21, 2012.

The Sun aligns the center of the Milky Way galaxy, something that happens once in every 25,772 years. Well sorry, that occurs every year. Not me, NASA said that.

And everyone is making fun of the people who believed that today would be the Doomsday. Well, they are spot on because apparently the world will not end today, though I would want to wait till the date December 21 is over on the last timezone in the world, and everyone has the right to criticize the otherwise-all-knowing Mayans. But wait, what do Mayans have to do with this doomsday date? I’d rather give the due credit to the History Channel.

Well, for starters, the end of the Mayan calendar does not mean the end of the world. The cartoon above shows most probably what would have happened.  And no one is stupid enough to expect the plot of a pathetic Roland Emmerich motion picture becoming reality. Although I must say that the panic and destruction in that pathetic motion picture to some extent is very much possible, but perhaps not at ridiculosly apocalyptic levels.

But what really ticks me off is religious people criticizing and invalidating the Mayan Apocalypse theory with a shot of preaching of their own version of the Apocalypse, let it be Hadith eschatology or the Book of Revelations and the Rapture. And the usual line “Only Allah knows about the end of the world”. So your criticism on anyone and anything is more than welcome, but please do examine the validity of the explanation that you are confidently presenting as its alternative as well.

I mean how ridiculous can you get. If we consider the Mayan “prophesy” (because I am not even sure if there was any prophesy at all) to be religious, has it occurred to the religious people that their versions of the story-that-never-happened could be equally false? Especially when their versions of the history have no place for the dinosaurs who went extinct after a similar apocalyptic event, as per scientific estimates with the most plausible explanation, which you are free to doubt without being responsible enough to explain your conviction over your belief-without-evidence.

Source: disbelief.net via Michael Dare

Source: disbelief.net via Michael Dare

Yes there are millions more waiting for Jesus, the Mahdi, the Meshiach, Kalki and God knows who else. Are they any saner than the ones who have been supposed to have brought forth the Doomsday prophesy, a misnomer in the Mayan case. Sorry I am using the Apocalypse as an excuse to bash religion, but it’s just so related to it that it controls people’s lives, especially the Abrahamic fanatics, who base their present prejudices on the basis of horrific future certainties. I can tell that a lot of silent animosity between Muslims and Jews is because of the end of days traditions.

Actually it was really amusing. A news anchor on Aaj TV (and I really don’t want to single them out, it must be going on on several other Pakistani “news” channels as well, but that’s what I was watching at that time) was presenting a report on the December 2012 craze and he was literally preaching Islam on television and I said to whoever was sitting with me: Is this news? Is this a professional news channel? “Only Allah knows about the Judgment Day”. Are we presenting that statement as a fact to the people? I’d never allow that if I were in charge but it’s just hilarious. Maybe they should start hiring mullahs as newscasters and newsroom editors.

But the fact remains that science tells us there will be an Apocalypse sooner or later, whenever it may occur. The Earth could be eaten up by the Sun if Andromeda does not bang into our system before that, or we do not get to witness a Gamma Ray Burst in the coming months that occurred thousands or even millions of years ago. But I believe we have made enough scientific progress to see it coming a bit before it occurs, unless the space agencies choose to hide the information, and in any case we would not be able to do much about it though. Recall Armageddon (1998)?

But even a major earthquake or a flash flood or a tsunami is like Apocalypse for a person whose home is swept away with the indifferent fury of Mother Nature. Therefore, I would not call those who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to take precautions idiots. I think their investment is going to pay off sooner and later, and while hoaxes like 2012 could be dismissed as propaganda for stimulating the business of the “survival industry”, it is not really a bad idea investing for a doomsday backup, whether they call it paranoia or not. Though the key is ease of access on a minute’s notice.

In a similar effort, a Chinese citizen Li Qiyuan has built a spherical doomsday ark that can support 30 people for 2 months in apocalyptic conditions at a cost of $ 288,000. Sounds pretty impressive, especially because it could possibly withstand a lot of shock, though I am not sure about the impact on the physical health of the persons inside. But nevertheless, it is the next best thing after the underground shelter and Larry Hall’s comprehensive luxury 2012 condos. Another entrepreneur with a similar invention has even started taking orders.

The Chinese inventor fittingly named his creation the “Noah’s Ark” and the funny part is that a group of Muslims found that offensive, as usual.  I just hope they don’t kill this very very useful man. But apart from jokes, it is blasphemy scanners like these who end up achieving violent protests and killings.

So I’m glad the end of the world turned out to be pretty hilarious in the end.

Anyway.

Happy Mayan Apocalypse Day.

Better luck next time.