Apr 30, 2009 - Uncategorized    81 Comments

A conversation that is haunting me

.

Everything that can go wrong is going wrong with my life right now and I honestly do not notice/read/watch much these days except for what’s going on around me, but there is one news item that kinda caught my eye. The Taliban in Orakzai Agency have razed 11 houses belonging to the local Sikh community after they refused to pay jizya (a tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects to live in Muslim countries).

It reminded me of a conversation I had approximately 8 years ago with a ten-year-old boy. I was working as a research assistant to a professor working on Madressahs along Pakistan Afghan border and I was assisting him in the field research. I used to take field notes, record the proceedings of focus group discussions and community debates and made sure that everything is stored and recorded in chronological order. As we had to speak with a lot of kids, we made sure that we take, along with us, a lot of sweets and some cheap toys from Karachi for madressah students and it helped tremendously in breaking the ice. Zar Wali was that ten-year-old boy I mentioned earlier; he grew quite fond of me and would always tag along asking me a million questions about the camera I was using, my ancient recording equipment and a laptop that weighed just a little less than the CPU of a desktop.

One afternoon after a meeting with administrators of two madressahs, I was writing my observations and Zar Wali was sitting by me when we had this conversation, here is a brief part of that conversation.


Zar Wali (ZW): Will you see me if I come to Karachi.
Me: Sure, do you plan to come to Karachi?
ZW: May be I will get a job there when I finish with the madressah.
Me: (although I knew about the curriculum, I just wanted to know what he thinks about his education and asked.) So what is it that you study at the madressah that will get you a job in Karachi?
ZW: I only memorize Quran and learn to use some light weapon, but you know that already, you ask everyone the same question.
Me: So you don’t study Mathematics or Science, right?
ZW: Of course not. They are the teachings of infidels.
Me: Really? Who told you that?
ZW: My teacher at the madressah, who else?
Me: Do you know that there is a branch of mathematics called Algebra and it owes a lot to a Muslim scientist called Ibn-e-Musa al-Khwarizmi? He was a mathematician and a Muslim.
ZW: I don’t know, I just know that my teacher says that it is for infidels only.
Me: So what will you do when you graduate from the madressah?
ZW: I will go for jihad.
Me: Where?
ZW: I don’t know? Afghanistan or Kashmir.
Me: If you have Islamic governments in both, Afghanistan and Kashmir, then what will you do, you can’t fight jihad all your life?
ZW: I don’t know, I guess they will send me to fight somewhere else.
Me: Ok, suppose you have conquered the whole world and everyone is living under Muslim rule, then what? You have no money making skills and you will not be able to land a job. What will you do then, should you not learn something other than learning to use light weapons?
ZW: No, I will continue with jihad.
Me: (Exasperated) But who will you fight against?
ZW: Men who do not keep beards and women who do not observe purdah.
Me: I do not observe purdah; will you kill me as well?
ZW: If I am told, yes, I will do it.

I was laughing when I asked this question and was expecting a vehement head shake with a “No, I will never kill you” kind of response. Imagine how I felt when the little boy who told me, repeatedly, that I am best girl in the world apart from his mother because I gave him a plastic scooter would feel no compunction in killing me if instructed. I did not take the extent of his indoctrination that seriously in 2001 but now, this conversation keeps haunting me. Every time a school got blown, every time a man was beheaded or a girl was flogged, Zar Wali comes back to haunt me and ask me, “What were we all doing when they were training our children to become terror mongers and killers.

Clip to Evernote

81 Comments

  • Sad, but well said.

  • tazeen, i did a mural once on the same theme – except my inspiration were afghan warlords – 13 year olds, who had lost their fathers and were handed AK47s – and tamil tigers.

    i made a huge sunflower with bullets as petals – idea being when the seeds / bullets will scatter, they will only cause distruction – that’s the only thing they know to do.

    to think now the flower is applicable to desiland. 🙂

  • Hi Tazeen,
    I know this would ring hollow if it is said by an Indian but this is exactly what I’ve been thinking when I see the current turmoil in Pakistan. You have hit the nail bang on it’s head.
    I wish good for you. I hope your brethren don’t hate you for your views.
    Warm Regards,
    GP

  • Wow… that’s an eye opener!! I didn’t know such places exist.. at least not a school that teaches light weapons and Jihad instead of science and reading! I was always under the impression that violence is set in their minds usually by some terrorizing event and bitterness. This is not very different from industry mass production.

    This Conversation with Zar Wali is quite scary (but intersting in a curious way). There is no logic in his answers…. just a set of brainwashed instructions and his permanent position in the food chain.

    Its sad to say but I am reminded of Pink Floyd’s music video for “Another Brick on the Wall” where throngs of children zombie-walk into a grinder and come out as one lump of indistinguishable non-thinking meat. We don’t need no education indeed!!

  • spooky… and sad…

    i am about to write about something similar and i am scared i will attract a lot of negative attention….

    then again… i hav never had any so lets see… lol

  • Wow! This conversation made me shudder. Kids ARE being socialised according to what is convenient to their ‘elders; but being socialised to kill?! WHOA.

  • I wonder how is this different then Germans being brainwashed to kill Jews.
    and the saddest part is that it will take generations to wipe out this kind of brainwashing.
    and the worst part is that it all boil down to some stakeholder’s in the whole schema having huge financial benefit.
    Horrible!

  • Made me shudder!

  • Speechless;-( now as the situation is out of hand the institutes that were responsible for all this mess & crying over spilt milk..examples include Hillary Clinton…

    Howz ur ABBA doin?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM1BG_NnHaA

  • Out of curiosity what word did Zar Wali use in Urdu that you translated as Infidel?

  • Very haunting indeed!

  • The problem with free speech is everybody have an opinion, very few have a possible solution and even fewer has any knowledge. We need to decided what category we fall in.
    Why are we so surprised when we have already seen open flogging, behedding, khoni Chowks, Barber shops closed, direct threats and my favorite (honestly nothing can beat that): talking about past is haram.
    Such situations remind me of the movie HULK. Experiment gone wrong, the beast is uncontrollable, nobody would claim responsibility and we dont want to tell anybody about it.

    Well, now everybody knows and its destroying everything. What do we do now? What can we do now? I came across this intersting clip and I feel thats where all the reasons are. I do feel quite the same way. We are responsible. My question is are we still ready to claim responsibility, accept the consequences, LEARN, PAY, and then eventually may be, only may be if we are smart enough, we would plant the right seed and create the right values. Is it too late? Are we doomed? doomed for disaster and catastrophe? Not just us, Are most of the world, set for disaster or it can get better? Thats the question we need to ask and those are the answers we need.

    Even the regular people on street has no true sense of history, islam, humanity or so called moral standards. We don’t have those virtues to begin with.
    It reminds of a phrase in one of the movies: “A crazy horse running towards a burning stable”.

    Will we stop, Can we stop?

  • This is a scary story. To have the innocent mind of a ten year old be scarred in such a manner, to have their natural spirit of enquiry be replaced by this sinister univision, to play with their aspirations to such an extent that they can not escape even in their imaginations– that is the evil that we need to tackle in this world. Let’s hope that some of us are up to this challenge.

  • impressionable minds.
    sad 🙁

    and what aTii says…well, i do hope for change. for the better. i know, it’ll be taken in the wrong light (mostly) coz i live on the other side of the border…

    why have people stopped thinking by themselves?
    🙁

  • Interesting because this mirrors my reaction to 26/11 in Bombay. Perhaps the sub continent’s biggest failure has been on the education front. What does it cost really to allow ZW the choice of accessing a regular school? What does it take to make a start?
    Let’s not have any schools with a religious leaning, a singular goal of developing scientific temper and mathematical ability…too much to ask for?

  • Education was supposed to be a window to the world. An escape from conservatism. It was a supposedly difficult task because schools were few and far between. Also there were not many teachers available. The work done by Catholic nuns and priests in establishing schools of high pedigrees changed the course of education in our countries ( India and Pakistan ). We almost owe our English single handedly to them. Such is the impact of that movement. There were of course a few thorns here and there but the overall impact is tremendous.
    What you have so vividly described is the course unfortunately modern education seems to be taking. Years and years of mass hard core religious training is going to have the same effect as convents have had on our society but conversely. Although their reach is limited but it is spreading rapidly. This is like the evil twin of education !!

  • 🙁
    @anonymous Kafir: Infidel

  • Not at all surprised! This has been happening for years nowwwww..Recently there was a news in UK newspaper that an 11 yr old is the youngest Jihad fighter in Afghanistan. Frankly I am not much surprised by the turn of events in Pak. People in Pakistan know that these kinds of madrassas exist and what is their curriculum. But as long as they fight for Kashmir or Soviet Union they are our heroes and mujhaideens. But now when they have turned the tables in their mindless endeavor, suddenly they need to focus on science and math. Its appalling that educated moderate muslims have kept quite all these years knowingly!! Now the chicken has come home to roost. U cant blame anyone but urself.

  • Oh Geez Tazeen…it makes me shudder too. I knew it was bad but had no idea it was that bad. It goes against every thing in Islam. It’s actually disturbing because this terror is not Islam, its barbaric…and to think that the world will label us all that way…its a shame.

    And what about the kids, who dont even know better. I’m Speechless.

  • Hey…
    Same feeling I got when my brother in law advocated suicide attacks on Security personnels…when I asked about the innocent people he replied If those people were “Naik and Parhaizgar” they will go to Jannah warna Khas kam jahaa Pak

  • That’s sad! It is easy to brainwash a kid though. They are so impressionable. Didn’t Prophet Muhammad say that the best Jihaad is Jihaad against your “nafs” — your material desires? :O

  • why not post something about the ‘namalum’ terrorists wrecking karachi ? or are you too afraid to say something against them like all the media?

  • This is a very revealing and wonderful post.

    Do you mind if I blogroll this blog? I have been following it and consider it an invaluable perspective on Pakistani culture and politics.

  • Bless you, that’s an awful and terrifying thing for anyone to say to anyone. Excellent blog as always.

  • I just wonder what kind of people would do this to a child? Make the clay into something so dangerous? People with no sense of shame at all.

  • I’m seriously angered by this stuff, you have no clue…

    People do this to children everyday… Fortunately a large majority of people choose to guide their children along a path that doesn’t involve murder.

    Hopefully you had enough of an impact on his life that he walked away and has a decent life with a normal job and doesn’t want to kill anyone anymore.

  • I can never imagine how taking innocent lives can in anyway solve problems or be the path of God. I used to wonder how people could be misguided to such an extent!

    I saw this Pakistani movie “khuda kay liye”, extremely well made. What you say in your post explains how young minds are being moulded to follow dangerous paths. Very scary and depressing, indeed !

  • Frightening, but true. I must say though that I had a similar experience in India 20 years ago. I was working with a group of kids at the Film Institute on a film, and chatting them up during breaks. The Hindu boys were all part of the Shiv Sena, and said they would grow up to kill Muslims. The Muslim boys spoke of swords and killing Hindus. It was not a game, it was true and it was terrifying.

  • Well u had pointed out well. Its not them whom we should blame but ourselves. These ppl don’t know anything else other than following orders and using weapons. Even if we de-weponize them then what are they going to do for the earning. They earn by following orders. Pakistan is in a very tight situation. If they are stopped then they become an economic liability and if not then they are threatening the integrity of Pakistan.
    May Allah help Pakistan

  • that was 8 years ago and I am sure still now they have such mederssahs…why doesn’t the government ban these things and try to instill some good learning to kids. Don’t they have good teachers who can go there and teach these kids maths, science, etc?

  • these kids are being brain washed!!

  • Hi Tazeen,
    We in Tamilnadu believe when a bad thing happens, it just follows a chain and wounds get repeated in the same place.
    I want you to be safe and keep a watch on your physical safety.

  • This is what is lovingly referred to as “brain washing”. Impressionable youth, who don’t dare question what they are taught because it is ill-mannered and rebellious to do so.

    I doubt Zar Wali’s future will change much, he’ll add to the long line of mullah’s who churn the same yarn much to the detriment of others.

  • I forgot to add… most of us go to school to learn to think for ourselves and make our own judgment calls. It seems to me that these children were taught the exact opposite: let your teachers, parents and those in charge do the thinking for you…

  • :/

  • Tazeen-

    Have you watched Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Children of the Taliban – she has some similar conversations with young boys – the scary part is that one was in Karachi not just in the northern areas.

    I think what needs to happen is reform of the madrassas – because they aren’t going to go away, and because many of these boys don’t have an overarching education, many of them, if they don’t become fighters, simply start their own madrassa when they finish. At work, I’ve been involved with an organization that is working with various madrassas and madrassa boards to expand curriculum to include science and math. They also train teachers to be more tolerant, about human rights, conf resolution techniques. It may sound hokey, but they’ve made some really incredible breakthroughs.

  • Actually Kalsoom has said what I was going to say; in Sharmeeen’s film she too asked a madrassa student a question in the same vein, except that it referred to the child’s best friend and the reply she got was that yes, if necessary he would kill his best friend if he was asked so to do. Amazing and sad. Pakistan should forget everything and concentrate on educating its young, that is the only solution.

  • This makes personal, what we all know actually exists. Not any less disturbing though..

  • This might well be one of the (many) tough questions we’ll ask ourselves, should the world, heaven forbid, starts to resemble the mullah’s idea of utopia….

  • In the words of passionate religious zealots, “I guess God is not on your side.”

    Ya, He left a long time ago.

  • Tazeen,

    Sorry to tell you but criticism is the only you know to sell your articles

    Trust me… you have just seen one side of this situation…

    If I being a karachite since my birth… (visited NWFP once for pakistan tour) tell you that you have a wrong perception about the current situation.

    By the how unrealistic perception you make after interviewing a 10 yr old child, who doesn’t even know what ahead is in his life…

    For God sake… stop being anti-nationalist… and stop selling your critic-bitchy-stuff in this cyberspace. I know you are one of those secular personality who can make criticism out of criticism… with no literal beliefs.

    Have fear of Allah, and try learning things you don’t even have clue about… before commenting over religious matters.

  • …. (speechless)

  • Thanks jingoist!
    Finally someone talked sense at this blog (to much disappointment of all the indian’s who don’t even believe in existence of Pakistan)

  • I wonder if it’s the same anonymous who was speechless. No, dude, we don’t “not believe in the existence of Pakistan”. How can we not, when your people keep bombing us for no real reason?

    And both you and the Jingoist guy should thank people like Tazeen, because they’re the reason the rest of the world still has a good image of your country.

  • And Tazeen, please remove anonymous from your “can post as..”. You don’t want gutless people like the guy above infesting your blog, do you?

  • Tazeen, the utter sadness I felt for loss of your work and for the trauma you suffered, has never left me. I often thought how you are doing. Today opened my e-mail after some days, and I saw your blog link.
    So how you are coping with? You have not said much. Anyway, I wish you strength and courage.
    Now please make sure all you write is backed up regularly.
    This news about tragic razing of Sikh homes cut my heart with razor sharp edge.
    Why things have to come to this?
    The other day there was Faiz maila in Toronto where Muneeza Hashmi, Faiz’s daughter, presented a documentary about Faiz Ghar Foundation. In the middle of her speech, she broke down when talking about ‘hopes’ Faiz had, and the ‘hopes’ now she wish for Pakistan.
    And please try to ignore these heartless commentators. As the world has many sensitive souls, it is also filled with such insensitive people; not much can be done.
    Sorry that there are no words for consolation on these things.
    Thanks for writing again – don’t stop – that is your best weapon; never, never stop sharpening it and cutting with it through the inequities. All those who care for culture and civilization care for you – we need writers like you.

  • @Anonymous…
    I would second Spica in this… come up with some identification of yours… if you don’t have one… make it and follow the same!! I hope you would understand!!

    @Spica..
    Heh, my dear fellow… why the heck you would want to know the reasons….. trust me if it would have been in my hands I wouldn’t just have bombed one place of yours… I would have blasted complete India…
    You want to know the reasons right ???

    You think Tazeen is the true representative… ask her how many relatives of her got martyred during the migration???

    And ask me and thousands of people who migrated to Pakistan, “who is left after migration” ??

    Indians and Israelis are Zionist, go through this link [http://jinkibachi.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/sad-mad/] for instance..

    Now you would tell me, this isn’t what you promote..right ?…

    this is how you discriminate Muslims. My dear fellow, I am one of those emotional human being who has lost a grandfather, 2 uncles and 1 aunt…

    Tell me how would you justify this slaughter ism that is still continued in Jammu & Kashmir ?

    This is a long debate which can’t be continued here!! Fortunately I am a Pakistani with a firm belief that it is the best place in the world!!

    I would always promote the right cause even if its written by you, Tazeen, captain sb. or any one else. But I will not promote the crap which would depict the wrong and unrealistic side of my own country.

    @Tazeen..

    I would again request you. Have fear of Allah, and evaluate your self for every action of yours. Make sure nothing gets wrong in the real end of your life… where there is no one to save you and only your acts (Aamal) will be of any worth.
    May Allah bless you with Hidayatso that you could spread the right cause! Ameen!

  • Out of curiosity what word did Zar Wali use in Urdu that you translated as Infidel?

  • @jingoist

    Bollywood: India’s most loved actors – Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan (by Indians of all religions)

    Dr. A P J Abdul Kalaam – India’s most respected and loved President till date (even called the “people’s president”)

    Sai Baba of Shirdi (a Muslim revered by Hindus and Muslims alike in India – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi)

    But I do not see anyone from the minorities in Pakistan in a position of power or influence.

    Infact, Sikhs are being thrown out of their houses.

    I know India has its share of religious issues like Gujarat in 2002 and Orissa in 2008 … but you would have to be a nincompoop of the nth order to believe that they are anything but minor compared to what Pakistan faces.

    @Tazeen

    I did my own search on this and found that the Taliban are infact following the original version of Islam – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
    Qur’an 9:29

    So, such religious text has to be changed if people of different religions are to coexist.

  • Dear John… Muslims in India are much more then the Hindus in Pakistan. So there is no comparison of that. And by the way.. Pakistan was the muslim majority area and that is the reason it was excluded from India and most of the Hindus family left these areas to live in their land of peace. Old Books tells us all that how safely they got migrated.

    However the same books tell us different story for Muslim migratory. Neither Hindus nor Sikhs have proven to be our friends. It is very well known how Sikhs and Hindus were involved in the massacre of Muslims who were migrating to their peace of land.

    I mean how would you justify this, which has already happened and engraved sheer anger in the hearts of those who have suffered. Imagine somebody steps in towards you to shake with a blooded hand with your own blood… and say lets have peace.

    Sir jee with one hand shaking .. the second one shouldn’t have knife when talking about peace.

    By the way I know I am stupid enough to clarify things in front of you. Because for a fact you would stay the same as you are.

    And about your research. You are absolutely right with your findings. Such religious text isn’t just a text. Its Allah’s evelation to Muhammad (PBUH) which cannot be changed until the end of this world.
    Found it really funny if you are complaining with Tazeen who can’t help you either against this. I am sure she didn’t even know that this verse is the part of our Holy Quran, if you wouldn’t have mentioned it explicitly.

    She is far away from the religious information as any other Non-Muslim is. Because she think she already know much of the outer world. And Tazeen her self could answer about this more accurately.

  • hey jingoist,
    Pakistan was created because Jinnah wanted it..not because India did not want muslims. As you very well know, India has the second largest muslim population in this world and we feel very safe here..thank you..
    as for your theory that hindus left pakistan very safely..that is surely a joke..for all you know..my grand parents were sheltered and protected by a hindu family in U.P……and as far as 1947 is concerned there were idiots and religious fascists on both sides who killed and butchered people for a a ckkn piece of land…..thank god for Gandhi who allowed us to stay here and did not create a Hindu republic…

  • @Jingoist

    Ya right … all Hindus and Sikhs (and Christians and Buddhists and Jains and Parsis and Jews and Taoists) are murderers and all Muslims are peace loving.

    Grow up kiddo !

    BTW, are you Zar Wali?

    You seem to be enjoying the benefits of internet, computers, TVs, AK47s, cars, refrigerators, ACs, planes, DVD players, music systems, motion pictures … all of which were invented by “kafirs”. Funny right?

    And about my research – I am sure some people will continue to hold such texts sacred believing that they will be rewarded with the 72 virgins promised in the afterlife. But modern society will do good to junk them sooner than later – for the well being of everyone involved.

  • @Jingoist

    I am an atheist. I believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth.

    So, why don’t you come over and fight me as ordained by the Quran verse mentioned by John – I am in Mumbai, India. Oh … wait a minute … 10 of your friends were here to fight me a few days ago – they killed a lot of people. I am sure 9 of them would have gone straight to heaven and are now having “the time of their life” (or “afterlife”) with 72 virgins … or probably they got more – about 300 each (which is equal to the number of people they killed).

    Hmmm … the religion of truth and peace. No wonder.

  • @ Jingoist: i do not deny that we have had our share of Communal violence. No on hates Narendra Modi more than I do. I don’t know what my apology is worth, but I apologize on behalf of my country for what happened in Gujrat and before that in Coimbatore and Bombay.

    But truth is, Muslims feel much safer here than Hindus do there. Don’t go by one or two blogs you read. Get in touch with Muslims in India and they’ll tell you.. And as for Hindus not being your friend, let me tell you that Ramzaan is one of the festivals I look forward to the most because my best-friend(who is muslim) invites me home. And I know she looks forward to Diwali as much too. Can you say the same?

    My friends here (the girls) are allowed to pursue their dreams and become doctors and engineers. It is looked down upon for a girl not to have at least two degrees and a good job. By what I read from Tazeen’s blog, it is looked down upon if a girl works in Pakistan. do you deny this discrimination?

    You have yourself scolded Tazeen for “not believing in Allah”. But more than 75% of this world doesn’t. Do you actually want to kill us all? (Not because I’m an Indian – that you say you want to do already, but because I’m not a muslim) And if you do (because that is what the verse translates to and the image your people potray), can you really blame us for not thinking any good of your people? Can you blame us for fearing a bunch of people who are told by their God to hate us and murder us? Just because our belief system is different..

    None of us here are asking you to change what you believe in. Just let us believe in whatever we want to believe in and let Tazeen believe in whatever she wants to believe in. That is all we ask..

    @ Anonymous: Actually, Pak was created because the Britishers wanted to seperate us, Jinnah came in later. Bloody Britishers.

  • @ John: You forgot Saif Ali Khan. How could you??!! 😛

  • Spica, John, Vaibhav and the rest,

    Aren’t you guys giving undue attention to someone who goes by the name jingoist? He is just not worth it.

    Anyone who judges people and their faith based on a blog post must have escaped the ‘intelligent design’

  • The article sent a chill up my spine.. to realize a little kid can have firm opinion on slaughtering people in the name of ‘any-goddamn-thing’ and not just religion!

    its terrible! not new.. but terrible!

    whats more terrible is that we all know such opinions have been cropping up since so long a time that can make a library go full, but not much are we doing to bring about even slight change in the thought process..

    (before commenting here, i happened to read one of the comment which forced my inquisition to read the chain of it all.. initially was a little surprised, then saddened and then finally bored!

    y really bother with ppl like @ Jingoist!?!)

    anyway Tazeen, i wish, hope and pray your father’s recovering (if not perfectly fine by now).. and that your life will get to its rocking self again!

  • See how these indian brats are trying to force upon us that how bad is Pakistan, implying that it should not have formed in 1st place , how ‘happy’ are Muslims in india, trying to deny the very existence of Pakistan

    Never Mind guys, Muslims rocked you for hundreds of years in subcontinent and that time will come again, just be a little patient

  • The post and some of the comments are seriously disturbing..

  • @Anonymous

    You can’t imagine how happy people in India are that Pakistan was formed and took away a lot of hate mongers with it.

    You think we are interested in taking over Pakistan … ? You wish.

    We have enough trouble in developing our nation itself – what with Bihar and UP giving the rest of us a huge headache in development and Orrisa in communal harmony. Why would we even dream of taking over more trouble.

    @Tazeen

    Tazeen, it is because civilized society has ignored such people this long that things have come to what they are today.

    If we continue to ignore them, the day won’t be far when it is too late to make them see logic. Today this person threatens others on the blog (since he/she has been brainwashed into believing some hideous stuff) … but tomorrow, he/she might go out and really start killing people … or is he/she already?

    This reminds me of an old poem (by Pastor Martin Niemöller)that is taught in schools here in India:

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

    @Spica

    Oops ! My bad. But seriously speaking, I don’t think he is really that good – apart from his role in a couple of movies.

    @Vaibhav

    I think after reading your post, this person wouldn’t show up again.

  • Hello tazeen
    I posted several comments on your blog (which I was recommended by George) last month but they are not published, so I do not have an answer.
    As your personal history is interesting, I will keep you reading.
    This story is paralleled with what the Egyptian state has decided the occurrence of swine fever: kill all the pigs in the country and starve the Christian Egyptians.
    I explained once and for all if there are faithful Muslims who are tolerant? This religion will it get to our age.
    friendly your sincerly

  • @Spica

    Why would you apologize to random people in Pakistan … you should be directing your apology to Indians in Gujarat.

  • @jingoist. Those OLd Pakistani books u read will show Pak as a beacon of purity and safety for mankind of all religions. We will have same books here too. So? Dont u know how govt tries to influence ppl via their curriculum. Latest eg being maedrassas. Pak was established on violence. U will reap what u will sow. Who the f$$$ing hell r u bomb to India? The way ur dear Talibs are following the teachings of ur dearest Mohammad, Pak will implode by itself! Tell me jingoist why has no muslim family migrated from India to Pak in all these years? Give them a choice between a room in slum and a palace in Pak, lets see what they choose. Their answer will embarass u!
    Nothing in life is constant except chANGE. The sooner Muslims realize this and change with time its good. Else all the sensible pppl will have to stomp the mindless frankesteins of Islam.
    And one last advice: Dont compare ur failed state with India. We are way above ur league! Sooner u realize it, better for u. Ppl lize Tazeen reinstates my faith that there are good ppl left in Pak but out of blues ppl like u jump to stomp my belief.

  • Desi and Tazeen: what does in your worried region many without European, even those who are not anti-Islam.
    But, what saddens me it is that no modern Muslim, living in the western world does not dare to criticize the hard-line Islamists. Which(who) of you, is going to shout “STOP” the first one in this invasion of medieval monk?
    by!

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    Terrible story, my dear. A year or two ago, I was reading about a youngster living in the NWFP who killed his mother with a rifle. Hi did so because his uncle told him so or some lame-brain elders? The widowed woman had a very low morality because she went to the market alone to sell something. The journalist met the boy in his home town playing football.

    Can you imagine that region was one of the most civilized ones about two thousand years ago. And now they have morphed into an anthropological zoo.

    Georg

  • oh yes, keep on spitting the venom against Islam/Pakistan

  • All these problems come from the basic assumption that all holy books were faxed directly by God to us. Once we accept that these holy books are great masterpieces, but they are works of one or more humans, we will be open to seeing some of the shortcomings in the books, and realize that they were written in a different time and may not be well equipped to deal with today’s world and its view of morality. Heck, we might even have revisions of the holy book.

    But as long as we treat the holy books as infallible, there will be morons who take the literal meaning of everything instead of seeing the overall picture. And as long as it cannot be corrected, who will tell these people what is right and what is not?

  • @ Tazeen: I agree with John on that. The jingoist guy has an opinion and we should listen to what he has to say even if we won’t agree or we don’t like how he says it. Not listening has led to most troubles in the world today.

    @ John: He is hot. ‘nough said. x-(

    @ Vibhav: I’m afraid that came out wrong. I wasn’t apologizing to anyone in particular. I was apologizing to the world in general – you know, as a “I’m ashamed that happened in my country” types. And I don’t me think apologizing to people in Gujarat is right. It seems snobbish and mean.

  • Hi Tazeen –

    I have been away from your blog and am just catching up now. I am very saddened to read of your woes, your father’s ill health and the loss of so many personal items. How devastating! I am not sure quite what to say other than I am sorry that it has happened to you, and that I hope your father returns to good health quickly.

  • The scariest thing is, at this early stage in their lives, these children have already been deprieved of hope for a better living. Knowing very well that these children will not have jobs once they graduate, where do you think these children will go once they graduate from Madrassahs?

  • Tazeen,

    A very sobering post. The comments seem to have gone crazy somewhere down the line and forgive me for not reading through all that hate.

    I just think you are doing an awesome thing through your blog. Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes & good health to you and your family,
    Velu

  • omg! its scary to think such things (teachings) happen so openly.. i mean.. its like ur caught in a nightmare where your worst fears become real!!!

  • Oh my God, Tazeen, It was like a fiction story… so sad :(((

  • hy ppl plz stop fighting trust me all the pakis r wried about the cnditions in north west and v do support pak army fr the operation.these talibns r nt muslims thyr extremists..wt mttrs to most pakis is earning a decent lilvelihood bt talibs r brainwashed on the name of religion cz thts easy fr mullahs…easy to teach to use weapons thn tl em islams teachngs of peacefullfy co existing wd non muslims respect their religion nt harm thr places of wrship.nt t say bad thngs bout their Gods.gv money t the poor be gd wd ur neighbours..ur parents..respect women..thyr ur othr half these r the versuses of quran.n ys in some illiterate areas of pk eduction is cnsidered a bliss bt mstly girls r gttng highly educated to bcm drs..engineers n so forth lik myslf n givn respect fr the reason tht v r educated.

  • all of u gys shd watch khuda k lie all the wrong thngs happening in our country r caz of misunderstood religion!!n most of us dread giving refuge to afghanis in 1970s in the frst place.

  • wow, Tazeen. This is a really sad story. i cant imagine they are teaching young children that Thanks for sharing .

  • i just dont know wat to say, its just soo sad.
    great post, btw

  • Hi Tazeen

    I am at home now. So I showed your blog to my folks also. Your experience seems almost surreal, so unreal in the world w live in. Such kind of stories are what novels are made out of.

    I was also surprised by the kinds of comments some people posted. Such a chauvinism in the current world. seems like you’re talking to a wall.

  • interesting considering that we often have a stereotypical image of children in Madrasas- innocent and helpless.

  • Brilliant post, Tazeen. Sad, but a much-needed reality check for Pakistanis.

  • shocking…

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