One of the favourite topics of this blog is the way that we avoid difficult truths in our country. Guided by those fountains of wisdom on television, we blame everyone but the obvious culprits; we become fixated on trivial issues at the expense of existential ones; we avoid looking to our future, remaining fixated on the past. Sometimes, though, this becomes difficult. Some situations are not so obvious how to avoid the difficult truths. What to do in these situations? Never fear: Esteemed Nadeem Paracha has provided a handy guide. I recommend you print this out and carry with you in case you need to refer to it in the future.
Here’s a brief knee-jerk guide to fend off ‘lies’ about Pakistani society becoming intolerant, delusional and paranoid. It was prepared and inspired by hours of TV-watching and passionate middle-class drawing-room navel gazing.
* In case of a suicide attack in a mosque or a shrine (in Punjab), just utter the following two words: “Blackwater and America.” In case of a similar suicide attack in Karachi, just say: “MQM!”
* When fanatics of a majority Muslim sect attack a minority Muslim sect, exhibit concern and anger. Then go out and burn an Israeli flag.
* When fanatics attack people of other minorities (Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, etc.), don’t say anything. Start discussing the weather instead. “I say, fellow Muslim brother, very hot these days. Yes, fellow Muslim sister, very hot indeed. Care for some halal nimbu-paani?”
* Bellow ‘Alhamdulillah’ if a fellow Muslim echoes your own point of view on faith. But yell ‘blasphemy’ if a fellow Muslim dares to exhibit a different point of view. Shout him down and out, calling him ‘misguided,’ or worse, an ‘infidel.’ Then call this discourse ‘a healthy debate on religion.’
* When a suicide attack takes place in Punjab, explain it as a conspiracy by forces who want a military operation against militants in southern Punjab. Offer ‘dialogue’ and ‘talks’ as a solution. And the removal of Zaradri.
* Explain all economic, social and political problems being faced by Pakistan as ‘God’s wrath’. Say all this is taking place because we have stopped following our true faith. Add to this the presence of an obvious plot against Pakistan and Islam by America, Israel, India, Britain, Netherlands and Chili. Offer the banning of Facebook and Google as a solution. And the removal of Zaradri.
* Whenever there are rumours of a military coup, pray they are true. Explain that democracy and secularism are deeply flawed and have destroyed the world. Totalitarian monarchies with entrenched security and bureaucracies are much better and in line with our Arab origins. Please do not compare us to Indians. We have nothing in common with them (except our DNA, culture, cuisine, language, music and geography).
* When confronted by the sceptre of vicious sectarian organisations running wild, deny their existence because you have banned them. Say that they are nothing but figments of the imagination of liberal fascists. Say you are the real liberals; members of civil society imbued with socialist values. Declare that your ability to engage in massive socialising (through Facebook) makes you socialist in the true sense of the word; and that lately you have also dabbled in Marxism at cafes (where you blow off half a month’s average national salary on lattes and cappuccinos) whilst constructing your neo- Marxism around the tacit acceptance of the Taliban’s superior Arab cultural identity. Proudly announce, “We salute Abul Ala Marx, Lenin Bin Laden, and Mulla Mao!”
* These are difficult times for civil society. While the tyrannical coalition government of PPP, ANP and MQM is destroying the country with a so-called ‘progressive agenda’ (another Zionist conspiracy) that involves legislation about women’s rights and the enfranchisement and autonomy of minority provinces, our brave lower adjudicators are fighting a Herculean battle to free the champions of our true Arab identity: Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Aziz and Masood Azhar.
* Always remember, while our existential adversary India is investing billions of dollars in Afghanistan’s infrastructure and municipal training, we are using our billions (that we don’t have) to create the ultimate strategic depth in Afghanistan: i.e. fattening macho Islamist bravados who will eventually recreate the Islamic caliphate that made Afghanistan the model of peace and prosperity from 1996 to 2001.
* Whenever there is a terrorist attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, blame it on ANP’s nationalism. Insist that the Taliban are the real expression of nationalism. They have done their best to cleanse the province from pagan influence. The Taliban are a legitimate resistance movement against the occupation of the United Emirates of Pakhtunkhwa by ANP. The only genuine Pathans are Imran Khan and Hamid Gul. Offer the enforcement of Sharia there as a solution. And the removal of Zaradri.