Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Proposal for Calamity

On Thursday, September 20, as I was going through the newspaper, I read a headline that said, “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool to be observed tomorrow (Friday)”. My sudden reaction as a Muslim, after the absurd profanity regarding my religion that the entire universe had witnessed, was quite overwhelmingly joyous, as the day was being observed to raise our voices as a nation for the sanctity of a man for whom, us Muslims, hold profound respect. As I flipped through the pages of that newspaper, I read this other news under the heading “Three ministers oppose the Yaum-e-Ishq-e-Rasool proposal”. My sudden reaction after reading that news was quite infuriating. I thought why anyone would oppose this great proposal of voicing our religious rights. As I read the details of the news, I got aware of the fact that the proposal about observing that day was suggested by our very own interior minister, Mr. Rehman Malik. I got quite impressed as I realized that Mr. Rehman Malik can actually come up with some fine proposals. Anyway, like every other concerned Muslim, I began looking forward to the outcome of this great step taken.
The next day, which was the day in question, everyone saw what everyone didn’t see coming, except those three cabinet ministers who foresaw what danger was bound to come along with it. Their reason for opposing the proposal about observing that day was due to the peril of law and order situation that might, and we all saw that it actually did, arise. It was then that I realized that albeit the proposal seemed so fine at first, the trifling precautionary measures that were taken to control the law and order situation terribly vanquished throughout the country, as the agitated protestors poured in. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a proposal for calamity?

Now, as I rewind and watch the whole situation, this is what I see:
A big time Islam/Muslim hatemonger named Terry Jones, who is a Pastor of a nondenominational church called Dove World Outreach Centre, and according to Wikipedia, is known forQur’an Burning”, celebrates the 11th anniversary of the very sad 9/11 incident by supporting and promoting trailer of a movie called “Innocence of Muslims” on YouTube, ridiculing our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The trailer erupts the sentiments of Muslims, which was completely legitimate and pretty much anticipated, and the justifiable anger, manifesting into protests, flows throughout the Muslim as well as non-Muslim countries demanding US to put an end to these sporadic attacks that keep coming in different forms i-e: burning the Qur’an, publishing profane caricatures of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and (the latest one being) releasing blasphemous movie ridiculing our Prophet. The inevitable results of such heinous attack of hurting the sentiments of Muslims worldwide continue to hold the demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Pakistan, being one of the biggest Islamic countries actively takes part in such protests. After a series of erratic protests carried out by different political parties, we are told to observe a day, nation-wide, to show our reverence for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) by raising our voice as one nation. The day that was supposed to bring a positive outcome comes and we as a whole nation, in lieu of lodging our voice to be heard, go out in the streets to loot the buildings, torch the vehicles, destroy the petrol/CNG stations, ransack private properties and kill our own brothers who came out on the street for the same purpose as ours. Thus, to come to the point, we do our best to destroy the image of the greatest religion by showing exactly opposite to what it teaches us. The day takes the whole country by storm and ends up leaving behind dead bodies, scathed bodies, deep signs of destruction and heavy losses. And with the cherry on the top, to end this overwhelming day, we hear the news that one of the biggest international fast food joints, KFC, decides to close its outlets in Pakistan. Now before you start judging me about how sad I am for the shutting-down of a yummy food spot, let me get you aware of the fact that Pakistani youth is already suffering by a great percentage of unemployment. Now, if more than 60 outlets are going to shut down, thousands of people are going to face unemployment among which include a great number of speech and hearing impaired, that KFC helps provide employment to.

We, as a nation, presented ourselves as a joke to the entire world. We killed our brothers in the name of a protest, which was nothing but a contemptible view of an intolerant and uncivilized nation. We helped our youth get unemployed so that they could go down in the pits of depression because that’s exactly how a country thrives, and that’s exactly how a nation’s youth is supposed to be. As the day, which started to achieve the goal of showing respect to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by lodging a peaceful protest, marked the end, the Pakistani nation earned nothing but distress and a great deal of loss both in private and public sectors without even getting their protest properly lodged while that pastor sat there in his church, unaffected.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Brutal Blessing?

It rained. It finally did. I heard the drizzling while I was sitting in my room and instinctively, rushed straight toward the window to acknowledge what I was about to see. Rain drops were falling down from the overlapping black foamy clouds in the sky. It made me feel like the happiest person in the world. I leaned out of the window, letting the raindrops fall on my cheeks and wash away with them even a teensy bit of sadness, if lounging within me. Rain, for me, is the definition of happiness. In no time, the drizzle intensified into cloudburst. It started descending down in torrents and the needle of my mood-o-meter jumped from ‘happy’ -- transcending ‘ecstatic’ -- to ‘euphoric’. The downpour continued without a single pause and with every second passing by, my happiness kept on increasing unabated. So I started to relish every moment of it. I selected a book to read while sniffing the subtle smell of mud and listening sweet whispers of rain. I watched those beautiful rain drops splashing in the puddles. I listened to the melodic sound of rain while delighting myself with every comfort food that was available at my house. And when I went to bed at night, the rain, not wanting to stop, lullabied me to sleep with its enchanting music. So with a smile on my face and content in my heart, I slumbered away.

In the middle of the night, a roaring sound - like a huge meteorite had fallen on my bed - woke me up. I sat up in my bed and looked around. In the room drenched with darkness, flickered a sharp, ephemeral light that died within a microsecond. Perched in the middle of the bed, I could hear the subtle rumbling of clouds behind the clamorous sound of pouring rain. It wasn’t until then that the drowsy me realized what woke me up in the middle of my sound sleep was actually a thunder. ‘God-is-firing-cannonballs-from-the-sky’ kind of thunder. A ghastly still shadow of me on the wall, produced by a faint beam of street light coming through my window, finally moved as I budged out of the bed to look outside the window. Water was STREAMING DOWN FROM THE SKY! Rain seemed more like a waterfall, a perfect view for me to wake up to. A huge smile drew on my face and I kept on wishing for another such deafening thunder after that. That is how much I love rainstorms and thunder and lightning.

My mom came into my room to see if I were doing alright. That thunder roar had awoken the entire house. “Alright? I’m way beyond alright. I’m doing wonderful, mom! I’m loving it.” My mom gave me that worried “is-there-something-wrong-with-you” look but when I conveyed a gesture of reassurance to her, she walked out of the room. And once again, there I was lying in my bed, listening to the low thundering bass complementing the enchanting melody of rain. “We are all blessed,” I thought, lying in my bed, cuddling my pillow.

The next morning when I woke up, it was still raining. Not in torrents though. It was trickling down and that was enough for me to sustain my happy mood. I played in the rain, stomping my feet in the puddles dashing the rain water all around. I wanted to take some pictures in the rain so I hid under a shelter to keep my phone from drenching and held my hand out in the rain to capture some rain drops falling upon my hand. And then I took some pictures of raindrops on the leaves that looked like glistening pearls attached to lavish green leaves. I looked skyward and tried tasting the rainwater. Every moment that passed by, exalted me into a higher state of happiness.

But then I heard the phone ringing. My mom picked up the phone and the expressions that started appearing on her face were a clear telling of something wrong had happened. I waited for the call to end and asked her what was wrong. She told me one of our relatives, who live in a certain lower part of the city, got badly affected by the rain last night. “Their house is still completely inundated,” she said, “The flood swept away every single thing from their house. Their furniture, appliances, clothes, money.. Everything! They spent the night on the streets with their kids.” They have four kids. The eldest one is about 10 years old and the youngest one is only 4. My mom’s cousin (the same person who got affected by the flood) came to our house later and told us what agony they had to go through that night. He told us they were inundated in the water neck high, seeing their belongings sweep away in the flood before their eyes. They, along with their kids, were sleeping soundly when the cloudburst happened. That same roaring sound of thunder that had put a smile on my face triggered terror in them. When I was looking out my window admiring the beauty of God’s blessing pouring down upon our house, they were looking at their deluged house that was perfectly empty from that intruding water before they went to sleep. When I was lying in my bed gratified and contented, listening the sound of rain, they were struggling to reach somewhere higher before the floodwater could engulf them. When I dozed off to the sound of rain, hugging my soft cuddly pillow, they were sitting in the middle of the street, drenching. When I was trying to capture a perfect picture of raindrops falling on my hand, they were hunting for their belongings in the floodwater.

Torn between feeling sad, embarrassed and selfish while he was narrating his saddening story in his faint feeble voice, all I kept thinking was why the same rain that brings happiness to one draws a frown on someone else’s face.

Dear rain!
Stop being so brutal.
Love, Me.