First Published in The Islamabad Dateline under the title “Standing up for justice”
Reactionary activism and sudden burst of resentment fading away with time, defines our ideological advancement into the 21st century. There is a glaring difference between uproar in Muslim countries, when we compare Gaza to Darfur. If we study the dynamics of both tragedies; we might be able to understand why we as a nation are still not able to differentiate between geo-strategic politics and ‘war of religions’.
The activist circles are full of talks about human rights violation in Kashmir and Gaza but it seems, no one is interested about Darfur. The level of ignorance over such a big tragedy that unfolded in front of our very eyes is appalling to say the least.
Maybe, if Darfur genocide was carried out by “infidels” we might have seen much stern response from Muslim countries as figures point out that Darfur is a tragedy of much greater proportions with the UN claiming 300,000-350,000 and Coalition for International Justice, claiming that over 400,000 people have been killed in this conflict between Arab and non-Arab Muslims.
Compare that to Gaza, which killed nearly 2,000 so far and we have seen a staunch response from Muslim ‘brethren’ all over the world. The igniting factor here ofcourse, the Jews are to be blamed.
Millions of Muslims worldwide voiced their outrage against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Massive protests were organized in most major cities across the world and in Pakistan. I remember series of demonstrations in Islamabad, too. Not that these demonstrations were not needed, its just the hypocrisy with which certain elements rally for injustice. I remember as-live casualty counts posted on Facebook and twitter.
I was requested to sign more petitions in support of Gaza in three months than I have for Darfur in five years. Leaving Darfur aside, I remember how difficult it was for me to convince people to start rallying against extremists taking over Swat at the same time Gaza was being burnt. Even after mass consensus was developed in the society by the state and media, some elements who rose for Gaza were not to be seen when Taliban were burning down schools in our land and slitting throats.
Where are the large-scale demonstrations from the Muslim community over the inhumane genocide and rape of hundreds of thousands of poverty-struck African Muslims? Why is there such a glaring discrepancy between the Muslim world’s response to the atrocities in Gaza and the atrocities in Darfur?
So, it’s easy to draw conclusions here – If people go missing and the US is to be blamed, we shall teem the streets calling her the daughter of Pakistan and if hundreds of other ordinary Pakistanis are still missing, and were taken by our own, we shall remain quiet. If non-Muslims are doing injustice, we shall bring havoc and burn Mcdonalds down but we won’t speak up, if Muslims are doing injustice – even in greater proportions.
We need consistence and need to shrug off this hypocritical ‘activism’, which most of the times is influenced by a particular segment in our society which sees everything through religious lens. True voice for justice is for all – true protest against injustice starts from our homes. Injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere
Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is an aeronautical engineer and founder of Pakistan Youth Alliance.