May 19, 2010

Just when I was bemoaning our government's Chinese-y approach to problem solving, I come home to emails that send me this and skype messages such as this. Moments like these reinforce my faith in my fellow country(wo)men. Come what may, I'm sure that we will 'juggar' our way through it! :P Nobody can beat Pakistanis when it comes to creative problem solving and today just goes to prove it. Interestingly though, now that I 'can' access facebook, I'm no longer desperate to log on. Goes to prove that my contention (as always) merely lay in being denied.

Ibteda had a comment to make on my earlier post. She said (and I paraphrase) is a three-day sacrifice for a cause too much to ask? Why did I choose make such a fuss about this?

Well, first because I had no idea that the group in question existed. Or whether this ban is a three day exercise (according to most sources its on till at least May 31st). But even had I know the context in its entirety, I would not have advocated blocking an entire medium of communication as protest. Seems to me this is a a bit like chopping off your nose to spite your face. But then Pakistanis have been known to do that. Why else would we destroy public property and burn buses galore in protest over 'Danish' cartoons? I doubt damaging the common (wo)man's infrastructure and playing havoc with the country's transport system did anything to prove our point. On the other hand, it did help to defuse tension. It also gave the offended something to do. So in that sense I suppose it served is purpose. As will this silly facebook ban.

I'm Muslim enough to understand how much of an insult such a deliberate (and blatant) attempt to upset us is. Let's face it, this is a calculated attempt to piss off a fairly large segment of human population, and it's hardly surprising that its given birth to so much resentment. That said, almost every single person who comments on my blog has - at some point or the other - given me the same advice about saadonymous: ignore the troll, and the troll will eventually get tired and go annoy someone else. I don't see how these particular narrow-minded idiots who decide its amusing to play with other people's sentiments are any different on the macro scale as saadonymous is here. They're trolls of the worst kind and they thrive on attention. If they don't get it, chances are their disgusting display of anti-religious chauvinism will die a quick death. Fortunately for them, the world has made sure that no such thing happens. From a tiny facebook group, this has turned into a global campaign. Now, they have justification to fight for 'their' civil liberties (i.e. the liberty to draw/say what they want) while people in this part of the world fight for the right to protest against insult. On an abstract scale, both arguments apply.

So today Pakistan banned facebook. Today, Pakistanis circulated (en-masse) methods to evade that ban. The facebook group in question gained popularity in notoriety. People like me went through withdrawal symptoms a-plenty and others felt somewhat relieved that the social pressure to be in constant contact with the world at large had been removed. At the end of the day nothing happened.

This, my loves, is but a storm in a tea-cup. And it too shall pass.


Deepak Iyer said...

"while people in this part of the world fight for the right to be protected against insult. "

That's not a right.

While I agree with your general sentiment that the campaign is a deliberate attempt that is in bad taste, they haven't infringed on anyone's rights.
The ones taking offense, on the other hand, do infringe.
All the offensees need to do is ignore it. Easier said than done in south Asian countries, but that's where we need to go towards. Not towards expecting others to respect our holy cows.

P.S. : "Pakistani's" [:P]

ibteda said...

Rightly said.
Again, Let me clarify - I am glad for the ban NOT cause I think it is the sane solution, simply cause I am selfish enough to want some stability - No ban would have meant more protests and very violent ones. Another excuse, that the terrorists would quote against this "Amreeka supporting" government and a ban seems to be the most direct way to appease a lot of would-be protesters.
However, I do think, that as the rulers of an Islamic state, our government should have lodged a formal protest with the American Government - I know neither facebook nor the event are state sponsored, but this hypocritical practice of 1st amendment needs to be checked somehow.

On another note - I'm sooo disappointed in facebook. Last week, a friend's profile was deleted cause someone reported his group "I love Islamabad" as racist (and it wasn't). But despite hundreds reporting the "Everyone Draw Mohammad Day" group, no action has been taken by the admins. Discrimination if nothing else.

Deepak Iyer said...

@Ibteda : "but this hypocritical practice of 1st amendment"

Please elaborate.

Xeb said...

Deepak, it's hypocritical because freedom of 'speech' is somehow only appropriate in certain circumstances. I'm as a-religious as they come and I feel offended. You know as part of a training, we speak extensively about rights and responsibility. It's quintessential batman-speak, and it seems fairly elementary: if you have the freedom to say what you want, then you need to undertake the responsibility not to cause offence or injure another's sensibilities unduly. In most cases (except for some, hence the hypocrisy) if responsibility is not met, rights are removed. Which is as it should be, except in cases such as these: it's not.

Ubaid said...

You know what I never read the boring political things you write... PER LOVED THIS =D

and yeah I agree with you.... But somehow it was nice to see people together.

Anonymous said...

A quick question to anyone who can answer this without threatening to lop off my head or circumsize my dog, etc. - Why is it such a big offence if someone draws a picture of Prophet Muhammed?

I mean, I'm just curious about the why... If the answer is something to the effect of 'Just cuz...' or 'Because it is written...' and 'moderate' muslims abide by it, then I think it throws the whole 'moderation' argument into a death spiral, doesn't it? It's like a Catholic blindly accepting that God created the earth 6,000 years ago and then supporting Darwinism, or a Hindu accepting the practice of 'Sati' and then ranting against the 'social evil' of untouchability...

It just smells of hypocrisy...

Deepak Iyer said...

"if you have the freedom to say what you want, then you need to undertake the responsibility not to cause offence or injure another's sensibilities unduly. "

Says who? And why?

Most constitutions only give citizens rights; not responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

There are times when people's idiotic behavior makes me feel like banging my head into a wall. Music is my savior at such times. That, and Carl Segan's "The Pale Blue Dot".

Lonely Perverted Soul said...

Well lets just chill and relax.. I thnk a definite case shud be filed against fb for not removing the group.. Youtube was in trouble for not removing the rape video of a uk mom.. Thn y shudnt fb be in trouble for ths..

chaand said...

re anon questioning why should there be no photos: have you seen the drawings people have drawn? Its one think drawing someone and another thing drawing someone for insult. The kind of pictures that are drawn are simply pathetic and you would not be asking this stupid question if you had seen them.