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The Wrong Picture: I Will Not Contaminate My Grief With Their Vengeance

Posted on July 3, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Photo of the Day, Society
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Adil Najam

There is something terribly wrong with this picture.



The picture was taken at a protest against the the brutal murder of innocents at Data Darbar in Lahore yesterday. These are protesters at a rally brandishing supposedly ‘toy’ guns to express their anger at the killings and calling for revenge – I say ‘supposedly’ because news reports suggest that actual firing was done by masked gunmen.

What is wrong with this picture is exactly what is wrong not just in Pakistan, but especially in Pakistan: What is wrong with this picture is a validation of violence as a solution.

According to The Express Tribune those present advocated violent revenge, brandished weapons, and instigated sectarian hatred. Here are the details:

Addressing a charged protest demonstration outside the Data Darbar on Friday, with over 3,000 emotional participants, the leaders of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) openly advocated violent revenge. Several SIC members vowed to ‘seek revenge’ for ‘the attack on Sunni honour’ and urged violence against those responsible. Instigating the cheering and vulnerable mass of participants, Allama Abdul Tawab Siddiqi questioned, “Are you a devotee of the saint in name only or do you want to seek revenge and prove your allegiance?” Tempers and emotions ran high as the protestors raised their hands in unison, heeding the call and promising to prove their loyalty. Allama Siddiqi then administered them a collective oath. A masked gunman fired a round from the midst of the crowd to mark the end of Allama Siddiqi’s speech and as a symbolic gesture of the crowd’s respect and agreement. … Despite the public declarations and incitement, the protest was not interrupted and the police superintendant present at the scene made no move to arrest any of the leaders or the participants or to stop them.

I had never heard of SIC before. I do not know who SIC speaks for; but is certainly does not speak for this particular Sunni.

I too have been grieved, and pained, and outraged by the brutality of the murders at Data Durbar, just as I had been at the murders of Ahmadi worshipers a month ago, just as I had been at the murders of Christians last August, just as I have been at murders of all Pakistanis anywhere. But I refuse to contaminate my grief with vengeance. I want justice, not revenge.

I will not stoop to the same tactics and similar rhetoric that has brought upon me the grief that I mourn at Data Sahib, at Garhi Shahu, at Gojra. Those in this picture may claim that they share the depths of my grief, my angst, my pain; but I refuse to share the vitriolic of their proclamations, the display of ammunition (real or fake), the calls for violence, the notes of hatred.

I refuse to do so because it is exactly that same vitriolic that has brought us to the sorry point that we have reached. I refuse to do so because this validation of violent vengeance dishonors the blood of those who have been martyred, it discredits the grief of those who have lost their beloved, and it auguments the arguments of those who have do the killing.

I, for one, refuse to be part of any of the above.

30 comments posted

Comment Pages: [4] 3 2 1 » Show All

  1. Qazi Fareed says:
    July 6th, 2010 10:39 am

    Very good piece and strongly stated. Thank you for speaking out on something that no one wants to speak out on. This tendency to find violent solutions for everything is what got us here. This attitude that we will use wrong means because we have right ends only creates new monsters. We seem to have learnt nothing from history.

  2. fatima.ahtesham says:
    July 5th, 2010 7:43 am

    I agree with the title

  3. July 5th, 2010 6:35 am

    @ ATHEIST
    What do you mean…
    do Terrorism to stop terrorism……
    US and Israel have also same Philosophy
    More Terrorism in the response of terrorism…

    @ ATHEIST
    This is the duty of authority not civilians to fight against terrorist, If you permit SIC then you have to permit as well

    We should equally protest all Exta judicial and Extra law activities, Terrorist are still unknown but the anger people are known….

  4. ATHEIST says:
    July 5th, 2010 2:49 am

    hi Adil with all due respect i will dissagree with you, i think it is time to pick up the gun and start a fight against terrorists, well we all know who the terrorists are and where they come from, who sypmatsize them, who shelter them and finance them. government of pakistan has been failed to protect people of pakistan and pakistan army is in incest relationship with the masters of the taliban, WE ALL KNOW WHO THE TERRORISTS ARE….. common it is time to wake up and start doing something rather then sit and get killed by these terrorists… by not doing anything we are more coward than these terrorists……

  5. Saba says:
    July 5th, 2010 1:20 am

    I completely agree with you Adil. This is no way to show your pain; by replicating the violent behavior of the suicide bombers.

  6. banjara286 says:
    July 5th, 2010 1:20 am

    @saeed,
    what should be encourage d is that the state discharge its duty to enforce the law and provide security. unless u think that civil war is the proper answer for the extremists.

Comment Pages: [4] 3 2 1 » Show All



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