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Monday, October 10, 2005

God: Save us from your followers!

As I switch channels — unable to cope with either the pictures of the recent havoc, or of the monotonous display of quivering bodies of another kind on the countless music(?) stations — I catch a popular compere on QTV, asking another member of the Morality-grows-on-your-chin Brigade, if the quake was a "Test of Faith or even Divine Retribution", the 'capitalization' almost audible!

Another click. Another channel. A saffron-draped man ends his bhajan, pauses until his much-practised serene after-glow look has time to register on the TV camera, then asks the viewers to pray for forgiveness lest "they, too, be punished for forgetting the 'All-Pervading' and focusing on materialistic desires like the quake victims." The audience sits, heads bowed in shame. The phrase, "materialistic desires", reverberates for a while: Audio-technology, combined with Advertising can be a potent combination. But not enough in this age of words being replaced by a thousand pictures. For a fleeting moment, my mind fills the gap and conjures up grotesque Daliesque images: Bleeding children, with begging bowls full of Kentucky Fried Chicken Chunks, and wound-festered infants sitting in the rubble and nibbling Oreo Cookies, while loving parents, in tattered clothes, weep with joy as they look at their progeny from the power-windows of their gleaming overturned Hondas.

Such insane views and insensitive comments are not just the domain of 'backward' India and Pakistan: one only has to google Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson to find out that similar freaks exist in the world's most 'advanced' nation, where the President claims that God talks to him and instructs him to invade His creations elsewhere.

What, I wonder, do such warped persons think the 400 schoolgirls, who were killed in just one school, could have done to deserve this? And why would any merciful god have punished those who rushed in to save them? I can only suggest to those who believe in such a possibility that, perhaps, the children were "Collateral Damage" in this act of Divine Fury, directed at the real sinners - the leaders of a Religious Right that unleashes acts of political and personal aggression against those who challenge them in any way, or disagree with their version of Faith.

Surely, with their misuse of the Hudood Ordinances, falsification of blasphemy cases, killing of worshippers who belong to another sect or belief system, sodomizing or brutalizing of children trusted to their care for 'religious' education, torturing of wives in ways that even the Marquis de Sade did not imagine, the inventing of 'traditions' and issuing 'fatvaas' to suit their personal purposes - and the covert incitement to countless forms of terrorism - it is they, the mad religiosity perverts, who deserve such fury far more than the poor souls they successfully misguide.

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6 Comments:

Blogger the olive ream said...

Impeccable commentary, BRAVO!

I'm forwarding the link to this post to everyone I know.

10 October, 2005 08:52

 
Anonymous Jehan said...

When natural calamities are 'used' by these so-called religious leaders to instil fear and to strengthen their own hold over people, it makes me sick to the core. How can they even connect what has happened with material desires or divine punishment? Can they not think of doing something positive, something that will help those that are affected or would that be beneath them? Since the earthquake, I have come across a lot of people from diverse backgrounds who have come together to join in the relief effort. Has anyone noticed the absence of actual on-the-ground assistance or even call for relief from those that have appointed themselves guardians of our faith?

10 October, 2005 11:24

 
Blogger insiya said...

CityFM89 is selling 'Make 89 Differences' wristbands for Rs. 100 to collect money for The Citizens Foundation's Earthquake Relief Fund.

There are 6 thousand bands, and we hope to gather 6 lakh rupees for the victims of the earthquake.

These bands will be available through employees, RJs, at the stations and at various public points through Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Faislabad. Look for our people in your city!

No band should be bought for more than Rs 100.

For more details you can email us on info@cityfm89.com or contact any RJ or employee you know personally.

Please forward this message to your friends and family that might be interested to help us collect this fund.

Please, help us make a difference.

10 October, 2005 12:25

 
Anonymous Moiz said...

I would not totally disagree to what you have to say. The point of view however can be debated. nevertheless i think from the first hand information that i am gettin gfrom the area it is the 'religious policemen' political leaders in the area who have been very effectively or as eeffectively as possible, leading the relief efforts. I think the role of NWFP govt. i this instance is laudable keeping in mind the scale of destruction and anti MMA drive launched by the state media and the state itself . I have numerous quotes of active hinderance into their work by the state govt.
It is a shame but facts are facts my friend.

13 October, 2005 05:46

 
Blogger Zakintosh said...

Moiz - I have no doubt that ALL people, regardless of beliefs or political affiliations, will have come forward to help in this very trying time … It's a human tragedy that crosses all boundaries, even political and imaginary ones.

My anger always was (and remains) directed at the LEADERS of the 'religious right' — and I have modified my blog to make that distinction clearer after your comments. These are people I find farthest removed from the principles that their belief systems expound.

What I have said holds equally true for the religious right among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. And even for other social systems that, over time, develop an almost religious fervour: Staliniist Communism is a case in point.

13 October, 2005 17:49

 
Blogger Zakintosh said...

The following is an extract from a long report that has just arrived from the frontlines, after a team made possible by donations to the QAU-EAF Earthquake Relief Fund arrived at Balakot.

"This is no time for credits, but the QAU effort owes entirely to dedicated students, employees, and the tireless coordination efforts of the Academic Staff Association's president.

Islamic groups from across the country have arrived in vast numbers. Some bring relief supplies, others simply harangue poor goat herders and simple tillers of the soil to tell them that their misdeeds brought about this catastrophe. None seem to have an explanation for why God's wrath was especially directed [at] mosques, madrassas, and schools - all of which have collapsed in huge numbers. And none say why thousands of the faithful have been buried alive in this sacred month of fasting."

13 October, 2005 18:52

 

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