Rage running out

Malala_nighat_dad_290Nadeem F. Paracha in Dawn:

I surprised myself on the day young Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Swat. I was surprised at how calmly (or with such overt apathy) I absorbed the terrible news.

I usually get extremely restless, and fall rapidly in and out of bouts of anger and rage whenever I hear about the madness, the mayhem and the murder being so seamlessly committed in this country against soldiers, cops, politicians, and more importantly, against the civilians, by a host of ogres, in the name of faith, fight and freedom.

But all that rage betrayed me on the day young Malala was stopped, identified and shot point-blank in the head by those who claim to have brought a superpower to its knees (the Soviet Union) and are now fighting the good fight (ordained by the Almighty), to bring down another superpower, the US.

Yes, dear faithful and fellow revolutionaries, our heroes, the ones whose lives are being cut short and mutilated by the American drones, Pakistani fighter jets, soldiers and cops, this time gallantly decided to take on their greatest enemy: The educated young female.

I went numb. It was the strongest bout of apathy I have felt in years. But just for a moment I did want to see the look on the faces of those who have been obsessively raising the drone argument every time they are faced with the embarrassing task of explaining (if not outright justifying) a hideous task of those whose name they dare not speak, but to whom they want to ‘talk peace.’

But then, I remembered. I remembered how when the ‘Swat flogging video’ (in which a member of the Taliban was publicly flogging a woman), was released to the mainstream TV channels, a Taliban spokesperson justified it.

His gloating was followed by a journalist, who fancies himself as a great crusader of a free judiciary, and who agreed with the spokesperson (live on TV), and then angrily took to task his own news group for repeatedly running the video.

Hours later after realising that their justifications, shamelessly constructed on their clearly distorted interpretations of religious scriptures and Pushtun traditions, had failed to stem the tide of condemnation that came charging in from across the country, the apologists suddenly changed their tune.

To them, suddenly, now the video was not showing a beating of a young woman according to the scriptures or Pushtun customs anymore; now it was a farce.