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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Achtung! Fascism is on the rise!

Farkhanda, an Afghan national, was just 27, an educated young woman, a teacher, and most interestingly a Hafiza. Why interestingly? Because the people, who killed her initially claimed that she had burnt the pages of the Quran. But, what she had done was that she stood up against a mullah, who was selling belief, and ripping-off poor uneducated, distressed, superstitious women. 
Farkhanda’s crime was that she did not bow her head, before the now-very-strong religious-extremists. She dared to question the practice of selling Islam. She paid dearly for her crime. She was beaten by a 100% male mob in Kabul. Beaten savagely with sticks, bars, kicks and punches. She was shoved around by the “God fearing” ultrasensitive, fundamentalist men of a certain sect.
She was then thrown off the roof of a building, where she was brutalised in broad daylight. Then, she was overrun by a car, and finally she was burnt. But probably burning alive was not punishment enough, because after that she was dumped into the river.
What happened to the mullah, who was the reason of all of that inhumanity? NOTHING. Just two days after this fascist act, the police declared that they did not find any evidence incriminating Farkhanda of burning the Holy Scripture. The declaration of her insanity proved to be false. And the police officers, who were spectators at this drama, were suspended. The mullah lives. The members of the mob, who killed Farkhanda, are alive. The policemen are alive, But one voice of justice, raised in the name of God against fundamentalists, was silenced.
You must be thinking, why am I so astonished? And you are right in asking this. Suppression of truth by the mob, with the assistance of the law is a normal thing in my own country. Have I forgotten that a Christian woman was accused of crimes against God, and then sentenced to the maximum, although there was no evidence to support the accusation? And then when a politician dared say that justice should be served, and that the sentencing of that woman was not right. He was killed by his own bodyguard, and that low-ranking policeman, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, because the whole Pakistani fundamentalist lobby came out to support him. 
Ah, hell with Qadri, what about the husband and wife burnt alive in a village near Kasur? In that case the accusations were the same as against Farkhanda in Kabul. The fundamentalist mob broke their legs, so that they could not even attempt to escape, and then threw them into a furnace. The deceased had three children and Shama Bibi was pregnant with her fourth child. And what do you think, did they find the torn pages of the Holy Book? They did not. But a mob of more than 1000 “God fearing” men killed an unborn child, orphaned three innocent children, and committed a pre-planned double murder. Just why? Because the deceased were guilty of having a different belief.
What about the two Muslim brothers, who were beaten to death by a Muslim mob, in Sialkot, Pakistan, in 2010. In that incidence, they didn’t even bother to find some blasphemy in the victims’ words or deeds. They simply assassinated them. The scenario was the same: a large number of angry people, sticks and batons in their hands, and the helplessly hanging, upside-down, human bodies.
Let me take you on a journey down the memory lane. In late 1930s the German people or say the majority of them gathered behind an idea of racial supremacy. The Nazi Germans had strong hypothetical and pseudo-scientific belief that they were the better race. After assuming power in 1933, Hitler’s Nazi party started looking for the scapegoats, and soon they found the perfect target for their hatred. The Nazi idea of supremacy was based on hatred, because when someone says that the only truth was his/her truth, this person declares intolerance, and an “us or them” approach.
The ethnic Germans directed their hatred towards the Jews in Germany. First they forced the Jews to wear yellow badges, with the Star of David. Then they forced the Jews to tag all their businesses with such symbols, so that it would be easier to target them. Then came the stripping of civil rights, followed by forced labour, accommodation in concentration camps, and finally the stage of killing in gas chambers and burning alive in crematories. What was the crime of those Jews? Their crime was that they looked different and they acted a little different from the Aryans. Although they were all or nearly all by birth German citizens. But fundamentalist Nazi belief in the superiority of a single race resulted in the death of those, who did not agree with it.
Then the Germans extended their fascist practice to communists, homosexuals, disabled persons, and even physically weak ethnic Germans or Aryans. If initially they killed black headed Jews only, just a little down the line they even killed blonde headed Ukrainians and Russians.
We all remember the Second World War and we remember that certain regimes in Europe carried a very distinct tag. These regimes included Hitler’s German government, Mussolini’s Italian domain and Franco’s rule in Spain. The feature of similarity among these governments was their hard-line approach and merciless annihilation of masses. All three took pride in ordering and overseeing the elimination of all those who did not agree with them. For Hitler, Franco and Mussolini everyone was wrong, but themselves. And now do we remember what we called them?
We called them FASCISTS. This apparently simple term, fascism, means implementation of aggressive nationalism and racism. People in India (Pakistan) were under British raj at the time of the Second World War, and were far away from Europe. Perhaps that’s why they don’t know much about the horrors of fascism. But more than 40 million people suffered at the hands of the fascists, just because of having a different skin colour, a different political point of view, a different religion, and even for being born disabled.
Fast forwarding back to present times, what do I see around me in the world? I see members of ISIS beheading people, just because they happen to be Japanese or Americans and just because they are not Muslims. I see them torturing and beheading Yazidis, just because they are not Muslims. Then I see the same ISIS killing Kurds, who happen to be Muslims, but Muslims with a differing point of view. 
I see Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan killing 137 school children in Peshawar, just because their parents (in many cases) happened to work for the army. Was this reason enough for the fundamentalists to slaughter children? Then I see the same Taliban beheading military personnel and kicking around their heads. I see Taliban lashing a woman in broad daylight, just because she did not fit their template.
Forty million people died in German concentration camps only, just because no one took it seriously, when the Jews were asked to wear yellow badges. No one identified fascism at that time and when they realized it. It was already too late. We also did not realize the moment when we let this gene out of the bottle. We were blind enough not to notice inhumanity, when the Taliban captured Najeebullah in Afghanistan, beat him, tied him behind a truck and dragged him in the streets of Kabul, before hanging his lifeless body for many days in the city center. Do you know what Najeeullah’s crime was? He was a moderate Muslim, and his moderate thoughts, did not tally with the extremist views of Mullah Omar and the Taliban and even the US supported mujahideen.
The beheadings by ISIS, the destruction of Buddha of Bamiyan, the killing of Salman Taseer, the burning alive of Shama Bibi and her husband, the slaughter of school children in Peshawar, the bombing of Shiite mosque in Shikarpur and killing of Farkhanda at the hands of extremists are all acts of FASCISM.
The only difference is that this time around this fascism is not sprouting somewhere in Europe. It is growing in our own backyard. So if you and I do not want to end-up in a fascist concentration camp, and if we do not want to experience the fate of 40 million victims of fascism in Europe, we have to stop this cancer right here. 
Please remember that God is love, affection, compassion and tolerance, not hatred, indifference, cruelty and lethargy. Let us stop this extremist fascism, before it would be too late!

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