Salman Taseer: An act to be remembered

This is an article of mine Express Tribune published on the assassination of Salman Taseer: Salman Taseer: An act to be remembered. But here, on my blog I want to talk about something else, why keeping quiet about these things is not an option.

A woman paying respect to the late Salman Taseer.

Just eight hours before his assassination, Salman Taseer tweeted the following couplet by the Urdu poet, Shakeel Badayuni, ‘My resolve is so strong that I do not fear the flames from without, I fear only the radiance of the flowers, that it might burn my garden down.

A lot of people have either been told to keep quiet or are keeping quiet about what’s happening. If ‘they’ went after the late Salman Taseer, then what’s to say they won’t come after you next?

Frankly who are we in the grand scheme of things? And if we can make no significant difference to any of this, why say anything at all? Because no matter what we believe in – there is someone we all have to answer to if only ourselves.

My self is afraid for my Muslim brothers and sisters, for my Christian brothers and sisters, for my Jewish brothers and sisters, for my Hindu brothers and sisters, for my Buddhist brothers and sisters, for my brothers and sisters of all faiths or no faith, all colours or no colour and of all creeds. I am afraid for all of humanity. I am afraid of what people; everywhere keeping their mouths shut means for people, everywhere.

Pakistan is not the only country operating certain laws but it will be among the countries where such a law is used to settle petty squabbles and among the countries where will be allowed to happen. For all of us who are trying to understand the political and societal agendas behind implementing such drastic measures – we can theorise all we want.

Who are we trying to kid? We’re no closer to the truth than we are to the end of time. There is no way we are ever going to know. I’m not out to find out the truth – but I’m keeping quiet while Pakistan is about to have it’s very own Nuremburg, Palestine, segregation, apartheid or genocide is not something I feel comfortable living with.

These were all catastrophic world events where people on the basis of faith, colour or creed were stripped, denaturalized and denied civil and human rights. The penal codes may have been from different times, for different reasons and in different languages – but the meaning and result has always been the same. The people pushing for the what’s happening in Pakistan today are no different to Hitler or the Klu Klux Klan or settlers in West Bank or the perpetrators of the apartheid. For those of you who think this doesn’t affect you, do not get too complacent, it’s a short cry between you and someone who is.

For those of you who are comfortable, who brush off my flowery words, I am after all just another writer, ask yourself this – imagine if Nelson Mandela, just another man had stayed quiet, if Martin Luther King just another person had not had the courage to dream or if ordinary people hadn’t united against Nazi Germany? We all know there is some higher order and I’ll be lucky if this article changes even one person’s mind that steadfastly believes that what is happening is right – let alone changing Pakistan or the world but it might inspire the next person who’s going to challenge that order and our divided nation.

Being true to myself means writing this – I can’t live with myself in this godforsaken world if I don’t. If you are content staying out of all this then by all means do or if your peace is behind rose tinted glasses I don’t want to disturb you.

There is a thorn in all our sides that we can’t deny – look at the victims long enough and we’ll become them too. I don’t want anyone to die – nor do I want there to be anymore martyrs but death is as certain as birth and a certainty even stronger and more binding than that is dying for nothing and dying for something.


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