Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Mad, Mad, Mad World


Maryam Sakeenah

Dajjal, the grotesque symbol of an all-pervading evil that is 'one eyed'_ thriving on bias, injustice, lies and deceit, hypocrisy, duplicity, deception, half-truths. What the metaphor stands for is alive and kicking, quite on the rampage. The world is under its sway, under its reign of evil. The media, politics and international affairs, the society, the economy and its infrastructure grow out of it, materializing the tragedy of our times_ the tragedy of an insane world where black is white and white, black so that you cannot tell the difference; where values and standards are toppled over without a wince, where all is judged by its utility, its interest for the narow yet grandiose self; where nothing holds except the interest of the power-wielder.

It is a bleak picture_ and so it is. The symptoms of an order built on the roots of the 'Baatil' (falsehood) are the double standards, lies, deception and selective justice we see around us. Saddam Hussain with his bloody track record ruled for decades as the Blue Eyed Boy of the West. The Kurdish massacres didnt count. Yet in the post 9/11 Bush era, opportunely before the mid-term election, the crimes are righteously brought out of the dusty under-the-carpet records to be befittingly punished_ not to mention that other varieties of war criminals and perpetrators of genocide on the friendlier side of the Divide are hailed as torchbearers of civilization and human liberty. A Mad, Mad, Mad World.

A sovereign nation is attacked for amassing weapons which turned out to be a make-believe, a figment of imagination. At the same time, there are those others who are heavily financed in their Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Shopping Spree. Their right to its use is defended in high-sounding speeches at Human Rights forums. Hundreds of thousands are illegaly persecuted just by labelling them with the word 'terrorist', a term whose definition still eludes us. The CIA keeps up its secret 'Black Holes' in Guantanamo and elsewhere which suck in thousands of guiltless Muslims on suspicions of terrorism despite no trace of evidence available. Evidence or no evidence_ who cares? "What We Say Goes." Lies are sold to the world and readily bought, swallowed up, consigned to convenient public oblivion. A Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Nearer home we have the fortunate Mirza Tahir_ the unscathed, unblemished, honourable criminal holding his salvation card_ British citizenship. Despite being proven guilty of vile murder and being convicted for it, his crimes are forgiven and forgotten because HRH the Prince of Wales and HE the Prime Minister raised an eyebrow. He isn't tainted with the 'original sin' of un-Western identity. He was the West's very own child. Those nameless sufferers languishing in Guantanamo aren't so lucky. Nor is Saddam. Moral of the story: A British citizenship, a green card or better still, white skin, blue eyes, clean shaven face and Levi's jeans are to be lived and died for_ your ultimate salvation ticket on the planet. A Mad, Mad, Mad World.

A fortnight ago or so we had the Women's Protection Bill passed. A total misnomer, for one wonders how really will the women of this country be any more secure when we take away from them the Divine Protection given by Allah_ when we alleviate the sentence prescribed by Allah to the perpetrator of crime against her, and we facilitate for her to fall into the sin of selling away her precious physicality; when we let her sin against her womanhood. We let her fall by our consent. If this is 'protection', it is only so for the woman who would sully her womanhood by letting it be used; it is 'protection' merely for a system that puts a woman's worth in the trappings of her skin and body; that reduces her to a thing with a face, to be used for her face-value; that rates her for her ability and readiness to take up manly roles going against her own nature; that honours her for how much of a man she can become and doesn't recognize her essential femininity where she is her true, natural self.

A deeper and more insightful look at the West's system reveals its grotesque flaws. It is a hollow shell, empty to the core, wrapped up perfectly in hig-sounding, civilized, humane jargon. Where the 'Patriot Act' means narrow, prejudicial, xenophobic nationalism, 'Operation Infinite Justice' means bombing innocents in sovereign nations on a false pretext and 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' means that a woman in secular France does not have the freedom to dress the way she wants to: while on the one hand a woman who wishes to cast off her modesty is free to strip down and debase her entire sex and is projected hugely and uglily on billboards and T.V screens, the woman who wishes to protect her femininity and guard her modesty by wearing hijab is tied hand and foot. 'Lord, what fools these mortals be!' A Mad, Mad, Mad World.

A case in point here is the Misbah Iram case. So far, Pakistani law authorities have been extremely hesitant in letting the girl choose the course of her life to live with her father _ known to be a man of integrity, character and principle after his discovery and wilful adoption of practical Islam. Misbah is being forced, under duress, to live with her mother who has given up Islam and chosen to live with a man out of wedlock_ a total stranger to her minor daughter who needs security, stability and a sound upbringing totally impossible in such a setup. A teenaged girl who has striven to win escape from a suffocating life with a woman_ her biological mother_ who failed to provide a warm, secure home to her own daughter is being cruelly thwarted in her genuine aim. She is not allowed to win her freedom, her happiness, her welfare. The girl's willingness to live under the guardianship of her father who honourably reciprocates the trust placed in him has been made ineffectual by a law that serves politically expedient ends; a law that takes dictation from 'international norms'_ norms which separate from her doting father a daughter who wishes to preserve herself from influences that infringe on her beliefs, values and morals. Yet the unseeing letter of the law is ready to consign her to the Inferno she broke free from, simply because 'intenational norms' penned down by the secular West and its double standards imperiously demand that it should be so. A bearded fanatic cannot be allowed to raise a girl with British blood. The difference simply is that the father sports a beard and is browner in skin. The mother, light-eyed, light-skinned, hijab-less, holds British citizenship. They don't weigh in the same balance. Western justice is one-eyed.

What makes it all ridiculous is how the Muslim world who have been blessed with an alternative, refreshingly contrasting and truly egalitarian system choose to exchange it for what is low, empty, hollow, masquerading. The tragedy is our readiness to ape a system (and become apes in the process) that has nothing to do with us, that is diametrically opposed to our own God-given value system. The tragedy is how we have blinded ourselves to the beauty of this glorious Deen. A poor, poor bargain; an abject loss.

"And sell not the Word of Allah for a paltry price." (The Quran)