Defining Terror: Better Late Than Never?

By Ahad Khan for

In his recent article “Home Free: Waging War on Ourselves,” Ethan Casey writes about what I know as “the American dream” or, as he calls it, “the ugly truth buried beneath the manicured lawns of the American suburbs.”

As a person of Pakistani heritage, I didn’t need help to notice the near exact parallel between the history of black people in America on one hand, and the plight of the U.S. government’s ghosts somewhere in “Afpakistan” on the other. I am talking about the victims of America’s drone war in the “Af-Pak” border region, home to the folks who supposedly hate the American way of life (courtesy U.S. presidents of the past decade). If we are to believe their advocates, Predator drones are so advanced that they even have their own conscience. You don’t have to worry about them mistakenly firing on women and children alike.

Our world’s affairs have arrived at a confusing point. Wars between different countries, overt and covert, increasingly appear to be conflicts between civilizations. I should not say that we can’t tell where it may lead us during the course of our own generation. History has clearly taught us time and again that struggles for freedom become inevitable wherever people are forced to live with a feeling of being suppressed. It was just such a struggle that gave birth to an America that dreamt of liberty and justice for all. It was such a struggle that solemnized the rights of the black people of America, through the brilliance of heroes like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

It was that same struggle that led to the creation of Pakistan, by a nation of people that – like black Americans – had grown sick and tired of being denied equal treatment in their own society. It is this freedom that we, as human beings, have shown to hold so dear, that it has served to justify our restless campaigns for the rights we demanded to live in honour and dignity.

It is no less amazing what man would do to defend what he perceives to be his freedom, or any symbol that represents it. While it still holds true that the horrific events of 9/11 raised more questions than answers (technically speaking), who would dare to challenge the notion that the USA was dealt a devastating blow to its core beliefs? To repair America’s presumably unshakeable spirit of justice, someone was going to have to pay. A determined U.S. military thus engaged in a worldwide war on ‘terror’. Over a decade later, we find the same forces holed up in Afghanistan, unwelcome and surrounded from all directions. Their enemies (those that were meant to be paid back) are stronger than they were at any point during the course of the war and easily project effective control over most of the country. The lack of a clearly defined war strategy is just one rampant example out of many to show how American leadership is completely clueless about what it’s doing there. But at least bin Laden’s dead. Mission accomplished, whatever it’s been.

As the world looks at its old ally today – they who slammed the lid on Hitler’s coffin – it’s been curious to know what the USA really aims to achieve. As America’s government continues to pursue ‘the terrorists’, it has made that country itself into the biggest victim of terror. Before anyone jumps me for contradicting other countries’ body counts: terror succeeds where people allow themselves to be terrorized; you can’t terrorize the dead. Thus, in my humble opinion, the primary victims of terror are not those that are now laid to rest in their graves; they’re the people amongst us who are ready to sacrifice their freedom for the sake of the mirage that’s presented as “threats to national security.” Those who refused to come to terms with their defeat once, failing to learn from it, are thereby damned to fail in future.

In my humble opinion the Obama administration does know that it had failed, long before the latest breakdown in relations with Pakistan after Pakistani soldiers were attacked without reason. When was the last time you heard any U.S. government official tell the world that they’re trying to “win the hearts of minds” of people on the other side of the world? They never intended to bomb their hearts and minds out, it depends on the means chosen to aim at the target. The tendencies that champion the death sentence as a means for the sake of internal security, favor the use of drones when it comes to external security.

As much as we’ve suffered as Pakistanis under America’s misleading wars, I can’t help but feel sorry for America. As this great nation’s ideology is its biggest victim of war, the defeat couldn’t be greater. The rampant paranoia at present about hunting “terrorists” does not represent the example America gave to the rest of the world in the course of the previous century. Sadly, most of our generation will remember it by the images of a shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist. Pakistan and the emerging Arab nations will learn what democracy is on their own. They’ll take an example in future of what happened in America when people allowed themselves to be governed by fear instead of by a determined leadership. Justice will be sought and found, even by some of those people that the knights of freedom would describe as terrorists.

Ahad Khan is a Dutch Pakistani whose parents hail from Karachi. A health management student from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, he’s a dental practice manager in everyday life.

  1. “It was that same struggle that led to the creation of Pakistan, by a nation of people that – like black Americans – had grown sick and tired of being denied equal treatment in their own society. It is this freedom that we, as human beings, have shown to hold so dear, that it has served to justify our restless campaigns for the rights we demanded to live in honour and dignity.”

    I have just pasted your own excerpt above because it will be read by so many apart from the writer himself/you and there are other sides of stories. I am just no less feeling sorry for this utter …… story when a wrong history is projected in the name of “honour and dignity”. Please hear now, “This is a mere crocodile tears that you are trying to shed here”. Get real and learn the lessons, not from the history which is just as dead as those killed by whatever you are trying to portray but from every day history that is unleashed on others.

    I am sorry, you won’t get to the bottom of the problem here by showing the picture of Taj Mumbai above but you failed to mention the atrocities unleashed by your those very dear ones for whom you have shed so many tears for. Instead you have merely sprinkled more salt on our wounds by omitting even a mention of Taj in your text but showing it in the picture but you did not forget to mention of the brutal partition in 1947.

    How do you claim that land yours? You were never the original inhabitants but forcibly occupied it. It were your people, I blame you today MM (as you have invited it yourself), who despite that partition has always kept us on the fear trail ever since. We have also read history and are suffering the residual terror out of our benevolence. Muslims are a barbaric medieval clan of the ancient Cannan state who have not refined themselves till date.

    I am sorry and I mince no words, Muslims will never be satisfied wherever they will live or go, unless they have a fear of retribution. If you want, I can quote the Indian Muslim for it. Pakistan has only one agenda even now, i.e. hate India and hate Hindus. Why, what is bothering you now? Who were those brutes who came from your side to unleash the 26/11, who’s picture is shown here shamelessly. Are you being respectful by doing it? If not, then what are all these tears for after all? What sympathy are you expecting and from whom?

    You yourself do not respect anybody including the Pakistani awaam. The entire world knows it. Remind yourself of your two worst floods. You will know, who your peaceful Pakistanis are. They excluded every other person including the Hindus and non Sunnis. I warned some organisations who wanted to help the suffering Hindus in Pakistan post floods. Reasons were obvious. We know what Pakistan is like. It is a bundle of terror and hate, nothing else.

    The people are not fools. It is your pakistani leaders who are merely a sick class of people. You blame US, India, Hindus and everybody while you forget to introspect. That is the biggest deficiency in Muslims. You talk of democracy, who are you teaching this taqqiya business where your Quran clearly states Sharia which has nothing doing with democracy.

    There is no point in merely indulging in mudslinging. Who would you blame for this stupid memogate scandal. It is a shame that your elected President has to seek help from the same country whom you are sarcastically blaming. You have become habituated of begging, snatching and eating. That is the problem. You are sitting in US but still what the Americans would think if some of them will read? They all know it. Western countries are too smart than we think.

    You have just brushed aside in one stroke the tragedy of this stupid terrorist who changed the stylus of the whole world, you call him Osama bin Laden. He should be condemned in as strong as possible language, not just brush aside just because he is dead. He is not just dead, but the history will write it differently between the two so called allies in your own words; he was killed in a memorable military strategy, not dead, in the backyard of the same treacherous ally who has been eating out of their dollars shamelessly, yet kept constantly denying the knowledge of his whereabouts. World is not fool MM.

    Hence as far as India is concerned, let us keep it aside for a moment, what is wrong with the Ahmadias, Shias, Ismailis, Hindus in Pakistan who are being persecuted relentlessly. Hindus were about 20% in 1947 after partition, who are reduced to about 1-2% now. Everyday your good humoured Pakistanis are killing, kidnapping, forcibly abducting the young Hindu girls and marrying them to Muslims and converting them. It is not me or even your Pakistani press but the International independent organisations saying it.

    Muslims are so fast in crying loud like the azaan for everything on them. Time has come that not just Pakistanis but Muslims in general, should sit back and contemplate on their own behavior and character. Violence, aggression, intolerance only buy you the same what you preach. I laughed when some of your elderly sane Pakistani gentleman requested Anna to visit Pakistan and start such a move there against corruption. I said, Pakistan doesn’t need a peaceful movement. Hafiz Saeed/ISI Inc is there to continue this hate movement. Anna is irrelevant in such a society.

    I am sorry MM, if we fail to respect others, we equally deny the respect to ourselves. They all know writing skills and flowery languages full of adrenaline.
    But how many can look within. It is cowardice to blame others when we fail ourselves to be responsible. Lastly, MM are you not deviating from your initial aim of starting this blog, just a question? God bless

  1. January 3rd, 2012
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