Enter: Freedom; Leave: Respect – A Rant

We all hear stories of how our parents and grandparents and the people around them, and people in general, of older times were ‘better’ to each other, there was respect, and equality.

Why isn’t it so anymore?

With the rise of consumerism, and with people gaining consciousness of the amount of freedom each person can exert to their liking, how do you control such a revolution, so it isn’t damaging in the long run for the same people.

How does one person lose grip of their conscience.

With freedom, one could say, people start behaving in certain ways. And since not everyone is mentally and emotionally mature, they will use their freedom in a negative and damaging way, for themselves and others.

With consumerism, then, people starting sizing each other up by the amount of wealth they had accumulated or what kind of things that person has regardless, in most cases, of what the person is actually like. This is also why people get tired of city life, since everything revolves around money there. Like, a month in Islamabad, Pakistan, is so stressful that I genuinely cannot wait to go back to my country-house. Starting from dawn to dusk, people are running around trying to earn more and more money, much more than they need.

With consumerism spreading all over the world, all our wants have taken a hundred-fold rise and we just cant stop. Ad campaigns, businesses, business schools, even scientists now are creating things that will somehow sell. Everything is about money, and that sure as hell is tiring and pathetic.

I know so many people who are so rich that it’s mind-boggling, but what has become of them as people? Have they become some supreme human beings? Do they know more about this universe? Are they trying to fix things? Do they know of the purpose of life? Are they searching for it?

Honestly, we have many reasons now not to respect other people. But we know, that respecting others is very important for many reasons  – one of them could be that it makes that person feel good. We also know that some people actually do deserve it, and some dont. So what do we base our respect on?

Let me quote Quran here, and you shouldn’t have a problem with it even if you aren’t Muslim because one should respect each other:

A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend.” (Quran, chapter 41, verse 34)

And on other religions:

“…If God had willed, He would have made you all in one nation and one religion), but that He (God) left you in different religions to compete in good deeds and society benefits. The return of all of you is to God; then He (God) will inform you about that in which you differ” (Quran, Chapter 5, Verse 48)

And:

“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good.   (The Noble Quran, 3:134)”


And:

“And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’   (The Noble Quran, 28:55)”

And there are many other verses on how to treat others. But it all comes down to character and if one is aware.

You may even have noticed how in America now they are very much encouraging people to stop using these ‘formalities’ since they are inefficient and a thing of the slower nations and of the past. They think if you want to grow faster and get to the point quicker, then Mr/Mrs./Ms. wont do, you must say Tom, John, Kate, and just directly say their name. Life is too short.

Is life too short for these pleasurable formalities that do nothing but make others feel good and valued? Most of internet hate will go out the window if we start respecting each other on the basis of merit and character. 

Honestly, and personally, I am sick and tired of having to point out basic things like how to eat and how to walk so that it doesn’t pain the eyes or the ears. Just because we are ‘free’ individuals does not mean you can slurp, and be obnoxious. It is very annoying, and I am very sure you feel the same way when others do it. And there are many many other examples to add here, by the by.

This is more of a rant, and I apologize if it was offensive in any way, even the writing. More on this loverly topic later. Peace.

Bitter Twitter

The micro-blogging site, Twitter, has been blocked and taken from all the users, well, use. Government officials claim that there was a blasphemous topic being discussed, on the site, regarding Muhammad PBUH. Which hurts me, too, mind you, but that does not mean we mess around with people’s freedom of speech and the decision of visiting/not visiting that site. Naturally, they contacted Twitter’s administration to bring it down, to which Twitter’s people comfortably replied that they “cannot stop any individual doing anything of this nature on the website”. Great. What does our government do? Of course, block the blasphemous website which supports freedom of speech: how dare they!

So that’s done and dusted, what next? They are not sure how long will they keep it blocked, either. I, personally, have proxy software (which I am sure most of my Pakistani fellows are using at the moment), but put to no good use. Somehow, even that does not respond where Twitter is concerned. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have done a good job (but you can use Twitter from your mobile devices) or simply the proxy recognizes you’re from Pakistan Even though the reports claim that they have simply blocked access of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Multan, mainly PTCL’s internet connection; where does Baffa, Mansehra come in the mixture, where I am right now? I wonder.

They also say that this step was taken on the behalf of the masses, who were taking this issue seriously (and emotionally). How about the other chunk of people that are on Twitter and, also, believe in freedom of speech? They must suffer, yes.

This move could be completely political, as well. Pakistan Tehreeq-e-Insaaf, the key element of the coming elections, is at the heart of this action. The topic is related to Islam, making it a sensitive one over the masses, and a suitable tool to be used. By doing this they will gain the trust of sensitive Muslims, since obviously PTA has their best interest at heart. Playing with public sentiments is not a new thing at all to get better poll ratings for so-and-so political party. Hell, even Obama is taking a shot at it!

In any case, Pakistan is not the first country to be behaving this strongly towards actions rooted in Twitter’s millions of ‘followers’ who come from all sorts of cultures, religions and general backgrounds. Having said that, of course there are going to be extremists and prejudiced people on it, as well, so that obviously needed some curbing; too much freedom is never healthy, anyway. In the beginning of this year, though, Twitter had officially announced that they could and will block/remove tweets and account-holders if the said person’s/concerned tweet’s country’s government was to deem it inappropriate or simply may complain (if Twitter did not block/remove the person/tweet): twitter encourages countrymen to go haywire where the country’s acceptable actions and unacceptable actions’ boundaries clash, and making it apparent that the nation would be ‘all right’ with anything, even if they did not agree with it. Of course that is not so, and if anyone thought that it was is living 200 years ahead of time where countries let their people be.

But, alas, there’s another oddity: Twitter, after only 5 months of stating that they would respond to government’s requests/notifications affirmatively, suddenly decided that it was not going to help Pakistan. Why not? Twitter gets an estimated 730 million hits a month on average. Yes, it’s crazy but true. They have even experienced a recent spike, going up to 760 million (and onwards). We are definitely not a large percentage missing, but still we are missing, and I doubt Twitter’s too happy about it.

Sure, Twitter’s really fun and addictive, and, if not thousands, then hundreds of Pakistanis will have a bad day because of the blockage, but that’s not the only reason why this action was wrong. Even though Twitter contradicted itself by not responding to our governments requests, they do have a point: human freedom is one thing that America said it would work for, and they have, its bad effects are besides the point right now. Freedom of thought, speech and action is the essential ingredient for a human being, and his damned right. Taking away Twitter like that is clearly stating that they dont care for our freedom, which is very, very unfair. Being an ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan, how can they not know that Quran is based on fairness?

Let’s see where we are headed. Perhaps, short and sweet ‘Pakistan’ would do?

Genetic Machines

And to Shakespeare I owe my vision of the world as a theater, wherein all humans are acting out their parts. – James Broughton

In the past couple of weeks, I have experienced and/or witnessed many occurrences that were very much out of the ordinary. Some delightful, and some horrific.

It all left me thinking that it would be very unfortunate if this were the only life we had and no one was looking out for us. Although, many believe that there is no one out there – and they have very solid accusations behind that declaration.

A close friend’s brother, who I knew since childhood, passed away today. He was epileptic.. And 22. Hearing of his unfortunate passing gave me a sense of loss, twisted my insides into a sickening knot and reminded me of all the hours we had spent together, all at once. I know that all God’s things must return to Him, but this was too soon. Maybe its all for the better. But if he was that young and could pass away at that age, just because he had some medical condition, there was seriously something wrong with nature and its life cycle.. And us humans as well for messing around with genetics and children just because we’re still ignorant, at large, of all the complexities that are involved. I know it’s basic concept boils down to ‘survival of the fittest’, it still makes me feel angry that why are not things like these watched out for?

I’m aware of the fact that genetic orders and messes, and environment issues are of our own doing, and that we all have freedom to do whatever the hell we want with our lives, but doing that upon the cost of your child, or even some random person on the street or even someone on the internet is intolerably unfair.

Genetics play such an important role in the character and, later, personality of each human being that one cant stress the phenomenon enough. Once a person has something written in the software code to his cells, its almost impossible to change course of those cells to behave in a desired fashion.

I do not believe we can blame genetics for adultery, homosexuality, dishonesty and other character flaws. – Jerry Falwell

This.. Is true as well. Genetics are merely particular personality traits borrowed from our ancestors for our coming generations, and so on. What a person decides to do in the short span of his life-time, he must face the consequences on his own and not blame some unknown force that may or may not have been there.

There isnt a minute on this planet that isnt overwhelmingly, and supremely, joyful somewhere and devastating elsewhere. We must always keep that in mind. Knowing that there will always be good and bad people, we must work in our lifetime to give the coming generation to bring out the best in them using our developed system and nature.

We must be humans, and not animals. 

Also, so proud of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy!!! The first ever Oscar that found it’s way home, because of her. I hope other men and women get motivated and start working on our, seriously lagging behind, cinematography sector.

Eventfully So..

There has been a startling (or maybe not) news on the Dawn newspaper a couple of days back. (The article)

Image 

 

There has been word that a certain Economics professor, at the International Islamic University Islamabad, has been harassing female student by offering them to perform sexual favours if they wanted him to give them good grades. And if they did not comply, he would fail them until they could make a ‘better’ decision. And of course, many girls all too often complied. 

Many suggest this to be a form of rape, as it was not exactly with the consent from said students; others say that this cannot be considered as rape as the girls were given an option and not exactly forced. But that can be decided in the courts. 

The real issue is, why did not the girls speak up? 

Obviously there is some snag in our social structure and mindset (well, a lot of them) that made them think, and act, in a way they need not have. Being an Islamic country, and being taken over by the army (again and again), has left us so distraught and vulnerable to any sort of perversion and corruption. All the dictators, that ever came to power, made it a point to appoint the most lowly and corrupt of the politicians, and the like, for the most important jobs in the government i.e. ministers, governors. And slowly these people, who in normal circumstances would be living off crumbs, were making the country’s most important decisions in a way that would benefit them the most to take their bank-balances to a higher level. 

The tentacles of corruption are so intricately spread across the country, that it has become quite hard to determine if you will not be cheated, in one way or the other, at every step of the way. Such is the state, that no one individual can even trust another without judging the other person, critically, beforehand. 

Now to the reason why this country being Islamic is an issue. Time and again, there have been always been strong protesting parties to this Deen of ours. And rightly so. If we completely ignore the fact of conspiracy theories, rumours, blames, and the like, it will be much more easier to ascertain if Islam is really a threat to America, if not the whole world. Even within our own people, especially the ones who have been through horrible times and expected Allah to miraculously come to their beck and call, there are many that would love to defame this, once, prosperous code of life. Blaming God for their problems, ignorant of Allah’s promise not to directly interfere with anyone’s freedom of will, they set out on a mission to write books and spread word of the horrendous misfortune.

Due to all these incidences and circumstance, lower class have let go of all hope for betterment and adjusted to this horrible, and twisted, way of life. The upper-class could easily ignore all the suffering and non-sense going around, and maybe go to Paris because Pakistan was oh-so droll. The lower- middle and middle classes has faced a major economic and spiritual set-back, and probably have suffered the most, since they consciously felt the change happening and their life-style and personal growth going backwards. 

These are the people who are sending their daughters to universities such as the International Islamic University Islamabad. 

The girls, obviously feeling the hopelessness in our society, did not find it any use to complain or even tell their parents, fearing a public scandal, or worse, a public trial. What prospects does she have of a respectable and good marriage? The guy to marry will come from the same class in society, and will have the same hang-ups, as to what people will think. 

Our society has completely washed their hands from taking public action towards any kind of mistreatment, and understandably so. What’s the point of letting your integrity and grace go off that easy in a society that has no law enforcement system (that works) whatsoever, instead, would defame the complaining individual’s family and him alike. What hope and encouragement is there for people who are not billionaires and the most morally corrupt souls out there? Mind you, these people are good. But society needs freedom, of every sort, to grow into a human he’s supposed to become, which corrupt people and systems block out so as to continue living the way they are, without disturbance

(Will discuss why freedom is important in later posts).

Thank you for reading!