Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bashing Urdu Journalism

Westernised fascists run amok

Amid the gloom and doom of today’s Pakistan I detect a few rays of light. One such, in my opinion, is Pakistan’s vibrant Urdu journalism. Notwithstanding the existence of hired pen pushers who owe their comfortable standard of living to powerful patrons, there are some outstanding journalists whose original thought and ruthless honesty spare no one, at home or abroad. Their fearless analysis of complex issues facing Pakistan is refreshing in that they rip apart the hypocritical pseudo-reality that the formidable American propaganda machine has imposed on the world, and they present those issues in a new light.  Some of these journalists are also adept at putting together elegant prose in that beautiful language Urdu - which makes it a pleasure to read their reports.

By contrast, Pakistan’s English press is pretty tame. One suspects that many journalists writing for certain English publications have either been bought off by the Americans or cowed into submission one way or another. It is sickening to see this group of journalists – there are some honourable exceptions, of course - aping the popular American press, never daring to criticise the policies of the American government and spewing forth venom for their own country. I use the phrase “westernised fascists” to refer to these self-styled “intellectuals” who scour foreign press for comments on Pakistan and regurgitate a  lot of trash for domestic consumption.

I wasn’t surprised when, browsing a political website, I came across the fatuous remark “Pakistan’s corrupt Urdu media!” Needless to say I protested and I mentioned the names of my favourite journalists to disprove the allegation. Back came the reply:

“You are right. I cannot compete with the blood-thirsty Islamofascist journalists you have mentioned.”

“It is true that Haroon-ur-Rasheed had toured Swat with the Pakistan Army javaans and he was adamant that the evil of Pakistani Taliban must be rooted out. So that makes him “blood thirsty” in your book?
By the way, what is your definition of the word “Islamofascist”? So far as I am aware this term was coined by the Americans and swallowed whole by our westernised fascists, who were mostly bought off with wads of dollars or frightened out of their wits by the Americans’ “shock and awe” tactics. My hunch is that they sold themselves cheap – they could have asked for a higher price.

Let me state once again: Journalists like Haroon-ur-Rasheed, Saleem Safi, Dr Safdar Mahmood, Hamid Mir, Rauf Klasra, Javed Chaudhry, etc are our national treasure, Pakistanis we can be truly proud of.

Haroon-ur-Rasheed’s : “Mai.n 9 saal aavaarah phirta rahaa hoo.n” – in his inimitable way he is criticising them all, the judiciary, the executive, the legislature and the heads of political parties.

My interlocutor retorted:
“What is Islamofasism? you have asked. An ideology which says that we must conquer the world in the name of Allah and fly Pakistani/Islamic flag in places like Delhi, Moscow and New York. Islamofascism is the ideology which says killing in the name of Islam is justified. This is what all the Taliban and Saudia stand for including the journalists of your choice.”

“In view of your clarification of the term “Islamofascism”, will you kindly apologise for your earlier rude remarks about some half a dozen Pakistani journalists whose names I mentioned above? I can assure that none of them is in the least bit interested in such crazy antics as “conquering the world, killing in the name of Allah, etc.”, as you put it.

The real mass murderers today are the Americans who have destroyed some three million Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani lives. When was the last time you protested against this bloodbath? As Muslims we are allowed to fight in self-defence. Unfortunately, what we see in Pakistan is the shameless spectacle of our westernised fascists colluding with Americans and causing yet more deaths of fellow Muslims. The half dozen journalists, Haroon-ur-Rasheed et al, wish nothing more than to see Pakistan untangle itself from the clutches of the USA and to deal with our problems in our own way. The so-called “Afghan Taliban” are fighting foreign occupation forces in their own country and we should stay clear of any involvement in this American adventure for the region’s natural resources. That, in a nutshell, is the honourable journalists’ point of view.”

The man was unmoved. He barked:
“People like Haroon ur Rashid are as much Islamofascist as Zaid Hamid and Dr Israr. The only difference is that their modus operandi is different. So I do not owe apology to anyone.”

This is yet another attempt to appeal to your good sense. For some reason you seem unable to put away your ingrained prejudices and embrace a broad cross-section of Pakistani society.

You have provided me with a definition of the term “Islamofascism” and I have shown you why it is totally inappropriate to apply that term to people like Haroon. Far from offering an apology, you now justify that insult under the pretext of something you call Haroon’s – and others’? – “modus operandi”. If this is not a figment of somebody’s imagination, kindly explain what it is you are alluding to.

You continue using the term “Islamofascism”, quite oblivious of its undertones of mockery for Islam, our Deen. This term was coined by people who loathe Islam and Muslims and it is a matter of considerable shame that it has been so enthusiastically embraced by the very people who ought to be telling the Americans to stop the use of this pejorative term.

Finally, I would advise you not to use immoderate language. Do I have to spell out the obvious to you? What distinguishes Urdu journalism from the pathetic level of newspapers like 'Dawn' is the knowledge and wisdom – as opposed to mere education – that so many Urdu journalists possess, and the indefinable quality they have that captures the essence of ‘Pakistaniat’.”

The conversation then moved on to a completely separate subject – I hope to write about that in my next blog post.

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