Teachers with Guns:Students without a Future.

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The KPK government is apparently going ahead with its plan to arm school teachers. Will the education department now function as a semi law enforcement agency?

As the federal government accepts failure to reform judicial system by establishing military courts, arming teachers with weapons is an implied admission of the provincial government’s failure to protect its schools.

Are we oblivious of the many ways in which this ingenious step can go wrong?

These teachers are not trained to handle firearms – not that civil law enforcement agencies are aptly trained – and are not familiar with or experienced in standard precautions necessary for the handler’s protection and the protection of those around him/her. Anything from an urge to show off the weapon to children, who are often fascinated by weapons and guns, to leaving the weapon unattended can result in an unpleasant accident. Which may then result in disarming of staff in all schools which will leave them feeling exposed, unsafe and insecure, more than they felt before being armed.

The decision to arm school’s staff is in line with similar decisions taken in various districts of the United States of America, as a consequence of shooting incidents in schools and public places. The US constitution’s second amendment allows its citizens to own and carry weapons as a right. It is pertinent to know that this right is very reasonably blamed for the various acts of violence in the US. The ease of access to guns for all citizens, including children is the major contributor in school massacres like the Sandy Hook tragedy of 2012. Nevertheless several states in the US went on with more weapons as a solution to problems caused by weapons.

The Peshawar massacre was different in comparison with tragedies like Sandy Hook. While in Sandy Hook a seemingly deranged individual shot and killed children, the Peshawar massacre witnessed an organized group acting out a planned execution with ulterior motives. In the absence of any constitutional allowance to carry and own weapons, the KPK government has the Pashtun custom of not frowning upon weapon carrying as a catalyst for their decision. Also the Army Public School massacre cannot be attributed to a weaponized society, not entirely at least.

The arming of school’s staff in the US and KPK are, nevertheless, equally unfortunate. Schools are not a place for guns, or any tools for destruction. Children need not be exposed to guns and violence. True that such exposure is abundant in movies, fictions and even news – thanks to wars and terrorism, but that cannot be a justification to allow such tools of violence to enter their schools too.

In our evolution towards civility and democracy one hopes to be moving towards peace, tolerance and a non violent, de-weaponized society. Children are the future and increasing their exposure to, and reliance on weapons is a step backwards.

The government’s logic that there are thousands of schools and the number renders it almost impossible to provide ample security to each and every institution cannot justify arming school’s teachers and staff. If the schools are in thousands then the teachers must be in six, seven or tens of thousands. Such number of armed individuals with varying personalities, mindsets, anger issues, complexes, IQs and EQs around children, poses a very apparent and present probability of accidents.

We want our children protected. Not just from terrorists, but also from violence, guns, intolerance and fear. It is enough for our four, five and six year olds to enter schools that look like military camps with gunmen, barricades and mounted LMGs. They don’t need to learn ABC from a guy with a gun.

Terrorism is an ailment and not an injury. It requires a treatment through strenuous long term procedures and not short term bandaging. We have to ensure that while we fight to eradicate terrorism and violence, that fight does not make us retract our steps towards civility and peace. If we start moving backwards then at the culmination of our fight against extremism and terrorism we may stand facing even greater, viler demons.

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A page from Lady Democracy’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I did it again. I am sick of making the same mistakes over and over again.

These people pretend to believe in me, fail miserably in their pretense and then a few of them have the audacity to blame me for their failures.

I am Democracy and I have nothing to do with Pakistan.

My “romance” with the people of Pakistan is not new and I have learnt from past mistakes. It has on more than one occasion tried to lure me in with tall claims and promises to abide by me, yet once purposes are served, I have always been thrown away like a used tissue. We have never been married, neither has there ever been a relationship that can be called steady.

I always fell for the pledges and promises, but with time I realized that those who know me don’t need me, and those who don’t know me, love me and believe they need me. I know now that the pretend love for me is owing to my popularity in the commoners and proletarians who don’t really know me that well, but love me nevertheless. It is this love and support which the elites want to benefit from. They want to channel it, through me, for their own gains.

These people, along with a few others, have hurt me. It hurts to know how they only like me for my appearance and are least interested in who I am and what I stand for. I have been used and abused so many times, it’s sickening. I am just a face that they use to attract the naive common folk. My relationship with Pakistan cannot be described as a marriage, an engagement or even a long term commitment. It can be best described as a one night stand, or several one night stands.

Every time I moved in, I was mainly forced to leave because of the maltreatment suffered by my children. My eldest sons, the twins; Rule. O. Law and Equality. B. Law were always completely ignored and malnourished. At times I felt as if they were hated and despised. They were bullied by Pakistan’s own eldest son; Feudalism, and Pakistan rarely snubbed him. In fact most of their confrontations, where Feud bullied my sons, resulted in the arm twisting of the Laws; my sons. Being the eldest and most pampered, Feud has a visible influence on all of his siblings and even on Pakistan.

The living conditions that I need to survive, and my children need to grow, have never been a priority. We have been kept in miserable conditions, undernourished and ignored. Today, in Pakistan, when I look at the mirror, I can’t recognize myself. I am now a mere distortion of my original self. I feel like a caged animal in the darkest depths of a dungeon. I am a victim of abuse, I suffer from depression and an identity crisis. I don’t know if I can take it anymore, and if it’s time for me to move out yet again.

For you, the commoners, I have nothing but love, as you have for me. My urge to nurture thrives for you as does for my own children. It is your love that makes me trust the liars and connivers again and again. Your love is why I bear as much as I can bear. But without my children, I can’t survive, and I can’t watch them breathe their last in front of my eyes. Their death would literally kill me.

One-Liners II

Although not all are actually just “one” liners, I just like the title.These are my random thoughts turned to words over the past year.

1. You cannot prevent all that you can predict.

2. In our material world: absolute freedom is absolute chaos.

3. If everyone begins to doubt you, would that make you doubt yourself? If so, you might as well start doubting yourself already and not wait for everyone.

4. It is not your fault you are fat. The entire universe is expanding and you are a part of the universe.

5. You cannot make noise and sense at the same time.

6. It is tremendously arrogant of a human being to deem ‘not real’ anything that he cannot conceive.

7. If you need the approval of others to feel good about yourself, there probably isn’t much to feel good about.

8. A people divided by pettiest of things, cannot be united by gravest of tragedies.

9. To understand the true meaning of freedom, one needs to be free, and man is not free.

10. Knowledge gives you confidence, but apparently, so does ignorance.

11. Never take opinions too seriously – not even your own.

12. Your intellect is compromised by your thirst for approval. Sometimes you can either be right or popular.

13. If you want to answer my questions, I should get to question your answers.

14. First we struggle to be different, and then we fight because we are.

15. Life is the choices that you make, fate; the choices that are made for you. You are, and will always be, in control of your life. You can’t, and were never supposed to, control fate.

Revisiting 9/11: A conspiracy theorist’s perspective.

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An event that changed the global attitude towards terrorism in particular and Muslims/Islam in general is – thirteen years later – still clouded in controversy, doubts and conspiracy theories.

Truth about the events of September 11, 2001 is far from being revealed. Several movements within the US, seeking re-investigation, are gaining momentum.

Though the early questions raised on the veracity of US government’s claims were easily snubbed and buried under public paranoia, hysteria and fear, as time passes, it is now getting difficult to dodge pertinent questions of the American, as well as global, public.

“How did the twin towers fall on themselves, as is only possible in planned demolitions?” is one of the main queries raised by skeptics and experienced architects and engineers alike. Several other intriguing questions continue to be raised.

Snubbed, dubbed and labeled as ‘conspiracy theorists’, all who have doubts about 9/11; an event that gave United States a license to wage war on Iraq and Afghanistan, have been sidelined by mainstream media. Only on few odd occasions did any channel convey these doubts to the public at large.

To all who believe in the story like the word of God, I ask what if?

What if it does turn out to be an inside job?

What makes you so certain that the American government, or the Bush administration to be precise, could not have possibly gone ahead with a conspiracy so vile?

Is it because of the assumption that Bush, his neoconservatives and the CIA valued the lives of US citizens and would not kill so many for any cause?

The only factor that differentiates between the lives of any human being and the lives of their own US citizens is the fear of retribution, the fear of being caught and punished. It is common knowledge that Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Nigeria do not value their citizen’s life and liberty like the US does. The blatant disregard – of the Bush administration and CIA – for human life is very evident in post 9/11 wars, covert activities, tortures (now revealed to public) and huge loss of life of non-US citizens as ‘collateral damage’.

A person who does not value life does not discriminate on the basis of nationality. The only consideration is the probability of being penalized. If this probability can be diminished by any means, be it propaganda or induced paranoia, then lives of US citizens are as sacred as the lives of any Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani or Yemeni.

The real motives behind wars – especially the most expensive ones – are ascertained not by the wager’s agenda at its commencing, but by what was achieved at it’s culmination.

Very early after 9/11, it became clear that Bush and his cronies were primarily after Iraq; its oil and seeking vengeance on Saddam. Failing to find any plausible nexus between Saddam and Bin Laden; the villain of 9/11 script, or any presentable evidence of Iraq’s alleged WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), US went on and invaded Iraq on these very pretexts. Only to shamelessly and remorselessly admit, years later, that the two grounds on which Iraq was invaded and the main war in Afghanistan was ignored, were unreal and DID NOT EXIST. There were no WMDs in Iraq.

But Bush had got his vengeance on Saddam, and US had considerable control over Iraqi oil. How many have sought criminal action against the US, Bush or his cronies for needlessly obliterating a nation? The paranoia stricken world did not care, does not care for the subsequent loss of life as long as they were told how all of it is for their ‘own protection’; the only narrative that will make a human being become blind to another’s life and liberty.

Surveillance drones, on ground intelligence agents of the world’s best and most experienced clandestine operations agency, billions of US dollars, loss of thousands of lives, infiltration of Afghanistan, could not achieve the one main goal behind US war on terrorism; capturing Osama Bin Laden. It took them a little over eleven years to locate and eliminate their worst enemy and realize the rationale behind their war. Eleven years that exposed the world to terrorism far more than it was before 9/11, and ravaged two entire nations.

At the end of its 13 years of war, when the US forces left Afghanistan, terrorism breathes steadier, Taliban still pose a threat to not just Afghanistan but the entire region, Osama may have been captured and killed but Al-Qaeda is alive, and Iraq has given birth to another vibrant and ruthless radical organization called the Islamic State. None of the stated goals of this mutli-billion dollar war have been achieved. The alleged hidden agenda of gaining control of Iraqi oil, neutralizing a threat to Israel, and teaching Saddam a lesson, has been achieved. While the US failed in its war, it seems Bush succeeded, and real or fake, 9/11 made it happen.

War and Victims.

He woke up at 630 in the morning, half an hour early than usual. The school bus had gone to the workshop and its driver had informed “A” of his inability to take children to school for the next three days. He would have to drop Shandana off at her school before he went to work. “A” had taken a part time job especially to provide for Shandna’s education, and was very particular about her attendance. After their father’s demise from prolonged illness that year – which had practically drained the family funds – “A” had struggled to support his mother and two sisters. He was staunchly against Shandana quitting school and wanted her to complete her education. He also wanted to save enough money to provide for his elder sister’s wedding. Having got the second job, “A” was at last comfortably pursuing both goals.

“B” read the letter from his beloved. He had already read it thrice the previous night before going to sleep. They were finally planning to get married now that “B” had got a job as a traffic warden. He folded the letter and put it in the pocket of his uniform.

It was “C’s” first day at school. Her dad had wanted to attend the ceremonious occasion of accompanying her to school on her first day, but a last minute call from the head office forced him to take an early flight for Islamabad. “C’s” grandmother volunteered to fill in. “C” was on her way to her first day of school, with her mother and grandmother.

Maulana sahab was troubled by the threats he had been receiving from a religious extremist organization after he had labeled the organization’s acts as un-Islamic. He was pondering if he should avoid touching the subject in his sermon to a gathering he was headed to, in his bullet proof vehicle.

The light turned red. “B” stepped forward to ensure that everyone stopped. The bullet proof vehicle honked at the light to turn green for the ‘V.I.P’. “C’s” mother gestured in annoyance at the impatience of the driver. By the car window on her side, on a motor bike sat “A” who was wondering if Shandana was still alone or if other students had started reaching the school by now.

Several hundred miles from A, B and C, children aged five to fourteen years sat in their madrassah in Afghanistan. Young boys busy in synchronized recitation of the Quran. Sons of farmers and common folk. They did not have much in common with A, B or C. Not until that horrific moment when the blasts tore the air they breathed and shook the ground beneath them.

A missile from a drone had hit the madrassah, while a suicide bomber had detonated his explosive vest near the Maulana’s vehicle. The blasts ended their very different lives in a very similar death. They now had one thing in common; they were all “collateral damage”. The self righteous warriors from two opposing sides of a war had missed their targets. Maulana escaped unhurt in his fortified vehicle, and the “terrorist” targeted by the drone had left the madrassah a short while before his death came knocking at its door. It was a routine lapse in intelligence reporting.

What they never miss, and didn’t miss, were the ‘collaterals’; innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the war, yet, as usual, suffered the major brunt. Lives ended, lives changed. Shandana will have to quit school. The dad will come back from Islamabad a completely different person; a psychological wreck. There will be no weddings, no first days at school.

According to some reports the civilian casualty ratio in drone strikes is as high as 50:1 i.e 50 civilians are killed with one targeted terrorist.

As for terrorist attacks in Pakistan, almost all casualties are collateral. The frail justification by these attackers purports that this is a jihad as they target people who belong to a country which has an army that is in alliance with an army that is attacking them. I am sure that doesn’t make sense to many, but it makes sense to them.

The civilians who became victims of erroneous intel, or slip of the hands that control drones, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, were not the enemies. They were not fighting against their killers-to-be.

Many civilians who died in terrorist attacks were actually against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, several of them were devout Muslims, far more than their killers-to-be.

In all the wars that have been waged, in all wars still being fought, millions of innocent people have lost their lives. Families deprived of their support, dreams shattered and trampled under the ugly boots of human ego, greed and stupidity. A war waged against terrorism has terrorized entire nations. Another waged against ‘enemies of Islam’ has dealt the most fatal blows to Islam in its entire history.

While a handful of power hungry, trigger happy, conniving scoundrels fight their malicious wars, the majority of human population is reduced to being mere collateral damage.

Ramblings: Love, Hate, Survival and Murder

If you do not wield the power to kill, and the sanction to use that power, you are apparently irrelevant in the human world.

The battle between good and evil is perpetual. It started with the first of humans, it shall only end with the last. The precedent set by son of Adam has been staunchly followed by his descendants. Every subsequent murder thins the line between good and evil. Thousands of years in existence, having murdered millions of our own species, today the line is almost invisible.

The instinct of survival in the human being dictates his behavior. Needs for food, sleep, shelter and sex are all offshoots of the primal need to survive. Somewhere in our journey of evolution, we connected our survival with death of another. We have murdered possible threats to our communities, occupants of communities that contained resources needed for our survival, opponents of our agendas and beliefs, proponents of beliefs that weren’t ours, our enemies, the enemies of our friends and the friends of our enemies. We have murdered to protect our food and to snatch food from another. We have killed to protect our families and murdered families to satisfy our lust, greed or hunger. We have killed in the name of religion and God. We have killed the innocents of other religions because someone from their religion killed the innocent from ours.

If the world were a specimen in some laboratory of a galactic institute of sciences where they studied a species called humans, the students of that institute may not identify survival as our primal instinct, but murder.

We have grown leaps and bounds in weapons technology. Billions of dollars are spent in research and development of new and efficient ways to kill more and more people with one push of a button. We have empowered the most ruthless people in the world to fight proxy wars against our enemies. And now, done with our enemies, they direct that power at us. Yet we still empower more, to fight in other areas of the world. Hate grows with every passing day. The notions of love and peace are buried deep beneath the mountains of our greed, insecurities and imprudence.

Powerful states kill and oppress at will and sow seeds for a backlash at their own citizens. Radicals wage terror wars at the citizens of such states and their allies. Lust ridden animals from all countries and all religions rape and murder women and children.

The Universe began from singularity and is ever expanding, increasing the distances between objects and matter. While bodies of mass grow farther from each other, the same seems true for our souls. The value of life is diminishing every day. Empathy is extinct and so is humanity. We hate those who kill us out of hate, yet we do not love ones who do not. We hate countries, religions, sects, ethnicity, political parties, beliefs and individuals. We know more about hate than we do about love. Today in the face of terrorism and radicalism, we all hate terrorists. Those who do not hate them, hate us.

Everyone hates yet not everyone loves. And maybe that lies at the root our problems, at the root of all evil.

Imran’s Marriage and Our Nose

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Forget about his sons and sisters, how dare Imran Khan marry someone without consulting us; the self proclaimed judges of everyone’s person?

OK! so he got married, but then had the audacity to push our noses out of his business for as long as he could. That is just ridiculous. Your business is our nose’s home Sir. Not just yours, as long as the business is not our own, it can be made a dwelling for our intrusive noses. Privacy is not your right, especially if you are a public figure. I mean eavesdropping on my neighbor can be plenty satisfactory, but the dirt I find on him does not help me feel good about myself as much as the dirt I find on a public figure who is respected by millions or even thousands.

To question the affairs of a public figure’s personal life, to find error in his choices and anything that may have the slightest semblance to misdemeanor in his actions, is like hitting the jackpot. If I can convince myself and my companion in the drawing room, tea stall, social media, cafeteria that a public figure adored by so many is – in at least in one regard – below me, I hence prove that I in turn deserve the respect, approval and adoration of all those people more than the public figure. I am better than him.

It is outrageous how these famous people, expect us to make a distinction between their public and private life. Why is it so difficult for them to understand that for us, there is no private life except our own. We intrude in the lives of our family, friends, acquaintances and even people we don’t know. We have the privilege of observing and judging anyone anywhere. What makes these celebrities think that they deserve any special treatment?

Especially if you are a politician aspiring to lead the nation as the Prime Minister. I am astonished at Khan’s failure to see the connection between his personal choices and the choices that he might make as the Chief Executive of Pakistan. He has allegedly married a woman of his choice without consulting his sisters or sons. Now what if he, as the Prime Minister, chooses to marry Pakistan to say Cambodia, without consulting the provincial governments and neighboring countries like India, Afghanistan and China. Mrs. Cambodia Pakistan may not be accepted into the family and the relationship will suffer. Is it that difficult to see how pertinent our intrusion in his personal life is.

We will intrude, we have to intrude. How else will we safeguard our state’s interests and simultaneously convince others, or at least ourselves, that we are, in some ways, better than all others. And we will not stop here. Now that Imran has chosen to make his marriage public, we will dig up as much dirt on his life partner and share it with the world. Pictures from her past that she willingly shared with her friends shall now be shared with the world to expose how “be-sharam” she is. Who knows, we may even find a picture of hers with a Jew, to corroborate the allegation against Imran of being a Jewish “agent”. Because she is now married to a public figure, her private life shall be given the status of an annex house to our nose’s humble abode that was Imran’s personal life.

It doesn’t matter how pathetic, disgusting and immoral our own lives are, the fact that we can make someone’s errors public gives us an advantage over them. To err is human, but to expose the errs of another seems even human-er.