Tag Archives: painful

Losing my religion for equality – By Jimmy Carter

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

Continue reading Losing my religion for equality – By Jimmy Carter

The painful plight of native Sindhi Hindu community – Forced migration of native children of Sindh

By: Iqbal Tareen

The painful plight of native Sindhi Hindu community, which has been under systematic onslaught of government agencies, criminal groups, decadent sardari system and violent clan groups in Sindh. Decades of religious extremism; collapse of judiciary and law enforcement agencies; criminalization and commercialization of political parties in the country especially in Sindh has created an environment where various religious, gender, and ethnic minority groups are thrown under serious vulnerability.

Although it is an unequivocal responsibility of State to safeguard life and property of every citizen but it does not relieve other individuals, groups, and institutions from their moral obligation to fight social injustice and discrimination.

In times when even advanced nations are actively alluring global talent, the most peaceful, law abiding, hardworking, highly skilled and entrepreneurial native children of Sindh are being forced to leave their

motherland just because they happen to be part of a very successful but defenseless community.

We could easily blame others but ultimate responsibility rests with us at the individual and collective level. By sitting on the sidelines or not doing enough we have allowed uprooting of hundreds and thousands of our

best and brightest native brothers and sisters. Unforgiveable failings of human rights and Sindh rights organizations compounded by our individual dereliction of moral duty have created a severe moral crisis of our collective consciousness.

At personal level, I feel guilty of my failure to bring this issue to the front burner of a public discourse within North American Diaspora. Having said that, I am not ready to lose my faith in the basic goodness of human

beings. Together we can still prevent further perpetration of this collective crime against a peaceful community in Sindh.

I hope members of Pakistani media, civil society and Pakistani Diaspora organizations will follow lead in exposing those individuals and groups who are behind religious cleansing of minority groups in Pakistan.

I assure you of my personal efforts in solidarity with the just and moral cause of our Sindhi Hindu brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

About – The writer is a President of Silver Lining International, author of books, rights activist and former president of Sindhi Association of North America.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 12-13, 2012.

Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

Wisconsin shooting triggers painful memories of racism aimed at Sikhs

By Adrienne Batra

TORONTO – When news broke last week of the horrific shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara (which means gateway to the `Guru’) in Oak Creek, Wis., my mother had phoned me within minutes insisting I turn on the TV to see how `these idiots in the media are talking about our people.’

She was specifically referring to CNN’s coverage, which felt it necessary to constantly interrupt its commentary about the massacre to remind the audience that Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

Admittedly it was annoying, because, to me, it seems obvious since I’m Sikh and am therefore acutely aware of the difference.

However, it really bothered my mother. When probed as to why, she summarily said that, in this day and age, she couldn’t believe people don’t know how to differentiate the two.

It doesn’t, though, surprise me.

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pictures of Osama bin Laden were running on network television 24/7. In the picture most often showed of him, he was attired in a white turban and had a long beard. This could explain why some just assume anyone with a turban is Muslim. A turban and beard, of course, are two of the most distinguishing features of a Sikh man.

The white supremacist trash who murdered six people and injured police officers (the cops who gunned him down should be given medals) at the Gurdwara last week probably fell into this category of people who live their lives blissfully ignorant.

And since 9/11, Sikhs in Canada and the U.S. have spoken out against increased `hate crimes’ perpetrated against the community. The Sikh Coalition, which has kept track of such incidences, reported in the months after 9/11 `300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans throughout the United States.’

In November 2001, some teens in New York burned down Gobind Sadan Gurdwara `because they thought it was named for Osama bin Laden.’ A Sikh family in New Mexico had their car defaced with images of genitals and profanities about Allah. There were numerous other brutal attacks on elderly Sikh men and young boys, many of which were motivated by hatred against Muslims. The Huffington Post’s Religion section has done an excellent job of putting together an unfortunately lengthy list of these acts of violence.

When my parents moved to Canada, my father cut his hair and chose to no longer wear a turban. That choice had consequences for him as his uncle, an over-educated doctor living in England, ostensibly disowned him.

But I know why my father did it – the same reason why our parents gave my brother, two sisters and I `Canadian’ names. He knew it would be tough enough growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1970s – not a lot of `brown’ people around, already looking different, and people having difficulty pronouncing your name – without compounding the issue of racism.

We didn’t experience such things as our cousins who grew up in Vancouver – they had their turbans kicked off, were called `towel heads,’ and told to `go back where you came from’ (even though they were born in Canada).

Despite my parent’s best efforts, I had my own brush with racism, but it pales in comparison to what others endured. I distinctly remember one incident when I was growing up in Saskatoon. At a friend’s house party, her father looked straight at me and said he didn’t want `Pakis’ in his house. I told him to go f— himself. At the time it, didn’t dawn on me that his pejorative reference was because he thought I was from Pakistan.

`My parents are from India you twit,’ kept running through my head.

Continue reading Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

Anna effect? Burney to launch anti-graft movement in Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 22: Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney said today (Aug 22) he would launch a campaign against corruption and terrorism in his country after Eid-ul-Fitr, mirroring an anti-graft drive by Anna Hazare in India that has gained thousands of followers.

Pakistan is confronting a “dire and painful period in its history, with rampant and continuously growing corruption and terrorism destroying every fabric of our nation and any prospects of a decent future for our children and grandchildren”, Burney said in a statement.

Burney made no reference to Hazare, whose movement has captured the public imagination in India, but said his movement would get underway after the Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that will be celebrated at the end of this month.

“It is now up to civil society to take steps to rid the country of this evil before it is too late, and the Ansar Burney Trust will kick-start a massive anti-corruption campaign and anti-terrorism movement following Eid as a first step towards saving our country,” he said.

Burney said his proposed movement is aimed at bringing “the nation together and making a stand that corruption will no longer be tolerated”. ….

Read more → oneindia

People of the World: Please Take Note! Where is your Conscience!

“Shattered Humanity on Move Again”

By Dr Ahmed H. Makhdoom

According to the Times Of India News: [“ AMRITSAR: As many as 600 Hindus, including women and children, arrived in India via Attari land border on Monday. Custom’s deputy commissioner RK Duggal said that the group arrived here on pilgrim visas. Sources at Attari said that these Hindus, largely from Sindh province of Pakistan, had expressed their desire to permanently settle in India and have come with a large quantity of luggage and household goods.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Large-contingent-of-Hindus-from-Pakistan-arrives-in-India/articleshow/9193434.cms]

This is absolutely sad, heart-breaking, heart-wrenching news! Why do the simple, innocent and peace-loving people be forced to take such painful and nerve-wrecking course in their life? Why do they have to resort to this tragic move of leaving their Motherland?

Why do they have to abandon and forsake their motherland where the ashes of their ancestors lay strewn in field, plains, hills and rivers! Why do they give up on their motherland, where the bones of their loved ones are entombed since centuries? Why do they have to take such a drastic action! Does the civilized world take note of such tragic, catastrophic and calamitous plight of desperate human beings?

Oh Prince! How can this maid ever abandon, Thought and yearning for my own kith and kin? Within heart and soul are love’s sharp skewers, Pierced inside me without blacksmith’s hammers; Darts and arrows coated with love and longing, Thousands of them my beloveds kept striking; Humble dwellings back home and kindred dears, Alas! This unfortunate maid had not seen for years.” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom) (Note: In Bhittai’s epic ‘Umar Marvi;’ Soomra=the caste of Prince Umar, the ruler of Sindh)

Surely, it is not easy or joyful leaving ones beloved kindred folks, with whom they have spent years with love, happiness and mutual respect and admiration! Certainly, it is not pleasant to leave ones Motherland, where one had stayed since centuries! Really, there must be something wrong! Certainly, serious human rights violations must have taken place! Surely, the lives of these despondent people must have been at risk! Surely, these simpleton people must have been threatened, abused and vilified!

Where is the civilized world? Why they have shut their eyes to the sorrows and sufferings of human beings? Why the powerful countries, world’s human rights organizations, international social and welfare organizations and resourceful, potent and mighty individuals closed their ears to the cries of pain and anguish of these punctured, pushed and punched people?

This is a clear case of ethnic cleansing and serious human rights abuse perpetrated, planned and engineered by the policies of establishment. And, the children of the Soil leave, and Mother Sindh becomes dejected, demoralized, and depressed! And the Sons of the Soil in Sindh become extinct!

We demand immediate investigation into this very sad and sordid affair! We appeal and plead the World’s Human Rights Organisations, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and the United Nations Organisations to enquire from government officials about what is going on and why poor innocent people are being resorted to take such drastic action! The culprits who have been the cause of such a tragedy should be apprehended, tried and punished. Long Live Humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 July, 2011

Pakistan – Jinnah’s nightmare

Success and failure

By S. Akbar Zaidi

THE country which was considered to be a basket case in 1971, is today offering a mirror to others on how developing countries can become a development state and is being referred to as the `development surprise` of the 21st century.

At the same time, it has also ensured that democracy is developing as a strong and permanent alternative to military rule, under which it has had many years of painful repression.

That this overwhelmingly Muslim country is also constitutionally and increasingly in practice politically secular is also a lesson for other Muslim majoritarian countries to emulate. The Supreme Court struck down a 31-year-old constitutional amendment and restored the country to its founding status as a secular republic, banning the writings of some radical Islamic ideologues.

The country which in the mid-1960s was heralded as a role model for other developing countries, where the international press had praised its military-led development model no end, stating that it might just reach the levels of development achieved only by the United States, has just appeared as the world`s 10th most failed, or failing, state. On the course towards reaching this rather ignominious distinction, this country has also been called “the most dangerous place in the world”, and a “rogue state with a nuclear arsenal”.

Read more : DAWN

The Egyptian Uprising Is a Direct Response to Ruthless Global Capitalism

By Nomi Prins

The revolution in Egypt is as much a rebellion against the painful deterioration of economic conditions as it is about opposing a dictator, though they are linked. That’s why President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he intends to stick around until September was met with an outpouring of rage.

When people are facing a dim future, in a country hijacked by a corrupt regime …

Read more : AlterNet

Times we live in

In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.

By Ammar Ali Jan

It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.

Continue reading Times we live in

Lack of common societal goals – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Sometimes it feels like Pakistan is beyond repair. Pakistan’s ruling elite is neither capable nor willing to take the Chinese or the western routes. But societies have a self-preservation instinct that can overwhelm present dysfunctional ideologies or identities. However, no one knows if Pakistan’s map will change or remain the same in this painful process.

Instead of being a melting pot, Pakistani society is more like a sieve through which unity and tolerance travel before reaching the people. India, despite having competent institutions, has struggled to become a melting pot as well. As Pakistan’s sieve filters out nationalism and unity, what reaches the public is a schizophrenic identity with various divisive paths — much like India.

Pakistan has not been a pot in which different ethnic, racial or caste groups submerged to give birth to a single national identity or collective societal consciousness. Instead, it has functioned as a sieve with several filtering holes of class, caste, ethnicity, linguistic grouping, tribal allegiances, etc. A poisonous mix of divisive identities comes out of the sieve. Then, another extra-fine filter of religion is put in, making the toxic mix into a lethal killer of collective societal thinking.

Continue reading Lack of common societal goals – Dr Manzur Ejaz