Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's Not Reduce The Level of Debate

So apparently, now I am a "Pakistan supporter".

All, because, yesterday when Mr Sappani wrote a Pakistan-bashing article on his blog, I merely asked him for facts to clarify his story. He, of course, took the rationale that "what he was saying can be googled" which therefore excused his rant. Whatever, it's his blog, his rant space.

However, asking for facts is akin to "Pakistan supporting".

On January 5, 2007, I wrote against Majid Khan, particularly because he had served in the Pakistan army during 1971, which I felt had committed genocide and war crimes in that war. As someone originally from Bangladesh whose family had been in the Mukti Bahini fighting Pakistan forces, I would be amongst the last to be called a "Pakistan" supporter.

However, when I am accused of just that, Mr Sappani is trying to reduce the level of debate on Libblogs to a more George Bush-like "us versus them" attitude. His anti-Pakistani article was just that - anti-Pakistan. It started from a news article about a debt-ridden third-world country's national airline (PIA), and spiraled into an anti-Pakistan vitriol. As someone who has many Canadian friends of Pakistani descent, I asked Mr Sappani for clarification on his conclusions, one of which included a mark against Pakistan because it was the "only Islamic country with the N-bomb".

Now I am of the mind-set that India is the only Hindu-country with the N-bomb, but I would not use that in an article against Indian nuclear weapons because I consider such a term racist. Moreover, both India and Pakistan has proved themselves responsible nuclear countries so far. Our strategy should be to accept that these nuclear weapons are here to stay, but to promote freedom, education and democracy in those countries.

There are many things wrong with Pakistan. I myself have written about their Hudood Ordinance (which thankfully has now been struck down), but when you have to criticize a single issue, do it on that issue, objectively. For example, I take issue with India's caste system and their nationalist Hindu party making a tough time for converts here. Doesn't mean I go India-bashing or those who disagree are "India supporters". This is a progressive blogspace, we can all disagree in a civil manner here.

If someone disagrees with the Afghanistan mission, or wants to bring them home (Kennedy and Dion) if the mission is not defined, that does not make them any less patriotic. If someone thinks Pakistan's Musharraf is our moderate ally fighting against extremists, that does not make them any less willing to stand up for our soldiers in Afghanistan. Let's leave the 'wrapping ourself in the flag syndrome' to our neighbours down south.

1 comment:

shim said...

Very, very well stated.