Wednesday, February 2, 2011

عافیہ صدیقی۔۔۔ظلم واسیری کی داستان۔۔۔کہاں ہیں غیرت کے پاسبان؟

Taliban claimed shooting down a drone

Escape from Freedom

Humans constantly seek predictability. The stress caused by lack of certainty can be unbearable.

Take the case of air traffic controllers. These folks who pore intently over computer screens directing air traffic. They suffer from extremely high levels of stress and often take ill because of stress. The stress is caused not so much by the work but from being responsible for many lives and huge resources. Aircraft moving at high speed, the high possibility of aircraft colliding depending only on technology, common sense and training of humans.

Too much predictability and humans get bored, too much variety and uncertainty can exhaust us. We need the right balance to stay excited and satiated.
However excitement is an addiction. Like all addictions we need increasing doses to get the same high. This explains why we pay good money for stuff like adventure rides to people to spook us. Paying money to be frightened.

Rulers, governments, bureaucrats, organisations and the movers and shakers understand this aspect well, and none more than the priests belonging to all faiths. All of them amplify uncertainty and present answers and a predictable future, as means to assuage the masses and keep them on the straight and narrow path , to God only knows where.

Using Religion, morality, patriotism, social norms uniforms etc, they manipulate and control the masses, to do their bidding.
Most humans have an inkling that they are being toyed with but do not see any other option but to follow the so called 'leaders'.

Due to dramatic and constantly increasing influence of, technology and mismanagement by leaders, life looks increasingly uncertain with each passing day. Couple this with rapidly declining moral values and life looks dangerous. People feel trapped and helpless. We want to break free.

Ask most people what they want most and they will say they want to be free. If you ask them what do they mean by being free, you will be surprised with the answers. Most people only want to escape their present situation, but they have no idea what to do with that freedom.

Voltaire the great French writer and philosopher remarked, "It is not enough to be free, it is more important to know what to do with one's freedom."

Freedom has two aspects, 'freedom from' and 'freedom to'. We often seek to be free of people, situations and problems, but lacking true thinking and self understanding we attach ourselves to a new set of beliefs imposed on us by society, family, friends, priests the government and the media. Only to wake up alarmingly one day that we are in the same situation but in a new environment. We then seek freedom from the new set of beliefs and situation.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free". ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We painstakingly extract ourselves from one situation to mire ourselves in a new set of problems because we do not think. Thinking is a rare thing. I am not talking of animalistic thinking needed for survival, but the search for meaning in our existence, and ourselves. However it is only possible to think effectively when the mind is stilled and free from disturbances.

In today's world we are operating at high excitement and stress levels. Even catching the bus or the flight, getting to work or the children to school is now become an exhausting grind. There is no time to be alone with oneself and to come to terms with the inner person within us. We have become strangers to ourselves.

Most of us are rational human beings, yet we continue to escape from freedom and into bondage. Why?

Man is a social creature. If his economic, social and political condition do not provide him a sense of individuality while simultaneously depriving him of ties that provide him security then freedom becomes unbearable and creates powerful doubts. This situation gives rise to a powerful urge to seek submission by man to the world in some manner which promises relief from uncertainty and thus deprives the individual of his freedom.

The world as we now know it is extremely uncertain. Enveloped by turbulence, born of hatred and greed, we grasp at straws so as not to be overwhelmed by confusion and uncertainty. We cling to strange religious, political, social, regional, and personal beliefs which are more often than not detrimental not only for us but for society as a whole.

Let us teach our children that excitement is not joy, it is sometimes good to be bored so that we are able to find time to contemplate and better understand ourselves and our world. That more is not always better. To respect oneself and other human beings and all creatures with whom we share this planet. Life is not for consuming ourselves like a candle burning at both ends.

To live and work as an individual in harmony with the world, not under compulsion, but as an individual making independent choices. To do all this so as to be truly free. If we do this successfully, then we would make the world a better place for ourselves and our children

Tunisian women want FREEDOM to wear Hijab.

Hijab makes a return in Tunisia
by Yvonne Ridley
January 21, 2011

Something really wonderful happened outside the Tunisian Embassy in London the other day as a crowd of us gathered to continue the demand for justice in the people’s revolution.
I was standing next to a sister, and, with tears in her eyes she revealed she had been inside the embassy that morning to get passports for herself and her family. Her face looked vaguely familiar but I could not remember where we had met previously.
Just a few weeks ago she would not have been allowed to put one foot over the threshold but this time she was welcomed like a long lost daughter and given the red carpet treatment by the embassy staff – one even asked if she wanted to meet the Ambassador.
The more she talked the more I knew that we had met previously, but where?
Then we began speculating about the deposed dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his truly awful wife Leila, who, we now know thanks to Wikileaks, fancied her chances of becoming the next leader of Tunisia when her ageing husband either stood down or expired.
We both laughed at the irony of the location of their current bolt-hole … Saudi Arabia, The Land of the Two Holy Mosques, and wondered how Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi were coping with hearing the athan five times a day.
They had banned the athan from being played on state television, shunned fasting during Ramadan and dismissed the hijab as being a foreign import and not part of the Tunisian culture.
Let’s just say they made it up as they went along and if they wanted fatwas they would wheel out their tame and obliging scholars for dollars.
Ben Ali, a brute of a man who made words and phrases like torture, detention without trial, political and religious persecution commonplace in Tunisia, is also credited with ripping off the hijabs from the heads of Muslim women. He banned them from wearing their scarves in schools, hospitals and universities and other public places.
He saw that the Holy Quran was banned and desecrated in the cages and dungeons where prisoners of conscience are beaten if they dared to pray outside of allotted times.
His brutal regime brought in happy clappy clerics whose narcotic-style preachings in praise of Ben Ali and his corrupt government certainly had the desired effect … it drove God-fearing worshippers out of the mosques.
No wonder the Muslim youth no longer clamored to get into masjids on Fridays to listen to these khateebs who spent half the khutbah praising the President and his followers.
To our Christian friends, put it this way – can you imagine sitting in a church pew listening to some vicar or priest urging you to thank God for Tony Blair, George W Bush or Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney? Exactly!
My sister and I both wondered how Leila would view having to wear a black abaya every time she steps outside her new home. I’m sure the Saudi religious police will be on hand to give her some encouragement.
Of all the places in the world those two had probably expected to end up I think it’s a fair bet Saudi was nowhere near the top of their list as they boarded the flight from Tunisia.
In fact what wouldn’t I have given to see the expressions on their faces as the pilot delivered the bad news. Sorry, we can’t get clearance for Paris, New York, Monaco or Geneva but how does Jeddah sound?
It was Ben Ali’s barbaric actions and abuse of the most basic human rights which prompted me to first go and stand outside the Tunisian Embassy in London way back in November 2006 and protest in defense of our Tunisian sisters … and Islam.
This man and his godless wife despised the religion of their birth so much and everything it represented that they did their best to turn the country in to a secular state.
Did they do it to please themselves or the western powers which courted them and pretended to be their best ever friends?
I remember in February 2009 driving through Tunisia with the Viva Palestina convoy encountering literally hundreds of Ben Ali’s henchmen who did everything in their power to stop us from praying and attending Friday prayers.
The horrified expressions on their faces when we stopped our vehicles in the middle of the road and prayed in the street is something I will remember forever.
I recounted the tale to the sister outside the embassy and again we both laughed at the ultimate irony Ben Ali and the light-fingered Leila (she is reported to have looted 1.5 tons of gold as she fled) were now languishing in Saudi.
How poignant, having been shunned by their fickle friends in the West, it was Muslims who came to their rescue. Forgiveness is a major element in Islam and while it is far too early for Tunisians to even begin to think about that F-word, the ex-president and his wife should be grateful that some Muslims are prepared to show them the sort of mercy Ben Ali and Leila could never show their own people.
Now that he, in particular, has time to reflect on the brutalization of our hijab-wearing sisters, practicing brothers and human rights campaigners, I wonder if he will discover the beauty of real Islam and not the distorted, diluted version he tried to force on his people?
I turned to the sister outside the embassy and wondered out loud if Leila will ever discover the beauty of the hijab. The words were barely out of my mouth when I suddenly recognized this woman.
We had first met in 2006, outside the Tunisian Embassy in London, at a protest. She told me in graphic detail of her detention, abuse and torture at the hands of Ben Ali’s thugs.
I will never forget her dramatic words back then as she said in a shaky voice: “I came to London with my hijab still in my pocket.” I remember being moved to tears by her story, one of many countless Tunisian sisters can tell and no doubt will over the coming months.
And now she is planning to return but with her head held high and wearing her hijab with pride.

---------- Post added at 04:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:25 AM ----------

Death is 3 seconds away - Javed Chaudhry