The Struggle for/of Humanity


September 20

When people ask me why I want to be a social worker I never know how to reply without sounding like a righteous Mother Teresa wanna-be. I want to make a difference, I think, I want to serve humanity, alleviate poverty, eradicate illiteracy, make a few people happier by making their living conditions better. “I just enjoy it, I guess I’ve always wanted to work in the nonprofit area,” I usually mumble and smile dumbly.

And then things happen that crush my faith and shove me off the cliff of self-confidence and determination. When I look at the pictures of burning flags and buildings, fists in the air, mindless fury erasing all boundaries, all virtues and values of tolerance and patience and peace and love, when I look at how cities shut down and people destroy in the name of justice, in the name of love… when I look at how a government fails to stand up for rationality and bows down to mob behavior by announcing a holiday to signify something that shouldn’t need a special day marked on the calendar but should be part of who we are as people…

…then my heart crumbles, and my spirits plummet, and my brain yells at me, why, why, why bother? Optimism seems like stupidity. Definitions change, and all rose-colored glasses in a hundred-mile radius disappear.

Who would have thought an idiot’s twisted sense of humor and unforgiving irreverence could spread like wildfire across countries?
Something makes me think the idiot might have seen this coming, something makes me feel like he is pretty happy with the results. A person outside of Islam making a film against our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) can never touch our reverence, love and respect for our messenger (SAW).
People who claim to be valiant defenders of Islam and devout followers of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) rampaging through their own cities, damaging their own property and hurting their fellow men, women, and children and setting fire not just to tires and American flags but all the beautiful values that Prophet Muhammd (SAW) taught us… I’m afraid, these people can, and do, damage the image of Islam.

I would go on about the rationality of such mob behavior targeting embassies and the idiocy of creating a public holiday (we do not need to sign a petition, or run mad through streets to demonstrate our love for Prophet Muhammad (SAW); we need to follow all that he taught us, honesty, love, peace, tolerance, modesty, respect, duty to our fellow mankind, and so on) when the US government condemned the film in clear terms. But I don’t think my few sentences would change anything.

Why bother anything at all?

Because there are underlying reasons for such behavior. It isn’t our religion that teaches us to act like this, neither is it the essence of Pakistanis. It is the environment of deprivation, disparity, illiteracy, and lack of good, strong religious leaders. And these are conditions that require a lot of effort… but, slowly, eventually, they may change.

So I’m going to walk the extra hundred miles and go find my rose-colored glasses, because I think I need them.   

P.S. To follow soon is a rant against Jamaat-e-Islami. The party maddens me so much I rave against it in my dreams. Religious party? HA! So much hatred, intolerance and lack of understanding about our own religion… what does that say about the “religious leaders” the party claims as its own?  

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