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Afghanistan: time for introspection
By Syed Iftikhar Ahmed

Dead or alive Osama Bin Laden would be captured sooner or later and the war against terror - or was it against peace? (Read Islam), may or may not, overtly come to an end. At least one can hope with guarded optimism, that it may.

The Taliban have surrendered their last strong hold in Kandahar. A fact which billions of people across the world, cutting across religion and even civilisational lines were not ready to accept. Taliban had became a focal point of their hopes and aspirations, revolting against a super power, as they did. Many saw in them their own faces. They watched them as though they were fighting on their own behalf, a gigantic might, a tyrant. Their hopes were belied, aspirations turned into a nightmare, which they want to forget as early as possible. The one sided war against a chosen enemy may come to an end, but may give sleepless nights to those who saw their own dreams being bombed, their existence shattered into pieces, murdered in cold blood. Horrible tails will be told and retold over a period of time of covert brutalities, under the guise of 'enduring freedom', or 'infinite peace'. The facts of massacre at Kunduz may not come to the fore. With those buried under tonnes of soil the truth may be buried under the piles of "false facts" or true lies? 

After September 11, 2001, the world had been divided between those who, even while condemning the killing of innocents, some way or the other have sided with the perpetrators. They had not supported them, neither morally nor physically, but still in some corner of their hearts were the faceless, human anatomy in their millions, deprived, impoverished, subjugated, victims of differential treatment and differential distribution of wealth, of dignity and of honour. They are the subjects ruled by their rulers, sometimes with their consent but mostly without their consent. They come from every religion, every civilization, every country, every class. Religion no bar, country no bar, less equal among equals, less to have everything to lose.

On the other side were the class of rulers, a class apart, more equal than others, more human than other human beings’ prosperity their birth right, affluence their exclusive domain. Calling the shots ruling according to their whims and wishes, which they called the consent from those whom they ruled. Religion no bar, country no bar, ideology no bar. Supported by all their ilk's, despotic regimes, barbaric states, royal cannibals, a heap of indifferent regardless, emotionless lots. Terror against terror, only they would legitimize their terror as they claimed to have consent from those terrorized, and hence authorized to perpetrate and go without challenge.

In the end the entire world, classified as ruled, had to witness the fall of those who challenged them, with subdued emotion, flattened self-respect, humiliated, wounded, defeated.

These people refused to realize the might of monstrous power; the price they had to pay is enormous. They should have known that they have to fight their own battle, perhaps they knew it, but had no courage to acknowledge. They had their dreams, only they were misbegotten. Their journey was backward with forward ambitions, they missed the direction.

The Taliban who harbored Bin Laden whom they call the terrorist, a charge he still denies, refused to bow down. Refused to hand over Bin Laden to them, a brave task, indeed but without reason and logic Taliban knew their worth but did not realise their dearth. In this material world claims and rhetoric do not count. It is the material that counts, a fact they too knew but they did not accept. They knew the laws of nature; they lacked the vision or courage to submit to them, they knew not that nature does not appropriate itself to favor even those, who it wants to favor. Dreams do not take shape wishful thinking never materializes. You could brave the missiles; you cannot stop them from falling. Miracles never work. They will fall and destroy and shatter your dreams, as they did. You cannot blame others for your weakness . Your weakness is a crime. You have to pay for it. Price is heavy devastation, decimation, and depletion. You have to have your own power to counter 'the power'. To survive you have to have your own might. If you do not it is against the laws of nature. Against them you cannot stand rather with stand. Your existence owes to material world, the material existence embodied within you. Refusal invites horror, nature would not pardon you. You have to vacate, give way to those who have it. Those who lack have simply to go, as the Taliban went, unceremoniously, unwittingly and unwantedly. The paradigms are configured by nature. You simply cannot replace them with paradigms of your own choice- or weakness. Validity and usefulness of these paradigms lies in adherence to them. For they order accordingly your fate, you'r state, your rights and your might. You can challenge on your own terms the established paradigms. But beware they would retaliate on their own terms. The result will be consistent with the rules that bind them, discipline them. Not on your terms, not your wishes, not your lapses.

The world is disciplined by the change. Any breach in this discipline means a breach of your own beliefs regarding the universe. Shattered beliefs will shatter your own existence. 

Having tried different ideologies, since the awakening of the world, like socialism, communism, secularism, democracy, men have failed to achieve the desired objectives. They failed the people, communism of Soviet Union turned out to be the most dreaded ideology which human beings as heaps of flesh and bones,. Secularism benefited those who happened to possess all the riches and might.

Democracy proved to be the luxury of a few. It enslaved the humanity with its own consent and served as a tool for supporting vested - interest dispensations across the globe. Freedom and liberalism turned out to be weapons of refusing the very rights and concentrating them into the hands of a few. When the popular masses started to perceive the threats posed by these forces anguish and anger started building up among them. The Nation- Sate could not bind the masses emotionally hence it chained them to surrender, lest they asunder.

Globalisation was then reined in to bolster the decaying political thought, when the tyrants of the day perceived popular upsurge against them as a formidable threat. Out of depravation and deprivation nation-states are being replaced with the civilization. A clash among civilization is being portrayed to forewarn the tyrant nation - states. Those refusing to be reined in are being termed as terrorists. Every voice of dissent is being suppressed in the name of freedom. Freedom of expression faces extinction in the name of freedom itself. Patriotism is another weapon in the latest armor.

World is now divided along fault lines of civilizations, the west on one side the Islam on the other side. In between other forces serving as buffer ones Muslims have to rise and wake up and honestly consider if Islam of the Islamists confirms to the fundamentals of Islam (not fundamentalism). Those who saw resurgence of Islam in the Taliban phenomenon would have to give a serious thought, a time for introspection. Could we afford a traditional, ritual and ethno-political configurated Islam in place of structural Islam? Could we compromise pristine purity of Islam with violent political ambitions? Should the political dynamics of Islam take precedence over social dynamics of Islam? Should the Islam, as ordained by the "Holy Book" represented and authenticated by Holy Prophet be substituted by the Islam inherited by generations and passed as tradition and practice and hearsay? There is serious thought about Islam in the West. A fresh look at it may bring to fore the Islam in its true spirituality not rituality.

It is time to introspect. The world of west has changed after September 11,the invincibility of the United States has been eroded. It has to carry the stigma of being slapped in the face by the faceless people. So also the world of Islam has to change after October 7, the day U.S. attacked the self proclaimed custodians of Islam. These are the two turning points. Future history is going to be shaped by these historic events either for worse or better. The attitude and approach of Muslims to these events and their aftermath will decide their fate. Whether the west committed sacrilege of Islam by blaring propaganda of men shaving their beards, women throwing their veils or were it the Taliban who provided an opportunity to them? Whether Islam has to be forced upon or should it come from within? These are the questions to be replied by those who pride upon being Muslims and not Islamists.Which role model has to be followed by the Muslims? of the Islamist's or of the Prophet? It is high time we bring justice to Islam and not Islam to justice.
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