Dear Aasia Bibi, today I have no apology for you

Published: October 17, 2014
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Dear Aasia, you have become one of the many targets of such ignorant power. PHOTO: FILE

Dear Aasia,

I have so much to tell you. I have so much to talk to you about. I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to start off by saying that I would never dare say such a callous thing like I know what you must be going through. I don’t. I have no idea what is going on in your head. I can’t even imagine how disgusted you must be feeling with life right now. However, I do know that you have every reason to feel disgusted.

Aasia, you need to understand a few things about the people that surround you. You need to know that many of us around you are vile and immoral people. We are weak and sad people. We have insecurities about almost everything you can think of. We have filled our stomachs with so much hatred of everything, that your case is sadly not even the tip of the iceberg. Often times, our only source of fuel to carry on is by excreting our mental faeces on easy targets like you. How can I apologise on behalf of these people to you? I wish I could.

However, in the minds of these sick people, your case is almost legitimate target material for them. We have folks amongst us that do far worse things to people who are within the parameters of our own ‘religious’ divides. We kill. Do you understand Aasia? We kill. We have sick people amongst us. Fear us, for we will attack without prejudice and we won’t even have the conscience to repent. It is amongst our most reliable qualities. I want to disengage myself from such people, but I know that won’t offer you any resolve. In fact, to truly appeal to you on behalf of the ignorance that is surrounding you, I fear I have to include myself in that group so as to try to connect with you.

If ever there were two things that do not go together, it would be religion and illiteracy. While both of these things have done their fair share of damage independently, combining them creates a potential nuclear fission of harmful possibilities.

You have become one of the many targets of such ignorant power. But I don’t need such excitement to think of you. That is completely overkill. Instead, I think of a mother who is trying to raise her family with the same level of pressures, if not more, as the millions of other incredibly poor families scattered throughout Pakistan. I think of how, like every other woman on this planet, you do your best to hold the faces of your children up to the sky in spite of the hand dealt to you. I think of the pain your eyes must have seen over the years just to try and get by in this world.

I think of my mother and how she held the entire universe in her hand for me, and then I think of how your kids must feel the same way about you. But then I think of what must be going through your children’s minds at this point. And I want to tell you Aasia, that when I think of all of this, and then of all the incredibly vile things that have unnecessarily happened to you recently, I want to hurt someone. I want to cause physical pain to someone. I am not a violent man, but violence begs to bleed through my veins and find someone to shower it upon.

You see Aasia, in many ways, I am no different than any of these other mindless thugs who are causing you such stress with their ignorance. How then can I apologise to you, when I want to do to them, what they want to do to you? I can’t. Please understand. You deserve far more than an apology from a stranger who instead of having the capacity to help you, can only conjure up lustful thoughts of violent revenge on your behalf.

I will say this though. This has nothing to do with religion. Religion is in this case, the most readily and easily available catalyst to mobilise the internal insecurities of those harming you. There is no faith that supports such inhumane treatment of people. It is a lack of a moral compass that steers people to such levels of madness.

I hope that somewhere within the boundary of your wall of anger and disgust, there is a little crack of hope that still remains. I wouldn’t blame you if it doesn’t exist. However, if it does, then please try to conjure up the strength to look through that crack. When you do look through, you will see millions of other people peeping through their own tiny little cracks. We are all holding on to our vision of hope in the quest that the crack starts to widen. We are in this together. I will never forget you. Pakistan needs and begs for you to hold onto that hope of a better tomorrow. I need you to hold on to that hope. I truly do. Please.

Uzi G

Uzi G

By day, he is a technologist. Outside of that, he is a writer, filmmaker and general student of humanity. He blogs at usmangulfaraz.blogspot.com and tweets as @Uzi_G (twitter.com/uzi_g)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • raw is war

    excellent commentary but get spoiled in the end. It “is” about religion. In Islamic states everything is about religion.Recommend

  • Chris Ranmore

    “This has nothing to do with religion”
    Really? Is religion innocent of fuelling this hateful madness?Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    How can we think of ourselves as good people and not even protest this cruel, grotesque cruelty?Recommend

  • Irene johnson

    Thanks usman for writing this all… God is looking this all, He has his own plan for us..may His will be done Amen. God bless you Recommend

  • Yousaf Haque

    You ask for starting a discussion.Basic objective of any discussion,as I know,is that there are listeners who desire to understand the arguments presented during the discussion.I don’t see any such people aroundRecommend

  • Bashir Zaman

    As a child I took some water from a kind Christian lady, she was surprised somewhat that the utensil was paak enough for a Muslim boyRecommend

  • Rishabh Jain

    This injustice will be remembered by a people crying tears of blood in the future.Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    Excellent article. It shames me that poor Asia is being murdered in the name of religion, even though this has no connection with religion but rather with a twisted version made by Zia the evil and his cronies. Asia bibi, I am sorry that my country full of idiotic law makers and fake mullahs have showed once again that Pakistan is not a safe place to live for non-Muslims (and Muslims who ask questions). Sad but true.Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    This is unfortunate but true. Even though I would not blame the true form of religion that comes from the Quran.

    A lot of ‘Hadith’ that are attributed to our beloved prophet (p.b.u.h) have a rather violent tone and contradict Quran directly or indirectly and yet for some reason faith in ‘Hadith’ as nothing but truth has become the norm in the Pakistani society.

    If you read the Quran, you see freedom to choose, encouragement to think.

    If you read the Hadith, you see an often conflicting collection of rules and laws (e.g. stoning ot death, murdering of murtid, and many others etc).

    People need to learn the ‘Hadith’ are questionable unlike Quran as Hadith are man made / collected and we should remove hate-filled and Quran-contradicting Hadiths to save poor people like Asia bibi from being murdered.

    I pray that Asia bibi be rewarded by God and all these thugs who are involved in this act of murder face the justice they deserve.Recommend

  • Ikbal Buland

    Dear Usman, I do not agree with you that religion and illiteracy go together. I have seen millions of illiterate Hindu Indians having much better understanding of the religion These simple folks practice it in their daily lives without need to go after followers of other religions to earn favour from the Almighty.Recommend

  • M Shoaib

    You have got guts or u are already abroadRecommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    In modern times the narrative of Islam has been hijacked by cowardly bullies who prey on the weak and delight in vicious acts. Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    Please, do not blame Zia alone. What about civilian leaders who came after him? What about Musharraf who, when he is in the West, tries to project himself as a secular, modern person? Sherry Rehman made some noises to repeal this law but was shut out. What about Nawab Sharif – has he done anything to get such barbaric laws repealed? cannot be so easily absolved by putting all the blame on Zia. Recommend

  • Nero

    @ Bashir Zaman: Great anecdote. I find it particularly interesting that even after centuries of converting to Islam many still practice one of the worst practices of Hindu caste system – considering certain groups of people as “impure” and physical interaction with them as transferring impurity. Though I am not sure if in Pakistan’s case it also represents an active attempt to separate muslims from “others”.Recommend

  • Parvez

    It possibly has nothing to do with religion as you understand religion and more to do with the justice system that is woefully inept……..but it most certainly has to do with the misuse of religion for personal gain and lays open a debate on religion in this context.Recommend

  • Peace

    its really painful to see people suffering on the name of religion, of course no religion allow to hate or disrespect others on the sake of religion. its our misfortune that religion always remain the the hands of biased people who used it for their own interest. may God have mercy on us, at one side we ate fighting with Taliban but we can’t let go the extrimist thinking rooted us so deep :-( Recommend

  • siesmann

    Saying sorry to her won’t do it.If people don’t rise up and make their representatives work on repealing the ridiculous laws.Otherwise more Aasias will be added to the list.Other countries have laws to protect minorities.Pakistan has laws to protect the majority,Boggles the mind!!Recommend

  • Zee

    I failed to understand why the so called liberals always complain? She is under trial and even the high court has upheld the session court verdict!

    So if courts found her guilty of Blasphemy then why so much hue and cry? Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    She should be released and the blasphemy law repealed.Recommend

  • question hour

    Amazing. You readily want to question Islam. Its earth dear, not Mars. Looks like an overdose of education.
    btw, in blasphemy cases, why do we always assume that the accused is innocent? And did you know that this law victimized Muslims more than non-Muslims?
    ET. Have some patience. I suppose we should respect our religion only as much as our beloved mums. If we want to question, lets question them both equally harshly.Recommend

  • question hour

    You are assuming that education is received only in schools etc. That is incorrect. We learn all the time and that is very much education. Just not formal.Recommend

  • Kamran Usman

    When did I question Islam here? I question the evil act of murdering someone on the basis of an evil man made law which has no connection with Islam.

    Go check the statistics again, 40% of them are Muslims and 60% of victims are non-Muslims according to report in program ‘Policy matter’ – google it up. And in any case, it doesn’t matter if Muslims or Non-Muslims are being victimised, for me and for Islam, they are equal before the law in this case.

    In this particular case, Asia bibi has always denied to have made any insulting remarks and has consistently claimed that the other women she has a fight with are not being truthful. So it’s not the matter of assumption anymore. Even if she said something in anger, she shouldn’t be punished so harshly especially since she clearly didn’t mean it. Tell me that, what would you feel if someone didn’t drink water from your glass calling you somehow unclean? It would be okay for you I guess.

    I don’t know what God you believe in but my God is definitely merciful and encourages to think and believe in something by heart and not by force, and my God encourages mercy and love. We have all read how a woman used to throw garbage on our beloved prophet (pbuh) and instead of punishing her he kept calm, and took care of her when she fell sick, which developed a positive image of Islam in her eyes. If you have other ideas, let me assure you that murdering this poor woman will actually hurt Islam the most – not because Islam encourages such evil acts but because the world knows Islam by the brutal acts the so called Muslims of so called Muslim countries commit in the name of Islam.Recommend

  • Gohar

    I believe you are ignorant or pretending to be ignorant. Don’t you remember what happened to the judge who aquitted. He was murdered in his own chamber. The lawyer who was defending another Muslim accused. He was also mudered. Governer of Punjab who raised voice. He was murdered. No judge has courage to give this women justice.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Untouchability was practiced by Hindus for a couple of centuries and that was horrible. It is however not prescribed by any of the 3 main religious books for Hindus but rather was a cultural perversion. Just as you state that the form of Islam practiced in many Muslim majority countries is not the real Islam, so also untouchability and other such perversions like sati are not real Hinduism. WRecommend

  • siesmann

    Well Salman Taseer and Shahbaaz Bhatti tried.What happened to them.You have thousands of Mumtaz Qadris running around with guns in their hands and hatred in their heart,and mullah factory is churning out more and more.Recommend

  • Zee

    So justice according to you is if she will be acquitted. I mean there is no limit of wishful thinking. She has been found guilty so case closed. Stop whining all the time.Recommend

  • Gautam Bhattacharya

    Nero & Gp65, you will need to study the history of Iran, immediately after the conquest by Arabs to understand the origins of apartheid and untouchability in Islam. It has become unquestioned wisdom to blame India and the Sanatana Dharma for all ills, without making any study of world history, a convenient device for Church historians and the Marxists.

    Returning to the Arab conquest of Iran, it was later discovered during a study of domestic architecture of the Zoroastrian remnants of Iran in modern times a particular design and sets of structure that you may google to validate by claims. Upon further investigation, it came to light that these evolved owing to the consequences of that conquest by Islam. ONE such consequence was that Zoroastrians were condemned as IMPURE, and forbidden by official decree to step outside when the scarce rains fell, so that water from the heavens touching their infidel bodies and then flowing to the earth should not irrevocably pollute the soil and bring misfortune and failure of crops, and livestock to the entire society. So, the Zoroastrians were forced to huddle indoors or risk death when there was even the chance of rain or dew touching their bodies and then touching the earth. This is in addition to the continuous barrage of oppression visited on them as sub-humans.

    Muslims may not understand that Sufism is merely the Zoroastrian spiritual traditions hiding under the aegis of Islam, and never an independent growth within Islam. There were some independent “Sufi” schools within Islam proper and they were in marked contrast tot he “sufi” that captures the fond imagination of tolerance and loving kindness. It is a pity that people do not apply themselves to the critical study of history, say to the Asha’ri “sufi”. They would get quite a shock at what a group Rumi belonged to, and whom he never forsook.

    The entire proposition has of dividing humanity between momin and unbelievers means that whoever has said so has understood nothing at all about tauhid, and has no personal experience of God, NONE. Sahih Bukhari, vol.8, and I shall not mention the specific hadis for fear of creating more problems, are the diagnostic for Indian sadhakas who study and use these, and elements like Sura Noor, to determine who reached what level of spiritual growth in the Islamic universe.

    Make no mistake that we have closely dissected almost every letter of Sahih Muslim Sahih Bukhari, the QUran etc. to understand what makes them tick, in addition to secondary literature. Sadly, there are no similar competent scholars from that end who have even a slight grasp of Indian thought. This gentleman Kamran Usman would have made an excellent person to have transmitted such knowledge, but he is obviously not the one who needs it. He is rich in Haqiqat already. He understand tauhid internally and his comprehension will be such that he will BECOME that tauhid without fail. Its full and pure personification. He is a most blessed being, Blessed are those who have given birth to him and who have taught him spiritual insights. If Islam had more like him, there would be no problem at all; it would be truly blessed.Recommend

  • faizan

    Why do we always assume the accused are innocent? Actually I dont blame your ignorance. Our own laws contradict international law. International law clearly states “innocent until proven guilty”. Whereas in Pakistan the accused is considered guilty and has to prove otherwise.
    This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with laws that arent in accordance with religion and can be very easily used to vistimize anyone. If you dont like someone just say they said something blasphemous and voila!!! Your enemy is defeated!!Recommend

  • faizan

    Justice would be if she has a fair trial based on facts and evidence. What she is getting is a death sentence because regardless of evidence (in her favour or against her) she will get the death penalty as no lawyer will actually try to defend her for feer of their own life.Recommend

  • Najaf GT

    Everything has to do with politics. Unfortunately in Pakistan religion is also politics.Recommend

  • revoltman

    TRUE !Recommend

  • revoltman

    I always thought all pakistan was radicalized. But no.
    Till the time you people stand up against religion, you will keep suffering.
    Secularists, take control of your country soon.Recommend