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Between airports, airplanes and transit lounges

More on Facebook, PTA and the LHC judgment

A friend wrote this and sent this onwards this afternoon. I think it deserves a wider audience than the mailing list it was circulated on.

First publicize it, and then ban it

“I learned a very important message at a young age when my friends and I couldn’t even bowl over arm. I was bowled out first ball & when returning to my team mates my captain called me a looser & in many such creative words. One particular word provoked me and I reacted to it in a befitting way, holding the captain by his collars. For the next several days, almost everyone called me by the same word, till the time that I started acting very casual about it, ignoring it totally. My change in attitude made every one forget it like it never existed.

But that was then when heaving a full size bat was a Herculean effort. Today when I am confronted with a difficult decision on how to react to a particular situation, I keep my ideal in mind, imagining what he would have done. My respect for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has snowballed over the years, the more I explored his life & times, the more my pride of being associated with him through religion blossomed. And so when this controversy of “Everybody draw Muhammad” sprang up, random images gathered momentum: of how the Prophet being stoned by the people of Taif till his shoes filled up with blood, with Gabriel drawing up to him offering annihilation, yet he prayed to Allah for their enlightenment; of how the great Prophet sought the welfare of the lady who missed the routine of throwing garbage, of how the benevolent Prophet rode in to Makkah as victor yet ordained restraint. It’s the grandeur of these actions which unites different minds, creates a following, and instills faith.

It amazes me how a bunch of immature people have held the better part of the Ummat, including the state machinery, hostage. The High Court & other bureaucracies, ignoring the immediate threats of ethnic violence, the burden of inflation on the common person, of numerous cases of rape, karo kari, kidnapping for which no verdict has been reached inspite of years having passed by, have taken this issue head on and banned a couple of internet sites. I don’t know it as a fact, but this smells like, walks like, and talks like public appeasement measures. But the honorable courts are apolitical.

So why is forwarding emails & sms to everyone on our address/phonebook, and in the process publicizing it like no other marketing campaign, so satisfying for us? In my humble opinion, the act gives us a feel good factor by reducing our guilt of doing nothing, where as in reality, perhaps ignoring it would be louder. Even Molly Norris who drew a satirical “Everybody draw Muhammad”, in her apology, says that this facebook page is malicious, offensive and abusive of the freedom of speech so reverently protected by the West. The reality & intent cannot be concealed. Now we must brace of another round of drawing, the opportunity to overnight stardom is too attractive to miss for a few…after all there over 5 billion non Muslims out there.

An appropriate response, a friend of mine suggests, would have been that whoever got to know it first should have alerted PTA/hosting site and let them handle it from there. PTA in turn, he assumes, would use its weight & lobbying powers to highlight this with Facebook & perhaps they would have the offensive material amicably removed. Even if Facebook didn’t, there would have been only a handful people who would have known that this page ever existed.

While we mull this over, I am apprehensive about the people coming out on the streets after the Juma prayers, damaging private & public property, torching cars & in the process fatally hurting who come in their way, whilst the instigators of this whole conflict are thousands of miles away.”