Muslims, 25% of world’s population: the leaderless orphans

by B. R. GOWANI

Video shows Palestinian detainees stripped by Israeli forces VIDEO/Al Jazeera/Youtube
IMAGE/Pew Research Center

Thus spoke and acted Yahweh, the Jewish God

17 This is what the Lord says: “By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.” 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.”

At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, Exodus 7:17-18 & 12:29 (New International Version).

US supported “no red lines” Israeli annihilation of Palestinians

On October 7, 2023, Hamas’ “unprovoked” attack on Israel killed 1,139 people. Israeli rulers and their supporter, the United States, were shocked by the Hamas inflicted cruelties. Such brutalities, although on a manifold larger scale, is the prerogative of US and Israel alone. They both went psychotic forgetting that sooner or later this was bound to happen from the occupied people. Israel, the occupier of Palestinian territories of Gaza (from where Hamas attacked) and West Bank, true to its racist and colonial nature again displayed its ugly side in all its horror.

On October 27, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby gave a green light for genocide: “We’re not drawing red lines for Israel.”

In US warring class English, it means Israel can indiscriminately bomb, destroy, kill with full US assistance — without fear of any accountability or anxiety of any country/group coming to Palestinians’ aid. There was no need for Kirby to issue that statement, Israel was not obeying any line whatsoever. President Joe Biden, CIA Director William Burns, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (twice), Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, many other officials, and some Western leaders visited Israel to show the world their support. Arms and ammunition are being supplied.

The US air force and navy are in the area providing cover to Israel. Selling of arms to Israel without informing Congress. US War Secretary, Lloyd Austin (a former board member of Raytheon, an arms manufacturer) defended US assistance to Israel and Ukraine. The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is back because the US felt confident that except the Houthis, no one else is going to help Hamas and so Israel doesn’t need much help.

Some statistics (Oct 7-Nov 23):

  • 42 bombs dropped every hour
  • 12 buildings destroyed every hour
  • 1,000 white phosphorous strikes in Gaza
  • 6 children and 9 adults killed every hour
  • 35 people injured every hour
  • 195 plus people died in attacks on Jabalia, Gaza’s largest refugee camp
  • 2 bombs, 2,000 pounds each were dropped, the second largest in Israel’s arsenal, creating 40-foot-wide craters
  • 14,854 Palestinians, killed, at least, between Oct 7 and Nov 24, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women
  • 36,000 people, injured, at least — more than 75% are children and women
  • 229 killed, at least, including 52 children, in West Bank
  • 2,750 injured, at least, in West Bank
  • 50,000 pregnant women’s dilemma — how to get to a nearby clinic/hospital (if not bombed) for delivery
  • 278,000 residential units, more than 50%, destroyed or damaged
  • 1.7 million Palestinians displaced in Gaza Strip
  • 1.06 million of those displaced Palestinians are in UNRWA shelters
  • 311 educational institutes damaged
  • 167 places of worship damaged
  • 87 ambulances damaged
  • 26 (out of thirty five) hospitals not functioning
  • 11 bakeries destroyed
  • 62 journalists — 55 Palestinians, 4 Israelis, and 3 Lebanese
  • 108 UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) staffers killed
  • 69 UNRWA installations damaged
  • 9 (out of twenty two) UNRWA health centers operating

Israel killed over 14,854 Palestinians in Gaza in 48 days, that is, 309 murders each day.

The Hamas attack on Israel killed approximately 1,139. The initial figure was 1,405 which was revised to 1,200, then further downed to 1,147. The charred bodies of Hamas fighters were assumed as that of Israelis. The injured numbered approximately 8,730.

On December 1, after a seven day “humanitarian pause”, the war resumed. Between October 7 and February 1, 2024, the Palestinian death toll climbed to (Gaza 26,900 + 370 West Bank) 27,270 (including 10,000 children and 7,000 women) at least. The wounded figure is over 70,199. More than 8,000 Palestinians are missing. (For latest figures, see Al Jazeera’s Live Tracker.) On December 17, many wounded, sick, and displaced Palestinians were buried “alive” when their tent outside Kamal Adwan Hospital In Gaza Strip was bulldozed by Israeli forces. 12 babies in that hospital were in incubators, unattended. The UN finding showed that by December 12, nearly 18% or 40,000 buildings had been damaged or destroyed. Yuval Abraham of +972 Magazine was told by former and current intelligence officers that killing of Palestinian civilians was on purpose to “create a shock” and to “hurt morale” in Gaza. 100% of the students are not getting education. 85% of Gaza’s population, i.e., 1.9 million people have been displaced.

Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair points out in an article “Is Gaza Burning” how the US views Palestinians as subhumans.

We’re learning block by demolished block, body by mangled body, limb by amputated limb, who enjoys the right of protection and who doesn’t.

Netanyahu’s wrath

In 2003, then US President George W. Bush told Palestinian officials that God had instructed him to fight “terrorists in Afghanistan” and “tyranny in Iraq,” and he did. From Bush’s occupation of Iraq rose a terrorist outfit ISIS or Islamic State. When the rhetoric as”democracy,” “humanitarianism,” and so on are not enough, God is always there to be used as justification for gross atrocities.

On October 28, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked Hebrew Bible, 1 Samuel 15:1-35 to continue the genocide

“They [the Israelis] are committed to completely eliminating this evil from the world.” “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

Then Netanyahu exhibited Yahweh‘s wrath by turning off water and electricity, cutting off fuel, and wholesale killing of Palestinians. Heavenly Gods/Goddesses didn’t have the current technology; it must have taken Yahweh long to turn Nile’s water bloody and carry out genocide on a mass scale. However, the Israeli heritage minister Amihay Eliyahu suggested faster annihilation: nuclear option was “one way.” Israeli leaders rarely admit that Israel is a nuclear power, an open secret for long. Netanyahu regime could wipe off Palestinians in Gaza in just a few minutes but then the nuclear fallout won’t spare Israel either.

Poet Rahat Indori once said:

if there is a fire, many homes will burn / ours is not the only house here

Israel’s cutting off of electricity and water supply has made life depressing, more so for women. Non-availability of water, sanitary napkins and tampons, and unhygienic conditions have forced women to take menstruation-delaying pills with side effects such as change in menstrual cycle, irregular vaginal bleeding, mood swings, nausea, and dizziness. Palestinian Red Crescent had to cut down on its ambulances in Gaza Strip due to lack of fuel.

Bombing children, women, men, buildings, houses, schools, hospitals, clinics, ambulances, vehicles, refugee camps, stores, bakeries, and everything they can, it seems like Israel is in a hurry, with the full support of US, to commit as many savageries as possible. Hafiz Rashid writing in New Republic says “Benjamin Netanyahu Is the War Criminal of the Year,” whereas Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib called Netanyahu “genocidal maniac.”

In his NLR article, Master and Servant, Wolfgang Streeck observes:

Has the US lost control over its protégé, servant turned into master, master into servant?

“Is the US, blackmailed by the threat of a Middle Eastern Armageddon, now forced to allow Israel to pursue ‘victory’ at any price? Does Israel’s capacity for nuclear war bestow on the Israeli radical right a sense of invincibility, as well as a confidence that they can dictate the terms of peace with or without the Americans, and certainly without the Palestinians?”

Anti-Muslim propaganda

Unsurprisingly, it was India’s Hindu communalist leader Modi’s followers who began circulating lies within hours of Hamas attacks on October 7. This is the power of malicious leaders whose hold over their followers have deleted their reasoning power, if they ever had one. They can’t see the atrocities committed against minorities in India itself. The research by Islamic Council of Victoria in Australia shows that India is where bulk of all Islamophobic tweets originate from.

Muslims are under attack by the unholy trinity of white father, white son, and the brown spirit — Biden, Netanyahu, and Modi.

Israel/US ignores United Nations

On 24 October 2023, while addressing the UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Hamas’ actions but also reminded to not ignore the historical reasons behind the attacks.

It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.

The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.

They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.

But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, refused to face the truth and instead fumed: “I call on him to resign immediately.”

Inmates at world’s largest open air prison are being killed mercilessly. James Elder, a spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) painted a ghastly picture: “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children. It’s a living hell for everyone else.” Unlike the stealthy attacks by “terrorists,” the US and Israel kill in broad daylight without any fear from any quarters.

Support for Palestinians

Most of the world has seen people pouring out in huge numbers supporting the Palestinians and demanding a ceasefire against Israel’s merciless bombing of Gaza Strip. Many Jews in individual capacity, 500 staffers at over 140 organizations, and several Jewish groups have backed those demands. On December 13, Jewish activists blocked a highway in Down Town Los Angeles. Pro-Palestinian protesters briefly blocked entrance to airports in the US. 500 demonstrators were arrested in the rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington DC in a protest led by Jewish groups.

In order to force Biden to pressure Israel for a ceasefire, the group called Feds United for Peace, made of associates from tens of government agencies, has announced January 16, 2024, as a “Day of Mourning” with associates walking out of jobs to mark 100 days of Israel’s war .

In Europe, Germany has been harsh on supporters of Palestine. The climate movement Fridays for Future’s (FFF) German branch was asked by many German politicians to cut off ties with its international branch. Famous environmental activist Greta Thunberg (of the Swedish branch) has shown open support for Palestinians. A German tabloid had this headline: “Take Away Refugee Girl Reem’s German Passport.” Reem Sahwil is of Palestinian origin.

India, the so called largest democracy, is suffocating under the silent terror which permeates the Indian air scaring people and forcing them to remain quiet. The Modi government has prohibited any protests in support of the Palestinians in the Indian occupied Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state.

Since the war began, the region’s biggest mosque in Jammu and Kashmir’s major city Srinagar has been forbidden from holding Friday afternoon prayers. Some religious leaders have been put under house arrest preventing them from leading Friday prayers. Modi is using draconian methods to crush Kashmiri aspirations for autonomy or independence.

Irish politician Mike Wallace says without halt, protests should go on persistently.

Spain’s deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz said: “The international community cannot look the other way.” “The EU must demand that Israel halt the plans that are causing a massacre.”

In October, Columbia, Belize, and Chile, recalled their ambassadors to Israel while Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations. In November, Honduras asked its ambassador to return back. Ditto with South Africa. Neither of these countries are Muslim.

On December 29, South Africa filed an application against Israel of genocide at the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ). The application states:

“Acts and omissions by Israel . . . are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent . . . to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

South Africa’s courage to take Israel to ICJ deserves appreciation. PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and its leader Yasser Arafat wholeheartedly supported Nelson Mandela and African National Congress in its struggle against apartheid. Mandela once said: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Pales­tinians.” However, it seems, the judgement is going to favor the genocide committer as Norman Finkletein makes it clear.

At the January 11 ICJ proceedings, Irish lawyer Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh painted a vivid picture of the indifference the world has shown to the Palestinian victims, despite the continuous gross devastation images of the merciless demolition of life and property being carried out by Israel.

“[This is] the first genocide in history where its victims are broadcasting their own destruction in real time in the desperate, so far vain hope that the world might do something. Gaza represents nothing short of a moral failure.”

Where are the Muslim leaders?

Poet Sahir Ludhianvi once questioned the leaders of the East in his poem Where are they who extol the purity of the East? <1> If Sahir were alive today, he would have questioned: “Gaza is under Genocidal bombardment, where are the Ummah’s Muslim leaders?” 

(Ummah is community in Arabic, i.e., Muslim Community (worldwide).)

There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Every fourth person walking this planet is a Muslim; thus it is natural that when some Muslims are being ruthlessly killed in the thousands the rest of the Muslims will feel the pain and would want the killing to stop. That’s where the problem comes in. The people have no means to do anything; it’s their governments from whom they expect to take steps that could lead to peace.

Gaza is under Israeli fire, so the burning question is: Where are the Muslim leaders?

Muslim-majority countries with diplomatic relations with Israel are: Turkey, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Chad. People in these countries do not favor relations with Israel.

Muslim leaders have denounced Israeli actions in Gaza but have refrained from taking any meaningful stand or action which could force Israel, or put pressure on the US to rein Israel’s merciless bombing.

Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was on the cusp of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, but the recent events halted the process, albeit temporarily. It is still “on the table” but now the Kingdom wants to “to make a solution to the Palestinian conflict part of broader normalization in [West Asia].” It’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman gave the same impression to the White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Biden and Saudi Crown Prince MBS (Mohammed bin Salman) had a phone conversation October 24 (18th day of war). The White House website says they both insisted how important it is to work for an enduring peace between Palestinians and Israelis “as soon as the crisis subsides.” For public consumption, MBS condemned Israel’s “military aggression” and at the BRICS virtual meeting (November 21) he asked all countries to stop selling arms to Israel.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League joint conference in Saudi capital Riyadh, in the second week of November, didn’t achieve anything; it was an opportunity for MBS to be the center of a group photo. Besides, MBS support for Palestinians has been on the decline for many years. On December 13, MBS met Sullivan but there was no decision to stop the killing. OIC endorsed South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.

Syria‘s Bashar al-Asaad summed up the futility of the whole exercise: “If we do not have real tools for pressure, then any step we take or speech we give will have no meaning.”

UAE rejected Lebanese, Algerian, and others’ proposal to break off diplomatic relations with Israel, to halt oil delivery to that country, and sever economic relations. From Gaza, Hamas issued a statement asking countries having relation with Israel to expel Israeli ambassadors and to form a legal commission to try “Israeli war criminals.” Nothing of that sort has happened. The Abraham Accords resulted in normalization of relations between Israel and UAE, Morocco, Sudan, and Bahrain. Israel saw a huge boom in exports: $12.5 billion, bulk of it is war related materials. Mohamad Hasan Sweidan says Arab regimes are funding “Israel’s war on Gaza.”

The UAE would go to any extent to continue business with Israel. When the Yemeni group Ansarallah sided with Palestinians and threatened to attack ships, the UAE avoided the Red Sea route and instead created a “land bridge” to send goods to Israel via Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Palestinians may get wounded or killed by Israeli bombs, but the business between UAE and Israel must go on.

Bahrain, in the first week of November, recalled its ambassador from Israel and cut off economic relations. However, Israel declared relations to be “stable.” In other words, it was a temporary facade.

Jordan did recall her ambassador too. Queen Rania Al Abdullah pointed out the sadistic element involved in argument against ceasefire.

“I know that some who are against the ceasefire argue that it will help Hamas. However, I feel that in that argument, they are inherently dismissing the death, in fact, even endorsing and justifying the death of thousands of civilians, and that is just morally reprehensible.”

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “deafening silence on Palestine” broke after twenty days which as Ceyda Karan points out was more of openly embracing Hamas rather than criticizing Israel’s deeds in Gaza. Turkey did summon back its ambassador.

With Israel, Turkey’s annual business amounts to nearly $6 billion, making it the number three exporter, after China and the US. Turkish steel helps Israel’s arms industry. Erdogan’s son Burak, and other party members of Erdogan too do business with Israel. Investigating journalist Metin Cihan hit the Erdogan government where it hurts the most:

“While the attack on Gaza was continuing, we [Turkey] sent 400 ships to Israel. We shipped 4,000,000 tons. We provided fuel for the Israeli planes, clothing for its soldiers, and parts for its weapons. Thank God, we sent our prayers to the Palestinians. Do not forget Palestine.”

Erdogan and his family have accused Matin of insulting and defaming, and have filed a criminal complaint against him.

On January 3, 2024, Turkey endorsed South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at ICJ (International Court of Justice).

Qatar, a tiny oil/natural gas rich country, has been playing oversized role with US support for some time now. It has good relations with Hamas and has maintained contact and trade with Israel. Qatar also plays intermediary between the US and Iran, with which it has friendly ties. Currently, it is helping Israel in getting its hostages back. US and Taliban meetings have been held in Qatar, too. Qatar houses Al Jazeera, a useful informative news outlet which counters Western propaganda.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, on December 20, announced:

“The Malaysian government decided to block and disallow the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM from docking at any Malaysian port.”

“These sanctions are a response to Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and brutality against Palestinians.”

It also banned ships from docking which use Israeli flag and banned “any ship on its way to Israel from loading cargo in Malaysian ports.”

The Anwar government approved the South African case of genocide against Israel.

Egypt, which has a border with Gaza, hasn’t done anything substantial for Palestinians in three months of war; it is ruled by US-supported dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Egypt receives more than a billion dollar US aid. If Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted from power with US help, was still in power instead of Sisi, he would have sided with the Palestinians.

Pakistan <2> (and some other Muslim countries), it is suspected, will follow Saudi Arabia, once that country recognizes Israel. Pakistani author and analyst Fatima Bhutto was surprised to find “Pakistan’s uncharacteristically limp and underwhelming response to Israeli slaughter in Gaza.”

Iran called for “immediate and complete embargo on the Zionist regime by Islamic countries.” Iran can’t do much as it has been under heavy US trade, scientific, economic, financial, and military sanctions (see here and here) and is not in any position to risk any military confrontation with Israel and the US, who is there to protect the “genocidal maniac.” Israel would love Iran’s involvement which could actively engage US, which as Ramzy Baroud correctly points out will, “multiply into other genocides throughout the Middle East.” Israel could take advantage of the US involvement to attack Iran’s nuclear sites and destroy its nuclear program. Israel is the only nuclear power in the region and wouldn’t want to see any other power with nukes.

Indonesia, the most populated Muslim country, has trade relations with Israel for decades but flourished after Abdurrahman Wahid (20 October 1999 – 23 July 2001) came to power who argued that Indonesia has relations with China and Russia, both atheist countries, so there was no excuse to avoid relations with Israel which “has a reputation as a nation with a high regard for God and religion.” Israel receives about 200,000 Indonesian visitors each year. Efforts to establish diplomatic relations hasn’t succeeded but top government officials have visited each other. In 2002, the Indonesia-Israel Public Affairs Committee (IIPAC) was founded.

Morocco had unofficial relations with Israel since 1960s. In 1965, an Arab League conference proceedings were secretly recorded by King Hassan II. The information from the recordings were handed over to Mossad, an Israeli intelligence agency, enabling Israel to figure out the Arab war strategy and thus making them lose the 1967 war. In 2022, Morocco and Israel established diplomatic relations and the US and Israel recognized Moroccan claims over Western Sahara.

Sudan was bribed an exit from the US “Terrorist” list if it established diplomatic relations with Israel. Sudan agreed but the process is still in progress.

Chad, who has relations with Israel, called its ambassador back.

Ansarallah or Houthi movement

On November 14, the Yemen-based Houthis announced that Israeli-linked ships sailing via the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Red Sea will be harassed. On December 9, they also included all ships headed to Israel as their target. The group has succeeded in scaring many ships away from the Red Sea forcing them to reroute via the Cape of Africa — raising costs by 15% and adding a two-week delay. A senior member of Houthis, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti promised to continue stopping ships headed for Israel until a ceasefire is announced. He said:

“Even if America succeeds in mobilizing the entire world, our military operations will not stop … no matter the sacrifices it costs us.”

“America’s announcement of the establishment of the Coalition of Shame will not prevent us from continuing our military operations until the crimes of genocide in Gaza are stopped and food, medicine and fuel are allowed to enter its besieged population.”

Elon Musk’s Twitter/X has removed the above quote. Al-Bukhaiti is one of the persons on Nickey Reid’s 2023 list of “People Who Actually Didn’t Suck.” (The Red Sea blockade has forced Musk’s Tesla plant in Berlin, Germany, to announce a closure between January 29 to February 11 due to unavailability of parts.)

The Palestinians are living the worst of all worlds and have almost no support from Muslim leaders. The Muslim majority countries that could halt the war and give Palestinians their state — in the true sense, rather than the Israeli/US interpretation — and create permanent peace between Israel and Palestine are countries that are in Israel’s vicinity and carry weight. Those countries are UAE, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. As we noticed, none of them broke relations or stopped trade with Israel. Only the Houthis and Mohammed al-Bukhaiti have done the best their means allowed to disrupt ships bound for Israel in effort to stop the massacre.

Saudi Arabia has no relations with Israel but is craving for one, and Israel is eager too because that would lead other Muslim countries to follow suit. Prince Khalid bin Bandar, Saudi ambassador to UK said the pact between his country and Israel was “close” but had to pause due to October 7. It seems MBS, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is waiting for Israel’s war to stop, to hear that Israel will create a facade of Palestinian state, and thus he can establish relations and start business. White House official Brett McGurk has a plan ready for Gaza reconstruction once the war stops. His plan also has Biden’s “victory tour” for bringing Israelis and Saudis closer, the success of which could be used for Biden’s 2024 election campaign.

The US needs Muslim countries in the Middle East but it needs Israel the most. Decades back, Biden had boasted: “If there weren’t an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.” In fact, Gulf oil kingdoms/sheikhdoms needs the US more to save their asses to stay glued to their thrones. Most of the Muslim countries are in the US camp and some of them have US bases and troops stationed in their countries as the following list shows.

The total # of U.S. troops and contractors in the Middle East 45,400 (EST)

  • Kuwait 13,500
  • Bahrain 9,000
  • Qatar 8,000
  • UAE 3,500
  • Jordan 2,936
  • Saudi Arabia 2,700
  • Iraq 2,500 <3>
  • Turkey 1885
  • Syria 900 <4>
  • Oman a few hundred

In Israel, the US has at least one base. Number of soldiers is not clear.

Muslims make up 26.4% of the world’s population, but as far as their leaders are concerned, there isn’t a single leader who could take charge in a crisis, such as the current Israeli genocidal war against Palestinians. Forget fighting against Israel, the tragedy is that none of them have the nerve or interest to just halt the continuous killing for over three months now.

What happens when leaders shun their responsibilities? Well, some people take over those responsibilities and do it in the only way they can — take arms and fight back. Which works in favor of the US and Israel — who can label them as “terrorists” and thus continue justifying their cycle of violence.

Pakistani actress Ushna Shah reminds us that until the Palestine issue is resolved, one “[can]not let the plight of Gaza be forgotten.”

Notes

<1> In 1957 film Pyaasa, it was changed to Those who are proud of India, where are they?

<2> Pakistan itself is committing great crime against Afghan refugees by sending them back to Dozakhistan, where it knows the refugees will face more hardships and suppression than they experienced in Pakistan, and women’s lives will be hell. The military, and probably the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), is using the caretaker government to get rid of Afghans. Sociologist Nida Kirmani says “state-sponsored brainwashing” has created a “great deal of racism” against the Afghanis. There is sympathy for Afghans in certain segments but, according to lawyer Sara Malkani, activists are scared of open agitation due to government repression.

Besides, Pakistan is not very kind to its own people in Balochistan. The Baloch families, whose relatives have been disappeared or have been the target of extra-judicial killings, have been protesting for years. Recently 300 men, women, and children were in capital Islamabad to draw government’s attention but were arrested in a very cruel manner. They were released after protests and criticisms. The caretaker Prime Minister Anwa­ar­­ul Haq Kakar, a Balochi, played more patriotic than the military establishment when he threatened journalists and human rights activists standing with the marchers.

“Advocates of terrorists in Balochistan should go and join them if they are convinced on the veracity of their issue and fight the state along with them, so that we know where they stand and how to deal with them.”

Pakistan is among the world’s deadliest countries for journalists.

<3> According to a report, it seems Iraq may finally expel US troops.

<4> The uninvited US is forcefully in Syria.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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