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December 2, 2015

From Oppression to Hatred & from Hatred to Courage—An Ode to Brave Souls.

 

john and yoko bed in peace war conflict protest

“Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

I found the aforementioned words by Bernard Shaw in the quotes section of a book, and I don’t really know the context behind these words. Maybe that’s the reason I don’t agree with him. Yet, reading these words by him reminds me of all the possible scenarios in which hatred could exist. It can exist between lovers; it may prevail for not being appreciated for your hard work; it may occur because of rejection and so on. Hatred can be directed towards our own self or toward our external environment and people.

But the most important form of hatred, which I have seen and experienced while growing up in Pakistan, is hatred due to oppression.

Everyone in the world—regardless of what country we belong to— can understand the discomfort brought by oppression. For some of us, oppression may come from family, while others may experience it from dictatorship-based regimes, imposed ideologies and doctrines, or gender based inequalities. The thing is, everyone in the world gets affected by oppression even if it’s not happening to us directly. We can not sit back and relax —assuming our nation will be safe— and watch innocent kids being droned in some part of the world with no consequences for us; sooner or later it will affect us. We cannot watch people being massacred and believe that our tears or prayers will be enough— somehow the evil minds of the world don’t work the way Karma does. Karma is fair; they are not.

I write these words for all those humans who have experienced this oppression and the hatred it triggers—a hatred which stems from prolonged anger from being denied of your freedom to be a human. Living in third world countries or countries that are somehow important for the world due to their controversial geographical locations, we have few options to spread the word. We have few options to resist the oppression brought upon us. Even right now writing these very lines makes me feel like a sheep blindly following the oppressive shepherd yet daydreaming about setting every sheep in my herd free— to wander, roam, whatever we feel like.

But there are people from the world—belonging to societies with minimum oppression—who stand up for their fellow humans, and I believe that is the reason we have all managed to calm the Mother Nature down. That goodness is the reason we are all still surviving. But they need to do more so that we may find courage from their support.

In my country, there are people who stay despite technically being able to leave. It’s not that they cannot afford to leave the country and settle down somewhere else, where their beliefs, sexual orientations and lifestyles would be acceptable and they wouldn’t be oppressed anymore. And they’re not staying just because they don’t feel the oppression or they don’t get angry. They do sense the oppression; they do get furious and feel suffocated; they feel hatred. This hatred gives them enough courage to stand up and declare that enough is enough.

This very hatred allows them to initiate candle vigils and start social media movements to defend others who are oppressed. They are the sheep who have tricked their shepherd. They are the sheep who sometimes fake compliance and daydream of setting all others in their herds free. They hate enough to obsessively fight against oppression. They are the ones who stand in minority on the busy streets of metropolitans holding handmade charts, defending the rights of others, saying all politically incorrect but true things. They are the ones being accused of being agents in first world countries, but all they want is to be an agent of peace.

This doesn’t only happen in my country. The situation is more or less the same in every part of the world, where human freedom is not valued, where doctrines and ideologies weigh more than human lives, where the purpose of life is revenge, a cycle that never ends. All of us should know or recall that there are people in these countries who tried their best to express their liberal views and lifestyle in modest and non-offensive ways. But the more they tried, the more others failed to understand them. So, oppression caused them such suffocation that there was no other way but to leave the land forever.

They left because they couldn’t hate. They didn’t give up or flee because of any privilege offered by other lands except for freedom.

We, as citizens of same world, should try more to know about these lands. It is high time that we learn and become aware because the oppression of these lands is now reaching to first world and peaceful countries of the world. It’s high time to condemn this oppression. How many of us know about Raif Badawi and how he is being oppressed to death just because he wrote a blog? How many of us know that people are being killed in Syria or Beirut for exactly what reasons? How many of us know that there is a place called Bangladesh where people are being executed for supporting Pakistan?

How many of us know about the tortures Ahmadis and their defenders are going through in Pakistan? There is so much more happening around us and, post-Paris incident, we can all estimate where things are going.

Then there are other non-political forms of oppression as well. We look at these men and women who are oppressed in different ways, who are denied different rights, sometimes in subtle and often in direct ways. I look at my women, who are as free-spirited as all other women in enlightened societies. They want to live independently; they want to go out in the world and find a home of their own. They want to travel and work every muscle of their mind and soul to earn it. Yet they are denied these rights.

I look at my men and women who belong to sexual orientations that aren’t tolerated. I see their inclination to experiment with their faith and religious beliefs, and I know how each and every day they struggle to keep their mouths shut or else they will be killed or set fire upon.

It’s high time that we devote our time to each other, reading about each other, finding ways to donate for each other or, if nothing else, blogging about each other. A little Facebook status won’t hurt; it will provide awareness to our friends. The most helpful thing we can do is to raise awareness and to seek truth. At the end of the day, what our souls need the most is the truth.

“Rather than love than money than fame, give me the truth.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

We don’t want our people in different parts of the world suffering from and fighting for wars that are not even their own. We don’t want innocent bodies crashing brutally for the benefit of powerless countries and their power hungry, radical and bigoted oppressors.

Oppression can never result in anything else but anger and hatred. However, this hatred can easily lead to a path of courage. A courage to set everyone free, an enthusiasm to work tirelessly against this oppression. Let us support each other in thoughts, actions and words. Let us provide courage to each other by showing this support. Let us guide this hatred in the hearts of the oppressed toward something positive. Let us all be those wounded souls who can recognise the wounded, because when one part of the world burns, we can not pretend that there will be no consequences for us. If not for them, let us save ourselves and our lands.

~

Author: ZauFishan Qureshi

Editor: Caroline Beaton 

Image: Wiki Commons 

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