FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Farce on Farce Crime

by NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN

The ongoing Newsweek imbroglio is reminiscent of a joke from Punjab in the 1980’s , when an uncertain and violent political climate in the state gave cover to a number of criminal gangs. A kidnapper has nabbed the son of a rich merchant. After allowing the father to stew for a few days, he decides to send him a ransom note — “Unless you deliver a quarter of a million rupees, you will never see your child again.”

After phrasing the ransome note with great care, the kidnapper hands it over to the hostage saying, “Go and give this to your father!”

There’s more…

The son delivers the note. The distraught father pays up — and sends the son back to deliver the money!

The current pile-up of absurdities would be utterly comical if it were not for the bedrock of tragedy on which it rests.

Following reports of the Koran being thrown in the toilet at Guantanamo Bay, first came the agitations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places, where people were killed in police firings.

Which is worse, that there are human beings who are just picked up on suspicion and held without trial, tortured and abused (known facts), or that a revered book has been (allegedly) desecrated? Unfortunately in the Muslim world, detention without trial, torture and custodial confessions are common occurrences to which people are inured, whereas disrespect to the Holy Book is a matter capable of causing uniform outrage. As in the famous insight of the Sufi, Mulla Nasruddin, one looks for the lost object at a certain place not because it was dropped there, but because that’s where the light is shining brightest!

A sober response would be to investigate the allegation while putting things in perspective. But, as with the kidnapping story, the American response too has been farcical. Instead of asking Pakistan (a country founded and operating on religious exclusivism), Afghanistan (which most recently has had Islamic law written into the constitution) how they treat other religions — Saudi Arabian customs tosses copies of the Bible and the Gita in the waste basket when found on visitors — the US is at pains to explain that the rules at Guantanamo are so strict in this regard that the Koran is only supposed to be handled by a muslim priest, and with a gloved hand, etc.

A 19th century Bengali literary icon with a keen nose for hypocrisy wrote a story where he made the high caste woman boast that, throughout her long affair with her low-caste lover, she had followed caste rules diligently — not once had she let him into her kitchen!

For the US, if copies of the Koran were really flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo, is it only a matter of concern to Muslims? Why apologize to the Muslims alone? Why not apologize to the whole world for this debasement of our values? Quite simply because then, we would have to answer for a lot more. But this is of a piece with the Bush Administration’s approach to most things. In an article in the latest issue of the American Conservative, Paul Schroeder has pointed out that the Bush approach to most problems is to make a big deal out of a smaller problem, often ridiculously unimportant by comparison, and ignore the real issue. In the pyramid of lies and evasions which are a part of our time, each absurdity is layered over with a more current one, drummed up by media cacaphony.

For the muslim countries, here’s a thought. Not one muslim nation (or any other) broke off relations with the US for its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. So much for Ummah (the muslim diaspora) solidarity. If muslim countries are genuinely exercised over the reported desecration of the Koran, let them perform this simple act of protest — if you can’t sever diplomatic relations, at least recall your ambassadors from the US.

It would speak louder than a million cries of Allah-O-Akbar.

NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN is a writer living on the West Coast. His articles can be found on http://www.indogram.com/gramsabha/articles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Jesse Jackson
Jeff Sessions is Rolling Back Basic Rights
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail