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.



















































 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal