In the world we live in today, there's a certain narrative that breathes through global media and this seemingly endless charade of a 'War on Terror.' Unfortunately, this also happens to be the narrative the world is misled into believing as true.
A carefully crafted narrative that has, I must admit very effectively managed to put all Muslims, all 1.6 billion of us, in one prototype – an extremist, fanatic and bearded prototype (thankfully only one of which is true in my case). This is a prototype based on the Western world’s very superficial and narrow view of Muslims as somehow being the source of all evil, monstrosity and violence in the world. Of course, as Muslims living in Pakistan, we know that nothing could be further from the truth.
This is the same narrative that has been deviously used to justify wars against Muslims around the world. Whether one looks at the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or the violation of the national sovereignty of Muslims states like Pakistan and Yemen through countless droppings of drones. The interventions in Libya and Syria too fall under the same pattern of beleaguering Muslim identity. This is a narrative that only justifies war, prejudice and hate. No amount of sugarcoating with words like ‘national interest,' 'freedom' or 'human rights' can take away from the fact that the War on Terror is in practice synonymous to a war against Islam.
Today, as the Frankensteins propped up Western governments themselves run out of control, the result is more violence and more suffering than the world has seen in a long time. Over 1.3 million lives have been lost a direct result on a so-called War that neither had a legit ground to begin with, nor a definite end that we can foresee see coming. For all we know (or don’t know), this may just be the tip of the ice-berg – the real numbers could be much higher.
In this deathly game of narratives, it is important, now more than ever, that we reclaim our identity as Pakistanis, as Muslims and beyond matters of faith and nationality, as humans longing for peace. The struggle is hard and real. In a world where the high ups will always find a way to be benefited from war, be it through the profits reaped by the arms industry or other political gains, the momentum is in their favor. There are few ever in positions of power who actively work towards the process of peace. Sad but true but it seems there is little place for that in real politik.
But for all the assurance worth, there is still reason to be hopeful. There's hope in the plenty among the young generation within the Muslim world and beyond who have shunned violence in all its morbid, sinister forms. There is hope in the world so long as there are people who can dream and struggle for a world where there is no reason to hate another just because they pray in a different way or belong to a different land. After all is that said and done, it seems there might be less that separates us and more that brings us together.