February 16, 2011

Birth of Light in Arabia — Let’s show Islam is religion of peace

By Habib R. Sulemani

Imprint of prophetic seal: Wikipedia
TODAY is the 1440th birthday of the Prophet of Islam: Khatamun Nabieen, Rehmatulilalmeen Hazrat Muhammad Salalullah Ho Aleihi Wa Allhi Wasalam (571–632), commonly known in the world as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  

All Muslims love The Prophet (PBUH) as the Last Messenger of God. But this special day is not celebrated formally by some schools of thought in Islam.

However, this is a day for all Muslims to bring a positive change in their lives: show through good deeds that Islam is a religion of peace. The collective behavioral change will convey the message of Islam in a better way than our scholarly sermons, debates, lectures, articles and books. Remember: Islam stresses on the basics of human behavior especially truthfulness, honesty and tolerance. But where are these basic human qualities in our lives today?

We should come out of the clutches of tribalism and say goodbye to the intellectually bankrupt tribal leaders! We should adopt the real message of Islam not the message of the sectarian mullahs and their unscrupulous mentors — secret agencies. Islam is not in danger at all but the future of our corrupt and criminal ruling class is, no doubt, in danger.

As global citizens, let’s be a part of the worldwide community according to the teachings of the Rehmatulilalmeen (PBUH). Let’s show that the over-one billion Muslims of the world are not a troublesome cult but peace-loving people.

I request the ruling class – civilian and military – of Pakistan to change their inherited cultish and tribal behavior! Stop the betrayal of our innocent and poor people for your personal gain and visionless ambition. Stop fooling the global players in the name of terrorism, Taliban and Al Qaeda. Let’s show that Pakistan is really an Islamic Republic, not a terrorland.

Eid-e-Melad-un-Nabi (PBUH) Mubarak to our brothers and sisters all over the world. I want to share the prayer of The Terrorland Team on this great occasion: May God bring peace back to our lives, country and the world at large. Amen. 
--

February 13, 2011

Happy 100th birthday, Faiz Sahib!


Faiz & Alys: a fragile poet with a strong woman.–Pic via Google
TODAY is the 100th birthday of famous Urdu language Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (February 13, 1911—November 20, 1984). Although he is not in this world today, but a poet never dies—so let us say: Happy Birthday, Faiz Sahib!

As a part of Faiz’s Centenary celebrations, public and intellectual events have been arranged in many parts of the world including Pakistan. 

Traditionally on such occasions, people especially journalists, writers and organizers of events – including family members of the poet – often forget the woman behind this famous man—Alys Faiz. To fill this gap, here we’re reproducing an obituary, written soon after the death of that graceful lady.—The Terrorland Team  

A tribute to Alys Faiz

By Habib R. Sulemani

ALYS Faiz (1914-2003) was a motherly figure not only for her two talented daughters but also for many of those liberal and educated people who preached love, peace, human values and social justice in Pakistan. As a journalist, human rights ...activist, social worker and teacher, she endeared herself to all. Being the author of two books, she had also written poems in English, some of them were published in Government College of Lahore’s magazine Ravi.

During my decade-long stay in
Lahore, as a silent observer of the literary-scene, I was fascinated by her life-story which made me believe that women are stronger than men and have an immense power and talent for reconciliation and bridging the gaps between two families or nations. Although, Alys was a western woman, she married a man from the east, lived in Pakistan and is now buried here as “daughter of the soil”.

Alys gave courage to many western women who were married to Pakistanis and now live here as citizens. In our society the western woman is portrayed as a stereotype, which is either based on movies, written materials or hearsay stories. The grace of the western woman can be seen through the life of Alys and women like her.

Alys gave many sacrifices. Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s life and poetry have influenced hundreds of thousands of people in one way or the other, but Alys has shaped his life and poetry. A study of Faiz, as a person and a poet, cannot be complete without a study of Alys. Rather I should say she needs a special treat on her own right as a writer and a poet.

Anthologies of Pakistani writers, who write in English, must contain her writings. Her poems, columns, reports, letters and other writings must be published. That will benefit both general readers as well as those who are interested in studying Faiz. Both in happiness and in misery, Alys always stood beside Faiz for 43 years, but God separated them for 19 long years, when Faiz died in 1984.

Now Alys is again standing beside her soul-mate in a
Lahore graveyard. Faiz Sahib might be happy in the heavens’ but people do not write poetry from the heavens, so we cannot see his reaction but the legend will go on.—Dawn, March 18, 2003 

February 7, 2011

The Hawker Revolution — Arab world sings for democracy

for Muhammad Bouazizi, a Tunisian street-hawker, whose tragic death acted as a catalyst for change

By Habib Sulemani

In solitary confinement,
I can hear the song of liberty
amid gunshots from the Arab world:  

"We want freedom
 We want democracy"

Freedom is the music
Freedom is the cry
Don't ask me: why!

The melodious voices from the
desert're intoxicating...
It's compelling everybody—even the
thundering guns're dancing!

Azizi’s red blood has made the desert green
This—history had never ever seen
Trembling dynasties're crumbling...
Hurray! Democracy is coming!   

Generals and mullahs: stay away! 
You've shed enough blood
Lower your guns and loudspeakers...
Let's dance to the tune of democracy! 
 
Let's sing the song of liberty
Let’s dance for democracy

Arabs want their lost dignity back...  
For ages they've been out of track...
Now the helpless people've a ray of hope
The oppressors can't cut the divine rope!

It’s not the Arabian Nights' Entertainment era
Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Algeria—
Everyone seeks freedom in the Arabian Peninsula
Not only Libya and Syria
Liberty is the right of entire Asia and Africa! 

Freedom is the music
Freedom is the cry
Don't ask me: why!

Tired of the despot, corrupt and aged rulers
The youth bade farewell to recruiters of bombers
Ay! Cyber Generation, don't act like people after Saddam…
Do not separate peace from Islam!

The tyrants’re fleeing to the new palace of the old king...
The last refuge of any disgraced barbaric regime!

“My motherland'll vomit the fascist with big ego”
I can hear the song of a Libyan shepherd
Remove the unholy rulers from the Holly Land
The world hears the chanting sand
Kings, amirs, presidents and prime ministers
Every chameleon and despot'll evaporate into air!  

Freedom is the music
Freedom is the cry
Don't ask me: why!

People seek peace and prosperity
A corruption-free country
Citizens want to live with good grace
Not like beasts—but as a human race!

The song of liberty is deafening the oppressors around 
“Music is forbidden,” declares the king’s trusted cleric
“Oppression is forbidden,” shouts the Arabian crowd 
“We want freedom. We want grace
We want to live like a human race!”

Behold, global players!
Do you hear the music?
The whirlwind of change has taken away people's fear
Men and women're seeking no less than liberty
Stop the pirates from hijacking the ship of dignity
Right in the middle of the Arabian Sea!

Abandon the theocratic, secular
and military dictators everywhere!
They’re sucking your blood like hookworms
They’re making a hole in your soul
And injured souls can’t be healed by crude oil!

Let nightingales sing in the oasis freely
Let rusted musical instruments come to life again
Let arms go to hellfire not human beings
Let peace triumph in the Middle East
The Holly Land needs a graceful feast!

Listen to the music
Hay, hay, listen to...

“We want freedom
We want democracy”

Freedom is the music
Freedom is the cry
Don't ask me: why!

***

Note: Anyone, who wants peace and real democracy in the Arab world, can use this poem, an instant reaction, in any way (with citation). Musicians and translators (especially Arabic) are most welcome. As global citizens, the users of the social media must raise the morale of the struggling Arab people.
© Habib R. Sulemani 

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February 4, 2011

A blasphemy case in the court of God


for Salman Taseer (1944-2011). As Governor Punjab, he went to a jail to see Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, sentenced to death in a case of blasphemy, and called for amendment to Pakistan’s blasphemy law. This infuriated a section of the society and a team of clerics issued an edict, declaring the Governor a ‘blasphemer,’ punishable by death. Then a policeman, appointed as his security guard, reportedly shot him dead in Islamabad on this day last month.

By Habib Sulemani

You were a victim of the martial law,
and naturally rude to General Zia,
who, had tailored the Constitution
to the needs of his wicked regime... 

All is silent! But a couple of your daring friends say:
You were a true lover of the Holly Prophet (PBUH).
The internet – especially YouTube, Facebook,
Twitter and other interactive media – is presented as evidence...

Liberalism is the name of tolerance;
but it’s being abused like women in the male-dominated world.
Liberalism is nothing but reasoning with all due respect.

How’d a sane person behave like an insane body?
How’d a normal person commit blasphemy?
A crime punishable by death in our country. 

Criminal charges were framed against you. And they got you killed
in a systematic way to show: Barelvi, Deobandi, Wahabi, Sunni and
Shia—all Muslims are extremists, and then use it for bargaining...

With criminal skills, they can turn friends into foes overnight. Laws and morals
are trivial things. They can arm your security guard with a 'cause' 
but keep with their guards a relationship as if married for life...

The masterminds are a bunch of fools having infinite power...
They use anchor-persons and clergymen for their criminal designs.
They’re exposed. Boys, you’ve failed very badly!

People know: Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.
Confess it now: acts of terror attract dollars,
which diplomacy can’t achieve...  

Terrorism is also the pet method of the power-players
to get political mileage in the
Islamic Republic of Pakistan!   

***

As you're no more in this world physically,
your shattered family wants to hear your frank and healing voice...
Others can’t heal their deep wound in a merciless society!

How’re you there? Did you see your father—
what did Dr. Taseer say?
Your English mother’d be dumb silent!

The fire-spitting cleric’d be in a state of shock—
what did Bukhari say?
What about the military dictator with dragon-teeth?   

What was the reaction of Mr. Jinnah?
Did Iqbal write a eulogy for you?
The founding and ideological fathers’d be hiding their faces!

What's happening in their dreamland today
was neither their aim nor the poetic theme...
(This is a reflection of the confusing mainstream!)

The merciful Prophets’d be beside you,
pleading before the court of the merciful Lord.
(The era of satanic lords is going to finish on land!)

The Judge and panel of Juries’d be awaiting the culprits in the heavens,
and you for the celestial trial...
People’ve fewer expectations from any earthly trial...

The country has been divided into segments:
The enemies of tyranny versus the enemies of liberty.
Here is nothing but fearful slogans of the sham democracy!

Your assassin has yet to name those who triggered his gun!
However, the military’s mullah brigade had a rally in Karachi;
it was in favor of the military's assumed version of democracy!

The game of terror is going on...
The criminal generals and corrupt politicians are fighting like cats and dogs—
everyone of them wants maximum power.

The billionaire opposition leader 
and street-hawker are levied equal amount of taxes...

The gang of rogues succeeded to stun the world again!
Our poverty-stricken people and helpless security forces have 
become a whipping boy. They're treated like a cheap Chinese toy!

***

When you fell to the ground, the media managers franchised the pet
religious term: martyr! They sent waves of terror across the country.
Peaceful citizens can't take (even) the name of God in the society...  

There is terror in the air!
Exclamation mark has replaced full-stop in writings...
Even the clergymen hesitate to touch Sacred Scriptures
as if they’re high explosives, or suicide bombers!

People are frightened of allegations of blasphemy.
Someone can accuse anyone of the serious crime to acquire their property. 
Anyone could be killed in the hope of getting a promised plot in the 
Garden of Eden, or just to become a glorified killer in a callous society!

***
The batch of westernized Taliban has graduated (they've
new schools besides the Karakoram International University!).
The new warriors meet demands of the cyber community...
Now, they're active to bring the liberals down. They’re everywhere, 
not only at the camouflaged daily Dawn!

I don’t know what’ll happen to these new warriors at the end...
Nevertheless, the generals are very happy!
The future of their generations has been secured—
but the unfortunate nation is losing every golden opportunity! 

The previous terror merchants are gradually becoming extinct. 
After the Red Mosque and Taliban butchery, Mr. Khwaja
and Colonel Imam are also among the victims of terrorism...
General Baig, Gul and the ghost of Zia are still playing well!

Democracy is (hitherto) inside the militarized golden cage.
The generals have not (yet) succeeded in taking over formally.
(Neither you nor the parents of Justice Javed did help...)

There is immense domestic and global pressure on our military.
Still the Army Chief is the de facto President of our democratic country.
But the de jure (businessman) President is happy
for being inside the lavish President House of a poor country!

Desi kicks of ISI chief run the robotic Prime Minister... 
ISPR boss is struggling hard to occupy the Army,
an Army Chief's shortcut to the Presidency!

***

The slavish media says: Things would be better as soon the
drama of democracy ends—and the Army Chief takes over formally.
So things are being cooked as yet!

A boot-licker journalist has announced:
The country's falling apart...
The nuclear nation state may be safe, but the enemies
of the wretched people're falling away! 

What happens next in the country? Let us see!
Depoliticized, diplomatic or sheer cowardice,
silent is your beloved Pakistan People's Party!

***

Good heavens!
Aamna and her children in tears can hear
Salman’s lively Punjabi laughter...
Can’t believe it...
This is a dream or real...
But this time neither gibes at his opponents, nor any pun...
Mr. Governor is deadly serious!

"My assassination was not the death of reason, 
but it's the final nail in the coffin of the tyrants.
Don’t worry; soon my terrorized homeland would be free!"

***

In the eleventh month of solitary confinement, the author says: “It’s a rudimentary draft of my poem.” However, anybody can use it (with citation), to spread the message of peace and harmony in society, he adds. © Habib R. Sulemani

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