Dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion!

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Khalid Saleem

to the way var­i­ous species of an­i­mals are reared to con­form to var­i­ous culi­nary prac­tices.

Let us face it; hu­mankind has never been known as a par­tic­u­larly be­nign species. Even man’s treat­ment of his fel­low be­ings is hardly any­thing to write home about. Man’s in­hu­man­ity to man is the stuff of le­gends; the much-vaunted con­cern for ‘hu­man rights’ not­with­stand­ing. To ex­pect hu­mankind to be kind and ‘hu­mane’ to other species, there­fore, is ask­ing for a bit too much. The prac­tice of mass pro­duc­tion and mass slaugh­ter of var­i­ous species of an­i­mals for food has noth­ing ‘hu­mane’ about it. To sin­gle out one par­tic­u­lar an­i­mal as the vic­tim of ‘cruel prac­tice’ is hardly the fair thing to do. Ei­ther one speaks out for all an­i­mal vic­tims of cru­elty by hu­mans or one looks the other way! There is no gray area in be­tween.

The afore­men­tioned line of rea­son­ing does open up a clas­sic ar­gu­ment re­lated to the killing of an­i­mals whether for food or sport. As the demon­stra­tion against the serv­ing of dog meat shows, at­ti­tudes on this is­sue are noth­ing but bi­ased. The ar­gu­ment would go some­thing in the fol­low­ing man­ner: “I have ev­ery right to kill (or con­se­quently be cruel to) any an­i­mal I choose to eat. But if you dare to kill an an­i­mal I hold dear, then you are cross­ing the line and have to be cen­sured for it”.

Since the West has vir­tual mo­nop­oly over the in­ter­na­tional me­dia, their view­point is all per­va­sive. Bull­fight­ing in Spain is ac­cept­able, but a cam­paign has to be launched against the prac­tice of per­form­ing bears in Asian coun­tries. Per­form­ing an­i­mals in big in­ter­na­tional cir­cuses are de rigueur, but the same in the bazaars of the East draw crit­i­cal Email: bin­wa­keel@ya­ no­tice of an­i­mal-lovers in the West. The in­ten­tion is not to be face­tious but now and then one can hardly re­sist the temp­ta­tion of point­ing to the facts of life.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands hu­man be­ings have been mowed down in re­cent his­tory in the name of cre­at­ing a new mid­dle world or­der to suit the as­pi­ra­tions of the pow­ers that be and their pam­pered think-tanks. At­tacks on Afghanistan and Iraq based as they were on un­ten­able premises and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion have led to the loss of count­less in­no­cent lives and wan­ton de­struc­tion of an­cient and peace­ful hu­man habi­ta­tions all to no avail. And yet, in­stead of feel­ing re­morse and aton­ing for their wan­ton ways, the pow­ers that be con­tinue to en­gage in more of the same. The once com­par­a­tively peace­ful re­gion has been thrown into a state of per­ma­nent tur­moil just to sat­isfy the whims of a ca­bal whose ra­pa­cious am­bi­tions know no bounds. The pity is that these un­ten­able poli­cies are be­ing aided and abet­ted by cer­tain el­e­ments within the re­gion it­self. The twenty-first has oft been touted as the “Asian cen­tury”. And yet, vast ar­eas of Asia are in a state of con­stant tur­moil.

It is easy to put the blame on ‘big pow­ers’ and out­side ma­nip­u­la­tors but the fact re­mains that the peo­ple of Asia them­selves have not risen to set their own house in or­der and to claim the cen­tury that should right­fully be theirs. They have in­stead fallen into the trap of out­siders whose prin­ci­pal in­ter­est lies in fur­ther­ing their own ‘way of life’ and, in the process, to con­tinue to feather their own nests. The coun­tries of Asia owe it to their peo­ples and, in­deed, to their his­tory and her­itage to claim what is right­fully theirs and to tell the in­ter­fer­ing do-good­ers from the out­side to mind their own busi­ness.

It may be time for the com­mon peo­ple of the coun­tries that con­sti­tute the Pow­ers That Be to wake up to the re­al­i­sa­tion that they too are be­ing led up the gar­den path by their pol­icy mak­ers and Think Tanks. They too have a duty to re­al­ize that thrust­ing their cher­ished ‘way of life’ down the throats of other peo­ples is es­sen­tially a self­de­feat­ing ex­er­cise that will lead them nowhere.

From the ‘an­i­mal rights’ as ad­vo­cated by the an­i­mal-lovers of the West to the quest for ‘hu­man rights’ in the rest of the world is but one small step. The sense­less killings of in­no­cent hu­man be­ings in var­i­ous parts of the world, some in eth­nic cleans­ing, oth­ers in ruth­less sup­pres­sion of strug­gles for fun­da­men­tal rights and still oth­ers mowed down as co-lat­eral dam­age; all need the at­ten­tion and con­dem­na­tion of the ‘bleed­ing hearts’ of the West and else­where. Need one say more? — The writer is a for­mer am­bas­sador and for­mer as­sis­tant sec­re­tary gen­eral of OIC.

It is easy to put the blame on ‘big pow­ers’ and out­side ma­nip­u­la­tors but the fact re­mains that the peo­ple of Asia them­selves have not risen to set their own house in or­der and to claim the cen­tury that should right­fully be theirs.

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