Letter to Tareq Fatah From Zahir Ebrahim

Friday, February 8, 2019 04:00 pm
Dear Mr. Tareq Fatah,
AOA (as-salamu 'alaykum),
I would like to begin this short letter with a passage from the Acknowledgment chapter of my book as I sense that it perhaps applies to you as much as it applies to any genuine gadfly, but to each in their own way:
Whereas, the Sherlock Holmes of the day first look for the motivations behind events, and gauge the forces, both near and far, that drive them. They strive to unravel all of truth's protective layers. On their profound intellectual courage and strength of character to see through the smoke and mirrors, to boldly proclaim two plus two make four and not five, to take the path not taken, to rise above their own narrow self-interests and to make no personal profit from their labors, this scribe humbly stands, and for which he is thankful that his own physical, psychological, and spiritual makeup endears him to their lonely path on the road less traveled. When the empire applauds, one is serving the interests of empire. When the choir applauds, one is preaching to it. When the people applaud, one is serving their interests. This is self-evident; a universal moral truth that is beyond doubt. So who applauds when one serves the interest of truth? There is no applause on this road not taken by others. Only the hemlock. The slave of truth always stands alone, lonely, and accepts the hemlock. The master of truth is always surrounded by cheers, accolades, prizes, and dies holily in bed. The author is grateful to his fate, destiny, naseeb, and all that in his life's experiences which has brought him to its crossroads, for that small share of loneliness on the road less traveled which is his cherished prize.
I have chosen to believe about you Tareq that you are most sincere in your critiques; that you are not a propagandist, nor an ideologue, but call it as you see it as per your own natural conscience and your own natural reasoning capacity and psyche. Indeed, it takes a great deal of courage to speak on the issues that you do with your sharp counterpoints that shake established views among both the elites and the plebes in our subcontinent.
Some of these views I also share the basis of your analysis and have written about these myself. For instance, on the partition of the subcontinent being an imperial play on the grand chessboard of its time, see: Indian Independence Act 1947 - The Search for Historical Truth: Partition of India and Palestine. When one acquires that perspective on global affairs that led to the Indian subcontinent's blood-partition, the rest naturally follows. Thus, my deconstruction of “Sir” Allama Iqbal's role in driving for separate nation for Indian Muslims as a stooge of Pax Britannia when the two people had lived amicably for a millennia is both factual and self-evident: Sacred Cow: Allama Iqbal - Marde-momin or Superman?. My take on Qadiani-Ahmedi issue and their marginalization you may find similar to yours, but not exactly the same, is here: The Role of Shias in Qadianis' Kafirdom. I also share the same view of separation of church and state for a pluralistic society and have advocated it as the foundation of My Naya Pakistan - Now That We Are Here What Should Be Done.
As you already know and is necessary to state here for completeness, not just many different types of Muslim people, Muslim sects, and racial and ethnic and cultural divides exist in Pakistan, just like in India, each with their own understanding of what is Islam, but also a substantial non Muslim minority also exists in Pakistan --- the white portion of Pakistan's flag. Like yourself, I find this rather discordant with the times. One size antediluvian Islamic Sharia laws (derived 1200 years ago by men now long dead, as you also continually point out to your own fawning flock of secular humanists in both India and Canada), cannot, and do not, suit all Muslim sects today, let alone people of other religions living in that state, and which, by definition, lead to discrimination based on belief system. The band-aid for this in our subcontinent is the still existent Personal Law invented by the British colonizers for ease of colonial governance of a pluralistic multicultural society. Its significance of course is more pertinent in India today than in Pakistan where its Constitution is mostly "Sunni Islamic". Whereas, my understanding is that their respective Personal Law governs Muslims and other minorities in India, while the secular Indian Constitution governs the majority, as well as others when not in conflict with their Personal Law. I am not sure which prevails when these might be in conflict, but I imagine Personal Law would, that being its raison d'être, and that is just absurd in a modern nation-state for both the egalitarian constitution and a parochial system to co-exist. What for, except for intellectual laziness, or primacy, or both!
The British invented the Personal Law for India's many religions in order to pacify the Indian subcontinent so that they could rape and plunder their Jewel in the crown quite peaceably, and continue to exercise their effectiveness as the ruling state of the world for over two centuries. The British empire did not much care which idiotic beliefs (from their point of view), and which azan, the colonized slaves preferred for themselves --- they held them all in equal contempt quite generously as per their la mission civilisatrice --- and they gave to each flavor of their slave their own preference of religious laws so long as these did not interfere with the business of Pax Britannia and the harvesting of their colonies.
The Personal Law was a handy band-aid to administer the slave colonies and this should finally be obvious to the Muslims of the subcontinent. Like all the rest of the vestiges of colonial existence, from our Penal code to street names to education system to language co-option, it also needs to be exorcised in favor of one set of laws for all under one constitution for all, and I cannot agree with you more on that topic Tareq. And this applies to the entire subcontinent.
I don't quite understand why it is not obvious to Muslims that the antediluvian Sharia laws are unable to keep up with the principal values of modern nation-states to lend egalitarian justice and fairness to all its peoples. As for instance, in the matter of triple talaq debate in India where you most eloquently point out the bizzaredom of antiquity that is so discordant with modernity. The same debate exists in Pakistan, but is more muted, and I am sure also in Bangladesh. Modern world has moved on a bit from that time when women were treated as mostly chattel and for bearing babies, but the foundation of Personal Law that the British empire instituted to pacify the pluralistic population of India have not kept up with the advancements in civilizations and our understanding of our place in the universe.
However, in fairness to the public's rights to choose their own governance and not be dictated from the mount of the white man's burden, it should also be stated that for monolithic theological states where only one type of belief might exist among its peoples, or, where the people have come to agree to live by a min-set of religious beliefs common to them all because they do want to live by their own religious principles for all spheres of life, it is the peoples' right to choose whatever rules and laws they wish to devise for their theological state without discrimination among their own peoples and without exercising primacy upon others. And there is nothing in principle, that might preclude a religion based theocratic state in such a monolithic circumstance. While I think this is largely of academic interest in modern times, it still needs to be stated because the foundation principles of any modern state must be only that which give justice and fairness of opportunities to its peoples, to grow and flourish to the best that they can become. In practice however, all modern nation states, except perhaps Iran, have a pluralistic population and therefore, in our modernity, such a separation between religion and state is mandated by necessity, of having one single set of fair laws for all that give fair justice to all without discrimination. You are at your best Tareq when you make such rational arguments, and I applaud you for your sense of fairness.
Similarly, Tareq your view of Allah's Islam vs mullah's Islam --- I have written a whole book on that topic titled: Hijacking the Holy Qur'an and Its Religion Islam, with the difference that it is neither pandering to MI-6's version of Islam, nor to CIA's version of Islam, and nor to the cultural Islam that history bequeathed to us which you call mullah's Islam under imperial Islam. I invite you to read at least some chapters from my book to understand how the religion of Islam is hijacked not just by the mullahs which you are so vocal about, but also by Pax Americana today that you are entirely silent (or ignorant) about. See Swallowing The Red Pill by Zahir Ebrahim for links to free PDF of my books and pamphlets should my evidence based empirical counter-analysis and re-synthesis of current affairs and history interest you. My views generally do not tend to interest the kulle-ilm and kulle-aqal among the prominent intelligentsia who are empire's favorites, nor among those who seek anointed experts and brand names to be shepherded by for their principal source of epistemology. Perhaps you don't claim either station, I don't know. I abandoned pied pipers in all domains of human affairs, including religion, many years ago.
Your other views Tareq, I don't share at all, and indeed feel that not only are you grossly mistaken at times (such as blaming 9-11 on Muslims as if you are totally blind to the empiricism of the catastrophic demolition of the WTC towers), but that at times you betray the deep seated hatred and anguish that you must genuinely feel in the depths of your soul which makes you appear just as passionately fanatic in your diatribes in public as any two-bit mullah you frown up. That's your shibboleth to bear and I won't pick a quarrel with you on these latter matters --- as for instance, your profound hatred of Pakistan.
Just to introduce myself, I am a Pakistani living in the United States as its permanent resident for nearly four decades. I still carry one singular passport and one singular nationality by choice, my Pakistani passport and citizenship --- unlike you who went and took the Queen's oath to serve and protect her dominions ---- and you called us “gutteristan” which should be “bombed” in one or more of your video conversations, etc.
That's okay Tareq, as you have every right to your unwholesome views and it must take great courage to express these from the safety and sanctuary of Canada and India. Indeed, I think when people are passionate in their views of hostility to the point of irrationality, it is best to leave these topics aside as these don't make for any basis of sensible conversation, or for enhancing understanding of any subject except psychosis. I am not a psychiatrist – and in these times, who doesn't need a couch!
However, I believe that it takes a tad more courage to speak on the issues that you carefully don't speak on, or cunningly take the establishmentarian view in obviously your own self-interest (such as the narrative of empire on 'war on terror'). I deem engaging you on these topics more significant to the existential crisis mankind faces today, as I find it discordant that an intellectual of your capacity and learnedness is unable to understand very straightforward matters as if you are blinded by passion. What are these? I invite you to read my essay: FAQ What is an Intellectual Negro? (an abbreviated version is The Niggers of Pakistan) in which I am as candid as you tend to be when you are at your most rational, without mincing words, and let's talk if you wish on these matters where I believe you distort, perhaps only inadvertently, only unknowingly. For if I believed otherwise, that you were mainly a vulgar propagandist for empire, I wouldn't bother writing this letter, and nor would I ever expect a response.
Tareq, I have observed that you mostly tend to speak to the choir, that all your interviewers already agree with you, or are at least sympathetic to your worldview, that all your conversations with your most ardent antagonists end up in shouting matches in which you seem to carry the loudest voice (read that stick), that you have really never had a civil conversation with anyone even half as intelligent as you not already in agreement with you, and that in your charismatic debates, you wisely exhibit the best example of both self-selecting idiotic interlocutors, and incestuous self-reinforcement. After watching hours upon hours of your conversations on youtube that date back to several years, I have concluded that an intelligent fellow like yourself does not really require a self-selecting conversation as a crutch to make you look good. That, you really do try to stand for truth --- but, and unfortunately so, not always the whole truth that is inconvenient to the massa or your wonderful life in Canada and the West. Here you display your best hypocrisy that only the intellectuals of empire tend to display, but they do this believing in their own integrity and truthfulness as the massa.
I offer you a different conversation. A civil intellectual one of high potency with a field nigger (myself), to show you where you are perhaps mistaken, or hypocritical, or, have become the house nigger, and giving you the opportunity to correct my misapprehensions if any. This is so because, as I stated at the very outset, I have chosen to believe that you are most sincere in your critiques even when I think you are grossly mistaken for your errors of both omission and commission. Should you visit the Bay Area in California, I invite you to visit with me in person and we can chat at great length in the spirit that is quoted in the lede passage such that the whole shall come out greater than the sum of its parts.
I would have written you an even shorter letter Tareq had I more time. Mark Twain, as you can perhaps tell from my borrowing his sentence, is among my favorite American critics. I am sure you have read his The Diaries of Adam & Eve – just in case you haven't, you will have a most enjoyable read with your wife.
With Regards,
Zahir Ebrahim
California




Open Letter to Tareq Fatah --- The Pakistani-born Canadian Indian at heart Gadfly who Shakes up the Psyche of his People --- From Zahir Ebrahim