This is one of the best looks I have seen of the war zone:
Posted by omar at January 1, 2010 4:16 PM ET:
...[please note that this link no longer operates - TA]
I wrote this note on my group in response to the above news. Its obviously targeted at a Pakistani audience. comments welcome.
Another terrible bombing, this time in Lakki Marwat. It seems the suicidal maniac was headed for a peace committee meeting but could not get there due to heavy security, so he hit the wall of a playground and went to meet the 72 virgins short of his final target. Sadly, there was a volleyball game going on in the playground and there were a lot of spectators. TV is saying 70 or more are dead and the death toll could rise.
Since this particular tragedy has struck poor pathans in a small town, its not going to register for too long on the minds of the Pakistani elite, who will no doubt be back to discussing blackwater safehouses within two days max. But while some vague sense of outrage and disorientation still exists, I am going to throw out some random thoughts and make some predictions...the purpose is to invite all of you to make some predictions of your own. Predictions are what distinguish science from fantasy. Social change is too complex to be modeled like the physical sciences (at least at this point) but still, unless we can make a prediction, our models are here goes.
1. I think the neo-wahabi paradigm which lies at the heart of the jihadi operation in Pakistan (the network obviously extends into Afghanistan and other places and crucial sources lie in Saudi Arabia, but the largest physical node is in Pakistan) is not compatible with "normal" existence in the globalized world and its going to be slowly and painfully pushed further and further away from the mainstream. This process of separating it from its "mainstream" supporters like the high command of the Pak army is going to accelerate. Friends who believe the army is irreversibly pro-jihadi are not correct. The army WAS pro-jihadi and is still terribly confused about whether they can save "good jihadis" for future use against India , but they will be pushed to give them up by circumstances. The army and the jihadis will stand against each other one day. GHQ may not know it, but one day it will even fight against old friends like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed. Maybe not in weeks or months, but certainly in years.
2. Recurrent waves of anti-Americanism and "paknationalism" will confuse the process. Old Nationalists will struggle with their 60 years worth of anti-indian training with the need to make an accomodation not just with the Indian state but with our own Indian heritage.Old leftists will struggle to align their anti-imperialist models and their issues with capitalism with the need to cooperate with the imperial war machine.Swarms of ex-foreign secretaries and retired generals will display their utter confusion on TV for many months to come. But the fact is, the jihadi paradigm is retrogressive, indiscriminately violent, and unable to deliver relief from ANY of the multiple real grievances and conflicts that various classes and groups have against others all over the world. All this sound and fury will blow over and most of these people will end up compromising deeply held beliefs to deal with this menace. Being human, they will do so without necessarily admitting it even to themselves, but in whatever messy form, they will do it.
3. Many respected commentators will take a while to overcome their own habits of automatic self-censorship. Lesser known commentators will push the envelope first and better known ones will step forward more aggressively only after they realize that A, B or C can actually be said without the heavens falling. Some friends will be surprised at how dramatically the tone will shift from hunting for Jews and Hindus under every bed to openly identifying the jihadis AND their fellow travellers as a terrorist menace that will have to be dealt with before we can come back to the arguments about imperialism and "the metropolitan XYZ" other words, before we can become just another "normal country", stuggling with all the issues raised by the existence of 7 billion unequally placed humans on one planet...
It is good to read something by someone who knows the environment. Thank you, 'Omar'....
You can read this, and other readers' opinions, in the article at: