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     Volume 9 Issue 43| November 05, 2010 |

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When the Heart Throbs in Hate . . .

Syed Badrul Ahsan

Aung San Suu Kyi languishes in incarceration because of the black hate the Myanmar’s junta holds her.

It is hard to believe how intolerance has steadily been taking a front seat in global politics. By the time you read all this in print, campaigning for America’s mid-term elections will have been over. Perhaps the Republicans will have taken control of the House of Representatives and maybe of the Senate as well. Again, by some miracle, Barack Obama will have emerged triumphant through seeing his Democrats keep control of Congress, just. It is a matter of conjecture. But what has you deeply troubled about these elections is the intensity of hate the American Right has injected into the country’s politics. The so-called Tea Party movement, in the manner of a rabid political group you normally associate with Third World politics, has been on a journey of scare-mongering. It has painted President Obama not just as a closet Muslim but also as one intent on bringing socialism to America. America, say the Tea Party people, needs to be reclaimed by its people. And they say it with venom.

You do not associate hate with modern politics. But hate is precisely what the Tea Party activists have been promoting, without of course making any clear acknowledgement of it. And why blame only the Tea Party for this ugly manifestation of politics? Do not forget the pathological hatred the likes of George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove brought to bear in their assessment of Saddam Hussein. They would stop at nothing to convince themselves that Iraq needed to be conquered and fractured and its leader put to death. It was hate into which Bush conveniently pulled God. It was God, he wanted decent men to believe, who had ordained that the United States ‘save’ Iraq from Saddam Hussein. The hate of the neocons was to leave a beautiful country destroyed. It was to condemn Afghanistan to a continuity of historical malfunction.

The so-called Tea Party movement has been a hate-mongering campaign against President Obama.

Hate comes easily to those who have little of reason to offer in their observations of the world around them. Pakistan’s ruling circles demonstrated a long sequence of hate based on racism against the Bengalis their its eastern province, until the moment came when the hated ones put the state to swift, inglorious flight. Pakistan hated Hindus and in 1971 would not rest until it had put as many of them as it could to death by the bayonet and the bullet. Hate killed Dhirendranath Dutta, GC Dev and Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta. You spot that hate replicated among the hard-line Israeli Jews who feel no shame in building settlements on occupied Arab land. In the name of God, on territory they truly believe is Judea and Samaria, they steal Arab land. The state of Israel fortifies their hatred of helpless Arabs through erecting a wall that will keep the ‘lowly’ Arabs at bay. Hate and robbery go hand in hand.

You may not agree with Arundhati Roy’s views on Kashmir. You might wish she were a little less judgemental on issues of serious import. But that does not prevent you from condemning the hate the women of the Bharatiya Janata Party have been heaping on her. They have invaded her home, broken her windows, trampled on her garden and demanded that she leave India. Dissent, you see, has conveniently been misconstrued as treason. The liberality that is part of the creative imagination often leads to a hounding of those who practise the idea, to compulsions of exile for those inclined to breaking taboos. Think here of the artist Maqbool Fida Husain. Think too of Taslima Nasrin, the Bengali writer who has had little patience with illiberality and has had little sympathy for bigotry. There are perfectly civilised ways of responding to her rather unconventional points of view. But these the hate-monger chooses not to see. All he wants is Nasrin’s head on a platter. Or to see her wandering, supplicant-like, between countries in search of life and a reasonable measure of security.

Artist Maqbool Fida Husain is in exile to escape the wrath of Hindu fundamentalists.

Hate is the trademark of the obscurantist. He is nothing without it. His self-importance is built around it. He does not know that hate consistently and steadily exposes the wicked soul inhabiting his corporeal being. He goes after the Ahmadiyyas, year after year, and so insults the very God in whose name he goes baying for the blood of the innocent. You often have cause to marvel at the degree of hate that has historically undermined religion. The old quarrels between Catholics and Protestants has not quite subsided; Sunnis and Shias still hate one another with a passion; and men cloaking themselves in the garb of the faithful yet go hunting, in the hideous dark, for the sceptics and the atheists.

Politics has borne its own basketfuls of hate. When Winston Churchill saw a half-naked fakir in Mahatma Gandhi, it was black hate in his soul that was at play. Japan’s imperialists, like Germany’s Nazis, gave hate an institutional underpinning when they went on an orgy of rape and murder in Nanjing in 1937. In Turkey and Iraq, disgust of the Kurdish community has never wavered or weakened. Hate has kept the Kurds from getting what others have come by – a state they can call their own. Abdullah Ocalan rots in a Turkish prison. And Aung San Suu Kyi languishes in incarceration because of the black hate in which Burma’s forever scowling junta holds her.

In November 1975, soldiers disloyal to the republic and armed with colossal hate humiliated the corpse of the iconic freedom fighter Khaled Musharraf and so pushed Bangladesh deeper into dark uncertainties. In February 2009, mutineers of the Bangladesh Rifles, satanic hate burning in their black souls, murdered officers and then went on to inflict unspeakable indignities on their yet warm but lifeless flesh and bones.

There is something medieval about hate, something barbaric about the way it takes root, grows into a monster and destroys all that is emblematic of life and its multi-layered landscape of poetry. Hate destroyed the Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan; it burned dreams to ashes in apartheid South Africa; it picked off the Tutsis in Rwanda; it savaged history and long traditions of culture in the Americas.



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