Then they came for me.


By A  Khokar  30 May 2009

This nation is in awful mess.  There is utter chaos and anarchy which prevails in all the spheres of society. An atmosphere of extremism in the vicious wake of  Talibanisation is found all over in the length and breadth of the country—- but matter of the fact is that we let these—- extremist breed among us— unquestionably. It was very much visible that they were cooking up some big broil but we all the ignorant lot kept on sleeping on the wheels naively and took it granted like an ostriches, by burying our head in the sand that probably this  storm will die down or pass. But it has not.

The people placed at the helms of affairs stand there as criminals that they let all this happen in their domains, right under their noses; rather it is seen that they are the abetters who let the Taliban breed and let it grow into monsters. Their crime is loathsome that today we find that our—- very existence is at stake and that we have to perforce move in our Armed Forces to cleanse this evil and evict the monster out of our streets. In turn millions of people have to be moved out of their homes; displaced them in temporary camps in order to avail a planned cleansing of our streets of this evil.

It is not only Swaat or FATA areas or the NWFP province which can be said as affected; every hamlet, village and street of Pakistan is today found overcastted and in the reach of this atrocious movenent. A sense of  fear, helplessness and uncertainty prevails every where.  It seems that Peace, enlightenment or the serenity of the society has left us up some where in the Pleiades for good.

We did not speak then and we are keeping mum even now. Why can’t we speak out and name and Shame the culprits –the traitors that we know them well?

If we do not speak out now, there will be no one left to speak for those who cannot, whether they are from the mainstream, the ethnic minorities, the disadvantaged or the persecuted.

I remember the story of a German theologian; Mr Martin Niem”ller. In his youth he was an anti-Semite and an admirer of Hitler. As Nazism took hold in Germany he was able to see the true face of Nazism for what it was: it was not just the Jews Hitler sought to stamp them out and exterminate; it was just about anyone with an alternate point of view.

Niem”ller spoke out, and for his trouble, he was incarcerated in the ‘Sachsenhausen’ and ‘Dachau’ concentration camps from 1937 to 1945, and very nearly executed. While incarcerated, Niem”ller wrote a poem that, from the first time I read, it stuck hauntingly in my mind:

He says:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.