Wow, Thomas Friedman writing in the New York Times let fly with a zinger with his opinion piece “Calling all Pakistanis“, presumably aimed at stirring compassion in Pakistani hearts over last week’s horrifying attack in Mumbai.
Pakistanis were ready enough to take to the streets to vent their anger and indignation over cartoons in Denmark, why can’t they demonstrate a shared sense of outrage over the cold-blooded killing of 171 people in the country next door, asks Friedman.
Of course, anyone would like to see spontaneous public displays of grief and empathy for the people of Mumbai. Can it happen in Pakistan, a country that has fought three wars against India? The army doesn’t trust India and the people have been fed an anti-India diet by governments and media since 1947.
I think we can understand why it won’t happen in Peshawar, or faraway Quetta — cities where conservative, religious forces have a lot of influence.
But why not Karachi, Mumbai’s twin across the Arabian Sea, or Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital? After all they host the most progressive, liberal sections of Pakistan’s deeply fissured society. A few bravehearts from that tiny minority might risk some candle-lit vigils.