Shahid Ali Abbasi
War on Terror—the Real Villain!
Opium Mafia! Let me have my say!
(By Shahid Ali Abbasi)
A bird loves the dry, thorny tree having its nest more than a green and fragrant one which is not its home. You can’t resist the impulse of patriotism when your country’s prestige is at stake, but, despite a strong urge of nationalism, I’ll not fall a prey to the arch villain, and will be as objective in my approach as possible because I know the people around the world are currently being hypnotized by that global villain who promotes evil thinking in us in order to achieve his devilish objective. It’s a global conspiracy that outweighs by far the combined gravity of all the global problems including terrorism and global warming. The real enemy is the one that is splitting apart us the humans, causing a fission of hatred, selfishness and prejudice in our hearts and minds; it’s worse than the nuclear fission that only destroys physically. Who that enemy is I don’t know, but I’m sure he’s strong enough to hijack our leaders in minutes—the same leaders who belong to us but the moment they reach higher authority, they cannot stand what Bacon calls ‘greater pains’, and thus are enslaved by that hatred-spreading devil. The point I hold is that the enemy has split us all into two classes: To one belong the politicians, armies and even governments that serve the evil around the globe, regardless of their nationality; and to the other belong all of us—innocent and gullible. This article endeavours to bring into light some crude realities about the present life on earth, trying at the same time to drag the evil monster out of the den. So, naturally, the tone of this article is ‘furious’ I know, but it can’t be written more politely than this, because it aims to awaken the human race to see what\’s usually hidden. I must also say that the publishing of this article will show how independent and daring media is, and to what extent the freedom of expression is allowed.
When I came to London, I realized how superb the British people are (sorry to exclude politicians here). They are immensely humane, and the way they accommodate and respect us (foreigners), I doubt if we could do the same if they (the British) were in our countries. In fact, whatever nationality we as humans have, our hearts do possess a celestial affection for each other. Ask a common Indian or Pakistani citizen if he/she wants a war. Both will say ‘NO!’ We’ve been living together for centuries and despite physical boundaries, we still share a tremendous culture (remember that when you have a common culture, you do have a strong feeling of love towards each other). Ask a common British or American if he/she hates Pakistanis, or if he/she loves war. I’m sure the answer will again be a blatant ‘NO!’ That’s good; that’s what makes us all essentially humans—’paragon of animals’ (Shakespeare). The people around the world are the same: they think and feel alike. Then who is the real villain? I’ll again say ‘I don’t know’ but definitely our politicians and other men of authority know him/her/them. This I guess because they are serving that villain of hatred more than they do us. Let’s have a recent review. The British Prime Minister Mr David Cameron went to India on ‘a trade mission’ and delivered his much-debated speech in Bangalore, India, on 28th July 2010. The speech does prove one thing that in order to be a Prime Minister you must have a certain level of maturity of thought and insight. As a teacher of language and literature, I must appreciate the flowery language that Mr Cameron used to magnetize the Indian trade. He glorified India with many metaphors like calling the country a ‘tiger’ that has been ‘uncaged and its power can be felt around the world’. Then he announced that he’d talk to the Indian Prime Minister about Indian and British cultures. I wish Mr Cameron had studied the cultural connotations associated with ‘tiger’, so had the Indians listening to him: where as a tiger is the symbol of beauty in the west; it’s a symbol of bloodthirstiness and brutality in the east. He also glorified India saying that she is ‘a leading provider of peacekeeping troops to the United Nations’ (I do remember I’d heard the same thing about Pakistan too, a couple of years back). I like it because when you praise the efforts of Indian people, every Pakistani (again I apologize for excluding politicians from both sides of the border), feels proud because despite so many tragic incidents, the people still love each other. Unfortunately, Mr Cameron forgot that Indian and Pakistani people are the masters of splitting the hair, and, I’m sure, even a teen ager would easily declare the speech to be just a ‘flattery’ to attract the Indian business tycoons. Then, finally, Mr Cameron hit the final nail in the coffin by exploiting the nationalistic, patriotic feelings of the Indians. The politician straightaway attacked Pakistan saying, ‘we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror’. I’ve quoted two lines so that you as a reader could see the authoritative arrogance in the very selection of words he used. It was Cameron’s attempt to arouse and exploit the same hatred that we call a legacy of colonization—divide and rule.
Before commenting further, let’s view the latest ‘food cut’ to Afghanistan by Pakistan as a result of Nato’s increasing gruesome liberties inside the Pakistani territory which resulted in our soldiers being killed and the border post destroyed, despite being retaliated politically in past. As a response to this tragedy, General Petraeus says they’d ‘warned’ Pakistan (I must thank Pakistani foreign minister Mr Rehman Malik’s ‘shaking’ reply this time, probably under huge pressure. I don’t say army pressure). In reply to the comments made by Cameron in Bangalore and by Gen. Petraeus, a patriotic Pakistani citizen will not have words more polite than ‘WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TALK TO A SOVEREIGN, NUCLEAR STATE LIKE THAT!?’ If your wits have betrayed you, read the following paragraphs which will sprinkle some cold water on your sleeping face:
Don’t you ever threaten us of war; don’t you ever try to ‘test’ our potential to defend! We ARE under war-like conditions since we got independence in 1947. We fought so many wars, including the one that shattered RUSSIA! Yes, our history is blotched with natural catastrophes as well, and you’ve seen we can stand the worst. So much so that even Nature has to reinvent some more brutal weapons to be used against us. Or maybe she’s training us for the worst. Nuclear weapons? We’ve fought and defeated the enemy with sticks in our short history. Ask those coward disciples of devil on both sides of the border who whisper nasty things in your ears. Don’t you underestimate the Pakistani people!!! We don’t say we can only kill for our country (like you); WE CAN DIE for our motherland too! Remember whole world, if you can’t help us, just leave us alone: we can, as we do, fight the bloody terrorists alone because we’ve got the soldiers that can fight even empty-handed, without fluffy blankets, juices and metals around. Just compare your progress in Afghanistan in 10 years with ours in two three years in the tribal belt. We’ve literally uprooted the terrorists, not for you or anyone else but primarily for our own safety.
I think what some of the renowned defence analysts call the hidden motifs of America are being exposed now—’red in tooth and claw’ (Tennyson). How can you think about stopping the so called ‘energy corridor’ between China and Iran, when you yourself are dependent on a ‘thin’ and ‘fragile’ food root to your troops in Afghanistan? (Rachel Maddow: U.S. testing war against Pakistan on http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908//vp/39450283#39450283). How dare you think about ‘testing’ Pakistan’s self-defence and self-esteem!!?? When you ‘failed’ against disorderly, weak opponent like Taliban even after a ten-year strife, how can you think about ‘extending’ war to Pakistan, a nuclear power!? I know this doesn’t represent American people. I doubt your leaders have been hijacked by what I call potentially the worst enemy of human race on earth. I ask where the peace-loving American public is now. Isn’t your America gradually turning ‘RussericA’? I know the people outside America, primarily Pakistanis, love American and British people (politicians excluded). And all the tolerance that we show in response to the ‘liberties’ of your so called ‘war on terror’ owes greatly to this love and sense of friendship that we possess in our hearts for the common public of these countries. Please let us live peacefully because once this flood bulges out of its banks, it’ll sweep away everything! When you ‘ironically’ kill one terrorist (in this case anti-American), just think how many more you give birth to. I know once you decide ‘extending war’ into Pakistan, you’ll declare us all a ‘terrorist nation’ including many other names like Alquida, etc. coined by you, and this will quite convincingly be ‘propagated’ by your media which is the only ‘telescope’ the people of America and Britain have to zoom in to the war-hit countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I know since your food line was intercepted, you’ve increased the propaganda against Pakistan. One example is a news published in daily METRO here in London on October 19, 2010. Before the ‘food cut’, they said Alquida leader is hiding in ‘underground bunkers to avoid being targeted by CIA drones’. But now ‘TERROR leader Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living a comfortable life in a house in Pakistan, according to a senior Nato official. The most wanted man in the world is allegedly being protected by local people and members of Pakistan’s intelligence services’. Believe me when I was reading this news in train, I couldn’t help smiling. Then I saw the working British people and the feeling drastically changed. Do these people work day and night to listen to such ever-twisting stories? Reading the above statement by a so-called Nato official makes one feel as if Osama bin Laden has written him a letter asking his assistance in looking for another more ‘comfortable’ house because the existing house has an electric load shedding problem, or maybe the bus stop is away from the house and Mr Osama has to walk every morning to his office, or maybe the house is away from hospital from where Osama has to take medicine because he’s grown too old in this whole enterprise, or may be his kids have to change two/three buses to reach school, blah, blah, blah. Please, for God’s sake stop this now! If you are absolutely sure, why don’t you contact the target killers in Karachi who are shedding the streams of blood every day, instead of spending so much in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc? Pakistan is a country where dozens of high-rank individuals have been killed, e.g. Liaqat Ali Khan (Pakistan’s first prime minister), Ziaulhaq (Army Chief), Benezir Bhutto, and many others. If you’re so sure, why don’t you contact those who killed these senior leaders? Don’t worry, if some innocent people die in this hunt (after all ‘end justifies means’), we’ll bear this because we ARE bearing much more every day. You say Pakistani people protect Osama? Believe me, whatever knowledge I, as an educated Pakistani, have about Osama bin Laden or Alquida is all that I got from either BBC, CNN or any other western media. An ordinary Pakistani has many other, more testing challenges which hardly let him/her think about this ‘Power Game’. Once I asked a Pakistani, who works as labour in Afghanistan, about Alquida. He giggled and said, ‘I don’t know; no one knows what Alquida is, who this Ussama Bin Ladin is; not even in Afghanistan; even the Afghanis don’t know.’ If you think, once you attack Pakistan, the people will surrender passively like homeless Afghans, THAT’S ABSOLUTELY FALSE, because the Pakistani people can’t cultivate opium which would make them rich. Neither our land nor our conscience can ever support this poison. War on Pakistan will never end till the end of a single Pakistani. If you think you can justify to your conscience the killing of more than 170 million Pakistanis, then WE ARE READY TO DIE! Come on, kill us all, and then you’ll have a huge novel of your exploits against the innocent, which you’ll be able to proudly present to your next generations to read.
You call us ‘a terrorist nation’ or whatever, but believe me it’s the Pakistani soldier and intelligence that stays awake so that we all, including you, sleep peacefully in our cosy beds; it’s Pakistan that is the last obstacle between the terrorists and rest of the world, and when you try to weaken Pakistan, you’re actually cutting the very branch you’re standing on. And more, let me bring into your information some of the feathers to the crown we call Pakistan: It’s the country that became a world champion in four sports almost simultaneously, a country that is the seventh biggest hub of scientists and doctors, a country that can win the war fought at the highest peaks of the world, a country that has fought five other major wars, a country with nuclear power, a country with one of the best missile technologies, and, above all, a country with a population of more than 170 million—each one of which is a born soldier. To me, it seems some of the leaders have become the mouthpieces of the same bloody villain who’s the focal point in this article.
The article has been repeatedly mentioning the ‘enemy’, ‘villain’, etc. but without identifying it. One side of the picture that is often overlooked is the dramatic increase in the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan since the American invasion in the country. Elizabeth Rubin, in her article ‘An Afghan drug-smuggler: ‘The whole country is in our service”, published in New York, October 22, 2006 presented an eye-opening account of face behind the case but her cry drowned into the widespread hum that only Taliban or Alquida are the most potential threats to the world peace. Presenting the comparison between Taliban and Post-Taliban (American) era in Afghanistan, she writes:
Opium cultivation was outlawed during Taliban rule in the late 1990s and was nearly eliminated by 2001. After the overthrow of the Taliban government by U.S. forces in the fall of that year, the Bush administration said that keeping a lid on production was among its highest priorities. But corruption and alliances formed by Washington and the Afghan government with anti-Taliban tribal chieftains, some of whom are believed to be deeply involved in the trade, undercut the effort’. She also quotes Afghan president Hamid Karzai who said, ‘once we thought terrorism was Afghanistan’s biggest enemy [but now] poppy, its cultivation and drugs are Afghanistan’s major enemy.’
Elizabeth further quotes the Afghan Deputy Ministry of Women’s Affairs who had ‘just wrapped up the case of a girl who had been kidnapped and raped by Kandahari police officers, something that would not have happened under the Taliban’ because, according to the deputy, ‘Their security was outstanding.’ The lady further said that Taliban had strictly enforced the ban on poppy but ‘Now the governors tell the people, ‘Just cultivate a little bit”. So people take this opportunity and grow a lot,’ and the farmers lease the fields from big landlords and when a farmer can’t pay back the landowner, ‘instead of paying, he gives the landowner his daughter,’ the deputy added.
On asking Manan Farahi, the director of counterterrorism efforts for Karzai’s government, why the Taliban were so strong in Helmand, Elizabeth was told that Helmandis had hated the Taliban because of Mullah Omar’s ban on poppy cultivation. ‘The elders were happy this government was coming and they could plant again,….But then the warlords came back and let their militias roam freely. They were settling old scores – killing people, stealing their opium. And because they belonged to the government, the people couldn’t look to the government for protection. And because they had the ear of the Americans, the people couldn’t look to the Americans. Into this need stepped the Taliban.’
Now some information about opium smuggling which Elizabeth unveiled. She interviewed Razzaq, an opium smuggler in his late 20’s. She writes:
He moved and spoke with the confident ease of a well-protected man.’The whole country is in our services,’ he told me, ‘all the way to Turkey.’ This wasn’t bravado. From Mazar-i-Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, he brings opium in the form of a gooey paste, packaged in bricks. From Badakhshan in the northeast, he brings crystal – a sugary substance made from heroin. And from Jalalabad, in the east on the road to Peshawar, he brings pure heroin. All of this goes through Baramcha, an unmanned border town in Helmand near Pakistan. Sometimes he pays off the national soldiers to use their vehicles, he said. Sometimes the national policemen. Or he hides it well, and if there is a tough checkpoint, he calls ahead and pays them off. ‘The soldiers get 2,000 afghanis a month, and I give them 100,000,’ he explained with an angelic smile. ‘So even if I had a human head in my car, they’d let me go.’ Should he ever run into a problem in Afghanistan, he told me, ‘I simply make a phone call. And my voice is known to ministers, of course. They are in my network. Every network has a big man supporting them in the government.’ The Interior Ministry’s director of counternarcotics in Kabul had told me the same thing. Anyway, if the smugglers have problems on the ground, they say, they just pay the Taliban to destroy the enemy commanders.
I have extensively quoted Elizabeth’s daring task because it’s our ignorance towards the people like her that our focus from the actual problem shifts to what actually isn’t. I wish I, or someone else, had added up to her efforts in 2006. Any way, it’s still not too late. The real enemy is the opium underworld mafia. Just think, HOW CAN THE TERRORISTS AFFORD TO HAVE LATEST, EXPENSIVE WEAPONS WHEN THEY COULDN’T AFFORD PROPER DRESSING AND FOOD A DECADE BACK? WHO’S FUNDING THEM? ISN’T IT THE OPIUM MAFIA THAT’S SPONSORING THE TERRORISTS because ‘Afghanistan now produces 92 per cent (6,100 tons) of the world’s supply of opium used to make heroin’? (The Financial Times, September 4, 2006). The opium mafia is working without any potential hindrance because all of us are fighting each other. That’s the CRUX OF THE MATTER! This mafia is so strong that it can control big groups, armies, even governments. Just imagine what our future will be when our generations will be enslaved by the drug mafia, both in the production and consumption of heroine! When a predator attacks a flock, it splits the victims so that they start running for their own lives, then singles one and kills it easily. The opium mafia is doing the same. I don’t say who of us belong to that mafia, however, what we have to seriously and meticulously see is who among us are fulfilling the mafia’s objectives. It can be me, you, the politician, armies, governments, etc.
The humane feeling in me and you do want more on this topic, but let me end this ‘eye-opener’ with a salute to the odd thinkers like Elizabeth Rubin and Rachel Maddow, to name two only, who’ve been gifted with a potential to see the things from an unusual perspective. I restate that the human race on the face of earth is at such a tricky stage where it’s never been in past. Our enemy is common, and we have to identify and fight it together, paying each other the RESPECT one deserves. But for that, we have to transcend all what is personally so cherished to us. No one knows our enemy except its disciples—the politician INCLUDED. I again strongly hold that we have been split into two groups: the devils party (POLITICIAN INCLUDED) and the common, innocent people like us. The others can never be us, and I earnestly request the people of the whole world to wake up and come out of this bloodthirsty exorcism.
Shahid Ali Abbasi
About the Author
Shahid Ali Abbasi
MA English Literature
MA ELT & Applied Linguistics
Teacher English Language/Literature
Presently living in London
Interests: Contributing towards World peace, Critical Reading and writing, analysing, discussing the global issues especially peace, politics and economy, friendship……..
I’ll just add my two cents and say that it is well-known that a majority of the drug trade in the world is run by the CIA. Ever since the 80’s when their funding was reduced and oversight increased they have used drug money to finance their Black-ops. The Drug mafia is the intelligence organizations that I would suspect are all interconnected. And if you believe that DEA or FBI are any better you need a slap in the face or a cold bucket of water to wake you up.
People who think that the US government is noble or righteous in any sense of those words are brain-dead. Most of those in government, US or otherwise, are evil to the deepest degree. Are there some who still care? I am sure there are but their influence is minuscule. The pawns in the game may be decent but they are not the ones moving the pieces on the board.
We as human beings must protest with our ambivalence to them. Peaceful non-cooperation is the thing that might win the day. Remember that any violence will be met with overwhelming force since the governments of this world control the bullets and bombs. However, if enough of us just stop doing what they tell us to, there is little they can do in the long run.
True, some will pay the ultimate price for this. Remember though, they need us. We do not need them. Quit going along to get along. I do not say rise up. Instead I say…sit down. Active peaceful non-resistance is uncontrollable.
Yes protest verbally and in letters and in any other peaceful way you can come up with, but do not yield to the temptation to fight back with violence. Those who rule would love for us to resist with violence as it would justify whatever force they may use against that violence. (E)
- Pakistan will implode if the US does not leave Afghanistan (guardian.co.uk)
- The Wars on Drugs and Terror: mirror images (salon.com)
- You: Pakistan will not take dictation in war on terror: Hoti (nation.com.pk)