The past few days I have been bombarded with questions regarding my stance against Internet Censorship. Most of them have accused me of all sorts of things, starting from being partner in blasphemy to running a campaign for money and fame. I am afraid like many other misconceptions, there is a huge myth is Pakistan regarding Bloggers or journos for that matter being heavily paid. I wouldn’t deny that there aren’t many who are being highly paid, but unfortunately I am not one of them. Neither am I aiming for it. So let’s just drop the ‘money and fame’ bit please?
Also I must clarify I am not a “CIA,MOSSAD,RAW,ISI agent being funded by the JEWS” and any chances that I might have had at it are now gone, since almost everybody (who choses to disagree) has made such claims. So I trust you all watch movies and so must know that “CIA,MOSSAD,RAW,ISI agent being funded by the JEWS” are suppose to be discreet and keep it low key, but thanks to all your love I don’t stand a chance. This post is about trying to clarify my stance and will most probably be my last word about this discussion. This post is going to be in a question answer format. I hope that after this post you (you know who you all are) will stop badgering me with pointless questions.
You support Facebook means you have no love for the Prophet?
No, of course not. In fact nobody has the right to determine my relationship with God, the Prophet (PBUH) or my take on religion. My stance against Facebook ban in no way suggests that I don’t love the Prophet (PBUH) or I am partner in blasphemy. I believe my love, my religious belief and devotion is NOT based on or affected by such petty things. Facebook or no Facebook I believe in respecting beliefs of every individual religious or otherwise. I may strongly disagree with the “Draw A Muhammad Day” campaign, find it provocative and degrading but that still doesn’t give me the right to decide how others should react or protest to it. I don’t believe in jumping on the bandwagon, and unity for me is not about acting like sheep but about respecting diversity. To sum it up, I DONT SUPPORT FACEBOOK, I oppose the ban because I believe everyone has the right to chose how they want to react to the situation. No one should have the right to decide how an individual choses to react to a situation, except the individual in question.
So does that mean you think Facebook has done nothing wrong? You believe they are innocent remember the holocaust page was removed in twenty minutes?
I have never made any statement suggesting that Facebook is not guilty. Primarily because I don’t work for Facebook so I don’t have the authority to pass such statements. Secondly, because I do believe Facebook is guilty and at fault. I do believe that they have been indifferent to the feelings of many worldwide. I am disappointed by their stance and their inability to approach the issue in a mature way. The little respect I had for them has been minimized to almost none, after their statement of banning the page from Pakistan alone. I mean freedom of speech? forget the Holocaust page. A recent page named “Everybody Draw Mark Zuckerberg’s Mom Day” was deleted with in days even though it had only 19 likes. So much for freedom of speech?
But despite strongly disagreeing with them I still do not have the authority to decide for the rest of the country. Also I doubt the intentions behind the ban. I mean why shouldn’t we? The ban has moved on to become a blanket ban on almost all social media platforms, what’s next the internet? (Maybe yes sigh!)
Are you doing this for fame and money? Why are you so bothered?
Ok let me clarify one thing, I really really hope I was as highly paid as you all think (claim) but unfortunately (for me) I am not. Not everything is about money and fame, somethings can not be measured like that. If you are passionate about something it is worth a million things or priceless perhaps. I am passionate about social media because it has provided me with a platform to identify myself to a larger audience,connected me to people who are like family now, allowed me to change Global perceptions about my country and my religion and most of all it has given me my own little world (virtual) where I can speak my mind about almost everything.I am bothered because I am being deprived of all this and made to suffer because of the mistake or choices of others ?how fair is that? OK Alright enough of philosophy lets get it straight I DONT EARN AS MUCH AS YOU THINK I DO SO CUT IT OUT WOULD YA?
Ok Alright I get it this is not the right way to protest. But would you tell me what the ‘peaceful,constructive and right’ way to protest is huh huh miss-know-it-all?
(Someone recently called me Lady Gaga of Pakistan I prefer you stick to that, miss-know-it all is old and not so appealing)
So in my post I purposely did not mention ways in which we could protests. Why? because the post clearly states that everyone should have the right to protest in the way they think best. Do you want me to dictate you? Ok alright, we could start with numerous options,
- Deactivate your Facebook account but before you do that make sure you let the Facebook team know exactly why you chose to do it. Make it crisp and clear and devoid of emotional dribble. Tell them you don’t like their face (just kidding) , tell them you no longer want to be a part of a social network that doesn’t respect your privacy and shows indifference when you are subjected to hate mongers.
- Ask your friends living abroad to file a petition against Facebook. Pressurize Facebook admin to issue a statement and explain why they have been violating their own terms and conditions.Let it be known that you are a force to be reckoned with (not to be threatened by) and that it is about time they show some respect.
- Create Pro-Islamic groups to educate people why depiction is not allowed in Islam. Explain to them why such extreme reactions are always seen. Take the opportunity and change global perceptions about Islam may be. Bottom line pour some sense into people, rather than getting enraged and losing the point altogether. If the other party has freedom of speech you have freedom of expression too, so let both parties use it without inflicting harm to each other.
- To each hate monger reply back with a message of peace and love. Come to common terms with them, tell them it’s about respect. Doesn’t the Quran say:
“Hold to forgiveness, command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant.” [Qur'an 7:199]
“And the servants of Allah . . . are those who walked on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say ‘Peace'” [Qur'an 25:63]
“. . . But they uttered blasphemy . . . if they repent, it will be best for them, but if they turn back, Allah will punish them.” [Qur'an 9:47]
Emphasis remains on *Allah will punish them* not *thou,you,believer*
And my most favorite one which fits perfectly
“Allah is with those who restrain themselves.” [Qur'an 16: 128]…
Alright I’ll quit being a scholar now. But you do get the point no?
Didn’t you say we should ignore them? Will you ignore someone who hurls abuses your way or to your mom and family huh? But when It comes to the Prophet you chose to ignore you you INFIDEL.
(Ok stop calling me that I told you lady Gaga is better. Do you ever listen? wait don’t answer that)
Yes I wrote a post before the campaign as forewarning to people to not be incited by this group. I wrote a detailed post (for which I researched all night long so you better read it!!) giving background on the situation. I particularly questioned the motives of the campaign and it was not until the end of the post that I addressed the muslims and Pakistani’s to not let this provoke them. I suspected that was the intention. I also suspected that the outrage will work in their favor,which it did and they gained over 30,000 followers after the ban. Alright Alright I’ll stop being a psychic now but it’s not my fault now is it?
And yes if someone would start calling me or my family names on the street and I know for a fact that it’s an attempt to provoke me to react,I WONT. Don’t you think it will piss them off more if they can’t get under your skin?
So Lady Gaga Of Pakistan, since you seem to know everything, Why don’t you tell us what to do next?
Are you even listening to me? Wait don’t answer that too. I or anyone else do not,should not,never had,will not, should not have and can not (yes I am really bad at grammar) have the right to tell you what to do next. But yes I can suggest, I suggest we stop judging and attacking each other. I suggest we stop being so pessimistic and blinded by hate. I suggest we sit down and think, is a blanket ban really wroth it? Why should we allow a bunch of people who clearly have no respect for us, have the right to deprive us of social media platforms we could use for our benefit. What benefit you may ask:
- PYA Pakistan Youth Alliance is possibly the countries largest youth organization has raised over 750,0000 and supported thousands of families most of it through campaigning and networking on Facebook.
- Remember the Judicial Crisis? It was then that people like Awab Alvi and Sabeen Mehmud became the voice of reason. Advocating for civil rights, for justice yours and mine. The same people have now been questioned and threatened only because they chose to stand up against banning of the same tools they had used to reinstate judiciary and to raise hue and cry about the human right violations in the country. Show some respect please!!
- How would you know about Imane Malik? Saad Khan? and many others if it wasn’t for citizen media. The mainstream media would cover alright but are they in any position to run a campaign for justice by a common man?
- Look at these guys, who have made us proud by making it to the finals as the Top 2010 Finalist in “Democracy Video Challenge” . These are people who are truly helping in changing our Global Image. With YouTube being blocked they are losing out on their votes. Do you want to silence the voice of change?
*These are only a few there are many more examples
You guys it is not about facebook it is about your fundamental rights to decide what you want to access. We can not block out all the evils in the world, but we can win them over by providing great things using the same platform. Let’s not be quitters and let’s not leave the battlefield (I know I’m emo) just yet. You want to leave Facebook? Please do but don’t let others decide that for you. Decide that for yourself, as individuals, it will send a stronger message. Let’s drop Facebook out of this debate, it’s not about it only, it is about censorship. We should stand together for moderation but against censorship. Afterall if censorship was all that ‘they’ cared about the first thing to be banned and blocked in the Islamic Republic would be porn?
PS: For those who continue to hate, please listen to this might help you heal. Works for me!