Piotr Stanczak

Listen to the “analyst” Haroon ul Rasheed apologizing for the Pakistani right-wing viewpoint over this video of a man minutes away from being beheaded. He doesn’t skip a beat. One of the most indescribably surreal moments from a media full of travesties and looking the other way.

I wish the video showed this brave and unfortunate man’s beheading. Not because I want to disrespect him in any way, but because the standard international media line of shying away from showing actual beheadings is actually a subtle way of excusing this behavior and apologizing for it. Of letting us know that it’s OK. Well, it’s not. These people are not animals who emerged in some kind of social vacuum. They are human beings, and more than that they are Muslims and they are Pakistanis. They saw off people’s heads while they recite the same thing that all Muslims recite in their prayers 5 times a day. Why should anyone spare us the discomfort of seeing what they do?


21 responses to “Piotr Stanczak

  1. asfand


    In less than a minute, we’ve had blame being spread out, not even ostensibly, to India and US Imperialism.

    With every passing day we’re faced with newer questions. But, surely, one of the most pressing ones must now be just how scummy people like Haroon ul Rasheed are compared to the taliban and their ilk? Sure, he isn’t going around beheading people, but deflecting the issue and ignoring it surely hands tacit support to the taliban does it not?

    It sickens me as a human being and it sickens me even more as a muslim and a pakistani to be associated in any way, shape or form with scum like him and scum like the taliban.

  2. Publius

    “but deflecting the issue and ignoring it surely hands tacit support to the taliban does it not?”

    Yes it does. Those who rationalize evil are in some respects even more dangerous than those who commit it. The history of western intellectuals who rationalized soviet evils is an example of that.

    The rationalizers disarm the people by tamping down their moral revulsion or deflecting it away from the proper target. By doing so not only do they default on their own moral responsibility but increase the moral burden on the rest, since the entire burden then falls on them.

    The most frustrating and angering part for me is the fact that they ( the rationalizers) will get away with it cost free. The horrors of Talibanization will fall not on the elite but on the tribals.

    One almost wishes that, for their rationalizations and lies, they could be made to share in those horrors.

  3. Rabia

    I agree with both of you.

  4. oh God what a moron? What gets my goat is that all the tv channels get quotes from these idiots. Why cant they seek normal and intelligent people’s opinions.

    In his opinion, the only ‘Jayaz’ war is war against India.

  5. His message at the end is really chilling I think. How horrific.

  6. Its just like repeat of Denial Pearl and our collective denial. I still remember the apathy showed by us on that tragedy. He was a Jew and was declared a CIA agent by our press. This Haroon-ur-Rasheed is a Jamate Islami fascist. The issue is not what he says but the criminal silence of so called progressives and secularists who will never demand that Jamate Islami be banned and held answerable for Bengali Genocide. Till we are silent in name of patriotism and Pakistani nationalism, they will keep speaking and they will keep killing—–

  7. Tazeen and Kalsoom, did you ever see this post-mumbai talk shows with Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Qureshi as guests? It really is unbelievable:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about JI and also about the attitude of so called moderates on the issue of the genocide. did you read this column from last month by Irshad Haqqani? basically his argument seems to be that since he knows one bengali family that has a positive attitude towards Pakistan, the genocide never happened.

  8. stuka

    “Those who rationalize evil are in some respects even more dangerous than those who commit it.”

    In what respects exactly?

    “The history of western intellectuals who rationalized soviet evils is an example of that.”

    So, a western intellectual..or for that matter an Indian admirer of Fabian socialism..maybe even an admirer of communism as an egalitarian principle..a Nehru for instance, is more dangerous than a Stalin??

  9. Ah … tell me about the denial of Pakistanis about everything unpalatable.

    My parents fled Bangladesh after the Fall of Dhaka separately. My mother and my sisters were prisoners of war and were kept in a camp for two years. My dad managed to come to Lahore but he did not know for ten long months if his wife and little girls were alive or not.

    Our non Bengali parents have always told us about the atrocities of Pakistan army and Jamat hooligans against the local populace. I guess i have inherited my aversion for all things Jamati from my mother who protested against Jamat back in 1969-70 on the streets of Dhaka.

  10. Rabia

    wow Tazeen that is an awful story! I am so glad that they all made it back…

    my grandfather worked in dhaka for 20 yrs after partition, my mother spent her childhood there. You know the faiz nazm “ham ke thehray ajnabi”.. when I was a kid I remember nayyara noor singing that on tv and my grandfather had tears in his eyes.

    It’s late so I hope this is not a stupid comment but I think Bangladesh was a sort of reverse-hiroshima for us as a country, if that makes any sense. Something really terrible happens to a country that brushes aside a crime like that. I think Zaid Hamid, Ahmed Qureshi types are a product of that disease.

  11. Publius

    Stuka you asked ” In what respects exactly”

    In this respect. If there were no rationalizers then (some types of )evil would be quickly isolated and would have a hard time perpetuating itself. Rationalizers make it possible for evil to go on( not for it to exist or start but for it to face relatively little opposition).

    The history that I was referring to is , for instance , the red decade that rationalized soviet communism for the western world.

    Here is description of it. http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2005/05/lessons-from-red-decade.html

    P.S Nehru was more of a misguided idealist than a rationalizer.

  12. stuka

    I guess I disagree when you say that rationalists are MORE to blame, and I do contend that it is rhetorical flight of fancy even after reading your article. I guess the cruzx is this..

    “P.S Nehru was more of a misguided idealist than a rationalizer.”

    I am not really able to comprehend the difference. An ideologue is by definition an idealist..the rationalizers are those who believe in an ideology and then justify post facto

  13. Publius

    “rhetorical flight”

    No I meant it as viewing it from different angles.

    To the victims of Stalin , it was Stalin of course, who was more dangerous. To the moral health( and consequent moral opposition to communism) of the western society it was their red intellectuals that posed the greater danger.

    “the rationalizers are those who believe in an ideology and then justify post facto”

    A rationalizer is typically a person who by his own premises knows something to be evil, but invents excuses, justifications or cover ups etc for it.

    That Pakistani commentator above knows the beheading the engineer was evil but invents lies to cover the real source of blame.

    Suppose Nehru had said ” The Gulag is evil but it is an unfortunate and unavoidable necessity” or ” the circumstances of the Soviet Union must be taken into account” etc he would have been rationalizing.

  14. Publius

    Also consider this analogy.

    Suppose somebody attacks you, but you are armed with a weapon with which you can defend yourself and defeat that person. But a third somebody takes that weapon away from you.

    Who then is more dangerous to you, the person who attacked you or the person who disarmed you ?

  15. Tazeen and Rabia-

    Small world, my mom is from Dhaka (my dad is from Karachi) and I spent my childhood in Bangladesh before moving to Islamabad when I was 10. My mother’s entire family was involved in the 1971 war – from being student activists (like my mom) to being nurses (like my aunt) to even being part of the Mukhti Bahini, like my mom’s cousin. Tazeen, when I was in college, I did an entire project/website on the 1971 war for my genocide seminar, and interviewed my mom’s friend who’s mother and sister were also prisoners of war. Her father was part of the Pakistan army, but was killed and put in a mass grave when the war broke out. The woman’s story formed the backdrop of the website I created, so a personalized story of the war was felt as you read facts and stats. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom and sisters, but happy to hear they made it back ok.

    Tazeen, knowing how small the world is, I bet you anything my mom knows your mom. What’s her name?

  16. Or that my mom knows your mom, Rabia – sometimes I think she knows everyone in Dhaka 🙂

  17. Publius

    Here is a contemparaneous account of the Bangladesh genocide from Time.


    Perhaps because what they flee from is even worse. Each has his own horror story of rape, murder or other atrocity committed by the Pakistani army in its effort to crush the Bengali independence movement. One couple tells how soldiers took their two grown sons outside the house, bayoneted them in the stomach and refused to allow anyone to go near the bleeding boys, who died hours later. Another woman says that when the soldiers came to her door, she hid her children in her bed; but seeing them beneath the blanket, the soldiers opened fire, killing two and wounding another. According to one report from the Press Trust of India (P.T.I.), 50 refugees recently fled into a jute field near the Indian border when they heard a Pakistani army patrol approaching. “Suddenly a six-month-old child in its mother’s lap started crying,” said the P.T.I, report. “Failing to make the child silent and apprehending that the refugees might be attacked, the woman throttled the infant to death.”

    Cordon of Fire

    The evidence of the bloodbath is all over East Pakistan. Whole sections of cities lie in ruins from shelling and aerial attacks. In Khalishpur, the northern suburb of Khulna, naked children and haggard women scavenge the rubble where their homes and shops once stood. Stretches of Chittagong’s Hizari Lane and Maulana Sowkat Ali Road have been wiped out. The central bazaar in Jessore is reduced to twisted masses of corrugated tin and shattered walls. Kushtia, a city of 40,000, now looks, as a World Bank team reported, “like the morning after a nuclear attack.” In Dacca, where soldiers set sections of the Old City ablaze with flamethrowers and then machine-gunned thousands as they tried to escape the cordon of fire, nearly 25 blocks have been bulldozed clear, leaving open areas set incongruously amid jam-packed slums. For the benefit of foreign visitors, the army has patched up many shell holes in the walls of Dacca University, where hundreds of students were killed. But many signs remain. The tank-blasted Rajabagh Police Barracks, where nearly 1,000 surrounded Bengali cops fought to the last, is still in ruins.

    The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Moslem military’s hatred. Even now, Moslem soldiers in East Pakistan will snatch away a man’s lungi (sarong) to see if he is circumcised, obligatory for Moslems; if he is not, it usually means death. Others are simply rounded up and shot. Commented one high U.S. official last week: “It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland.”

  18. Your personal stories are touching, Rabia,Kalsoom and Tazeen. It is a pity that the horrors of partition, civil war and violence never seem to end in the subcontinent.

    When a country is in trouble and the political control gets unstable, vultures (known as drug mafia) land on that country. They think in cold blood and engage in a slow means of terrorizing the local population. The amount of money that is at stake is immense, the market is worth billions of dollars.

    These killers are smart and they know how to keep a region unstable, or to terrorize the political situation in a region.

    I think a large part of the Taliban is directly engaged with the international drug mafia. The kind of terror these people are engaging in : public beheadings, digging out graves, making bloodbath in public squares – these are known to have been used earlier in drug infested badlands such as Colombia.

    The Jamat parties and violent Islamists probably owe a lot to the Pak army – for their inception and continual monetary and logistical support. But probably, these boys have grown too big for their boots. Once they establish direct contact with the international drug mafia, they have someone who can pay better than the Pak army, and that leads to a critical streak of independence.

  19. Kalsoom,
    that’s pretty nuts that all of our parents lived in Bangladesh at some point. Your research project sounds really interesting, btw. any chance that you might put it up on your website sometime?

    yeah, it doesn’t seem like either NATO or Pakistan have any plan to counter the drug money situation.

    you should check out this pdf scan of an account of the genocide by a Pakistani reporter Anthony Mascarenhas. The interesting that was that he was actually one of the reporters sent by the Pakistani government to embed with the army to produce a fluffy report but right before the Times published his report he sought political asylum for his whole family in England and produced something completely different. (It’s a really bad quality scan, though.)

  20. I wish. Sadly when I graduated from college, the domain expired – all those months of hard work and research down the drain. 😦

    The very weird coincidence was one of the pictures I put up was of a physician in a mass grave who was killed in the first wave of the “genocide” – like many mass killings, the first wave of people targeted are the intellectuals. Anyway, my mother called me up crying after seeing the photo when I published the site – turns out that doctor was my family’s physician, and my mother had gone with my Nani to identify him not long after his death. Small, tragic world we live in.

  21. Publius


    Thanks for the Times article. I just finished reading it.

    It is difficult for me to put my reaction into words.

    All I can feel is a vast inchoate hatred for the bastards who did this. And an enormous almost painful sadness and pity for the haunted look in the eyes of that Hindu(?) woman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: