Lowest Common Denominator

I have seen over and over again, the basic mathematic principle of lowest common denominator play out.

Be it relationships, work or politics, it is the lowest behavior that becomes common and everybody falls to it. People upholding higher statutes are sooner or later grinded down by people who uphold no higher values despite always claiming to do so.  Be it at the personal level — helping others despite inconveniences to themselves until the day you ask for help and are bluntly turned down, turning the other cheek  for so long that you realize they don’t care if a cheek is left on your face or selflessly offering service till you realize that most are busy furthering their own cause. Or be it at the global stage — secularism over fundamentalism, nonviolence over violence, integration over segregation.

And that brings us to the crux of the discussion today. Please read this article from New York Times, “British PM ‘Appalled’ by Protest Plans.” A radical Islamic group, Islam4UK, is planning a protest march through the streets of a town that has achieved iconic status in Britain for honoring the passing hearses of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan. As part of the protest march they plan to carry “empty” hearses to replay the honor bequeathed but this time to civilians killed in Afghanistan.

If that is not outrageous enough, this plan was announced by Islam4UK in letters sent to the families of the 246 British soldiers that have died in Afghanistan.

Islam4UK is an off-shoot of a group that was banned in 2005. The group in 2005 praised the perpetrators of 9/11 as heroes.

As you can see, it has got nothing to do with justice since it is not as if this group is asking for innocent Afghanis killed in the war to be honored, it is basically interested in honoring all Muslims — terrorists or otherwise and doesn’t care about honoring members of other religion. It is also not considering any facts about who started this latest cycle of violence in South Asia and the Western world including the barbaric attacks of 9/11.

I believe we are at a major inflection point in relationship between peoples. The doors that have been open in the West to integrate people from all parts of the world are going to get shut and shut fast, especially to natives of certain countries. For, some people are hell bent upon bringing us all down to the lowest common denominator — accept me but I will not accept you. Don’t fight me but I want to take you over.

Pakistan — you reap what you sow

The Seed

When General Zia ul-Haq led a coup against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977, and subsequently hanged him in 1978 under the pretence of plotting to kill political opponents, it was then that the present deplorable state of Pakistan was etched in to history in advance.

Irony of irony was that Bhutto himself chose ul-Haq as the Chief of Army in 1976 despite his lack of seniority thinking more senior officers posed greater threat to his survival. But then the history of Pakistan, and indeed the Muslim empire in South Asia is replete with blood letting by benefactors and family members of those that greatly helped them. Aurangzeb, effectively the last Mughal Emperor of India, executed his brother Dara Shikoh and put his father, Shah Jahan — of Taj Mahal fame — under house arrest until his death.

The Soil

Zia ul-Haq started off supremely unpopular both at home and abroad. However, it was the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets that saved his illegitimate presidency. The United States, who had decried General Zia up until that time had no other option but to support him to in turn get support for their agenda in Afghanistan. Zia also courted the Islamic ideologues in Pakistan and abroad. This allowed him stability at home and cash pouring in from United States — to support the destruction of the Soviets at any cost — and Saudi Arabia — to spread the Wahabi form of Islam –  a most conservative form of Islam. Money from both sources funneled to the Islamic ideologues who set up Madarassas to train the mujahedeens that spread across Afghanistan and later became the Taleban and Al Qaeda.

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