Friday, October 26, 2012

Kill or get killed is not the question

Humans are funny creatures. Specially the supposedly civilized ones. Due to the elections in US and near future, Pakistan, the drone debate has been gaining momentum. Incidentally, Malala's case has also provided an opportunity to legitimize drones and perhaps a military operation. While the politicians might have a totally different interest in such 'for' and 'against' debates, the discussions and dialogues regarding the current socio-political conditions in Af-Pak among the 'privileged gentry' is getting more complicated and heated.

If one wants, the drone debate can be broadly divided among three factions. First being the ones who do not support drones; second, who support drones and dump civilian casualties as 'collateral damage' and the last [hopefully] are the ones who support drones, "because there is no other 'immediate' solution". Key word here is immediate, and if you are not proposing an immediate solution, be prepared for ad hominem questions, "Are you proposing we have a round-table conference with the Taliban? How many Malala's do you want shot or murdered before you support drones?" or... "If not drones, what else? A military operation by the Pakistan Army? Do you know how many casualties that would cause?" Once you respond negatively to these questions, next come hyperbolic statements like, "So you mean there should be no 'action' against the Taliban, and we should let them continue in the same manner." Apparently the only course of 'action' is killing, even if it means civilian deaths, which of course are mere statistics when compared with the 'militant deaths'.

For someone who neither supports the Taliban, nor the War on Terror, there are stark similarities between the 'pro-drone-club' and the 'terrorists'. Both support killing people in the name of their cause. Both are imperialistic in nature. It has become a never ending vicious cycle. The need is not to kill but to reverse the radical mentality on both ends of the spectrum. More than a change of faces, there should be a demand for changing the system. A system that does not lead to oppression resulting in the formation of interest groups - where my children don't have leverage over yours because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, class or religious affiliation. Where human rights activists do not support stealth mode targeted killings, death penalty and wars. 

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