Pakistan Hazara genocide and NotreDame: Waiting for Jacinda?

Hazara sitin-Qta-ABNA

The Hazara community’s sit-in, Quetta, protesting their target killing. Photo: IRNA

Had the Hazaras who were killed in a bomb blast in Quetta died in the Notre Dame fire instead, there might be more outrage about their persecution and targeted killing in Pakistan, comments a designer friend disgusted by the apathy of Pakistan’s elites to the Hazara community’s ongoing sit-in, braving the rain and cold of Quetta while his “timeline is on fire with pix of the burning cathedral and people’s pictures in front of it”.

The reason, he comments, may be because one situation involves a poor, persecuted community “in an undeveloped, backward place called Balochistan, while the other was the heart, landmark of the world’s most romantic, fashionable, stylish city famous for art, fashion and cuisine and culture where Pakistan’s elite spend honeymoons, vacations and shop. And,” he adds cynically, “after all, grand architecture and art are more important than humans as they outlive humans who are born to die”.

A little earlier, I received this comment on WhatsApp, author unknown, that I found relevant and worth sharing:

Jacinda-Ardern-Jorge Silva-Reuters

Jacinda Ardern: True leadership involves compassion. Photo: Jorge Silva, Reuters

As the Hazara community sit-in enters its third day Prime Minister Imran Khan has sent out ONE condemnation tweet about the targeting of a persecuted community in his own country. Compare this to his FIVE tweets about the New Zealand Mosque attack, giving examples of their country and their PM and assuring all support.

For his fellow citizens, there was no visit, no assurance that their demands will be met, no signing of an agreement like his government did with Khadim Rizvi.

It’s easy to blame previous governments for everything that’s going wrong. But who’s stopping you from visiting those who’ve lost their loved ones and are demanding their basic right – the right to live?

Or are we waiting for Jacinda Arden to lead the way?

PM Imran finally announced his decision to visit Quetta on April 18 as the Hazara community sit-in entered its fourth day – to the background of hashtags like #ImranKhanGoToHazara and #WazireAzamQuettaJayain. This is not the first time the Hazara have staged such sit-ins; there was one just last year.

Here’s the link to my 2013 post: Bomb blasts in Quetta target Hazaras, claim over 100 lives #RIPKhudiAli. And another post from that time:  Ongoing protest in Quetta; mourners refuse to bury their dead until action is promised. And a followup story, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing: Boston and Mastung, Pakistan: Two cities where love is stronger than terror.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan: Waiting for Jacinda? (Image: cropped from Instagram)

But as journalist Mona Kazim Shah points out, “It is sad that the nation has to start a trend #ImranKhanGoToHazara for the PM to realize what he should have done on his own. I know in the past it has not been done by when you say “Naya Pakistan”, the nation expects more. Hazara’s are heartbroken right now and they need our love, compassion and the willingness to protect them. Let us not reduce humanity to a hashtag Mr. PM!”

Below, my brief conversation with two other friends.

Me: IK has finally announced he’ll go.
Friend 1: To meet the Hazaras?
Me: Yes. 18th.
Friend 2: Oh.. he’s not going to NotreDame ?😉

My designer friend quotes from John Pilger’s recent article about the arrest of Julian Assange:

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany. She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on ‘orders from above’ but on what she called the ‘submissive void’ of the public.

‘Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?’ I asked her.

‘Of course,’ she said, ‘especially the intelligentsia…. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen’.

And did.

Is there a submissive void in Pakistan, a denial?

Update: The Hazaras ended their sit-in late Monday night, after receiving assurances from the state about their demands. Not the first time this has happened.

(ends)

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