Saturday, October 19, 2013

Malala: The Forgotten Child

Malala Yousafzai, the precious flower of a child, thrust under the glaring spotlight of meteoric stardom. She has become a study in opposites. The world loves her, the world hates her. There are those who see her as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, the next Nobel laureate,the next world leader-- and then there are those who want her dead. There are those who believe that she is a crusader and there are those who are insulted by her portrayal of Pakistan. But in all this babel we tend to forget the sixteen year old kid who got shot in the head.

If a child is  harmed,  the parent invariably suffers enormous guilt, whether it is their fault or not. This is their burden to bear as parents. But, one would think, any parent, whose child gets hurt spearheading their idea of activism would be besides themselves in grief and remorse.. They would be ready to give up everything if it meant saving their child.
Any parent would have rubbed their knees and forehead raw in supplication thanking Allah that not only had their child been given a second life but also a future. A future that once was too great even to be a dream was now within the grasp of reality. This child, who almost died for her education, now stood at the head of a road where the possibilities were endless.

The biggest revenge against the animals that attacked this innocent child would have been a life sheltered from the media, focused on letting her recover from the trauma and being a kid. Yes, there would be a burden on her shoulder to wage war against illiteracy and inequality--but that would come later. She would step into the role of an activist and warrior after she armed herself with the knowledge and education she needed and then step out as the voice of the oppressed...not before.

In her appearances, Malala oversimplifies matters by repeatedly stating that education will change everything. In fact, education is only one factor in a myriad. If it was the only factor, the highest educated nations would never be a part of any violations of human rights and we all know how much truth there is in that. But the sweeping statements and the repetitious rhetoric shows an innocence that is expected but, also, a naivete that is unacceptable on this platform

In the end of it all, we should always remember that Malala is only a sixteen year old child who is not armed for the battle that she is being tasked to fight. If we strip away the big machinery that surrounds and choreographs her every move., we will find a child who wanted to go to school and claimed that it was every child’s right to play. She should be  playing tag in the playground. stuffing her backpack into a locker, exchanging secrets with her best friend at lunch and sitting in class, while the principles of physics are demystified for her on a smart board. Instead, she has to make endless appearances in a neverending stream of interviews during the school year. If I could talk to Malala’s father, I would ask him, “When does your little angel go to school? When does she play?”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Safety...At what cost?

On September 17th, the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN, approved Pakistan for the process to be an Associate Member. This status, when instated, will not only allow Pakistani scientists to be a part of projects at CERN but it  will also allow the country to send a certain number of students to the facility for research work.  

This news is not only a point of pride for Pakistan but opens a portal for amazing opportunities. Our children will be able to work at the forefront of  scientific research. They will be participate in and be witnesses to great discoveries. In doing their share, the government should stop at nothing to make sure that when the time comes we have our brightest ready to rise up to whatever challenge the world throws at them. So, what do they say to one of these potential scientific geniuses  when he/she is unable to access a video about the large hadron collider? Sorry buddy, no YouTube for you!  

Success can only be achieved by providing resources--not taking them away.  It has often been said that safety at the cost of freedom becomes a little less desirable. The shutdown of YouTube has been in place for an entire year. It has also been a year where Pakistanis have been deprived of an extensive and undeniable teaching tool.  Now there are further proposals to block even more websites in the name of safety. Apparently militants are able to facilitate their nefarious plans through these applications and blocking these apps will make them throw up their hands in frustrations, shake their fists to the sky and go home and chill. Genius!

Protesting disgraceful videos and curbing terrorism can be done without taking away the few liberties that citizens have. These decisions are made without any consideration to the damage they can potentially do. Protesting a vulgar video on YouTube will make a point..but what purpose does shutting it down indefinitely serve? Did it bring YouTube to its knees and taught it a lesson? No! The only thing it did was deprive a country of a valuable resource and made the ones who took this decision look like petulant children.

But it seems that no lessons have been learned as now there is a chance that other applications may be blocked too--and all behind the excuse for thwarting terrorism. Well, what else have you tried, I ask you? Have you secured the borders? Have you stopped the illegal sale and use of firearms? Have you arrested past perpetrators? Have you exhausted all possible avenues of law and order before you made this decision which will do more in the way of inconveniencing law-abiding citizens then it will bother the criminals and terrorists?
Here is another thought...and I’m just spitballing here...won't the organizations, that are terrorizing the world,  be able to go around this problem if it stands in their way? Bilawal Bhutto has a way around it and he shared it with all and sundry when he tweeted, “anyone using iOS and looking to get around the YouTube ban I suggest downloading VPN One Click.” So, I’m guessing the more unsavory types might be able to figure this out too!

Dear government, I really don't think you get the gravitas of the situation. Blocking terrorism in Sindh by blocking Skype, Tango, Viber, etc. is like bringing a knife to a gunfight-- it aint gonna work. So put on your thinking caps and eat your badaams and come up with a viable plan. Meanwhile let the people of Pakistan message and talk to their loved ones while they enjoy a video on YouTube.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Return of Musharraf

Former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, is all set to return to Pakistan by March 24th, after the interim government takes over the reins of Pakistan. Listening to the numerous interviews being broadcast on Pakistani channels, one gets the impression that he fervently believes he will don his shining armor, mount his white steed and ride into the country to save it. But does he ever once pause in his righteous declarations to ask the question: Does Pakistan want him back or does he believe that Pakistan needs him back?

The Pakistan of today is a country rocked by tragedies on a daily basis. It is a nation cruelly divided along religious and sectarian lines. The rich and the poor are separated by an ever widening gap, and the middle class is slowly disappearing. Despite all of these tribulations, the people of Pakistan are resilient. They still look towards the future with optimism and courage. This one trait is repeatedly exploited, especially by eloquent, chest-thumping, yarn-spinning politicians.

When Musharraf left Pakistan,  it was considered a win for the democratic forces in the country, a country stunned and reeling by his draconian measures. At that time, all his actions seemed to be concentrated on securing maximum powers with the presidency and securing himself as the President. The NRO, the suspension of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, all contributed to events that led to his hurried departure before possible impeachment proceedings and in his wake he left behind a deeply divided and heavily armed people.

The government that followed proceeded to weakened the country further and now the people of Pakistan are, once more, ready to welcome as savior the person whom they sent into exile. Is this hopeless optimism  or is it surrendering to what may be considered the lesser evil?

For arguments sake let us not dwell in the past. Lets ignore the adage that those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Let us put the NRO, Lal Masjid and the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti aside and look at what Musharraf is promising now. Well, one thing we know for sure is that he promises to return to Pakistan within a week after the interim government takes charge and then he plans to participate in the upcoming elections.

Musharraf promises that,  given a team of citizens selected by him, he has the capability to put Pakistan on the path of progress within the year but he doesn’t outline any specific programs or the names of those he would wish to work with. When asked about his support in Pakistan, he invariable quotes the figures from his facebook page. He does not name potential allies, individual or parties. Either he has no plans or he is holding his cards close to his chest. But until the big reveal comes, at times, it seems that his entire campaign is held together with spit and prayers.

With all this ambiguity it is sometimes hard to put faith in a potential leader, especially someone who has been tried and been found wanting. But sometimes a political span becomes relative in its success or failure when compared to even worse situations. Sadly, Pakistan is at such a crossroads.

Musharraf does have his positive points. He seems to be unafraid of articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution which will ascertain his eligibility to be elected. He claims that he knows how to lead from the front and cites his performance in the army as proof. That is irrefutable. He says that he can bring Pakistan back on the path of prosperity without showing any specific plans and expects the masses to follow him. I have to commend his optimism and faith.

I, for one, am cautiously optimistic. He plans to give the people of Pakistan the option of a third party in the elections. He hopes that his return will give APML the boost that it needs to play with the big boys. That, in itself, will be positive development. I hope and pray that, even though he doesn’t admit it, he realizes that he did make a few mistakes when he held power. These mistakes should be key in formulating his new playbook. And even though we are used to giving everyone second--and sometimes third chances-- for once I hope that the one whom we chose as our saviour actually makes it his job to save Pakistan.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Halal Nail Polish.....Finally

For the past many years I have been living a life of chromatic deprivation.
“How so?”, you ask.
Well, allow me to explain. I have been going about, living my life, without nail polish!

When I was in my teens, an undisclosed number of years ago, I loved nail polish. I was never a fan of a lot of color on my face but I loved painting my nails. I made sure that my nails were filed and healthy and my polish was never chipped. If I wasn’t wearing color I had a clear coat on. My nails were never naked...never.

Then came the day when I was told that wudu could not be performed while wearing nail polish as water did not penetrate the varnish.

I, like many others, have a very healthy fear of hell and so, sigh, I gave up painting my nails.

Until now........

The Polish cosmetic company, Inglot, has introduced a new line of nail polishes which lets moisture and air to pass through. In this way it is considered--dare I say it--halal! There, I said it.

Yes, ladies, I kid you not.  This is not a dream. Stop pinching yourself.

Wojciech Inglot, a researcher as well as the founder of the company, developed this brand as a healthy alternative to regular nail polish. He named the line O2M, for oxygen and moisture. These polishes are made with the same polymer used in making breathable contact lenses.

The implications were not lost on all the Muslim fashionistas who had been depriving themselves of painted nails. As soon as the brand’s properties were advertised, questions were asked: Is it really true? Can we really wear this polish and still perform wudu?

Shaykh Mustafa Umar, Director of Education and Outreach at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, conducted experiments to prove that water did, indeed, permeate through the polish and reached the nail.Therefore, one could paint their nails, look fabulous and do wudu.

Once I read the fatwa by Mustafa Umar I had to get this miracle product for myself. Inglot is not a mainstream brand and therefore some efforts were needed to locate an outlet but I remained resolute and undeterred. Finally after much effort and some travel I found myself standing in front of the Inglot cosmetics station. There, in front of me was a display of the entire palette of the  O2M line. And it was glorious.

I think I heard violins and I’m sure that I saw a flock of white doves fly off into the sky.

The salesgirl quickly informed me that the Inglot line was 100% halal and went into a detailed spiel of how I could perform wudu while wearing it. I think that at some point she noticed that I wasn’t listening to her as I was totally focused on the nail polish display. She leaned in and said: “You know, those are all testers. Why don't you go on and try some colors”.  

That was all the encouragement I needed and soon I was smiling ear to ear with each fingernail on my hand painted a different color.

Happiness often comes from the smallest of life's surprises. On that particular day it came in the shape of a little rectangular bottle full of breathable nail polish.

Since the popularity of the nail polish skyrocketed the brand and its revenue into hyperspace, Inglot has outlets in nearly all muslim countries around the world. They are also looking into other products aimed at Muslim women. One such product is an alcohol-free perfume. I am sure that with the success of Inglot other companies will also follow suit to find a place in this lucrative niche. Nothing spurs on a research department more than the promise of increased revenue. Until then, enjoy Inglot.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adios, El Comandante.

Hugo Chavez, the revolutionary, charismatic, socialist leader of Venezuela succumbed to cancer on Tuesday, March 5th. He was 58 years old.

As a skinny twelve year old, with big feet, played with his siblings in the Venezuelan border town of Sabaneta, he must have had hopes and dreams for his future. But who would have had the foresight to imagine that this ambitious boy would grow up to be one of the most electrifying presidents the region had seen.

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born on July 28th, 1954. He was raised by his grandmother after he and an older brother were placed with her following allegations of abuse by their mother. Television was a large part of his life growing up and lessons learned from the entertainment industry remained a part of his showman persona throughout his life. He was influenced heavily by the father of one of his friends. A man who was a teacher, an historian and a proud communist. Here young Chavez was introduced to the teachings of Ezequiel Zamora and Simon Bolivar. Bolivar, whose struggles led to the freedom of the people of Latin America from the Spanish Empire, would become Chavez’s role model.

After graduating from Military Academy, Chavez often found his socialist ideals in opposition to his military duties. In 1992 Chavez and his underground Bolivarian Revolutionary Army attempted to overthrow President Perez in a coup. The coup failed and resulted in Chavez’s imprisonment. He was pardoned and released from prison in early 1994, by Perez’s successor, Caldera.  He emerged with a stronger following than before. Soon afterwards Chevez began his campaign for the highest office of the land. He formed a political party, the Fifth Republic Movement, and began his journey upwards.  His platform--using oil revenues to end poverty.

These popular promises secured him the presidency in 1998, but following through was another ballgame altogether. Though some oil revenues were funnelled towards the poor, a large chunk was siphoned off to Cuba. Chavez also used some of the revenues to support terrorist organizations like the FARQ to destabilize neighboring Colombia.

One of his initial acts in office was nationalizing the oil industry, including the assets of Exxon-Mobil. He gained further resources to promote his agenda but lost the ability to produce at capacity as experts left due to the failing infrastructure and rampant corruption.

Similar effects plagued the farming industry when farms and ranches were nationalized and smaller parcels were allotted to the poor. Over the years these measures have forced Venezuela to import food where previously it was a proud exporter.

His popularity fell but his showmanship knew no limits. He made long speeches full of grandiose rhetoric. He appeared on a weekly TV show called “Alo Presidente” (Hello, President), on which he would speak for hours without the benefits of any scripts. He rants about capitalism were often and long and his criticism of American presidents, both W. Bush and Obama, were talked about for ages. But as his ratings fell he had to struggle to be eligible for re-election. In 2009, he was finally able to win a rigged referendum which would allow him to run indefinitely.

He leaves behind a limping nation for his successors. A nation made weaker by cronyism and nepotism. Whether Chavez’s vice president, Nicolás Maduro, continues as the president, after the state mandated elections in 30 days or the  probable opposition leader Henrique Capriles forms a new government, Venezuela will be facing challenges.

Chavez’s Venezuela has an inflation rate which stands above 22%. There is a culture of violence with prevalent firearms and a crumbling infrastructure. Every part of the country, including the judiciary and the army is severely politicized and it will be a challenge for anyone, without the relentless charm of Chavez, to hold them together.

On the international front, Chavez aligned himself with  China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba as he moved away from the USA, a major importer of Venezuelan oil. A new successor may see better relations with the US as a way to ease some of the economic problems of the country.

Hugo Chavez passed away unremarkably, ravaged by cancer. He took every opportunity to assure his adoring people that he would beat the disease but in the end  lost the battle. His quiet end was quite unexpected, given a life full of dramatic performances. It seemed that throughout his political career he couldn't quite decide whether he was an activist or a politician. But he certainly was an entertainer on the international stage. Adios, El Comandante.

An Everlasting Echo......

An everlasting echo....

Raymond Allen Davis has worn many hats. A soldier in the US Army, an employee of a private security firm, a contractor for the CIA and a cold-blooded killer. On Jan 27th, 2011, Davis shot and killed two men in Lahore, Pakistan. Another man died, as the SUV rushing to help Davis plowed him down. The wife of one victim committed suicide when it became evident that she would never get justice as her government was planning to let Davis return to the US. The wife of the other victim was killed by her father over an altercation regarding the blood money she had received. All these people had to die because the killer was protected by his government and the victims were not.

So, if a gunshot in Lahore, Pakistan, is heard all over the world, why is it that the sound of exploding bombs shaking the roots of Pakistan and washing away scores of lives in their deadly shock waves fail to register in Islamabad?

Where is the efficiency, displayed by the Pakistani government to save an American, when it comes to finding the perpetrators of the massacre of Pakistanis in Quetta and in Abbas town? Are we supposed to shake our heads at the injustices of the universe and go about our business, as usual, as expected?

As buildings collapsed in Abbas Town and lives snuffed out, our leaders shrugged their shoulders and continued to pack for trips to foreign lands. It seems that nobody informed them that the job, that they fought so valiantly for, is not a licence to travel-- it actually has a description: public servant.

But how can we fault the Prime Minister for leaving Pakistan in the aftermath?  A little over a year ago the President refused to cut his trip to India short while our brave soldiers lay dead or dying under the unrelenting ice of Siachen. What is this siren song of India that makes our leaders dismiss our blood soaked soil as not even worth cancelling a trip over?

Violence is seldom the answer and yet it permeates the air around us. Tragedy does not end with just one act. It billows out and engulfs all those around it. People are affected in unpredictable and unforeseen ways. There are no limits to the lives destroyed by a single heinous act.

Until we have evolved enough to realize that perpetrating violence makes us lesser humans and the use of force makes us weaker, we need protection. We need to come up with a system of checks, balances and  the presence of a force that will protect the innocent bystanders from becoming collateral damage. In the civilized world this system is known as law and order and it is a concept that we should seriously look into.

Believe it or not,  the government is put into place to provide protection and oversight for the good citizens who placed them there.Go ahead, enjoy your finery, but please at least try to do the job you were hired for.  Being a person of power should be a humbling experience by the sheer dint of responsibilities that it comes with. It is not the entitlement that it is treated as. Pakistan has seen enough terror in its short lifespan. Children are being raised in an atmosphere of fear and violence. We desperately need the young generation to lead us towards a bright future, full of hope and prosperity. But if our governing continues as it has and this hostile environment persists, we will be looking at a generation who will either embrace this culture of violence or will be cowering in fear of it.

We need good governance and accountability, And so, Pakistan puts this question to all present and future elected leaders: Shall we begin?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From Orchards to Killing Fields


Growing up in Quetta in the ‘70s and ‘80s, we all knew the name Yazdan Khan High School. Boasting a predominantly Hazara population, it was the pride of Quetta. It was an academically competitive school, but it was truly beloved for its marching band. With bright red and white uniforms and amazing musicality, these children served as our representatives. Whether welcoming visiting dignitaries or performing during cricket matches at Ayub Stadium, the Yazdan Khan High School Band was always front and center, always flawless. This school, once the proud ambassador of Quetta, was on Alamdar Road, the site of the January 10th bombing.

In a soul-shaking demand for justice, the Hazara community decided to not bury their dead and are sitting out in the cold, alongside what remains of their loved ones. The leaders of the community have given a written list of demands asking that the perpetrators be apprehended and that the Hazara community be protected from further violence, that they be allowed to live their lives in peace. Reading the list brings tears to my eyes when I realize that all they are asking for is justice and freedom -- fundamental rights that should have been awarded indiscriminately to all citizens under the Constitution. This list of demands should never have been needed.

Forget about freedom and justice. Our government is barely acknowledging the loss of lives that the Hazara community, and the human race as a whole, have suffered. The entire world has felt the jarring jolt of this tragedy. People from every nation and every ethnicity are voicing their anguish at the needless loss of innocent lives and the absolute apathy of the governing bodies. But, while the provincial capital is reeling after the massacre, the Chief Minister is enjoying a vacation abroad. The death of over a hundred people was not enough reason for him to cut short his beach time, come back home, and face his responsibility. I hope he has a good reason because, short of being on his deathbed, I can’t fathom any justification for his absence at a time when his presence is needed the most. Or maybe I am expecting too much from an elected official.

This is a time when humanity should have trumped politics, but it is proven to us once again that we, the people, are in no way equal to elected office. The population of Pakistan has risen and is standing with the Hazara community both within the nation and abroad, but the political leaders are cautious in their statements. Even at a time like this, they remain consummate politicians, ever careful not to step on any toes and, God forbid, lose an influential supporter. Their affiliations are dictating their level of outrage, which is muted at best, and their lack of support compounds on an already overwhelming assault.

When will we feel truly protected by the people we elect and the police force that swear to protect us? How long will our children be fed the contorted gospel of “might is right”? We fought against the mightiest powers and carved a country for ourselves so that all religions could live free and without the fear of persecution -- we even declare it to the world by having a white band on our flag. When our brothers and sisters refuse to bury their dead until they get justice, we have to ask ourselves: if not now, then when?

Democracy: nothing but a politicians catch phrase.

Our world today seems to be in a constant state of revolution. Somehow, revolution brings a romanticized solution to all that is wrong with a corrupt bureaucracy.  Whoever promises the most drastic changes, the most extreme improvements, the most cacophonous, clamorous, and deafening rhetoric, is guaranteed a captive audience and an avid following. One thing that these masters of spin can count on is the common man's desperate desire for a better life, their despairing hope that the world has something finer to offer -- if only they can find a charismatic, catalytic leader to make change happen for them.

We, the man on the street, also known as the citizen and the unit most in need of the aforementioned “better life”, are the most vocal advocates for a revolution. According to public opinion, revolution will bring democracy, and with democracy will come peace, lawfulness, good fortune and prosperity.  What we fail to realize in our desperation is that a government of the people and for the people does not begin and end with democratically-held elections, but must continue on as democratic governance. These are assignments of accountability, not appointments of entitlement.

In our hunger for change we listen for the word “democracy,” which has become nothing more than the politician’s catch phrase, a perfunctory buzzword, a siren song. We fail to realize that democracy is a form of government for the people—and people are different in every country. Thus, by default, the democracy of each country must be tailor-made for its population and not the copy of another countries’ governance. Laws necessary and successful in one thriving democracy might prove to be abject failures in another. This could be due to differences in culture, history, religion, and other myriad possibilities.

We have to study our chronicles, the good along with the bad. We have to analyze what worked and what failed miserably within our own country to see what we want and what we desperately need. When we look democracy through a theoretical paradigm invented by the West, we see something that we yearn for, but which might not be the solution for us. Our form of governance has to be as unique as our nation.

Instead of looking for a leader from among us, we look outward and upward for guidance, and so we have become a nation of followers. We will willingly march behind anyone who peddles a dream, but we never feel worthy enough to form a movement around our own dreams. So we pin our hopes and our hearts on anyone who is willing to lead us, never questioning loyalties, agendas, or ulterior motives. As a result, we are either left heartbroken and bitter, or continue fiercely loyal and blind to the obvious charade.

A revolution has to come from within the masses. We have to push away from the wall against which our backs have rested for the longest time. The elite lack the will to recast a state that seems to be working well for them. They may start the journey with an honest enthusiasm, but lose their convictions somewhere along the way. Leaders have to come up from within us, from our roots, our kin. Until then, we will continue to be the fodder for another’s revolution.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If human lives were quantifiable.....

If alien beings from outer space  were to travel to our neck of the woods and form an opinion about our priorities, they would surely conclude that the most worthless and expendable commodity is the human life.

A question like “what is a human life worth?” seems more of a philosophical query, inviting a vigorous debate, rather than a mathematical problem followed by a calculation and a dollar amount. But, believe it or not, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget puts the value of a human life in the range of $7 million to $9 million or around $8 million, if we are talking averages. I am not qualified enough to wade into the quagmire of economic parameters and channel my inner Adam Smith for an explanation but I will pose this question: If people were required to pay this amount for every life they were responsible for terminating, would they be so disregardful of their actions?

What is a human life worth? I posed this question to a friend of mine who is a very passionate pacifist and a humanitarian. She said, without any hesitation, that the worth of one human life is the same as the worth of all mankind. That is a mind blowing amount if we look at it numerically. It means that we would have to multiply $5 million by the number of people ever born and those that will ever be born. By these specific guidelines the human life is priceless.

Everyday we come across accounts of neglect, atrocity and pure greed which result in the loss of life. This is only if we are very lucky. Some among us actually experience these events first hand. We hear of hundreds burned in a preventable factory fires, scores killed in sectarian, bigoted violence, thousands of lives cancelled because their thought was different, they looked different, they were different...

One wonders how much fire alarms and proper fire safety measures would have cost in the ill-fated garment factories. If the factory owners were liable to pay for each life lost due to their greed and neglect, would they have been so careless with hazard-proofing their workplaces? What would it be worth to have a visible police force that actually serves and protects? Would it be outside the realm of imagination to ask for public servants that actually serve the public?

Maybe the problem is that there is no accountability for the elite class and no one to pay heed, let alone take any action, in response to the pleas and cries of the working class. How else could a society explain the ruthless beating of a young man just because he denied a “begum sahib” some baked goods. How could the murder of a Swedish missionary, working only for the well-being of the needy, be justified?  Most of these are not spur of the moment emotionally fueled incidences. Rather they are planned and dramatic measures to instill fear and discourage any others who might want to stand up to an oppressive elite. But if these “untouchables” had to pay  for every person they roughed up or, worse still, killed, would they be so gung-ho about it?

Entire sub-nationalities are staked out to be massacred. Religious sects are marked for death because they have a different ideology and mass murder is validated and justified by closed-minded men with personal agendas. And then there are those who take up the savage war-cry , without any question or thought as to the cogency or the repercussions of their actions, and cut down lives with the abandon of an unholy crusader high on crack. The Grim Reaper would cringe in fear and loathing at such wanton waste because even he has rules. Nobody pays for these innumerable lost lives: lost in the name of profit, in the name of power and the most vile category for justifying gratuitous killings--in the name of God.
It has been said that those who stop fearing God, fear nothing else. Maybe that is the problem. God has become nothing more that a word, an abstract idea that can justify all misguided agendas. Everyone believes that they wield the sword of the Almighty, but whose side is Allah really on?