“Two categories of propaganda must be distinguished. The first strives to create a permanent disposition in its objects and constantly needs to be reinforced. Its goal is to make the masses ‘available,’ by working spells upon them and exercising a kind of fascination. The second category involves the creation of a sort of temporary impulsiveness in its objects. It operates by simple pressure and is often contradictory (since contradictory mass movements are sometimes necessary).” – Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, October 12, 1967
The leaders of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), the political face of Pakistan Army’s strategic asset (the militant wings being the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Taliban) have vociferous been claiming that the Coronavirus in Pakistan has a sectarian identity. It came from Iran and is, therefore, Shia.
Yes, the Shia Virus.
Backed by a pack of partisan journalists, politicians (overwhelmingly Nawaz League), liberal commercials, and NGO affiliates, the discourse being created is that the Shia pilgrims returning from Iran have brought the virus with them. For their harshest targets, they have identified two Shias, Zulfi Bukhari and Ali Zaidi, in Imran Khan’s cabinet accusing them of letting the pilgrims from Iran into Pakistan.
No media outlet—print or electronic—has shown that the Shia pilgrims were kept in conditions at the Pakistan-Iran border which are reminiscent of concentration camps in movies or during World War II or more recently, the Omarska camp where Bosnians were imprisoned.
Hundreds of Shia pilgrims were forced to live in a small hall. There were no sanitation facilities. The makeshift toilets were too appalling to describe. Anyone can see videos on social media illustrating their condition. (They will stay: “But the Shias did not die of starvation. They did not die at the border at all!!”)
Ironically, the people who have died of the Coronavirus were pilgrims who had returned from Mecca after performing the umra. Why cannot we, then, refer to the Wahabi Virus? But that should be considered unthinkable, even blasphemous. The Saudis give alms and menial jobs to Pakistanis. They also employ mercenaries from the Pakistan Army who kill the Shias in Yemen and Bahrain. These mercenaries have a glorious history of killing Sunni Palestinians too.
While these Shia haters were carrying out their Shia Virus campaign, a quarter of a million Deobandis gathered in Lahore for their annual Tablighi gathering defying the official ban on public gathering. Not a single voice was raised to condemn this gathering. Only days after the gathering, it was revealed that scores of these people had contracted the Coronavirus including twelve foreign participants.
However, no one said that it was a Deobandi Virus or even a Deobandi gathering. Certainly, the Taliban and 90 per cent of sectarian killers are members of Deobandi outfits. But Pakistan’s Shia haters did not allow any fact come in the way of their love for the sectarian killers.
Now the mullahs led by Taqi Usmani and the notorious Abdul Aziz have been defying the civilized world by calling for collective prayers in the mosques, but no journalist, commercial liberals or NGO affiliate has denounced them.
In fact, they have extended their campaign to ridiculing and denouncing the Shia faith itself. Some of them have tweeted that going to the Shia-revered shrines will not cure anyone of the Coronavirus. Yes, that is true. But the same can be said about Mecca from where pilgrims brought the Coronavirus. But if you say that, they will shout “Kafir, Kafir, Shia Kafir!” and justify another round of Shia demonization and killing.
When you cannot rebut an argument, you take refuge in ad hominemism. This is the logic of Pakistan’s mullahs, mummy-daddy classes, and liberal mafiosos, all in the service of their Islamofascism.
On the other side of the world, Donald Trump has been shouting “Chinese Virus”. Like his Pakistani sectarian accusers, Trump need not provide any statistics, facts or verifiable details. In his racist obsession, he has been denouncing China because he cannot be honest about the facts just like his Pakistani fascist counterparts.