Dalia Gebrial and Thomas Jeffrey Miley go head to head on this complex and topical issue
DALIA: Nationalism is one hell of a drug. No matter how many times it’s been declared dead, the idea of the nation finds a way of rearing its head and grabbing the political landscape by the throat. Particularly in times of crisis, nationalist language that otherwise seemed old-fashioned and gauche suddenly feels like the only way you can speak without being heckled off the political stage.
Fundamentally, the power of nationalism lies in its ability to appeal to a sense of common good. It’s a way of tying (some) people together in pursuit of an imagined positive future. As a socialist, I have sympathy with this. However, the problem is that nationhood is based on identity, rather than material principles.
تحریر : میر محمد علی ٹالپر
ترجمہ : لطیف بلیدی
کراچی میں ’سندھ رائٹرزاینڈ تھنکرز فورم‘ نے حال ہی میں ’نیشنلزم اور انٹرنیشنلزم‘ پر ایک مباحثے کا اہتمام کیا، سندھ میں چھڑی ایک بحث کے بعد جس میں کچھ لوگ فاشزم کا نیشلزم کیساتھ موازنہ کررہے ہیں۔ مجھے دوستوں کی طرف سے مدعو کیا گیا تھا اور میں نے وہاں اپنے خیالات کا اظہار کیا۔ یہ مضمون میری اُس گفتگو پر مبنی ہے۔
By Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
Recently the ‘Sindh Writers and Thinkers Forum’ in Karachi arranged a dialogue on ‘Internationalism and nationalism’’ after a debate in Sindh in which some people equated nationalism with fascism. I was invited by friends and I expressed my views and the piece below was the basis of my talk.
A debate is going on in Sindh where some think that nationalism equates with fascism and liberalism with patriotism. Before I go any further, let us see what fascism is. Whilst talking about fascism, we need to know where the word comes from. It comes from Latin Fasci (Fa-sha-ay) meaning ‘bundle’ and fascis (Faa-shees) or fasces is its plurale tantum, meaning a bound bundle of wooden rods with an axe with its blade emerging at the top of it – which goes back to the Roman Empire – representing the forcible inclusion of different people or nations into one fold as the strength is always in numbers i.e. with the number of people, military might of professional soldiers with arms and ammunitions and armada, political and legal fraternity, sophisticated intelligentsia, resourceful mercantile class and above all international bankers to sustain the fascist entity. Although there are many polities that don’t use such symbols officially, their conduct is purely on fascist lines. Countries like Pakistan, Iran and Turkey are among them. The simple definition of fascism: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government: a very harsh control or authority.
بلوچستان لبریشن فرنٹ کے رہنماء ڈاکٹر اﷲ نذر سے خصوصی انٹرویو
سیریز: بلوچستان سے جرات کے خاکے
انٹرویو: جہانزیب حسین
ترجمہ: لطیف بلیدی
اس خصوصی انٹرویو میں جہانزیب حسین نے بلوچستان لبریشن فرنٹ کے موجودہ اعلیٰ کمانڈر ڈاکٹر اللہ نذر سے بات کی ہے جو کہ اس وقت پاکستانی ریاست سے آزادی حاصل کرنے کیلئے مسلح جدوجہد میں مصروف ہیں۔ ایڈیٹر کیساتھ مراسلت میں اﷲ نذر نے اس بات پر زور دیا ہے کہ پاکستانی پارلیمانی سیاست میں حصہ لینا بلوچستان پر پاکستان کی حکومت کو قانونی حیثیت دینے کے مترادف ہے۔ مگر پھر بھی وہ کہتے ہیں کہ وہ بندوق کے بجائے کتاب کا انتخاب کریں گے اگرچہ دونوں ایک دوسرے کی رہنمائی کرتے ہیں۔
An exclusive interview with the leader of the Balochistan Liberation Front
Series: Profiles in courage from Balochistan
In this exclusive interview, Jahanzeb Hussain talks to Allah Nazar, currently the top commander of the Balochistan Liberation Front, which is engaged in an armed struggle for freedom from the Pakistani state. In correspondence with the editor, Nazar asserts that taking part in Pakistani parliamentary politics would be akin to legitimizing Pakistan’s rule over Balochistan. And yet, he says, he would rather choose the book over the gun, though each informs the other.
Can you shed some light on the genesis of Baloch nationalism and its evolution since the creation of Pakistan?
Baloch culture, customs, code of honor and common psychology are the ingredients that sustain Baloch nationalism, which is rooted in hundreds of years of history. As soon as Pakistan invaded Balochistan in 1948, it imposed its cultural hegemony on us in order to erase our identity. The Urdu language was imposed in schools. Our children were taught about the histories of Arab, Afghan and Mongol invaders in a way that is completely different from and contradictory to our own history. Instructors were brought from Punjab and other areas so that the new generation of Baloch students could be moulded into Pakistanis. In a way, a slow cultural genocide was initiated. To shift the demographic balance, population settlements were created in and around the provincial capital of Quetta.
London, April 11 (ANI): Pakistan has been using these Islamic fundamentalist groups to quell the Baloch nationalist movement, a spokesman of the UK-based Baloch Nationalist Movement (BNM) has claimed.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to ANI here, BNM spokesman Hammal Haider said: “This is the Pakistan Government’s policy, they are making these Islamic groups in Balochistan powerful in order to quell Baloch nationalists.”
“It is crystal clear that Pakistan has been using these Islamic fundamentalist groups to safeguard their interests, it’s evidently clear that in province of Afghanistan and other places, Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are using them for their petty interests,” he added.
The 20th century has been witness to the rise and development, of the politics of Baloch identity and nationalism. Nationalism may be defined in one of two ways – by ethnic or civic criteria. While ethnic nationalism is based on the consciousness of a shared identity, culture, belief in common ancestors and history, civic nationalism is encompassed within a geographically defined territory. In practice, ethnic nationalism has had an advantage over territorial or civic nationalism because the former appears as a natural continuation of a pre-existing ethnicity. The nationalists believe that their corporate interests are best protected by possession of their own state in the international system.
A community has an identity when its members are able not only to distinguish it from other communities, but also to convey its distinctive character in words, gestures, and practices, so as to reassure them that it should exist and that they have reason to belong to it. Thus the emergence of a national identity involves a growing sense among people that they belong naturally together, that they share common interests, a common history and a common destiny. To this extent the Baloch have undoubtedly an obvious claim to national identity, as demonstrated by perceptible political, economic and social events peculiar to the Baloch.