Dismembering Tough Alterity

pakistan education

On May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden, the founder and head of Islamist militant organization Al-Qaeda, was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs. As the news of his death disseminated, there were celebrations across the world and particularly in non-Muslim and the developed world.

However, in Pakistan a different mood was observed. People were despondent and downhearted. One of my Muslim friends felt pity and expressed compassion for the murderer of thousands. Upon my interrogation about the expression of such feelings that friend of mine answered that Osama killed non-Muslims about which we Muslims should not be bothered. Such perspectives and mentality exist in many other minds throughout the developing world. Faulty education, primitive culture, lack of awareness and conservative attitudes make it very hard for people to digest other cultures and races.

I was also brought up in a primitive culture of Pakistan. I too received a faulty education like most of the children in the third world. I remember my fifth grade school teacher saying in class shortly after the start of Iraq war that America has started attacking Muslim countries one by one and we should be ready to fight them off. There were other radical ideas too that were being taught to children. But as I grew up and consulted more literature I underwent a paradigm shift. I realized that in the pursuit of our interests we all have divided and caused vendettas that have killed thousands. However, if we look at the broader picture with a tolerant mind every conflict and issue is due to selfishness of one or more entities. If we take a humble and tolerant approach towards life we can see our own faults. I realized that people of my country have developed false prejudices against other cultures due to the selfish mentality they have about life because of either lack of education or false education.

My teacher gave wrong information to her students because she had no affection for the people of other culture or race. My friend felt pity for the murderer because he was from his race and the ones murdered were from the other race. Selfishness prevailed in both cases. If they had some tolerance they would feel the pain of others. Tolerance must replace selfishness. Tolerance is the way forward for humanity. If Moscow government had tolerance for others it would not have complicated the situation in Ukraine in the pursuit of world dominance.

If Pyongyang government had tolerance it would have made the relations amicable with the neighboring countries. Similarly the conflicts in Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Pacific Asia can be avoided if tolerance takes the place of selfishness. Men will stop raping women and terrorists will stop killing people if they develop tolerance. All the issues are due to the selfish mentality and can be solved by tolerance.

The people who have aged developing the radical ideas about other cultures are hard to change. The only segments of the developing societies that can be changed are the youth. Modification of educational systems with special focus on sustainability can bring about the desired change in the society. Education for sustainability can develop tolerance for other cultures and races in the next generation in the developing world.

Author: Kashif Qamar Malik