Haroon Riaz, to quote his blurb at the Nation, is a Rawalpindi-based independent blogger and believes in promoting free speech and secularism. Comrade!
He points out that what’s happening to Raif could so easily have happened to him or you or me. I know. Boy do I know.
He says hardly anyone is talking about Raif in Pakistan.
[W]hat does this tell the world about us? Or about our leaders who took the trouble of protesting against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but would dare not even think about the flogging of the Saudi blogger.
That those are some fucked-up priorities.
I know it is dangerous and sensitive to talk about anyone who has allegedly blasphemed, but let us put this case this way.
Let’s not even waste our time with the question whether Raif Badawi insulted Islam or not, and whether he should be punished for it or not, without giving up the defense of his right to.
But what if the law of the land requires your free expression about your society to be punished like this? Especially when half of the people in Pakistan want the country to turn into Saudi Arabia and the other half wants it to become Iran.
I don’t know what if. I can’t imagine what I would do.
What if you were arrested and publicly flogged for wondering why Ahmadis are persecuted in Pakistan?
What if you were penalized for wondering why Hazara and Shia are being targeted and publicly naming the culprits?
What if you were wondering about the unjust theocratic influences on the law and the constitution, and thereforeon the society?
What if questioning the theocratic parts of your constitution would put you on a trial for treason?
The kind of opinions that could so easily be projected to be insulting to religion and, therefore, the religious figures, you never know.
Raif Badawi’s opinions were not too different to these seemingly innocuous political inquiries.
Exactly. The humane and liberal thoughts are ferociously punished, while the sadistic torture of humane and liberal thoughts is state policy. It’s sick. It’s a sick inversion of how humans ought to act and live.
There is a reason why Raif Badawi matters so much.
It could have so easily been you and me.
Take care of yourself, Haroon.