Of Regrets and Apologies

Jul 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest, Pakistan, World

“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again”, said Hillary Rodham Clinton to Hina Rabbani Khar on a telephone call, and Pakistan reopens its border to NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan after a seven-month blockade since November, when an American aircraft killed 24 Pakistan soldiers.

The nation went into shock and twitter was bombarded with questions like ‘Was this really an apology’, ‘they said sorry which they say even when they sneeze and did not apologize’ and ‘Is Clinton Camera-shy for a formal apology?’

I sat down and thought for a moment, ‘Would we be happy and satisfied if the word regret and sorry is replaced by an apology, a formal one, with a US official appearing on media?  The civilian and military leadership was so inclined to open the land routes that even a slightest blink of the eye was enough for them?  How was  it different from Cameron Munter’s condolences given immediately after the incident and those too in Urdu for which he must have done an extra effort to sound more convincing to the sheeple he was addressing. And, hand over heart, would you be satisfied if your wishes or demands of a ‘formal apology’ are met. Would you believe these statements coming from a super power that has a history of war crimes and blatant lies, very well acknowledged by internationally accredited activists and impartial commentators. Let us go through just a few of these.

-Just a few months ago, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta apologised to the Afghan people for an incident in which copies of the Quran were burned and said that it wasn’t intentional.

‘These actions do not represent the views of the United States military. We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception.”

NATO commander John Allen also addressed to the ‘noble Afghans’ and that too with an extra effort of learning to say ‘Assalam Alaikum’ and ‘Manan, Tashakkur’ to ‘calamin-ise’ the blistered sentiments with his amazing Pushto and Persian.

-Shortly after that, international media breaks the news, that a course for US military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following second world war precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.

“This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point).”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martic Dempsey responded to it as “the material in the course was counter to American appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,”

-A few weeks after burning of the Holy Quran incident, comes the horrible news of a US sergeant killing 16 innocent civilians, out of whom 9 were children and later all the bodies were set alight.  As always, the authorities tried to explain, they do not represent anybody. They were just mad (disagrees Robert Fisk).

Remember, US senator John Kerry was “deeply sorry” over the killing of two Pakistanis by a US official, and promised justice if he was handed over to the US? Similarly, there are numerous incidents which have torn apart United States claims of freedom and equality, belief in humanity and justice for all. Illegitimate drone attacks on Pakistani soil and civilian casualties are very frequent. Detainees in the Guantanamo held without charge, Abu Ghraib’s disturbing pictures where the soldier refuses to apologize for her ‘prisoner on the leash’ and other disturbing treatment, US military officials using Quran as target practice and urinating on corpses,  Aafia Siddiqui’s physical and sexual abuses in the world’s most horrifying jail,  sentenced for allegedly shooting (missing the target) a US soldier while a Marine gets three months in jail for massacring two dozen civilians in Iraq, are just a few. With a war that began with a lie of ‘Weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq, US remains the first and the only country to have used Nuclear weapons and is the biggest manufacturer and supplier of chemical weapons. Let’s also recall heavy usage of white phosphorus on the city of Fallujah.

A former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says:

“I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone, I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for.”

What has the US or the NATO apologised for in the past? And if they have apologised, have the injustices and war crimes stopped? Have they ever apologised for Hiroshima ‘formally’ or for the usage of napalm bombs and chemical weapons on Vietnam civilians? I must mention, they felt ‘sorry’ for deliberate syphilis infections in Guatemala as a part of medical tests without prior consent.

So my dear countrymen, what is it that we really want? With this history of regrets and condolences of the masters, even a formal apology means nothing. I remember from my childhood what my mum used to say every now and then to my little brother, ‘My son, you say sorry and then repeat the same thing? What kind of an apology is this? Saying ‘sorry’, means you admit your mistake and you would never do that again’. Unfortunately this does not mean anything in the real world and our mums had kept us in a world of fantasy and text bookish philosophy which we only come to find out as almost non-existent as we grow up to the ugliness of the mighty in this world.

A dog is no doubt man’s best friend. But, either our spineless leadership should come out of this ‘ideal friendship’ and let us live like a sovereign nation, who is capable enough to deal with its own issues (including terrorism that started after US invasion) or keep wagging the tail and make us all a mere joke . The precious 24 soldiers would never come back and nor would the thousands of other soldiers and civilians who didn’t get a name. The solution is:  this war MUST end!

I leave with you the words of an American activist, a daughter of a Jewish mother and an Iraqi father demanding the same as I do today. No justice, No peace!

Dr. Aisha Aijaz

About the author

Dr. Aisha Aijaz is a medical doctor, MA History from QMUL UK - a traveller, photographer and a dreamer who longs for a kind and tolerant world. She loves Urdu poetry and chai.

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  1. There couldn’t have been a better interpretation to how I feel at the moment. Our leaders are mere puppets in hands of the ‘super power’ !
    May Allah guide them to the right path !
    Our soverignity is a matter of joke for all nations which than can ridicule ith a ‘sorry’

  2. What better gift could a slave nation give to their masters than opening the NATO supply routes and that too on their day of independence i.e. 4th of July…!!! Independence to usurp the independence of other nations…

  3. The faster you deal with any militant groups and agressive activists of all sorts the faster all this will remain only a bad dream. You have FATA. Question is to what extent FATA has developed into society in modern meaning. These things took centuries elsewhere.

  4. Nice piece of writing & thanks for reminding us all what our ‘american friends’ have been doing, how they are using-abusing us.
    this reminds me of few words that i heard somewhere
    ‘beggars are choosers’
    ‘when americans tell us to jump we don’t ask why, we only ask how high’
    until unless the dependance on american money is cut, incidents like this will keep on happening.

    nevertheless, excellent piece of writing!

  5. U.S has made this world very unsafe. I wish our leaders leaders have the courage to raise their heads and say – ‘NO ITS ENOUGH’

  6. Asslamualykum.

    What an awesome Piece I’d say !! each line is so powerful based on strong facts. Gives a perfect and complete image of Us’ behaviour of ‘apologies’ and ‘condolences’.

    Thumbs up Aisha Aijaz, loved every word of it !!! MashaAllah. Keep doing your job of spreading awareness.

  7. Just for record … we can further explore the issues …

    – The Greeks, Romans, Alexander, Muslim conquests …. all involved a certain degree of violence … what ever the purpose, justification or ideology of wars, including imposing “your” World Order.
    If we want to resist the current world order, there are two ways, either to join a competing order (that we ourselves helped USA/NATO destroy, the USSR) or to make a similar new order (which we seem ill equipped, cuz of our petty Sectarian outlook).

    – The current world order is of nation states … which is primarily based on self-interest of each country and not some Morality.

    – In the current world order, if we want life with self-respect … even as some kind of Ummah …. the way forward is Economic Union 1st, Just like EU, NAFTA, G-6 etc etc. The other steps of in parallel would be Student Exchange, Language, cultural exchange etc … we have a long way to go, even if we start now …. The Political Union comes in the last cuz it needs solid basis!

    – Individually …. the beggars are not choosers … as long as we continue to choose highly corrupt political leaders … and they keep begging the world … we can never gain respect in comity of nations !

    -NATO was formed after WWII … so it had nothing to do with nuking Japan. Nuking Japan apparently was for two reasons, no matter how non-justifiable they are, they are what any other Nation state that times (Japan, Germany) or today would have done too !
    One clear reason was that Japanese believed their king to be “god” and thus why their loyalty to their king and his war was to the level of Suicide Attacks (US Marines had saw that in Pacific Sea Navy battles and Islands) … If USA had tried a land invasion of Japan and tried to reach Capital … it would have meant tens of thousands of US casualties …. that in exchange for civilians of an Enemy country lives … today any other country would also do the same! The other factor off-course would be to “demonstrate” her newly found Power !

    – Vietnamese Soldiers just like today’s Taliban … not alwayz wear uniforms … when bombing a Logistics Trail of your enemy (in that case known as Ho-Chi-Minh Trail) …. the line between Soldiers and Civilians gets quite blurred. Napalm is still today quite a valid military weapon, the case of “Agent Orange” used in Vietnam is however a different one … though primarily targeted at Crops, it even affected a large of US Soldiers as well, including the son of US General (who was ordering that) serving there … who later died from it.

  8. Strangely,today,I don’t feel like a proud Pakistani,anymore 🙁

    Re-opening of NATO supply route: 7 months of gain all gone in vain….What a shame!
    This country,unfortunately and sadly has no future while such inept,corrupt rule and a spineless nation, allow them to do so unhindered…

    A minced so-called apology,which sounded more like a condolence message, from US, denoting just a repeat of the findings of their biased probe committee on ‘joint mistakes’. This is a huge embarrassment for Pakistani nation and also for Pakistan Army.

    The nation was hoping to regain it’s lost dignity,relief and freedom from the clutches of external forces, who had literally been holding them hostage to their whims and in the event destroying the country…Our country had the U.S. by the balls and let go. this is a bad sign for all who had hope..the only leverage we had poof all gone.Courageously, we took 3 steps forward and today cowardly took 5 steps backwards 🙁

  9. @ Sethi and Nisar:

    This is a war that has to be won by strategy, not emotions.

    ‘Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across. To win 100 battles is not the height of skill – To subdue the enemy without fighting is’. (the height of skill). –
    taken from the book “The Art of War” by a Chinese General Sun Tzu – written centuries ago.

  10. @H Q,

    One could be the biggest fool on this God’s earth to believe that there is still an end game to Afghanistan…

    The 9/11 didn’t just happen to take place,for going on a picnic to Afghanistan,nor occupying it for over a decade,spent over a trillion dollars and last but not least losing the lives of about 5000 troopers,just to get their own rabbit (OBL) let lose for the fox hunt!

    They have a long global agenda to follow through and complete !

    They are not there to develop Afghanistan nor for the welfare of the Afghan’s.They are there for their own,Geo-Political,strategic and economic interest under the globalist agenda.It would be naive to believe that,they are going to leave Afghanistan, as it serves as their base, for future adventures across the region…

  11. @H.Q
    P.S….If the bridge by reopening was really to be believed as the Golden one.Then sadly the direction of the supply route is heading towards the wrong direction! It should have been moving from Afghanistan to the Karachi port and not on the contrary.

    What you termed as emotion are in fact, what the nation certainly was hoping and eagerly looking forward to regain it’s lost dignity,respect and freedom from the clutches of external forces, gripping them firmly, for so long, literally holding them hostage to their whims and in the event destroying the country…We had the opportunity to make it happen, holding them, by the cuff. But amazingly,we suddenly let go !

    This is a bad sign for all who had hoped that the only leverage, we had poof all vanished into thin air. Courageously, we took 3 steps forward and then took 5 steps backwards. Do you believe,it was a step in the right direction to had reopened the supply route,without having been able to meet the conditions,it was originally shut down ?

    Finally,the million$ question which arise at this point of time is, do we honestly feel that once their interest has been met,they wouldn’t do the same thing all over again?. More so,why do we underestimate ourselves so much?…We are considerably far better off in defense then,N.Korea,Iran etc.!How long our we going to remain being treated as a floor mat or a punching bag for them and be able to sustain the beating?

  12. I’m hanging between shock and hope……but in the end shock absorbs and the hope remains…. and it should remain because Hope is Life…..and I don’t wanna die as a slave. I’m sure my Hope will give me a great rise along with the whole nation and we’ll get our dignity and sovereignty back. Lets join hands to create HOPE in the 170 million silent voices, blank faces and mare followers to challenge less than 2000 black sheep in the whole country……and the scenario will be up side down.

  13. NIce writen piece, it deserves to be sent to crook drunks liberal facists who need to be reeducated about everything that relates to America, its history, its wars, its democrazy, its Vietnam and Iraq Wars.

  14. This country,unfortunately and sadly has no future while such inept,corrupt rule and a spineless nation, allow them to do so unhindered…Snap out of it Pakistanis !

  15. what to say about such a govt. having no concience , no love for its nation just happy to fullfill its own wishes and which is never fullfilled but the Pakistani Nation is at the same time culprit for remaining silent

  16. @ Mushtaq Sethi:

    I’m not sure what your agenda is. These supply routes are important not just for the US, but for Pakistan as well. This is not the first time in history that these routes have been used. And for your kind information, this is not the first time we have caught a humongous bear in this trap. Last time it was USSR with its own global agendas. This time its the US. Pakistani military machine is not as silly as you might think, and in addition to that, the Americans aren’t in fact as smart as you’re portraying them to be, or as smart as they think they are. They just brushed aside an economic break down in 2008, and are preparing to face another economic disaster. Pakistan knows what its doing more than what US knows what its doing. If you are of age, you must have lived the times of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and you must remember how terrible the situation was back then. If however you’re too young to have witnessed that, then history is repeating itself for you to learn it this time. Please don’t spread unnecessary desperation.

    Pakistan has and will always stand tall, even if the entire world unites against us. This is not just a war, this is the first chapter of the Crusade that the neo-cons have unleashed and just 10 years down the road are dreading its repercussions. Few more years and they’ll be choking to death in this very region. Mark my words, Pakistan may have to face more casualties and shitty Governments, but the United States is going to face civil war upon their economic collapse that is just a few months away.

  17. @ H.Q

    Rest assured,I have no personal agenda and certainly not to spread any desperation, as you insinuated,except the love and interest for my country,Pakistan! My views are in consonance with the events that have been unfolding within our region and specifically inside our own country,since the 9/11 took place. On the contrary,I am not sure how much inside information that you so confidently reflect to possess.

    BTW,the relevance or importance of the route are not the subject of this topic. But, the debate is whether,reopening the route after it was shutdown due to specific reason, 7 months back,was in fact the correct one and with any kind of meaningful gains or not ?. Since you appear to be very knowledgeable,I would request that you kindly enlighten me and the rest on this account!

  18. Moreover,before you start to defend the government stance on reopening the NATO supply route.
    I recommend you read this rational analysis on it. http://www.scribd.com/doc/99145816/Was-Pakistan-Wrong-to-Review-US-Ties

  19. Another magnificent article from Sister Aisha. articulation of truth about US Pak relation so called war on terror and Pakistan’s foreign policy. I think article clearly illustrates the failure of our foreign policy which is full of fear salve mentality and self delusion which caused a lot of damage to our country. and ofcourse the hypocrisy cruelity and arrogance of US foreign policy is also highlighted very well. Jazakallah for such wonder full piece may Allah help you write more of these to clear the fog.

  20. @ MS:

    Good to hear from you. I know nothing more than you do. I am just looking at the scenario from macroscopic view. Whereas, you guys are looking at it microscopically. This is where the difference of opinion lies.

    I am looking at the picture from historic context, recent series of events and the attitude of the rest of the world w.r.t. this so called war in Afghanistan.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan stand at almost the same juncture where they were 12 years ago. It is the US that is losing all its “allies” in Afghanistan. Soon, US will be left alone, trying to fight this useless war in which no superpower in history has been able to be victorious. UK is retiring from this war, France is frustrated, Canada is looking for ways to escape, Australia called it quits, Germany whooshed away – when US offered Russia to participate in this war, you heard what Mikhael Gorbachev said to them – and in a short while, US will itself be making lame excuses to disappear from this region.

    After such a long war, it is not seen who faced the maximum losses, what is seen is who stood to the last minute. We’ll stand, Afghanistan and Pakistan; however, i can’t say the same about a super power that was asked by its own people and its enemies to “scram”!

    I am not in denial of the losses of life and infrastructure that came as after-effects of this useless war. But then again, we didn’t start it. We just played along. Now we’re asking them to stay for as long as they like, but they’re the ones who wanna run off with unfinished business. And so our strategy is to wait and see who stands till all this is over and who scampers away.

  21. We are in a mist of darkness , dont know where to go and how to decide our own fate – Pakistan has been enslaved from the begining by USA – We were never liberated or got independance – It was only a transfer of our Master from Brirish to America – Thanks to the Mafia of different group and a few families who have kidnapped the country for their vested interest – Untill and Unless this stupid 18 crore Pakistanis do not stand and eliminate or do away with only a few hundreds of their enemies within the country known as Pakistani national nothing can be fixed – and we will continue beating around the bush , discussing self created problems on websites , in our drawing rooms , in coffee shops , in our meetings , on face books , via email , in our planted talk shows on TV or Radio , in our Jalsa Juloos and ON and ON ——!

  22. @ Hesham Syed:

    when in the history of mankind has a complete nation stood up to anything?

    You’re saying 18 crore are stupid. It is always a small splinter group of people that usually changes the fate of any nation, the entire nation does not wake up a wise-man one fine morning.

    in general opinion, yes, Pakistan, and every other country on the face of this planet is a slave to someone or somebody. However, by stating that from the slavery of the Britishers, we transferred to the slavery of Americans, you’re basically undermining the existence of Pakistan. But its a long discussion. I would recommend you weep over this matter elsewhere. Pakistan is slave to nobody. Its people are undergoing a major transition – and it is painful. However, Pakistan’s achievements in its short-lived existence are much greater than anyone could have anticipated – especially after facing the threats to its existence that it has faced since the day of its inception. We have not only defended ourselves against all odds, but come across 65 years. Today we’re a proud nation of Muslims – however, our areas of shortcomings are being much more highlighted than our achievements, and therefore people have set their eyes only on the failures like yourself. Look at the brighter side of the picture man.

  23. H.Q,
    Thanks for responding and assuring similar sentiments ! You are absolutely correct about the probable cause for raising the difference of opinion.! Apparently that is why you possibly are overlooking or failing to see, what we fortunately and probably are not missing out on by using, the “Microscop-ic” analysis…The dangerous benign bacterial disease causing illness to other wise the strong and healthy body !

    However, must admit that you are not entirely wrong about the bigger picture, too.The US/EU country’s, are at these times are confronted with a financial crunch in the form of a economic recession or a meltdown and the pinch is being felt,owing mostly for being engaged in to many fronts at the same time and more so even it’s majority of the populace is turning anti-war for the same reasons.Yet,that is something which “may” fully impact/affect them sometimes in the future,who knows when ? and possibly they “may” even manage to come out of it. Who can tell?…The point is that banking on such future possibility’s to take place,is basically a matter of relying on a lot of “If and Buts”. Something, which we can ill afford and be complacent upon.We maybe running short of time,before they run out of the anticipated fate…In plain and simple terms,we when we know who our enemy’s are and what are their intents ?. Then instead of creating in the air spins and reclining back on a comfy couch,saying all is well,could prove ill advised.Better, that we start to develop a reality check of our fitness to face any eventuality that may befall upon us unexpectedly and get engaged in rational and logical planning and preparedness,on how to deal and counter them effectively, if and when God forbid such testing times does arrive.

    May Allah bless,us and Pakistan and keep in his aman (protection) always.Ameen
    Pakistan Zindabad and Pakistan Armed forces Zindabad.

  24. once again a brilliant piece … wonderful use of information, and nice compilation of the event..! Congrats..!

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