Skip to content

The Butterfly Effect and Aafia

March 28, 2010

Today, March 28th, is Aafia Siddiqui day.

Most Muslims with an ear to the ground will have heard her name. Prisoner 650’s is a long story of illegal actions, injustice, and government-sanctioned horror, and she deserves the attention of the few minutes that it will take for you to read about her.

Why is this important?

There was a local fundraiser today, and yesterday I was with a few of the organisers, who all asked me if I was going. I said no. I posted the event on Facebook, and another friend asked me there if I was going. I said no. I woke up this morning, and my parents asked me if I was going. I said no – I hadn’t sat down a single day this week to do schoolwork (haha), and I really needed to. They nodded and understood.

I switched on my computer this morning to work. I read Maryam’s post again (awake this time – unlike the half-asleep skimming I gave it last night) – about people who spit on you, critical mass, and activism – and she asks the question at the end, ‘what makes you an activist?’

And then I realised I had to go. Because I wasn’t being an activist. I was being an inactivist, a reclusivist and wriggler-outer-ist. This WAS within my sphere of influence, and I had no robust reason not to go. Schoolwork was well and good, but how much barakah could I expect if I was leaving a greater good for it?

My family were almost out of the door and I was still in my nightie. I almost didn’t finish writing a comment to Maryam’s beautiful post, telling her I was going, I was in such a tearing hurry.

I went, everyone.

I went, I leafleted grumpy Sunday-morning shoppers who ignored me, offered sweets to kids who were herded away by suspicious and angry mothers (‘Didn’t I tell you not to take things from strangers? Remember Snow White and the poison apple? grumble mumble glower glare), and spent several minutes talking a young girl into going (I sold it to her with cakes and toffees XD). I walked up and down that high street so many times that my feet began to ache. I was even solicited by a lovely old gentleman for a photograph; he was, he explained, a member of a photographers’ club, and thought I was quite a picture, standing in the sunshine in front of exotic arch-design windows with hand-drawn cake-sale signs taped on them, handing out purple leaflets. I don’t generally like to be photographed, but I saw no reason to refuse, and after he had taken it, he told me that that had made his day.*

I met old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, met aunties who compared our cake-sale cakes to mine and made me blush in a maidenly way by their favour (XD XD). I sold cakes and bought them, I circulated and did the networking thing, and for a while, I even went and hid in the kitchen to escape the having-to-talk-to-people thing.

And I was a part of something. I was an activist.

Maybe in the end it won’t change anything for Aafia, and maybe it won’t change any policies – although we pray it will – but that’s not the only point. Making the effort is important: in the end, you can only do what you can, and try to live by that hadith:

‘Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.’

Faith is action, everyone. Faith isn’t keeping it in your heart and living your life regardless. Faith is expressing with your limbs and with your life what lives in your heart. What is in your heart is an ember, fanned by your breath, to become the fire at your fingertips.

I’m marvelling that the quiet thoughts of a ‘homebody’ in a small town in a big country on the other side of the world were the reason I couldn’t stay at home today. Butterfly effect?

No. That, sisters and brothers, friends and readers, is the Barakah Effect.

~

* Worth it, even though I had to tolerate crass jokes about old men passing around my photo** for purposes of ogling, and telling their friends over beer and cigarettes about their ‘beautiful new wife’. The part in inverted commas must be read in a bad Indian accent.

** It was not a haram photo, folks. I was hijabed and jilbabed to the max, so unless you are into hijabi-jilbabis, that is totally not the kind of photo to excite anyone except the CIA.

Advertisements
9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2010 12:17 am

    this brought tears to my eyes on so many levels.
    going to temporarily break my ban and spread the word on fb.

    • March 29, 2010 10:41 am

      I defy any mother among our readers not to have their heart break a little when they read about her.

  2. tanzinaaaaa permalink
    March 29, 2010 8:31 pm

    sayaa appi !!
    loool i lovve your foot note about only people being interested would be the CIA…
    loooooooooooool sureee..may i ask again why he was so insistent on having YOUR photo taken as i too was there …lol astagfurillah i jokeee
    anywaayy i commented to make it look like that you have some friends who read you work ..which by the way mashallah is REALLY REALLY good =) x

    • March 29, 2010 8:38 pm

      aww Tanjina, I appreciate the trouble you go to to make me feel like I have friends ^^

      You lot weren’t there when he came! You ran away and abandoned me to be preyed on by passing men! If you were there he wouldn’t even have noticed me!

      Oh hey, there’s a report right now on Islam Channel about the rally yesterday. Subhanallah, what a laughable excuse of ‘justice’.

  3. March 30, 2010 11:28 pm

    i just got here via the http://www.justiceforaafia.org page. wow.

  4. March 31, 2010 4:05 am

    I am so happy that this got posted on the JFAC page.

    I just…honestly, Sister Aafia has been on my mind every day for the past few months, more so since her conviction came down. Her conviction just struck me dumb. It was one of those moments that makes you have to really stop and pray to keep your faith in humanity. I can’t…it’s just unspeakable.

    But I think that’s the hardest and most important part of activism – to be a witness to things that people consider unspeakable (it’s one reason I feel a responsibility to talk openly about rape). Because if we forget Sister Aafia, if we forget all of our other sisters and brothers who experience oppression, torture, and injustice, we have not only failed ourselves and our fellow human beings, we’ve failed as Muslims.

    I’m glad you were able to attend the event there. There was not a local event here and I didn’t have the time to organize one, unfortunately, but I am so glad that so many people were able to organize local events. This is one of those times that makes me really ashamed to be an American, to even be associated with the American (in)justice system. I should not be shocked by injustice, not anymore, but the way this case was handled pushes the boundaries of even your normal American injustice system absurdity.

  5. April 2, 2010 2:03 pm

    IT IS ALL GOOD … BUT ONE THING THAT IS BEING FORGOTTEN IS THAT THE GOREMINT OFF PAKISTAN HAS GIVE N AAFIA SIDDIQUE MATTER A DISHIONEST+ SENSELESS SHORT SHRIFT … HAQQANI HAS USED THE SAD AFFAIR TO RECEIVE KICKBACKS AND REFERRAL FEES … AND GOREMINT (I SPELL THAT WAY TO CON NOTE CROOKEDNESS ) IS FAKING HER CONCERN.
    IN STEAD OF TEA-PARTIES AND PRESS CONFERENCES, SIMPLE WRITTEN LETTERS FROM GOVT OF PAKISTAN TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE AND TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE IN NEW YORK (COPY TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY) THAT SHE WAS KIDNAPPED BY US CIA/FBI AND THEIR DIRTY-SURROGSATES FROM KARACHI IN 2003 AND NOT IN KABUL IN 2008 ..WOULD HAVE SAVED AAFIA. BUT THE GOVT. INDULGED IN DOUBLE TALK , PHONY “NOTES VERBALES” AND AFFIA’S SISTER AND MOTHER BOUGHT THAT WHILE I WARNED THEM 18-20 MONTHS AGO IT WOULD NEVER WORK. THAT GILLANY AND MALIK REHMAN WERE FAKING THEIR CONCERN.
    I TRULY FEEL SAD FOR DOCTOR AAFIA AND HER INNOCENT CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF HONEST TO GOODNESS COUNSEL.

    BARRISTER SYYED MOIHAMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE MA LL M PhD DLITT FRSA
    11 OMER PLAZA
    ONE MOZAQNG RD,m LAHORE-54000, PAK TEL +00 92 345 426 6785

  6. May 21, 2010 10:38 pm

    Our nationaL APATHY AND INDIFFERENCE ARE TELL TATE AND ENDEMIC.

    SYYED IQBAL JAFREE

  7. February 27, 2012 8:37 pm

    i wonder why the family of aafia siddiqui does not now file a writ concerning injustices and illtreatment that doctor aafia siddiqiui is suffering due to corrupt and expoloitative dirty government of bureaucRATS in pakistan.
    i think aafia’s sister and mother should file a writ in the lahore high court .. in the past they declined straightforward honest-to-goodness advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: