Related article: Vague HRCP statement fails to address Ongoing Shia Genocide – By Anwar Changezi and one response for LUBP’s policy of covering Shia Genocide and countering deliberate media distortion The hate campaign by fake bloggers (LUBP): whose agenda they are promoting? – by Raza Rumi.
In the last week, hundreds of Shias have been gruesomely massacred in Gilgit-Baltistan as part of a larger, ongoing Shia gencoide in Pakistan. At LUBP, we have striven to provide both analysis and reporting that is mostly missing not just from the mainstream press but also from that segment of bloggers and activists who present themselves as secular-liberal. For that, and for being critical of Pakistan’s compromised media, we have often been bullied and harassed on social media by those “liberal” (in fact pseudo-liberal) dons who did not appreciate their sense of victimhood and “liberal” tribalism being challenged in any which way.
For example, for representing the current wave of most significant massacres in Pakistan, which happen to be of Shias, we have been recently labelled by a “liberal” Pakistani blogger and columnist Raza Rumi and his Twitter entourage, as Iranian proxies, Ayatullah Mouthpieces and “Qum university”. This is regardless of the fact that we have also written and published articles to the contrary, both during and before the current surge in the ongoing Shia genocide in Pakistan. Refer to the conversations on Twitter where we were labelled the exact opposite for being critical of the Shia clerical alliance, MWM (Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen). For writing against the MWM, LUBP was referred to as “douche bags” (on a facebook forum documented on another site here) so we are in the enviable position of being cursed by both the “civil society” and the “theocrats”; none of whom have an honest and compelling answer when we presented with an alternate point of view.
For the record, LUBP has taken an active stance not only in highlighting and condmening Shia genocide but also on attacks on Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis, Balochs, Pashtuns, Hindus, Christians and other persecuted communities. Of course, given the recent surge in frequency and intensity of attacks on Shia Muslims, we have posted more articles on Shia genocide and we take pride in writing and publishing posts on an issue which is being wiped out by the mainstream media.
However, we are for the separation of Church and State and do not agree with theocratic dispensations. Similarly, we have no qualms in calling out Iran’s human rights violations, misguided agendas of some compromised or naive Shia leaders and have done so. All this is obviously uncomfortable for those “analysts” who prefer to box all Shias and those who support their rights, within manufactured stereotypes that serve to dilute and demean the miserable and precarious plight for Shias in Pakistan. When we deconstruct these stereotypes that are revealing of a subconscious anti-Shia prejudice, those who cannot respond to our arguments resort to such infantile tactics. Our “liberal” friends can say what they want and attack us via strawmanning tactics and false conflations. They can misattribute our posts to other authors and others’ posts to us, dare us to reveal our name, picture and location, call us “internet viruses” and what not, but this actually bolsters instead of weakening our stance.
Another tactic to deflect attention from their weak arguments is by attacking the very concept of using pen names and for asking those who are percieved to be using pen names, to either reveal their true identities or risk being blocked. For one, pen names are a universally accepted, legitimate tool used by authors and activists particularly when their intention is to criticize powerful agencies responsible for state-sponsored violence in the society and state-induced silence in the media.
Unlike pseudo-liberals’ wishy-washy, vague and spineless critiques, LUBP has to take a stand and, therefore, many of its authors have to write under pen names. Casting suspicion on their identities is similar to the Red Baiting tactics that preceeded the McCarthy Hearings in the United States. It’s worse than a witch hunt in today’s Pakistan and for our friend Raza Rumi and other critics of LUBP to wilfully engage in this tactic shows a disregard to the inherent violence that could ensue against those falsely accused of writing for LUBP or for those who surrender their pen names. It’s also hypocritical because our “liberal” critics do not reserve the same language or treatment to others on Twitter who prefer to use annoymity. And we can respect Cafe Pyala, Kala Kawa, @smokenfrog etc on this aspect.
This type of baiting seems to be a hypocritical tactic of those who cannot stand the annonymity of those taking an anti-establishment stance but who hide behind intermediaries and private messages to harass and campaign against LUBP authors and affiliates. Yes, many of us did get your message loud and clear but your pointless harassments are not going to work.
For example, when we evaluated articles in The Friday Times and Jinnah Institute (including those written by Raza Rumi) for misrepresenting Shia genocide as “sectarian violence” and “ethnic violence” thereby wilfully obfuscating and diluting the suffering of Shias in Pakistan, our “liberal” friends could have proven us otherwise. Unfortunately they decided to resort to ad hominem attacks, abuses and harassment instead of responding to the critical questions and observations.
We are all for building coalitons of support but such coalitions should not be built to maintain and reinforce silence and/or misrepresentations of state-sponsored atrocities in the mainstream and social media.