In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful




This proverb is quite famous and is known in almost every language of the world. It might not be true under the circumstances when the lamp is upside down but it is very much true so far the USA is concerned... The Government of the USA, its President and the functionaries are extraordinarily busy in advocating day in and day out for the restoration of Human rights in China, North Korea, Turkey, Russia, the six Central Asian Muslim countries that came into existence after the fall of Communist Russia, Cuba and the entire Muslim world. Along with it the American diplomacy is furling the banner of democracy, freedom and liberties including women rights of representation at par with men in every democratically elected institution both at public and non-public levels. All the international agencies and public forums are echoing with these “slogans.” Wherever President Bush and his Secretary of State, Dr Rice currently visited in their foreign tours, they emphasized over these demands vociferously time and again in their public “utterances” and private discourse but to no success so for.  


Human nature is very sensitive on this issue but our President and his henchmen have no idea as why the world is not paying any head to their “slogan mongering”. The USA which was the torch bearer of human rights in the present context of the world, championing the cause of freedom movements around the world and was serving as “nursery” of the freedom fighters for decades together has suddenly become ineffective. Its slogans have emptied their effects; her warning signals have become hollow; her threats and the course of intimidation have become lose cannons.  In consequence, the world no longer looks towards America as the beacons of light, the leaders of human rights to guide its destiny as a perennial source of inspiration for the restoration of their economic recovery and attaining their political inspirations. And it all happened in the wake of policies and programs adopted by Bush’s administration in the wake of the tragedy of September11, 2001. Unfortunately, the President and his people are perhaps “knowingly” ignoring its evil effects that may continue to cast its shadow on the socio-economic-political position of this country for decades together.


The magnitude of this catastrophic national tragedy is more enormous than that of the disaster of September 11. It can be summarized in one sentence: they all “preach” abroad what they don’t “practice” at home. This is called the hypocrisy of the first water. Your own house and its “residents’ are suffering and crying for the same “rights” but you are not paying any attention to their demand and assertions while advocating your agenda of liberty and human rights in the four corners of the world.  JUST LOOK, in “your” own “homeland”, there is a “dark” shadow under the glittering lamp of freedom and democracy that you are holding fast. You are trying to foster light everywhere in the world but are neglecting the “home front” to relish only “dark shadow” in our national and personal life. What a disastrous calamity it is! It reminds me of a verse of an Urdu poet Hafiz Merrathi: “her Taraf Chaye thay Badal awr kaheen saya na tha <> es tarah bersat ka musam kabhi ayah na tha” [Translation: It was intensely cloudy all around but there was no shadow at all any where. The monsoon season never occurred in this way]


It needs a little elaboration to make this diametrically opposite situation crystal clear. The USA was the beacon of light, shining the world with its light and moral support to freedom fighters but it has systematically cut its light at its home firmament. As a result, it is plunged into darkness, producing only a suffocating environment where human rights are being denied or curtailed or usurped under the gallows of the USA Patriot Act of 2001. This draconian legislation was hurriedly and conveniently passed with sweeping anti-terrorism powers by the Congress in the wake of September eleven’s tragedy. It was going to expire on December31, 2005. The Congress has now reached an agreement to extend the life of all the16 provisions of the law that were going to expire within the next six weeks time: fourteen have been extended on permanent basis and two pertaining to get into business and library record and the use of wire taps for seven years. It approved a separate provision for investigating a “lone wolf” terrorist. The house extended these provisions for 10 years and the Senate for four years. The American Civil Liberties Union has bitterly criticized and challenged these barbaric provisions that may turn the USA into a closed society or look like a police state of some underdeveloped country.


These provisions would deny “the right of habeas corpus petition at home to a prisoner that dates back to Magna Carta of modern civilization. These restrictions would infringe directly on civil liberties of its people that America champions abroad. The FBI would cease the records of ordinary Americans without a judge’s approval. It would take away the federal judiciary’s historical role in insuring that death penalty is imposed fairly. It would all dismantle the freedoms of ordinary Americans. [Ref: Editorial Comments: “Return of the Patriot Act” NY Times, November 18, 2005]


This is a mirror in which President Bush and his henchmen must see their “long” faces that if they do not reverse the propaganda bogy of “freedom and human rights” advocacy back to their home land, it is going to backfire. If they hijack the human rights of their own citizens, world would never listen to them and the USA will, thus, never be able to win the so-called “War on Terrorism”. If they do not produce the light from the lamp of freedom at home and turn the “shade” into light for their own citizens, they will make a laughing stock of self and American values. They should turn the lamp of freedom and human rights upside down in the “virgin” land of America, only then they will be heard and respected everywhere otherwise they will be discarded and despised wherever they will go as the world has manifested in the recent “unsuccessful” tours of the President both of the Southern and Northern hemispheres. “Shade Under the Lamp” will let us down everywhere.



Shamim A Siddiqi                                                                                                                                                                                                                   November 21, 2005