Extraordinary ‘movement’ in Pakistan against the protests


by Sunny Hundal    
9:42 am - September 24th 2012

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(Project Clean For Peace. #MuslimLove)

It started with a Tweet.

23-year-old Faran Rafi from Islamabad, wrote: “I say when/if these #protests end, we take up the streets and clean up the mess. Show the world that real #Pakistanis say NO to violence.”

He wrote the same on his Facebook wall and then created an event. In four hours, hundreds of people people across Pakistan signed up. By Saturday evening that number had gone up to thousands.

On Sunday morning, The Express Tribune reports, hundreds of Pakistanis across major cities took to the streets to clean up. The FB event said:

The idea is simple, just get out on the streets and roads, use whatever resources you can to clean up the mess created by the riots.

Faran Rafi told local media they were also against the “blasphemous film” but wanted to register a peaceful, non-violent protest.

“The basic purpose is to tell the world that Pakistanis can be peaceful and productive as well.”

The clean up was filmed by Syed Muzamil Hasan Zaidi, who said it offered “the other side” of Newsweek’s Muslim Rage cover.

Today, tens of hundreds of people showed up from 8 year olds to 60+ senior citizens in different cities of Pakistan to clean up the mess created by the few individuals who somehow always end up defining Pakistan. Here’s to all of today’s participants, you’re the reason why we have a good future. Pakistan is proud of you.

Police in Lahore and Islamabad also helped offer them security as they cleaned up.

“The tweet turned into a movement,” Faran Rafi said.

Extraordinary.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

“Extraordinary.”

Extraordinary and fantastic. Good for them.

Enough already- we’re getting the message.

Islam has a cuddly side (or at least a few progressive, propagandist film makers).

However the fact that the “street cleaners” needed police protection demonstrates that it also has the other side that you prefer not to discuss.

Look up the literal meaning of “extraordinary”.

If ever you needed to see we’re all not that different after all, then – riots followed by Broom Brigade should be enough. Let’s see if they do better than we did and not have it followed by more riots.

Good news, well done to them.

@2 – As seemingly the entire western media focuses continually on the bad aspects I welcome this as it evens the balance out a bit. You’d do better to argue to fox news that they represent the bad side too much and see if they’ll include this story

This, like the citizens of Benghazi chasing the Islamist militias out of town, must come as a grave disappointment to the likes of Seamas Milne and John Pilger.

6. Chaise Guevara

@ pagar

“Enough already- we’re getting the message.

Look up the literal meaning of “extraordinary”.”

If your response to data is “enough already”, you are officially in no position to judge what is extraordinary and what isn’t. Of course you’re gonna think Islam is teh devilz if you actually object to information about Muslims being decent citizens. Yeesh.

@6

What is more extraordinary is a Pakistani government Minsiter putting a 100k bounty on the filmmakers head and telling the press he would kill the guy himself if he got the chance.

@ Chaise

If your response to data is “enough already”, you are officially in no position to judge what is extraordinary and what isn’t.

If it were data, I might agree, but I feel like I’m in the midst of Sunny’s one man propaganda campaign. Slow motion pictures of people sweeping the streets to mood music and photos of a group of people carrying banners written by someone else.

Meanwhile, in an update on the “extraordinary” Libyan people power story, it seems that the demise of the jihadists has been somewhat exaggerated……..

“Libyan militias responded to a 48- hour government deadline for them to disband by drawing up lists of people wanted for inciting weekend protests against them.

The Raffala al-Sahati militia, an Islamist group based in Benghazi, was one of at least two groups that drew up a list of more than 100 people, said Bilal Bettamer, a 22-year-old law student and protest organizer.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-23/libya-begins-push-to-secure-country-while-militias-disband

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 pagar

Ah, so that story that makes Muslims look bad DOES count as data? Glad to see you’re keeping it rational and are not in any way filtering information so that it doesn’t upset your preconceptions…

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 tory

“What is more extraordinary is a Pakistani government Minsiter putting a 100k bounty on the filmmakers head and telling the press he would kill the guy himself if he got the chance.”

What’s your point, exactly?

There are literally thousands of people in Pakistan who reject violent protests over the Mohammed film–truly extraordinary.

I was personally there and am even featured in the movie, picking up broken glass. It was a splendid day! A real smack across the faces of the “protesters”.

Although in reality, the people causing the violence, weren’t exactly the protesters. They were mostly teenagers who randomly came out wreaking havoc. Venting out their personal frustrations and not realizing that their actions are giving us and Islam a bad name.

@pagar – The security was there just in case, because we still had peaceful protests going on a couple miles away. But mostly, the policemen there were helping us, making sure that no one got hurt or venture into enclosed areas that still might have tear gas residue.

@Chaise – Thank you for your support. It’s good to know that there are actually people out there not blinding by words of the manipulated media.

@vimothy – Actually, there were less than a thousand people who were actually being violent. The remaining 176 million people were either involved in peaceful demonstration, or were making their voice heard over the internet while watching the rioters go crazy on TV and hating them.

Here, a compilation of 4 pictures of the actual peaceful protests that went on that day. Such details, your media blatantly ignores. What you hear is a manipulated story. The manipulators just want everyone to hate Islam, so that they can justify their actions against Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran etc.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/580377_10151165065129666_344560093_n.jpg

I think you’ll find that what our newspapers want is to maintain the fiction that we’re all the same and that we all share the same interests (perhaps mixed with the natural human tendency to gawp at the crazies). This is the prime motivating fiction of the modern West. Here you spin from the same yarn.

Well, we don’t all share the same interests. The West will be as harmful to Islam as it has been to Christianity. Not because it hates what is different. Because it doesn’t believe that difference exists.

15. So Much For Subtlety

11. vimothy

There are literally thousands of people in Pakistan who reject violent protests over the Mohammed film–truly extraordinary.

Literally tens of hundreds actually. Out of a population of just over 180 million. Or on the order of one out of every hundred thousand or so.

Having checked the definition in the dictionary, I agree this is indeed extraordinary.

16. Chaise Guevara

@ SMFS

I think you’ll find that “literally thousands” and “literally tens of hundreds” is literally the same thing. Just sayin’.

@ Salman Hijazi

You’re cheering me up immensely. It’s great to have someone around with first-hand experience and a sensible outlook on all this. Good to have you on the thread.

17. So Much For Subtlety

12. Salman Hijazi

A real smack across the faces of the “protesters”.

You went out and picked up their garbage. How was that a smack in their faces? I mean, my front garden is a bit messy. Would it be a smack in my face if you came over and mowed the lawn?

Although in reality, the people causing the violence, weren’t exactly the protesters. They were mostly teenagers who randomly came out wreaking havoc. Venting out their personal frustrations and not realizing that their actions are giving us and Islam a bad name.

I really do find many things extraordinary in this thread. Like this defence of the protestors. Of course they were not to blame. It was da Yoof.

The security was there just in case, because we still had peaceful protests going on a couple miles away.

I find the irony in this extraordinary as well. You need police protection from *peaceful* protests a couple of miles away? Well, I will be careful the next time CND comes out to protest in the next town then.

It’s good to know that there are actually people out there not blinding by words of the manipulated media.

Sure. It is all a plot.

Actually, there were less than a thousand people who were actually being violent. The remaining 176 million people were either involved in peaceful demonstration, or were making their voice heard over the internet while watching the rioters go crazy on TV and hating them.

And hating them? The Pew people poll Pakistani opinion and to me it looks a lot like they are in agreement with the violent ones rather than the trash brigade. Why do you think the other 180 million Pakistanis hate the Islamists?

13. Salman Hijazi

Here, a compilation of 4 pictures of the actual peaceful protests that went on that day. Such details, your media blatantly ignores. What you hear is a manipulated story. The manipulators just want everyone to hate Islam, so that they can justify their actions against Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran etc.

There you go. What else is extraordinary is that even Pakistani liberals believe in nonsensical conspiracy theories. Notice Palestine in first place. Who could be behind such a media conspiracy I wonder?

18. just visiting

Chaise

I think you missed his point – that ‘thousands’ is a very tiny number in such a large country as Pakistan.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 18 JV

“I think you missed his point – that ‘thousands’ is a very tiny number in such a large country as Pakistan.”

Got the point. Was nevertheless amused by the innumerate “correction”. That’s not red, you fool, it’s crimson!

20. So Much For Subtlety

19. Chaise Guevara

Got the point. Was nevertheless amused by the innumerate “correction”. That’s not red, you fool, it’s crimson!

No you did not get the point. Because it was not a correction nor innumerate.

I was personally there and am even featured in the movie, picking up broken glass. It was a splendid day! A real smack across the faces of the “protesters”.

Good man! Hope there is more of this. Ignore the silly people making sarcastic comments – they’re not used to Pakistanis doing any good.

22. the a&e charge nurse

[21] pakistan will be forever hamstrung by violence so long as it remains in the grip of the military and religious hardman.

This report says, “The fact that almost all the past political assassinations and unusual deaths in Pakistan’s history – including those of Liaquat Ali Khan, Hayat Ahmed Sherpao, General Zia, Murtaza Bhutto and Omar Asghar Khan – remain shrouded in mystery provides little assurance that questions surrounding this killing will be satisfactorily answered.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/03/pakistan2

Then there’s pakistan’s sideline in harbouring terrorists.
When osama bin ladan was finally tracked down where was he?
Living in a garrison town in Abbottabad …….. guest of the army!!

When they are not busy killing their own leaders, political figures are calling for the death of film makers – even so, I’m glad ordinary citizens object to violent demos that must take some courage when the rule of law can not be relied on, while a climate of intimidation or religious intolerance is never far away.

I shouldn’t need to say this again but given the current comments in this thread – what proportion of the British population rioted last year? What conclusions about the British people should foreigners make about their actions? Similarly, what proportion of the British population decided to oppose the rioters by forming the Broom Brigade to help tidy up? Are they a better or worse representative of the true character of the British people? Finally, what about the proportion of the British population that did neither – where do they fit into it all – were they silent supporters of the rioters or the broom brigade or did they just not care either way?

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 SMFS

“No you did not get the point. Because it was not a correction nor innumerate.”

I see. You were doing that thing where you mean one thing, but write something completely different, to throw people off the scent.

25. the a&e charge nurse

[23] ‘What conclusions about the British people should foreigners make about their actions?’ – none of any relevance here, unless you think the riots had anything to do with a film made in pakistan.

@ Sunny

they’re not used to Pakistanis doing any good.

Possibly the most overtly racist comment I’ve ever heard on this blog.

Moderate yourself!!!!

I shouldn’t need to say this again but given the current comments in this thread – what proportion of the British population rioted last year?

One large enough to cause significant amounts of chaos.

What conclusions about the British people should foreigners make about their actions?

This question, it maketh little sense. Their actions do not need to be interpreted. What foreigners should conclude about the rioters themselves is that they are not civilised; what they should conclude about the authorities is that they cannot prevent uncivilised elements from destroying English cities in orgies of destruction; and what they should conclude about British society is that it is decadent and dysfunctional.

Similarly, what proportion of the British population decided to oppose the rioters by forming the Broom Brigade to help tidy up?

One large enough to completely negate the damage and actually prevent riot from ever happening? Oh, wait…

Are they a better or worse representative of the true character of the British people?

There is be a symmetry between the ultra-wet response of the (nauseatingly titled) “Broom Brigade” and the demented behaviour of the rioters themselves. You’d rather live next door to the former, but of course they come as a pair.

Finally, what about the proportion of the British population that did neither – where do they fit into it all – were they silent supporters of the rioters or the broom brigade or did they just not care either way?

I like how you pose these questions as if it should be obvious that we shouldn’t come to any conclusions about anyone, because that would be too judgemental and mean.

The rest of the population deserves plenty of blame. We live here too–this is our society, isn’t it? We are responsible for the riots, for the rioters, and for the Broom Brigade. According to Maistre, “every nation gets the government it deserves.” This then, is our just deserts.

@25 Well given the German embassy that found itself targeted I think it’s fair to ask if they actually are rioting over that film, and not just using it as an acceptable excuse to kick off for shits and giggles. After all, I recall being told several times that people weren’t rioting over Mark’s killing but were rioting to steal, ruck with cops, smash things up – after everyone had seen how much fun the first riot, that actually was over his killing, was.

29. Chaise Guevara

@ vimothy

Is it just me, or are you basically having a go at the Broom Brigade for not going out to oppose the rioters and getting decked for their efforts?

Chaise,

are you basically having a go at the Broom Brigade for not going out to oppose the rioters and getting decked for their efforts?

No. What I’m saying is that they are symptomatic of British society, which facilitates and excuses dysfunction. We gave our cities over to the rioters and allowed them to loot and pillage; then the next morning, like an abused spouse, we turned up with brooms to tidy away the broken glass and smashed crockery.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 30

No but yes, in other words.

What I’m saying is that they are symptomatic of British society, which facilitates and excuses dysfunction.

And you are symptomatic of blog-commenters failing to make any sense.

As a simple point of fact, the broom-brigade neither facilitated nor excused the riots.

Since neither of you seem to able to read, there isn’t much point in trying to respond any further.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ vimothy

“Since neither of you seem to able to read, there isn’t much point in trying to respond any further.”

Very mature. But the fact remains that a) you’ve defined “facilitate” and “excuse” to include “not getting yourself punched in the face”, and you say you’re not blaming the Broom Brigade for failing to get punched in the face, yet you’re whinging about them not doing so (in effect).

Basically I think you want to say something all dramatic and gloomy but haven’t actually come up with anything coherent. A position supported by your following “WELL YOU CAN’T READ!!” response.

17. SMFS

Would it be a smack in my face if you came over and mowed the lawn?

I don’t know about you, but I would be very embarrassed if someone else came to mow my lawn. Clearly they must’ve felt that I’m careless enough to not care how bad an image my dirty lawn was giving of the whole street.

I really do find many things extraordinary in this thread. Like this defence of the protesters.

Clearly you cannot be bothered to look beyond what the media is broadcasting on your television. I was personally out there, and definitely saw more than what you did. But I’m sure not all of them were just out there for the fun, and hence the word “mostly”. but then again, every society has their extremists.

I find the irony in this extraordinary as well. You need police protection from *peaceful* protests a couple of miles away? Well, I will be careful the next time CND comes out to protest in the next town then.

Your house won’t catch fire probably ever, but you do have sprinklers installed just in case. No? Who doesn’t like to take precautions? Because what happened the day before, was not planed or directed, it was a random outburst.

Sure. It is all a plot.

That you will never understand. More because you don’t want to. And frankly, I don’t blame you.

And hating them? The Pew people poll Pakistani opinion and to me it looks a lot like they are in agreement with the violent ones rather than the trash brigade. Why do you think the other 180 million Pakistanis hate the Islamists?

Again, you weren’t here and you don’t know. All you have is ideas and theories that you’ve heard from people who think the same as you do now – Islam = bad. You’ve formed your opinion based on other peoples opinion as you couldn’t be bothered to make your own by actually looking into it.

There you go. What else is extraordinary is that even Pakistani liberals believe in nonsensical conspiracy theories. Notice Palestine in first place. Who could be behind such a media conspiracy I wonder?

There is something more ‘extraordinary’ here – The fact that you guys strip down our sentences looking for something to pick up and use against us, even if it makes no sense. This shows how biased your opinion is and how stubborn you can get defending it. This may be a conspiracy theory, but then again, for all the reasons that countries around the world are being attacked are also conspiracy theories. The only problem is, your theories have lead towards deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Did anyone get any footage of the pageful protests or the clean up project? Would love to share it on newsflare.com, you will receive all credit for your submission and may even get paid. Let me know

37. So Much For Subtlety

35. Salman Hijazi

I don’t know about you, but I would be very embarrassed if someone else came to mow my lawn. Clearly they must’ve felt that I’m careless enough to not care how bad an image my dirty lawn was giving of the whole street.

By all means, let us agree that these protestors gave the extremists some mild embarrassment. That is reasonable. But hardly a smack in the face. Applying Bin Laden’s Strong Horse test does not bode well for the Broom Brigade.

but then again, every society has their extremists.

A false equivalence if ever I have seen one. No society has ever, to the best of my knowledge, displayed the sort of dysfunctional extremism found in the central Muslim lands in recent times. Certainly no other part of the world has anything like it except where Communists hold out.

Your house won’t catch fire probably ever, but you do have sprinklers installed just in case. No? Who doesn’t like to take precautions? Because what happened the day before, was not planed or directed, it was a random outburst.

So there was a real chance the extremists would respond to the Broom Brigade with more violence? That makes it sound like it wasn’t just teenagers out for a spree, but something else more sinister.

That you will never understand. More because you don’t want to. And frankly, I don’t blame you.

I agree. There are just some things I will never ever understand. But then I don’t want to understand the mentality of people who can think the Jews run the world and the like. If Pakistan gets a bad press, it is only because on average Pakistanis have earnt it. That is, the extremely bad outweighs the good.

Again, you weren’t here and you don’t know. All you have is ideas and theories that you’ve heard from people who think the same as you do now – Islam = bad. You’ve formed your opinion based on other peoples opinion as you couldn’t be bothered to make your own by actually looking into it.

It is funny that you have never met me and have no idea what I think but you can simultaneously condemn me for commenting on Pakistan despite not being there while also condemning me for views I have never expressed. Why do you think that is not hypocrisy? The Pew people do really good work and to describe them as people who think Islam is bad is childish. Nor do I know anyone who thinks Islam is bad – but that is not the point because we are not talking about Islam but Islamists. A small and unrepresentative minority. Do you think they actually represent Islam?

So all you have done is tried to throw mud to avoid the actual issue – every opinion poll in Pakistan shows that the Islamists ideas are a hell of a lot more popular than the liberals.

There is something more ‘extraordinary’ here – The fact that you guys strip down our sentences looking for something to pick up and use against us, even if it makes no sense.

If you don’t want to be pulled up for making silly comments, don’t make silly comments. But that paranoia does actually go to the heart of this issue – Pakistan’s liberals are not that far removed from their Islamists. After all, if someone grows up hearing only that Jews = bad and the West is to blame for everything, they are probably inclined to think it is true. Without ever looking at or for the evidence.

This shows how biased your opinion is and how stubborn you can get defending it.

And yet it is not my problem. I am not asserting that the media is part of some vast conspiracy to cover up what Israel is doing in Palestine. It is not biased to point out how offensive such views are.

But you are doing a nice job of changing the subject.

This may be a conspiracy theory, but then again, for all the reasons that countries around the world are being attacked are also conspiracy theories. The only problem is, your theories have lead towards deaths of thousands of innocent people.

Actually it is the people who think the media is biased who are killing people – tens of thousands of them. Not me. A belief in rationality is the only thing that is going to save them. It is a conspiracy theory. And you can defend it if you like, but it will not become any more sane or acceptable. I do not think there is some vast central centre controlling every Islamist attack so I don’t know where your comment comes from.

@Pagar – you’d be hard pressed to find even parades in the U.S. without police there. They’re present for public functions. It doesn’t mean they’re in danger.


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    This one's for you mom, you always asked me to paint the honest and true… http://t.co/QMOAcJbg

  51. ?????

    Our top story today: Yesterday, 100s of Pakistanis cleaned up after the riots, to send a different message to the west http://t.co/MIutJkyV

  52. Angie Nwanodi

    Our top story today: Yesterday, 100s of Pakistanis cleaned up after the riots, to send a different message to the west http://t.co/MIutJkyV

  53. Pete Kavanagh

    http://t.co/OSP1gEMl

  54. Sahil Khan

    Our top story today: Yesterday, 100s of Pakistanis cleaned up after the riots, to send a different message to the west http://t.co/MIutJkyV

  55. Farooq Javed

    What mainstream media didn't cover MT @sunny_hundal Hundreds of Pakistanis cleaned up after riots http://t.co/7DBcTafz

  56. Ata ul Haq

    Extraordinary ‘movement’ springs up in Pakistan against violent protests | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/jdiWiyS5

  57. ClareWhite

    Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/oCImW9BE

  58. Guy Bailey

    Extraordinary ‘movement’ in Pakistan against the protests http://t.co/o5smqW4x

  59. Amal Team

    How #ProjectCleanForPeace began with a single tweet by @faranrafi http://t.co/culsurr7 #Amal_Team #Pakistan #BehtarPakistan

  60. Dan Thompson

    Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/oCImW9BE

  61. Janet E Davis

    Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/oCImW9BE

  62. Kate Wright-Morris

    Yeah! @artistsmakers, the power of the people. RT @ClareWhite: Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/El47Q551

  63. Community Lover's

    Amazing: Hundreds of Pakistanis across major cities took to the streets to clean up against violence http://t.co/jAvAoZma (@artistsmakers x)

  64. TessyBritton

    Amazing: Hundreds of Pakistanis across major cities took to the streets to clean up against violence http://t.co/VsKmiYnA (@artistsmakers x)

  65. Kerrin Mansfield

    Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/oCImW9BE

  66. Dan Thompson

    Amazing: Hundreds of Pakistanis across major cities took to the streets to clean up against violence http://t.co/VsKmiYnA (@artistsmakers x)

  67. Phil Green

    RT@ClareWhite Love #riotcleanup in Pakistan: http://t.co/eG9nnqBX #wiserorg #peaceday2012, #peace, #compassion

  68. aylinbailey

    Amazing: Hundreds of Pakistanis across major cities took to the streets to clean up against violence http://t.co/VsKmiYnA (@artistsmakers x)

  69. Aser Rehman Mir

    Extraordinary ‘movement’ in Pakistan against the protests | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/HW5pvq2U via @libcon

  70. Aser Rehman Mir

    RT @libcon: Extraordinary 'movement' in Pakistan against the protests http://t.co/PRVRrTuF

  71. Bilal Sheikh

    Yesterday, 100s of Pakistanis started cleaning up after the riots, to send a different message to the west. Video http://t.co/MIutJkyV





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