An intervention for Pakistan


Anti-Shia protesters march in Karachi in September

I’m worried about Pakistan, you guys. I think its sectarianism habit has gotten out of hand. Seriously, the escalation of anti-Shia protests and violence, coupled with state-sponsored legislative discrimination is not healthy. Plus, Iran and Saudi Arabia are totally enabling this stuff, I mean look at what happened to Yemen. I think it’s time for an intervention.


For real though, in September, protests erupted in the city of Karachi with thousands chanting anti-Shia slogans, dozens of draconian ‘blasphemy’ charges have been leveled at minority community leaders this past month, and reports of religiously motivated attacks have dotted regional news outlets like precum on a pedophile’s boxers at recess or like smallpox on a Native American’s skin in the 1500s. And I’m not talking pussy shit like graffiti or bricks through windows either -- this is the kind of stuff western cops can only dream of disproportionately retaliating against.


Now, if you’re American you might want to sit down for this because I don’t know if you knew, but there’s more than one type of Muslim. And sometimes, they hate each other as much as you hate them. The two biggest denominations are Sunni and Shia. We’ll call it an 80/20 split because I know how complicated numbers hurt your brain.


Left: Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, Right: Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

This denominational divide is especially prevalent in a country like Pakistan, the second largest Muslim country in the world, because while the South Asian nation is predominantly Sunni and closely allied with Saudi Arabia, it’s also home to the second largest global Shia population and borders Iran.


This makes it suuuper awkward when your country’s allies attack Shia religious sites, like when Saudi-backed Sunni rebels launched a rocket attack hitting an important Shia shrine in Syria in 2013. This particular event galvanized Shiites in the region, and Iranian-backed tribal militias from Pakistan joined Bashar al-Assad, who sucks, in defending Damascus during the civil war.


And that wasn’t the last time Saudi Arabia and Iran, acting as respective Sunni and Shia motherlands, have fucked around in other countries’ business. Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led western-backed coalition have plunged Yemen into a seemingly endless civil war. The failed transition of power to the UN-recognized leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi following Yemen’s Arab Spring allowed a minority Shia movement -- with support from Iran’s Kalashnikov-and-Stinger-missile-tipped tentacles -- to eventually seize control of the Northwestern region of the already War on Terrorism-ravaged country.


Saudi Arabia and its allies were not having that. A coalition that included many arab nations (although I should mention, not Pakistan) with support from the US, UK, and France launched a campaign in 2015 that included what experts have called a metric fuckload of airstrikes and a brutal economic isolation strategy that’s left Yemen completely destabilized -- Secessionist groups backed by the United Arab Emirates now control the South after breaking with the larger coalition, battles over important port cities are threatening already insufficient food and clean water supplies, and every player has been accused of multiple human rights violations.


Also, and this isn’t strictly relevant, but Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president (you know, the one that was originally deposed in the Arab Spring) returned to Yemen in 2016 announcing a formal alliance with the Houthi forces. On December 2nd, 2017, Saleh split with the rebels after reportedly colluding with foreign states like Russia, Jordan, and the UAE, and called for his supporters to turn with him. The motherfucker lasted less than two days, and was assassinated on December 4th. Like really dude? Quit while you’re alive.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Yemen

Anyway, every news article about the civil war in Yemen desperately wants you to know that it’s the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” and it’s definitely a lot of different people’s fault. And now I’m worried about an encore in Pakistan, with the same unbelievably fucked up stakes.


But is it just me or are humanitarian crises like the last thing you wanna have a dick measuring contest about? I can imagine some virgin with a BA in polisci yammering, practically see-through, into a webcam like “While Yemen is traditionally considered to be the only S-tier humanitarian crisis, I would argue that the Uyghur genocide in China is underrated because of the government’s coverup, so this season I’m placing it in S as well. Moving on to A+ tier, I’ve upgraded Syria this season on account of Assad’s mishandling of the pandemic and neighboring Lebanon’s financial crisis, blah blah blah.” Like fuck off, Nathan, you’re 23 and you need to move out of your mom’s basement... What was I talking about?


Oh yeah, dick measuring contests. Stop it. Stop it when determining which humanitarian crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis and stop it when determining which type of Islam is the best type of Islam -- people are dying, for no reason. Please pull up your pants.


Colman Brown

Instagram: @Lankmun