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No frontier Gandhi this

Reader comment on item: Faisal Shahzad, Jihadi, Explains Terrorism

Submitted by Burzine Waghmar (United Kingdom), Jun 25, 2010 at 06:01

Pashtuns --Pathan is mildly pejorative-- even by routine Muslim comparisons, are franker and more matter-of-fact than chatty, high-strung Arabs or long-winded, exhausting Persians. Something to be grateful for, actually. Such forthrightness, however, hardly implies uprightness: the Afghan moneylender attracts as much opprobrium throughout Pakistan as does his baniya equivalent across the artificial lines of '47. Old English hands here, including my Pashto instructor, often termed them "rough diamonds". The gone-east-gone-soft, kindly types for whose romantic delusions some of us are still footing an incessant bill. One silently noted thankful they were sounder orientalists than lapidarists. Shahzad's candour may alarm westerners like Pipes but not alert, coloured non-Muslims, for whom this is familiar fare. Still, Pipes makes timely observations with justified sharpness. Shahzad is attempting a frontier Gandhi here with his pietistic tirade. This, too, is old hat to us. That it will strike a resonant chord among apologists, Muslims or otherwise, merits no reiteration.

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