By Zubeida Mustafa
THE Raymond Davis episode has proved, if nothing else, how impossible it is to fit people into neat categories. Although we love to brand people as leftist and rightist, liberal and conservative, Islamist and secular, radical and traditional, we now know how off the mark we are when we do that. Those who used Davis as a flogging horse to vent their anti-American sentiments were a disparate lot. There were people from both ends of the spectrum and only Davis was their meeting point.
Dr Farhat Moazzam, head of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Culture at SIUT, was absolutely right when she made a plea to the audience at the seminar on “Muslim women” to stop labeling people. Of course she was speaking in another context but whatever the occasion this practice polarises society.
As a result of this war of ideas the middle ground is shrinking and we are talking “at” each other and not “with” each other. At the CBEC seminar, Asma Jahangir, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, emphasised the importance of people being given the right to speak. What should also be emphasised is that the right to speak implies the corresponding duty to listen.