Today’s shameful attack on the touring Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore is one highly visible part of an all-to-often extremely painful period for the peoples of this region. There have been many victims, and there will be more to come. Lahore can now add attacks on foreign sports teams to its experiences of suicide bombings, violent intimidation of shopkeepers by religious extremists, and more.
Tragically, too many people, both local and foreign to the region, have considered violence a perfectly acceptable mechanism for dealing with their problems. The carnage in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the last few years is a consequence of this misguided attitude. Reagan and Zia Ul Haq really got the ball rolling, by supporting violent extremists. And it’s been a sorry tale ever since. It is truly sad to see Obama’s policy of intensifying the violence.
The greatest tragedy is that two of the greatest nonviolent leaders the world has ever seen come from the region: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Mohandas Gandhi. It is high time to return to their example. They proved that nonviolence can work in the region. Their struggle for the hearts and minds of their peoples is our struggle too.