Blasphemy? Are you kidding me? What on earth is blasphemy? That a person has opinions is turned into a crime? To me, the fact that a country in this 21st Century has on its books a law to punish what it calls blasphemers, that it seeks to invoke that law to put a woman to death, is itself something approaching blasphemy. Though since I cannot bring myself to ascribe meaning and substance to this thing called "blasphemy", I'll call this what it really is, an abomination. A blot. A monstrosity.
More than that. A warning.
For this abomination is rooted in just one thing: the creation of Pakistan on religious lines. As much as there are the claims that Jinnah had a vision of a secular Pakistan (and I think he did), the very idea of a country founded on a faith -- whatever the faith, in this case Islam -- carries at its core the seeds of today's blasphemy laws. That founding itself makes it inevitable that there will come a day when a man -- whoever the man, in this case Salman Taseer -- who questions the perversity of blasphemy will be targeted and killed. It also carries the seeds of the ultimate destruction of the country.
Because that's the nature of religion. When you follow a faith, any faith, it enjoins you to hold its precepts higher, somehow more esteemed, than every other religion's precepts. Too easily, that extends to holding every other faith's precepts in contempt, and, by extension, its adherents in contempt too. And a further extension leads to hatred for those of your own faith -- like Taseer -- who question such depraved conceit. Vacuous superciliousness like this is a feature of every religion I've run into, and is manifested in varied words I've also run into, such as "kaffir", "tolerance", "blasphemy", "sentiments", "dirty [outsiders]" and more.
All of which is why the real blasphemy in connection with Salman Taseer is of life and humanity itself. Because anyone who thinks taking a human life has religious sanction -- and the killer of Taseer and his cheerleaders clearly think Islam gave them that sanction -- disgraces humanity.
If blasphemy has any meaning, it's right there, in that disgrace. All I can say is, may a thousand Salman Taseers bloom from his grave.