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30 Sep, 2011

Oil, Palestine and a Pathan cabbie | Opinion | DAWN.COM

Thousands of Pathans from Pakistan drive taxis in the Gulf states. They are mostly scrupulously honest and hardworking individuals. Unlike other expatriates from Asian countries who submit tamely to the occasional road rage of a brash petrodollar rich Arab youth, the hardy Pathans would offer stiff resistance. For this they were sent home occasionally only to return with a new passport and a new resolve to continue their trudge in inhospitable lands.

“Ye khaana kharaab maasoom hai,” the cabbie muttered with understated rage as an Arab youth tried to overtake him from the wrong lane. “Allah Ta’ala isko upar se Quran diya, ye nahi samjhi. Allah isko neeche se tel diya, ye nahi samjhi.” (This pitiful fellow is not to blame. God gave him Quran from above, he couldn’t understand it. God gave him oil from below, he couldn’t understand it.)

The Pathan spoke from hindsight. The bitter experience of the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars bothered him. The failed attempt by Arab states to get even with the West with the help of their fabled oil weapon informed his anger. An internecine war between Iran and Iraq, both of whom he believed capable of deploying their enormous oil resources to tame Israel, formed the foreground to the cabbie’s sullen worldview.

via Oil, Palestine and a Pathan cabbie | Opinion | DAWN.COM.