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Wednesday, March 15, 2023 

Pakistani who fled from wrath of their military publishes his experiences in comics format

France 24/AFP has a report on a Pakistani journalist who'd been targeted by their military for speaking against them, and has now authored a graphic novel based on his experiences:
He barely escaped Pakistan with his life after angering its powerful military with his journalism. Now his story has become a comic book.

Taha Siddiqui's therapist told him not to dwell on the attempted kidnapping he suffered five years ago, or he would never escape his trauma.

"Clearly, I didn't listen to her at all," said Siddiqui with a smile.

He was speaking to AFP in his Paris bar, The Dissident Club, which he opened in 2020 as a refuge for exiles like himself.

It shares its name with his new autobiographical comic book -- co-authored with cartoonist Hubert Maury who was previously a French diplomat in Pakistan
-- which is released on Wednesday in France and soon in other languages.

It opens with the moment in January 2018 when members of Pakistan's military pulled him from a taxi in broad daylight and shoved him into another car. Detention, torture and death were very real possibilities.

Two strokes of luck saved Siddiqui
-- convincing the man holding his neck to release him, saying he would go quietly, and noticing that the passenger door was unlocked.

He leapt from the moving car, ran down the busy highway and managed to alert his media friends, swiftly organising a press conference about the attack in order to buy time.

Only after escaping to Paris did he discover he was on the military's "kill list" and could never return.
Well he certainly can't if democratic sources continue to allow Pakistan to remain a sharia-run regime as they've been for many years already. He's lucky in any event to have escaped. What's really interesting is that the guy's now an atheist, and no longer a Muslim:
The graphic novel goes beyond this incident to explain the spread of extremism and war in the region through the story of his religiously conservative upbringing in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

"I chose to tell my story as a comic book because I couldn't have any when I was young," said Siddiqui.

"It will definitely piss off my father. I hope he won't see it."

Not that they have a good relationship. His father's response to the attempted kidnapping was to say he was being punished by God for not praying enough.

It was a classic Romeo-and-Juliet experience that challenged Siddiqui's own faith, after his family opposed his marriage to a Shia girl he met at university. The divide between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam is a fraught and often violent faultline in Pakistan.

"That really triggered this thing in me that there's something wrong with the way we live," said Siddiqui, who is now a full-blown atheist.
Of course. That something wrong is the Religion of Peace, and if he's made the point in his new GN, he's doing the right thing. It practically even allows jihad between different Islamic sects, as noted above. If he's got the courage to raise the issues, he's setting a good example, as is his co-writer Maury, because it's vital in this day and age. Let's hope, above all, that the GN will be released without any cold feet, and then more sensible people in Europe will be able to learn about a most serious issue.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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