Hasan: 'They Never Smile'
There is a commentary by Khalid Hasan in Pakistan's Daily Times that is more than worth the reader's time. In Postcard USA: Ignorance by satellite, Mr. Hasan laments the content and quality of Pakistani satellite television offerings for Pakistanis living abroad, from soap operas to religious programs to news.
The religious programmes are so dark and grim that one would have to have strong faith to remain in the flock after watching them. There you have these people, masquerading as divines and theologians, as authorities on the word of God and all that has been revealed to man. They never smile. They only deliver themselves of chilling warnings to those who stray from the path, a path that they credit God with having laid down, but of which the Almighty is quite innocent.
The issues they debate and yap about are so abstruse and so utterly irrelevant to life as people live it that one wonders what distant planet these men have come from. I have seldom if ever heard any of them speak about things that would enable us to live better lives in the here and now. You hear them either recounting stories from centuries gone by or terrorising their audience with the punishment that awaits them in the hereafter. Since God is just, there is little doubt that the tortures of hell that they threaten the rest of us with, await them instead for the harm they have done in this world to people emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
You will want to read it all.