I’m against capital punishment but…


A how-to-guide for the liberal Larry celebrating Qadir Mulla’s execution


Following the execution of Abdul Qadir Mulla in Bangladesh, and the ensuing reaction of the liberal Larry, this kind of a piece became the need of the hour. You see Happy Larry is against capital punishment and spends half a day every day screaming for human rights, but went to the moon and back in ecstasy on Thursday when that ‘goddamned jamaati’ was hanged till what seemed to be a very popular death in some circles. And so, this article is basically supposed to be a how-to-guide on having the cake and eating it too for Larry and his buddies under the backdrop of the Jamaat-e-Islaami leader’s execution. This cake has multiple cherries on top in order to facilitate your cherry picking routines.

Please note that if you’re a secular Muslim Larry, being oxymoronic comes naturally to you, and hence this particular situation shouldn’t be too dodgy for you. However, for everyone else (and secular Muslim Larry) the following points should help you save your face in case you are among those who have spent ages clamouring against capital punishment but couldn’t control your euphoria from pouring out all over social media when that “jamaati mullah” was hanged. Here are some of the arguments you can use to defend yourself:

1. All religious extremists deserve to be hanged

Since you’re ostensibly liberal, most of your life endeavours are dedicated to hating on the mullahs, even though most of the Larrys continue to venerate the ideology that the mullahs (accurately) propagate. You can play the mullah card here as well and say that since religious extremists are the biggest threat to humanity, capital punishment in their case makes all the sense in the world.

2. Religious extremists are a threat to the state, we must fight against them

You would be spot on about the menace of religious extremists, and the need to fight them, but make sure you sidestep the fact that an arrested militant is no longer a threat to the state. Worst case scenario: claim that a militant is a veritable danger as long as he’s breathing; doesn’t matter if he’s hiding in mountains or happens to be behind the bars.

3. Religious extremists aren’t human beings

Now, you are used to beefing up the number of Facebook likes and retweets thanks to your ‘stand’ for human rights. The logical stance here then would be to claim that a murderer and rapist whose actions are driven by national or religious bigotry isn’t a human at all. Your human rights credentials would remain intact and you can continue celebrating Qadir Mullah’s execution.

4. All war crimes are equal but some war crimes…

No, not ‘more equal than others’. That’s been so criminally overused that George Orwell still turns in his grave every time it’s used to compensate for lack of wit. Say, or imply, that all war crimes are equal but some war crimes have more jamaatis than others. Every well read person knows about the atrocities committed in 1971 but you’d have to think of something to make your special hatred sound compatible with the humanistic viewpoints you peddle every day 

5. Pakistan army? Hang on… #RestInPeaceNelsonMandela

Yup, when you bring up war crimes and 1971, you’d have to face this question. You can dodge it by telling everyone how great Nelson Mandela was and how Madiba inspired you to do whatever was the most convenient thing for you to do.

6. Civil war? #RestInPeaceMadiba

How about the ensuing civil war that would mar Bangladesh in the near future, they would ask. You play the Madiba card again.

7. But Islamists support capital punishment for blasphemy

Fighting against capital punishment for blasphemy, and calling it a medieval exercise, has been your bread and butter. And then you notice that after Qadir Mulla’s execution the mullahs are ironically seen questioning capital punishment. Here’s a golden opportunity there for the taking. You can pull off a mullah here by hypocritically shelving your ‘medieval punishment’ chants temporarily and bellowing against the blasphemy law in what might appear to be a tit for tat manoeuvre.

8. I’m against capital punishment but…

This one would be the toughest to pull off, but by far the most effective. Normally the safest thing to do would be to temporarily ignore your past and how you’re supposed to be against death penalty. But if you’re a daredevil Larry go for the kill. Remind everyone how you’re against capital punishment but…

Choose one of the following:

a) War criminals should be punished

b) Extremists need to be countered

c) I am also against murder and rape

Despite formulating quintessential rhetoric all three examples will get the job done. Both are invigorating enough for your fans to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ and ambiguous enough for your detractors to be baffled. Notice how you won’t be mentioning how exactly extremists, murderers and rapists should be punished and countered.

Follow these eight golden steps and your hypocritical cherry-picking self would be concealed for the time being. After a few days you’d be good to go, as far as returning to fight for the human rights of murderers and rapists and screaming against capital punishment, is concerned.


The writer is a financial journalist and a cultural critic. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @khuldune


  1. An excellent article ; Khuldune wonder how you can write a logical article even in this severe weather . A hug .. ~

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