In the last few days I have found myself nodding in agreement with various positions/stances/people on the facebook ban. Here are some of the main positions and arguments as I see them. And I release these with a major disclaimer that these are intended to be partly jest, partly serious. These are generalizations, and in caricature, these overlook some of the important nuances of each position.
the budding constitutionalist
This would be lawyer argues that hate speech is never permitted under freedom of speech articles of any bill of rights. Similarly, obscenity, profanity, art that outrages public morals is not protected speech under the US constitution or the British human rights act. For example an artist is not free to display earrings made out of aborted human fetuses or photos of child pornography. There are limits to the freedom of speech everywhere. Under the Pakistani constitution you can not defame the glory of Islam or divulge national secrets. This is probably impermissible speech under most rights manifestos. The call for cartoons is speech fired by the passions of right winged, racist Muslim haters who seek to ridicule Muslim mandates disallowing artistic depictions of the prophet of Islam, let alone spiteful depictions. It is akin to a school saying a person wearing a ku klux klan costume is engaging in repugnant speech but still has a right to exercise that right of fee expression, thought and conscience. By the same token, the government need not resort to drastic and arbitrary measures that curb the freedom of expression of all Pakistanis by banning facebook or restricting their rights to browse wikipeadia. Pure rationalism.
the robust Muslim with the healthy attitude
These are the sweet, passionate Muslims who drew gloves on chalkings of depictions of Mohammad. and added "Ali" to make the picture be of the greatest boxer of all times. I can hear the stadium applause. May the love of god shower upon these people. Heavens will open their gates. They are the antithesis of the suicide bomber. I mean, how big hearted! I can just imagine these as all those earnest kids who went to Sunday school and TAed for calculus when they got to college -- even the lusty one who preferred bhangra to Jumma. How they give Islam a bright new future. Combatting hate with love. May many of you break the glass ceilings. May you get invited by Michelle to the white house. I know this may sound insincere, but I actually do think these people are awesome. Simply for taking direct action. I love anarchists -- even if they fall unwittingly into the intolerant Muslim versus tolerant Muslim model that the misguided western media likes so much.
the reactionary sick of the reactionary
These are the people who are sick of the jamaatis and their tyrannical monopoly over condemning anyone and everyone with blasphemy. They just want society to stop pandering to these bigots who they feel are fat from the influx of american dollars in the 80s. They argue that bigots have bred intolerance in society --from banning Nazia and Zoheb, to throwing acid on bare arms. They increasingly expect conformity, and have have programmed people to be specially sensitive to whatever they perceive as an insult to Islam. Case in point is the Danish cartoons. A friend told me she knew an Islamic History professor at karachi university who routinely referred to Mohammad in class without adding pbuh or sallal-lahu-walai-wa-sallum. The students began a smear campaign against her. Her position was that she was a historian and not a priest, and god bless her brave heart, she won. My personal story: the terrific confidence with which students walk out of class without permission from the instructor as soon as it is time for namaaz. Remember, this in a country that trains students to ask the teacher if they can leave class to take even a leak. I would be in this camp as I agree we've allowed this monster to grow out of fear, except, I do think this is hate speech with racist and imperialist hues. I am budding.
My heart and loyalties are with this camp. Although I will jump ship, as I realize that this argument leads to a dead end. What this camp ought to realize is that the poverty and war are major struggles that will only be impeded (if negligibly, indirectly) by a ban on facebook. Some of these users used facebook and email to organize in struggles by filing petitions, creating fb pages, and sending email press releases. Plus, imagine if you were actually one of the 2 million facebook-twitter-gmail-youtube-flicker users in Pakistan. You'd find your entire life-system being revamped, the rug being pulled from under you as you manically reload facebook only to get weird error pages in weird font. It is as if the military-legal establishment has candidly asserted the level of power it holds over the people, thus exposing how fragile we really are. Now think of how to organize these two million elitist bastards with laptops against the operation. If nothing else works out, and the war is endless, I am going to start a soup kitchen (sasta tandoor) or join zimmedar shehri and pick up trash in Karachi locales through my hypoallergenic gloves.
the elitist bastards camp 1
this position is promoted by people who talk civil liberties and internet freedoms in a social vacuum -- they've been cooped up so long in rooms where windows are blocked to maximize air conditioning, they've forgotten how the rest of the world lives. They sip pungent coffee for Rs. 179. You could actually put pictures of Times Square or Fisherman's Wharf in their background. You could switch their clothing from bikinis to mufflers to lab coats and play dress up. You could put an afro on them or strawberry blond tresses They live in the blog. They would allow Amitav Ghosh a free visit to Israel making the case for academic freedom. They know more about the internet and technology than your grandmother knew about herbal remedies. They really don't get what the fundoos are so up in arms about because they trace civilization from the post ww2 era of human rights for all; but they have read Chinua Achebe and Sembene Ousman and the Geisha --but are somewhat less exasperated (and more clueless) than the reactionary sick of the reactionary.
the elitist bastards camp 2
These are the kids who really liked pouting for facebook pictures, but being Muslims, they now feel obligated to burn facebook. They demand whether that their elders promptly delete their fb account. They're isn't much to say about them, except that the song from the Wizard of Oz applies: "If I only had a Brain." They are not very different from the jamaatis except they have more expensive tastes and are more guilt ridden about their sexuality. (Jamaatis are too horny to feel guilty.) The only book these folks have read is Twilight.
the totally khoaar awaam
These are people who have been dar-ba-dar for life. Many of the people of pakistan who have had truly shitty lives. Mal-nutiritioned childhoods and underemployed youth. They are the hundreds of boys who run up to your car so you may place an order for a kebab roll and they may earn a pittance. These are the reporters who drink 40 cups of tea a day and consequently have large holes in their stomach. These are the parents in lower end private schools in federal B who condemn the teaching of reproduction and birth control at school to sixth graders as blasphemous. They are doctors who went to the colleges in the "interior" and are are now shirking work or refusing to touch female patients because it is haraam. These are the people who run video stores and sell copies of "Khuda ke Liye"; yet tell their customers that the film is disrespectful of Islam even though they have not seen it. They are so frustrated with their lives that the only way they can express their desire for economic rights and freedom is by expressing outrage when Islam is insulted. After all, this is their salvation.
the born again
these people comprise the firebrand Muslim diaspora. They have recently discovered their Muslim roots and are fighting for the religion tooth and nail. They used to be in the elitist camp 2. They are too hardened to be the robust Muslim with the healthy attitude. They are too smart to be jamaati. They have experienced racism firsthand. They are now pushed to the forefront as defenders of Islam and Muslim identity in a contrived , but horribly real, battlefield. This group is vague to me - I don't quite have a handle on. But they exist and need a category of their own.
and then the chief runner up:
the emancipated Muslim and the enlightened artist
This is a minority group. They believe that Mohammad should be depicted in art. That they have a right to imagine, illustrate and express their deep love for faith and the vivid images it inspires in their post modern minds. They want him to be drawn as Rastafarian incense and soap seller in a Brooklyn subway. The words of the prophet are indeed written on subway walls. Why not him on a crucifix. And by the way, they will be needing asylum in the united states after they draw all this stuff
Any more categories?