War of Words: Who Can Do More?

  • Traditionally, in street fights, old folks know how to hurl abuses, the young fellas know how to punch; but the madmen know neither but can do either.

This seems to be a season of verbal-boxing league, and two teams are playing the semi-finals: India and Pakistan, and America and North Korea. The main venue is the UN Headquarters, but the bout is not limited to that arena, it continues outside as well.

UN General Assembly sessions are known for verbal bouts and showmanship. The late Hugo Chavez, our very own ZAB, late Qaddafi, and many others have tried bold albeit undiplomatic antics and punches at this forum. This time the verbal hurls have assumed new heights. So far the US & North Korea teams have tried and hit the boldest shots and the barest punches.

While the India-Pak match is between sort of equals, the US–NK match is between ‘equals of another kind’. Their apparent difference of age and experience looks irrelevant here, and they look like they are made for each other in their hollow-headed approach to things.

Traditionally, in street fights, old folks know how to hurl abuses, the young fellas know how to punch; but the madmen know neither, but can do either. In that regard, its unpredictably interesting match.

An abuse can sound like a stale joke when translated to another language, just like a joke stands abused when it is translated to a different language. That’s the unusual kink in Trump-Kim pleasantries. We don’t know if they are actually abusing each other, threatening or trying to tickle each other to a fatal giggle. Or, is it the translation of their rhetoric that is confusing us and them alike?

Being a thoroughbred Punjabi, and knowing the capacity of my native language to hold the most lethal, potent, sustainable and large scale abuses I know the limits of English in carrying out a war of words too.

I don’t know Korean language but I know they make good dog dishes, and they don’t have as many dogs as pets as Americans do, so calling Trump a barking dog may have gone down as a compliment instead. Similarly, calling Kim a ‘rocket-man’ may not have appeared at all a taunt, but a playful title.

It seems those who can’t abuse frankly are those who can’t imagine freely. Failure of imagination is one of the worst pitfalls in verbal bouts and wars of words.

You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out the most fertile land and the most adept people at this art of causing a deep hurt without touching the other person. I believe if it were a festive sport, it would have been as popular and colourful as basant – and perhaps the puritans would have banned it too.

In order to be a sure winner of this year’s league, both Kim and Trump should visit Punjab, either East or the West, and spend a week to learn the art, method and craft of imagining and improvising an abuse. An ordinarily creative Punjabi abuse can devour an entire village, a vibrant one can kill a tribe, and the flamboyant blend of integrated abuses can devour an entire country or nation, more devastatingly than an atomic bomb. I wish one could share a few samples here.

The second semi-finalists, the Pakistani and Indian diplomats also exchanged stale-jokes like allegations. Our Ambassador called India the “mother of terrorism” and said they were financing terrorism in Pakistan. Indians proudly owned the successful returns of this investment by affirming Pakistanis were doing well and now exporting the yields of this promising investment.

Since Pakistan was carved out of India, the latter is the mother. But can I dare to denote ‘like mother like daughter’? I won’t, because it will be dismissed for being sexist and politically incorrect thing to utter. In my view, this team did not do as well as in the previous years. So let’s get back to the Kim-Trump match.

They say, in a verbal fight between Punjabis, he who doesn’t have a sister, mother or a daughter, wins by default. Mr. Kim seems to be in an advantageous position.

Template of traditional street fight starts with a stare, a scorn, an abuse, a fist fight and then daggers are drawn. This war of words kick-started from attempted abuses and looks like the nukes will be out soon. And that is where Pakistan can help both of them. Yes, we have demonstrated competence to help two parties without the other’s knowing it.

Mr. Trump, this is precisely where Pakistan can do more. Brother Kim, yes, you too can count on us for help, just as discretely as we helped you with the nukes, you can trust us for more too. We have an amazingly inventive inventory of abuses that can hurt so deep and bad that survivors wish they rather had been bombed than thus abused.

Now, if they try Punjabis for advice in their war of words, the impending nuclear war can definitely be delayed if not averted altogether. But if they come to that too, we can also consider donating a nuke or two with inscription ‘with love from Punjabis’.

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Arshed Bhatti

Arshed Bhatti

Arshed Bhatti is a typical Pakistani who operates at very high level of confidence with extremely low level of knowledge. Being true Muslim he believes the real life is in the hereafter and urges countrymen to take it easy, and enjoy the talk shows. He writes songs, satire and fake non-fiction. He tweets @CivilJunction