One had wished that the country’s political figures had led the rallies and demonstrations themselves, so as to keep the crowds under control. Especially as they had gathered on a state sanctioned holiday to protest. Except for a few individuals providing outlet for the people’s emotions through speeches, largely the main segment of the leadership was absent, a severe indictment of the drawing room politics which governs us. Granted, protests were raging across every nook and cranny of the country and as such it would have been impossible to organise people going on the march but still the situation could have been controlled in major cities. It has been observed that even those leaders among the mainstream parties who were earlier enthusiastically clamouring for the black day did not come to lead their countrymen on Friday, when their physical presence was needed the most. It was a foregone conclusion that the holiday and the event which inspired it, was sure to set in motion the scenes witnessed on Friday. The public was given a day, supposedly to vent its fury, but fury it still was and it demonstrated itself in a way that was utterly destructive and frighteningly reminiscent of a murderous mob. Rather than hoisting ourselves with our own petard as witnessed on Friday, a new strategy is needed to protest religious attacks and thus also prevent them on home soil. A show of violence – vandalising government and public installations, and recourse to bloodshed -- will further underscore the point we have been trying to defend ourselves against, the misrepresentation we feel governs our image across the world, as a destructive and violent society. There is at one end of the spectrum, renowned scholars within the Muslim world who caution that in order to counter religio-political warfare, the western precepts of free speech have to be tempered with restraint in deliberately inciting hate speech. Statements coming from the Prime Minister Raja Ashraf indicate his awareness of the same. He rightly observed that if there is a penalty for rubbishing the Holocaust as fiction, then there is no justification for the sensitivities of the Muslims to deliberately be hurt again and again.The right of freedom of speech carries with it great responsibility and wreaks havoc when exercised by malicious persons such as the director of the offensive and demeaning film and Terry Jones, the poster boy for deliberate hate speech. Arguments have been made that in response to acts of hatred against Muslims, Muslim majority countries should retaliate through representative organisations like the OIC, Arab League — and if they are toothless, form a united front at the UN — to rally support against the hate-mongers. However, this looks like a long way away from reality. Whatever means and methods are adopted and however stern, the response should be non-violent and civilised. Yesterday's protests, for the most part, were neither.