Friday, August 27, 2010

17.

Dear Irresponsible Journalists,
The recent trend of Pakistanis lambasting the entire nation for the tragic events that transpired in Sialkot last week is getting old already. It is true that when public lynching becomes possible-even probable, given the current state of anarchy we are in-a country is in a sorry state. It is also true that events such as these should inspire outrage and force us to question who we have collectively become. However, good journalism should rely on more than sweeping generalizations, however crowd-pleasing they may be in certain sections of society.

I would like to remind you that most of the so-called liberal intellectual elite of this country will staunchly maintain that there is no such thing as the "average Pakistani". I'm going to have to agree with that. There isn't. Unless you share anything besides a green passport with your chowkidaar/doodhwala/resident beggar, you can't possibly claim that there are any over-arching similarities between all Pakistanis. Therefore, it logically follows that all Pakistanis are not somehow to blame for every tragedy that falls on this troubled region.

Similarly, dear writers, please keep in mind that although your self-righteous anger and hatred of our uncivilized nation may extend to all Pakistanis, there are people in this country who have far more worthy things to do in times of crisis than point fingers at one another and insist that we stop "indulging in Facebook activism". Thanks to the global trend of hating this country and everything to do with it, a trend you so wholeheartedly espouse, we are in a position where most Pakistanis have become aware that nobody can help us as much as we can help ourselves. Please remember dear journalists: while you indulge in newspaper activism and seethe with anger at why we are not all wringing our hands, hanging our heads in shame and crawling into tunnels to die, there are tens of thousands of ordinary Pakistanis risking their lives and livelihoods to reach out to our flood-affected compatriots. There are tens of thousands of volunteers who drive ambulances, distribute food and pack relief supplies for victims of terrorism. For every mob that silently watches a crime being committed, there is another "mob" that will stand on the street and protest it, however futile they know it will be.

You are right about one thing: we should be ashamed today of the crimes we let happen. We should be ashamed that we are painting the mother of two dead boys with the same brush with which we paint her sons' murderers. We should be ashamed that we consciously edge out the unsung heroes that prevent this nation from imploding to indulge in seriously passe government-bashing. You are right about that I suppose, but I think you and I are talking about a different kind of shame here.

We have not collectively become a nation of anything, least of all cockroaches or Maula Jutts or whatever it is that the cool kids are calling us now. We have not been a collective nation in a long time. Today, crisis after crisis is encouraging (most of) us to put aside our petty, pseudo-intellectual babble and work towards a Pakistan that people like you will not be applauded for brushing aside in disgust. Your mid-life crisis may prevent you from seeing it, but every young Pakistani I know has done something for their country this week, whether it is mindless Facebook activism that you are so derisive of, going to Peshawar to work with displaced people, calling attention to the plight of minorities or spending their savings on medical supplies for the needy. Every single one, dear bitter journalists. Perhaps you are unaware that roughly 75 nation-states today are displaying barbaric acts of varying intensity as they struggle with the concept of unity and nationhood. Perhaps you are mistaken in believing that the genetic makeup of everyone between Balochistan and FATA encourages a love of gore.

I am going to explain something before I leave you to meditate on your disgust of all mankind in peace. I am in no way suggesting that Pakistan is either morally superior or more prone to acts of charity than any other nation on Earth (I know that this attitude is a pet peeve with you lot). I am only suggesting that in the name of responsible opinion-sharing, you retain your venom for a moment and consider the concept of balanced reporting on events that are too terrible to be shoddily covered. Perhaps what Pakistan needs isn't for all of us to jump in the Indus and commit national suicide, but the ability to think like rational, empathetic human beings, rather than bellowing Maula Jutts.

Yours sincerely,
A fellow writer.

4 comments:

Umair said...

Was directed to this blog by a friend. Your opinion is so well-articulated, I hope those journalists take a look at it. Look forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Very true. Responsible journalism.

Nadir said...

Excellent . Nana