Faith? Unity? Discipline?

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- Socrates

I write this with the heavy heart of one who is watching his country, his identity, and his home crumble around him, and fully aware that these clichéd phrases have been so overused by us all, especially our digital media, that they have lost all semblance of their meaning and, most importantly, their symbolism. Gone are the days when these words would bring to mind the countless sacrifices made by our ancestors so that we could be free of those who opposed our right to exist, and the freedom to believe in an ideal that was not founded in idol worship and debauchery, but rather in the belief in one Lord, one Sustainer, and all the spiritual safety that Islam provided. I weep inside to see the way this ideal has been trampled, deformed, vilified, twisted to personal gain, and most horrible of all, replaced by all that it was supposed to cure.
I speak of indifference to one another, of hate and envy, malice and greed, lies and thievery, all of which we now practice with abandon. Few of us remain who see this desecration of the hope and dream of the men who built this country, who, if left alive, would wish with all their hearts that they were dead. For this is what we do to one another, every single day, every minute or the other, to our families, to our relatives, friends and acquaintances. How, you will say, does this affect our country in the wider perspective? For it is from this beginning I will try to show how all these things that we practice so devoutly have ruined us, numbed us to one another’s suffering, erased our self respect, taken away our ability to hold our head high and be proud to belong to Pakistan.
attack on PNS Mehran at the night of 2nd May
It was the cascade of indifference, impotence, hypocrisy and insipidity displayed by our international representatives, namely our government, military and intelligence that have driven me to this outpouring of grief and rage. I do this in my capacity as a citizen of my country, to give voice to the howl of misery and despair twisting my faith in those I once believed capable of protecting our dignity. I have seen the faces of parents living overseas who refused to send their children to school on the morning of May the 3rd, out of shame and humiliation. I have seen colleagues who refused to go to work the same morning, because they could not face their co-workers. I know, because I am one of them. And the reason for that shame is all too obvious. Why do my brethren also not feel this pain, this shame, this depth of humiliation and the consequential all-consuming desire to rid ourselves of it? What more will it take for them to feel this level of hurt at the disgrace of selling ourselves body and soul, of watching others rape and pillage our God blessed land, of the derision our actions show for the blood of our ancestors?
Yet, there seems to be no change in those who feel themselves bound by some unseen duty to sing the praises of their political parties and their idolized leaders as though they are our only salvation, while rest are only pretenders to their rightful inheritance: the reins of power. Have we all forgotten what it means to be a head of state? The crushing and overwhelming responsibility of being liable for every single thing that goes wrong under one’s gaze? Where is the time when people like the Companions of Allah’s messenger (peace be upon him) fled from the very thought of assuming the duties of a ruler? Where is that realization that every person that goes hungry, that is unfairly punished, that is left destitute by your inaction, will all be your responsibility to answer for? And, finally, what is it that these so-called ‘leaders’ offer their supporters that enable them to gladly rationalize away the troubles that plague our society, and somehow manage to shed scorn on those who rightly question them?
This is where I ask, with all humanly possible desperation and bewilderment, that in the name of God, what blinds you so? What blinds you to all that I have just said thus far? What blinds you to the looming destruction of our country, our home? What blinds you to the corrupt way of life you’ve adopted, whose poison is seeping into every walk of not only yours, but our lives as well? There will always the inevitable disparagement and ridicule of selective bits of my words, but the questions that demand answers and which hold the key to all our problems, will go unanswered as always.
I pray that, just this once, let this plea of mine and that of others who think the same are seen as it truly is, in its entirety, and not as a session of thrust and parry, otherwise, it will be just another echo of the vicious circle that we are trapped in. Pray tell, what have these idolized politicians done for our country thus far, and I speak not of past glories and one-off publicity stunts, but rather of the aggregate steps taken to safeguard the future and not just the present? All their efforts have been for naught, except to bring our nation to this point in time where each successive band of thieves steps in, funnels away the very resources meant for the salvation of this almost sunk ship we call our nation, and then abscond to leave us floundering yet again. Robbers, pillagers, rapists, utter filth from the very dregs of society: these are our leaders. These are the people we selected from amongst us to guide us toward the future. It is said that the civil servants of a democratic country are a reflection of its people. And this is our nation, for these are our representatives.
This is the product of an inheritance of dreams of greater men than us, after more than seventy years of leaving behind their legacy, being entrusted to unworthy hands. The minority that wishes to see this legacy progress into something greater are forever side-lined, ridiculed, ostracised and labelled over-thinkers, dreamers and all sorts of similar epithets. Here is the extent our vision, dear reader. This is the vision we have for our country, for our people, for ourselves. Blinkered and fettered by our prejudices, our insignificant racial differences, by our pettiness, we have never managed to grow and look beyond ourselves and our own narrow vision of vanity and greed. Those of us who do manage to see beyond are ridiculed for leaving the country and doing naught for pulling the people out of this hole they have dug themselves into, never admitting that it is the deriders themselves who do what they can to intellectually starve and throttle all those wishing to change the status quo. This is not the task of some ‘saviour’ who will swoop down and bring us all lasting harmony, peace and prosperity. This is something that each individual must strive to purge themselves of.
Again, sadly, even this basic piece of self-improvement is now relegated to the intellectual obscurity that clichés enjoy. These words no longer hold any meaning behind them, as do so many other necessary truths that we all, young and old, but especially young, choose to ignore rather than perform the difficult and constant task of acting upon these words, nor waste precious brainpower to ponder the far reaching applications that these simple words will have in our lives. All this is the pain of one who is watching his country, his homeland being inexorably sold off by increments, and not just monetarily. We are selling our future, our hopes, our dreams and identities.
Yet, my pain alone is unimportant. Because it is all of us who must feel this pain, so that it gives birth to the ambition to work for our salvation, and ultimately, leave behind a legacy, an identity, a home, for the generation we will usher in in the near future. This is my effort to bring to the vanguard of our reality that pain, to help in the birthing of that resolve that is so desperately needed, to try and indicate some direction where we can guide our directionless and thoughtless youth. Mothers will continue to raise children like Lieutenant Yasir Abbas, Khalil-ur-Rehman, Javed Ahmed and all the other martyrs that have till date laid down their lives for this land, and our leaders will keep throwing their precious lives and sacrifices away. They cannot even accord those martyrs the dignity of accepting the responsibility of their feebleness which resulted in the creation of such circumstances that necessitated the loss of such heroes. It is finally a time to change, dear reader. I pray we can begin now, before it is too late.

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