Are Those Who Know Equal With Those Who Know Not?
I turn to Metblogs to give me an actual account of things happening in my city, more than I would ever turn to a news site since they tend to make the most intense of incidents sound distant and abstract: something I do not blame them for, since news is meant to be impartial.
Reading up on the numerous posts and comments, I thought of a phrase I had read as part of a friend’s name on instant messenger: “What does it take to incite a revolution?” So what does it take?
From what I’ve read and observed, we obviously cannot trust our police, our rangers or our armed forces since they retire to their shells whenever they feel the need to. Also, there is just so much they are willing to risk in an attempt to save lives, and risking their own doesn’t fall under the specifications.
It is my elected government that is in majority, and that has been caught creating havoc on the streets today. According to policy, members of the ruling party cannot be arrested, even when they spread carnage amongst their own people. Which is why we get to read news like, “City police chief Azhar Farooqui said police had picked up about 150 people under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance because of apprehensions that they could ‘create problems’ on the arrival of the Chief Justice. But opposition parties disputed the number of arrests; MMA said 500 of its workers had been arrested, PPP put the figure of its workers picked up at 400 and PML-N at 150.” So no figures on number of MQM activists arrested since there were none.
So if no one is to be trusted, who are we referring to when we use phrases like, “something needs to be done”, and “what goes around, comes around”? Who is the protagonist going to be in these situations? When it’s my city being damaged, my people dying, my city’s ambulances being burnt, why am I looking outwards for a solution?
What does it take to incite a revolution? If I am thinking of history and the bloody French Revolution (although I am not looking for a bloody solution to the problem), I don’t see the common man “hiring in a team of experts from foreign” to tackle the problem. They took matters into their own hands and got their point across.
Like I said, I am not looking for a bloody solution to the problem, because it will just add to the present gore. However I will assume responsibility for what happens to my city, and aim to be part of the solution.
While speaking to a friend about the status quo, I realized that off all the opinions I had heard on the matter, his was the only one that contained a solution.
Let us have a peaceful procession that requires us to step out of the warmth of our cuddle and couch and speak up. Let’s write and speak, not because we may / may not have an audience, but because we have something to say. Also, to ensure a certain amount of security and a feedback, contact the media, every kind of media before we head out towards our objective.
I had read about Amartya Sen, an Indian Economist who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1998, and his theory that famine cannot take place in a nation that has media coverage. For the longest time I believed in that ideaology, and applied the same to other phrases, replacing ‘famine’ with words such as ‘genocide’, and even ‘dictatorship’. The media has a price as well, and I will not forget the day when that myth was finally shattered. It was the 100th day of US airstrikes on Lebanon and incidentally the same day the US ran a world-wide terror red alert on carrying liquids on-board airline flights. The entire day and following days, not a single news item concerning Lebanon was to be found on American television. Such are the quirks of media that ring true worldwide.
I could go on forever about all the things I would like to change about my city and my elected local body government, but I think that assuming responsibilty for my nation and my city, putting in the “I” and the “we” where we tend to put in the “they” is much, much more important.
Claiming ownership for one’s homeland and one’s city is the first step towards inciting a revolution. We are all aware of our history and our predictable politics. Just that all day today I was subconsciously reminded of a verse that mirrors our intelligent apathy, something that is even more dangerous than blissful ignorance. The verse being, “Are those who know equal with those who know not?” Al-Quran, 39:9