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

12 Comments so far

  1. Imran (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:23 pm

    “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”, you said.

    You’re clearly in the WRONG place if you look to the Metroblogs for an (actual) account of things.

    Metroblogs, like any other page is a current account of people’s prejudices, not events — mine included!

  2. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

    It is forum to express personal opinion and very own mindset about how we see things “for” Karachi.

    Whatever has happened today is nodoubt SAD, BAD and shall be remembered as few of the Darkest days of 2007 in the history of Karachi.

  3. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

    Fatima, the botton line is that we, both as denizens of Karachim as well as nationals of this great nation, somehow deter from ‘owning’ it (couldn’t figured out why, it is the sad reality).

    And until and unless, all of us – 160 million+ bunch – take pride in owning this land, we will continue to treat it and those living on and off it, with sheer contempt.

    And the funny thing is that we, the same people, when settled abroad, take extreme pride in showing our full patriotism towards that ‘foreign’ land. And at the same time continue blaming our ‘own’ home soil.

    My two cents worth:-))

  4. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

    Imran, I am with Fatima on this. I, too, turn more to KMB for the latest on Karachi then compared to other new channels.

    Take, for example today’s episode. Dawn and that other – Jang – were too slow in updating their websites with the latest. Even the new channels were repeating the same thing, every now and then, but thanks to the enthusiastic readers and bloggers at KMB, we were being updated much quicker and with more accurate details.

  5. Fatima K. (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

    Assalam o alaikum Imran, I’m afraid you misunderstood me as my complete sentence states that news is meant to be impartial and not to be blamed for being so.
    Am thankfully only visiting foreign land and return next week insha Allah, so am just as entitled to call my city my own as the next Karachi-ite.
    Everyone, please keep the comments rolling in as I was thinking aloud as well. Salaam again.

  6. Fatima K. (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

    True on the Dawn note, when I did turn to it, all I got was news on preparations for the rally, and a tiny segment on the updated news.

  7. atif abdul rahman (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 2:49 am

    I quote: “Lets write and speak!” Lady this is the best solution u found on the current crisis? No wonder u find MB to b your news source.

    Whats good a situation when even with more tv channels and more news outlets (including blogs etc) we result in deadly battles of words and guns.

    We need education, not literacy but education. we need morality. someone pulling a trigger must need to know whether his acts are good or not. people must learn the value of speaking the truth, not games likes we r experiencing in politics today.

  8. Salman Shuaib (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 6:50 am

    AOA Fatima, you made a key point. The problem and thus its solution lies within us. We have to be active in our society. As Aristotle said: “when there is injustice in society, only two kind of people stay away from politics: the cowardly and the selfish”.

  9. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

    As salam o alaikum,

    Guess it is the intelligent way … I also looked up at the KMB for the happenings in town (good or bad).

    Yes everyone has their personal views on Karachi here but i think it is the poresent “Noshta-e-Deewar” … writing on the wall … and its clear what Karachittes think is happening to their beloved city.

    May Allah save us from the fitna’s of today and tomorrow. (Amein)

  10. Abdul K. (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    Fatima et al,

    To have a revolution you need people who are so upset with the government they are willing to take violent action. That will not happen in Pakistan because the people are muslim under a muslim government. Violence is not against muslim principles. A revolution would require the opposite: adoption of western values so strongly that the “common man” cannot stand it anymore.

  11. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on May 14th, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

    Could anyone please translate Health_Messages point for me?


  12. nedian ali(fe) (unregistered) on May 20th, 2007 @ 3:25 am

    dear pakistanis:
    on 12th may im not going to put my words .but my question 2 all the opposition parties is that,
    (on record there was not a single ralley held by any party 4 the routhless killing of human beings)
    if fighting for rights is terrorism then i think mqm is the biggest one.

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