March 3, 2011

We died. A long time ago.

Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities
The thought that crossed my mind when I heard Shahbaz Bhatti (the Minister for Minorities) had been assassinated was that this: The extremists had won.

And win indeed they have. When the majority of the people (yours truly included) has simply decided not to give a rat's ass as to whether sane people live or die, then truly, the extremists have won. I write this blog not as a tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti, because simply put, I am not qualified to. I write this blog not to eulogize the stand Shahbaz Bhatti had taken, because it would be hypocritical of me. Also, there are many out there who say what should be said, who condemn what needs to condemned. I write this blog because it is my duty to pay one final tribute to the sanity that has left us. For good.

People often say the government or the military or the establishment needs to kick in, needs to shake the cobwebs and needs to step in to stop this tail spinning locomotive called Pakistan. They say we are at a crossroads, and this here will define our future and our destiny. I'm sorry, but who decides when we are at a crossroads and when we're not? There are no fixed parameters to judge ourselves by. There are no tangible signs that tell us "OK chaps, you've reached a crossroads. Now get your asses outta my bus, and decide what y'all wanna do!" And here's the scary bit: What if we've crossed the crossroads that has the whole of Pakistan's attention?

When Salman Taseer died, it mattered. It was a blow right to the head and it shook the entire nation. Like it or not, division lines were drawn. The country staggered, then fell, then died. Those who wanted change and who stood for common sense deserted us. Now? Look at us. Look at you. Look at me. Just one voice amongst a million which will be drowned out because well as you know expressing one's opinion is expressly forbidden in Pakistan. And not by the state or the rules or the constitution; it is forbidden because those who have no qualms in putting 30 bullets into a man can and will do just that.

I don't write this blog because I idolized Shahbaz Bhatti. I write this because I idolized his stance. Something which had been misused again and again and again needed to be amended. Yesterday we lost one more life to the same law that has caused this nation angst and much pain.

I have stopped living in false optimism. Pakistan does not tolerate sane people anymore. Either you become totally insane, irrational and in simple language, idiotic, or you die. And for some lucky people, you leave. The death of Shahbaz Bhatti also means the death of sanity. It also means the death of free speech, and it also means the death of living without fear. We're not safe. None of us is. Yesterday it was Salman Taseer, today it is Shahbaz Bhatti, and tomorrow it could be you.

People love talking about revolution but its not going to come. It won't come because we're too scared to have a revolution take place. Living in this hell-hole is better than wanting a revolution. Let this madness engulf us for no one cares. Whether Pakistan's match against Canada is fixed or not is much more important to us. But there's nothing we can, or will, or want to do even if it is indeed fixed/ Whether our dad's allow us to party on our farm houses is more important to us right now. We just want our friends to come over so we can party all night long and not give a fart about what goes around us.

People die. So what? People die everyday. We don't care because its too much of a hassle to go through the emotions of sorrow, loss and guilt. Alternative? Let's pretend everything is hunky dory and rosy. Let's pretend that this bubble we live in is real. Let's pretend that as long as our lives are not affected, the world is at peace. But this pretentious nature has become our reality because really, we died, a long time ago.