There is a saying, if you look into an abyss, the abyss looks into you. In our case, there is much truth to it. Since the public flogging of journalists and social workers in the time of the all so much talked about General Zia, our nation as a whole, if it is even justifiable to use the term for Pakistanis, has taken a plunge to greater depths, perhaps never thought before possible.
We have since then managed to kill a leader cum politician in 2007; blown to smithereens countless men, women and children of Pakistan; eaten our own offspring – quite literally; and, killed journalists as well as publicly flogged women in the name of honor; brutally murdered our youth only to hang them upside down on a pole; and left to die kids on road bleeding to their last breath.
Terror is an attention-seeking monster. It breeds on recognition – the type of recognition one sees when one turns the television on, or picks up the newspaper, or even opens up a website. Three dead here, 17 injured in a suicide blast there, naval buses attacked, PNS Mehran, the GHQ, Data Darbar, Imam Bargahs, barely a spot on this country seems safe. And so, there is this delusional sick mind (read translation: Taliban) sitting somewhere in a valley showing to his students on television the trophies of his success in the form of broken limbs, splattered blood, and a nation writhing in pain and agony.
Intentionally or unintentionally we have given the spotlight to the Baitullah Mehsuds and Fazlullahs, to Lashkars of terror and their allies, to sectarian divisions and ethnic wars. Yes we are at war. No one is suggesting a state of denial, but the constant hammering of violence on our minds has made us collectively, a monster. There are segments that come out to justify acts of abhorrence and mob attacks and others that defend the cold blooded murder of the Governor of our largest province.
While America has a 9/11 and India harps about their 26/11, Pakistan has had so frequent and so many of them that it is hard to keep up. We kill in the name of honor; murder in the name of freedom; leech, loot and plunder the wealth of our nation under the guise of governance. To top it, the world accuses us of harboring terrorism and providing safe havens to “seasoned terrorists” that use our soil to attack India and threaten the security of the world at large (read: America). Yet, no one seems to acknowledge the fact that if we harbor and nourish them to this day, we would not have death looming over our citizens each passing day.
What we are breeding; however, is much worse. It is a generation as unfeeling and as unthinking as the dead. It is already a generation divided on every conceivable issue, whether it is politics, freedom of expression, honor, sectarianism or caste, biradari and ethnicity. As Gibran once put it, ‘Pity the nation divided into fragments – each fragment deeming itself a nation’. And now it seems, those much cherished and honorable beliefs of justice and humanity are washing away as well.
Day after day, week after week, year after year, these stories of hate have hardened our hearts to the point of no return. The monster has long been looking back into us, and we have gazed into this abyss far too long. Forget the notions of politics and of media, the inhabitants of the Land of the Pure are losing their grip on humanity – slowly becoming a part of the abyss, being sucked into adversity and ignorance, a state of mind so dangerously powerful that it could wash away traces of any renaissance that ever happened.
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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.