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Smokers’ Corner: Groovy patriots

June 23, 2013

This just has to be the ‘preachiest’ generation of young Pakistanis ever. On TV, in social media and even in drawing rooms, young Pakistanis are proudly out in numbers advocating ‘positive thinking’ to the cynics, calmly ignoring the fact that a cynic may just be a sceptic (like most rational human beings).

But, you see, rationalism is bad because it may amount to one repressing his or her emotions.

A very unhealthy thing to do. It can turn a person, not only into a cynic, but, horror of horrors, unpatriotic, which, in Pakistan’s case, can then lead him to become an agnostic, or, God forbid, an atheist.

In which case positive thinking must dictate affirmative action: Kill the fools.

Of course, you must understand that this logic is usually and entirely based on assumptions.

Positive thinking demands it. After all, investigating the facts behind the assumptions can be a time-wasting exercise that makes Jack, Jimmy or Junaid a very dull, introverted boy on his way to becoming a cynic and (thus) a positive case for elimination.

The let’s-be-positive crowd is a weird lot. Not that I’m all that normal, but they’re weirder, even though they might not look it.

Brought up on those amazingly unhinged tales of sword and sorcery (‘Pakistan Studies’) at school, they then plunge into those ‘building self-esteem’/self-improvement' seminars and books that are basically the corporate yuppie strain of that New Age nonsense about personal aura, positive vibes, et al.

Nevertheless, the swords-sorcery-meets-let’s-be-positive-generation will shower you with great admiration if you unthinkingly and animatedly nod to whatever positivism is trending on Twitter or Facebook. No, you’re not a sheep but … okay, you are a sheep but, like, so what? Right? Right.

They will shower you with love if you agree with their positivism. Especially if the positivism is about being positive in one’s condemnation of what is not positive. Such as the oh-so-arrogant display of individualism.

Don’t you hate such so-called individualistic displays of negative thinking and arrogance? Always trying to look and sound different. Always trying to tell us that suicide bombers kill more people in Pakistan than drone attacks. And that accountability against corrupt people should not only include politicians, but military men and the judiciary too. And that Tariq Ali has started to sound like a man who got out of the jungle after decades thinking that the Vietnam War was still on. Or that the TTP were a 21st Century reincarnation of the Viet Cong.

One is ‘paid’ (by a ‘foreign hand’) if he disagrees with the positivists and patriotic if he agrees. This swords-and-sorcery-meets-let’s-be positive-generation leapfrog’s from Mohammad Bin Qasim to the ‘be positive’ corporate guru of the month in a matter of a single sentence.

Take for instance how many of them responded to the UK court’s verdict on the three Pakistani spot-fixing cricketers. In 2010 when the spot-fixing scandal broke, positive thinking dictated that the cricketers must be supported because both international and local (negative) forces were most probably behind this event as well.

And thanks to many of our positive media personnel it seemed that for a while, Salman Butt, Muhammad Amir and Muhammad Asif, were about to become the male equivalents of Aafia Siddiqui (remember her of the ‘I shot the sheriff’ fame?).

But, alas, a little more than a year later when the three were proven guilty in court and sent to prison, all hell broke lose.

No, there were no rallies against the ruling or condemnation of the verdict. Instead, people began burning the three cricketers’ effigies, cursing them for disgracing the country’s name.

So the negative old me decided to tweet a question: How come there are stones and curses for a spot-fixer but rallies and rose petals for certain pious killers? Remember Mumtaz Qadri?

As the positivists came rushing in (on Twitter) to condemn my negative question, I kept on wondering how come so many Pakistanis and the media are ready to pour out and passionately demand that certain corrupt cricketers or politicians be lynched, but then the same people shower praises on self-appointed defenders of the faith who commit murder? And how the positivists look the other way when some other self-appointees in this respect go about their business of blowing up mosques, shrines, schools and markets?

But, then, I understood. Why disturb one’s healthy positive aura and vibe with awkward questions. Why complicate things. I mean, all this might lead to negative thinking thus cynicism, thus unpatriotic thoughts and perhaps even atheism, no?

One should be positive. Especially about his country, its nuclear arsenal and especially the fact that we are ready to eat grass for our precious bomb. Or rather, the poor are ready to eat grass for it. An entirely positive thing to do.

So it is our duty to sympathise with the poor grass eaters and hang a few politicians, eliminate a few cricketers, censure a few journalists and make peace with extremists so as to at least keep the price of grass affordable for the masses who, inshaallah, will one day vote in hoards for a Mr Positive par excellence in the next election. It’s beside the point that positive thinking also dictates that democracy is a sham and only a modern-day caliphate is the answer to all our problems.

Ah, that felt good. Yea, man, check out my positive vibes. Like, groovy — in a Mohammad bin Qasim kind of a way, of course.