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Living the stoic life

June 21, 2012


Recently, two men were abducted from a park near my home. Their bodies were discovered a little while later in a nearby area. In the protected and cozy environment of my home, as I played with my 11-month old niece enjoying her laughter and antics, the two young men’s fate came to my mind out of the blue. I felt sad and guilty to be in surroundings that were so totally in contrast to the ghastly incident that had taken place some hours earlier.

What thoughts were going through their minds while they were being led away? The terror of knowing about their impending death must have been unimaginably scary. Did they plead? Was there any remorse on the captors part? These thoughts haunt me now and then and will eventually fade from my mind, just as the anguish on reading and hearing the description of the tortured bodies will.

I find a lot of things very disturbing about the existing situation. The lack of reaction from the people, the government’s total disregard and callousness towards the deaths of so many, the shopping that continued the bazaars full as if nothing had happened. Why have we become so cold and aloof towards our own people? We forget the fact that we might be the next victims ourselves. Even children have not been spared, the death of a minor child along with six grown ups in the Lyari operation being such an incident. The reaction to target killings is also scaring. Taking a bullet riddled body home, the mob became violent and started shooting randomly in the area of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, killing a bystander. Hearing of six-seven people being shot every day is common news now. I don’t think anything can be sadder than this.

When we compare ourselves to other nations it is quite disturbing to note the depth we’ve fallen to politically, the mafia wars, our race to become rich overnight, the total disregard for rules and regulations and the absolute lack of consideration for the other. Have we seen the anguish and pain of the grieving families? Just put yourself in their shoes, how would you feel if God forbid, something happened to your loved ones or you? It would be unbearable indeed. We have a government that does not have the will and inclination to set things right, and a nation that is not willing to do anything about it. Slowly people will get used to the stench of death and devastation, going about their business with stoicism.

I will give you my own example. I asked a colleague how she was, she replied how could she feel good having heard about the recent bomb blast in a certain area which killed people including women and children — which the channels kept showing gleefully. I replied that she should stop watching TV and stop reading newspapers and try to live a normal life as she couldn’t do anything about it. It’s sad, but that’s how things have become, we can’t run away and have come to the point that we can’t do anything about the existing state of affairs.

Incidentally, I received two jokes by SMS reflecting the behaviour of the government and political parties and ourselves. First one goes like this: all the jungle animals decide that they need to have a doctor to look after them and choose a monkey to go to a medical school. After five years the monkey, a doctor now, returns. Just at that time a fox falls ill and the doctor is summoned. The monkey arrives and after looking at him runs and jumps from one tree to another and continues for sometime till the fox dies. “Why didn’t you do something?” the other animals asked. “Didn’t you see me running here and there again and again, but alas I couldn’t save him,” said the monkey.

The other one is about a lion getting married and is surrounded by his animal guests. In walks a mouse and rudely orders the lion to send the food to his home. The lion complies meekly. All present are taken aback by the lion’s behaviour and the cheetah says, “You are the king of the jungle, why did you obey him.” The lion sadly replied, “He belongs to that party.”

Moral of the jokes – enjoy them, sit back, watch television and let things happen.

The writer is a member of the staff at Dawn Newspaper.