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Everything is live

January 17, 2013

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

Everything is live these days whether a dog barks in the street or a donkey brays in the neighbourhood. A cockerel makes an untimely call, while the crows create a public outcry. The monkey plays the dugduggi and the monkey dancer dances, disguised as a bear. Everything must go live in our country. So our spectator public can only see the live telecasts.

The spectator masses enjoy cricket one day and the long march the next. The public dances on Culture Day and while it kills someone like them for allegedly burning a holy book the next day. We believe everything in the media that comes within the limits of our faith, which is so weak that the possibility of it shattering hangs like a sword above our heads.

We unashamedly refuse to remove the blindfold of belief, despite watching and hearing everything live. We watch and believe the program that has ‘Lies’ written on its packaging label. Anyone can come from anywhere and say anything. People follow them blindly. Then it is discovered that this person had been leading us all astray. So s/he is replaced by another similar person, a new ‘shepherd’ who we all follow as always, like the innocent sheep that we are.

These ‘shepherds’ say one thing in the evening and contradict it the next morning with the same unabashed confidence. We sit in front of them with our heads bowed, believing every word they say, confident that whatever they say is the truth. Why doesn’t our critical thinking ability function anymore? The liar has no dearth of evidence to give. S/he gives evidence for one thing first and the following moment, s/he is giving evidence to prove a completely opposite thing to be true. Meanwhile, we keep saying to ourselves, “Yeah, s/he is right.”

Forget the public. It has always been naive and always will be. The ‘educated’ ones have glasses decorated on their foreheads as they don’t need to actually wear them. One moment they are crying over one thing on social media and the next moment they will be crying over something else. Reading their status updates once again might help them to think actually. Those who say ‘Democracy my foot!’ today were actually protesting the disappearance of the Baloch nationalists and later over their corpses and called for the army’s withdrawal from Balochistan yesterday. The centre of attention changed when the innocent Hazaras began to be killed. So now those same people are demanding that Balochistan be handed over to the army, which it already is.

Who has brought these Taliban, jihadi, Jhangvi, lashkar and sipah on our heads? Why do they roam our streets so fearlessly? People die in the name of sects, ethnicity and religion. But the one who commits all these murders is never caught. Although, democracy ends up being abused every time. This is democracy where the head of state joins the public’s sit-in protest, sits down on the ground with them, listens to what they say and even agrees to their demands. If there was no democracy, you wouldn’t even be allowed to come out of your homes.

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

On one hand, a dual national cannot be a member of the parliament, while another dual national, who sits in another country, can get the entire city shut down in minutes. He can even threaten to break the country and create violence and chaos. The other dual national tries to change the law according to his wishes and forces his way through the capital with his army of supporters. But he is in no danger as all he does is possible with the intent of the asli te vadde walay waris of the country.

On one hand, we are told that the Taliban is an enemy of the country. Yet, on the other hand, when their ‘friends’ want to hold rallies and long marches, the terrorists let go of great opportunities to harm the country. In fact, on those days the Taliban and all other terrorists are sent on a holiday. But if an awami party, a true representative of the people wants to hold a similar rally, then initially, there is no permission to hold a large-scale rally. Failing that, then bomb blasts and other violence occurs. Clearly, the current rulers of the country are just scared of the power of votes as they always have been.

A new play is shown to the public every day that has glued them to their TV screens. One drama has barely ended when a new one begins. The cameras are running towards the courts or to a sit-in protest for coverage. Occasionally, a live telecast of a bomb blast is aired as if the reporters were informed in advance. Even the perpetrators are readily available on the phone to assume responsibility for the attacks. Yet they – whose arms are so long that no criminal can afford sanctuary – remain unable to find these terrorists as their hands are rendered just short enough to keep the criminals out of their reach.

You are being kept aware every moment. Our plays industry, after protesting against the Turkish TV plays, might now have to protest against all the national drama as the viewers are watching that instead of their plays. If they look away momentarily from their TV screens, they talk amongst themselves about the same topic. The same drama has seeped into the social media.

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

The revolution is coming. You can hear it knocking. You might find it standing on your doorstep, wearing a topi and sporting a new style of beard. They have already made you wear a topi and you barely realised. Well, this is what happens with the spectators. You are busy watching a street show and someone has picked your pocket or blatantly swindled you. It is only later you realise that the carnival had only been held to rob you blind.


Listen to this blog in Urdu [soundcloud url="" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.