Pakistan grows up...I think

Are we tired of gutting shops and looting ATMs every time someone pulls a stunt halfway across the world to claim his fifteen minutes of fame?

Gulraiz Khan September 19, 2010
For news-junkies like me, the past few weeks have been a feast!

With the Park51/Cordoba House/Ground Zero Mosque controversy, the pyromaniac Pastor Terry Jones’ waltz, 9/11’s ninth anniversary and Eid coinciding, the global media was on fire, literally.

With the disproportionate coverage these issues and events received individually and collectively on American media, it seemed, one, that there are only two people in the world: the Americans and the Muslims and two, a Muslim lobby is finally hard at work, giving its Jewish counterpart a run for its money.

Of course, such explosives can no longer be contained. Two of the world’s most internally troubled regions, Afghanistan and Kashmir, found time to protest the deranged Pastor’s theatrics, destabilising themselves further in the process. Pakistanis, surprisingly, did not react (read: go up in flames) as expected. Whether that was because of the pastor’s calling off of the planned burning or a growing resistance to external provocations is something worth looking into.

We know why such stunts worked in the past. Cast in an ‘us versus them’ scenario against the developed world, the Muslims, especially Pakistanis, felt vulnerable and victimised. Any provocation, therefore, led to an explosive counter-reaction, often consumed by its own fire. The explosion of media in the form of 24-hour news channels and online social media didn’t help either. Too much space for coverage meant that even deranged fringes, such as al Qaeda and Terry Jones, would get ample airtime.

What’s different now? Are we just tired of gutting shops and looting ATMs every time someone pulls a stunt halfway across the world to claim his fifteen minutes of fame? Or are we finally adapting to the hyper-information age where we will have little control over what we are exposed to and will have to create our own filters? I’d like to believe it’s the latter.

Invariably, our sensibilities will have to cease to be open wounds, ready to be picked by fringe figures clamoring for attention
Gulraiz Khan A sub-editor on the business desk of The Express Tribune who is interested in visual journalism and hopes to turn newspapers in to works of art
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Maliha Khan | 13 years ago | Reply The author has rightly pointed out Pakistan's surprising reaction or rather an under-reaction when it came to the Ground Zero Mosque issue together with the Quran-burning controversy. However, it is highly unlikely that Pakistan will ever "grow up" as the writer puts it, since it has always sought attention in the international media, managing to pull a set of puerile stunts one after the other. The most recent one of them is perhaps the murder of MQM leader Imran Farooq in London. While such a barbaric and brutal crime took place practically on the other side of the world, yet it were the common Pakistani man who had to bear the consequences that followed right after. It took those faithful followers of MQM and late Mr. Farooq (may his soul rest in peace) no time whatsoever to torch down public and private vehicles, threaten the shop keepers with physical violence to close down their stores and basically show the people their never-ending support for their late leader. So the point the is, no matter how less Pakistani's overreact towards certain issues going on and convince the world that it has "matured", there will always come a point when the maturity would be wiped away in an instant, showing us the true picture that Pakistan has never really grown up!
Amna Tariq | 13 years ago | Reply I share the author's optimism.
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