This is not a political piece, it is the politics of everything

Everything around us is political -- from emotions to art and culture.

Zehra Husain June 02, 2013
This will not be a political piece.

I stare at the word document as my fingers click to the beat of muted thoughts. No, I will not write about ongoing protests. This will not be another election monologue.

People need a break from the prevalent hyperactivity.

There has to be something worthy of being written that is not political.

A copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas sits next to my laptop. Surely, the six narratives that weave the plot of the novel are not related to Pakistan. But part one of the book — Adam Ewing’s journal entries — circles around the arrival of colonists in the ‘New World’, much like India’s first ever contact with Europe.

Is the book politically charged?

I wonder and shift gazes.

There lies an empty box of Milo — soon to be thrown in the garbage bin.

Thoughts wander to “Garbage, as our alter-ego”, an article published in the Indian newspaper The Hindu.
“Trash is capitalism’s dark underbelly”, it stated.

This precisely is the politics of the empty box of Milo. It reflects the consumption pattern of a certain class. The empty box of Milo will be processed in a treatment centre located in an area where people cannot afford milk and can only dream a bizarre dream of a proto matt energy food drink.

Am I thinking in this too deeply?

Maybe, maybe not.

It’s only defeating the purpose of how this is not supposed to be a political piece.

On my way to work today, I was greeted by my friends the Kite, the Arrow and the Bat. These slogans are scorned upon as wall chalking, and are said to be ruining the look of the cityscape. The linear, black drawings, which peer upon me from street corners, form the very essence of urban art, unique to Karachi.

But is art political?

I suppose when a poll symbol becomes the anatomy of the urban landscape, it transforms art into politics and vice versa.

Just because something does not root itself in politics, does not mean it is not political. Everything around and within us has a political meaning. From apathy to eagerness, each sentiment is determined by societal and historical forces, which cannot be divorced from its political context. My quest to write an apolitical piece reflects the politics of luxury which most people in this country, at least, do not have the privilege to afford.

To quote Herbert Marcuse:
“The political needs of society become individual needs and aspirations, their satisfaction promotes business and the commonweal, and the whole appeals to be the very embodiment of Reason.”

Marcuse here defined the fundamentals of the politics of everything.

Read more by Zehra here, or follow her on Twitter @ZehraHusain
Zehra Husain
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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