A call to arms

Our media focuses on the many negatives of life in Pakistan, picking the scabs on our wounded national psyche

Zain Ahmed Siddiqui June 23, 2013
This was the first-ever, proper job I’ve ever had (disregarding a traumatising internship during my sophomore year in college). And, as is the case with people at their first-ever jobs, I remember stepping into these offices full of heady optimism and a desire to change the world (every seasoned journalist reading this just rolled their eyes).

My stint at this newspaper has taught me much more. One of the things I’ve come to strongly believe is that every literate, educated Pakistani ought to walk a few miles in a journalist’s shoes. (One of the other things I’ve learnt is that heady optimism is best left behind in academic environs.)

Our media is (rightly) criticised for focusing, ad nauseam, on the many negatives of life in Pakistan. It seems, to many, that the media only finds (sadistic) pleasure in picking the scabs on our wounded national psyche.

Those accusations aren’t entirely misplaced. The few good men (and women) here are fighting a fight that is entirely beyond their means. Their enemies are many and their own numbers too few. Those frustrations manifest themselves time and again in the way they approach, trying to document life in this country.

And that is why, now more than ever, Pakistan needs its young men and women, fresh from university and virile with revolutionary new ideas. Young Pakistan needs to watch, read, explore, internalise and interact with Pakistan as it is, and not the Pakistan that is handed to you every day as ‘news’. Given our increasing proclivity for the consumption of news as entertainment, this need has become ever more urgent.

Our national identity has been torn down and corrupted by a handful of misguided, disillusioned individuals to the point that we have actually started believing that Pakistan can no longer rise above itself. That is too overarching an assumption to ever be true.

More often than not, Pakistanis are not ‘rightists’ or ‘leftists’, ‘liberals’ or ‘extremists’ or even ‘eastern’ or ‘western’. We are, simply, Pakistanis. I know — I have interacted with quite a few of them as part of my job. All of us are lost, trying to find our bearings in a very confusing world.

I have to hang up my journalist’s boots: it is time for me to move on. But, as I leave, I leave hoping some of you will consider stepping this way for a while. The opportunities to learn are endless. Pakistan never ceases to amaze. Trust me on this one.

Read more by Zain here.
Zain Ahmed Siddiqui A sub-editor on the Business desk at The Express Tribune.
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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