Mutual trust and our deepening nihilism

Dichotomies in which people view conflict-ridden regions are marked by self-pity

Iftikhar Firdous April 12, 2016
Dichotomies in which people view conflict-ridden regions are marked by self-pity.


There seems to be little or no consensus on almost all major decisions. Even those who speak of coherence now speak of it with limitations – as though logic is a province with marked boundaries and trust is the arbitrariness that once existed within it.

The dichotomies through which regions plagued with armed and political conflicts are viewed by their inhabitants present a worldview that is marked by self-pity.

The notion is particularly stifling and has created divisions on many fronts.

We do not want the Customs Act, 1969 to be implemented in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) but want the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to be brought into the mainstream.

In a similar vein, we think migrants inhabiting our cities are the root cause of the security and economic challenges we face today and yet we want to be treated equally when we ourselves travel to other countries. The list of these contradictions is endless.

More often than not, we start digging through the past to justify the present. However, we do this to such an extent that there is nothing left to dig and we are left with nothing but cynicism.

In a recent Facebook post, someone said British colonial administrator Herbert Edwardes – after whom Edwardes College in Peshawar is named – was the one who formed the basis of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).

He insisted the college should be brought down because of this.

Does this form of vandalism remind us of a dangerous ideology that already has plagued our society?

American poet Maya Angelou once said, “There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

Those who are encouraging confusion for their own political gains must realise cynicism begets cynicism and soon we will be left with nothing but our nihilism. What did militants do to Fata?
They simply ended the mutual trust that existed from within before waging a full-fledged war against the state.

In most local post-war stories, there is invariably someone whose allegiance remains unclear and is often blamed for reasons that are either true or false.

It is difficult to restore this trust to this day. In the past, an entire village gathered around to greet a guest. Now, the same villagers will ask dozens of questions about the guest and view him with suspicion.

The age of ideology is dead. The left is no longer left and the right no longer right. This in itself is a form of anarchy.

A clear motive with a clearer thought process could save a generation unless the nihilists serve some greater purpose unknown to history.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2016.


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