It’s easy to stomach numerous religious and political parties protesting the blasphemous Facebook page. It’s okay to see various students, civic society, lawyers and fundamentalists swarm the streets against it. But not once did I read or hear any of these “relevant” people empathising or extending hope or help to the thousands bound to suffer Attabad Lake outflow, reported to be only one foot below the spillway, on Thursday.
It’s sad to be residing in a troubled zone with a media marginalising grave issues. No protests were called before The Mall in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad Press Clubs against why Hunza locals have not been relocated as yet.
Or why has not the media justified the transparent utilisation of Rs350 million in funds the government claims to have allocated to the National Disaster Management Authority while showing footage of 400 camps set at the cost of it?
If anything, we as the civil and the educated few, should stop whining about the Lahore High Court’s orders banning Facebook and should firmly stand and ensure government’s full support and relief to Gojal and Attabad affectees. As always, frenzied protesters succeeded in evoking the LHC to impose a temporary ban while the zealous Pakistan Telecommunication Authority extended it to 800 other websites.
Facebook isn’t our responsibility, Attabad is.
It did hurt our sentiments, more so of 80 per cent population who learnt about Facebook with the advent of the competition. Instead of vesting our energy and time at setting up “Pakfacebook” and “MillatFacebook”, to counter and reaffirm our dumbness, we should avert it to the seemingly more critical issue at hand.
Regardless of assurance and an apology from Facebook to make the page unavailable to users in Pakistan, the ban remains intact. Facebook “addicts” turned to proxy sites to access it. While those residing in 36 villages surrounding the lake can rarely afford to access the outside world for support.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.
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