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Pak Tea House » Citizens, culture, drama, History, human rights, Identity, Opinion, Pakistan, Society, violence, war » Death of a Nation

Death of a Nation

by Hafsa Khawaja

Holding on in the midst of political, social and economic storms, the Pakistan of today is an illustration of an almighty bedlam.

Unsurprisingly, death and destruction have now eased into humdrum routinely occurrences for most people; Predictably throwing a cloak of desensitization over them; giving rise to chronic apathy.

A common trend that has been nurtured in this environment is the juxtaposition of tragedies for comparisons to exhibit selectivity of people’s reactions and responses.

To question this apathy,many have begun to question concern regarding media coverage of a particular unpleasant incident; why one tragedy merits greater outrage or media attention than another? It is rather frequent to see comments on the social media touching upon drone attacks or killings in Karachi to ask why these do not yield as much public concern as other doleful incidents such as the shooting of Malala Yousafzai or the murder of Shahzeb Khan.

Stalin is to have allegedly said:

‘The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic.’

No statement displays the human propensity of desensitization better than this. The human mind perceives a single death or loss with genuine compassion and sympathy but when it comes to a loss of more lives, it simply can not grasp it with the same rush of emotions.
The grip of those emotions loosens with the loss being bigger.

Keith Payne, a social psychologist, notes in an article of his ‘Why is the death of one million a statistic; Why we feel the least when we are needed the most.’ :

“Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said that the death of one person is a tragedy; the death of one million is a statistic. And Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass I will never act.”
When Stalin and Mother Teresa agree on a point, I sit up and pay attention. It turns out that the human tendency to turn away from mass suffering is well documented. Deborah Small and Paul Slovic have termed this phenomenon the collapse of compassion.
It’s not simply that as the number of victims goes up, people’s sympathy levels off. No, when the numbers go up, the amount of sympathy people feel goes perversely down.”

This is not to justify the expansion of apathy in Pakistan, but to merely accentuate the human tendency for it that has ballooned in the country into an even worse phenomenon, of selective apathy and empathy.

An evident outcome of the aforementioned commentary – of pitting one mishap and its casualties against another – has been the polarization which has thrust people into dissimilar angles of this discourse.

One may also ascribe this approach to the Pakistani proclivity for knitting and credulity to believe conspiracy theories; or looking for ulterior motive angles to certain events springing from the importance being attached to them.

There are those who point out how many are unmoved by tragedies which involve perpetrators that claim to be Muslims and will only raise voice when America or some Western state is at this end, and there are those who believe that a certain segment of the Pakistani society is only disturbed when religious minorities or supposedly ’liberal’ causes lie in the very plinth and base of those tragedies.

However, both agree that condemnation and outrage in Pakistan rests on whatever perpetuates one’s narrative or beliefs. Therefore, there is no uniformity, but selectivity in outrage.

But most importantly, the reason is simple: challenging people’s indifference and nonchalance.

Ironically, this course often tumbles into the same cast that it seeks to break.

As in many instances of comparing two tragic incidents, these attempts to rouse attention or sympathy towards an ignored happening seems to degenerate into diminishing the value of and disregard for the lives lost in the first one, because the entire concept of comparing and contrasting deaths reeks of obscenity.

There is a great deal of truth in the issue of Pakistanis conveniently cherry picking certain appalling occurrences for grieving and clamoring, whilst amplifying the blithe thoughtlessness for other terrible incidents.

But in reaching a point where we feel pitching tragedies against one another to raise and elicit equal compassion and commiseration for both and by doing so, we have let our collective morality and humanity slip between the cracks and diminish to specks.

When deaths are made to compete to be mourned, fouled and disregarded heartlessly to be given ascendancy over one another, exploited to strengthen personal political arguments, ignored due to indifference and the solemnity they command consigned to oblivion it signals nothing, but the death of a nation itself.

Hafsa is a student based in Lahore, with a keen eye on national and global affairs. She blogs at http://hafsakhawaja.wordpress.com

 

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Filed under: Citizens, culture, drama, History, human rights, Identity, Opinion, Pakistan, Society, violence, war · Tags: , , ,

29 Responses to "Death of a Nation"

  1. treason United States Safari Mac OS says:

    In one of Clinton’s first meetings with Pakistan’s military and intelligence chiefs, she asked them point blank to tell her what their vision for Pakistan was: “Would Pakistan become like North Korea? I am just curious. I would like to hear where you see your country going.” The generals were at a loss for words. — Vali Nasr

    “Truth is treason in the empire of lies” — Ron Paul

  2. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

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  4. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

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  6. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

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  10. Madhav Singh India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

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  14. Shahnaz Khan United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    I think that there is difference in how Muslims react to killings of Muslims by Muslims vs by non-Muslims. It is the same with Islamic organizations in the USA. They will issue statements about Maynamar, Palestine,India and wherever else Muslims are being killed by “others” but not Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq etc.

  15. yazid United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Pakistan must rebuild itself, and it would do it for sure. Pakistan still has people like these writers who can think about the problems. These are parts of functioning as a nation. All the best, it would be of great interest for Indians to help Pakistan, which could function as an ally for peace, development and business.

    Asato maa sad-gamaya

    Tamaso maa jyotir-gamaya

    Mṛityor-maa-mṛitan gamaya

    Om shaantiḥ shaantiḥ shaantiḥ

    Lead us from Untruth to Truth, from Darkness to Light, from Death to Immortality. Om peace, peace, peace

  16. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    yazid writes:

    “…it would be of great interest for Indians to help Pakistan, which could function as an ally for peace, development and business.”

    A scorpion will sting, no matter if you feed it with milk and honey or the choicest worms and insects.

    Islam’s long term goal is …

    Think of that.

  17. IndianDude India Google Chrome Windows says:

    Pakistani don’t mind killing of muslims as long it is the muslims who kills them. If one of the muslim brother is killed by an ‘infidel’ than whole pakistan gets upset and ready to burn tyres.

  18. AKB Pakistan Safari Unknow Os says:

    entirely crud….nonsensical gibberish.

    What’s wrong with ‘selectivity”?? You mourn your own departed for 3, 10 or 40 days, not your departed neighbor, do you?? Even birds like crows crow at the pain of their own one n not any others??
    Why should u think that a certain fraternity should not feel the brunt more abt its own people more than others. That is pretty natural.

  19. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

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  20. yazid United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    testing…………

    my earlier posts seems to have vanished..

  21. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

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  22. Shridhar Oman Google Chrome Windows says:

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  23. Great BottomBALLB United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    seems madoodi dude was smarter than Churchill-Laid draculla BA LLB Jina … he knew for Islam to live and rule over the flock of converts it needs dhimmi kaafir around in large number…. this way they can have new type of Jizia (threat / bluff give us fookt ka malida warana ham Pakistan banayenge).. this also keeps converts due to Jabardasti and atrocity not leave the prison called Islam… third Angloes and their 2.5 friends would go on supporting this fifth column within India to destabilize it permanently.

    Thus they will get fookat ka malida from both Hindu and 3.5 imperialists. These days 3.5 imperialists economy is not doing well and no Hindu / Sikh is left to get fukat ka malida… so Paki is in trouble.

    Paki Abdul sold his MohMad and his mother’s Teresa to the highest bidder for last 66 years, but the bids are not now high enough…

    Indian Muslim converts have been in this problem since 1700, ie since Marathas buried Aurangzeb in 1707. Convert Raja Mansighs made money by Chudwaing their sisters… now they are still chudwaing but the chodes to do not have zagir or nazarana to give….

    Raja Mansinghs progeny were so long taunting the honest honorable progeny of Rana Pratap Singh. Finally the honor and honesty of Rana Pratap is bearing fruits. Satya Meva Jayate Indeed!

  24. Shridhar Oman Google Chrome Windows says:

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted

    Why ?????

  25. dte India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    why delete before they are read?

  26. [...] Death of a Nation *First posted on Pak Tea House. [...]

  27. Salman Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Of course your motive behind ‘Pak Tea House’ may be great but what can anyone do when the very
    foundation of this country is on Sectirial basis. From the very beginning the highest key posts of
    the country whether civil or military and vast commercial concerns were handed over by Jinnah to minority sects that have nothing to do with Insan or Islam. Pak Gazettes are the all time proofs. Can a muslim imagine to attack Mosques, Shrines.Muslims in prayers and Religious Scholars ?
    What can be the meaning and motive of the comments you invite from the public when you are not at all ready to
    tolerate and publish the TRUTH and that is why the country is going to be destitude day by day. Please REMEMBER
    AND NOTE that Jinnah Poonja was NOT AT ALL THE CREATOR OF PAKISTAN. He was just fully supported,backed and assured that India must and must be divided according to the planning of UK,US and Jewis
    lobbies and so he acted as the most steadfast and dancing like trained Monkey. By birth he was Agakhani but in the later life he was converted to shia isnasri to give founding protection to both these sects.Can an Agakhani Khoja can do anything for Muslims and Islam ?
    Initially those learned personalities who raised the movement for Muslim State had to pass half of their lives in Jail, like Maulana Hasarat Mohani, Bahadur Yarjung and Allama Mashriqi whose young son and so many party workers were assassinated whereas Jinnah Poonja was not jailed even for a second.
    Also,the most modern device like Computer shows that high level drink and pork-dish was his favourite food. Underhand and under-ground dealings were started so earlr in the past that Jinnah’s Guru Sultan Agakhan had booked very vast landproperties for his vested sectarial interests some 20-30-40 years before partion in both the wings that were going to be shaped as Pakistan which is different from what it was demanded by the Real Pioneers of the movement who were sidelined by the Western powers and the minority sects. The full planning was to
    If one reads the newspapers or watches various TV channels and listens talk shows for about two weeks, one can conclude that the country as a whole is complete failure. I remember that before partition some scholars and learned men had interviewed Jinnah and then in a short time they had declared that they won’t accept him as a leader and those who would follow him would go on deteriorating and destitude for ever. Also, Mahatma Gandhijee, once holding friendly Jinnah’s soldier said,” Blood Rivers will go on flowing for ever as a result of what you are doing”
    65 years history of this country exactly and practically confirms all this. It is hopeful that on the night of last 23rd March,2012 Pakistani media, with reference to the predictions of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, accepted that the partition was the conspiracy to devide the muslim unity and strenth.The muslim strength has been divided in four parts;
    in India,Pakistan,Kashmir and Bangla Desh out of which Pakistan and Kashmir find themselves NOWHERE. We have so many relatives and acquaintences in India according to whom in various regions of India the muslims have become so prosperous that it becomes difficult to find the proper and really deserving person accepting the money of
    Zaqat. Also if they are away from home for long time they have NO worry about the safety of their family members who may also be outdoor even at the dead of night.
    Naturally, majority of muslims like myself have come here from the country ( INDIA )and the RAJ states WHERE EVEN A DONKEY COULD NOT AND NEVER BE OVERLOADED AND NOR COULD ANY PERSON THROW “PICK OF PAN” ALONG AND ACROSS THE ROADS.
    It follows that if such were the LAWS OF LAND, what it could not have been about the peace and safety of the people!! Everywhere and always there was peace and prosperity. Any case of heart-failure (natural death) used to be remembered and discussed for a long time. There was the British Government and mostly Hindu Rajas.Of course, at that time we were slaves ( by notion ) but free to go and safe to move anywhere and everywhere unchecked and uninquired but now we are slaves of the slaves of the slaves of the slaves……….and so on in every respect.
    Everything is obvious in this Jinnah Valley that day by day,honesty,faith,sincerety,truth,reality,devotion,faithfulness,fellowfeelings,brotherhood,selflessness,humanity,tolerence,soberness; all these gems of humanity,spirituality and morality are going to dissolve and generally the persons believing in these natural principles,are sinking down and down. Mostly for the Govt. jobs of any level the only criteria are the Extrimist Political Party Mafia,influence and the amount of BRIBE as much as possible.
    Further, all adult gents and ladies,from the same family with high perks,have been marked holding,various govt.jobs at a time and hardly attending one for a short time just as a fill in the blanks.Similarly family members,including ladies and gents,of M.P.A.s,M.N.A.s,ministers and high level military and civil bureaucrats can be noted holding very high posts,Govt. and private contracts and vast commercial concerns whereas the common people find it very difficult to
    get jobs and survive.The cases of suicide of jobless men and women are reported now and then.
    Almost everywhere and in any field, whether Govt. or Private, meanest people like black mailers, cheaters,liers, fraudulents, selfish,bribers,intriguers are climbing higher and higher, so to say ” THE MIGHT IS RIGHT” has just become the accepted norm by general public. As “DEVIDE AND RULE” and “HYPOCRACY,INTRIGUES AND CONSPIRACIES” are the basis of this country to start with, everywhere such is the syndrome. Any alternate person can be marked seeking the means of INCOME NUMBER TWO,whether fair or unfair.Govt.Institutions like PIA,Pak Railway,WAPDA,City Electric Companies, Steel Mill,Gas and petrolium Industries,Textiles Industries are mostly going to be bankrupt or paralysed.
    Judiciary and education systems have become funs and jokes. Generally in the British Model Courts,the cases are decided after years and that too at a great cost. By chance if a case is decided with exact justice,particularly against the Govt.- Class, who will put it into effect and abide by the rule of law since everywhere there are dummies,whether military or civil.
    In a local school where my grand children go, all the students of class ninth passed all the subjects in the examination of the Secondary Education Board whereupon so many passing students were over joyed and wondered as to what they had boiled in the papers.In most of the examination centers the invigilaters themselves help to solve or copy their answers. In some centers if the students are not allowed to copy, invigilaters are threatened of the consiquences.
    Mobile phones are openly used during paper time for verbal and sms messages.
    What culture such country can give to the new generation except extrmists of intriguing political parties,loot,cheat,fraud and wasteful cricket culture where one can see youngesters along the roads like stray dogs hurting, harming the passerby and brazing like donkeys. Upon the trifle cricket matches wretched youngesters who apparently don’t deserve any food or water,can be seen possesingTTs,guns,pistols and firing at their free will and as a result of this wilderness,some casulties are also reported time to time.These fools don’t realise that Americans,the illegal produce of Britain,don’t play and keep any cricket team as they take it as a foreign game. They are so alert about their national culture and prestige.

  28. Javaid Bashir Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    I recently fell inlove woth a beauty. She was intelligent, physical appearance was great. She is sitting a high post some where Pakistan.Though She graduvted from an institution of higher learning of America. She is extremely good loking, well mannered

    She is in her late thirties and well built strong girl She does Yoga onregular basis. She dishes out great ideas and food stuff She is smart and kick ass kind of practical woman. She does not understand any love for her I have nevet seen her dullard and act like this before.

  29. Javaid Bashir Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    The death of a Nation attracted my eye, but when I read it and later wanted comment on the write up. I got strayed by my thoughts of a woman who recently appeared from nowhere to capture my attention, and moved my emotions and I started dreaming about her in a sexual manner. The feeling was so over powering that I almost forgot myself. I do not know what to call this rush of feelings ? I am not ready for a love fling or flirtation on the side.

    So far so good. Now I have come out of her spell and can think straight. here I go.

    The death remains a morbid subject. Everybody reacts io it in a different way, It is not necessary that we feel the loss of one person more as compared to the loss of many. Actually it is not emotional thing but the way we perceive the human loss based on our cognitive thinking and perception. One person’s death and several persons death makes no difference. It depends how we come to know about the incidents. The pictorial view or the real death scene occurring before our eyes.

    For example when we see the dead bodies scattered all over the street or some place , We feel the impact of this tragedy greater than one man’s death. We always talk in terms of mass killings as genocide, carnage, or great tragic event. It effects our whole being and we feel sad about it.

    Obviously when we see bodies buried the scene effects us more intensely.

    When we hear one man killed in shooting and persons lined up and shot with their hands and feet tied up. The later present the greater tragedy. The author has mixed up this concept

    The death of the nation in reality becomesa bigger issue and concern. It ls like one man surrendering than the whole army of men surrendering. The later will have greater impact.

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