By Dawar Nauman Butt
For the past two days, I witnessed the type of gung-ho Patriotism I had never before seen since memory serves. It seemed like a good occasion for some well-needed introspection for a strife-torn country like Pakistan. A country where little children aren’t safe in their homes nor at their schools. Where the poor cannot have a place to live if the rich deem them uncouth and unfit to live near them. Where our biggest ‘achievement’ this year is how many men we sent to the gallows – most of them not terrorists. Where a nation that has been oppressed since 1948 would rather be dealt with more violence than simply giving them the rights our Constitution provides them. Where the money spent on Official ceremonies and parades trumps the entire Education budget. Where Lawmakers would themselves infringe upon democratic values and the right to fair trial rather than attempting to fix our courts. Where places of worship and learning have been turned into hatred spewing propaganda centers. Where a ‘free’ citizen of a ‘free’ nation could land in a hospital or worse, a grave, for speaking against injustice or the holy-cows which are responsible for this systemic injustice. Where just mentioning any wrongs like these would brand you a pessimist, a traitor, an infidel.
Independence days are meant to be celebrated responsibly. Just as you or I would do on our birthdays, a nation needs to evaluate where it stands. What has it done better since last year? How close is it to what its Forefathers wanted? Where does it stand globally? They were never meant to be a convenient excuse to forget our mistakes or to wash away our collective failures. Under the guise of celebrations, young men scaled the walls of Jinnah’s Mausoleum to show their ‘reverence’, about 8 drowned on the Manora beach, roads were cluttered with drivers who had forgotten every sense of traffic norms, the National flag was disrespected at nearly every intersection, and for some reason the day had to include some abuse for our neighbours to the East.
Just a single day has passed, a Lt. General, partially responsible for the establishment of today’s Uni-Polar World Order among other things, is dead of natural causes. His sins, too, had been washed away long ago by the holy-water of Patriotism. Then an Army Colonel turned Lawmaker is martyred, by the action and on orders of men the General would once proudly claim to have ‘fathered’. The irony is, however, that the passing away of both is being mourned and celebrated, by factions among a people, which claimed to be ‘united’ less than 24 hours ago. Incidentally, today also happens to be the eight-month anniversary of the Peshawar attack. So, to a Nation of confused and forgetful Patriots, where do you stand?