Reason versus the Patriot

Posted by Admin On Saturday, 2 February 2013 0 comments

Patriotism does not require reason;it is a feeling that holds the ability to perpetuate success,like pride. In today’s world it takes a real hero to represent a nation that has been abused,belittled and coerced into conforming to what the high handed ones want;A nation that suffers from dogma,depression,delusion and failure. Labeled the underdog,the terrorist and the pest. We don’t need cynicism. Not even to get ‘real’. We have enough on our platter presently to feel the need to look into our past and say we’ve been bad. I don’t have strong moral backing for this suggestion,but because that’s the only way out. We have every problem:economic,security,political,social,you name it. And yet individuals choose to carry this ‘battered’baggage and represent it. Most face humiliation.
An example would be our Girls Cricket squad who left for India earlier this week for the ICC International World Cup in India. Recently,two days ago to be precise,the girls were refused by hotels in India for security reasons. After the LoC issue escalating and India Pakistan entering another rough patch of a diplomatic tango,Indian right wing parties warned against accommodating the Pakistani team. While even ‘transporting’them to the Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium was not a risk free job,the solution lied in arranging accommodation within the stadium. Half of these girls are teenagers from small towns,and representing their country in the same capacity as the 6 other teams hope to. The difference being that these are being treated like ticking time bombs:Ready to explode.
For security reasons,Indian Cricket Board has decided to open only two bleachers during the Pakistan team’s matches. Before sending the girls,immediately after Pakistan’s hockey team was sent home from India due to political reasons,Rehman Malik expressed his confidence in Indian security arrangements. One is compelled to question our Interior Minister’s trust,because clearly Pakistan hasn’t been considered safe enough for their Indian counterparts and such blind faith in them only skews the dynamics of an already complicated relationship. More importantly,given the influence in hands of right wing parties who can threaten hotels from accommodating international guests,on what parameter does India qualify to host the game while Pakistan falls short? With only 2 bleachers open soon enough the Indians might realize how many lives are at stake,how much unnecessary anger they are generating because of their next door neighbors.
And of course India is trying to accommodate them,what can one do about the erratic right. They just have so much control. And economically it isn’t feasible to call the Pakistani teams,and we will all understand because at least they are trying. And similarly while series after series Pakistan crosses the border,hoping this is once again turned into a two-way road,we only face disappointment as Pakistan is unsafe for international games. Pakistan is generally unsafe,and now so are Pakistanis. These girls,like other carriers of the green passport are not welcomed with arms wide open. They are made to stand in line on the transit in Manchester,while others roam freely in the same airport. We might not want to face it,but as long as you’re a Pakistani stranger your immediate surroundings view you with suspicion. Yes,you can make friends and become the respected,cool,or competitive one.  But the Pakistaniat seldom helps;it becomes more of a hindrance.
Time and again I have realized that the true patriot might not be the one choosing to stay back,nor is it the one who escapes. But one who has the courage to take ownership of his/her identity. It takes real courage to represent Pakistan in a World that has sadly conformed to a perpetual suspicious glare,or an attitude of pity. As individuals we don’t want to be pitied by others,and this is perhaps one of the first self defense mechanisms to be nurtured in children,and young adults. Know where to show tears,and to hide one’s weaknesses. Vulnerability is a disadvantage. And our sense of pride and worth to a great degree is attached to how others make us feel. I wouldn’t call it denial,but perhaps positive re-enforcement. Why embroil in problems when they can so easily be shoved aside and sorted out privately. This is how we from a very young age start to mark our comfort zones,and before we know it we aren’t even aware of this ‘act’and have conditioned ourselves to protect our dignity.
Notice that people with low self esteems are for the most part not preferred company,nor respected,and because they always tend to doubt their capabilities they are inclined to assume they can’t achieve certain goals they have set for themselves. Rather there will also come a point when they stop setting goals and just hope for the tide to turn in their favor. And even if a capable person lacks a basic sense of self-importance,they seldom muster the courage to put themselves through the test. While pessimism is a seductive psyche,whereby individuals feel this world is not worth it,or is petty and meaningless,happiness is delusion,the pessimist too feels content owing to an escalated sense of self worth. Pride is a stronger driving force than ‘happiness’.
“But why is she talking about human psyche?” one can wonder. Perhaps the parallel between individuals and societies has been done to death and it’s time to look for other avenues for societal growth. And you might have an anecdote,a story,a hero,a nation that attained success. Those guys didn’t just talk. They actually worked for it. Japan for example,after the World War. Shattered economy,starvation,a point of ‘no return’in our land of optimism (sarcasm),but they encouraged small success stories,and inculcated a sense of worth in their people. It only takes small doses and a feeling that ‘we can together do it’. With Pakistan every problem exists,but the solution lies not in just ‘coming to terms with it’and looking at 1971,’65,skewed narratives. Germany never spoke of the Holocaust. It’s been more than 60 years and only now they opened a Nazi museum,which was a huge step,and still taboo.
Similarly,when the Pakistani teenagers go play a game and partly because they feel proud of their identity,then welcoming them home,and acknowledging them as heroes is step one. Step 2:start taking some pride as an individual,and in your identity. Practice some selective retention.
By Zara Zulfiqar

AREA 14/8


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