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Generation Axe – by Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Generation Axe

by Nadeem F. Paracha

Source: http://blog.dawn.com/2010/08/08/generation-axe/

It does pain me to see a lot of ground-level PPP workers being pushed into a corner by their party leader’s nonchalant ways. They seem and sound helpless and exhausted in trying to defend their leader who has become the target of an obsessive-compulsive punching campaign of the media.

However, though the president does not seem to be bothered by the campaign, he must realize that there are many of his party workers who are being seriously affected. More than this, he should also realize that the media is targeting these very workers because it knows how vulnerable they are at the moment and also how defenceless they are feeling in the wake of both the media’s rather pathological hatred for Zaradri as well as Zardari’s own obvious and not very endearing eccentricities.

Let’s just forget what I think about Zardari’s tour of France and the UK in the wake of the devastating floods that have hit millions of unfortunate Pakistanis. All I’ll say is that my view on the issue is not compatible with those members of the PPP who are defending the President’s trip, but nor are my views in tune with those heaping scorn over him for being such a heartless president. Instead I will share with you an observation.

In 2005 when a horrifying earthquake hit Kashmir and many areas of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, we saw an immediate response from thousands of young men and women who just rolled up their sleeves and plunged into relief work, sometimes facing great dangers.

I am proud to note that this is one thing this generation is very good at. So I was expecting the same this time around as well. So, off I went with a friend to take a tour of some offices and colleges where we knew a few people.

I won’t go into details about this, but will share with you an episode I witnessed at an office full of young folks. This episode neatly covers the ground realities I experienced elsewhere as well.

At this office I saw three donation boxes put there to collect funds for the flood victims. Since they were one of those transparent plastic ones, one could see through and in them. They’d been lying there for three days and none of them were even half full.

A number of young people approached me and they just seemed to have Zaradri’s trip on their minds. Seeing me retreat, my friend intervened: “Zaradri was wrong to go. But what have YOU done to help the victims? Do you think all this obsessive whining about Zaradri would help you help the hungry, broken and shelterless victims?”

He was right. Because whereas one saw a number of young Pakistanis gathering to actually do something practical and tangible to help the earthquake victims, this time around however, the same young guns and, of course, the electronic media were spending more time spouting accusations and curses at Zaradri and navel-gazing about morality in this context than actually doing something a lot more noble.

There is no nobility I’m afraid in attacking an incompetent (democratically elected) government when every Junaid, Seema and John in the media is doing so – especially a wobbly government of a country ravaged by the demonic specter of religious extremism and violence, a dwindling economy, unchecked corruption and sudden natural calamities . Turning such loud whining into an obsession is even worse.

In a democracy people get the chance and the right to throw such a government out through the power of the vote. But, of course, those who make the most noise in this respect, hardly ever go out to vote.

What’s even shoddier is the way the many western media correspondents based in Pakistan report the happenings here. I have met some really good ones, who are open to learn about the complexities of the many social and political issues that this country faces. But unfortunately, since many of them have connections with the so-called intelligentsia and media of Pakistan, they too end up describing a lot of events through the paranoid shades of the somewhat despotic, self-righteous middle-class morality.

While reporting a political event involving, for example, Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zaradri, most western reporters (like the Pakistani middle-classes) are bound to digress towards commenting on the dynastical soap opera of the Sharif family and the Bhuttos with, of course, Fatima Bhutto, always making some kind of an entry, despite the fact that the talented writer that she is, the lady quite clearly has no clue what politics is.

And when it comes to Altaf Hussain, many western correspondents again take the minority, non-voting Pakistani middle-class view. They (like a bulk of the middle-class in the Punjab), are still measuring Hussain and his party as if this was not the 2000s, but 1992!

Nevertheless, after concluding our ‘fact finding’ mission in which we saw young, middle-class Pakistanis filling donation boxes with anti-Zaradri curses (instead of actual money), my friend and I drove down to a café in Karachi where I was invited to meet a large group of young high school and college students.

They wanted to talk to me about terrorism. I’m not much of a speaker, so I just asked them to start a conversation on the subject. They were a lively bunch. But such is the state of confusion, denial and mistrust in the country’s urban middle-classes, that I wasn’t surprised at all to be bombarded by one conspiracy theory after another that these young people had obviously picked up from the electronic media and a number of (the rather unintentionally) hilarious websites out there who deal in peddling the most outlandish claptrap this side of Erich von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin!

I let the young group’s members do most of the talking, until I decided to ask a few questions: “How would you like to be part of a generation that may go down as the one during which Pakistan was finally turned into hellhole of religious extremism? How would you all feel when history describes your generation to be the one that in spite of having unprecedented access to some stunning technology, democracy and superior education, still allowed its country to become the breeding ground for audacious, obscene and insane mad men who use the good name of God to spread hatred?”

“That won’t happen!” A young man announced.

My friend intervened: “Oh, but it’s already happening. It happens almost every single day. Can’t you see it?”

“That’s what the West wants us to believe,” a young lady replied.

“Okay then,” I said. “Let’s say for a while most of you are right to suggest that that ubiquitous foreign Indian, Western, Israeli or Martian hand is involved, it’s still Pakistan’s survival on the line, isn’t it? What have you done about what your country’s going through, apart from, of course, forwarding Zaradri jokes and nice little religious couplets through SMS …”

I was interrupted by an enthusiastic young man announcing the ‘news’ about Zaradri facing a ‘barrage of shoes in Britain!’

I nodded my head: “Right, so you think the answer lies in throwing shoes at Zaradri?”

“Hell, yes!” came the reply from a couple of young guys sitting in the front row.

“So if you see Zaradri, you too will be willing to throw a shoe at him?” I asked.

“Yes, I definitely would!” A young man announced.

“Would you throw a shoe at a religious extremist? I asked.

“Are you crazy!” he shot back. “He’ll blow me up to bits!”

A ripple of laughter and high-fives ran across the gathered group.

“That, I’m afraid, makes you a coward.” I said.

The laughter faded away.

“Anything that scares you or retaliates, you deny its existence. As if it’ll just go away. But all that which does not hit back or retaliate is fair game for shoes and boos? That, lad, is the dilemma of your generation. Now, if you all don’t mind, this creaking 42-year-old cynic would like to have that coffee this café is famous for. Thank you.”

About the author

Ahmed Iqbalabadi

14 Comments

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  • One day I want to do “Takara” with this foul mouth idiot and drug addict NDF.

    He has written all kind of non-sense and crap in the past. He is amongst one of those moles which are installed by some of our so called “Liberal” media, or in other words preachers of “Secularism”.
    These pseudo intelligent like NDF and Hassan Nisar “The gutter mouth” are so hilarious. These idiots do not know their stupidity. Nisar starts his tirade against Muslims and Islam whenever he gets a chance on the TV. This idiot has absolutely no grasp of history, but he keeps quoting history, one of these days, I am going to write an e-mail to him and ask him for a written debate. Or if he wants a televised debate from London, I am gaming for it.

  • NDF? You mean NFP, you moron. ‘Takara?’ Abay what the hell are you drinking these days, you stupid bafoon?
    And what the heck are you going on and on about NFP and Hassan Nisar being anti-Paksiatan? You, my friend, who should be called a crankshaft, are EXACTLY the kind of examples both Nisar and Paracha need to further highlight their points.

    And a televised debate? On TV? With YOU? LOL!! Talk about delusions. Go, crankshaft. Mommy’s calling.

  • Excellent piece. I gues the following taken from this article says it all about these middle-class drawing room fascists:
    “So if you see Zaradri, you too will be willing to throw a shoe at him?” I asked.

    “Yes, I definitely would!” A young man announced.

    “Would you throw a shoe at a religious extremist? I asked.

    “Are you crazy!” he shot back. “He’ll blow me up to bits!”

    A ripple of laughter and high-fives ran across the gathered group.

    “That, I’m afraid, makes you a coward.” I said.

    The laughter faded away.

    Well done NFP. Cowards they surely are.

  • @Ironic,
    I posted this article mainly because of the conversation NFP had with the students.

  • @ yawar

    No buffoon, I meant NDF (Nadeem Druged “F**khead). Yes off course, the delusional idiots like you deserve “gutter mouths” like Hassan Nisar; I bet he wouldn’t last few minutes in front of me.

    For your information, I did ask questions from some of your famous leaders few years back in London when BB was still alive. The response I get was a threat. This is the reality of your goons of PPP. They show the same mentality even in London. I laughed on their criminal mentality and suggested to call the police if they are willing to repeat their threats in front of the Police. You should have seen the faces of your so called leaders, which I call criminals. This was my first and last interaction with a political party from Pakistan.

    What a wonderful examples of Democracy and freedom of speech they are setting. You truly deserve these morons as your leaders.

  • Crankshaft, ha ha ha. Well said Ironic.
    So, crankshaft, do you consider your own birth to be a conspiracy. Stop babbling like a foaming ass, try stating your point in a civilised manner.

  • Denial will lead us into more chaos. Plus the beauty of democracy is that a party can be criticized by its own workers for any policy with the fear of being criminalized for it.

  • If I call the members and supporters of PPP (Permanent plunder party) as dishonest and delusional then it is wholly justified.

    The latest salvo by these corrupt people is evidence in itself. I wrote perfectly justifiable criticism of Nadeem and Nisar. It is no secret that Nadeem is a recovering drug addict. And it is a known fact that Nisar bad mouth Muslims and Islam at every given opportunity.

    So who started the non-sense? Yawar wrote; “NDF? You mean NFP, you moron. ‘Takara?’ Abay what the hell are you drinking these days, you stupid bafoon?”

    It is abundantly clear that this illiterate can not spell properly. But keen to criticse others.

    As soon as I showed him the meaning of NDF; which I purposefully shortened in my first post. The PPP “baigarat brigade “all of a sudden are up in arms. We can not expect anything from delusional and corrupt people. That’s why I call you dishonest people.

  • Yes Yes I totally agree. Please don’t surround my comment and throw stones at me. Jiya Zardary Jiya bhutto … I mean… Democracy zindabad.

    NFP is an idiot and his support of fascist tactics will come back to haunt his pseudo liberal arse. Freedom of speech isn’t about things you agree with, it is all about letting differing opinions be heard as well no matter how much you dislike them.

    NFP failed the litmus test.

  • What Nadeem Paracha has written is absolutely true and example of this non-sense thinking is also evident from ” crankthatskunk ‘s comments.
    What Paracha has written about extremist thoughts , skunk´s comments are proving that.
    Skunk same question, would you throw shoe on Mullah Omer?

  • @crankthatskunk, this is low by even your standards. Attacking Nadeem’s personal life and his past. It seems that his article has really burnt you. Why do you bother posting comments. Every comment that you post provides a glimpse of those who have an pathological hatred of the progressive forces in this country. PPP has made many mistakes and could have done a better job in managing their media relations. Constructive criticism is always welcome. However, personal attacks and unsubstantiated accusations are contrary to the spirit of a true dialogue. I showed your comments amongst other blog posts and comments to two foreign correspondents who were very critical of Zardari’s trip to UK. After seeing comments like yours, they too expressed their realization that much of the criticism against Pakistan’s elected representatives comes from an increasingly warped and extremist bourgeoisie like yourself; an intellectually and morally bankrupt group that can only spew venom (and the occassional shoe) against Zardari but not provide any progressive alternative or any constructive whatsoever. Keep posting, it makes our case so much easier to prove.

  • Well said Abbass. People like this guys are perfect poster boys for writers like NFP to easily prove the madness cutting across the bourgeoisie.
    he more I read comments like these, the more faith I begin to have in the insights and observations of NFP.
    I say, let over-the-top fools like crankthatskunk post for the whole world to see exactly what filth these so-called ‘educated’ chasm-o-chiraghs of Pakistan are made of.
    And oh, crankthatskunk jee, we are still waiting for an answer on the questions asked by junaid mangi and imran.