I would not waste a minute, getting as far away as I can from this joke of a country the first chance I get. Now, I wouldn’t have said that a few years back, when my silly, rosy, pink patriotism fooled me like hell. When I saw my defenders like protectors, my scholars as the guidance to a better Islam. I was wrong, my love was so immense that I refused to see any flaws. Then came the harsh reality, slapping me in the face so hard, that I started to see the real face of the people. All I had to do was meet more people and get out of the house my parents made so comfortable for me, that I was literally living in a fairytale. Like they say, all is well in the wonderland, yes in wonderlands all is well. That was what my house and my early life was, with air-conditioning working, schools teaching me a history and geography of the world I wasn’t living in. With school teachers not allowed to hit, where the only language spoken and written was English, where trash was thrown in the bins. I stayed secluded in a small town surrounded with the houses of university teachers, professors, artists and people with a vision. I grew up watching my mother feeding me glorious tales of the past Muslim rulers and how they were betrayed and how their glory turned sour as soon as they wavered from their paths and handed over their kingdom to others. She told me about Arab mathematicians, astronomers, chemists and scientists. She told me to love my Arab brothers and that they were holy.
Then came the age of enlightenment, as I may call it. Things came as a shock to me one by one, my school ended, I entered in a university. I hardly ever saw my teachers “teaching”. A government university where I thought I was lucky to have entered by clearing an entrance test. No sir, there were many who hadn’t studied as hard as I did. That wasn’t the first shock, the first shock was when I found out that my first rank in high school was sold out to a student whose parents had paid for their kid to ace in every subject. My staying up at night and missing every social event I could think of seemed stupid then. I was the only one in the whole damned exam centre to not have cheated even once!
I do thank the teachers of my school, to have given me a vision most of the population of my country lacks. It was my good fate, that my parents had managed to pay a fee and get me into a school that was way out of their league. My mother who sacrificed almost all of her passions to see me grow up the way she wanted us to. She gave up on her scholarships to study abroad, to get a PhD people dream of. I know I can never repay her for the damage I did to her life and her career. I am sorry for the millions of kids whose parents did not make that choice, the unlucky ones who never saw school, the less fortunate ones. Why should private schools be better than the government ones, the answer in simple …we do not see education as our priority. We see nuclear power and spending every penny we have, on armed forces as our priority.
The list of the shocks began, I got married and found out the hard way that combine families were forced upon the girls rather than being an option. Where all the freedom of speech and the path of truth was gone down the drain but I started to see the world outside my little heaven. I thank God that I did, otherwise I would never have known good from bad. I thought just being polite would do the trick but it wasn’t that simple, people began interfering, making decisions for me. I cornered, spent more time reading, painting and writing poetry, fantasizing about the walks I would take, without being chaperoned, imagining how it is to sit alone at the shore and see the waves crash and the sun go down, wishing to feel the air in my hair while driving a car. All dreams, a farm house with greenery and sun and stars and clouds and and and…
All I ever saw was dirt, smoke, trash and all I smelled was foul rotten things around me. I saw Islam as the escape route of it all. People claiming to be pious wanted their religion to hide all the dirt they were gathering underneath it. They prayed only when they had an audience and they told the world about he good deeds they did and yet, they were not humble at heart, they never met and spoke to Allah as they should have. They never asked for his forgiveness.
All I saw was people with longer beards lying ogling at girls , beating up young lads, asking them to blow themselves up for a heaven they knew nothing about. I saw people close to me, telling me to put away the photos in my house as they were haram.I saw maulivs, abandoning their wives and mothers and poor families for a lost cause. They were trained to kill their own brothers.How could we call it a word of God, it most certainly is not.I saw maulvis and scholars legalising the suicide blasts, telling people that is was the only way to avenge themselves. what revenge are we talking about? we are by far our only undefeated enemy. we are a nation fighting with ourselves.
I saw girls waiting to wed because of the lack of dowry, I saw young boys searching more porn on the Internet than writing school assignments, chewing on a poisonous addicting “mainpuri”. I saw them deviating, who is to blame? the absence of the flair to acquire knowledge, the absence of motivation and the absence of a moral upbringing. The gap bridged them away from the privileged ones, we see a society with its middle class gone.
Floods came, earth quakes came and killed a million, leaving people shelter less, the world gave funds. Our heads of the state and people in power became richer and more funds kept coming in. The blood money as I call it kept going to the armed forces to kill more people. Who are we to honor? the ones killed or the ones killing, I guess there is no honor in any of that. Failed nation as we are called, we failed our ancestors too.
I was told about the evil of the west all my life but when I travelled I saw my own evil. I saw myself drenched in shame because I only saw a nation that had no time to waste.They work honestly, they smile when greeted and they open the doors if you’re at a mall. They would let you have a seat, they would help you with your job, they would encourage the skills and pay for them fairly. Where writers and poets are not seen as fools wasting their time, where aesthetics are still alive. Where morals mean, giving people space and privacy, I saw tolerance and equality that our religion preaches.
why should I not flee?
I thought it would get better, I had dreams of a glorious homeland. Now I see a corpse of a nation, dead and mottling. I see pot bellied politicians whose children live in safer places, I see armed forces with their heavy guns pointed at innocent people, I see them residing in the hub of the cities taking a lion’s share of everything they can lay their hands on. My defenders are my greatest fears, it is like getting scared of your hired body guards.
Why should I not flee?
In a few hundred words, you have counted every single suffering met by the people of Pakistan. Brilliant write-up but sad state of affairs. God Bless!