On Saturday, American actor Sean Penn who starred in the award-winning ‘Dead Man Walking’ which featured two of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s tracks, came on a visit to Pakistan to meet and help the flood-victims of Badin.
This is not a first for Penn, who had extensively and actively taken part in the relief activities following the devastating earthquake in Haiti and is known for his social activism.
During a time when most people around the world, stay away from Pakistan out of fear, threat and the perception that has been created of it by the international media, Penn’s sudden arrival sparked excitement and surprise in most quarters of the Pakistani people – while in the few rest, a typical and common reaction was evoked: of ‘Ghairat’ and ‘Beyghayrat’ [Honor and Dishonorable].
The members of this Ghairat Brigade, rued and lamented the existence of such days, when people from other countries come to dish out and toss ‘alms’ in the ‘begging bowls’ that have been thrust into the hands of the nation, by the corrupt rulers while they indulged in the orgy of deepening their own pockets [ This is precisely, their perception regarding foreign aid ] . And how ‘Beyghairat’ could our people get to smile at this and accept its occurrence?
Though, its quite a conundrum to determine how someone’s genuine intention to bring succor to the distressed, is an act of foreigners coming to condescendingly chuck a few pennies for poor people, as they have made to look through the expression of their thoughts.
But now that the topic of ‘dishonour and being dishonourable’ has been approached, let us also be reminded of a bigger example ‘Beghairat,’ executed in the land of pure.
Beyghairat is that nation, out of which only a handful pay their tax. A nation, which justifies its wrongs as a ‘natural’ result of having wretched as leaders, which they themselves elect. A nation, that possesses the self-inflicted malady of amnesia; which forgets its forlorn after a customary time period of notice. One, that has selective compassion, tolerance and concern. One that refuses to accepts the best of its own, on the basis of their relationship with Him.
One that shamelessly makes choices when it comes to acknowledging its daughters, rising for Aafia Siddiqui, yet with blithe or no concern for Fakhra Younas, Zareena Marri or Uzma Ayub.
A nation, that spares no moment to spur into action out of indignation, when those outside seem to breach its sovereignity and integrity but has forever closed its eyes towards the trangressors rupturing the country and its very pith, from within. Pointing fingers at devils of foreign origins, intentionally unbeknownst to the sneering Satans inside.
A nation, that fancies drowning in denial, than facing the scorch and sear of the truth. One, that rushes to hold vigils for Steve Jobs, but never for those slayed everyday, from whose blood, this soil has been drenched red. A people, whose sensibilities are more hurt and whose outrage more elicited by a nude body and a distasteful show, instead of the charred body and dreams of a poor man in despair, who died in vain, hankering for a four-square meal for his children.
Beyghairat is a nation, which is fine with the sights of its future withering away begging in the morning, and sleeping the hunger pangs away on cold, stone footpaths at night. A nation, blind to the massacres and deaf to the plight of its own.
Come to think of it, the phenomena of ‘Beyghairati’ and all that it pertains, isn’t really a phenomena - it is actually the nature and state of us, as a people.
So, when a nation that itself is audaciously inglorious, speaks on the tragedy of the lack of ‘Ghairat’ in Pakistan, it is nothing but a joke cloacked in glaring hypocrisy.
All apart, a hearty thank you to Sean Penn, for trying to aid the flood-hit of Badin, who have long been shoved back into neglect by us all.
~ Hafsa Khawaja