When dissent becomes danger, when protest becomes a peril, when the word becomes a threat, when a demand for answers becomes unacceptable, when a handful of people and a handful of Facebook pages become a menace, it becomes even more important, it becomes necessary, to raise your voice, to question, to oppose and to disallow the monopolization of narratives, to disallow the perverse and systematic silencing and stifling, and to stand your ground and confront this march of fear.
If there is any doubt in your mind regarding the need for activism and the need for us, as a people, to exercise our rights and kick up a furor over what is perpetrated in our name, look no further.
During times like these, one is always faced by the dilemma of whether one should lie low and live to speak another day or to speak even louder. Should personal safety and security assume primacy over all else? Yet there is no safety if the safety of another is endangered or violated. When sectarian murderers rally at the heart of the capital, when interior ministers cavort with the heads of “banned” organisations and when people are picked up and “disappeared” in broad daylight, every act, every effort becomes significant in this fight. No matter how small.
Every time makes demands on people, perhaps this is its demand from us. And it is certainly worth a try.
As the great Eqbal Ahmad put it, and this is something I wish to live by: “Lack of success does not justify the crime of silence in the face of criminal, arbitrary power.”
If you choose to sit on the sidelines and be “apolitical” during this, that too is a position, and a very political one. Your comfort is complicity.
Today it is them, tomorrow it could be us. It started from Balochistan, it has come to Islamabad. Its appetite for control is insatiable, it’s grip and clasp is huge. Power is unsparing, unrelenting, voracious, unjust. It will stop at nothing until we step in its way.