Khush Amdeed (Welcome)

Welcome to Chowraha - crossroads!

Chowraha is the crossroads of thoughts, events, opinions and feelings...all that have been shaped by individuals living in an increasingly complex world inter-connected through various means of communications.

This blog is about the crossroads in society - whether it is those of a diaspora community, global media complicating the structure of nations and cultures, or individuals finding parallels in spaces unknown to them.

Note:
The above picture is courtesy a much-admired photographer (Ali Khurshid) whose work is a source of inspiration and reaffirms the belief in the complex beauty of this world.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lessons from Islamabad #manwithgun episode

When the man with the gun, overtook Jinnah avenue in Islamabad, parked his car near the important Blue area and air fired using his Kalashnikov while
smoking and drinking energy drinks, all forms of media joined the
breaking-news bandwagon. Everyone turned into crime experts, terrorism
analysts, police advisers and law enforcement critics. Everyone was more
intelligent than those managing the situation - as is always the case in
Pakistan perhaps. Some found it tragic, whilst others found it entertaining,
yet none could turn away from the story. Lessons learnt? Many actually, and
I want to pen them down before more is learnt about these terrorisers and
I'm proven wrong.

A super bored nation
We are a super bored nation - despite all the bombings, target killings,
drone attacks, spy attacks, honour killings, etc we still find it
entertaining to cling on to a family in Islamabad.

We love drama and especially family drama. His name varied from Sikander
to Kamran and Ramzan, he is said to have a 40 year old Arab wife in Dubai,
he had killed his brother in Sialkot and escaped...we heard it all on TV and
tweeted it!

Women re-defined
Women aren't really that suppressed - here was a partner in crime, very
calm for someone who had no clue what her husband was upto until she was
caught in the situation playing the most crucial negotiating role.

Woman brought sanity - taking care of her husband's demands, the loo her
child needed to go to while on live tv, handling telephone calls, and being
the messenger between police and husband including writing down the demands on a notepad, she was really the saner of the two.

Burka isn't that oppressing - as upsetting as it may be for those human
rights advocates opposing the burka avenger for glorifying the oppressive
burka, this wife of the #manwiththegun should have made them re-think.

An educated nation?
Our media isn't true to its word when it says education is the only key.
To be honest, had they spent even 1% of this time to the Egyptian massacre,
we would have been a more educated nation. A point that calls for
#zarasochiye

Hollywood or no Hollywood? Our media forgot what it always said about the
lack of education in the country. One of the leading television channels
titled their screen in urdu and translated here "jinnah avenue a scene from
hollywood" but the news anchor kept advising people to move away from the
site of crime, warning that this was not a hollywood movie. says its not
Hollywood movie but that's what their title says I'm confused

Terrorism and consumerism:
Thanks to the breaking news nature of media running out of things to say,
we heard several times that the #manwiththegun was drinking energy drinks.
That couldn't have made a good ad for the energy drink!

At least we are better than General Al-Sisi:
Whereas in Egypt thousands of peaceful protestors can be massacred, at
least we should be proud that we still have humans in our security forces
not killing a single armed man. While young women can be killed ruthlessly
for asking democracy, here a woman aiding her terrorist husband can walk
freely between the police and her car safely.

The media dilemma:
Hamid Mir had little to say about media responsibility but blamed the
government for not knocking sanity into the heads of the media and asking
them to leave. He has a point though. Had media not sensationalised this
event, perhaps as many people as did collect in the area wouldn't have, and
then perhaps the police would have been able to do a better job. But had the
media not been there, someone like Zamarud Khan wouldn't have been disturbed enough to resolve the conflict!

Children have it the worst:
In all of this drama, we can't help but wonder what lasting negative
impact this episode will have on the children. They saw their father
smoking, holding on to weapons, (air)firing, stealing the car at gun point
and then being taken down in the most terrorising way too. What environment
were they growing up in? What will they learn when they will grow up to
google this day in Pakistan history? What will they think when they see the
videos, the analysis, the words and the tweets.


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