Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tolerating Intolerance

(I'm posting it really late because I was hoping it'll get published somewhere else. But I suppose newspapers, nowadays, don't have any taste LOL. They'll publish completely nonsensical articles but not that of the future pioneer of journalism! ME! Anyway that was a sour loser's speech, stop laughing and read on, thanks.) 

When I decided to attend this seminar, I wasn't really interested in the concept behind its topic. I only wanted to go because I thought that it'll be a different experience, and the fact that my classmates were also planning to show up strengthened my resolve to attend 'No Tolerance for Intolerance'. For me it was just another talk-talk seminar where speakers repeat what we hear all the time. But suprisingly, the discussion actually led me to form new opinions as I disagreed with the views of more than one speakers.

Sheema Kermani, Hina Khuaja Bayat, Ghazi Salahuddin, Faheem Siddiqui, Uzma Alkarim and Ruhana Iqbal attended as speakers and each gave their own version of the topic. What really ticked me off was Faheem Siddiqui's claim that intolerance often leads to solutions of problems as well. So far it's not disputable. Tolerating injustice doesn't lead us anywhere and at that point protest becomes important. But he said that the fact that media encouraged the masses to protest on streets and burn tires, ensuring them that their protest will be covered is what made the government listen to their demands. He supported the idea of violent protests. And the great Sheema Kermani followed him saying that she believed in armed struggle and protest and that burning cars, tires etc. is completely justified. Moments before the same woman was talking about civilised societies and how our society is not one of them. Seriously? She believes that asking someone about their religion is uncivilised and ill-mannered. But burning other people's property is not? With pioneers like these, no wonder our society is going wayward.

I'm not trying to imply that protesting is wrong. But there are other, peaceful ways of protest and they are practiced by civilised societies and get noticed as well. Which part of the world doesn't protest? But rarely have I heard that they smashed someone's car or burnt flags or tires or blocked traffic for long hours(I'm talking about 'civilised societies' here). On way to achieve something, we lose so much more. So many people lose what they achieved after years of hard work  and saving. Miss Kermani might think it's justified because nothing of this sort has ever happened to her. I don't think she considered the feelings of the people who are deprived of their most precious assets in one blow. How is a middle-class, honest and hard working man responsible if the government is performing poorly or if there is no electricity at your place? Aren't there any other ways to convey your frustration? Most of the people who come out on the roads chanting against the government are people who cast votes. Why vote for such corrupt people in the first place? The said speakers told us that intolerance is good. I wish they could tell us how to display it as well.

Monday, 10 October 2011

When they saw that none of their elders aren't doing the job they ought to be doing, they decided to take up the responsibility themselves. It didn't really start off as a social movement; they were inspired by a few other pages and decided to make one page of their own. But what had started out as a joke has matured into a movement, uniting thousands of people at home and abroad.

KarachiTips, a Facebook page created by three innovative individuals: Baakh Nusrat, Mohammad Abdullah and Bilal Khan, has made thousands realise the beauty of the city they live in. Their one-line tips literally describe the daily life of Karachi in a comical and light-hearted manner. The page, which was launched on June 2 had hit 10,000 fans by june 9th. In 4 months the page has crossed 22,000 fans. The tips touch every thing from the unique life style, to the socio-political situation of the city of lights. Anyone who lives or has lived in Karachi can relate to these one-liners; anyone who has never been to the city of lights can get to know this hub of various ethnicities. In an era of confusion, where we all look for reasons to fight, these tips make us accept and laugh our differences off as we realise that we all face the same problems and think the same way.

The reason I'm writing is this is not their promotion. To be frank, they don't need it now. They've been invited to several radio shows, social events and have been featured in many blogs in their early days. They've already launched their t-shirts and other such merchandise successfully. So they are past the 'promotion-needed' stage.  I just think that, being a blogger from Karachi, I think it is important to highlight the fact that such awesome people exist here in this awesome city. People who highlight the light and good aspects of Karachi life. People who bring others together.