By Sonya Rehman
Quite frankly, I’m utterly jealous of America right about now. Just a few days ago it was announced on every news channel – local and foreign – that Barack Hussein Obama has officially been declared as America’s 44th President.
Addressing the hordes of Americans in Grant Park, Chicago, soon after the results were announced, Obama’s speech was moving, inspirational and incredibly charged. The type of speech which can be – without a doubt – juxtaposed to those very speeches (which went down in history) made by revolutionaries; Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
Watching him address America made me awfully emotional. And it made me wonder when the time would come for my generation; my conflicted, jaded generation to see a man (or woman) just as Obama leading this wounded, frail land that we call ‘Pakistan’.
When will change come to our soil? When will the continuous rape of this land and its people come to a standstill?
Forgive me for being an optimist, but I believe it will. I won’t judge your cynicism, for I know where it stems from. It stems from an inherent fear, a deep-rooted paranoia that you may wind up jaded all over again. Therefore you play it safe as a skeptic. But you are world-weary, that is all. However, you must learn to trust. To have hope. To truly ‘believe’ that it can happen. That maybe, just maybe, Pakistan really isn’t doomed.
Practically speaking, you and I – we may not live to see the day, but our children, and theirs just might. Hope’s embers perhaps can be prodded a little to kickstart a warm, glowing fire again.
A fire which will warm us, as we huddle around it – shoulder to shoulder – knowing that the time for us being scorched – day in and day out, is finally over.
In an article published in an international magazine, Fatima Bhutto puts her point across quite aptly: “Pakistan is not a failed state. It’s the country’s leaders that are failures”, she states, “In the 21st century, Pakistan remains a rich and diverse country held hostage to a government chock full of ill-equipped and unqualified carpetbaggers.”
Fatima couldn’t have been more right. It angers me, just as it angers you, that a murderer and a looter stands tall as our current President.
That he stands self-assuredly, with confidence and pride, given his soiled track record of the not so distant past. Such irony, that he now holds and commands the reigns over a downbeat and disillusioned nation.
One of my closest friends, Ayesha, said something quite hilarious a few weeks ago. She said: “Who knows, with Zardari anything can happen – he might just sell us off to Wal-Mart!”
But on a serious note, what we as Pakistanis need right now is patience, perseverance and a hell of a lot of pro-activism to make a strenuous effort to kick-start some ‘change’.
We need to relinquish farting around our living rooms and quit delving into arm-chair activism. Enough of that already.
The budding, young Pakistani generation has so much potential and spunk. They have it in them. They truly do. All they now need to do is to start asking questions. To start taking an active interest in socio-political affairs of the country, and to understand, inherently how the world’s political arena is changing right before their eyes.
I don’t know about you, but over the course of the next few years, there are bound to be some monumental changes that are due to take part in Pakistan. We need to be prepared. You and I, for your children and mine, we need to be ready.
The Friday Times