As I write these words, the death toll from the blast outside an imambargah in Parachinar has increased to 22. There is no doubt that the number will grow further. A day earlier, a leader of the Ahmedi community, Malik Saleem Latif was brutally killed while on his way to the court. These incidents are exclamation marks and need to be treated seriously.

There is much sadness in these words. As a student in a foreign country, I’ve tried very hard to present a peaceful image of Pakistan to the international community. I’ve spent hours trying to justify our ruthlessness after 9/11. I have expressed my annoyance at the international audience for not giving the Pakistani culture as much attention as they give to Indian culture. I’ve expressed anger when they’ve termed something distinctly Pakistani as Indian. I’ve expressed sorrow when, after munching on Pakistani delicacies, they’ve exclaimed their love for Indian food. I digress. However, the truth is that this has been an unlevel field and I’ve tried very hard to have people fall in love with the Pakistan I earnestly love. Of course it’s been a difficult job and Pakistan hasn’t made it any easier.

There is no way to justify any form of violence. There is much to learn from people who find themselves terrorised after a racial slur is thrown in their society. There is even more to embrace from a nation that mourns as one when a single life is wasted. There is much to acknowledge from a community that identifies each other as human and insist that’s the only distinction that matters.

Pakistan is a different context. Or, is it? Time and time again, we have reasoned ourselves for our shortfalls. The many, many shortfalls. We’ve reasoned to ourselves over our softness towards the monsters that were the Taliban, we’ve reasoned shamelessly on sainting the murderer Qadri, we’ve reasoned our disregard for continuing to allow Maulana Abdul Aziz to preach hatred against our mere existence, we’ve reasoned (or at least Hamza Ali Abbasi has) our failure to see Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist. Time and time again we have reasoned with ourselves for not terming incidents like Parachinar for what they are: sectarian violence. We continue to reason the discrimination and prosecution of the Ahmedi community. There is so much more.

The reaction to such complaints are consistently redundant. Why don’t you look at the positives? Why just focus on the negatives? The answer remains the same: cherry picking certain good things out of a murky pond of a country does not prove Pakistan to be a nation of realists. It proves Pakistan to be a nation of foolish optimists, delusional people who are addicted to their blindness.

Irfan Hussain, started his writeup for Nov 20, 2010 by indicating that he realised the nugatory of his pleas and simply wrote to ‘vent his spleen’. Dec 25, 2011, Ardeshir Cowasjee bade farewell to his incredible career with these words: “Now, old at 85, tired, and disillusioned with a country that just cannot pull itself together in any way and get on with life in this day and age, I have decided to call it a day. This column too caries no burden of expectations with it.”

The way to move forward is easy: we have to stop moving forward. We have to be angry when the likes of Chaudry Nisar take the podium and justify the banning of social media. We need to be flabbergasted by Justice Shaukat Aziz who seems to be living under a stone for thinking that social media is all about “selfies and pictures of food”. We need to put a check to our laziness for refusing to knock sanity into our social psyche.

Why should the people abroad fall in love with Pakistan? Why would investors and entrepreneurs penetrate the market that seeks to eliminate social media; the arena and foundation of countless businesses. Why would anyone have any pity for a country that is bent upon butchering itself by exaggerating differences based on personal beliefs? Why would anyone see Pakistanis as humans when for them a religious deviant is no more a human?

As any foolish does, I too hope for a time when Pakistan will not be what it is today. The country is its own demon and the only way to escape this tragedy is to stop being itself. Till then I shall continue harassing the international audience for not being as delusional as I am, for not romanticising the past as I do, for not being in love with Pakistan like I am.