Every day ‘death’ games are played in the blood soaked streets of Karachi and it only affects us when the numbers are high or if it is someone we know, and then the shock rocks us to the core. On March 3, 45 people were reported dead; all news channels were in frenzy, they showed bodies strewn all over and wrecked homes and people crying. Some were stumbling over the rubble to search for the survivors and extricated the charred remains of the unfortunate residents of Abbas Town in Karachi.

What carnage! If this had happened in any civilized country, heads would have rolled, but in Pakistan nothing happened; we have become insensitive to such reports. There was such an outrage exhibited, except from the residents of the blown building, but the rest of the nation kept sleeping. The tickers with various political leaders passing comments on TV such as “we are sorry for this,” “condolence” and “taken notice” seemed like jokes.

This general attitude towards the misfortunes of others explains a lot about the attitude to injustices being committed around us. Unless something actually happens to us nothing is done. It seems that we, as a nation, have bypassed our capacity for ‘outrage.’ A long time ago, it got buried beneath the rubble of twisted bodies and dashed ideals, and it is no longer possible to feel it through the thick fog of indifference that we have acquired to be able to exist.

However, in the larger scheme of things, all this doesn’t matter much if there is no commitment and, to put it simply in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, “Commitment is an act, not a word”. If, both as individuals and as a nation, we genuinely desire to improve our condition then we have to gird up our lions. We must channel our outrage into our ideas and actions, and use it as the driving force.

So the only hope for a promising future, for the lack of a better word, is to hope. The outrage we feel, and must feel, about the prevalence of injustice in every facet of our society must be channeled in a non-violent commitment to build a better future for all of us. For all the, hitherto, silent masses of our country the time to make this commitment has arrived. In less than two months, the country is going to the ballot box, the one occasion, where it is in the power of ordinary citizens, to take charge of their fate. This is the time to make the decision and we better make the right one this time.

ALI JAVED MANJ,

Faisalabad, April 2.