“It’s a PROBLEM”
But will we be telling in clear terms what and who constitutes the problem!
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD-UR-RASHID
Wednesday this week, our own novelist was reading us our pain in a coffee shop during the day. It opened up the gates of memory and we all cried in our own way. The gore of yesteryears was like a haunting visual challenging our courage to look into it. Present in the coffee shop, many young writers, and others not so young, (not so writers as well) seemed to stand up to that challenge with a resolute eye. We looked like an anxiously prepared people to dig out the “storied dead” and match them with the details of the IDs collected by The Collaborator. This is one
Early morning the news of two sisters shot dead in Sopore by ‘unidentified’ gunmen started drilling the hole through the hearts. By the evening it was a full window sized aperture, inviting a peek inside. Inside, there are equally haunting visuals, equally challenging our courage to look inside. But here the script of the story is so unsettling that we perhaps prefer not to leave the coffee shop. That is another.
Coffee is good. It stimulates. It makes the trading between imaginary and real so quick that the gap between continents and aeons is like a sip, and another. Here what we do, we straight away find ourselves in Cairo. Just a sip away. We have our own ways to undergo ascension from Coffee Arabica to the streets of Arabia. “You know the people in Arab world…, it’s actually changing”. “Of Course, for how long can America and her stooges silence the Arab people.” First Tunis, then Egypt, followed by Moroco,…. how many planets are equal to a coffee mug! A country for a sip, sometimes two. This is yet another.
It is an album of images. One selects a few and creates his own collage. Another makes a different choice and a different patchwork. From the same set of images varied posters of contestation are created. They paste their poster on our walls. We paste back our poster on their walls. And meanwhile the album gathers dust and posters become the permanent marks of reference. Cairo is an entry into the album but we always look at it in our preferred poster. Sopore is another such entry, like Shopian was. The album has all the details of Sopore, but our world stops at the poster.
These posters have given us certain generalities which produce some slogans and an accompanied situation. While the truth lies in detail we insist that our generalities perfectly represent them. While the truth is in the album we refuse to finger through it. Because doing so needs courage to negotiate with the poster on our wall. Occasionally the images in the album are so compelling that no matter how hard we try, they snatch a gaze. But then we immediately get back to our own poster. The poster on their wall. Those who have condemned the killings at Sopore are quite unequivocal in their condemnation right now. But the question is will they persist in their condemnation the way they condemned Shopian. Will they talk about it in the days ahead with the same fulsome voice as they do about the streaming Arabs in the streets of Cairo. It’s a test for the probity and honesty of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. It’s a test for Yasin Malik who has taken a legal recourse to see the killers of summer uprising punished. It’s a test for those who recently made some ‘revelations.’ As for Omar Abdullah it’s time to remind him of Shopian and the 112 lives of 2010 summer. He has loads of shame to carry and a pool of blood to wade through.
We have our respective questions to answer. But what we do, we insist on asking our respective questions. We seek answers holding back the ones that we owe. “It is a problem.”
Muhammad Hanif, who we know by A Case of Exploding Mangoes, wrote recently from Ramallah. The Egyptian spillover was all too obvious. People in Palestine were joining in the larger wave of Arab protest. Hanif writes that just after the Friday prayers in a Ramallah masjid “a number of green flags suddenly shot up amongst the congregation.” Hanif tried to solicits a comment from a middle aged namazi standing next to him. “What was going on”, Hanif tried to dig the Palestinian. Folding his prayer mat the Palestinian repeated the stock line - It’s a problem.” Actually he did not want to answer the question that was only obvious.
Towards the conclusion of his write up on latest Mid East crisis Hanif writes that while he was discussing the problem in Arab world with Palestinians, a student reminded him of the twin blasts in Pakistan just last week. The student asked, “So who exactly is killing who?” Hanif found himself being dug at. Here is what he did. “It’s a problem,” I said, trying to fake a Palestinian accent. “A big problem.”
We too are faking answers, even when we know it’s about obvious. From Shopian to Sopore, and then from Srinagar to Cairo to Tunis to Pakistan…… actually to ourselves as individuals, it’s a problem.
God must be a confused man listening to all this!
(Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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