Greetings from Pakistan on World Peace Day. We have a lot of events and activities planned for today; unfortunately none of them will be sending across the message of peace. Our children, through whom we could portray a peaceful message using crayons and doves, are at home today and could not go to school. Those who don’t go to school anyway are being coerced by their adult relatives to spend the day out on the streets with them to burn tyres.
Our parks and other public locations where we could have held some nice peace rallies and shown off our creative skills through artistic placards have all been sealed shut due to violent protests which we are currently being conducted to show our love for our Holy Prophet. Sounds complicated? Shouldn’t be – almost everyone is catching up to our unique Pakistani mentality now.
No peace concerts planned here either because music wouldn’t be an appropriate indulgence on this day and also because we may get killed on our way there by a stray bullet. Sorry, to explain this better: yes, our policemen are firing stray shots right now to ensure there is peace in the cities.
While expressing love for our Holy Prophet some people in Peshawar got carried away and set fire to some cinemas, so the families planning to go to the movies on this peaceful day can do so no more as the seats will be charred and the screens burnt.
Moreover, our leaders cannot come out to address the public on World Peace Day because there is too much violence on the streets so they have instead given the adventurers of Pakistan a field day so that they can do whatever they want. This freedom given by the government today is being enjoyed by thousands who have taken the country hostage because they are angry at the foreign filmmaker who disrespected the Holy Prophet and portrayed Muslims as violent people.
Burning candles and having vigils is too modest a gesture to share with the world so instead you will see my countrymen setting their own property on fire because this will teach the horrid filmmaker a lesson never to mess with us again. We are capable of setting this whole country on fire and so what if it only damages and destroys our own assets – at least the whole world will know that peace can not be taken for granted.
Speaking of peace, most crowds seem to be thronging towards the US Consulates today. This may be because the US President had been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and what better activity on World Peace Day than to pay respects to the peace prize winner – but then again, this could also be because of the horrid filmmaker who has given us another reason to say ‘Go America Go’ (note: this may sound contradictory but this slogan is actually not chanted in a complimentary way).
Our children are missing school day after day, our businesses are suffering losses worth billions, our healthcare is in shambles and our security situation is deteriorating every hour, but our faith remains strong – turn on your television and you’ll be able to see that not even a distraction like World Peace Day can turn us away from our first and foremost duty – although, I do believe Pakistan playing a cricket match today would have altered the situation quite a lot … unless the cricketers would decide to wear black armbands in protest and hence inspire the crowds watching to react Pakistani style.
Alas, all is not lost for tucked away from the madness of the country I imagine our president releasing a dove or two of his own … you know, just to emphasise his agenda for peace.
The writer is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com