Monday, 19 September 2011

Confessions of a Confused Patriot

Scientists once conducted an experiment: They put a frog in a tub of water that had a burner underneath. Gradually they kept increasing the heat by fraction of a degree everyday. Every day the frog's body adapted to the increased temperature. They still kept on increasing the temperature up to a point where normally a frog would jump out of the water not bearing the heat, but because it was done little by little everyday, the frog did not feel the difference and its body kept adapting.
Then one day the frog died. 
It died because it should have died in the first place. It died because if you had put a frog into this temperature out of fresh air, it would have jumped out in the first place. 
This one did not act immediately, but died eventually - like the people of Pakistan, because the burner was raised so gradually that we learnt to live with burners like bomb blasts like we drink tea everyday."

Since childhood I have been a true patriot, always very passionate about my homeland, its economic and political situation and with undying urge to serve my country. Then something happened - I moved out of Pakistan for work and spent almost 4 years out of the country. Also, I left at a very crucial time, before the fall of the Musharraf military rule, before the Lal Masjid operation, before the Judiciary strike, before the Benazir killing, before Mr. 200% percent (the most hated man in Pakistan right now, Asif Ali Zardari) came to power, before power shutdowns became a nightmare, before the floods happened - I left at a time when Musharraf was still considered to be doing better than most other governments before. I visited often but that did not spoil my cherry-eyed image of my country. It was not until 2011 when I moved back to Pakistan, that I realised how much this country had deteriorated over the past few years. I had heard about it, but I had not believed it until I saw it for myself. The divide in the rich and the poor is at its worse, the common man is at his worst economically, socially and medically. The recent floods have brought so much more contamination to the country, there are more people dying of Dengue right now than of chronic illnesses.  

However, been born in raised in Pakistan, and being from the fortunate 10% who can still manage to afford generators, sweet water tankers and petrol at the sky rocket prices,  I managed to settle back in. But I did forget, although I was lucky enough to provide basic needs and basic entertainment for myself in Pakistan - I could not imagine to feel as liberated, as care free and find opportunities as easily as I could while living abroad. But this part of the equation only hit me when I moved out again (just last month) and came to Toronto. Landing in Toronto, I saw such amazing social infrastructure, offering such easy access to learning, training, entertainment and that too without any security or social threat - that it almost felt like I was breathing again! There are free libraries and community workshops, there is free assistance in language training and job hunting for new immigrants; one can walk out of their home anytime, without having to worry if your clothes look great (referring to the condition of the Pakistani elite right now), or that the neighbour's security guard is going to stare at you as if he had encountered a rare species. 

Its sad, and I confess, I am not the frog that was in the pond, I am the frog outside the pond that jumped in, felt the heat and jumped back out again!

As a native, I am still all for doing something to improve the situation for Pakistan, but I don't think I can be happier just living there as a dormant part of the problem.

P.S: While I confess the above, I still stand by the firm belief that Pakistan is a young country with problems of its age and additional problems due to constant international interference and dependence. I still believe that terrorism is not a problem we invented for ourselves but a problem that was shoved onto us for 'someone elses' global agenda (call me a conspiracy theorists but conspiracies are an exaggerated version of some lurking truth underneath). I still believe that media does blow Pakistan out of proportion, not because they show the bomb blasts that rightly take place in the country, but because they fail to show what 'else' (good) happens with our budding youth. (Reference to my earlier post: Re-Launching Brand Pakistan)


  1. Fizza, that's an excellent post and so true! I feel exactly the same way! Couldn't have said it better myself.

  2. Hey btw, I think you should incorporate the post script you added as a comment into your main blog...just for the record you know ;)

  3. I love the frog example!
    Get me to canada so I can jump out too!
    But also, we're lucky to be the fortunate frogs who can afford generators, and ups to save our skins!

  4. Thanks Tamreez and Mishele, I had been feeling this for many days, feels great to finally pen it down. Actually I did try to incorporate that paragraph into the main blog, but it sounded out of place and a bit contradictory, so I put it as a p.s note..perhaps a p.s note should work, I'll do that :)

  5. Mishele, I think you've already been the frog that was out of the pond (in Dubai). But sure, come to canada if you like!