No one knows what it’s like
to feel these feelings
like I do.
And I blame you.
– ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The Who
Blame is everywhere.
In my years in this world, I have learned, if anything, that people like to blame other people. It’s a well-known fact, and pretty much accepted as an inescapable part of the human condition – we simply do not like accepting the negative consequences of anything we do, so we pass them on.
We blame Satan for tempting us to sin, religion for terrorism, the government for inflation, the police for corruption, the Jews for almost everything – the proverbial buck, as it were, stops nowhere. In our infinite fragility and desire to preserve a positive self-image, we like to take comfort in the idea that it was not I at fault, but you instead; and so the duty to fix whatever is at fault lies not with I, but with you. Call it lazy, destructive, or self-serving – this tendency exists in children and adults alike across all cultures and throughout history.
I could wax poetic on why I believe this is so, but instead I will focus on who we blame. More specifically, who we blame for the state Pakistan is in.
The political, social and economic conditions of the common Pakistani are no secret. Take a look at the front page of any newspaper or switch to one of our numerous news channels for a disquieting glance into the abyss. Murder, rape, theft, dishonesty, public lynching – all points to two words: social decay.
Most of us try to make the best of what we have by either ignoring the bigger problems faced by society or by simply blaming the proverbial them and moving on with jolly life – as jolly as it may be.
Take the horrific beating to death of the two Sialkot boys, Muneeb and Mughees Butt, for example. For about a month, the outrage was enormous, and seemed to be slowly building towards a revolutionary climax; the police officers and power figures involved had been identified arrested and would get what they deserve – unprecedented, but wishful thinking as it turned out. Soon, the dreadful images drained away from the public consciousness, and we moved on to the next orchestrated news bulletin.
Do we forget and move on? Do we blame the media for forgetting the issue, once it had been milked thoroughly? Or do we blame the corrupt system as we so often do, for not having the culprits brought to justice? Do we blame Pakistani society for having the penchant to commit such an act? Do we blame the perpetrators of the crime or the police that failed to stop them?
“Blame game” is a term we often hear in the political talk shows that have replaced the WWE and soap operas for many. The opposition blames the government, the government blames the previous government, the people blame everyone and Zaid Hamid blames the Jews.
Our minds were bred under the presumption that since we, as followers of Islam, have the best and only true link with God we are automatically better than everyone else. However, this privileged position with the Creator has not paid off in the modern world. Islam is widely ridiculed as savage, Muslims have assumed the position of International Joke and all of the Muslim countries are faced with dire economic, political and social conditions with no way out in sight.
So what went wrong? It can’t be the religion we follow – that is divine and perfect. Is it us, as people? No, how could that be! It is much easier to blame a global agenda against us instead of confronting the problem within.
From Zionist Conspiracies to India, the US, IMF, British colonialism, Islam, the Pakistan Army, President Zardari, Pervez Musharraf, and everything else in between; it seems every week we discover a new candidate and shift all blame for all our problems on its head.
The most recent scapegoats I heard of being Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself, Liaquat Ali Khan and the other founding members of the Muslim League that gave us this country in the first place, for having undemocratic ideals. If only the foundations of Pakistan had been laid correctly by the then Muslim League, waxed one self-proclaimed analyst on a talk show with a certain high-pitched doctor, we would not be in this mess we are in right now.
In our search for someone to blame, we have tried everything and everyone.
Are we to blame ourselves for the status of Islam in the world as it is today? No, that’s because of the Jewish conspiracy to undermine us. Floods? American experiments with climate manipulation in the North Pole. We need a common enemy; someone to hate and dump all our problems on. One thing that, if eliminated, would end each and every one of our problems; the catch-all net for each of our shortcomings. A conspiracy we can believe in, and then take comfort in the knowledge that we simply cannot change it.
But is there really one cause to all of our problems? Is it the lack of education? Widespread corruption? Devastating poverty? Our lack of unity?
All of these problems, and more, are sadly rampant in Pakistan. So what then, is the root cause? Are we simply flawed as a society; incapable of functioning as a nation due to our genetic makeup?
And can this One Problem be identified and eliminated? Or are we destined to remain as we are, forever running in circles and never moving forward while the rest of the world leaves us behind?