Reflecting on the senseless violent gun attack that left 45 dead last week has been agonizingly hopeless. There were voices of reason who spoke out against terrorism to demand accountability and show solidarity for victims as they mourned the atrocity.
But there was also...Hamza Ali Abbasi.
Actor and activist Hamza Ali Abbasi found a new way to exhibit his own privilege. While he stands against terrorism - he tells, civil society to 'grow up' because minorities are not specifically being targeted. It is baffling how people choose to divert energy to shutting down positive voices simply because it makes them feel uncomfortable.
The Jawaani Phir Nahi Aani actor who recently resigned from PakistanTehreek-e-Insaf wrote a status on Facebook declaring that terrorists did not see race and ethnicity when they killed. The terrorists have avowed to establish their own brand of Shari'ah and eliminate those who do not follow it to their satisfaction. In a predominantly Sunni country, it cannot be a coincidence the 6 gunmen boarded a bus where all the passengers just happened to be Ismaili. These people were specifically targeted, and denying this is a disservice to them.
"And for all those who are screaming about discrimination of minorities as Ismaili community is targetted in Karachi attack....please grow up!!! Everyone is being targetted by the hell bound terrorist organizations like TTP and gangsters like Altaf. School children who were martyred on 16th Dec were not minorities. 250 ppl burned to death in Baldia factory were not minorities. 70% of martyrs in terrorist attacks are NOT MINORITIES. In this plague of terrorism...PAKISTAN AND PAKISTANIS are being targetted...from every religion, race, creed and ethnicity."(sic)
Abbasi's rage seems to be focused on "those who are screaming". He is more angry at people pointing out discrimination than those practicing it. He calls on those who feel that sectarian terrorism is an issue to 'grow up'.
Hamza Ali Abassi has 1.9 million likes on his Facebook page, I'll be lucky if 100 people read this (60 out of the hundred will be a liberal fascists possibly with some gendered slur). If i can recognize that then, Abbasi who is both more important and aware than me, he should too. The people who benefit most from the system are also the ones who are in the best position to change it.
A male Sunni muslim, through no fault of his own, is in a position of privilege in this country. All this means in practice is that his voice is louder than anyone else's. He bleeds the same as the Ismaili, or Christian or Ahmedi but his blood counts more. This is not an insult or accusation it is a statement of fact. It also means he has more responsibility to choose his words carefully because they are the ones being heard.
The majority is by definition not oppressed, they have no say in how people of marginalized communities express their dissatisfaction with the way their own country treats them. Pakistanis are equally affected by terrorism but refusing to admit that in this particular incident, the sect of the victims played a large part in their targeting, is in affect erasure.
The same rain falls on us all but some of us have better umbrellas.
Erasure is not progressive it is not something to proud of. Saying you don't see ethnicity simply means that you can afford not to. But people of marginalized groups race, religion, creed, ethnicity or sect have to live it everyday.
Real unity does not come from ignoring differences but celebrating them. The world is a buzzing hive of individuals each with unique stories and pretending theres only one way to live is political erasure.
Everyone can condemn that horrific attack and it is fair to say everyone is saddened and shocked by it. But it is not fair to say everyone is affected equally by it. You can sympathize with the victims and you can proselytize on Facebook but if you can get on a bus, or go to your place of worship without fearing for your life then it's 'equal' at all.
So, offer support and solidarity to those killed but don't say its the same for every Pakistani - it is not. Why speak out specifically against discrimination instead of terrorism in general? Because it is the need of the hour. Everyone knows that terrorism is bad, but we refuse to recognize that we create a breeding ground for terrorists.
By staying silent you are complicit in this violence.
All Pakistanis may be equal in ideology but not in practice. If you really think all Pakistanis are equal than work against the structural bigotry that makes this struggle so relevant, instead of pretending that it doesn't exist.