Selective Activism: A Case Of Textbook Hypocrisy By Pakistanis

Pakistanis have rightfully been lending their voices and extending support to Palestinians. But where is this kind of support for Pakistani minorities?

Selective Activism: A Case Of Textbook Hypocrisy By Pakistanis

I once read somewhere that one of the many stupid feelings humans are capable of having is the private repulsive rage and anger that you feel when you see someone get support or sympathy for something that you too went through but no one offered help or even acknowledged it. For many, the minority population in Pakistan especially the Shia community this exactly describes the mental and emotional state we are in at the moment.

Many of our fellow Pakistanis especially if I may add, our privileged Sunni population have learned the word genocide this month and everyone is lending voice to our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Gaza who are facing the worst form of violence and oppression in the history of mankind. No words can be enough to condemn Israel and no amount of support and activism can redeem us from the responsibility we have first as humans and then as Muslims towards Palestinians.

And while it is a source of relief that our country is raising voice for the oppressed, I think a question that has frequently crossed mind of many of us minorities these past days is that where were our fellow country men and everyone else when we were and even today are the receivers of violence and suppression?

Isn’t this textbook hypocrisy? Of how we are lending our voice and support to everyone in the world except our own minorities.

A few months ago, there was the Jaranwala incident where an angry mob burnt churches and homes of our Christian community. How many of us raised concern for them? How many of our so called social media influencers and drawing room activists spoke for them? How many of them did a fundraiser to send aid and  rehabilitate them? How many shared resources for learning and betterment? The answer is zero to none.

Similarly, almost 1,500 Hindu girls are forcibly converted every year and yet their is no condemnation of this horrendous act by our Ulemas, no mention of the subject in our Friday sermons which are supposed to be a source of preaching, no appeals on social media or news report on prime time television against this.

According a 2021 violence report, about 88% of target-based violence incidents in the country were against the Shia population, which should make one think that this would be an issue that is regularly discussed in the country and yet there has been a complete shadow ban as news outlets rarely report  on it.

Today we see all these protests for the genocide being committed in Gaza yet not a word has ever been spoken for the thousands of Shia killed and hundreds who have been missing for decades, no denunciation for the atrocities faced by the Hazara community is living and ironically while we post and talk about Palestine not a word about the current wave of violence in Kurram where ceasefire brokered yesterday after 10 days of violence, leaving more than 50 people dead and many others injured.

Bedroom activism is literally the easiest thing to do and if the fact is that you only use it to raise voice for the people who you think deserve it, then all your criticism against genocide is futile. Everyone loves talking about free world for all as long as it isn’t their side of the street of course. And while we call out celebrities half way around the world, there is no accountability for own politicians and government as they deport approximately 1.7 million Afghan refugees who are currently facing dehumanising treatment at the border with uncertain and a grim future ahead.

This piece might be sounding sympathy seeking perhaps, but this is a reality check. If one thing we should all learn from all the gruesome images and stories that are being shown into the world from Gaza is empathy, which is not only imagining one self in the shoes of those who are oppressed but wearing our own shoes and trying to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others.

As Dr Maarib,a human rights activists and founder of reformistan puts it aptly ;if the only time we chose to be activists is when our own communities and identities are targeted and chose to remain silent when the identities of the victims differ then we are doing selective activism which is one of the biggest form of hypocrisy.