top of page

Monsoon 2020

The city of lights and festivities so brilliant, a land celebrated every day by its people, home to almost 15 million – Karachi, the part of our family that is stripped, beaten, hungry and overlooked, only to be simply patted on the back for being oh so resilient.

And while that makes for a pretty narrative to be spewed on international forums and discussed at length by boozy socialites, it is a narrative that is nothing more than merely convenient. A cartoon bandaid placed on oozing wounds as a distraction while we continue to poke and prod at its skin from different angles then write glorification pieces about its strength and brilliance. For we seem to forget that saying ‘Karachi’ helps us stay at a comfortable distance. For nobody wants to confront that when we say ‘Karachi is dying’, we really mean its civilians. Countless human lives and identities smothered beneath narratives that are determined to paint us as chronically ebullient.

There is much to praise about the people that don’t give up; that regardless of the negligence and violence and depletion, they somehow never seem to succumb. We find ways to come together and hold one another up, but then the storm passes and we retreat back to our homes, sending the majority back to its slums. For resilience is just the slogan on a pretty poster that makes it easier for us to reduce our solidarity from an active movement to a single moment. We move on pretending that our privilege and education makes us our city’s primary spokesperson.

But Karachi is not defined by those of us in our bullet-proof cars and acres of land, it is defined by the children studying by the light of a kerosene lamp. It is defined by the vendor who shares a free piece of fruit with a lonesome street cat. It is defined by the parents scrubbing our floors and windows so their children never have to, not by the entitled fraction that has climbed on top by stepping on their very backs, and leaving them trapped in a class that forces them to feast on our scraps.

And then we paint over their struggles and exploitation with catchy words that pretend to offer some consolation and are heavily doused with a certain admiration but it’s time to call a spade a spade, for we are sadists obsessed with gore and forced glorification. Gaslighting struggles and threats of violence with well-written op-eds about our people being resilient while the rest of us have the luxury of remaining indifferent.

For dead bodies are vessels that held souls and had identities. Collapsed homes, floating vans, carrying your entire life’s belonging in the palms of your hands as you desperately find shelter for you know how futile it is to wait for our leaders. Wading in water as currents flow through, with skin shriveled, cold and pruned after hours without relief, relying on private efforts to offer some kind of rescue but even then only to those of the right religious group, so you tuck away your cross and rectify the way you greet others around you, because even charity here runs on discrimination and is fueled by taboos.

Go up to a family sitting under a crumbling roof with too many mouths to feed but no electricity, dry clothes or food – go up to such a family tonight and tell them how you think their resilience is beautiful. Take your picture for your blog so everyone with a savior complex can stare at it with awe and click their tongues at the helplessness, then beautify their pain because we will not admit to the hand we have played. We are incapable of facing our own ambivalence to the very lives that we have strained so we back them into a wall and then applaud them for living to suffer another day.

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page