Professional maulers

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Always disturbing the political theatre

 

We all witnessed Mohammad Morsi bid-adieu to his short lived career as Egypt’s president. Beside the political backlash he was facing from the civilian population, whom the Egyptian military was successful in manipulating against his democratic government, the man representing the powerful Muslim Brotherhood became a centre of public mockery.

After living under decades of totalitarian rule, Egyptians were enjoying the fresh whiffs of their fledgling democracy, but while relishing the fruits of freedom their revolution reaped, the people got extravagant; former president Morsi was mauled from all sides, and to add fuel to fire, an Arab cardiac surgeon turned satirist Bassem Youssef popped up from nowhere. His acclaimed show “Al-Bernameg” an adaptation of Jon Stewart’s program “The Daily Show” became a huge hit due to his constant pummelling of the Muslim Brotherhood. At one point, the satirist’s jokes seemed ludicrous and deceptive. It felt as if Youssef, as a liberal, was trying to express his own resentment towards the Islamic regime in the guise of humour. The peevish Egyptian media further aggravated the situation by showering Youssef with praise, simultaneously battering Morsi with allegations.

When it comes to national feuds, societies sometimes prefer facetious individuals to make their domestic conflicts more endurable. But if such behaviour excels its limits everything seems anomalous. Morsi’s popularity was trivialised; for the Egyptians, he was a man who was unfit to take the throne.

Sadly in Pakistan, partisan journalists have been contributing to their own country’s political turbulence by forging their analysis, misrepresenting the protests and misinterpreting the entire situation in order to ease political pressure that is slowly suffocating the government

We can relate the Egyptians’ acrimonious attitude towards their political factions with that of Pakistanis. A satirist will try his best not to taint his whimsical side with prejudice, but if leading journalists or intellectuals adopt similar drollery, it portrays one-sidedness. Pakistan does not have comedians as acclaimed as Bassem Youssef, and although democracy does provide us with a license to scoff at politicians of our choice, we tend to pinpoint even the most minor defects in them. In Egypt, the liberal opposition and the military deliberately derided the democratic government so that they could marginalise the masses.

I watched some of the most renowned Arab journalists depart from their political theories, presumably threatened by the counter revolution that was influenced by the military, and pivoted their attention to a feeble and breathless Brotherhood.

Sadly in Pakistan, partisan journalists have been contributing to their own country’s political turbulence by forging their analysis, misrepresenting the protests and misinterpreting the entire situation in order to ease political pressure that is slowly suffocating the government.

When there is an uprising, all those who are primarily responsible for it are teased or pinched by their opponents, but if this form of mockery becomes excessive, it means that we might be harbouring personal grudges against the person who is getting ridiculed

It seems that Mohammad Morsi and Imran Khan are part of the same circus surrounded by a badgering crowd but with different backgrounds and political positions. Unlike Morsi, whose days in power became a comical tragedy, Khan is so far surviving the claws of his adversaries; he is walking on a tight rope, packed with spectators that consist of politicised judges, incompetent executive, biased media personnel and the Pakistani elite, who are all anxiously waiting for him to lose his balance and fall. Yet, Khan is carefully manoeuvring his way towards success.

Since the anti-government demonstrations began, Khan has been studied less, and mimicked more. He is either portrayed as a seditionist or as a skilled manipulator. The multiple interpretations of the recent events in Pakistan have been conflicting with each other, with the local media divided over the question as to who will take the crown in the end. The local public is presented with a vague scenario of the current political upheaval, which sometimes demoralises them; people famous for their political acumens are left to choose sides, a clear indication that some of the most prominent political “pundits” have their strings attached to the country’s mainstream parties. However, this does not make Khan immune to criticism or scrutiny.

When there is an uprising, all those who are primarily responsible for it are teased or pinched by their opponents, but if this form of mockery becomes excessive, it means that we might be harbouring personal grudges against the person who is getting ridiculed. Most of the time, the adoption of unnecessary jocularly is seen as an act of desperation, a final card to save the weakening party from complete capitulation to the opposition.

For now, it seems that common Pakistanis are left to follow their own basic instincts, as the professionals refuse to withdraw from this political brawl.