Weltschmerz, the sorrow experienced

Published: July 10, 2010

It is better to live without hope, than without reason.

The other day, the information secretary of a very prominent political party was asked what she thought of the criticism her party faced from young people on websites, airing views that werent particularly complementary. Her response was to simply point the finger the other way, blaming them for their “abusive language”, and dismissing their arguments as superfluous.

And they have the nerve to call us deluded.

This is what the youth of this country have to face. Every day is another battle for our sanity as we experience a way of life besieged with crises upon crises. We see our people desperate for the most basic of amenities, that were always their right to begin with. We see bodyparts flying all over on national television, along with our sense of security. We see whistleblowers blown away. We see the hallways of power enveloped with the miasma of corruption. And when we speak out against the injustices of this cruel, harsh disposition we are told that our arguments bear no meaning, for they are just not good enough to merit any attention.

And then they wonder why we are so jaded with this state of affairs. When the leaders of this country dismiss our arguments as the useless banter of juvenile delinquency, how can we be expected to have any faith in them? It is then that faith becomes a commodity for the foolish, and it is better to live without hope, than without reason.

The Germans have a term for this: Weltschmerz. It is the sorrow experienced when the idealized mind, with its hopes and aspirations, cannot bring itself to agree with the ugliness of the world. And it is what millions of young Pakistanis face everyday. And while those leaders may see our cathartic reaction as superfluous, we prefer that to the madness that surrounds us.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2010.


Usman Zafar

A content producer for current affairs program Witness with Quatrina on Express 24/7, Usman writes on domestic politics, international relations, and social issues. He occasionally writes at Instablogs on ozzpress.instablogs.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.