The defence of a “burger baby revolutionary”

Published: April 25, 2011
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A supporter of Imran Khan at the PTI rally in Peshawar on April 24, 2011. PHOTO: INP

I do a fair share of reading on the internet, and it both humours and angers me in equal proportions to read what the so called intellectuals have to say about the ‘urban youth’ as they like to call us.

Authors seem to have used supernatural knowledge to conclude that due to our appearance and way of life, our opinions can be overlooked and that we are simply not in the same intelligence bracket as them.

Stop stereotyping

Our lifestyles, upbringing and appearances are ludicrously stereotyped, and our abilities to understand the world and the philosophy underlying politics in regard to the present day and recent history are erroneously looked down upon with blatant bias.

Mr Feisal H Naqvi (who I am a great admirer of) went as far as to label and disparage one of us personally. I do not believe writers have any right to defame a citizen of a country and make comments about someones’s opinions, hair, attire or style of living. The urban youth knows that, but an advocate of the Supreme Court (SC) and the Pakistani press obviously do not. But since they were okay with that, perhaps they won’t mind this.

We may not be what you want us to be

We may not have lived as long as you, and we may not have the same experience, but this is our country; every single quark comprising subatomic particle of it as much as it is yours. We may live with luxuries that many can’t afford. We may prefer playing video games instead of heading out on the streets. We may like to gel our hair. We may enjoy wearing NYC shirts and we may not be the most fluent in our mother tongue. However, there are many of us for whom none of that is true.

What is true is that we generally go to the best schools; we have knowledge of the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Many of us are educated in political science, economics, government, philosophy, media, history and finance. We watch news channels and read newspapers from different continents to get an unbiased view of the world. We love our country and whether you like it or not, we have an opinion about how it should be run. Age does not make you decide who is wise; it is wisdom itself that is required to understand wisdom.

The Imran Khan debate

Whether some of us support Imran Khan is unimportant. But criticising us for doing so with sweeping judgments of our “naivety” is an insult to us as well as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). For those of us who do support Imran Khan, we are not dim-witted enough to not know that the party, as well as Mr Khan, have flaws and have not come straight from heaven. But, what we do know (and deep-inside every single person with half a brain knows) is that every leadership we have been under has made mistakes that has put this country in the mess it is in today. Are we supposed to be inspired by these corrupt politicians or someone who is a proven leader and an honest philanthropist?

It is not PTI that has inspired the youth to take to the streets instead of playing Play Station 3. It is our situation. This is our homeland, and with every passing second it is being pushed towards destruction.

It is easy to play down our actions and opinions. But it is wrong to label us. We do not like being called innocent, and we especially do not like being labelled as “burger baby revolutionaries.”

I would love to settle this in an “academic labeler” versus “urban youth” debate, but for now, I would just request columnists to maybe show a little more respect and understand that:

“we are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”

Thank you.

Abu Bakr Agha

Abu Bakr Agha

A software engineer, musician, writer and activist from Islamabad, currently based in Chicago. He tweets @AB_Agha (twitter.com/AB_Agha)

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