Karachi, what will become of you?

My city has always been a troubled one. I remember, during my childhood, that we always kept our house gates closed at night,  travelled with car doors locked and were told not to talk to strangers. I remember back in the early 90s, my grandfather was driving me and my baby sister towards somewhere (sorry for the lack of details but my memory usually lets me down) and there was a protest going on right in front of us. My grandfather, being the ex army man, gets out of the car as one of the charged youngsters approaches our car. My sister and I huddle together, staring, scared, confused as to what would happen to him. But the youngster tells my grandfather, with words only, to get back in the car because it was not safe, especially with two little girls. My grandfather yells at them, as they listen and then gets back in the car and turns it around. That to us, what a scary experience. But that is what aggression in the city was. Now is a different story. Now, such a clash might have ended differently.

I feel like a hypocrite, living in uber safe Dubai, with its glass castles and strict laws and discussing my burning city, but the urge to express supersedes the urge to remain detached. I also find that most expats take every opportunity to bash their homeland when faced with questions regarding its staggering political situation and deeply disturbing law and order situation. But I don’t want to do that. I want to be the one that reminds Karachi of its beauty and its potential. Of the memories it gave me when I was younger. About the security it provided me, that as a 7-8 year old, I used to come back from school on the back of my uncle’s bike, like a little badass with a giant orange helmet.

Nowadays, all I hear are about things going wrong there. Muggings, ethnic wars/killing, people being called home from work early because the situation in the city has worsened, kids killing kids just because they can. I mean when did the ego of a 20 year old become so inflated that the only way to save face is to blow someone’s brains out? It just doesn’t make sense. Where and why did we go wrong? And how do we go back? I’m not one to know how politics work or countries are run, but I know about the Pakistani person. I know that they are kind and gentle and will stand up for their own. I know that when wronged, they will hate with all their might, which may be what we are faced with now. Millions of wronged people realizing their plight and hundreds of wrong-doers claiming what isn’t theirs. Its a bad cycle and it saddens me.

 

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