The Revolutionary Elite |The Dissent

Gohar Abbas

“Look! I told you he’ll dominate the scene one day,” said a friend pushing a newspaper towards me.

The paper quite profusely had a picture and story of a sit-in staged by a popular political leader. “That’s nice. But why now?” I inquired dubiously, while browsing through the newspapers in front of me.
“Can you not be sceptical for once?” a tinge of irritation rang through my friend’s voice but didn’t bother me as I stared at him with the inquisition still predominant in my look.
“No. It’s not about being sceptical – I just want to know why he decided to do this now? After two hundred and seventy-something drone strikes?”
“It’s not about ‘timing’ – he’s at least doing something. Maybe, earlier, he thought that ‘they’ will end striking us with drones,” he said.
“But that’s just ignorance – no?” I said with a slight chuckle.
“See! That’s what the issue is! Without fail, everyone ends up demeaning an individual who emerges as a charismatic leader with a cause!” With his pitch rising and emotions taking an adamant stance, I decided to not back down either. I shook my head and took up the role of a scholar.
“Charismatic and emerging? If you shall elaborate on this, I’ll explain where I’m coming from”
And now, it was his turn to shake his head. He realized how I was merely playing a chase-game while weaving a web of questions and entangling him before I’d go for a kill. But for once, he wasn’t willing to back down either, so he calmed down slightly and took a professional hit at me.
“So we’re going the journalistic way huh?”He exaggerated a sigh and went on “For one thing, his struggle of so many years to reach this particular position speaks volumes of his charisma. You cannot deny the simple fact that he is the most recognized face and our national hero”.
“Charismatic sportsman or pretty boy that had women drooling from world over?” I said with a smirk, quite deliberately belittling my friend for the thrill of a productive conversation.

He heaved out a sigh and before he could progress to a monologue I exclaimed “This is the point of contention. Your ‘national hero’ is just simply followed by the upper middle class inspired by his fame as a player and later because of his marriage to a foreigner. It’s just a fascination”
“And, what is wrong in it? He retorted.
“Problem is that because of just that, he is not a leader with a cause. He’s simply and quite literally just sliced between his followers and mentors”
“You really think, I’m going to settle for this half-baked hypothesis of yours”
“Yes! Because for one thing, certain ‘background factors’ have a significant lion’s share in placing him here.”
Now, I had my friend speechless and apparently had hit him at just the right spot. His confused expression made me feel rather sympathetic for he was counting days and anticipating thunderous clouds that would invoke a promised-revolution.
Sticking to my role, “Haven’t you noticed something peculiar about the joint-protests that have commenced over time?”
“Not significantly but umm…there is slight uneasiness”, he said slowly.
“Uneasiness?” I edged him on.
“I don’t know, it’s just the polarization I suppose. The callous female-staring of certain JI activists I guess”
“Nothing! At first we were scared of them. You know, they always have sticks in hands and are willing to fight even with the police.”
“Have you ever thought of fighting with them?” I inquired, leaning back on my chair.
“Haha! You know I haven’t ever had a fight. Mama banned me from a sit-in sometime ago since rumour had it that the Taliban will show up. It gets kind of ugly with the bearded guys, sometimes I guess”
“But you do realise that your allies are you supposed-phobic bearded guys. And while we’re at it, even possibly, your mentors” I humoured the poor guy.
“But for the sake of a revolution and long-term benefit, I shall overcome this fear”. He said with the emotion making its way soundly.
“And such an alliance will take you further.” I said with a short laugh and raising my cold cup of tea for a toast.
Ignoring my gesture with obvious annoyance, my non-smoker friend struggled to take a cigarette from my packet and attempted to puff at it. His uneasiness quite apparent. I sipped my luke warm tea and my friend drew his chair closer and in a hushed tone muttered. “We’re not happy with such an alliance. It’s just for the sake of revolution”.
Now, I got annoyed by the consistent chanting of the revolution mantra – making it seem like the anticipating the birth of a baby. I moved back and rather adamantly exclaimed, “Stop this revolution rhetoric. It’s a dead-beat slogan!”
Quite nonsensically, however, my friend stared blankly into thin air and after a prolonged pause uttered, “there is just one thing standing between us and the revolution”
“What?” I asked irritably.
“Police”, he muttered in a hushed monotone
I frowned, lit a cigarette, dismissing any further deliberation on the subject

This article was published originally on Islamabad Dateline (youth). The Dissent would like to thank the owner of the this article Mr. Gohar Abbas in courtesy. 

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