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By Fareeha Qayoom

It’s August again. Pakistan will be celebrating its 62nd birthday this year. Looking back, I think 2009 has been the toughest year yet. No doubt, all businesses are virtually praying for this bad economic patch to be over…however, personally, I think it’s just the ‘perception’ thing…yes, our economic managers are not doing a good (management) job but that’s been true for the past 62 years so what’s changed? Our economy is always on the brink of bankruptcy when the old guard hands over the watch and is always climbing back up after the new guard is sworn in. In the meantime, our leaders are fond of taking on huge foreign debts to pay for their personal spending sprees and we end up paying for it all. This has been going on before I was born and will be true after I am dead and gone…But don’t forget, Pakistan’s economic fundamentals continue to remain strong during all these transitions and upheavals so there is no reason for all this panic and uncertainty.

You need to realize that our greatest assets are our natural resources including the human ones – we have one of the largest populations of young people in the world – and they are motivated enough to carve their own niche in this country and the world. Only the rich want to migrate but even they love this country when all the chips are down…there’s no place like home. Do not let yourself drown in all this virtual misery created by the media…take stock and you will realize that Pakistan is not Afghanistan or Iraq even though, we are being slotted with these war-torn countries and are in the process of being driven in a corner – in the words of U2’s famous song Acrobat, “Don’t let these b***ds grind you down!”…we are different because we are Pakistan.

Pakistan was created because of a particular ideology. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just makes us unique. What’s so bad about being different anyway? If the world is not big enough to tolerate some differences – we should be feeling sorry for this world. It should practice what it preaches. Human blood is precious anywhere in the world. Remember your Shakespeare, “If you cut me, do I not bleed?” We should stop apologizing for our religion. That’s not the problem with our economy anyway – our problem is a nationwide epidemic of hypocrisy and denial.

We need to snap out of it immediately…a friend of mine remarked the other day…”I don’t get it? How is this country still ticking over? Things are so bad but somehow things are still running! There must be a God I tell you!” I found this comment really funny. We may deny the presence of God in our lives but we are still mystified by the fact that we continue to survive despite all odds! Our only explanation – God is running the show in spite of our corruption, hypocrisy and dishonesty. Technically, our self-destructive behavior should destroy us all!

So, thank God for small mercies! Let’s celebrate another year of survival; 2010 will definitely be better – you know why? Because things can’t get any worse; the only way is up when you are all that way down! Pakistan Pa’aindabad! Long Live Pakistan!

Ps This is my last post from the platform of Valuemag – if you want to tune in at this frequency – drop by at www.tkfr.com and you are sure to catch up with Valuemag team one way or the other!

Au Revoir!

This is for you people out there! A song by Gloria Gaynor for the PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN and the politicians

At first I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
and so you’re back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you’d be back to bother me

Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Did you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive (hey hey)

It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to mend
the pieces of my broken heart
and I spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high
and you see me
somebody new
I’m not that chained up little person
still in love with you
and so you felt like dropping in
and just expect me to be free
But now I’m saving all my loving
for someone who’s loving me

Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive (oh)

Go on now go, walk out the door
just turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Did you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive
I will survive…!

This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, August 2009, issue 13, under the section ‘From the editor’s desk -August 2009’

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Reality Check!, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings