Hamza Ali Abbasi and the Majority Complex
Let’s get this out of the way: I honestly feel that writing about Hamza Ali Abbasi is far below my worth, but it needs to be done. I really am not a fan of this guy. Despite, I cannot deny that the man is an accomplished and heralded actor in Pakistan. His hair and cleanly trimmed beard are definitely at a top notch, enviable quality. Unfortunately, the pure drivel which he brings to the table with his Facebook political tirade is something that is so obviously clouded that it will achieve little of worth and will mostly just hinder the social progression of Pakistan. Normally, this would not be of such a great deal. A lot of Pakistanis invest themselves in some pretty outrageous views, but Hamza has garnered more than a million fans from his acting career, meaning that each of his posts regarding his crusade garners multiple thousands likes and a many hundreds of comments.
Hamza Ali Abbasi’s audience is composed of a sizable group of impressionable youth whose minds can easily be shaped and manipulated into his mold, as it is with most young’uns anywhere. The reason being isn’t hard to uncover. Like I said, he is an accomplished actor and, I would say, a handsome individual. He fits the caricature of a man that young people look up to and idolize. When you look at him, you don’t see an old, messy-bearded mullah. No, you see someone who has achieved higher-education and has an air of modernity around him and a fashionable style to boot. His appearance shows a person who would not hold such archaic views, and that only adds to the deconstructive power of his ideals. Whether it is his hypocritical berating of women who wear bikini, despite him being in films shirtless with only shorts on, or the idiotic idea that religious minorities in Pakistan do not face the very real oppression because of their beliefs, this man is continuously saying the wrong things.
You heard me right, he really does not agree that Pakistan’s minorities are being persecuted based off their religious views, instead living in this imaginative Pakistan void of any inequivalent injustices. He believes that Pakistanis are being persecuted equally by the fundamentalists and terrorist suits who shout and leave leaflets declaring Shias, Ismailis, and Ahmedis as “Kafir” and specifically target the churches, temples, and imambargahs of the minorities with an agenda against them. This view is, at this point, typical of what really makes up the demographic of people like Abbasi and the larger part of those who support his ideals. The entitled, Sunni, high-class Pakistanis who are mostly just as alien to the reality of their country as those who live abroad cannot understand. They live under the “bourgeois silver spoon” and do not see beyond that.
It is quite a similar state of affairs in the West with many of the white people in countries like America, England, etc. These ‘burgers’ have no issue of calling out Westerners when their countries have suffered a major racial travesty (to which many of the Caucasians are blind to) and they know that it is a situation of the majority demographic not being able to empathize with the minority demographic. Don’t get me wrong. Neither the entitled of the Western World or Pakistan are evil or terrible people. Most of them are sincerely well-meaning, but many of them suffer from a biased lens of experience which they are unable to acknowledge exists. They cannot empathize with those who are treated unjustly for not being the majority ethnic/religious demographic due to the huge gap of social differences which seems too difficult for them to grasp. When Hamza speaks out about how Sunnis are treated just as badly as other religious minorities in this country, I can’t help but mirror him to a middle-class, Republican, white man in America yelling how racism does not exist when there are obvious cases of different, harsher treatment of ethnic minorities in his country (especially in regards to the recent cases of police brutality). I am hardly the first to have noted such a correlation of members of the majority being oblivious to the issues of the minority, yet the said majorities still refuse to acknowledge that it is an ongoing issue and Hamza is no different.
While Sunnis have been victims of terrorism multiple times, and are definitely part of this ongoing struggle against the Taliban and other Islamic extremists in this country it is in no way near the amount of threat and fear that Shias, Christians, Ahmedis, Hindus, and other religious minorities face in this overwhelmingly oppressive society. You never hear Sunnis being too fearful to state that they are Sunni when faced with the question of what sect of Islam they follow by random passers-by. That is all too common for Shias, Ahmedis, and even non-Muslims who disguise themselves as Sunnis when faced with the possible life-or-death question. Do you hear of Sunni girls being kidnapped and then being forcefully converted to Christianity or Hinduism, because the vice-versa definitely occurs in Pakistan. Face it Hamza. You and other like-minded individuals have something called Sunni-privilege (the equivalent of white-privilege in the States) and you are entrapped in your majority complex to be able to see it. You may have faced hardships in your life multiple times, everyone does, but that is not a result of the all-to-real sectarianism that has engulfed and even taken the lives of many of the mentioned minorities. Your issues are individualistic and in no way systematic like the sectarianism plaguing Pakistan. You lived your life without experiencing another religious body overwhelming your own, so you act like you don’t believe it exists; but the matter of fact is that you, as a member of the entitled demographic, are not supposed to experience it.
Being oppressed due to your religious belief is not your burden to take, but it is definitely a burden you are more than able to lift from the shoulders of those who are experiencing it. One of the most important aspects of a social movement are the allies who support and defend the members of the movement from their pedestal of privilege. It has been seen multiple times with white people supporting equal rights for people of color during the 1960s in America, heterosexuals supporting the rights of gay marriage, and even when America, Russia, and British common folk supported the partition of the IndoPak region from Great Britain’s rule. You, Hamza, are no ally for Pakistan’s minority. You sit from your pedestal and close your eyes to the real suffering that takes place, and that form of ignorance only increases the power of the oppressors. Your views holster the grip that Islamic extremists and fundamentalists have over this country. He who is silent only plays to the hands of the tyrant, so please do not be silent on these issues. You hold a great audience with your words, do not send them the wrong message of what Pakistan needs from its youth and future.