Postcard from Pakistan: This Land is My Land Not Your Land
I doubt Woodie Guthrie ever imagined his lyrics would be adapted in a land thousands of miles away and taught to primary school children in Karachi, Pakistan. And of late, I’ve been thinking about the lyrics more and more. I can no longer remember what the Pakistani version is apart from “this land is your land, this land is my land, from Rawalpindi to the City of Karachi…”. Having listened to Bruce Springsteen’s version countless times the Pakistani version has escaped me, but it resonated with me today because of this picture.
It says ‘Karachi is ours, not yours’. Karachi is a cosmopolitan megacity of over 15 million people. For any one group to claim it is absurd. This group claims to be a ‘committee to save Karachi’. No one seems to know who is behind these graffiti messages that are plastering themselves to walls across the city.
This city is hardly unfamiliar with sectarian violence and ethnic tension. So is this a message from Karachiites to the militants? Or the militants against Karachiites? Does it even have anything to do with the militants? Is it just plain and simple vandalism, or as it’s referred to locally: chalking. Who the ‘we’ is has yet to be discovered. Below are a few suggestions from the original feature on Dawn’s Blog:
“Has anyone thought about who these people are targeting? there are people talking about Karachi belonging to all of Pakistan. But we might be missing the point here, whoever wrote this message may have been referring to the terrorist and militant activity which has taken place in the city over the past few years.”
“Graffiti rarely delights the visual barometer but we are living in a time of ‘urban warfare’ where the ‘land mafia’ is a potent force changing rapidly this city’s landscape. The graffiti is deliberately in your (or our) face as all graffiti is meant to be. Cast your minds’ eye back to the state of US cities in the 1970s and 1980s. The symptoms of their malaise were different but the frustrations of the ordinary citizens were inscribed on the walls of neighborhoods everywhere from NYC to LA. How does the ordinary citizen express his/her voice? The media doesn’t care because urban warfare is not a hot topic. We will continue to see more graffiti like this everywhere because it is a ‘SIGN’ of our current urban condition.”
“I think this is a signal for all those, who are spoiling our society not only of Karachi, but the Whole Pakistan. It would be far better to write like ” Pakistan is ours ,Not yours”. Any how, it’s good to maintain a peace in respective locality first. I think, this is political games, they(our leaders) are doing so, so that the mob will not demand from them. Besides, I think, no Pakistani can behave like this, But the question arises, Who are them? It’s the responsibility of our Govt to highlight them.”
See here for further comments.
Photo by Dawn
The views expressed by the author are personal.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook