Latest posts by Maheen Ahmad (see all)
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Somewhere along television history, you come across celebrities who aren’t really celebrated individuals . They aren’t up to the mark , are not talented enough perhaps , don’t fit the publics criteria or are just plain out controversial.
But that does not necessarily mean that people are bad, or that they deserve the back lash they by nature or by design. As was the case with several recent reality TV celebrities, but in this case the person of focus is an INTERNET celebrity, Qandeel Balouch, may she rest in peace . The news of her murder has been a shock for the country and like all news of death or loss brought a change in how we feel and made us more emotional and forgiving towards the deceased.
But anyway this is not an article to discuss what was right or wrong , it is more like a little recap of how things looked like to me . Yet of course it is about Qandeel .
My first thought about her was ” okay this is funny “. She to me really did pop out during a strange coincidental time . A time when Pakistani people really can’t decide what is art . What do we call decent entertainment? It just looked like all of a sudden that it was not about good art or singing anymore – it was about fame . Because people don’t didn’t notice what we consider good art. They want something bold , stupid , silly , cartoonish , quirky or controversial. And it may not be what they really wanted to watch – but it was only stuff like this that got their attention. The only thing that drew in the multitudes.
Qandeel came out around those few months , full of lame acts and songs. And she was not half bad as a singer, but that’s not what made her the icon that she is . It was small vines of in the high pitched voice and over the top eye liner ranting about having a headache or offering tea , that brought her in the not so nice limelight. People found something new to laugh at or to smile at with their friends. But that’s fine , they are slapstick vines meant to cause a stir .
And lets admit we are no strangers to people like this . Scripted and over hyped . I think attention seeking is the word . But it’s hard to draw a line here , where do reality and fiction come at a border line . Plus where do we ourselves draw a line to what is proper? What is pulling a few a strings and what is losing your dignity .
I don’t there is a line to exact, since I don’t think anyone who lives in their own country is unaware of what people will judge or cheer. But I also know that does not mean that its the moral compass for everyone. Many of us grow in decent homes where we are told what is right and what’s wrong. Somewhere down the road we learn a few things and transgress a little from the views of our society but we do not always expect others to fully understand us or our thoughts so we keep them to ourselves. Of course we also don’t hide who we are and express ourselves where it is needed and justified, because honestly who is another person to tell us otherwise , without any good reason.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Qandeel was entitled or her life and her choices. She chose to share her funny or provocative clips with everyone else as part of her freedom , she decided to do it . What everyone else did was with mean comments, insults , slut shaming and what not was also a part of their freedom of expression. I will go as far as to say that even when the teenage republic got together and had her facebook page blocked, that to was a part of their freedom – but with some conflict .
Let’s face it , nothing that she did was on TV . TV or national television is responsible to take of society or worry about society. The INTERNET is not responsible for caring about the moral feelings of a country that has a huge population of diverse groups of people. But even if you think that’s fine. If what she posted was that vulgar , was racy or disgusting whatever you want to call it – who forced you guys and girls to watch it so regularly.
There are plenty of talented people in this country who write well , draw well , sing well , act well , manufacturer well , teach well , speak well , play well and they get no recognition . Zero. Ziltch. Nothing. Where are all you highly moralistic keyboard jihadists assholes then ?
So basically Qandeel did at one point turn into a little superstar and a scape goat , of some sort. But she took it well and made a lot of money out of it .
But I do find it interesting that at some time in history singers relied on good music to get famous, now its more about a whole show that brings attention . You know like now it’s all about fancy clothes, drama and who is she dating instead of the music and many singers hate this . But that’s how things are and if all Qandeel wanted was all the glitter and gold then she got it . I don’t think I’ve seen anyone become a household name in a matter of months like she did.
Then ofcourse there was that interview on TV in which she again said what she wanted. And I liked that it was a healthy discussion between three women about their views .
And not to forget the whole cricket thing when she expressed her pain over our loss. She did something silly and yoi guys watched her do it and then called her a slut for doing it.
I think that deep down she was someone particularly sad about something and fame and attention was sort of a healing thing for her. I actually imagined her growing out of it and maybe getting married down the road and becoming a mother . You know like Junaid Jamshed or Veena Malik , two people with famous public lives. Let’s face it public figures don’t have any personal lives .
Then again all out of no where we find out that she was married before, and did not come from a very rich family. Another deep concern of the public remember – where is her family?
So she had to break away from a lot , or at least that’s what it looked like . Her name was Fouzia before she changed it to Qandeel. I wonder what someone has to go through to want to change everything . Or what could they be looking for to go through all the trouble to attain it .
Sad thing is just when all this news about her background came to surface we learned with a shock how her own brother killed her .
And death is an odd thing like life. One second you exist the next you don’t. And it often leads to people realizing how temporary everything is . How small people are . We want people alive so we can hurt them and get hurt together. Now that does not mean it changes anything about them it just changes how we look at them . In a flash .
But Qandeel was murdered and for what? Honor? Or a collective male ego that for some reason decided that if a women becomes comfortable with her sexuality it’s okay to kill her . It’s okay to throw acid on her . It’s okay to rape her. It’s okay to lock her up and torture her and maybe sell her as a slave to the landlord who happens to be a politician.
If nothing else Qandeel or Fouzia did what she wanted to do . Right or wrong she did not physically harm another person. She did not force anyone to watch her vines and neither did she attack anyone. I think that in her death we as nation have to learn a lesson and open our eyes to a reality all to real to ignore.
On a final note I think what reminds me or irks my mind about her death is a saying that goes like this.
” Men are afraid that women will laugh at them .Women are afraid men will kill them . “