Joining the e-rally!

August 17, 2009 at 11:50 am 4 comments

I have always referred to myself as a citizen of the world. My friends used to make fun of me when i was much younger. They’d ask “What does that mean exactly?” I would try and explain but they never really took me seriously.

When this year I joined the Independence Day celebrations on 14th August, some people wanted to know what had happened to the “citizen of the world” label. So I started to think about it. Why was I celebrating? The foremost reason was that, having grown up in Hong Kong, I believe in celebrating everything. There is too much sadness in the world anyway so whenever there is an opportunity to let my hair down, I grab it with both hands.

It all started really when Farhan Masood, an entrepreneur/blogger/tweeperson (well i can’t really call him tweeple in singular, can I?) sent me a message asking me to replace my Display picture on twitter with a Pakistani flag. I wrote back that it always confused me when during any kind of e-rally, everyone used the same picture because I really had to focus in on the DP to know who I was talking with. The next thing I knew, Farhan had taken my display picture and placed it on a green flag graphic. Actually it looked quite cool and I didn’t have any reason to be confused any more.

The objective was to celebrate the good and beautiful that was taking place within Pakistan. Many of us – especially those who are young – feel the need to hold onto something that will keep them motivated and excited about the next day, and the next and the next. We have gone through a lot of bad days lately but there have been good things that have happened in this country, there have been people who have shown us the beauty and talent and brilliance that exists. So to focus for a day on the positive things around us without forgetting the things we need to actively work to change, seemed to me a good idea. And, anyway, I owe a great deal to this country (and to Hong Kong). It has provided me with opportunities to do what I am good at, to create value, to make friends and long term relationships and to be the best I can be. This country have indeed given me a lot.

The e-rally brought people together – not AGAINST anyone but to support each other and to create a feel-good environment that would recharge us for the real issues that we need to tackle. Talented people, whom some of us had not heard of, were highlighted, as were beautiful places in the country, achievements of many individuals – athletes, human rights activists, technologists, artists, health practitioners, business people, philanthropists, musicians, etc.

Yusuf Jan, co-founder of Mixit Inc, even decided to write a song entitled “Green&White” which was very popular on all the FM channels and on some online fora. In a blog post on Desihits.com, the writer refers to the song in these words:

‘Green & White’ is a Sufi-rock song produced by Yusuf Jan that exemplifies the growth and talent in Pakistan. ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’ is done by producer and international success, A.R. Rahman. This song has a very rich and classical sound but both songs are moving and full of pride for their countries.

Pie in the Sky made cookies that resembled flags and were distributed by several IT companies to their teams (quite yummy actually), there was dancing in the streets, people counted their blessings and made resolutions on how they were going to make this country, and the world, a better place to live in. Pakistan became and stayed a trending topic on Twitter throughout the 24 hour period after which some Pakistani tweeple joined the Indian Independence Day Celebrations on twitter and started to put up hashtags like #IndiaPak peace. The e-rally was covered by Dawn News and other mainstream media.

What upset me was the way some youngsters celebrated – with stunts on motorbikes which put their lives and that of others in danger. The aerial firing is of course the worst form of celebration. I have never understood why loud violent noises need to be a part of revelry.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Syed Talha Izhar  |  August 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    And #Pakistan was at the number 2 spot on 13th August in the trending topics…and we remained in the top 6 till 14th…

    Reply
  • 2. Joining the e-rally! | Tea Break  |  August 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

    Reply
  • 3. umair Mohsin  |  August 18, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Ms. Jehan,

    Will you be uploading the presentations made by speakers from the ITCN here….

    Umair.

    Reply
  • 4. Taimur Hamza Ajmal  |  August 19, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    It Should have been much more than just enjoying by celebrating on streets or posting on social networking sites. People from the IT industry should have developed a product to raise fund for the people of Swat and other affected areas. The filthy rich companies should have announced the donation of a particualer amount from their huge profit for affectees.

    Patriotism is not just expression !
    One needs to be Practical …

    Reply

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