This week has been another debilitating brick in the 2016 wall. On December 7th local media confirmed that PIA’s flight PK661 had crashed, that there were no survivors and that renown singer turned religious preacher Junaid Jamshed was onboard. As with all tragedies, what followed was an amalgamation of shock, sadness, confusion and predominantly anger. Perhaps most tragically, as the debris settles it is becoming clearer that significant levels of either negligence or corruption, or both, were involved.
Why weren’t necessary precautions taken?
New questions will be asked everyday, and it is unlikely that there will ever be an adequate answer. I don’t know how we will move forward from this, only that eventually we will have to. Here are five things that helped me, and I hope they help you as well.
1. Some perspective for the grief and the anger; Junaid Akram
Chaos often ensues in the wake of a calamity, and someone has to be the voice of reason. This week I found that the usually hilarious Junaid Akram was the owner of that voice. Junaid is an entertainer who isn’t afraid to bang out the kinks in our collective moral conscience with a sledge hammer. Many of us see him as indicative of a newly budding comedy scene. Often the darkest times give birth to the best kind of humour and these are very dark times and he is a very funny man.
For this video however, he appears sombre and contemplative and says some things that needed to be said. I particularly appreciate that he calls the media out for its often exploitative role. He is right, the modern day fourth estate is usually more concerned about ratings and beating the competition than the tragedy itself. But most importantly I think he offers some sound advice for where we should direct our energy, so that when we do act those actions benefit all of us in the long run.
2. An attempt to heal; Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan’s tribute to Junaid Jamshed
It isn’t fair to single out one person when more than forty met their untimely demise. However, for those of us fortunate enough to not have friends or relatives onboard the flight, we did know one name on the passenger list and perhaps we’re attempting to connect to the loss through him. Simultaneously, for a lot of young musicians Junaid Jamshed was and always will be an inspiration. So this wonderful tribute performed by the oft overlooked and yet incredibly talented Zulfiqar Khan (affectionately known as ‘Xulfi’) is simultaneously dedicated to a man he clearly admires but also an attempt to heal the wounds left by forty-seven untimely deaths.
This maybe what is needed right now.
As the corporate media brandishes animated planes onto our television screens attempting to show us what a plane crash looks like and jam the flavour of heartbreak down our throats, it robs us of the solitude and reflection necessary for grief. The poetry here though is incredibly fitting, a little too fitting perhaps, and it makes sense that towards the end Zulfiqar himself breaks down. We are not meant to be okay with what just happen, but hopefully we can heal from it.
3. Remember the people; Captain Janjua’s stunning videos
Often the victims of any kind of disaster are relegated to a statistic, which takes away from the human aspect of the event. After news of PK661 broke, it was also discovered that the pilot of the flight Salehar Janjua posted scenic videos of Pakistan on his Youtube channel. The videos are stunning, and they remind us that he was more than the victim of an ill-fated catastrophe. There was a life, and it warrants remembrance.
Dawn also put out a list of information about the people onboard, it includes a little bit about who they were as people, you can read it here.
4. Stronger together; Noori in concert
Hours after news about the crash surfaced, Noori were performing on stage. In a spur of the moment decision, the venue’s lights were turned off and the band asked their audience to hold up lighted cellphones as an act of remembrance while they performed a snippet from the Vital Signs’ single ‘AItebaar’.
While it was a tiny act of solidarity, yet it gives me hope because I’ve always believed that the only way out of a slump is to act in unison. Maybe you listen to your friend vent, maybe you just reach out to someone and let them know that they have a shoulder to cry on, or maybe you raise your cellphone along with hundreds of other people, whatever it is I’m hopeful that we can help each other out of this dark time.
5. A life lived; Nadeem F. Paracha and Junaid Jamshed
Anyone who is an avid NFP reader will know how holistically he has covered Junaid Jamshed’s multifaceted career during the music and after it. It is fitting then that after his untimely death Mr. Paracha would relate the story of Junaid Jamshed and Vital Signs as he witnessed it. This is one of his most priceless articles because after the divided opinions that followed Junaid Jamshed in his life and after it, this recalls the journey of a talented man who struggled with personal conflicts and did what he thought was the right thing to do.
Read the full article here.