Thursday, April 28, 2011

Channeling Anger

At certain points during a quick reading of these excerpts from Kim Barker’s new book, featuring the shenanigans of our very own friendly neighborhood Teletubby, I found myself laughing out loud. It wasn’t the ‘ oh god that’s funny’ laughter though, it was – again – the helium like hysteria of you just can’t make this shit up. The excerpts didn’t just entertain, they educated too. I learnt many important things. For example, that tigers are people too. That a certain kind of politician’s favorite tune continues to be ‘how much is that journo in the window’. And that it is only a matter of time before ‘What do you think, Kim?’ becomes a popular pick up line.

Then I watched the beginning of the Mubashir Lucman programme episode mentioned in that post and it wiped the smile right off my face. The story he covered before he got around to setting the stage for Tinky Winky’s public humiliation was the latest twist in Mukhtaran Mai’s tragically prolonged quest for justice. And when I say covered, I mean stripped, laughed at, and then paraded down the street naked, as sometimes happens to women in this our blessed country.

You should watch the clips and hear the language employed to understand what I mean:

Part 1: Relevant portions are from 00:00-01:18 and then from 02:56-12:10

Part 2: Relevant portion is up until 06:00

I’m not going to go into details of how and why Mubashir Lucman, who has never exactly been a poster boy for decorum, managed to find hitherto undiscovered levels of lowness to sink to in his treatment of the story and his hapless guest, Mukhtaran Mai. This piece by Sana Saleem on Dawn Blogs has already done so. I would like to add something though, and that is what exactly can we do about it?

I’m also not going to more than flirt with the visceral impact of this particular juxtaposition of fact and farce. A foreign ‘lady journalist’ detailing the loneliness of a man with power, insecure enough to get hair plugs and fret about his weight problem, yet clinging desperately to the belief that power alone is an irresistible aphrodisiac. A local male anchor following in the footsteps of others before him taking pleasure in reducing a heroic woman it has been conclusively proven was raped to an attention seeking media whore. A panel of corpulent scavengers echoing his position, just as happy to imply that there is justice in reminding women who have stepped out of line what their proper place is. Beneath them, presumably. But yes, do not dwell too long on the contrast between the soft handed flabbiness of men who should still be wearing diapers and the gaunt, haunted faces of the women who pay for their infantile natures. That way lies hell.

Mr Lucman is clearly the sort of person who, when he gets attention, does not care whether it is positive or negative but only congratulates himself on having gotten it. This is not surprising; it seems to be a part of the genetic coding of 99% of the world’s talk shows hosts. It is also not surprising that the channel in question gives this sorry sud a soapbox. The more incendiary the content, the better the ratings. So, considering the chances of a public apology by Mr Lucman as a result of an online petition are about as high as Nawaz United’s chances of scoring against Barkerlona, back then to what exactly can we do about it?

Here’s an idea: complain to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

Their Council of Complaints ostensibly comprises of "eminent citizens who have rich experience in their respective fields i.e. law, journalism, electronic media, public relations, etc. None of such Councils may have any official from PEMRA or any other government department as its member which vouch their complete autonomy. Each Council of Complaints is also required to have at least two female members." According to PEMRA's website, the PEMRA Regional General Manager only acts as a Secretary to the Council and also "[encourages] women to come forward to lodge their complaints without any reluctance." PEMRA also claims that “since their inception, Councils of Complaints have done commendable job in [the redressal] of complaints to [the] complete satisfaction of all stake-holders.”

Try it out, publicly. Get in touch with any of these listed Councils of Complaint and lodge a protest against that episode of the Lucman show for being in violation of various clauses of Rule 1 of PEMRA's Code of Conduct for Media Broadcasters and Cable TV Operators, for example…

(Rule) 1: No programme shall be aired which...

(c) contains an abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race or caste, national, ethnic or linguistic origin, colour or religion or sect, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability;

(d) contains anything defamatory or knowingly false;

(f) contains anything amounting to contempt of court;

(h) maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country;

(i) is against basic cultural values, morality and good manners;

(k) promotes, aids or abets any offence which is cognizable under the applicable laws;

(l) denigrates men or women through the depiction in any manner of the figure, in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory;

(n) anything which tends to glorify crime or criminals

Keep a record of your phone/fax/email correspondence with PEMRA. Set up a coordinating body via website or list or group to share information and keep others posted on progress or lack thereof. The worst thing that can happen is nothing. The best thing that can happen is another small step towards letting the system know that you too are a stakeholder, you too believe you have the right to air your opinion, and you too are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Those of a PML(N)cholic disposition may, of course, replace Mukhtaran Mai with Nawaz Sharif at relevant parts of the complaint.


Pekhawaray said...

nice we should be talking about strategies to challenge social injustices. mere narration of injustices has no real impact on the practical life.
Lukman may not apologize but there are ways to disabuse him, and what is the most effective way of doing this then hurting him economically.

1. don't watch his show or those of his likes.
2. spread the word about his show and describe it to people how this show is shameful and hurtful.
3. support those who are writing to protest against lukman's show by leaving comments in the comment section.
4. research how media generates money. we often forget that private media is for-profit. its primary aim is to generate capital. research what techniques media in general and anchors in particular employ to get high ratings

We should not think that we are powerless. we as people have power and we need to use it. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH NOW LETS COME OUT OF OUR MUNDANE OPPRESSIVE LIVES AND ACADEMIC IVORY TOWERS AND MAKE OUR NATION A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE.


Anonymous said...

A typical pyala post these days:
1) Provide unneeded details of what you eat, drink and read and your impression of it

2) Assume a persona that stinks of grandeurs of self-importance

3) Use I over a 100 times to make sure the message in 2 sticks

4) Overused and fairly boring puns

5) Lots of copy paste followed by more I and more shots of the ego drinks

6) Finally coming to the point and repeat what's been said or known before.

The following suffices as today's post:

PEMRA can and should be approached to take appropriate action against Mubashir Luqman

TLW said...

Oi Anon, are you paying for Cafe Pyala's services?

I didn't think so.

Good job MSS. Wish I was in Pakistan to contact PEMRA.

Pekhawaray said...

@anonymous, do you know what 'grandstanding' means? I think your comment is an example of it.

I have this feeling that some of our coffee-drinking and English-speaking folks are just too full of themselves.

despite reading your comment repeatedly, i could not decipher it. i think you are too intelligent for me.

pratyush said...

Pyala, You beauty ! You are just awesome. Good to see this kind of activism from a you. I went to that clip through Dawn and the conduct of Mubashir lucman was shocking and disgusting , to say the least. I am your big fan and i hope that you continue your good work . And i also pray that one of your types "reincarnates(Its a Hindu thing :P)" himself in India coz we are in dire need of one. Keep up the good work

Shaikh Rishadullah said...

Great post! @anon You are too intelligent to comment here. Go back to your ET FB likes!

PapaBare said...

Take it easy Pyala.
Women are raped all over the world but nowhere such melo drama is made out of it. Nowhere women make shit loads of money and travel all over the world like Mukhtara mai did after being raped.
The person who has been convicted and doing time is proved hes a rapist. It is proven in court of law Mai didn't get gang raped like she claimed, it was only one guy. She has been lying all that time and still lying. I have both these vids. I don't see anything wrong with what Mubashar did here. If you want to report somebody report Mehr Bukhari and Jasmeen instead.

Anonymous said...

Well well well, if using PML(N)cholly is acceptable then is Pee Pee Pee ever going to be used?

khabardrama said...

@PapaBare: Are you General ('they get raped just for visas') Musharraf in disguise by any chance?

PapaBare said...

Do you understand even 1% of what I said? I never said I have been raped or I am a General. Perhaps you are confusing my post with some other post.

A women gets gang raped by 20 filthy monsters. After that they strip naked the poor girl and all the city/village sees her naked body and cheers well done filthy monsters while they walk her on the streets. The poor girl keeps crying but nobody listens to her.

Guys do you really believe that story?
Where is your logic guys? You are bunch of emotional fools.

Samar said...

Good job Pyala party! PEMRA could be a good recourse though I think it's best to stop watching the cheapjack's misadventures on tv altogether. He should better start cooking spicy Nihari somewhere.

Aly Qadir said...

I agree with Lucman, take a look back and you see a smiling Mai going all around the world telling people she was gang raped. Would she have the courage to tell the people of this country how much money she has earned in grants and sympathy with her World Tours? She is nothing but an imposter who has tried to cash in on something terrible. Would she please tell the world about her financial position before and after the incident? Would Ms. Mai please stand up and tell the world about how she has so easily managed to malign Pakistan by telling the world that this is the worst place to live in? Does anyone know the amount of money Mai has made in the last nine years, can we have access to her tax returns? Standing up for your rights is different and maligning your country for financial gains is a different story. Ms. Mai we need to have a look at your bank statement, your tax returns and your umpteen visas before we decide on how badly you have been treated in this country which even after a terrible incident has given you a lot…this is enough…


Look people its our habit that we always fall in wrong debate..first thing which we need to understand that in Such rape cases Medical Reports are very crucial so when SC taking a SMN about that matter we should understand that they take that stand because they want her to get justice but if there is no investigation or evidance against the convicts what will they do?
Second thing is that you need to see and understand the mindset of that region and full case its not simple its hell of complected Mai may have that guts she got canadian nationality and have money all that what about the other girl which is raped by Mai's brother you just seeing the one picture & may its the same as you think ....

I am not getting Judgmental about Mai but i have my reservations about this matter the way it was taken up look American ambescidar taking about justice for her but what about AUBAID-UR-REHMAN................

Preachy said...

So if women are raped all over the world, then we should not speak against it because it is a practice that has become common and thus normalized and mainstreamed. You seem to be more concerned about her ‘money’ and ‘travels’ than the rape that you admit did take place.
Aly qadir and papabare your comments are illogical, pernicious and disgusting, I really don’t have energy to respond to you.
@Muhab Khan, can you please let us know if Mia’s brother raped the girl or had consensual sex… and what was his age at the time.

Preachy said...

@papabare So if women are raped all over the world, then we should not speak against it because it is a practice that has become common and thus normalized and mainstreamed. You seem to be more concerned about her ‘money’ and ‘travels’ than the rape that you admit did take place.
Aly qadir and papabare your comments are illogical, pernicious and disgusting, I really don’t have energy to respond to you.
@Muhab Khan, can you please let us know if Mia’s brother raped the girl or had consensual sex or … and what was his age at the time and what happened to him later on.

Pekhawaray said...

to all the jawans of ghairat brigade, if you are really concerned about the image and ghairat of our country, then please stop those who perpetrate shameful acts and if you don't have the courage or are benefiting from the status quo then please at least have some decency to not speak ill of the victims and those who speak against injustices.

Anonymous said...

What type of ghairat it is that is excited because a Pakistani woman who is wronged is recompensed by other countries, but this same ghairat slinks in a hole when the Motherland itself is raped by the likes of Zardaris and Sharifs?
Besides, only dolts can believe that she was raped by just one guy. Was any examination conducted immediately after rape? There is no evidence about the corrupt deeds of Zardari and his slain spouse, and Nawaz Sharif and family's financial and moral wrongdoings. Does this mean they are driven snow. Pyala's take was on a different issue, but the comments have a tendency to go off tangent.

PapaBare said...

@to all people representing B******* brigade

SC took a SMA because media was running news about this melodrama day and night, it was a big issue back then because some very prominent personalities(I think governor) himself visited the place and gave statements about this. But SC's judgment should have been based upon facts such as the medical of mai, ground realities, statements of witnesses etc. Am I right?

I hope you guys realize that the court has a larger responsibility on their shoulders. They have to go above emotions and public opinion in order to make their judgments fair because these two things can be wrong at times. In order to make fair judgments they don't base their opinion on newspapers and TV channels but the witnesses and actual facts.

The judgment proves that Mai has been lying about all the gang rape thing all these years and making us all fools. Gang rape gets you death penalty but the one rapist who is convicted got only seven years. Because it was just a rape not a GANG rape. There is a big difference.

I wonder nobody talks about the poor girl that was raped by Mai's brother. I am surprised.

Preachy said...

@papabare "Because it was just a rape not a GANG rape. There is a big difference." just a rape. i really don't know if i should laugh or cry.

Anonymous said...

'i wonder what no one talks about the girl that was raped by mai's brother'...

because there was no rape of a girl by mai's brother. there was, however, sodomising of mai's brother by three men of the mastoi clan. a crime for which they were tried, convicted and jailed. that is when the saga began. your lack of knowledge about this makes your ignorance of the entire case evident, so please have some self respect now and stop exposing your prejudices and insulting women with the things you are implying.

Anonymous said...

@papabare & Aly Qadir,I would have liked to answer all your claims but now i realize that you two are so ignorant, illogical and misogynistic that you are beyond redemption.

PapaBare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PapaBare said...

Has any of you seen the videos posted above?

@anon @ 10:19

"because there was no rape of a girl by mai's brother."
How do you know? Do you have a proof of that? are you a witness? Or we should take Mai's word on this too?
I am not insulting anybody here and I don't have prejudice. But I can not respect a lady that lies about her being raped. Think about all those men their lives were on stack just because of the false allegation of Mai.


Rape = one person has sex without the consent of a lady
GANG rape = multiple persons have sex without the consent of a lady.

Do you see the difference now?

@anon 7:07
I wish you could add something useful to the discussion. Rants and name calling doesn't help anything.

Anonymous said...

@papabare, let me show you how you are illogical and beyond redemption.

You said that she was raped but not gang raped and you cite court's acquittal of other accused as a proof that she was not gang raped and 'just' raped, and she lied about the gang rape.

now you are saying that Mai's brother raped a girl. but did court try him for that or found him guilty. on the other hand, those who sodomized him were sentenced by the court.
and can you tell us if court siad something like that

"Mai has been JUST raped and not gang raped and she is a liar"?

the acquittal of other accused does not prove for sure that they were innocent (and they might be, they have the right to defend themselves) Court has to take into account evidence and because the whole case was botched up and no evidence was preserved as it commonly happens with poor helpless people therefore case had to pass this verdict.

Sheikh Chillis said...

Mubasher Lucman's manner and tone on this sensitive topic, reveals his disconnect with the norms and standards of a civilized society. He has demonstrated, time and again, his absolute disdain for the fairer sex, wherever they threaten his defined domain.

He is a naked opportunist, praying at the altar of ratings. In the west, he would be scratching the post, somewhere in the deep south, on a public access TV channel. Or howling into a mic, on a local talk-radio station, for like-minded yahoos.

But be that as it may, I want to know something else, from those who have followed this case. If she was raped, repeatedly, did Mukhtaran Mai get pregnant as a result of it ?, and if so, did she have that child or did she get an abortion ?.

She did have a small daughter sitting on the bed with her, while giving interviews recently. But I presume that is from her marriage after the fact.

Preachy said...

other side of the story.

PapaBare said...

I think this article is as close as it can get to the reality. It shows the true incidents that happened.
But I see this guy Bronwyn Curran has a mind and he thinks rationally and with logic. I foresee in a country where people like to believe in fairy tales and believe that Kyon Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi is based on real life events of the heroin nobody will agree with this guy's rational reasoning, text comprehension and other deceiving techniques.
I foresee soon people will label him ignorant, illogical and misogynistic.

Preachy said...

@papabare, the writer of this article did not say that she was a liar and that she got raped to amass wealth, and travel abroad, and sully the reputation of the country. The writer was respectful and logical.

as you say


Anonymous said...

Just so you know, Bronwyn Curran is a woman. And while her version of events has its merits, I also know for a *fact* that she was pissed off at Mai when a supposedly "exclusive" arrangement she had secured with Mai to write a book about her story early on was allegedly backtracked on by Mai -- apparently at the instigation of those two or three 'handlers' of hers that Ms Curran accuses of most of the misrepresentations in the case. Once other media and authors jumped on the bandwagon, thus losing Ms Curran her exclusive and potentially lucrative opportunity (she was a Pakistan-based journalist at the time), I get the sense that she may have decided to be more critical in her investigations than she would have been otherwise. But if that's what she's found then that's what she's found. Bear in mind though that this is still *one* version of events. Enough people have told different versions within the community there for the whole scene to be muddled beyond comprehension to outsiders.

What is not muddled however, is Mai herself. Having spoken to her at length several times, visited the village, talked to others, and seen the work she has been doing, I for one found nothing to suggest personal aggrandizement or deception as her motive. So screw people like Lucman and others here who want to harp on about how her rape was 'just' rape, or how she has made money off this, or garnered fame at the expense of the country's image etc. Perhaps Mukhtaran's biggest problem is precisely the attention given to her by western media, which to our pathetic ghairat brigade always causes a kneejerk reaction of seeing complicit conspiracy where there is anything but.

What is sorely missing from the demands being made in the context of this case is a point that should in fact have come out from the judiciary looking into the case -- that the chronic inadequacies in police investigation attitude, techniques and forensic science -- and corruption -- are the biggest culprits in colluding to allow cases to be muddled up, a situation further exacerbated by willy-nilly application of political grandstanding in the face of public outrage. Thus yes, even innocent accused suffer for years when exposed to such vagaries. This case exposes both the medieval attitudes and behaviour towards women in our country, and the shortcomings of the criminal and judicial systems. If the case at *least* allows reform to be pushed for the sake of avoiding similar ham-handed
approaches in future, Mai would probably be happy with it and consider it justice. I know, because she said so to me herself.

Pekhawaray said...

hey guys, can anyone tell me who coined the term 'ghairat brigade'? I am using the term in my paper and want to acknowledge the source.

Maria H said...


PEMRA Council of Complaints cannot be reached by email. RIDICULOUS. I am positive I wont write a letter and post it to them. Sent an email to the Exec Member of PEMRA instead, who knows if he/she even checks their email.