I am a questioning sort of person. I question that which makes me curious, or that which piques my interest, yet I do not understand. And a certain blog piqued my interest. A reader of mine is a google follower of this blog by a certain, former employee of Dawn.
The blog, aside from tapping into the massive trope of Pakistan being nothing but a “land of terror” (which plays into a deeply impoverished view of Pakistan, reducing a much, much more complex land into the bare idea of angry bearded Muslims, and non angry, non bearded Muslims), made a swiping reference in every other post about a man whom I would presume was the writer’s former boss, Zafar Abbas. And every third or so post would make reference to Mr Zafar Abbas being the brother of General Athar Abbas of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR- the military’s PR department).
That blog, and that employee were, to put it politely, a few cards short of a full deck. It is the policy of me and my blog, when I come across what could be real out and out psychological damage, to keep quiet and back away slowly. Which is what I did. The author of that blog even referenced his own psychological situation, confirming what one suspected about him as a mentally damaged human being. That blogger even admitted being in such a precarious psychological state, and described his current conditions as that of a classic shut-in. So I skimmed and backed away slowly. And I realised as I closed the browser window that this lunatic had 37 google followers, and all I could muster were 9. Wow; even an out and out nutjob had more readers than me.
Or maybe it was just that he was realising the situation of current mainstream middle class Pakistan. Quoth Nadeem Farooq Paracha’s twitter:
I’m afraid that Nadeem Paracha may be too close to the truth.
As for this gentleman and his blog, they shall remain unnamed. I don’t want any strange google results for/from him leading to me. If you have any doubts about how annoying skewed Google results are, ask the folks at Five Rupees blog about their “Aunty” problem someday. I do not wish to skew my google results into any acknowledgement of this man’s lunacy. For all I know, he may have gotten fired from Dawn because his English writing skills stink. Seriously speaking, the grammar of his blogposts was atrocious, and this was a man who claimed to have been employed by what could be called Pakistan’s premier English daily. Standards of grammatical correctness had been slipping at Dawn, but he who shall remain unnamed used some really lousy English on his blog.
Moving beyond this man who was singularly obsessed with the Abbas brothers, and their “possible” role in getting him fired, many people had randomly mentioned this band of brothers who seemed to have reached top journalistic positions in one industry at the same time. Random comments on the Cafe Pyala page, conspiratorial ones on the LUBP page, and random tweets on this subject. Cafe Pyala, I especially feel sorry for, because as anonymous journalists writing about the media industry from inside it, they probably got too many requests to write on more than they even wished to broach. And since there is so much overt and covert corruption in Pakistan, there is sadly no dearth of negatively painted stories for them to cover. Why cover an obscure bunch of brothers who had a massive coincidence of luck, where all of them occupy important positions in various media producing groups (even the ISPR counts as this) at the exact same time in history. Better to go after their bosses, especially as working journalists, the Cafe Pyala-walas actually have an easier time getting dirt on the media owners that a “civilian” could not easily come by.
But that still leaves this very interesting story of these brothers in high positions across media companies at the same time…
So last month, I found myself home from a social engagement that had ended a little too early and I was feeling a little p-o’ed about.
Maybe writing would help. So I did. And then the idea of taking Critical PPP on their offer to publish anything if it was worth it popped into my mind. And all those very interesting internet comments on the Abbas Brothers looked like a question worth asking about.
So why not be original? A critical look into the ethical implications of hiring a group of brothers into senior positions in a somewhat influential media industry, whilst their brother is in charge of the establishment’s military media mouthpiece, in the middle of a war?
Sounded nice. And I think it was.
And in the back of my mind there was a voice that said some part of it won’t fit into the story. What part? Oh yeah, the one about the crazy ex-employee. Let’s just focus on the bosses. And in an evening’s haze of exhaustion, to keep it simple that is what I did.
But you the reader, I believe deserve to know about the unhinged employee and his blog that is out there. I will not link directly to it myself. But you can go search for it yourself. As for me, the depressing story of the Abbas brothers ends here. I’ve had enough of trying to dissect psy-ops. It’s back to the messiness, of real blood and guts ethnic warfare in Pakistan for me.
I’ll leave the propaganda and counter propaganda to the hacks, shrinks and various headjobs of the world.
Specially contributed to the LUBP, this post was first published at These Long Wars blog