For the last week or so both mainstream and social media are abuzz with the Muniba Mazari controversy.
In the last few years Mazari has come to the forefront as a resilient young woman who continues to live life to the fullest despite a spinal cord injury that has left her wheelchair bound.
In any society such a person would be a source of inspiration for millions. Her struggle and achievements are especially relevant to Pakistan where, according to an estimate, 5.035 million people live with disabilities. This is more than the population of Norway, New Zealand, Lebanon or Kuwait! The current annual growth rate of disabilities in Pakistan is 2.65% per annum. This is more than the annual growth rate (2.03%) of the total population of Pakistan.
I’m mentioning these facts and figures to emphasize how Pakistan desperately needs icons like Muniba Mazari to help millions of Pakistanis out of a state of helplessness and despair.
However, it seems that we are hell bent on making even our most loved role models controversial.
The unnecessary controversy began when Muniba Mazari decided to break her silence on the troubled relationship that she shared with her former husband. Her statement was met with a legal notice in which her ex-husband sued her for defamation.
Suddenly, Mazari became the center of an avalanche of hate that makes no sense at all.
The distasteful tweets, misogynistic press releases and silly social media comments have made me wonder, if we, as a society are entirely incapable of seeing someone happy?
Who gives us the right to judge the life of a woman who has done nothing but bring positivity and hope to the society? Are we so blinded by our false egos that we are ready to spit venom against a person who has only sent love our way all these years?
As someone who had spent the better half of her life without disability we can’t imagine the shock and horror that she must have experienced after learning that she would never be able to stand on her two feet again. Have the hate mongering, self-righteous know-it-alls stopped for a moment to consider the agony and sense of hopelessness that she had to conquer to become the vibrant person that we know today?
Also Read: To Junaid Jamshed With Love
For someone in her position to have a constant smile on her face is in itself a huge feat. The fact that she has made it her life’s mission to pass on that smile to millions of others is an achievement very few can boast of in their lifetimes.
Irrespective of what the “intellectuals” might say, disability is a brave struggle and absolutely no one has the right to change this reality with their fancy, incomprehensible jargons!
So, instead of playing the judge and jury and instead of joining the bandwagon that is accusing her of, “…cashing in on her disability,” I urge you to please take a step back from all the misguided hatred.
Please put yourself in her shoes and imagine a life of sudden immobility. Imagine the darkness, the grief and the acute sense of hopelessness that she must have battled with when the horrible news was broken to her. Now imagine the amount of courage and resilience it must have taken to accept what had happened and rise above it.
If however, you still don’t feel even the remotest sense of empathy, then it is best to head straight to your nearest doctor, for I fear you might be missing your heart.