KARACHI: There’s something about youngster stars that’s deeply unsettling to start with when contemplated upon. Because it stands, your complete trade reeks of exploitation and generally, outright abuse. In its ruins lie the sordid fates of a whole lot of as soon as upon a time celebrities so beloved as youngsters.
But one way or the other, the case viral youngster sensation Ahmed Shah seems significantly extra troubling. The extra one seems at his therapy in our media, the extra one wonders: “has everybody gone batshit insane?”
The likes of Nida Yasir, Yasir Nawaz, Hareem Shah, Waseem Badami and Fahad Mustafa could also be among the extra recognisable enablers on this exploitation, however we as a society can’t brush our personal position underneath the carpet.
For starters, there may be the truth that, my utmost sympathies with Shah, he isn’t well-liked in our public conscience for any expertise or potential of his. He isn’t a precocious youngster prodigy, no offense. His fame rests not on any accomplishment, which is okay – like most of us as soon as, he’s only a easy youngster.
What’s disturbing, then, is that within the absence of any potential to set him aside from the common youngster such as you and me, he’s a punching bag. He’s a butt of jokes, as a lot as we persuade ourselves that’s not true. “He’s so endearing,” we are going to all inform ourselves, “and that’s what we like about Ahmed Shah.” However allow us to not child ourselves. To us, to all of us, he’s merely a joke that must be in dangerous style. And that’s not his fault is it?
That is no indictment in opposition to Shah, let me make clear. How may it’s? That is an indictment in opposition to us for our half in permitting media to use a toddler too younger to even perceive what’s going on. In any conscientious society, this therapy of his would cross so many purple traces already.
There may be after all the ethnic element. We discover him hilarious just because he acts presumably like the lads in his hometown. That’s what we discover humorous actually, the lads in his hometown. Why? As a result of they feed and reinforce our stereotypes of Pashtun males and tradition. As Pakistanis, we do love stereotype.
The one comfort for Pashtuns, if any, is that they don’t seem to be alone in being on the receiving finish of stereotypical jokes. I’m wondering if we as a nation will ever realise that this tendency to rob these we see as completely different from ourselves of dignity is the basis to so many deep-seated points we’ve got confronted and proceed dealing with.
There may be additionally a classist tinge to Shah’s therapy in media and public acutely aware as nicely. To start with, I’m wondering if he could be exploited all the identical if he belonged to the household of somebody extra influential. However past that, his mannerisms appear to us ‘humorous’ as a result of we, in a means, see them as blue-collar.
His bluntness, his loudness, his assertiveness, all these are traits many amongst us affiliate with ‘impoliteness’. We, our elite particularly, eulogise and lionise Qandeel Baloch now that she is useless, however I doubt many realise how complicit we have been within the tragedy of her life. Should it take a tragedy in Shah’s case as nicely?
Social problematicising apart, we have to acknowledge and condemn Shah’s therapy for what it’s: youngster abuse and exploitation, plain and easy. Justifying ourselves by pointing to our emotions of endearment for him is not any excuse.
From the primary video, the place a trainer teases Shah for her and others amusement, to Nida Yasir’s present the place she herds him and different youngsters round like carnival sights, Shah’s therapy all through this circus must be referred to as out and condemned.
Allow us to all, on the very least, restore some modicum of dignity to a bit child too younger to know what’s going on.