Tag Archives: Sea of Green

The Flag and the National Anthem

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Guest Post by
Majyd Aziz
(Ex President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

The two very uplifting assets in every citizen’s soul and heart are the Country’s Flag and the National Anthem. The Pakistan Flag, dark green in color, with a white vertical bar, a white crescent in the center, and a five-pointed star, and the National Anthem, words and music by the Jullandari-Chagla combo, instill a rousing sense of patriotism in the 170 million denizens. Every year on March 23 and August 14, the younger generation craves to hold and to wave the flag. One can see the gleam in their eyes when they do that. They truly show their love for the flag, even though they may not yet know what the Muslims of the sub-continent went thru so that today they can proudly raise and wave their very own flag.

The electronic media highlights the two days with nationalistic zeal and fervor. Special programs are telecast and the viewers obtain patriotic passion with national songs, with nostalgic interviews, and with lively musical extravaganza. The print media publishes informative supplements with advertisements galore and the usual motivational messages from national leaders. Of course, in cinema halls and at important functions, the National Anthem is regularly played and, at times, the green and white waved with gusto.

The flag is ever-present and symbolically and ritually raised up and down the poles outside the official buildings and at the Wagah border. The flag is still much desired by political aspirants who want it on their cars, so the world and the street policeman can distinguish between an ordinary citizen and an elected (or even unelected ‘advisor’) VIP. The flag is also evident on the table where billions of dollars worth of MOUs are signed and where the signatories clumsily get up in unison and exchange the documents.

After the fall of East Pakistan, political parties, whether nationally based, province-based, city-based, or even tonga-based, have had their own flag. The politico-religious parties too have their standards. The ethno-political organizations need a flag to identify them too. Student organizations proudly display their own brand of flags. It seems that flags now play a prominent role in this nation’s political opera. So much so, that when some parties come into power, their own flag takes precedence over the national flag. This is the heartrending tragedy.

Whenever the National Anthem is telecast on the electronic media, the viewers can see the marvelous and scintillating sights of Pakistan, whether historical buildings and monuments, picturesque mountains and rivers, hustle and bustle of towns and villages, wheels of industry in motion, scenes from farms and markets, or of course the cherished culture of the nation. The euphoric feeling one gets makes one proud to be a Pakistani.

However, the time has now come for some private TV channel to induce some soul-searching in politicians and those that profess to be national leaders. The time has now come for another video of the National Anthem, but instead of depicting the nation’s glories, this video should vividly and unabashedly present what is wrong in this country. The time has now come for showing the agonies and cries of rape victims and their families, closed factories and their workers out on the streets without a source of income, loadshedding and miserable citizens, stinking slums and rat-holes, mountains of garbage in the streets and lanes, proliferation of pollution and smoke-emitting vehicles, cops extorting bribes rather than managing traffic, policemen beating up protesting citizens and indiscriminately using tear-gas, tragic after-effects of suicide bombing, young students getting third-rate education in shanty edifices and broken down buildings, animals being blatantly misused and tortured, young lads with their throats slit due to the menace of kite-flying, the pathetic and resigned look on patients and their families at government hospitals, empty sports stadiums and arenas because the foreign teams are nervous about the law and order situation here, and for showing the economy in doldrums while the rich and famous display disgusting opulence and excessive waste.

This may sound distressing or disrespectful to many people. This may be construed as an unpatriotic act. This may be interpreted as portraying a sordid image of Pakistan ala Slumdog Millionaire. All right. Do not show it. Send CDs to people who matter, the powers that be. Maybe, just maybe, there is a touch of nationalistic sentiment in them. Then they might endeavor to improve the destiny of the people and the country rather than indulging in juvenile antics, demagoguery, corruption, and straight-faced chicanery. Maybe they might practice what they preach that it is always Pakistan First.

A day will also hopefully arrive (one such day was August 14, 2009) when the citizens of this motherland would stand together, united, and with eyes on the flag, their hand on their heart, and, like the Americans, declare with patriotic fervor, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for which it stands, one nation under Almighty Allah, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” This is one super way to make a great nation and a great people!


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This year on Pakistan’s Independence, mend some Broken Windows

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August 14, 2009: Pakistan turns 62, and the Blaagers (name given to Paki bloggers) celebrate by Going Green and Trending #Pakistan on the Twitter Trends (similar to when we trended #PakCricket and Twitter was a Sea of Green). And while I was among those involved in this effort and fully supporting it these past days, a strange void was felt inside. A nagging thought that maybe Going Green and making it to the Trending Topics were feel good measures; a sense of Patriotism that rises up at occasions like this and then conveniently is put in storage for the next appropriate Pakistan Pride moment. We owe it to Pakistan to move beyond just superficial lip service to the ideals of Jinnah and our founding fathers. We must do something to stall the downward spiral we see our beloved country in.

I just finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell recently and one particular discussion in the book stuck with me: The Broken Windows theory. This thesis put forward by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982 and further discussed by Kelling in his book Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities gives us a great insight on the problems Pakistan faces right now. We have essentially become a community where there are too many Broken Windows.

So just what is this theory?

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

Basically, the premise is that a Broken Window sends a negative signal and people start slowly treating the area around this Broken Window as rundown and derelict. The idea is that if you want to make a big change sometimes the best thing is to change seemingly trivial things. As these trivialities add up we reach a tipping point, and soon we know it the area is no more what it used to be.

Building Up Pakistan

So just what am I talking about? What windows are we breaking? Whether it is that 50 rupee note you slipped the policeman to avoid a ticket for talking on the cell while driving, or the fact that you just flaunted every traffic law that exists while driving an unregistered car without a driver’s licence. Or it is that empty Coke bottle you just threw from the car’s tinted windows.

Patriotism is not just about the paper flags you have decorated your street with, it is also about taking those flags down once the celebration is over. It is not about the huge flag on top of your house, it is also about removing that illegal and unislamic Kunda your house is running on. It is not about blaring National Anthems from your car stereo, it is about respecting the traffic laws as you do so. It is not just about being enraged at the disappearance of the Quaid’s photo from the President’s House, it is about living the ideals of the Quaid.

This year, on this Independence Day, let us resolve that we the Citizens of Pakistan will not shed our Patriotism when the clock strikes midnight. We will instead mend Broken Windows, clean up our mess, and implement the dreams and ideals on which Pakistan was founded on. And as pane after pane is fixed, we will Insha’Allah soon see Pakistan become Evergreen.

“It ain’t easy being Green” – Kermit The Frog

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Pakistan Take The Twenty 20 Cup and Twitter Too

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BOOM BOOM Afridi - © Associated Press
BOOM BOOM Afridi – © Associated Press

 Seventeen years after Imran Khan and his band of men in Green lifted the Cricket World Cup, history has repeated itself and Pakistan has been crowned the champions of the Twenty 20 World Cup.

Pakistan started with a wonderful bowling attack and managed to demolish the top order of SriLanka. However, a wonderful knock by Sangakkara managed to lift SriLanka to a respectable score of 139 for 6. Pakistan started their batting slow but steady and at one point it looked that we might have become too over-confident and ended up handing the game to our rivals. However, the stability in wickets proved to help and wonderful knock by Kamran Akmal followed by a spectacular knock by BooM BooM Afridi led Pakistan to lift the cup once again.

For the Blogging community of Pakistan (aka Blaagers), it was a double victory. An e-rally started to turn Twitter into a Sea of Green and to trend #PakCricket to the top trends on Twitter succeeded and the majority of Pakistanis on Twitter (and some on Facebook) changed their display picture to some form of the Pakistani flag. moreover, live tweeting and comments on the match using the hashtag #PakCricket managed to scale the trending topics chart on Twitter and fell just short of toppling over Father’s Day and Iran Elections related tags. The ability to trend a topic in face of other more international issues shows that Pakistani digital activism has a lot of potential. This was also seen when Teeth Maestro led a digital campaign (#LongMarch) to accompany the Long March carried out by the Lawyer’s to restore the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP
Pakistani Fans celebrate their Teams win © AFP

Congratulations to the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani Cricket team, and the Blaagers for their success today. Live Long and Prosper.

From Other Blaagers …

Pakistan are the World T20 Champions!!
“You are a twit”, says Twitter
Pakistan wins T20 World Cup 2009, Hail Greens
The Enthusiasm of T20 World Cup win
Pakistan – T20 Champions!
Pak wins 20 20 World Cup
A Triumph Against The Odds — And Against The Cricketing Establishment Too
T20 Cricket: Pakistan is the World Champion
Pictures of Pakistan T20 World Cup Victory Celebrations
We are the Twenty20 World Cup Champions !!!
We can change our fortunes, The way we won the final

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Sea of Green – #PakCricket takes over Twitter

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I come from a family of Cricket fanatics; watching every cricket match; hosting a regular Sunday game in our Garage; night matches in Ramadan in the lane outside the house; a cousin of mine even played in the Singapore national team once upon a time.

I am an exception to the rule. I mean I’m fond of cricket just like most average Pakistani boys, I was even part of the Saint Patrick’s cricket team (representing the A-Levels) back when no one outside the school circuit had heard of my team mates Danish Kaneria and Faisal Iqbal. I still play occasionally for a team on Sundays (though less than what it used to be). I just am not much of a fan of watching matches. In fact I could technically claim not to have watched a complete match ever in my life. For me the excitement really builds up in the last overs when the game is a nail biting, thumb chewing kind, with everyone on the edge of their seats, jumping up with joy at every run or wicket (depending on which side you are supporting).

I am very excited about one particular match though: The Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Twenty 20 final being played at Lords stadium in England today. In fact i am so excited that it just might be the first cricket match I watch fully in my life.

In March this year, both teams were struck with tragedy when the Sri Lanka team was attacked by some anti-Pakistan elements on their way to a match in Lahore. Having graciously consented to play in Pakistan, despite the spate of terrorist attacks recently, Sri Lanka had showed its friendship to the Pakistani nation. Unfortunately, a dastardly attack left seven of the Sri Lankan players injured and five valiant Pakistani police officers dead. It was only the actions of one brave man, the bus driver Khalil Ahmed, that saved the team from what would have been an unbearable loss for the two nations and the world of cricketing. This match will not only be about dominance in the cricket field. It will be a signal to the barbarians who attacked in March that the Pakistani and Sri Lankan people are opposed to their actions. It will be a call for peace and the elimination of bigotry. It will be a match for unifying these two countries again in a friendly environment to put a salve over the wounds caused by the terrorists.

Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images
Rival Captains on the eve of the match - © Getty Images

The other reason why I am so excited about this match is that the digital activists of Pakistan, the blogging community and the Tweeters of Pakistan have come up with a campaign to promote Pakistan and support our team in this important match. All over the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter , countless have changed their display pics to show the Pakistan flag. My twitter stream has turned into a “Sea Of Green” as friend after friend raises up the Pakistan flag to support our boys in their bid to beat the yet unbeaten Sri Lankan side.

We have also attempted on twitter to gain some recognition nternationally by tweeting with the #Pakcricket hashtag, so that we can grab a spot on the top trending topics of Twitter.

PakCricket on trending Topics
PakCricket on Twitter Trending Topics - Courtesy TeensPk


Twitter recently shot to internation fame when the #IranElections tag became the best source of information out of Iran following the unrest of the elections (it is still the top topic on Twitter). In addition, countless changed their display pics to show a Green overlay, a move being called the “Wave of Green” for supporters of the Iranian opposition. The “Sea of Green” is our version of the same, albeit on a very non-controversial and free of propaganda cause.

We, the blogging community of Pakistan (or the Blaagers as we call ourselves), are on a campaign to bring a smile to the face of every Pakistani, by supporting our team in what will Insha’Allah be a historic win for them.

Teeth Maestro, one of Pakistan’s top bloggers and digital activists, has a very good post on the specifics of our e-Rally. It has very clear instructions on the steps you need to take to support our campaign.

Raza Abbas and Hina Safdar throw in their two cents on the topic as well while Bites85 posts on TeensPk about #PakCricket being a trending topic on twitter.

Well the games about to begin so catch it live at Lords. You can also catch a live coverage of the #PakCricket tweets through TeaBreak.pk.

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