Cluttered Box

What X-Men can Teach Pakistan

Superhero films have dominated the past 2 decades, with the rise in this genre being closely linked with the crumbling of the world around us. From the suicide bombings to the civil wars, people are in desperate need of a distraction as the news has become unbearable to watch. The state of the world is much worse than it was before, despite the supposedly biggest wars being over – and despite all of this, we continue with creating entertainment – whether its through films, music or TV shows. One of the films that caught my attention this year was X-Men:Days of Future Past, and not only because it’s an epic storyline, but because it raises some great issues that we are seeing in the real world.

All it takes is one mutant…

As a Pakistani, I feel that the various divides within our nation is the biggest problem. The numerous political parties have been causing unrest, uncertainty and instability for decades, we have been accepting this. This has not only given Pakistanis a bad name, but made other nations lose respect for this nationality completely. A Pakistani passport is one of the most checked nationalities in the world, we are continuously under intense scrutiny at airports and our whole look is deemed suspicious. The suicide bombings and civil wars have not been making things better, with most things labelled as Muslim attacks and then the second guess is always Pakistani. Why? You tell me.

How does X-Men come into this? Well, the correlation is pretty obvious. In Days of Future Past, we see Raven who is on a mission to avenge her fellow mutants. Her plan is to assassinate Trask, who she believes is responsible for torturing and murdering her fellow mutants.

She’s right. He is responsible.But it is not her place as an individual to go on a mission to seek revenge. And this is where we come in. We are the nation in which we would rather fight each other and end up with worse results, than unite against the common enemy.

It’s all about the power play

Pakistan for centuries was a nation joined with India, flourishing with goods and leading in many fields. The Mughal empire was ruling peacefully and people were actually happy. Then in the 1900s, we divided into Pakistan and India, and things were bad but they were looking better by the 1980s. Times were tough, there had been many wars but still Pakistan was united as one nation against other. That was what is meant to happen in countries. Now you look at this nation and it is nothing but dregs of what it was meant to be.

The corrupt, selfish and indecent politicians have feasted like parasites on this country and made it a playground for dirty politics. Each political party is standing on it’s high horse, positioned to attack the other and doesn’t care how many are sacrificed on the way to power. The entire nation is suffering because the people on top are cowards who play the power game. Just like Magneto. The parallel is uncanny. He wants to avenge the mutants, but he wants to do it through instilling fear in others and basically give mutants the bad name. This is exactly what politicians are doing for Pakistan.

Defining a nation…

Take the most recent inhuman and barbaric incident of the Peshawar Massacre. Over 130 innocent children were shot point blank because some stupid, reckless and uneducated men decided to take matters into their own hands and seek revenge. Will killing innocent children ever solve any of the world’s problems? No religion in the world teaches this, so it shocks me when people even question why these men did it in God’s name. You would have to be extremely ignorant to believe that this was an Islamic attack. It was anything but one.

Being in London at the time that this happened, I got to experience first-hand how ignorant people can be about Pakistanis. ‘How can Pakistanis kill like that?’ – the question was actually asked and honestly, the answer is pretty obvious – this was not an act that defines a nationality, but an act of rebellion by people who think they know better. Not to digress, but just to clarify, this is not what we do and this does not define us. The whole world faced adversity that day, and we were all as helpless as each other.

Tying this back to X-Men

The connection is clear – if Raven continued to avenge her fellow mutants and shot Trask, she would show the world that all mutants are to be feared and they’re a harmful species. Professor X manages to stop her in time, making her see that by continuing the violence she was just becoming the proof of everything humans believed about them. This is exactly what we need our leaders to do. We need someone to step outside of the situation and see that the internal crises is becoming unbearable for the nation, and we are becoming less respected and weak in the eyes of the world.

It won’t happen under the watch of a Musharraf, or a Sharif, but maybe a Khan. I’m not pro any of the existing political parties, but the one that encourages the youth and unites the most is the PTI – so why not make it like the school of Prof. X. There are no big messages that need to be communicated through violence, no lessons to be taught and no fear to be instilled.  We need to unite as one, tackle the issue at hand and then step into the future to show the world that we are civilized, peaceful and hardworking people – just like Professor X did for the mutants.

As he said to Raven, ‘Do not make us the enemy today’.

She dropped the gun.

History was changed.

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