Aitzaz Hasan Was Not Ordinary: My Response To Ejaz Haider

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This blog post is in response to a despicable article written by Ejaz Haider titled, “Aitzaz Hasan and The Bomber.” Initially, I wasn’t going to bother responding to this unintelligent piece, but the more I thought about it the more it bothered me. Not to mention that this article is going viral over every social networking website I am on, and I was very happy to know that no one is supporting this vile and insulting piece, and the way Haider belittled Aitzaz Hasan, making it appear like he was anything but a hero. Sadly, whatever intention he had with this poorly written article wasn’t received as well as he probably thought it would be, for his piece is extremely rude, vain, heartless and inconsiderate.

Haider starts off his article with the tagline: “We don’t need ‘a million more’ Aitzaz Hasans.” Well, actually, Mr. Haider, we do. We do need a million more Aitzaz Hasans; heck we need a million, billion more young, incredibly brave and selfless boys like him, because it’s very unfortunate to see the way some of our youths are brought up in this day and age. We need more Aitzaz Hasans because we need to teach our children the meaning of humanity. We need more Aitzaz Hasans because we need to teach our children to be altruistic and noble. And we need more Aitzaz Hasans because we need to set an example for our future children; we need role models like him because it is humbling. It is very unfortunate that he didn’t live, but had he lived, he would have made the greatest role model any child and adult would have looked up to! Yet, even in his passing, he will be remembered and commemorated, whether Haider or his likes like it or not. It is not every day you learn about a boy who risked his life to save hundreds of others. And if that makes him “ordinary” according to Haider, then so be it.

From the third paragraph onwards, the article becomes very unbearable to read. It is bad enough that the article starts off negatively, but it is from the third paragraph onwards that it becomes clear that Haider has some sort of personal revulsion against altruistic children, who, unlike him, have actually done something for humanity.

Haider makes no secret of his invidious feelings towards Aitzaz. He goes on to pick on him, deliberately, making it seem like his act of bravery was nothing but a coincidence.

What was he doing outside the school’s main gate? We are told he was late for the morning fall-in and was not allowed in as punishment. This means Hasan was not exactly what we would call a disciplined student, one that goes by the book. From his photograph, released with reports of his self-sacrifice, he seems like a big boy—and fat. Not fat-fat, as in obese, but one whose genetic makeup would be a matter of existential concern for him if he lived in the upscale neighborhoods of Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi. He doesn’t look like a boy who could have scored with the girls, and he certainly needed to go to a stylist instead of getting a shabby 30-rupee haircut from a barber.

The above paragraph is enough to make one shake their head in disapproval, realizing just how logically and intellectually limited the author is, for nothing that he says above even remotely relates to Aitzaz’s altruistic behaviour. Nothing at all. Besides, what does his being late or his not being a “good” or “disciplined” student have anything to do with it? Here Haider is gravely assuming something that he knows nothing about. He is assuming that Aitzaz was often late for school and that he “lacked” discipline and was thus punished often. What he fails to realize, however, is that there could have been numerous reasons as to why Aitzaz was late for school that fateful day. Many, many reasons. So, to assume something without logical evidence is very ignorant.

Haider also doesn’t hesitate to pick mercilessly on Aitzaz’s looks; something, I’ve noticed, only unintelligent people do whenever they are failing an argument, or have already failed an argument. It could also be very possible that Haider is seething with so much resentment for this boy that rather than accept and commend him on his bravery, he instead decided to pick on his looks, going as far as brazenly calling him “fat” and “ugly.” I guess it is convenient to digress from the main issue and instead focus on something as deeply extraneous as someone’s looks, which further relegates an already very poorly argued and written article.

Further, it’s hard enough for me to accept the fact that this degrading article was even published in the first place. I am a huge advocate of freedom of speech and the written word, but if I were the editor of Newsweek Pakistan, I would have flat out rejected this article, simply because nothing in this article makes sense. What if Aitzaz’s parents, siblings – family – read this article? It is clear enough that publicly it was not well-received at all. The fact that this sorry excuse for a “journalist” blatantly bashed and insulted this incredible boy, whom everyone considered, and considers, a hero and that too for no apparent reason, was not such a wise decision. And, if Pakistan is okay with publishing these sorts of articles in supposedly popular newspapers, then they clearly need to re-evalaute their publishing rules, because this is not professional journalism. Not even close!

Anyway, the rest of the article reads like one huge frustrated rant. Clearly, Haider is very perturbed. He makes it seem like he knows every nitty gritty detail about Aitzaz’s life, when in veracity he’s basing it all on personal assumptions. He has no idea what sort of life this boy has led. He has no idea what exactly happened that fateful day when Aitzaz decided to throw all caution to the wind and went after that suicide bomber. He knows absolutely nothing. Zilch. And then for Haider to actually have the audacity to write this article, in which he makes it seem like he lived Aitzaz’s life, knows everything about him, and further even experienced what he went through, is extremely nefarious.

Haider seriously needs to come down his high horse and accept the fact that Aitzaz was anything but an ordinary boy. He may have been an ordinary boy before his act of altruism. Undoubtedly, we are all ordinary people – humans – living in this ordinary world. What makes us extraordinary is not the way we dress, how thin we are, how gorgeous/beautiful we are, or how much we score with the girls/boys. No. That does not make us extraordinary. Superficiality and materialism is not extraordinary. What makes us extraordinary, however, is our act of good will. And while there are some extraordinary people in this world who have made a living out of doing good and helping others, nothing can ever compare to the good that Aitzaz Hasan has done. And that makes him extra-extraordinary.

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