originally written for The Pakistani Spectator.
It is an old news now and to be honest I know that very well. So far, a lot has been said and written on this sad incident, the youngest Microsoft professional Arfa Kareem died last week. I should have responded to this news earlier this week but I am purposefully writing about it now. Initially I planned to delay it a bit more but I do not want to be dishonest with the emotions and sadness this news has brought to me. Why I delayed this write-up has a reason connected to our national attitude and behaviour. As a nation we have a very strong problem with our memory. We forget developments, news, incidents, and even our heroes in no time. Just to keep that sad incident fresh and remembered I planned to write this post a little late.
Being the youngest Microsoft professional was Arfa’s biggest introduction, her achievements added glory to Pakistan as a country. She gained a lot that she truly disserved in her almost eighteen years of life. She also managed to get some national level awards, in her life, which many achievers never get lucky enough to receive personally.
Earlier, the news about her cardiac arrest was limited to social media only the mainstream media picked up the news later. That was the time when many heard her name for the first time and realized what importance she has. And many searched in their memories to recall ‘who this little innocent girl is/was’. That is the irony of ours as a nation, we forget everything, our memories are well aware of the things unless they are in news, and it is case of out of might as soon as it vanishes from the news .
Pakistan has been lucky enough to have many achievers who brought glory to this nation, but sadly, we hardly remember their names or their achievements. Honestly it is a shameful attitude, the day I got the news of Arfa’s death the first thing I prayed , after praying for peace for her soul, for enough strength to our memory that can remember who Arfa Kareem was. As a nation, we are selfish and that is the reason for such horrible memory we have, and I truly pray that Arfa and many other achievers do not fall victim of this national attitude of ours.
I am supporting the campaign going on facebook with the name “Nishan e Pakistan for Arfa Karim”. Arfa being no more with us might not need such awards and rewards personally but here is the question of needing something and deserving something. Awarding and giving due respect to someone shows that how much society and nation is alive actually. I also regard the decision by CM Punjab Mr. Shahbaz Sharif for renaming Lahore Information Technology Park after Arfa Kareem, and I regard the announcement of Arfa Kareem IT Media City in Karachi. By the time I am writing it news came that PM Gilani approves commemorative Arfa Kareem postage stamps.
As I said earlier, what one disserves is far bigger than what one need and demand. All those who played their role in bringing glory towards Pakistan must get the well deserved honour. In addition, we as a nation must give them a proper space in our memories that they truly disserve.