When I first saw Bilawal Bhutto enter politics, I wasn’t quite sure how he would fit into the traditional political setup of Pakistan. His Urdu was flawed, he spent more than half of his life enjoying the luxuries of the developed world, he didn’t look or speak like a typical Pakistani politician and to be honest, much like everyone else, I also judged him for following the narcissistic tradition of keeping party leadership within the family.
So has anything changed now? All of these reasons are very much still there… but Bilawal Bhutto’s tears have humanized him.
Hundreds took to the internet to mock him for being vulnerable in public. They questioned his masculinity and some also took it so far as to question his sexual orientation. You see, guys don’t cry in our culture. Who hasn’t heard the phrase “larkay ho ker rotey ho? Haw haye!” been said to little boys who dare to cry in public. So how dare Bilawal Bhutto cry in public? So what if he was talking about the way he lost his uncle? Who cares if he was recalling how he had to be positive after the very public and ground shaking murder of his mother? His tears make him weak. His sobs make him cowardly.
Now picture this…
Bilawal was in Quetta, telling the people to be optimistic even after having their closed ones shot to death or blown into tiny little pieces because he had been in their shoes. He was addressing Balochis who are on the verge of losing their patience. He was trying to connect with people who have run out of blood to sacrifice for this country. His voice shook when he said he lost his mother and still chanted Pakistan Khappay. He displayed courage and wanted the Balochis – who are too close to giving up – to follow his footsteps instead of letting their anger get the best of them. Bilawal saw the pain in the eyes of those Balochi victims that the establishment has failed to.
You know where I saw those tears again? I saw them in the eyes of men who witnessed their fathers and uncles being brutally shot dead in Karachi just because they happened to be born into Shia families. I see those tears in the eyes of the man who might have to see her daughter hanged for blasphemy and brothers butchered for their faith. I also see some fathers crying their lungs out because they had received their school going children in blood drenched coffins. The son of Amjad Sabri who lost his father for his art also cries those tears.
So how about we let these men cry because they have felt extreme pain that you and I cannot begin to understand. Let them be human without having to be mocked upon and to be frank, we live in Pakistan. Who knows who might get offended by our political, religious or cultural beliefs tomorrow and who might end up crying the same tears we once laughed upon?