Celebrating acid attacks | Pakistan Today


Awards, such as Oscars, are effects of power and as such “are not located outside of the politics.”

There is a great spike in the number of Facebook status messages having to do with the first ‘Pakistani’ Oscar. As is to be expected, a majority of these messages are congratulatory in tone and there are few denigrating this award as well. More often than not, the nationalist flavour in the celebratory comments was unmistakable–“Congrats Pakistan for bringing the OSCAR home!” .

Those who see it as Pakistan’s win do not see that academy doesn’t put documentaries in the same box as the ‘foreign films’. There are no foreign documentaries. There are just documentaries, and in this sense it wasn’t an award for Pakistan in the same way as ‘A Separation’ was an award for an Iranian film as the ‘best foreign film’. The realists out there say, “Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy-First Pakistani Oscar Winner!!!”

Then there are those that outrightly disparaged Sharmeen and the award. For instance, the admin of a certain Pakistan blogzine thought that Sharmeen was part of urban elites who remained socio-economically affiliated with and dependent on Pakistan’s military establishment and preferred to remain silent on ‘Pakistan army’s kill and dump policy against innocent Baloch civilians.’ One of my American friends thought that critics, particularly the blogzine, were ‘mean spirited’, and another American commentator thought backbiting was the past time of ‘all’ Pakistanis.

This post from which I am excerpting below was Facebooked today by my friend Farheen. It offers a very refreshing argument inasmuch as it regards Oscars and their celebration as effects of power, as located within a certain politics, and the need to recognise this. Reading Hashim’s post, I was reminded of Foucault who had said something like this somewhere: “In political thought and analysis, we still have not cut off the head of the kind.” Its great to see folks cutting off the king’s head with analyses of this sort.  Happy reading!

In absence of the asking of these questions, a commentator like myself felt vindicated in saying, it is either sheer ignorance or sheer laziness that allows our elite classes to receive laurels from the West without engaging in seminal work in the study of Orientalism and neo-Orientalism. The question being asked was based on the understanding that accepting the award meant reifying ‘Empire’s discourse on gender’.

This is, of course, not to deny the reality of the crime of throwing acid on women in Pakistan. Only a week ago, acid was thrown at four women in Faisalabad. The question to ask is one of the fundamental questions asked by postcolonial feminists – Gayatri Spivak to name one: what is the value of a feminist value reified by white men (Oscar judiciary) to a brown woman (Sharmeen and the acid attack victims represented)?

via Celebrating acid attacks | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and 

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

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