Most of the time, history is recorded and told from perspective of powerful and elite, we are told about princes, kings, generals, thinkers and the leaders, what is mostly ignored is those who were enslaved, plundered and lived under the king, those who cultivated lands to feed the kingdom and provided labor to build cities and castles, those who were in the front facing the brutal charge of the enemy, those who were pawns in hands of both their friends and foes, those who embraced ideologies and sacrificed and provided legitimacy and support to the leaders.
More tragically, it is not only the past but present as well which is skilfully distorted and divided to pick and offer the rest of world what is suitable to the presenter. To present current affairs it is responsibility of media to be fair, it comes to them to show rest of world what is happening to the people, if they miss and ignore then such people are missed and ignored as well, such people as those living in the small far reached remote areas of Pakistan, do we really know the people living in Thar or Thal or Tal, can we even differentiate between these names? We don’t know how people live there, what is life for them? how they earn their living? Do they have amenities of life available? What are the conditions there? Do they have law and order? Are they allowed to live as free people on their own will, and their rights protected? How their children are grown? No, we do not know much about them, because we are not being told and kept in dark. And when we are informed it is mostly not the whole truth but what is skilfully picked.
Zarteef Afridi was one such person amongst those unnamed, unknown, unheard people who are spending lives under a brutal, ruthless, unacknowledged, and illegitimate oppression. Most of us did not know him until news of his brutal murder has arrived, he is dead as we read that he was ready for it, he knew that he is a target and he will be eliminated by those whom he always challenged without fear. He was a school teacher, an electrician and a social worker, not a leader, neither an eminent personality such as a tribal chieftain of high family background, nor a high ranking official. He was mere nothing, just like his people, trapped in a war which is not theirs and deprived of their rights of citizenship. He took a bold step, he decided to stand and speak, and actively worked to create awareness against ills wills in society and customs. In that land where angels fear to trade, path chosen by Zarteef was undoubtedly risky and his courage and commitment remarkable and extraordinary.
Zarteef Khan Afridi has gone, but he has left a legacy, his ideals and his dreams are still alive, and so are the people who share those dreams. Battle is not lost, because that is the battle of common man and it is not late for us to stand with him. Zarteef is still waiting, to be appreciated and commended and his story told to the world; and his people are waiting too, to be given the future they deserve.