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All tweets are equal, if not all men.

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By: Dr. Hamd Nawaz

The writer is an MBBS from KEMU and has keen interests in Arts & Literature. She tweets at @_myocardium_

Societies, new and old, have always grown their vines of existence on trunks of hierarchies. And hierarchies, luckily exist only as long as we think they do. Revolutions ending in masses dragging dictators out of their dens to hang them on road poles make us all think — why didn’t the public do it before? Why did millions in a country subjugate to one man’s power for so long? The answer is skewed, yet simple. They respected the order of things, the way the world had been, the scheme they were born into – with a minority ruling a majority, somebody always superior to their superior. They were okay with this food chain until they were not. And that changed everything, or maybe blew it all away.

This leaves us wondering what makes a calm pot boil all of a sudden. What breaks down the entire skeleton of rules, deforming the body of society? Easy. It’s Opinion. And hence, the changes in it. Opinion flies a mob to an elite castle making it believe that these walls shall be broken and each man shall dig out of them- whichever brick was stolen from him. Opinion tells when the social temperature is bearable and when it starts burning the skin. It can tell two co-existing nations that after thousands of years, they can’t do it anymore. It can convince a human with more melanin in his skin that somebody who has lesser of this pigment, can somewhat be better than him. It has plowed world beliefs, priorities, and trends since the world has had them.

And that’s exactly why the Machiavellian textbooks always tell you to start your reign with this one stunt: hang the public heretic telling people you’re a bad omen for the kingdom before you stab the contestant who has a claim to your throne. Kill the bigger bug. For centuries, all governments had known it and marched their bands through the villages before the streets of the capital. They wanted to influence what people thought about them, the ability to harm they possess, and consequently the privilege of control. They did it successfully, these monarchs and lords till one day – somebody invented the strange machine which could print a message and make a thousand copies of it. Gossip of two streets got replaced by the gossip of two cities and when the engines were birthed to send these copies beyond borders – gossip of two countries. The same engines grew some circuits and became screens. At first, they were bi-Color, then multicolored. Now, the entire gradient of color has been questioned altogether. But whatever freedom this dawn of press and media imparted was still limited to a few hands and pens. Not everyone had a camera, a slot in the TV bulletins, a pen, and a box in the newspaper to voice what he wanted.

So those who had were few and precious. Journalists, columnists, and writers were bought, rewarded, and if needed — silenced as per convention and convenience. Whenever a coup would be cooked, the first battalion would always March towards the National Television Headquarters. All the media giants would be wrapped from their homes and thrown in together in “press briefings” dictating what can be said and what can’t be. Whenever a mafia boss would dream of capturing the power sources, he’d throw his first dinners to those who write about them. He’d shower them with lands, loads of cash, and more. Opinion was concentrated and hence, controllable.

And if it would’ve remained the same, humans wouldn’t have witnessed what they are seeing now: a dissipation of opinion. Distribution of the journalistic duty to the masses. The news-breaking skill escaped the fancy news desks and through simple apps – started curling in everyone’s hand. A student in his class, a shopkeeper on his aisle, a chef in his kitchen – each person is a news coordinator, editor, printer, hawker, and reader. Saw a hit-and-run accident? Click the car’s plate and put it on the internet. Public sympathy and fear will grow your news till your local policeman will get a call from his high-ups who understand that 1000 shares on a picture are something. Do you’ve something to say on this new court case unfolding? Voice it on the bird app. You may end up influencing the public verdict and hence, that of the judge. Done with the power elite? Stuck at a roadblock because a minister’s protocol couldn’t wait? Offended by the iron hands meddling with the structure of the society you live in? Write about it. Write because the tentacles of judgment have grown out of the old press. You are a living, breathing demographic cell with a say. And together with thousands more like you – you challenge a state structure, or maybe – even force it onto a new path.

And that’s exactly what I see unfolding in Pakistan’s history of control struggle. The assessments of an entire sea of people don’t have to go through censor-able filters anymore. Things can be said as things are. For some, it’s unbelievable. For others, it tells good news. Ideas escaping the molds you want them to persist in are something that itches the elite. But since they’ve never seen anything of this sort happening before, they don’t know what to do about it. And that’s how, without any flag-ish revolution and spectacles of Che Guvera’s T-shirts, each leaf of the grass is growing equal. We gentlemen are entering a world of equality.

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