For months I’ve been planning to write about this subject, but something always held back my fingers from writing my heart away.
It is time. It is time for us to talk about suicide.
Suicide rates have been increasing at an alarming rate
After the suicides of Robin Williams and Chester Bennington, a series of suicide attempts followed and in the year 2018, a great upsurge has been observed in the suicide rates around the world. The thing is that when celebrities take their own lives, it results in huge media coverage around the world, but it also triggers, to follow, many people who are at brink of suicide themselves. A study released in February by researchers from Columbia University said that there were 18,690 suicides in the four months after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014, an excess of 1 841 cases — nearly a 10% increase, based on previous monthly suicide data from 1999 to 2015.
A chain of celebrity suicides have left the people wondering
Speaking of the contemporary year, Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name Avicii, died on April 20, 2018, at the age of 28 in Muscat, Oman. TMZ reported that the cause of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries. Some sources claimed he had died of blood loss after cutting himself with broken glass from a wine bottle. Just after one month on June 5, 2018, Katherine Noel Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade was found dead in apparent suicide at the age of 55. She was an eminent American fashion designer and businesswoman and was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade, New York. CNN reported that after Spade’s death, suicide hotline calls rose by 65 percent. Two days later, on June 8, 2018, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide at age 61. Anthony was a gifted chef and storyteller who used his books and shows to explore culture, cuisine, and the human condition.
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Coming to my homeland, the great Pakistan
Coming to my homeland, the great Pakistan, on 31 May, 2018, a boy named Ammar jumped off from the 4th floor of Centaurus shopping mall at Islamabad. Since suicide is considered as a taboo in this country, Ammar’s family tried to cover this incident by giving different statements first saying that the boy did not jump, but fell to his death, later claiming that he was under the influence of spirits and demons, which forced him to perform this action. However the CCTV footage clearly shows that it was no accident and Ammar jumped in all conscious. Reports are telling that the boy was suffering from chronic depression and attempted suicide twice within the past few months. He was also bullied by his college fellows who made fun of his voice and dark complexion.
Moving towards the birthplace of Islam, Mecca, a frenchman committed suicide by jumping off from the third floor of Grand Mosque, just meters away from the Holy Kabbah. The unfortunate incident happened on June 8, 2018.
It makes one wonder, why did they do it?
After hearing or reading about such appalling and devastating news, it makes one wonder, why did they do it? What was hurting so much inside of them that they chose death over life? Taking your life requires so much courage and vehemence, not everyone can do such a thing. I feel sorry for these people and it breaks me because I always say to myself, if only I could help them, if only I was there I would’ve talked them out of this thing, and not being able to do anything makes me feel so helpless and impuissant as if I am paralyzed.
There is this phenomenon that, Everything Affects Everything
Within every 40 seconds each day, someone out there in the world commits suicide. There is this phenomenon that, Everything Affects Everything, which simply implies that whatever action you do will affect another human being and then this cycle will continue. Sometimes you may think that there is no reason for you to live, you think that your actions are not affecting anyone so you may as well kill yourself because it will not affect anyone but my friend this is the point where you’re at fault.
You see, when you get out of your home daily for school, you feed that stray cat some leftovers of the breakfast, you reach the bus stop where your friend always wait for you, you go to school and you’re in the school’s football team, and not to your surprise you’re the best player the team has got. You’re probably the Messi or Ronaldo or Salah of your team. Now imagine if you supposedly kill yourself, that stray cat won’t be fed anymore by anyone, it might die as well; your friend who always used to wait for you at the bus stop may be so heartbroken from your death that he might not have the energy to come at the same bus stop daily because he will miss you, so he might as well change the school bus; the football team which you were in, they won’t be the best team of the district anymore because you were the one who raised them to the heights of success and glory. Your mother will lose her sleep and diet. She will cry days and nights for you, which in result will have an adverse affect upon her health and she might go to a depressed state or become sick. Your father will be devastated and he won’t be able to perform well on his job like he used before. Your friends will miss you every day when they’ll pass by your home or see your old Instagram feed. Everything will be affected by your death. Everything.
Sure, Robert Frost said that, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Certainly it will go on, certainly the sun will shine the next day and the birds will continue to sing but your action will have consequences, upon you and upon everything surrounding you: your family, that stray cat, that football team, your friends, your school, everyone and everything will be affected by it. So next time you get the thought that your death won’t affect anyone, think again.
I sometimes wonder how do people ravage the lives of others and sleep so peacefully.
I sometimes wonder how do people ravage the lives of others and sleep so peacefully. How do they live with themselves knowing that they have caused hurt to someone else that they have brought pain and tears to them. Making a mess of someone’s life is not a joke. It’s funny how people think that their actions are not affecting the people around them, or even if they do they act oblivious to it or they just don’t seem to care at all. People ruin each other. You do not know what is going on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not just messing with that one part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise or selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life , you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything, my friend.
They say death brings an end to pain and misery but what about the misery it brings to the loved ones of the deceased?
They say death brings an end to pain and misery but what about the misery it brings to the loved ones of the deceased? Ever tried to wonder why people kill themselves? Ever bother to ponder upon it? Let me tell you why. You see many suicidal deaths that occur daily are of teenagers or of young adults. When you’re a teenager, you’re vulnerable to, well, literally everything. And some of us are born a little too sensitive, some of us are born over thinkers and worse some of us are born empaths. What goes inside the mind of a suicidal person are a series of thoughts, it’s like a spiral that goes all the way down and as you move down it tightens and then it feels like you’re choking on your very own thoughts.
Over thinking leads to suicidal thoughts
Over thinking leads to suicidal thoughts. Depression also tags along with over thinking and then voila! There you go, a completely messed up mind. Everyday a suicidal person wakes up and does not have the energy to get out of bed, suicidal people lay for minutes or even hours on bed thinking is it worth getting up and dressing up for school or not? They do their actions like normal human beings, for example, they’ll take a bath, eat their breakfast and take the school bus, do their homework like all the other normal kids but their mind won’t be present during all of this. In fact they’d be thinking something else, something completely different and sometimes totally irrelevant. They won’t find peace anywhere. They’ll continue to think that they are better off dead and this is especially because people make them feel like it. Their friends and family make them feel like this. Studies have shown that so many depressed teenagers have already decided how would they kill themselves, it’s just in the back of their mind. All they need is that incident to take place, that extreme mental break down to occur or just that one situation to happen and then they’ll do it, they’ll take their life. You see these people are usually extremely sensitive and over thinkers and when you tell them to “just get over it and be strong, it’s nothing,” trust me it does nothing but simply exacerbate the problem. If you genuinely want to help a suicidal person then be there for them when they need you, check on them every now and then and don’t just say you’ll be fine, drag them out of their house and make them watch a movie with you. Tell them the positive and beautiful things about life. Tell them reasons to live. Tell them they are beautiful and a great company often. Be with them and divert their mind so that they won’t over think. Anxiety and depression are the leading causes of suicides among teenagers. These things eat you up alive and then happiness and peace seem elusive to you.
I’ve seen people joking about suicide and mocking it
I’ve seen people joking about suicide and mocking it. I do not understand that how do they even do it? Where do they find the audacity to mock the person who killed himself. You’re not supposed to hate the person who sins, you’re supposed to hate the sin. How can you even know that what was going on in that person’s life? If you think suicide is stupid then why not you try to behave and be kind to people who are suffering, who are going through mental trauma? Why not you people help these people before they kill themselves. You are the people who bully them, judge them, hurt them, pass comments and remarks on them whenever they are walking down the streets or hallways. A person who has anxiety or who is insecure about himself avoids going into crowds because he has the fear that people will judge him and laugh at him. He hears whispers in the hallways, when he walks through all these people he feels like everybody is watching him and judging him so he tries to walk swiftly just to get rid of their gazes. Kids at school, colleges and universities treat each other like trash. Mental illness is treated as a joke. When someone sees the scars on anybody’s wrists then they’ll laugh and joke about it and tease the person who has those marks on their hand. When someone tries to talk about mental illness and depression they give them a shut up call by saying that all this is bullshit. People really do not understand how the other person feels or maybe they just don’t try to. Maybe they don’t want to.
A Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is based on the issues like suicide
A Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is based on the issues like suicide, mental illness, sexual assault, rape, bullying and all these issues which teenagers face in high school and in colleges. I’ve heard people mocking Hannah Baker. It hurt me so much to hear all these remarks because people do not want to understand the hurt of others. They just don’t want to admit that they messed up the lives of others and they still do. How can someone be so heartless and impetuous in judging others? When you hurt someone you do not have a say that you did not. They say that this show sucks and is hyped, well I assure you people none of the issue discussed in this series is hyped. Every single thing is happening in our society which is discussed there but people simply do not want to admit that. Some people say that Hannah was stupid for killing herself. Sure she did the wrong thing but don’t you all see what were the reasons for her action? People never want to understand the reason. Hannah was an extremely sensitive person who was always nice to everyone and who believed in being good to others and that is where every single person took advantage of her. When a girl is nice to others everyone declares her as a slut *laughs ironically* I mean who are you even to judge anyone by the choices they make? People never look at their flaws, they think themselves as the perfect, pious human beings who ever lived.
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Dear people, you calling other people names can make them move one step closer in killing themselves
Dear people, you calling other people names can make them move one step closer in killing themselves, you slut shaming girls, body shaming others, judging others, raping girls, bullying others, taunting others and hurting others in any way can make them move one step closer in killing themselves, and who knows they might be already standing at the brink. Mental illness is a serious issue which must be taken into account. If you are facing any sort of crisis know that it’s never too late to seek help. Going to a therapist is not anything insulting. If you feel like you need help you have every right to seek a therapist or a friend or anyone you trust. We cannot afford to lose people like that. I guess we all have an element of humanity and kindness inside of us. Please please bring that out. Be nice to others. Love each other. Life is too short to spread hate. It’s okay not to be okay at times. We all have our dark days just never give up on yourself. Never think that you are not worthy of love. I ask everyone of you out there to help each other, love and respect each other and each other’s decisions and choices. Support them to achieve their dreams. Never make fun of anyone’s insecurities. It is never okay to hurt anyone.
To all those depressed people who are suffering out there
To all those depressed people who are suffering out there, I want you to draw a semicolon on your wrist and whenever you feel like self harming or killing yourself just look at that semicolon and know that you are the author of your story and you are strong and you are living to prove all these people wrong. Project Semicolon defines itself as “dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury”, and “exists to encourage, love and inspire”.
For those who need this:
Suicide Prevention Helpline Pakistan:
Remember you matter.
And you are loved.
And you are wanted.
Freemasons – their illustrious history and presence in Pakistan
From designing pyramids to plotting French Revolution, a plethora of strange conspiracy theories had been pinned on to Freemasons since its inception. However, it’s important to discern fact from fiction.
The origins of the Freemasons are obscure and subject to intense speculation, not to mention their bizarre secret rituals. The available documents and scholarships traced back the group roots to the 14th century.
The stonemasons are believed to original founders of the movement, who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages. It’s said they used secret signs to identify fellow craftsmen, like the builder’s square and compass, which is now the totem of Masons. Moreover, the modern Freemasonry came into existence when four London Lodges (organizational unit of Masonry) merged to form Grand Lodge – the first in the world in 1717. The group then spread swiftly to Europe and the American colonies.
The Masonry boasted 6 million members worldwide, including numerous towering figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Issac Newton, George Washington, Mozart, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Clark Gable, Oscar Wilde, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, just to name a few.
Despite the group’s secretive outlook and activities, however, Piers Vaughan, a Lodge Master, insisted the “religion and politics” are discouraged to mooted in the meetings. “There are certain subjects which are prevented from discussing within the Lodge. And religion is one. Politics is another,” he further explained.
Although, recently the Masons lamented being “undeservedly stigmatised” and decried discrimination.
Freemasons in Pakistan
Beside relishing cricket, Pakistanis have also a penchant for secret societies, particularly Freemasonry. However, many of them unaware of the fact – the country once housed quite a few Masonic lodges.
The British brought the Freemasonry in India in the 18th century. In 1859, the first Masonic lodge was set up in Lahore called ‘Lodge of Hope and Perseverance.’ The locals called it a ‘jaado ghar.’ Moreover, the celebrated author of “Jungle Book” Rudyard Kipling was made a mason in this Lodge.
While in 1842, Dr James Burnes, provincial grandmaster of the Scottish Freemasons, ordered to build a Freemason Hall in Karachi. It was named “Hope Lodge,” and inaugurated in 1914.
However, in 1972, nudged by right-wingers populist leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto put a blanket ban on the Freemasonry and their activities. As the group was grappling with being outlawed, the death blow was delivered by none other than Ziaul Haq himself in 1983. The General under the Martial Law Regulation 56 interdicted the Masonic illegal activities, however the activities were still continuing in secrecy. Vexed by it, the ban was extended to any and all activities of Masons in 1985.
Currently, the Karachi’s Freemason Hall is in the possession of the Sind Wildlife department. Moreover, the former caretaker of the building Jeewan Sunoira, accused the current occupiers of ruining the building. “I don’t have anything to do with the place now, but we remember what it used to be like. It is sad,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lahore’s Lodge 90 is presently serving as the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, the Masons claimed it was sequestrated by the Punjab government in 1974. The legal battle on the ownership of the property is going on for 44 years, which has seen four out of six mason masters to the grave. Yet the matter is in limbo, with no signs of property being vacated.
Commentators in Muslim countries, especially in Pakistan, believed Freemasonry to engage in anti-Islamic manoeuvres, their links to Zionism, even to ‘Masih-e-Dajjal’. But, they failed to explain why is before and after partition, the Freemasons always had more than one Muslim member. And how come Urdu’s greatest poet Asadullah Khan Ghalib became the prominent member of the fraternity?
Written by: Hassan Sohail
*This is an opinionated piece of writing and does not represent Entremuse’s views, endorsements, likings, or endorsements.
Pakistan’s toxic relationship with mullahism
Many argue that mullahism is a school of thought. It maybe, but only in a world where schools encourage violence against those who beg to differ, those who follow another religion, and those who wear jeans.
There is no concept of priesthood in Islam. There is no criteria of attire or appearance in Islam. And there is no pass to use the name of God for political, social, or financial gains in Islam. How come, one wonders then, the mullah has crept into the very framework of the constitution of Pakistan, so much so, he has the country by her throat?
“Wear a mask if you have to, but mosques will stay open”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the country’s top clerics, holier-than-thou, have refused to close down mosques amid the spread of COVID-19, which has brought the world to her knees – infecting 620,000 and killing 28,000, but why hasn’t the government, one asks himself, rebuffed their imbecile idea?
Mullah school of thought
Many argue that mullahism is a school of thought. It maybe, but only in a world where schools encourage violence against those who beg to differ, those who follow another religion, and those who wear jeans. And a mullah, by definition, is a man who closes his eyes to every atrocity, oppression, and sin in the world except when it causes him discomfort. He is usually identified by his absolute lack of remorse, complete denial of logic, and blind following – not of God, but of those he thinks are closer to God because they wear a beard and abuse the government on live television.
The novel coronavirus
The novel coronavirus is highly contagious and spreads from person to person in close proximity. It has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, which has also asked people to self-isolate in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus. In Pakistan, the coronavirus-related cases have jumped from 7 to 1,408 in mere 19 days and health experts have warned that the cases can top at least 20 million if strict measures aren’t put into place. Although the provincial governments have accelerated their efforts to tackle to the spread of the coronavirus, the center refuses to halt its populist stance.
Bogus party, selection of the most naive
It’s an open secret that Imran Khan could only win the premiership with the help of the invisible force, one of whose election tactics were to establish a bogus far-right political party with so many votes that it wouldn’t win any seats, but would be able to break a decisive section of votes, which would ultimately tilt of the polls in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s favor. The tactic worked and we have a puppet for a prime minister. The bogus party, of course, was Khadim Rizvi’s Tehreek-e-Labaik – a circus of mullahs and men alike, chanting the God’s name to open revolt when asked to.
The ‘intelligent’ Muslim world
The Muslim world, the one where there is intelligent life, has closed their mosques for congregational prayers in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. In Qatar, the mosques have changed the wordings of the call to prayer, in accordance with Islamic values and history, asking the faithful to pray at home. In Palestine, imams have invited doctors and health experts to give the Friday sermons so that they can help the masses by spreading awareness about the invisible enemy. And in Saudi Arabia, home to two of the holiest sites of Islam, the performance of Omra has been temporarily halted, the holy Ka’abah has been temporarily closed for Tawa’afs, the holy Prophet’s mosque has closed its door for the first time in a while, and it has been reported that the yearly Hajj may not happen.
Too many Khans is too many Khans
When a playboy-turned-politician comes into power through religious votes, there is nothing natural about his selection. Khan simply has too many faces to please and too many favors to repay for him to lead the country of this once-in-a-century pandemic. He cannot disappoint the opportunists from Karachi, he cannot disappoint the right or the left, and he cannot disappoint those in Rawalpindi. Khan, undoubtedly one of the most educated, striking, and honest statesman in the country’s history, has projected one too many fronts to belong to any.
On the other end, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is making all the headlines Khan should’ve making. Shah, one of Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior-most politicians, has made all the right decisions so far, so much so, he has pretty much saved the country from what could’ve one of its most horrible ends. Shah locked down the country overlooking Khan’s populist sentiments and then he empowered his security forces to enforce them, he made decisive, tough, and striking decisions and was immediately followed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa – Khan’s strongholds, and most importantly, Shah refused to give one drop of consideration to the mullahs and closed down all mosques and madrasas indefinitely until the end of the pandemic.
All-in-all, if Khan is serious about preventing a blunder, a bloodbath, and a chaos of the highest level, he needs to abandon his alliance with the mullahs and needs to realize that this is not a time to bag votes. The mullahs need to let the reality cascade upon their holier-than-thou-selves and realize that no they are not immune to the novel coronavirus. And the people need to realize that God doesn’t help those who do not help themselves.
To conclude, I would like to narrate Al-Thirmidhi:
“Anas ibn Malik reported: A man sad, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.””
Khan’s incompetence is going to cost us a country
Khan needs to realize that the time to act is now and no amount of Nathiagali walks is going to contain the novel coronavirus that has brought the country to a standstill.
During his first national address concerning the novel coronavirus, unfortunately-Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan stated that the COVID-19 virus, which has until now, infected 200,000 and killed over 8,000 people worldwide isn’t “serious enough” to lockdown the country.
In his national address, coming weeks late in the first place, Khan absolutely failed to convince the country of the government’s plans and strategies to tackle the novel coronavirus. His unruly, disruptive, and unlike-statesman smirks and expressions, once again, left only his sponsees in awe of him, so much so, the social media erupted in praising the one handsome prime minister this country has ever had. Khan deserves the praise, though, for only his visionary self could apprehend spending Rs42 million of taxpayers’ money for the constitution of a digital media wing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the only responsibility of which is to defend the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over the internet and on social media platforms.
As of Wednesday, Pakistan has recorded at least 245 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus – the highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia, compared with 147 in India, 44 in Sri Lanka, and 22 in Afghanistan. Furthermore, NayaDaur, a Pakistani media outlet, has reported that if the government continues doing the bare minimum, which it is, the cases may rise to over 80,000 by mid April.
In mainland China, the coronavirus has infected over 8,500 people and killed 3,248, in Italy, the coronavirus has infected over 35,00 people and killed 2,978, and in Spain, the coronavirus has infected over 17,000 and killed 767. What Khan needs to understand is that Italy, China, and Spain boast some of the world’s best healthcare systems, furthermore, they are top-tier world economies while Pakistan doesn’t even have enough protective kits to equip their doctors with. Khan also needs to understand that the novel coronavirus is highly contagious and that the new cases will rise exponentially, which means, if simply put, that there will be a need for a lot of ICU beds and ventilators that the country doesn’t have. In figures, Pakistan has 0.6 ICU beds available for 1,000 people while China, Italy, and Spain have 4.2, 3.4, and 3.0 beds per 1,000 people respectively. What Khan needs to understand is that if the government doesn’t take decisive measures now, it will be too late.
Khan refuses to halt his populist stance, so much so, he refuses to visit anywhere without having at least a dozen photographers following him. In a video that Khan posted on his social media profiles, he can be seen observing the state of a quarantine center in DG Khan inquiring about the patients’ health, to which, of course, the patients, or so, answer in all-praises for the management – in this case the PTI’s Punjab government. The patients sing Khan’s name and throw their support behind him to conclude what seemed like a textbook scripted PR stunt. But God works in mysterious ways for the points that the video had scored the Punjab government were quickly balanced out by Sardar Usman Buzdar who, shockingly, is also the ‘Chief Minister’ of the province. According to a Pakistani media outlet Dawn, which also happens to be the country’s oldest and most reliable English newspaper, Buzdar asked such an innocent question that it rocked, rather sunk, the very idea of him leading the fight against the coronavirus. Dawn reported the incident as follows:
“A few days ago Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar received a detailed briefing on coronavirus from relevant experts and officials. The purpose was to provide him all the information he required as the chief executive of the largest province, so he could make the right decisions. At the end of the briefing, the chief minister asked a question innocently: ”Yeh corona kaat-ta kaisay hai?” (how does this corona bite?)”
On the other side of the country, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah is leading the country’s fight against the vicious virus. Shah, 57, holds two masters degrees from Stanford University and is concluded in the list of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) most senior politicians and figures. Shah’s plan is simple: halt the spread of the coronavirus as soon as possible, quarantine all those showing severe symptoms, provide for the families of those quarantined, and isolate and test all those returning home from countries with the most coronavirus cases. To implement his plan, Shah ordered the closure of all educational institutions when the very first coronavirus case was confirmed in Sindh. Later, he ordered to shut down all public monuments, parks, offices, restaurants, beaches, and shopping malls. He set up a 10,000-bed hospital in Karachi, a 2000-bed hospital in Sukker, and isolation centers in all districts of Sindh. Furthermore, he has been thorough in reporting cases, spreading awareness, and containing panic by holding press conferences almost every other day. Shah’s plan has worked out so well that even the World Health Organization (WHO) has applauded his efforts calling his work “the best after (that of) China’s.”
Khan’s team lacks greatly what Shah’s team is doing so wonderfully well, but he still refuses to acknowledge it, so much so, not once has he passed any positive comments Shah’s way nor is he committed to consider Shah’s many suggestions any seriously than he would take anyone’s not wearing boots to go with their suits. Khan is stubborn, weak, and controlled by one too many fronts and so, it is our duty, as citizens of this great country, to question his policies, grudges, politics, and decisions for we have voted him into the office he’s not working hard enough to keep. It is our duty as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters to make sure our loved ones are taken care of in this testing time. And it is our duty as daily workers, housewives, doctors, and students to fight for our right of survival.
Khan needs to realize that he is the prime minister of not only Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, but also of Sindh, Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgil-Baltistan. Khan needs to realize that the country can only survive this pandemic if it projects a common front, defended equally by all parties of all provinces. And Khan needs to realize that the time to act is now and no amount of Nathiagali walks is going to contain the novel coronavirus that has brought the country to a standstill.