For God’s sake, change the scene!

Aftab Ahmed Khanzada

In a cinema house in America, before the beginning of a feature film, a short film is run which successfully conveys a message despite the absence of dramatic features in it.

As the short film begins, an old-model ceiling fan is shown moving continuously. There is nothing else in that scene. Still, the spectators are watching it with curiosity and believe that in a few moments, the scene will change and they will watch something interesting, but that does not happen. Two minutes pass, and there remains the whirring fan on the screen. Upon this, some of the spectators begin to yawn, feeling that the film had nothing for them. However, some are still hopeful. But when even after five minutes, the setting remains unchanged, they, out of boredom, open up their packets of popcorn.

The quietness that the film created initially is dying down, as their attention is now diverting from the screen to other things: popcorn and their smartphones. At the outset of the sixth minute, the theater is abuzz with whispers: “how boring this short film is”; “we may, in the end, be told that the whirring fan keeps on rolling our breathing till it is pushed to stop”; “I will condemn the movie maker if it ends likewise”. Another opinion comes drifting: “this film is being shown purposefully so that the feature one may appear better.” After hearing, many a spectator bursts into laughter, while one portly American cries: “watching the most boring short film ever is a test of patience.” And, with it rings a feminine voice from the back seats: “please, stop the fan, I am feeling severe cold.” Also echoes her mate’s protest: “with the fan, the filmmaker is arrested.

In the meantime, the film has touched the tenth minute of its announced duration. Despite the film’s forthcoming end, the screen is still displaying the whirring fan. After all, how long can the spectators bear the fan whirring on and on? However, the scene changes suddenly, when the camera moves behind it, in which a man is shown lying inert on a bed while looking at the fan fixedly. The spectators are surprised by the shift in the scene so much that the hall, which is hitherto humming, falls silent. But the eyes of the spectators are riveted to the screen, though 15 seconds are left to the end of the film. Amid the renewed interest of the spectators, a voice resonates: “this man is unable to move, and the sequence you have barely tolerated for ten minutes, has been watched by him for the last ten years and without break.” For a moment, silence pervades the hall, which soon erupts with thunderous applause. It is obvious that the American movie buffs are bored after watching the scene for 10 minutes because they cannot endure the persistent sameness, being portrayed in the film.

In contrast, there are we Pakistanis who have been watching a film over and over again for decades and are not bored with it. The film is running on the same old formula and the same old subject as well as an unchanging scenario, like the horrible scene of France’s King Charles ninth’s death, who has allowed the massacre of the reformist on the eve of Saint Bartholomew’s night. As a result of that, at the time of his death, he suffers utter pain; and in pain, he says to his physician: “there is a commotion in my being, and amidst that, I see the innocents’ blood-stained bodies, walking before me, whether, I am awake or asleep. I am remorseful over permission for the killing of the innocents.”

“Excellency, you cannot be redeemed on the mere expression of remorse till you bear the same wild pain, your victims had born,” comes the reply.

History is replete with watershed events that brought changes to the top. Before it is too late, given the predicament of the King of France, our toppers should replace the scene of regression and oppression with equality and justice from the stage, if they wish to have redemption for their crimes.

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