An Ode to Dissent

An Ode to Dissent

Arshia Shoaib Khawaja and Ali Bahram Khan Gadhi

Dissent is classically defined as the act of disagreeing with majority held and supported ideals and opinions. However, is dissent really that simple a phenomenon to provide a universally accepted definition? For some it may be, but for others it may not be the case because it is may not be so easy to define the course of the lives of a certain group of individuals.

For some, dissent is not just a one-off, off-the-cuff action; it is a perpetual form of existence. Moreover, this dilemma is not faced by the plethora of individuals, since the majority of the human race is indoctrinated to such a grave extent that most of them do not have the intellectual capacities and the moral courage of thinking. They are like sheep, being herded into large hordes, following wolves in sheep’s clothing whom they refer to as their “leaders” or “messiahs” or “saviours,” depending on their individual and collective ignorance.

Nonetheless, as Victor Hugo in Les Miserables said, “A wolf in a sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.” Thereby, appointing miscreants and vagrants as leaders just because they have a semblance and demeanour similar to the majority class of subjects does not change their predatory nature. Predators in nature resemble autocratic rulers: they impose seemingly harmless policies, constraints and ideals which in actuality directly or indirectly lead to the mass murders of most of their subjects.

Conversely, there are some sheep who being guided by virtue of an invisible force of misery, severe penury and destituteness start thinking, educating themselves and learning about the ways how the state and society should ideally function ending up transforming that force into dissent. These sheep are primarily referred to as “leftists”, “libertarians”, “dreamers” and at times more heinously as “traitors” again depending on the individual and collective ignorance and vilification of their fellow sheep. This group of dissenters follow certain collective ideologies depending on the variant socioeconomic and political demands of the time. Although, there is a generic similarity between their ideals, but upon exploring their individual intricacies, there are certain differences too. Holistically, what we all aspire for is freedom, liberation, egalitarianism and rights for all or in a nutshell, an overhauling of all state and societal structures which are aiding or abetting oppression through their acts and omissions.

Seemingly, harmless and magnanimous aims, these strayed sheep, following the ideals of their true leaders, views purported by sheep of unparalleled genius and thinking but having one thing common, misery and extremity of circumstances or financial struggles, are the most brutally oppressed and callously dejected group of persons. The reason behind that is that we, consciously and unconsciously pose as a threat to the “right, chosen ones” and their authoritarian hegemonies because we call for an end to oppression and a mass social awakening which would rid all of us from repression and brutality present in the forms of capitalist economies, right infringing and restricting state measures and other disciplinary controlling tactics targeted towards the intellectual and moral faculties of the entire herd.

Many forms of oppressive tactics are employed by the wolves ranging from depriving the majority of the subjects from their right to education by, even though granting it legally as a right but by introducing such exorbitant capitalist measures that only the elite or the sheep due to their implementation of regressive ploys upon their fellow sheep thus gaining the wolves favor are able to access it. By making basic commodities of need so outrageously unaffordable, so that when the sheep breach their social contract or simplistically violate laws and regulations put in place by the wolves, they are termed as criminals and vagrants and are punished for the wrongdoings of those wolves or what we like to refer as justice. However, that being a separate topic of discussion. Religion is the most powerful tool used by them for their oppression, having the greatest force of mobilization and exploitative power this is the scheme by virtue of which the rightists socially and intellectually condition most of us. It is a historically proven fact that heads of state have had an intimate nexus with the religious clergy be it the Russian Czars and Rasputin, the Siberian monk or the Catholic Church and the British monarchy.

As Goethe in his play Faust portrayed how for the exchange of something desired, unparalleled knowledge and worldly pleasures in the case of the protagonist, had to completely submit to the devil; in order for the rights of the subjects to be fulfilled, the state demands absolute submission to their oppression. If this is not done, the state denies its subjects their rights. However, one main distinction between the scenarios is that having equal bargaining power for something desired above and beyond the basic needs of an individual is vastly different from demanding rights emancipation. The latter being the foremost responsibility of the state which it has to adhere to at any cost. Dissenting sheep are further characterized in different categories some known as students, laborers or workers, women and so on and so forth. The sheep are characterized on the basis of their allegiance to a particular category, their identity and the misery which the bear in relation to it. Arguably, the most influential and powerful ones are the students as they are the learning ones, the ones most acquainted with novel ideas and have the maximum outreach to spread avant garde and revolutionary ideals. Moreover, all categories have a unified front with one goal, that is, liberation.

This liberation is what we as the ones who dissent seek. We are misunderstood and ridiculed by those closest to us, we are shunned by our fellow natives, we are suppressed by the state over which we have the same amount of rights which the supporters of the rightists have in the form of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and systemic rejection and suppression of our ideals, we are wrongfully labelled as traitors and state criminals. Getting a degree becomes a battle for us because we pose too great a threat, our jobs are continually at stake and wrongfully dismissed because we think critically.  Yes, traitors and criminals we are since if demanding for a sociopolitical structure which is all inclusive and is based on rights emancipation then yes, we comrades hereby plead guilty.

No matter what roles we have, be it the role of a student, teacher, activist, writer we all want the same thing: a revolution. No matter how a state tries to repress us we will continue fighting, we fight till our last breath, till we attain our revolution because it is freedom we want and it is freedom for all which we shall get through any means necessary. Long live resistance!

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