October 30, 1938, something strange happened when airwaves across many states in the US were filled with series of breaking news and simulated news bulletins that Martian (aliens from Mars) have invaded the Earth. As the broadcast, an adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel, ‘The War of the Worlds’, part of an ongoing radio drama series was a sustaining presentation (means no in-between commercial breaks), many people who switched on the radio after the introductions took it on face value that aliens from Mars had really invaded their homeland. Thousands of people across Northeastern US and Canada started fleeing their homes in panic while phone lines of CBS (the broadcasters), newspapers and police were choked with enquires. How to describe the public reaction -- innocence, in-built fear of aliens, fear of World War-II reaching home; all these reasons are debatable.
However, what happened on Oct. 11 across Pakistani social (even print) media is not that debatable. The way many people behaved over a satire piece on Malala on the other day can only be described in a single phrase -- blind hatred for a 16 year old girl working for her gender' right to education.
Web site of a leading English news daily from Karachi ran an article this Friday, the day when Nobel peace prize was going to be announced; it was a satire piece hitting the hate mongers opposing Malala' mission. To make it bit authentic, it was filled with fake facts, data and doctored pictures leading the reader to believe that Malala is a Christian girl from Poland who was adopted by a Pashtun family in Swat, her family background was confirmed by a local doctor who preserved her earwax' DNA, her assailant was an Italian whose earwax DNA is also preserved in an empty marmalade jar, an ISI officer pictured as a spider man helped to unearth this unholy conspiracy against Islam and Pakistan.
What any sane person will make of this story, will enjoy and move on --- no, no, thousands of hate mongers took it seriously, story gone viral on social media, twitter, Facebook congratulating each other that at last truth has prevailed that Malala is a CIA plant working for Israel, India and the West to humiliate Pakistanis. At least one newspaper reprinted the article as breaking news. A foreign TV channel ran the story as evidence of the West' wickedness towards Muslims.
By Friday evening, it had become evident that hundreds of thousands had been fooled, thanks to their in-built in hatred for Malala. That radio drama in the US may be a closed case, however what happened in Pakistan this Friday shows the deep ideological division in the society; thanks hate mongers for exposing themselves.
Saudi Arab, October 13.