Warriors of the Wasteland

Many people may have watched movies – some of them absolutely terrifying – of people surviving in the wake of some kind of global holocaust and, the way the world is heading. The inevitability of such scenarios get more real by the day. There is a growing movement of what are termed ‘Preppers’ in America and Europe as well now. The ‘Preppers’ are preparing themselves for survival, against whatever odds, in any way they can by building underground bunkers or hiding out in remote, self-sufficient, cabins in the woods where they do weapons training, stockpile food and water, learn self-medication and all the other ‘tricks of the trade’ deemed necessary. But there are other – let’s call them ‘tribes’, preparing for something completely different and eminently more sensible.
Tribes of ‘Rainbow Warriors’ are slowly but surely gathering all over the world. They call themselves ‘Rainbow Warriors’ as despite being of many hues, languages and creeds, their central motto is that we, all of earth’s children, are one huge family whose duty it is to save the world way before it reaches the ‘Mad Max’ stage. Surprisingly, their numbers are, thanks to social networking, growing apace and yes, there are ‘Rainbow Warriors’ right here and operational in Pakistan too.
These are, primarily, a gentle tribe working hard to promote peace and harmony for all. They fight to protect the environment, to stop cowardly drone attacks, are against war of any kind, work hard to rescue people from dire poverty and to enforce the right to education for all. They are against corporate monopolies and for anything which is beneficial to the population as a whole and to the natural environment on which, ultimately, the survival of the human race depends.
Eschewing the rabid materialism that is the mainstay of life for so many, ‘Rainbow Warriors’ reuse, recycle, rebuild and concentrate on doing anything they conceivably can to live in complete harmony with nature in all of its wondrous forms. And no, they are not ‘reborn’ hippies wearing another guise, although some people, those who are ill informed and much prefer to adhere to preconceived notions, probably consider them as such.
Vehemently opposed to war and waste, these peace loving people live in a manner alien to many and frightening to some. They live, in a manner of speaking, ‘Outside the box’, have liberated themselves from the societal strictures of upbringing and custom and, unsurprisingly, are much happier as a result.
While some, out of financial necessity, may be ‘stuck’ in 9a.m. – 5 p.m. jobs, they do not allow their working self to interfere with the person they really are. They have taken a stand, broken out of the mould and are not afraid to stand up and be counted although, this is perhaps – and especially for Pakistan – a drawback as they have not yet moved over in to politics. They may – and many do – actively protest against injustices of any kind, the genocide of Hazara Shia’s in Quetta for example and, currently, are fighting tooth and nail to prevent a tunnel being blasted through the Margalla Hills to further desecrate the environment whilst lining the pockets of a few. But, as far as the writer is aware, no Pakistani ‘Rainbow Warrior’ has yet stood for election. This could well be because of the necessary financial backing involved: Backing that often stems from the very things these warriors are battling to stop or, at the very least, change.
Environmental activism is, sadly, not yet taken as seriously as it must be here in Pakistan. According to the Swiss Green Cross, over 200 million people around the world are at high risk from pollution of all kinds, with approximately one fifth of cancer victims having contracted the disease via environmental toxins of the type which, despite having an operational Environmental Protection Agency, are far too prevalent in Pakistan and no one, aside from ‘Rainbow Warriors’, appears to be interested in bringing the perpetrators – mass poisoners in truth – to book and force them to clean up their act.
‘Rainbow Warriors’ are also extremely active on the chemical free food front. They promote organic principles for not just home gardeners but all the way up the agricultural ladder to commercial growers too. But, without support from learned ‘teachers’ who are prepared and have both the time and means on their hands to travel the country, from one end to the other, explaining to farmers that chemicals kill the soil, poison the food that unsuspecting buyers think is good for them. They physically teach farmers how to revert to traditional growing techniques without loss in crop quality and quantity, this move – up against rich and getting richer by the minute chemical fertilizer manufacturers and purveyors – is unlikely to succeed until, that is, the legendary fertile soils of places such as the plains of the Punjab and the Vale of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have been rendered in to sterile deserts that can, in the face of all odds, still be naturally regenerated – at huge cost.
Some readers may laugh, outright, at the notion of ‘Rainbow Warriors’ all around the world joining hands and sharing knowledge for the peace and betterment of all but, let’s face it, far better to be a member of the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ tribe than to end up as a ‘Prepper’ preparing for Armageddon!

n    The writer has authored two books titled The Gun Tree:  One Woman’s War, The Parwan Wind - Dust Motes and lives in Bhurban.

The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban.

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