Pakistan’s new generation

The audience at a rap concert in Islamabad.

The audience at a rap concert in Islamabad.

My long essay for Aeon Magazine was published this week. Aeon is a digital magazine which publishes one long-form piece every day of the week. There’s a really eclectic and interesting mix of content, so you should check it out.

My article, titled “Young, free, and Pakistani”, is about the country’s young generation. It’s a broad topic, so I’ve focused on educated, urbanised youth. I spoke to people working in the arts, in social work, and as activists, about their day-to-day lives and their feelings about Pakistan.

Here’s a short excerpt:

The problems facing young people who wish to instigate change are not just cultural, but technical and logistical. Salman Sarwar is a 28-year-old singer and development consultant. When I visited his office, a converted house in Islamabad that he shares with a group of other freelancers, the temperature outside was 45 degrees. Inside, the power was off, as it is for around eight hours of every day in the capital city. ‘How can you be creative with these power cuts?’ said Salman. ‘Young people are frustrated. They are demoralised. They are hopeless. The start of tension is the death of creativity, and everything is so tense and frustrated here in Pakistan.’

You can read the full piece (all 4,300 words of it…) over at Aeon.

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