14 August, 2012

Pakistan witnesses Digital Patriotism on Independence Day

Sana Jamal 

Islamabad - As the nation marked its 66th Independence Day with great enthusiasm on Tuesday, many joined the local parades, and festivals, lifting high up the green flag. Official festivities began with flag raising ceremonies after a 31-gun salute echoed in the federal capital. Children dressed in green-colored garb, wearing badges and waving flags were also seen. For some, flag hoisting on rooftops and terraces has become an essential part of the festival. But the times are changing and amid all these traditional celebrations, a new and trendy kind of digital patriotism was witnessed this year with more vehemence. 

A large number of patriots and enthusiasts took to social media to share their collective excitement about various events, posting live comments and making their memorable moments by sharing their photos which was as good as sharing happiness and fun in a real gathering.

Facebook had almost turned green as users have been posting pictures of their own special way of celebrating the Day. “Share the positivity. Appreciate the good that's happening in the country. Stop criticizing Pakistan” read one message on Facebook. Many had a display picture with the Pakistani flag as background. Thanks to the “Go Green movement” pioneered by Farhan Masood and his team, who remained busy changing display pictures of Pakistani Twitter and Facebook users adding a Pakistan flag background.
The trending topics on Twitter included “Pakistan Zindabad”, “Happy Birthday Pakistan” and “No place like Pakistan because” with new encouraging tweets emerging every few seconds. “Why don’t we celebrate independence day like we used to? As we have shifted from streets to social networks” tweeted Raafay Awan, a blogger, offering food for thought to the digital patriots. 

Few informative Did-you-know-messages such as “Did you know that Pakistan's famed artist Sadequain was invited by French authorities to illustrate Albert Camus' ‘The Stranger’?” also grasped attention of many. Inspirational messages were plentiful as Pakistanis often find Independence Day a time to remind one another to stay strong in difficult times. But some satirical messages were also observed.
A picture of stunning building illuminated in lights had this caption: “Given the energy crisis can we avoid illumination of public and private buildings? We can celebrate August 14 with functional street lights in Pakistan.” 
Google Doodle for Pakistan's Independence Day celebrations 2012.
Google, known for its lovely logos commemorating events and holidays around the globe, delighted many Pakistanis with its special Pakistan Independence Day doodle symbolizing country’s cultural heritage. The artistic mishmash of the words ‘Google’ into the famous truck art of Pakistan, with its flourishing colours and intricate designs, looked both innovative and ethnic. Samar Hassan, a fan of google doodles, however felt that “Last year’s doodle was simpler and more elegant, with a picture of Pakistan’s national minaret and an image from the green flag.”