Muniba Mazari, the thirty year old paraplegic has been the Iron Lady of Pakistan for a long time now. People are used to see her smiling face on the screens, billboards and the social media where she is very active. Recently, however she has been caught in a whirlwind of controversies where she has been sued for 10 million by her ex-husband for defamation, the twitterati has turned against her for her anti-men statements, another artist has claimed she stole her artwork, and The Disability Association has ousted her. This is a lot of negativity for one person to handle. On top of this, her interview that she gave to PTV some five years back is going viral. In that one she said while answering a question about her husband’s attitude to her during and after the fateful accident that left her paralyzed from waist down;
“He was driving with me but Alhumdulillah he is fine. I am alive today and all the credit goes to him. I get emotional at times but he is such a real person. We are more than friends. When I cry he cries with me. But he tells me that I can do whatever I want to do. He doesn’t have any issue with my job and my work.”
Now in a recent speech, she said that her husband jumped out of the car and saved her life and now he is married again. Even though she said she is happy for him and was just sharing her struggle for normalcy, it created a lot of backlash. She was criticized left right and center
Days after this row, another artist Laiba Baig brought her accusations to public eye that Muniba had been stealing her artwork and claiming it’s her own.
Now the Disability Movement has dissociated itself from Muniba saying that she is seeking sympathy and introducing idealism into disability. They said she is merely cashing in on her paraplegia rather than doing anything helpful for disabled people.
Amidst all this, Muniba has written a long post on Facebook which she has shared on twitter as well. It is rather long but if you really wish to know her reasons and logic, you must give it a moment.
To all of my followers, critics and supporters alike
If you’re reading this and you are married and happy, I wish nothing but a blissful happily ever after for you. Remember that every marriage goes through its ups and down, but as long as you hold on to respect for each other, no mountain is too high and no storm is too great. May your beautiful relationship continue to shade each other and all the loved ones around you.
If you’re reading this and you are married but unhappy and struggling, then know that I am sending all of my love and prayers your way. Remember that you are not alone, that this too is only a phase of your life and like all other phases, this too shall pass. 5 years ago, I was where you are today. My PTV interview circulating around social media is from that time. It is emotionally exhausting to try and make a marriage work, to make sure you don’t wash your dirty laundry in public, to do the best in your power for your child, struggle with the insecurities of what the future may hold all the while maintaining the façade of a perfect marriage. I pray that when this phase is over for you, you too are judged, but unlike me, you are judged for all the right reasons. You are judged for being gracious, for giving your utmost to make the marriage work, and for putting your best foot forward despite screaming in agony on the inside. The relationship of marriage is worth the struggle and I pray yours is rewarded in nothing but positivity. No matter what the outcome, always always remember that in this time of struggle, you are not alone.
If you’re reading this and you are divorced and a single parent, then know that it may seem bleak and impossible to comprehend right now, but the worst is over. You cannot start healing until the problem festering in your heart is dealt with. And though divorce is perhaps the most painful way to handle the problems of your heart (or your life), it in no way means you have failed your children, your family and most importantly, yourself. Perhaps your win will come in the form that you will not be going through the day in day out anguish of feeling disrespected. Your win will come through knowing that you can now live your dreams without an anchor weighing you down. Your win will come through when see your children grow up in a house with one parent, but double the love, triple the respect and four times the happiness of not waking up in a hostile environment on a daily basis. Know that you are not alone, that I and countless others like me share your story. It’s going to be a rocky road of financial insecurities; perhaps you will suffer through custody cases of your child, just like I have been enduring for many years, having multiple people talk behind your back and label you are a disappointment, but remember that those people don’t even have the slightest idea of what this struggle is like. As hard as it may be, do not listen to them. They have not walked in your shoes. I have. And I want to tell you that it may seem impossible but yes, yes, yes, it does get better. That is my promise to you.
If you are reading this and you are divorced, a single parent, but also differently abled while being in the public eye – then please come have tea with me! I would love to meet someone who can help me understand how a paraplegic can be condemned as promiscuous, or keeping your ex anonymous can be labelled as defamation. Life is interesting, and with every stage and every phase you learn more and evolve more. To me, this change is not hypocrisy rather it is proof of a healthy progression in life. Imagine for a moment, being stuck in your present state of mind, and present state of life for all of eternity. What a frightening thought indeed!
None of us is entitled to the intricate details of marital struggles of our cousins, our friends, our neighbours, the girl at our office, the daughter of our maid, the teacher at our school. If we cannot offer them love, then the least we should offer is the freedom to maintain their privacy in this very personal matter.
Let us be kind to one another, starting with being kind to ourselves.
There are always three sides to a story, and the truth always lies somewhere in between. However, we should not be so quick to judge a woman who despite her unfortunate accident and paralysis rose up and shone brightly. She so wanted motherhood that she is devoted to her adopted son despite not being able to do all that a mother has to do. She has full rights to take credit if she has fought and succeeded alone.