I did not know Asim Butt.
Except through the excellent review of his art done by Raza Rumi and carried by us at ATP in July 2008, and through the ‘Eject’ sign graffiti that because popular in many civil society circles during the last days of Gen Musharraf’s government. But hearing today that he has died in what may be a suicide has left me down and dejected.
It is partly because a person of such obvious talent and great potential, someone with a strong political conscience and a desire and the ability to act on that conscience, and someone so young (“in the prime of his life” as we Pakistanis say) is no more. But it is also the way he has departed. Or chosen to depart. All death leaves one speechless for a minute. Suicide leaves one even more dumbstruck.
If it was a case of suicide, I do not know why he would do so. Frankly, I am not very eager to find out either. I have no interest in the morbid voyerism of digging into potentially scandalous stories that lurk in the shadows of human tragedy.
I just know that a young man who could have done so much and had real impact, has chosen to end his life.
That, I know, is a tragedy. A tragedy not only for the family and friends of Asim Butt – to whom we offer our condolences and prayers of strength in this time of trial. It is a tragedy, also, for all of us.
How can the needless loss of a 31 year old man not be a tragedy? No matter who the person was and no matter what the circumstances.
P.S. A wonderful tribute to the activism of Asim Butt has also been written by Teeth Maestro at his blog (here).