Wednesday, March 2, 2011


By Rabia Ahmed | Published: March 2, 2011 (in Pakistan Today)
The ancient Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’ is apparently only the first of three curses. The other two are ‘May the government be aware of you,’ and ‘May your wishes be granted’ or ‘May you find what you are looking for.’
There appears to be little doubt that the first has come through in most places, and in the case of Egypt the second and the third have come through as well. It remains to be seen whether Egypt turns out to be curst or blessed. Either way, this fate/trend appears be continuing elsewhere into the Middle East; let us see if it will penetrate further into the region.
A successful revolution is a double-edged sword. The road to that success, even when accessed via a bloody route, becomes a popular thoroughfare and it doesn’t always arrive at a peaceful end. Thereafter, other peaceful means of bringing about change are bypassed, never mind that this method caused many heads to roll. The French revolution was succeeded by the period called the ‘Reign of Terror’ in which almost 40,000 people were killed. The France we know today came into being much later.
Therefore, the successful bringing about of Mubarak’s resignation ought to be a time for reflection, particularly since the trend appears to be spreading.
The unrest spread to Algeria, against the ‘emergency’ government of Mr. Bouteflika, which has been in power since 1992, where the Algerian people saw a way to get rid of a powerful dictatorship.
It has also spread to Bahrain, and Libya.
It is by no means the intention to support dictatorial regimes such as that of Hosni Mubarak, Mr Bouteflika, or any other such here. Democracy is a valuable ideology, and needs to be fostered, and therein lies the key: revolution is not the best of fostering environments; it is a sudden brutal thing, itself fostered by bitterness but not in turn fostering by nature.
The countries facing revolution at this stage are peopled by masses deprived of the essentials of civilised life, and the options they present to fill a vacuum left by a regime ousted by a bloodbath are again bloody and dictatorial ones.
The Reign of Terror that succeeded the French Revolution was brought about by those very people who led the Revolution. After the fall of the Bastille, they tried to spread the revolution to other countries in Europe, which resulted in wars with Austria, the Netherlands, and Britain.
It isn’t hard to imagine who would fill in any vacuums in Pakistan, and indeed in many countries in the region. What’s more, the nature of the bloodless revolution in Egypt, which has been remarkably benign (except that Mr Mubarak would rather call it malignant), is hardly likely to be mirrored in this country, where violence occurs in the most peaceful of times.
The devil we know is probably better than the devil we don’t, although we’ve come to know the devil we didn’t know fairly well by now by looking down the wrong end of his gun barrel. It isn’t that Pakistan does not a change; it needs a change like Chewbacca needed a haircut.
Pakistan needs a change, but must the change come about by means of a revolution? Would it not be best to consider the options that present themselves? To choose a bit wisely, plan a bit carefully? But when was the Pakistani public ever known for its wisdom? Patience yes, for surely no other people would be as patient under misery as the average Pakistani; but not wisdom. Given the sight of a fist punching demagogue, the average Pakistani loses all reason, dignity and sense, and jumps into the fray. And this is exactly what revolutionaries look for, this is all that is needed to set the domino falling at our end: a fist punching, fanatical demagogue, and look around we have a shortage of those?
So let’s look at those curses again: Do we live in interesting times?
Is the government of Pakistan aware of its people?
You have to be kidding!
And the last: are the people of Pakistan likely to get what they wish for, or want?
They are very likely to get what they think they want, only to find that that is not at all what they wished for.
Well what do you know! We appear to be two strokes short of a full blown curse...and we thought we had them all!

This news was published in print paper. To access the complete paper of this day. click here

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have any comments, please leave them here. They will be published after moderation. Automated comments will be deleted.To contact me please leave a comment. If you do not wish that comment to be published please say so within the message. Thank you.