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Sunday, August 14, 2011

That Enduring Shame

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TODAY is officially a day of celebration — of sorts — for the ruling clique and a sizeable portion of the 180-plus million who inhabit this unfortunate republic.

The latter have little (if anything) to celebrate in their lives, so rushing around on mutilated motorbikes, one must suppose, is better than nothing.

On this 64th anniversary of the birth of what was Jinnah’s Pakistan one can only be repetitive — as repetition is the name of the game as far as our governments, who ceaselessly repeat the mistakes made over the decades, are concerned. What all should be asking themselves today is should we be celebrating or tearing out our hair in sorrow and shame?

The sole celebration that springs to mind is that the country Pakistan still exists, though in truncated state, despite the best efforts of the string of governments that have done their best to run it into the ground. But then, what is left, bears no resemblance to the country envisaged by Mr Jinnah.

Internationally somewhat isolated, internally strife-ridden and at odds with itself, the nation somehow manages to trundle on albeit each and every pillar of state and institution is tarnished (including the mighty armed forces) and battered (including the judiciary). Religiosity has spawned dangerous discord which stalks the land. 

We are as shameless as the men and women we have allowed to ‘lead’ (in the wrong direction), or misrule or misgovern, we are as guilty as they for having brought the country to the impasse in which it now stands. We have allowed ourselves to be led by the nose, even acquiesced, whilst those who have been shot to power through various means have collectively and dissolutely danced along the way, down 64 years, whilst dipping at will into the national exchequer, promulgating constitutions and making and breaking laws to suit their individual purposes.

We have accepted kings of straw, decked out in the colour of the time, and with them have denied and abrogated the founder’s creed. Where stand we now?

Democracy has by this present regime been declared a form of revenge — not that it ever was anything else when wielded by those who have sneaked in through the ballot box, voted in by a minority of the millions who have purposefully and with intent been kept in a state of illiteracy, ignorance and poverty, all whilst being brainwashed into the practice and application of a brand of religion peculiar to this country.

We are rent by sectarian and ethnic killings, by intolerance and bigotry, and by discriminatory laws (which no one has the guts to do away with) that murder and maim. Corruption and mendacity have become a way of life.

Are any of those who sit atop the powerhouses of the capital and its neighbouring city worrying about what they should be worrying about? No. They are intent on keeping themselves where they are, an intent they do not even bother to pretend to cover. The politicians’ every act is geared towards the next election, and the military that runs them cannot shake off an ingrained mindset.

How stands the population growth? In dire straits if statistics are anything to go by. Successive governments have refused to even consider a curb, so some 40 per cent of the 180-plus million exist beneath the poverty line, and, frighteningly, almost 70 per cent is below the age of 25. What is their future? Literacy is at a standstill — thinking realistically it would seem that a mere 20 per cent are actually literate. Literacy frightens the feudal mindset which cannot come to terms with a 21st-century world, which believes in murder in the name of honour and many other antiquated practices. So until we are rid of the old and in with something new, the millions are doomed.

Do we celebrate the anarchy that reigns in the northern border areas and in our southern port city, or do we repent? And in what form should be that repentance? Or do we give up, and merely hang our heads in shame at the betrayal of what could have been a perfectly viable country?
[Excerpts 'That enduring shame' By Ardeshir Cowasjee, http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/14/that-enduring-shame.html ]