Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pakistanis Themselves Don't Understand Pakistan

What do you think I've been trying to do for the last decade and a half or so? ;-)

You should read this:

Read the interview. I always found Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy kind of grasping and interested more in promoting herself, but if I run across something she says about Pakistan and terrorism, I do read and listen.

I must mention that some people from my family made interesting comments relating to suicide/economic desperation way back in 1998 at the time of Pakistan's nuclear tests and the sanctions that resulted. I commented to a family member on the rise in suicides that were coming forward in the Metropolitan section of the city newspaper. My relative responded by saying that yep, suicides rise in times when money becomes really hard to come by. In my mind, I had a half formed thought (this was way back in 1998) about people using their suicides to kill other people, maybe even copying stories I heard about Pakistani soldiers in the Battle of Chawinda strapping dynamite under themselves and lying under tanks. I didn't air that little bleak thought back then, but God knows, it was interesting. Note to self: Must always air bleakest thought.

I actually have some stories on the economic devastation caused by the sanctions, but since the bleeding was more personal and locallly confined, nobody talks about it. I should come back to it someday. In the meantime, it was nice to see Mohsin Hamid's "Mothsmoke", and now Sharmeen Chinoy (dropping the Obaid, 3 names annoy me) talk about the correlation between economic devastation/the rise in suicides/the rise in suicidal behaviour.

You guys should really read what Ms Chinoy has written:



karachikhatmal said...

since you quoted mohsin hamid, let me mention what the blurb said on his book.

"people don't believe in consequences any more"

that's what it seems to feel here. like we refuse to accept what grotesque consequences our actions would create.

also, it is always a good idea to blurt out your darkest thought, but its a blessing to have someone who'll listen to them without spurning you after hearing them.

TLW said...

that's what it seems to feel here.

I think the situation has changed since October 2009. Remember we had just kicked out a secular dictator and were locked in a clawback of territory from religious extremists. So maybe it felt like we were facing retribution for kicking out a secular dictator, and pretending as if basketcase Pakistan could have politicians that carry out their constitutional role, and an army sticking to its constitutional role. This is how low my/our self esteem the English speaking world is/was for Pakistan, "How dare they act like a constitutional democracy". But we did, and at least till nowcontinue to do so. Getting to three years has been a minor miracle, and my reason for asking you this question was that in the last three years people have faced consequences.

like we refuse to accept what grotesque consequences our actions would create

And this is why I asked the question. There were people who did wrong by Pakistan and its people. People who broke Pakistan's laws, and hurt its people in plain sight of Pakistan and the world, and in the last three years, they suffered for it. Here's a list:
Pervez Musharraf - Coup maker, dictator, allowed a situation to be created where his two feuding enemies allied to try and impeach him.
Maulana Sufi Mohammad: Was the madman from Pakistan who decided to lead a ragtag bunch of Pakistanis immediately after 9/11 into Afghanistan, against an America at its angriest in a generation. Then proceeded to midwife a revolution in a district that would make that district autarkic from the rest of the country. Finally publicly insulted and then condemned the entire constitution of Pakistan, and its entire democratic dispensation. Then proceeded to lead a revolt again. Now cooling his heels in jail.

Baitullah Mehsud. Probably the deepest strategic thinker the Pakistani Taliban could ever hope to have. Could have united all the religious factions in Pakistan with his overtures to become the Mullah Umar of this side of the Durand line. Was taking full advantage of all fault lines between his secular enemies. Dead by a Pakistani intelligence diverted drone hit.

Mohammad Amir. Public humiliation for the all of Pakistan cricket. Banned. Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have life bans. Consequences for literally taking a shit on the game of cricket in front of the entire country on camera. Cricket careers ended.

Asif Ali Zardari. No longer behaves openly like the utter and open contemptuous choot he was during Benazir's second term. Suffered eight years imprisonment, being dragged one level above Gitmo style, between jail and court. Likely commits corruption, but profoundly understands the depth of contempt for him, and makes sure to not offend the public's sensibility. Asif Ali Zardari is a changed man from the walking caricature of a spoiled feudal he was during the nineties.

So again I ask you Karachi Khatmal, are there now consequences?

To expand it further, are there now consequences to acting like an utter and openly contemptuous choot, in the style of Pakistani caricatures and monsters of the past?

karachikhatmal said...


your jiyala-pun is on here. indignation for amir, yet such stoic revisionism for AAZ...

that aside though, there is a problem because its very rare that people who commit the most crimes/indiscretions have to pay for them, while those who do precious little keep paying over and over again. case in point being our president, or most politicos for that matter. the taseer killing channeled a lot of that frustration IMHO, because it was a rich guy who felt he was aloof being literally gunned down.

we've been talking about this for a while, and i don't know what else to add here really. but i guess the answer that i was most comfortable with was that we need to just scale back and keep the focus on our own personal life. there are a million decisions we have to take on a daily basis where we often feel compelled to ignore the consequences. i think we need to address those, or at least attempt to. for the rest of the country i mean what more can you say?