You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Monday, December 8, 2008

American columnist’s advice

ONE would begin with the story of two identical twins named Ecilop and Noog. One grew up to become a scientist while the other took to gangsters. Ecilop would develop novel kinds of weapons and Noog would use them to shock and awe any challengers to his domain.

Along the line, Noog came up with an ambitious plan, went to a country named Ebolg and offered to become its chief policeman. As his foremost qualification, he cited the possession of frightful weapons invented by his brother, which he claimed, could vapourise any opponent and turn a rebellious territory into a wasteland.

Understandably, he got the job and, over time, acquired power and riches in Ebolg. But, towards the end of his tenure, his conscience pricked him about a number of his misadventures and he publicly owned up to these. The people of Ebolg felt cheated and decided to fire him.

Some of the perceptive readers may have noticed that Ecilop is actually ‘Police’ spelled in reverse, while Noog is ‘Goon’ and Ebolg is the globe. This fable is meant to show the role United States has played in the world from WW II on, in trying to be its policeman.

First, it incinerated and vapourised nearly 200,000 innocent Japanese men, women and children in 1945 through atomic bombs, which was ultimate terrorism. Then, in the Vietnam war it used Agent Orange to wipe out forests serving to conceal the enemy forces. Apart from millions killed in that needless war, the defoliant permanently affected millions more.

The newest adventure has been in Iraq, where over a million Iraqis have met an untimely death just because America decided to invade it. Now, perhaps bothered somewhat by his conscience, Mr Bush said the other day that he felt sorry his intelligence agencies had provided wrong information about Saddam Hussain’s WMDs.

However, he never expressed any sorrow over the huge Iraqi casualties and the four million who became homeless. It reminds me of Shakespeare’s words: “Man proud man, dressed in a little authority, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.”

In this backdrop comes an article by the Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan, who is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington. He has advised placing Pakistan’s tribal belt and areas where terrorist groups allegedly have their bases under international control.

Mr Kagan suggested forming an international force to invade those areas and destroy the bases although such an undertaking would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. He has argued that “Pakistan and other states that harbour terrorists should not take their sovereignty for granted. In the 21st century, sovereign rights need to be earned. (Dawn, Dec. 3).

Who had given the right to the US to kill and maim millions of people in the 20th and 21st centuries? It was a ‘right’ earned not by its compassion or humanism but by sheer force of WMDs and gunboat diplomacy. The American broadcaster, writer and intellectual David Bersamian has revealed much about the unlawful and outrageous acts of his nation, during lecture tours of Pakistan.
Before faulting Pakistan, people like Mr Kagan must show some realism, if not empathy, by trying to understand the troubles that have shaped its present predicament.

India hounded us right from 1947. The occupation of Junagadh and Kashmir, among other places (including Goa), is an indelible proof of New Delhi’s aggressiveness and expansionism, with the first two issues still pending before the UN. Anyone with any sense of justice should first call for resolution of the underlying causes of hostility in the region. The breaking up of Pakistan by India in 1971 is another undeniable fact. Things like these, as well as the latter’s detonation of an atomic device in 1974, deceptively named the ‘Smiling Buddha’, forced Islamabad to take the nuclear path, which bothers the West so much. If the world powers had checked India’s covetousness and hegemonies, there would have been no militarism, no nukes or desire in some Pakistanis to wage jihad for Kashmir. Similarly, the British philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell, who had worked for India’s freedom until 1947, was so disillusioned by the time of the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 that in his book ‘Unarmed Victory’ he accused India of having double standards regarding Kashmir and Nagaland. He also held India responsible for initiating the war with China. In view of all these facts, Pakistan needs a sympathetic and helpful approach, not occupation of its territory. If the root problems are resolved, the militancy will wither away rapidly.


DAWN - Letters; December 08, 2008

No comments: