WikiLeaks: Gossip on a global level

The idea of the usefulness of WikiLeaks documents is left in the hands of the audience.

Rabia Ashfaque December 02, 2010
We like to pretend that we’re indifferent to it. The fact of the matter, however, is that it exists all around us. Sometimes in the shape of a tete-a-tete, at other instances as an intelligence report or espionage leak, it all boils down to the same idea – information generated across the circles where it has no business being.

Simply put, it is just the good old strangely satisfying thing we call gossip.

Log kya kahain gey” – a maxim we’d lived under all our lives, explains perfectly the very human desire to talk, converse, and gossip. And there is never enough of it, no matter what is said to support the contrary.

With WikiLeaks, gossip has been taken to a whole new level. And for Pakistan, with the recent release of more than 200 US State Department cables, WikiLeaks has managed to stir up trouble yet again by digging out the skeletons hidden inside possibly the biggest political closet in the world.

Among a number of issues of the international community brought to surface in these cables, the popularity (or lack thereof) of the current president of Pakistan remained a serious concern.

With the Israeli defence minister calling Pakistan his “private nightmare”and Saudi King Abdullah referring to Zardari when he said “When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body”, the governance of Pakistan as well as its nuclear programme seems to be facing criticism and concern from all sides.

WikiLeaks has also claimed that it will release an additional 80 documents in the next few months.

Described as the biggest leak of confidential documents in history, WikiLeaks has established one thing with the release of these cables. Whether driven by maliciousness or insensitivity, gossip serves a purpose greater than just being a way to enliven a conversation.

It is breeding ground for knowledge; the idea of it being useful or useless is left in the hands of the audience the knowledge is delivered to.

However, with the entire world as its audience, WikiLeaks has made sure to continue to offer something in the way of gossip to everyone.

For Pakistan, the question now remains whether it can survive any more digs from the international community and whether its remaining few friends will continue to hold its hand till the last skeleton is pulled out of the closet.
Rabia Ashfaque A graduate of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. She spent a few months teaching English to grade 7 before she found her calling and joined The Express Tribune where she works as a sub-editor on the Karachi pages.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Talat | 13 years ago | Reply There are laws in every country which prohibit publication of confidential documents. How was then the Wikileaks able to publish the documents and they have not revealed anything substantial..
Liaquat Ali | 13 years ago | Reply Government secrets are usually not for-people. They are almost always anti-people. The WikiLeaks phenomenon will result on three possible end-games: 1. Increase in the security of the classified material. 2. Elimination of WikiLeaks and going back to business as usual. 3. Decrease in the perception that anything is ultimately classified.
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