My burning home

Politicians must lead by example to get the nation to follow them; rallying them with threats of war is a cheap shot.

Zarrar Butt October 02, 2011
War drums are being beaten left, right and centre in every part of the country. Phrases like ‘America is here’, ‘attack on our sovereignty’ and ‘we’ll give them a bloody nose’ are coming out of all and sundry in the streets and everywhere. The media machinery is in full swing amplifying this rhetoric, interviewing every Tom, Dick and Harry on the roads and ‘getting them’ to speak what it wants to. Only if the common man knew what was going on behind the scenes in the corridors of power. 

Ask yourselves some questions: Is this the first time our sovereignty is under threat? What about the drone strikes that take place twice a week every week all under the knowledge and approval of our civil and military leadership? What about the 2 hour military incursion to extract Osama that caught everybody either sleeping or pretending to be asleep? What about the Raymond Davis episode? And what about the foreign terrorists living and training on our ‘sar-zameen’ and killing our men (civilian and military), women and children at will? If that is not an attack on our sovereignty, then what is?

Unfortunately, the sad part is that we are doing nothing to address these issues. The hollow sounds are made to come out every time the security establishment’s neck is in the noose and once the backdoor deals are done, all the above mentioned issues are swept under the carpet. Examples are the Kerry Lugar bill and the Raymond Davis affair. Isn’t this a pattern we are so naïvely and conveniently ignoring?

The latest episode of this drama is being aired these days.

The nation is being prepared to get behind the patriotic army, only the civilian leaders are being portrayed as villains and the sold media is having a field day in the process. What the nation doesn't realise is that it is being taken for a ride yet again. Our leaders – both civilian and military – need the US, they need its aid to keep their coffers full, to maintain their elite lifestyle, to keep their multi million rupee bullet proof vehicles running, to fund their foreign visits and to expand the military machinery.

Which – if any – of these things is helping to make the life of the common man better?

The corrupt and inept government and the ever so mighty army complement each other so nicely. Both need the other to scratch their back. It is a matter of ‘you don’t touch us, we don’t touch you and we both keep our status quo of being completely oblivious to the problems of the common man’.

For the two of them, how about trying the following for a change:

Stop meddling in our neighbours’ affairs, stop sending insurgents to Kashmir, put a brake to the nuclear ‘bums’ and missiles (we already have enough), cut the defence expenditure (as is being done by even major economies), fight the ‘war on terror’ sincerely, cut all un-necessary civilian expenditure especially on protocols, shut down the luxury cars and go on an austerity drive. Lead by example and then see how the nation follows you. You won’t need to beat these war drums or activate the media to get the nation behind you.

The funds saved from the above could be utilised for health, education and welfare projects. The bums can only satisfy our bloated egos but cannot feed our stomachs; meddling in our neighbours’ affairs can only keep the conflict alive but not the poor patient in need of life saving treatment, and systematically preaching hate will only breed suicide bombers and not budding scientists.

Getting the systems right should be the order of the day rather than bypassing the rotten systems or blending into them. There should be a value of a poor man’s life and people should be able to demand their rights rather than being taken for granted. If 37 school children die in a motorway bus accident just because the bus was heavily overloaded and was unfit for the road then the school authorities, the bus company and the motorway police should all be taken to task so that it doesn’t happen again. The right heads should roll so that in future it is not the innocent child that dies because of them and the death is not just attributed to Allah ki marzi. Earn Halal roti by doing our jobs honestly and sincerely and see how Allah changes our fortunes and douses our burning home with His abr-e-karam.
Zarrar Butt A freelance writer who works in the technology industry.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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