Do people always say what they mean?

Apparently you can respect the sanctity of a country and still bomb the hell out of the people


Anwer Mooraj May 28, 2016
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Very few people say what they really mean and mean what they say. Politicians are at times the worst offenders. After the last drone had been dropped on Pakistani soil, the Pakistan Foreign Office summoned the American ambassador and wasted little time in informing the world that the country’s sovereignty had been violated. Mr Obama in a rejoinder said, “We respect Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

Apparently you can respect the sanctity of a country and still bomb the hell out of the people. The land of the pure hadn’t been violated from the air for some considerable time as most of the violations in the country took place on the ground — against women. However, what Mr Obama probably really wanted to say was “If you beggars don’t stop harbouring militants, we’ll continue to respect your sovereignty, the way we respect everybody’s sovereignty.” But then, Mr Obama isn’t Mr Trump — who at least says what he means and means what he says.

After having read this far, the next time you receive a congratulatory letter from someone, you might begin to wonder if the writer really means what he or she says, or says what he or she really means. In the early 1970s, the late Kaleem Omar who wrote for The News International once sat down with me after consuming half a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape and compiled a number of standard letters that are normally written when an engagement or marriage is about to take place or an appointment letter is received. These appear in italics. My replies suggesting what the sender really wanted to write but didn’t, appear in Roman.

Dear Friend, My husband and I were delighted when we received the invitation to your daughter’s marriage. If my hubby can get leave from the office we will most certainly attend…



Dear Friend, I am so relieved that your younger daughter is finally getting married even though her fiance is half her age and wears braces on his teeth and can’t spell. You will be pleased to know that my daughter has just turned down a Kuwaiti millionaire. But then, 14 is no age for a girl to get married… Is it?

Dear Sir, We are pleased to offer you the post of finance manager in our company in the scale advertised in the newspaper. Please proceed for your medical examination.

Dear Sir, The people who interviewed you said you were the most incompetent ass they had ever come across and you also scored the lowest marks in the written test and the interview. Unfortunately, you have formidable connections and have married the cousin of the finance secretary in Islamabad — the one with the buck teeth who has an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands. What this means is that a deserving candidate will no longer be marrying my younger sister. Sign on the dotted line, that is, if you know how to sign, you twit.

Dear Sir, Hearty congratulations on the way your son batted at the crease and helped to draw the match against National Bank. Thank you for giving my loan application your personal consideration.

Dear Sir, What on earth was your son trying to prove? Even a fellow with one leg could have scored 28 runs in half an hour instead of the four-and-a-half hours your son took. Why doesn’t he take up chess?

Dear Professor, I thoroughly enjoyed your deeply researched book on bowel functions in different civilisations through the ages; and marvelled at the chapter on the Sumerians and their ingenuity during battle with their enemies, when they used in their catapults iron pellets coated with emissions produced while relieving tension.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2016.

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COMMENTS (4)

J.Niaz | 5 years ago | Reply Outstanding stuff from Mr Mooraj.
J.Niaz | 5 years ago | Reply Outstanding stuff from Mr Mooraj.
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