I am gripped by outrage. Even more so, I am deeply insulted. As should you be, by the way. If ever there was a time to grab a tire, a bottle of kerosene and a cheap Chinese-made lighter that has a flashlight on the base, it is now. We cannot stand for such an affront! Indeed, we will not stand for it! The time for reasoned critique and civilised discussion is past. Now is the time for action. Join me, my faithful mob, and together we shall commit an act of pillaging, the likes of which haven’t been seen since ancient Assyrian times.
I mean, how dare they? Here we are, working night and day at being corrupt. Indeed, my brow is slick with sweat as I personally toil during my every waking hour in the hopes of ensuring our corruption. We take every democratic opportunity to guarantee that only the most vile and blackened souls sit in positions of governmental power. We prop them up on our broken backs, push their greed-swollen hands in every pocket and give them all the indifference they need to shatter public institutions. Every public office has been stuffed into the shoddily constructed rafters with the most base, bent, bribable, crooked, debauched, double-dealing, extortionate, foul, fraudulent, mercenary and venal sons and daughters of Mammon.
And yet…yet, we rank a miserable, pathetic, laughable and embarrassing 34th on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. This will not do. This was the year our politicians should have truly delivered us the Corruption gold. What more opportunities can we give them? Or maybe the results are rigged. I demand an investigation! Put Ijaz Butt in charge of it so we can win some extra corruption points. After all, our public offices have truly shone this year (if the pitch darkness of evil can be said to shine). There were floods that they diverted to save their personal property, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands displaced. There were relief goods and donations that they plundered like I used to do to my kid sister’s piggy bank. They have paid no bills, given no taxes, abused police resources and all but harvested our organs. But according to the sticklers in Transparency International, this still isn’t good enough to make us the most corrupt nation in the world. What more can we do, I beg to ask?
Corruption is all we have. It is our most defining of qualities now and it is about time we took some pride in it. To be truly corrupt requires an obsessive dedication and fierce single-mindedness that should be admired. From afar maybe, but admired nonetheless. Given the amount of practice we have had and the level of creativity we display, we should be at the point where beleaguered African nations, junta-led hot zones and heroin financed Afghan governments are hiring us as corruption consultants. We should be the standard of corruption that other nations emulate. Our posters should be up in all their bedrooms and our self-destruction guides on their nightstands. Instead, all we can manage is a meagre eight-point rise in the rankings. This cannot do. It simply cannot.
Maybe it’s our own fault. We chose poorly. Enticed by the corruption stats of the president on his Corrupt Official Trading Card and convinced by the simulations we ran of a PPP government’s corruption capabilities in the Fantasy Corruption Leagues we ran, there wasn’t a proper evaluation of the potential for Corruption Fatigue. It is exhausting work, after all, and maybe our elected leaders shouldn’t have indulged in such frenzied crime, crookedness, bribery and nepotism so early in the game. They need to pace themselves better. It’s a long run to the finish line and we spent all the money in our Swiss bank accounts before we could buy any performance enhancing drugs. Next year we will do better (or worse).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2010.
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