February 2, 2011

If the Tunisians and Egyptians can do it, why can’t we?

They want Hosni Mubarak to go. What do we want?
(Photo: Bbc.co.uk) 
Tunisian former President Ben Ali and his wife.
(Photo: Bbc.co.uk)
Well the answer to that question is fairly simple. How shall I put this delicately...? Oh yeah, we’re LAZY. It is too much trouble to get out of bed and walk out onto the streets screaming for something that is out divine right. Good governance, justice, end to corruption, enforcement of rules and laws etc. Maybe that is because it gets too hot and humid in Pakistan and that’s a big turn off factor? But then, the lawyers’ march took place in March and that is relatively hot in Pakistan. So are we onto something here? We’re not.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Egyptians and Tunisians wanted change, and they wanted it so bad they were willing to die for it. Pakistanis? Our nature is inherently one which wants other people to die for us. So naturally when everyone is waiting for the other person to take a bullet for them, the whole point of a revolution becomes, well, pointless.

It’s not as if the Egyptians or the Tunisians were facing financial difficulties or anything. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of American aid after Israel. Tunisia makes its money on tourism and oil. Egypt has a booming tourist economy and the River Nile which has sustained the Egyptians for more than 5000 years. It’s not as if corruption was as high as Pakistan. It’s not as if the Tunisian businesses were ripping off consumers every day. It’s not as if people in Egypt were dying of car crashes because of poor build quality. None of that. In fact BMW actually sells “Made in Egypt” 7 series motor cars to Egyptian consumers. So it wasn’t as if Egypt or Tunisia were going down the drain like Pakistan.

The Egyptians and Tunisians had had enough of the dogmatism that had come to plague their lives. We on the other hand are so accustomed to these phenomenons that we’ve accepted them as integral parts of our daily routines. Without corruption our world would come crashing down. Without nepotism and jobbery, the unemployment levels would sky rocket. Without paying bribes, the bureaucratic structure of Pakistan would collapse. And without the sages of darkness lording over us, the wealth of Pakistan would become obscure.

So why can’t we do what the Egyptians and Tunisians have done? Because we don’t care. Because we’re stuck in a rut and we’ve refused to do anything for ourselves. It is so much more easier to spend the day cursing the corrupt band of politicians, generals, bureaucrats and businessmen, than to take up a bamboo stick and march down the road screaming for change. For change you need to have the will to face the wrath of those in power. None of us have that. If we had even a tiny bit of that self respect that revolutions demand, these mongrels of darkness who pretend to be kings of Pakistan would never step out of their houses because no one would allow their motorcades to pass through roads that are closed specifically for them. But we lack that; the Egyptians and the Tunisians don’t.

It took just one suicide, and act of self-immolation in Tunisia to bring about a revolution in just 28 days. Thousands commit suicides in Pakistan every week. Every other day people self immolate themselves in front of press clubs and houses of power. But has that brought about a revolution in Pakistan? Look around. You’ll find the answer. 18 women died in a stampede in Karachi trying to buy sugar last year and what did Fauzia Wahab have to say? That people should consume less sugar. It took just one protest demonstration in Egypt against extra judicial killing to jolt the people out of their shells. In Pakistan extra judicial killers are celebrated. The very famous case of Salman Taseer (late) v. Mumtaz Hussain Qadri comes to mind.

We are a nation lacking in the characteristics required to bring about a revolution; which is quite surprising really, because we were born out of one.