State of the world - Dr Muzaffar Iqbal - Friday, March 18, 2011

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As I write these words from the city where the last Messenger of Allah to all humanity once lived, radiation at about 20 times normal levels is spreading through Tokyo amidst panic that has resulted in the cancellation of Chinese airlines flights to Tokyo; closure of the Austrian embassy in the city; and the appearance of a rather self-revealing news that a 24-hour general store in Tokyo’s Roppongi district has sold out of radios, torches, candles and sleeping bags.

The dawn in Madinah was, however, usual: well before the call for prayer, streams of pilgrims walked into the blessed sanctuary in the heart of the city through well-lit streets. They have arrived from all over the world, but most visible are Pakistanis, Iranians, Turks, and Indonesians.

They find their places in the vast Haram, struggle to get to the choice sections of the Prophet’s masjid, queue in front of his noble house, and pay homage to him and his two companions buried in that very house which remains forever a place of mercy and blessings even though all that one can now see behind the green grill is semi-darkness.

Beyond the sanctuary, the world seems to be falling apart with every possible disaster unfolding at speeds no one could even dream of a decade ago. Thousands may have died in Libya, we are told, but even if the numbers are uncertain, death and destruction is certainly spreading through that land where a maniac has ruled for over forty years.

But regardless of the mania and the horrible crimes of that regime, what is so strange and utterly unacceptable in this day and age is the return of the colonial mentality. We had hardly gotten over the departure of Lord Blair, when David Cameron is trying to put on his shoes. Just imagine: a young upstart like David speaking like a king to the gentiles of his vanquished empire: “Do we want a situation where a failed, pariah state festers on Europe’s southern border, potentially threatening our security, pushing people across the Mediterranean and creating a more dangerous and uncertain world for Britain and for all our allies, as well as for the people of Libya?

My answer is clear: this is not in Britain’s interests. And that is why Britain will remain at the forefront of Europe in leading the response to this crisis.”

Let us, for a minute turn the scale upside down and recall when millions, yes, not thousands but millions of men, women, and children marched through London and told Tony Blair that he cannot invade Iraq; that his claims are all lies and that he does not represent them.

Now, imagine, if at that point, a Muammar al-Qaddafi, Chavez or Ahamdinejad had the guts to say: Hey Tony, listen, you have lost legitimacy; you do not represent the will of the English people anymore. Leave the office or else our armies are coming and if you dare attack Iraq, we will consider it a violation of international law and impose a no-fly zone.

Such talk did not happen because no one in the third world has come out of the colonial bondage yet. But certainly, no one can tolerate Blairism anymore.

David Cameron is no match to that hypocrite, but still, he is trying his best to be like him and if it had not been for the unusual clarity of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, we could easily have another Iraq-like scenario. She is the one who told an EU summit last week that the no-fly zone idea was potentially dangerous. “What is our plan if we create a no-fly zone and it doesn’t work? Do we send in ground troops?” she said. “We have to think this through. Why should we intervene in Libya when we don’t intervene elsewhere?”

And somewhere in this deeply troubled world is Pakistan that no Pakistani can take out of his emotional and intellectual makeup. The news that MQM has once again been wooed by PPP is indeed just one more bubble coming out of that cesspool called Pakistani politics.

The only difference between a real cesspool and the one metaphorically representing Pakistani politics is that the latter is without a lid. Surveying the Pakistani situation from outside, it seems that there is simply no end to foul play; event after event, the nation remains hostage to the same set of nauseating and tiring faces which have dominated Pakistani politics for as long as one can remember.

The problem, of course, is that there is no alternative. That we have no possibility of a revolution in the near future. That we cannot even think of anything clean that will remove this dirt. We only have people who cannot live a day of honest living.

What a tragedy for a nation sucked into this unending drama of no consequence. One day it is Fazalur Rahman making the news, the next day it is MQM, the third day it is the chaudhries of Gujrat and so on.

While these people are playing with the lives of millions of people, newspapers are filled with unrequited sorrow: drones continue to kill babes, women, and men, and mad men continue to sprinkle petrol on their wives and children and set themselves ablaze in remote villages of Punjab and Sindh. What a terrible state of a country brought into existence through a lofty dream!

The writer is a freelance columnist.


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