Of judges and drones: U.S. policy alienates the Pakistani people

Of judges and drones: U.S. policy alienates the Pakistani people
By: Osama Siddique, Harvard Law Record, 4/16/09

There are many faces to Pakistan. Vibrant, joyful, intelligent, compassionate, and calm. Resonant with a lust for life; glowing with a passion for self-fulfillment common to all people; and as human in their joys and in their sorrows as any human can be. If you prick them, they bleed; if you tickle them, they laugh; and if you poison them, they die. There are millions upon millions of such faces but you never see them (though you could if you tried). You never see them because they are never shown, at least not on the bulk of the 'free' world's media, elements of which would cause Orwell to shudder. A 'free' media that at times sketches, colors, dehumanizes, objectifies, magnifies, projects, and then damns a vile 'other,' an 'imagined nation' of barbarians, with scant regard for its diversity, complexity, plurality, and above all, humanity.

As a result, what is repeatedly shown instead are grainy images of some half-crazed cleric crouching against a grey-brown, rock strewn backdrop, muttering doomsday dreams. What gets hardly any attention are the images, dialogues, debates, processes and institutions within a Pakistan that clearly displays cognizance of, apprehension about, and steadily growing defiance against the nemesis of religious radicalism and militancy - a violent menace that Pakistanis increasingly realize they will have to collectively confront, for it threatens the very ethos of a tolerant, pluralistic, and equitable federation. But the rabid faces of radicalism are so much more fascinating to the camera than the travails of a nascent democracy. At the same time, we are hardly ever told of this radicalism's genesis; the tell-tale story of its creation; and the genealogy of the angst that seems to grip it. Any attempt to discuss the real necromancer behind the forces of militant radicalism finds little coverage. The backdrop of economic and social disempowerment; paucity of education and democratic space; and, above all, the use and abuse of Pakistani turf and many of its people by a coalition of international interests and local undemocratic regimes, in order to fight wars that the Pakistani citizenry was never consulted about, remains unexplored. The bugaboo is here now, we are bluntly told, and Pakistan needs to do more about it, we are scolded. We can bomb it to oblivion, and we can also 'bomb Pakistan to the stone age,' is the unveiled threat from paragons of subtle international diplomacy like former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. With such talk, it's no surprise that there is no romance in the air. No wonder U.S. foreign policy pundits and international observers find few in Pakistan, even amongst the overwhelming majority of its moderate citizens, whose eyes are brimful with tears of relief and gratitude as they talk of the mythical U.S./Pakistan partnership against radicalism. As we know, there is no place for threats in a partnership.

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Also See:
US policies alienating Pakistan, warn scholars - Dawn


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