Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Niilofur Farrukh: Unheeded lessons of democracy

An excellent article from Dawn. I couldn't put it any better: Pakistanis muster up their energies to face yet another humanitarian crisis they must also pause to reflect on Talibanisation and its relationship to our dysfunctional democracy. We need to give serious thought to the deep-seated causes behind the presence of the Taliban...The Taliban managed to make inroads not because they are invincible or outnumber their detractors but because we, the citizens of Pakistan, for six decades have collectively ignored the lessons of democracy that promises equal rights and justice for all citizens...Dictators may have deprived us of our vote from time to time, but we as a nation have contributed to a system built on nepotism, expediency and convenience. Pakistanis clamour for democracy during dictatorships yet make a mockery..

With most institutions having lost the capacity to function efficiently the masses feel a growing sense of injustice, deprivation and helplessness. These have created deep fissures in our society and gradually pushed us to the brink that makes us so vulnerable to extremist ideologies. The nations that have averted disasters are the ones that can find the inner strength, resolve and resilience so future generations do not have to pay a heavy price...For any tangible success the real battle has to be fought within each Pakistani as he/she struggles to re-learn the spirit of democracy.

Even with men like Niilofur Farrukh, Pakistan may not win its battle. Those authors who confidently declaimed, "The pen is mightier than the sword!" never had to deal with murderous fanatics who slay not just those who oppose them, but all who fail to actively support their cause by word and deed.

Even liberals may have to pick up the sword and fight to remain liberals! Will they learn this?

Here's one who did:
I was programmed from birth to be a devout liberal. My dad, a hard working first generation Russian Jew, would lecture me on a regular basis, "The Democrats are the party of the little people. The Republicans are the party of the rich guy."..When I was 26, I parked myself in the People's Republic of Berkeley, CA, the epicenter of the far left. I came as a liberal but soon morphed into a leftist as most people here do...So maybe you get now how hard it was, how disorienting and destabilizing and crazy making it was, when I realized about 1 1/2 years ago that I no longer believed in liberalism. I walked around in a confused state for weeks...The first step, I decided, was deprogramming myself from decades of liberal propaganda...if this lifelong left winger from Berkeley can wake up, hopefully others will also do so before it's too late.

How to Deprogram a Liberal in One Year Or Less

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