Thursday, November 15, 2007

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Ambrose Bierce

From this old gringo concerning the present situation in Pakistan to Chapati Mystery.

This is really not covered by the American media, beyond “some things are happening to some people, blah blah, Musharref, blah blah, the army, blah blah Benazir Bhutto” (photo’s of whom invariably make her look like a hot Mother Teresa with a fashion consultant). I almost feel too ignorant to comment, but if you put what we’re seeing so far with the various color revolutions in eastern europe and eurasia, one sees rat tracks all over the place. My ignorance aside, I would like to submit this eye-opener, even considering the source obviously may have an axe to grind. Read the whole thing - I don’t know what to think of the death of her father, astounding if true.

Aunt Benazir’s false promises

Bhutto’s return bodes poorly for Pakistan — and for democracy there.
By Fatima Bhutto
November 14, 2007
KARACHI — “We Pakistanis live in uncertain times. Emergency rule has been imposed for the 13th time in our short 60-year history. Thousands of lawyers have been arrested, some charged with sedition and treason; the chief justice has been deposed; and a draconian media law — shutting down all private news channels — has been drafted.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of this circus has been the hijacking of the democratic cause by my aunt, the twice-disgraced former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. While she was hashing out a deal to share power with Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month, she repeatedly insisted that without her, democracy in Pakistan would be a lost cause. Now that the situation has changed, she’s saying that she wants Musharraf to step down and that she’d like to make a deal with his opponents — but still, she says, she’s the savior of democracy.

The reality, however, is that there is no one better placed to benefit from emergency rule than she is. Along with the leaders of prominent Islamic parties, she has been spared the violent retributions of emergency law. Yes, she now appears to be facing seven days of house arrest, but what does that really mean? While she was supposedly under house arrest at her Islamabad residence last week, 50 or so of her party members were comfortably allowed to join her. She addressed the media twice from her garden, protected by police given to her by the state, and was not reprimanded for holding a news conference. (By contrast, the very suggestion that they might hold a news conference has placed hundreds of other political activists under real arrest, in real jails.)

Ms. Bhutto’s political posturing is sheer pantomime. Her negotiations with the military and her unseemly willingness until just a few days ago to take part in Musharraf’s regime have signaled once and for all to the growing legions of fundamentalists across South Asia that democracy is just a guise for dictatorship. …”

My hope is the internet can facilitate those Americans who want out of SE asia to see how much we have in common with the other neo-colonials of the world and more importantly how huge is our huge (even of relatively well-informed and educated) ignorance of the cultures and politics of the region.
“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Ambrose Bierce

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