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Monday, January 28, 2008

words to ponder about from a young woman

Why don't we ask questions? Democracy means accountability. It means fostering the right to free expression and dissent. It means taking leaders, criminals, and party officials to task.

We have been silent for too long. Why is it that Pakistanis aren't interested in demanding answers to our questions? Except for this one, this is our all-time favourite question: Whom can we blame for everything? Is America/Punjab/the army responsible for all our problems?

No, we are. America and other assorted bogeymen certainly take advantage of our reluctance to band together as a nation, but they are only able to do so because we give them the necessary space.

We are responsible for our past and we are responsible for our political future. If we hadn't joined this catastrophic War on Terror in the manner that we had (obsequiously and eagerly), but rather negotiated our strategic importance and insisted on referring the matter to our citizens, maybe we wouldn't have the Taliban wreaking havoc in Swat because they think their state betrayed their own people in the interest of a foreign power.

If the mass of men had a stake in the distribution of justice and access to the law, maybe we could take our compendium of colourful criminals to trial? Maybe if Pakistanis bothered to get registered and walk their important selves to a polling station on Election Day in 2002 we would have had a government more representative of the people and their needs. Maybe.


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