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An open letter to all mutineers
An open letter to all mutineers
We haven’t seen or heard from you in a while. Rumour has it you’re worried about the state of affairs in our land, grieved by the alleged failures of the current dispensation.
Thursday, June 3,2010 08:16
by Wajahat S Khan tribune.com.pk

Dear mutineers,
We haven’t seen or heard from you in a while. Rumour has it you’re worried about the state of affairs in our land, grieved by the alleged failures of the current dispensation. The reasons for the government’s fallibilities are many. Most are quantifiable, some inexplicable. Several are attributable to its own lethargy, a few to the Establishment’s tenacity.

But, back to mutiny: if you succeed, you will not enjoy any constitutional cover or acceptance by the civilian political apparatus, the judiciary, or the international community. Your enemies will slam your actions as barbaric and undemocratic, isolating you further. If you don’t do anything, the current arrangement looks like it will collapse anyway. You face the ultimate political paradox and it goes by the name of Pakistan.

So you love this land but loath the system and want to change it? Perhaps a look at the broader geo-political landscape will amplify your views.

Let’s start with our ‘brother nation’. Turkey’s martial machine is as powerful as its counterpart here, but with different levels of public acceptability when it comes to political interventionism. Why does Turkey’s ‘national military’ enjoy more political reception than Pakistan’s ‘professional military‘? Perhaps because all able-bodied Turk males serve with their armed forces, and are a ‘part’ of the defence arrangement. Most of them leave after a brief stint, letting the full-time corps conduct the serious soldiering, but the bond of militarised fraternity resonates across Turkey’s polity, thanks to mandatory service. In effect, their ‘deep state’ establishment is seen as a guarantor of national values (not the constitution, thanks to several coups) with an accepted, even expected, level of intervention. Thus, it is a presence everyone can identify with, essentially because most Turk men have seen and served it from within. This makes for easy politicking and injects a dose of nationalism that goes beyond banning fez hats.

Then there is Egypt, a quintessential police state, which relies on two interlinked commodities to survive: PR and aid. The Pyramids, belly-dancing and Red Sea resorts bring in tourists and investment while a working relationship with Israel guarantees State Department dollars. Were there no ties with Israel (a bullet that Anwar Saadat had to bite, literally) the Sphinx would have become another Moenjodaro: famous, unvisited and decayed. Thus, Hosni’s highhandedness is tolerated. Unless you’re in the Muslim Brotherhood or a liberal blogger, you learn to live with Mubarak’s regime. Why? Because you won’t get invaded like the Iraqis, you can’t rely on oil like the Saudis, and you are benefiting (albeit fractionally) from being the largest recipient of US aid in the world, second only to Israel.

Finally, there is the Thai military, which in 2006 overthrew a corrupt yet elected government, only to have its tanks welcomed into Bangkok with flowers! Why? Because the revered king had given the generals a tacit thumbs-up to bring in ‘clean’ professionals to run things. Only recently did those military-backed technocrats feel the heat of that coup through violent protests, but the dual tactics of money and force, backed up with a smart televised statement (in English) from a good-looking prime minister and business-as-usual incentives to its thousands of tourists and investors, ensured the Thai regime pass off what seemed to be a massive upheaval as a hiccup.

Thus, three global precedents: gain political acceptability by inducting ‘the people’ into your ‘nationalistic fold’, like the Turks have done though mandatory service. Walk like the Egyptians and ‘bite the bullet’ to normalise ties with your mortal enemy, it will earn you global acceptability that can be converted into tangible benefits for your people, and of course, emulate the Thai by finding some sharp professionals to ‘front the office’.
But the question remains: who is going to be your approving King?

Published in the Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2010.                                                                                    Source

tags: Pakistan / Turkey / Mubarak / Mubarak Regime / Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood /
Posted in Democracy  
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