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Newspost

September 10, 2010

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Call for revolution

Call for revolution
The one time a politician attempts to meet the putrid situation in the country head-on, every Zaid, Bakar and Umar flings himself at him with well-dusted claws. Wise men in the past, prophets and philosophers, have advised humans not to reject anything out of hand – whether a thought, a suggestion or an act, no matter how unpleasant, without putting it to proper examination. Let's examine this politician's outrageous call to the patriotic generals to act and hang the landlords, who, in order to save their agricultural farms, deliberately caused the diversion of floodwaters towards adobe villages and their poor inhabitants, resulting in large-scale deaths by drowning. The test paper will have just one query: is the suggestion quite as evil as it appears on first sight? The probable answer will go something like this: the generals, who toppled the decade-old dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar in Portugal, put through people-friendly reforms, apart from acting to free atrocious Portuguese colonies in Africa. The soldiers who freed Venezuelans of dictatorship caused the emergence of hugely popular revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, the current president. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a military officer with active battlefield experience, is credited with dragging the 'sick man of Europe', Turkey, into the twentieth century. Last but not the least, General Charles de Gaulle was elected twice by popular vote, first as prime minister and then as president, and was the man who, in the face of stiff resistance from a cabal of army generals, freed French colonies in North Africa.
To scrutinise the other side, one comes to the call for revolution in the French style. The French Revolution did not materialise suddenly like instant combustion just because Marie Antoinette said give them cakes if they have no bread to eat. Its ground was laid by a long tradition of analytical thought. In our largely illiterate and semi-literate society, there is no reading culture, and therefore no real intellectual class. In the absence of original political and social thinkers, an uprising has only one asset to fall back on, namely violence. There is no long-standing, well-worked out revolutionary thought behind it, and given the public perception of the MQM's party polity, the proposition contains theoretical flaws and practical risks. Take it or leave it, it nevertheless raises important issues and should be given the benefit of intelligent attention.
Abdullah Hussein
Lahore
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