Shahid Batalvi Speaks

with apology to Black Elk for he speaks first

Please send cc to Pakistan

with 3 comments

President Obama said the these words on his first sub-saharan Africa visit to Ghana and I was wondering if he could have sent a copy of the following excerpts of the message to the people of Pakistan. (cc Pakistan)
"This is about more than holding elections – it’s also about what happens between them. Repression takes many forms, and too many nations (cc Pakistan) are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country (cc Pakistan) is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought off by drug traffickers. No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end."

"In the 21st century, capable, reliable and transparent institutions are the key to success – strong parliaments and honest police forces; independent judges and journalists; a vibrant private sector and civil society. Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in peoples’ lives."

"Now let me be clear: Africa (cc Pakistan) is not the crude caricature of a continent (cc country) at war. But for far too many Africans (cc Pakistanis), conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s (cc Pakistan’s) neck. We all have many identities – of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century. Africa’s (cc Pakistan’s) diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God’s children. We all share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our families, our communities, and our faith. That is our common humanity."

"You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can. Because in this moment, history is on the move.

But these things can only be done if you take responsibility for your future. It won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend. Opportunity won’t come from any other place, though – it must come from the decisions that you make, the things that you do, and the hope that you hold in your hearts."

The challenge is that most of the people in Pakistan who understand the above are suffering from a state of abject apathy. The ones who are making an effort to make a difference are so few and so far between and are being repressed so frequently that their efforts eventually do not reach critical mass. The rest who may have the intelligence and the intellect to make a difference are just "busy" with what can be categorized as infantile passions in the bigger scheme of things and "these" are not "their" problems. I guess when these problems eventually touch their nose it will become self-evident. The country slowly but steadily descends towards "hell in a hand basket".

Then again, if you cannot handle short term tactical, what can be expected from you, to deliver on long term strategic.

And so Daryl, if you are reading this, it takes President Obama restating the same message: poverty, illiteracy and disenfrancisement.

Shiv Kumar Batalvi kHta hae: Jo BoDk Hae, Vo Hr pL mR rHa Hae

July 12, 2009


Written by Shahid Batalvi

July 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Analysis

3 Responses

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  1. In Pakistan I\’m sure the same processes which lull Americans into political apathy are in play. Perhaps the "who cares so long as I have my SUV and six pack" is translated to "who cares so long as I have my Honda Accord and pint of Murree" Add to it that political activity in Pakistan tends to have an impact on one\’s life expectency and I\’m not at all surprised that apathy abounds. A cc to America may not be missplaced either.


    August 5, 2009 at 5:50 am

  2. Well said.You would think that in this country in the past eight years with two active war fronts there would have been a higher level of active participation and subsequent outrage rather than just watch the games, go to the mall, "support our troops" and "be patriotic" under the guise of the "Patriot Act".


    August 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm

  3. I\’m staggered by how apparantly oblivious the populace of the wealthiest nation in the world really is – Iraq\’s voter turnout should cause us to hang our heads in shame. I\’m drawn to a quote from Gandhi I\’m surely butchering "You are your government." – that is what woke me up albeit in the last of the 8 years. I\’d complained and grumbled but I stumbled across Gandhi\’s words, got on the net and talked myself into a policy analysis role in a political campaign. (Now if I could just talk myself into a job)


    August 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm

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