>Who needs a revolution?

>A month or two ago, while I was walking down the long road from the university gate to the department, I overheard two girls expressing deep dissatisfaction over the present government’s efforts “for the people”. One was zealously expressing the need for the people to stand up for themselves, and according to her what was needed, was a revolution and no less.
I smiled and moved on.

But several weeks later we saw how a young man who set himself on fire in Tunisia sparked a series of revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya. Does Pakistan need one too?  I think not. . .

 Zine ul Abidine Ben Ali  been ruling since 1987, two years before I was born. Hosni Mubarak had been ruling for 30 years, while Colonel Gaddafi has been ruling for more than 40 years to date.
In Egypt and Libya, the main demand of the protesting masses is the basic right of freedom of dissent from the two dictators.

This budding media scene is in sharp contrast to the environment created by Col Gaddafi in the decades since he came to power in 1969. Under his restrictions newspapers and broadcasters have exercised self-censorship and according to the media rights body Reporters Without Borders, press freedom has been “virtually non-existent”.

The government of former President Ben Ali tightly controlled the press and broadcasting. But in the immediate wake of the January 2011 popular revolt, many journalists were able to enjoy new-found freedoms. State TV – which had toed the government line – changed tack, giving airtime to the former opposition.Under Mr Ben Ali, press codes shaped coverage and stipulated fines and prison sentences for violators. Journals were screened before publication and self-censorship was widespread. Websites which criticised the government were often blocked.

His National Democratic Party (NDP) monopolised political power through a mixture of constitutional manipulation, repression and rigged elections, cronyism, and the backing of powerful foreign allies.
The main drivers of the unrest have been poverty, rising prices, social exclusion, anger over corruption and personal enrichment among the political elite, and a demographic bulge of young people unable to find work.

Out of the three countries Egypt had problems closest to Pakistan. But, the protesters in Tahrir Square demanded their basic human rights which indicated the frustration over alternative political allegiances, other than the National Democratic Party. Egypt is the media-hub of the Arab world which makes it the odd one out out of the three revolution hit countries.Despite that, media persons could be prosecuted for directly attacking the President and his close officials.  

 While Tunisia has enjoyed economic stability what it didn’t offer along with Libya was the freedom of press.

While Pakistanis may lack the liberty of being given various rights provided under the law, one they have access to, and exercise with carelessness is the right to express themselves. Everyone and anyone has an opinion and they express it. We have a multitude of political parties, and people are free to associate themselves with any of them. There is open satire on our leaders and public figures and our leaders bear with it. Often times than not, the very freedom of press becomes liability as well.

 While many Pakistanis talk of a revolution that would solve all the problems of food, health, shelter, security, … another system to replace the one that is not working as well as they hoped it would. That my friends is just the problem. There have been too many changes and revolutions- the Arab style revolution has already hit Pakistan when the public demanded the resignation of Gen.Ayub Khan. We have had leaders sway our country from liberal left to the Islamic right.  Swati militants wanted a revolution. That wouldn’t have done us any good either.

 So when I hear the people talk about a revolution, it gets drowned in all the noise that’s supposed to make the harmony of a stable governance. We have an orchestra, but it only produces music when each musician plays only his instrument at the right time. We need harmony, not noise, and we definitely don’t need a revolution.


Filed under Tehmina

15 responses to “>Who needs a revolution?

  1. >I agree to the fact that we dont need a revolution; we might have similar problems as Egypt is having but still there is a difference which cant be ignored. Our country is itself divided into 4 groups; the 4 provinces..each fighting for their own well being. where do we stand? we just need to be on the same page so that we can move forward with same vision in mind.. only than we would be able to call Pakistan as Nation..RegardsMuneeb Khaliq

  2. >I am impressed 🙂

  3. >Muneeb we have problems close to Egypt but thats there is to it. That is exactly the point I am trying to make that there is already too much going on. A revolution would only weaken whatever systematic governance we have left. Ammar, appreciate it.

  4. >u write very well keep it up:)

  5. >well written Tehmina, It's true to some extend that we don't need revolution but you tell me how this is going to solve our problems?? Yes, I agree we don't need noise.Before anything all we desperately need is a Unity of a nation, that unity which made the dream of Iqbal and efforts of Quaid possible. Yes, indeed we need a revolution to bring our nation together under one common goal 🙂

  6. >Anonymous, thank you. Sabahat. Common goal, under Quaid and Iqbal are debatable. Rather highly debatable. Lets deal with that in another post. There is too much going on already. We need to focus on the efforts to strengthen the institutions already working.

  7. >Excellent. Love it…..:)

  8. >Good work, Tehmina. powerful piece. 🙂

  9. >Hey Tehmina….nice work!!…:)yaar the essence tht i caught here is tht it was the lack of freedom of expression in Egypt Tunisia and Libya tht brought forth the revolution and since we enjoy it in Pakistan we do not need to follow the footsteps of these states…par yaar to my knowledge, i might be wrong…the main reason for revolution is somewhere connected to economic wellbeing in Egypt and Tunisia…for Libya i guess the freedom of expression is the case….though even Libya is not doing much well in economic terms…..in Tunisia i guess it was the corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy tht lead to tht young mans tragic death…..and in Egypt too it was somewhere associated with rising inflation unemployment etc etc………….Pakistan has the same problems and i dont knw whether revolution is the answer or not…..but one thing is for sure….this system of ours is not working…for decades now…..and when sweeping changes r the requirement…noise is created….yeah but well sometimes world has also seen silent revolutions tht r not highlighted much…we can hope to have a taste of one this time in our country…..

  10. >Me likes girl…good job 🙂

  11. >Rabail and Manam, thank you! Narjis. Point is, that these countries had been under a dictatorship-read, a system people weren;t happy with for 20, 30 and 40 years respectively. As for Pakistan, we do have economic problems but our situation is very different from that of these countries. Here, there have been too many sweeping changes, from the Islamic Socialisation to the Sharia Law, to lawyer's movement, to the war on terror. Too much! What I imply by all this is that systems are all in place. We only need to clean them out and make them efficient. Revolution in the context of replacing a system no, but recolution of the minds, yes.

  12. >Oh and thank you! 🙂

  13. >i agree…revolution of minds is the need..it has always been….but i dont feel its on the agenda…or evr was…:(((…..

  14. >That just the problem!

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