Friday, May 17, 2013

Of shattered hopes and renewed expectations

white paper

Dear outgoing government people,

Hello, and congratulations on completing your five year tenure as the Government of Pakistan. It isn’t clear whether one should be impressed or appalled by the fact that you guys are the first Pakistani government to ever do so. At any rate, I would like to tell you that you did a great job running this country. Well, I WOULD like to tell you that, but I can’t because I’m quite fond of the current size of my nose and don’t particularly want it to become longer; it just wouldn’t suit me is all.

At any rate, you are now a part of the history of this country, and will forever remain so, no matter how much some of us may wish that we could, well, wish you away. Wouldn’t it be something if we could just collectively wake up from the nightmare that has been the last decade and find ourselves in a country that is peaceful, prosperous, and actually has electricity for more than half the day?

Speaking of which … what exactly DID your administration have against electricity? The reasons for your deep-rooted hatred for power generation never became fully apparent to me. What was up with the whole no power for 12 or 15 or 18 hours a day thing? Was it the misappropriation of funds, the lack of power plants, the unavailability of natural gas, or just plain misadministration? Or were you simply trying to make us more grateful for what we have, as we yearned for the good old times when there was only 6 hours of load shedding per day, while teaching us endurance and patience? In which case, touché! Lesson learned.

Before we go any further, I would like to clarify that I do fully appreciate the efforts that you did make to turn Pakistan into an even better country. For instance, who can forget your response to that marathon bombing after which you guys brought the whole city to a standstill while you quickly identified the two suspects, combed the entire area for these men, and didn’t rest until you found both culprits, and … oh wait, that was America. Sorry, my bad. I'm sure you would have done something about the bombings and shooting too had they not turned into white noise over the years. But hey, you did make the valiant effort of turning off our mobile phones, so who can say you guys weren’t as dynamic and effective as the American forces?

While with the Americans, it was an unforgettable highlight of your regime when the U.S. Navy SEALS violated our sovereignty to carry out a covert operation in Abbottabad and assassinate the most wanted man in the universe, he who must not be named. It’s hard to decide whether his presence in this country or the U.S. operation, right under your noses yet without your knowledge, was more shocking. Or maybe it was your inability to stop the U.S. drone attacks in our north western regions? How about I leave it up to you? You can let me know what you found most appalling. Send me a tweet when you figure it out.

I’d say leave a message on my YouTube video wherein I read this letter to you, but you have very astutely made that impossible. I applaud your decision to block an entire portal that hosts millions of useful, educational, and entertaining clips because of one man’s display of stupidity and insensitivity, instead of only blocking that depraved piece of work. That’s just the kind of smart and intelligent administration that you were. Letting one degenerate disrupt something for millions of people is always the right way to go.

As we part, I would like to thank you for being coerced into holding elections this May. Leaving just might be the best thing you did for this country. You will forever have our gratitude for it. Now let’s see if you have brought this country to the point where we think your best replacement is an ex cricket player, or if we still need more lessons in patience and endurance and therefore opt to go for five more years under the likes of you.

Oh and thanks for the inflation too. We would have had no idea what to do with all our money without your help, so muchos gracias for making sure that all of it goes towards feeding our families and putting food on the table. If we’re lucky enough, that is. And my commiserations to you for the Supreme Court’s efforts to thwart your attempts of becoming the richest people in Switzerland. Maybe next time.

Despairingly yours,

A citizen who may or may not be a teeny tiny little bit disgruntled


Dear new government folk,

Hello, and congratulations on winning the elections. It brings me great joy to see you in power, because now you will improve the education system, help business flourish, eradicate poverty, fix the energy crisis, and bring peace to this country, just as you promised. I, of course, believe all your promises. Partly because no matter how hard you and your predecessors have tried, I still carry the hope in my heart that someday someone will prove that the term “honest politician” isn’t an oxymoron. And partly because I’m a gullible idiot. Well, mostly because I’m a gullible idiot.

Which makes what I’m about to say all the more important: for the love of what’s left of my sanity (and you can very clearly see that not much remains), please do something about the load shedding. I am not so much close to losing my marbles as I am to taking all my marbles and then smashing them to smithereens with a giant hammer. Yes, we are a resilient people, but that doesn’t mean you have to take our resilience as a challenge. Give us a break. And don’t, for the second time in a row, make us regret our collective democratic choice.

Democracy, as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, is a peculiar thing. First we watch you all sling mud at each other for a while; then – after all your faults and flaws have been thoroughly highlighted – anoint one of you as our leader; and then wonder why things aren’t getting better for our country. A tongue in cheek political ideology suggests that anyone who wants to be a politician shouldn’t be allowed to be one, and the last few years add credence to this claim. Despite all that, there’s a sense of empowerment and exhilaration that comes with the electoral process, one that isn’t diminished by the fact that we have to choose between less than ideal options. Ultimately, and perhaps in a triumph of hope over experience, it is still good to see that we have now elected you as our new government and done so despite the many uncertainties that surrounded the process.

Once again, a most hearty hurrah to you on making the utterly splendid decision of opting to take the reins of a country that is about as stable as francium. By some celestial miracle, be different and be better. Be the anomaly. Be the change we yearn for and deserve. As they say, third time’s the charm.

May the force be with you. Heaven knows you’ll need it.

Skeptically yours,

A disgruntled citizen who is trying really hard to fake optimism

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 17th May, 2013

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