January 25, 2008

Alternative realities

THIS is with reference to your editorial,’Alternative realities’(Jan 14). Long ago, I heard the story of a king who wanted his subjects to show some courage. He was deeply concerned that despite being subjected to all kinds of indignities, they were apathetic and did not protest.He asked his ministers to hoard flour. They did so, the price of flour soared. but the citizens were silent. He got all the sugar in his domain smuggled to a neighbouring country, yet his followers meekly accepted the situation. Finally, he ordered his soldiers to whip the peasants, workers and all others as they were on their way to their workplaces. After a week, he saw a few of his subjects approaching the palace. Aha, he said to himself, now they have come to protest! But imagine his surprise when the leader said: “Sire, we’re sure your soldiers thrash us early in the morning because you think it’s in the national interest. But we would prefer to be hammered in the evening, when we’re returning from work, as being whipped in the morning affects our productivity.” That is the state of Pakistanis today. They have lost the will to protest and will continue suffering because they know that things will always go from bad to worse, no matter who heads the government.