WE, AS a nation, are obsessed with conspiracy theories. It’s become our national pastime. It’s fashionable to attribute everything from the floods to the cricket scandal to a global conspiracy against Pakistan.
It’s surprising to see the number of ‘educated’ individuals of the bourgeois who think that the world as we know it is run by a group of Zionist Jews who sit in a secret room deep in the Pentagon and conspire against Pakistan. There, this cabal wearing black robes and holding bloody daggers thinks of ways to undermine our nation. They used HAARP to cause the floods. And Photoshop to incriminate our cricketers. And don’t forget how the lasers they had hidden in the Margalla hills shot down the Air Blue jet.
9/11 must have been a conspiracy and the suicide attacks that bleed Pakistan continuously could never have been done by the Taliban. It must be a Zionist-Hindu-American-Blackwater-Xe conspiracy. Haven’t you heard that the bombers were actually Sikh RAW agents in disguise? It’s all India’s doing. They are the ones causing agitation in Baluchistan. They are the ones who fight us with ‘water terrorism’, whatever that is. Pakistan is under developed because of the Illuminati and Freemasons. Not because of years of military dictatorship that left only one viable institution in the country: the army.
Democracy is an evil, ‘Western’, ‘forgein’ concept. And how can it work in a country where the ‘masses’ are illiterate? And since politics is dirty and democracy clearly isn’t for us, let’s have ‘enlightened despotism’. We are an idiotic nation that needs a dashing ruler on horseback (and in his khaki uniform). Oh and don’t forget to give him a big stick to keep us in line.
This is the kind of garbage that is floated about in our drawing rooms and by our civil society.
But why are we so venerable to these ‘theories’? Conspiracy theories offer an easy way out. They seem to reduce the complex, chaotic social earthquakes of our world into a manageable, nay, fantastic framework that is as spectacular as it is sinister.
These theories speak of a deep insecurity. They speak of a deep-seated desire to know that social ripples are not random but are systematic, thought-out, long-term strategies by a cabal of men. Psychologists attribute this belief to a need by some to know that man isn’t adrift but part of a scheme. This belief further implies that the evil group can be defeated (or joined).
Conspiracy theories are an easy way out. Unfortunately, we are at a stage where there are no shortcuts, no ‘quick-fixes’. Instead of looking outward, it’s time for us to look in and see what we have become. It’s easy to place the blame on outside forces and that is exactly what we are guilty of doing.
Enough of this nonsense! Enough of this intolerance! Enough of this myopia! Instead of sipping coffee and bemoaning the state of the our ‘becharay’ proletariat, Pakistan’s ‘educated’ class would do well to get up and help Pakistan achieve its rightful place among the civilised nations of the world.
This requires constructive criticism, not blatant pessimism. It requires us to use our common sense. It requires tolerance of those who are different in religion, ethnicity and political ideology. It requires us to actually listen to the other person’s point of view before agreeing or disagreeing. How someone who does not know and practice this can claim to be ‘educated’ is beyond me. But Pakistan is full to the seams with such educated illiterates.
Although it’s now clichéd, Kennedy was right on the mark when he said that ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your country’.