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The International Writers Magazine: Comment -
Note : written during the military reign of Pervez Musharraf. But nothing much has really changed despite a recent election.

The Better Patriot.
• Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani
It’s a funny thing, patriotism. I must have been born with some sort of planetary mayhem in my natal charts to be so flighty about it, never deciding in my mind on which end of the map I’d want to stick to. I think I’m more of a wanderer.

It’s a funny thing, patriotism. I must have been born with some sort of planetary mayhem in my natal charts to be so flighty about it, never deciding in my mind on which end of the map I’d want to stick to. I think I’m more of a wanderer.

Once I was accused of eating the grain of my country, yet criticizing it whilst shamelessly residing in it; inadvertently projecting non-patriotism toward it. Under my nonchalant days, I’d have brushed aside the statement with catty verbal sarcasm, but being a girl who likes speaking the last word, I thought I go the extra length of the yard and put it in ink.

My answer to that is really simple: I may criticize my country, but I don’t slay it in the guise of patriotism, and for that I am the better patriot. I choose to be liberal rather than a murderer, who in one hand holds the country’s flag and in the other a gun to shoot kin with, all in the name of patriotism. The pro-democrats of our country reckon it is far better to reign with a weaker democracy than a workable anarchy (what they called Musharraf); which is paradoxical to speak because we are killing kin depicting widely extremism whilst forbidding anarchism. So, if a person holds a gun to my face and says I am wrong and unlawful for saying “I don’t like the people of my country”, where in the same breath these supporters of democracy bear guns forcing my acquiescence [freedom of speech, hello!], I should squeal in gratitude for awakening me of ignorance? That’d be a little hard for just a minute ago I was victim to street-level anarchism! Where I stand as the better patriot, they do as political patriots.
The street-level tyrants of our country are the radicals [yes, we are hypocrites. We’d rather shout on the street-level than on the supreme level, and if we do, we call it democracy. Yes, we need a lesson in it, and yes, we are totally arrogant to deny it]. We like to call them radicals to credit leverage to their dark, forbidden [by the other countries for practicing freedom of speech, hello again!] statures marching up and down the same street [and calling it a city march] of their neighbouring block [God forbid people throw stones at their homes, other peoples’ homes will do just fine].

Our protests are organised catering to weather conditions; dates are set only after the weather has been predicted favourably, so the torture of walking bare faced and feet is minimal, after all we are God-fearing people and don’t believe in self-torture!

So, my question again is: why am I grilled for mocking a disintegrating democracy in face of a functioning anarchy (military man Musharraf)? I thought our motto was: “country first”. Would we really overthrow a government that works only because it isn’t democratic? Would we fill our heads with lies than practical proof of improved living conditions? Would we deny all development over the years only because we can’t remember it or refuse to acknowledge it? What baffles me the most is if we are all for one and one for all democracy, why do we appoint rulers who have been at it, in vain, for decades endless? I guess we are an insecure nation and we do not trust any rookies to take over our land to rein it to probable growth, hence we re-trust those who’ve broken us once already. I say, it’s a funny game, love!

All this and I am still questioning when shall we ever have a neutral and new democratic government that works for the country and not against it. There is a fine line between naivety and stupidity and the people of every nation teeter on that fine line. It’s a crime to invade innocence, and the politicians do just that on our short-term memories. It’s like cancer that brings immortality. People at their helpless best join it if they can’t fight it, caught in a quagmire of pre-panned [in most times, staged] economical suppression to obstruct memory of what happened then to analyze the now. It’s the best game to play, confuse if you can’t convince.

Politics, I believe, is a game of manipulation playing at this weakness of us common people, and if at the least we could just love them for it.
Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani

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