Seeing the photos of US President Barack Obama cooking burgers with UK PM David Cameron reminded me of the way different countries treat their political leaders. While President Obama is in Europe cooking burgers, over 300 Americans have been killed in violent storms that have wrecked the American heart land. But while the nation’s newspapers report on the devastation caused by these storms, they are not blaming Obama.
This is much different from the way that we treated our own President Zardari, with former diplomats even criticising him as “distant and disconnected from the people” for not canceling his schedule last summer.
As I was comparing these events in my mind, I could not help but think that for all of our complaints about anti-Pakistan media in the West, it seems at times that we can be our own worst enemies. The world’s most wanted terrorist mastermind is discovered in the shade of Kakul and Taliban militants attack our base in Karachi, and we demand that no questions be asked or criticisms made on the agencies responsible for securing the country. The democratically elected leaders, however, are defamed and accused of everything under the sun with not an ounce of proof and yet we are never satisfied with the quantity of venom that we spit on them. Especially now during this orchestrated campaign to silence any questions about security agencies under a demand for ‘unity’, I cannot help but laugh. The only thing we seem to be united about is being unsatisfied. When we live under dictators, we cry out for democracy. When we win our democracy, we wish for dictators.
Floods and tornados can wreck homes and lives, but it is the political storms that can wreck whole nations.