the serious second list of epic shares

August 10, 2010

I was organizing my bookmarks when I came across these three. I remember that I was planning on sharing them on this blog, since they serve myself as well (I’ve kindof started using this place as a mini-bookmark portal for myself).

1. “How we’re all ‘corrupt’ ” by Talat Farooq.

But how does this delegation of tyrannical power come about in a society? A powerful argument is that the delegation of unchecked power to an individual or a group occurs when the civil society, especially the intelligentsia, surrenders its own natural rights, and the rights of the voiceless millions dependent on it, either because it has corrupt elements within its own ranks or because it does not wish to abandon its comfort zone related to physical survival. So the roots of tyranny leading to corrupt practices are not in the unlimited power of the elite but, more significantly, in the social acceptance of their behaviour.

Understandably, after six decades of repressed anger, it gives us a sense of empowerment to be able to condemn the corrupt elite. However, at the same time, we tend to justify bribe-taking by middleclass and lower-middleclass workers as something necessary for survival in an unfair society, and during “such hard times.” This rationale has spawned a culture of socially acceptable corruption at the lower levels. Every time one deals with the ordinary non-elite citizens of Pakistan–from the butcher and the grocer to the building contractor and the labourer, and from the hairdresser and the tailor to the clerk at the counter–one keeps getting this distinct feeling all the time of getting fleeced.

*sigh* You can talk about how the poor really are simply fighting for survival, and you may be right. I don’t know. But I do believe that true change can’t simply come from the top – it has to come from all levels, top to bottom. That is why small, unknown NGOs, activists and social workers are just as important as a good politican, lawyer or mediaperson.

2. “Perils of everyday commute” by Faiza Moatasim.

It seems that their underlying objective is to furnish the commuting needs of private car owners only. These include widening of roads or installation of overhead bridges and underpasses, construction of parking structures or the deployment of traffic constables, to name the most obvious. It is an established fact in traffic management and even commonsensical that the problem of traffic congestion cannot be solved by indefinitely building new roads and bridges but in reducing the number of vehicles on roads at a given time. What we need is an efficient and ‘humane’ public transportation system not only for the usual commuter but which can also lure private-car owners to use it.

I have a confession here – I remember reading back in primary school about how the number of roads are taken as a the level of development of a country. And I was in a class with twenty other children, no? There are probably lots of people with this misconception even now, and just like me, haven’t come out of it by their own thinking.

3. “Spiritual Malaria” by Nadeem Paracha. Intro:-

A recent fatwa from a ‘Saudi Council of Muftis’ has this advice for fellow Muslims: Do not say [or write] ‘mosque.’ Always say ‘masjid’ because mosque may mean mosquito. Another myopic case of Saudi malaria perhaps?

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