Our National Sport: The Blame Game

Originally blogged at The Word Theatre ( http://thewordtheatre.com/2014/06/19/our-national-sport-the-blame-game/ ) on the 19th of June, 2014.

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The police is corrupt, they are the root of all problems. No wait, it is the politicians. Their moral turpitude has brought Pakistan to its knees. Or is it the bureaucrats? Maybe the Judiciary then?

The fact of the matter is that there is not one individual, institution, sect or party to blame. Pakistan’s current state of affairs is down to no one but us Pakistanis. We are all responsible. We haven’t imported the corrupt people in our police, bureaucracy, judiciary and politics. They are from among us, as Pakistani as any one of us.

The problem lies not in our national trait that is corruption but in our human trait of shifting blame instead. Have me bash any individual or group anywhere, any time of the day, and I will gladly do it over a cup of coffee and a few smokes. Try and suggest ways to rid myself of any personal vices or even have a discussion on self improvement and you would be making me uncomfortable.

The psychology behind our national sport; THE BLAME GAME, is that it rids us of guilt. The riddance may be temporary and superficial, nevertheless it is the road most taken. When I blame another for the miseries of my fellow men, I am in turn justifying my own shortcomings as inconsequential. It gives me this satisfaction that I have no role in the despicable state of my country.

Most of us would gladly bribe an official to shave a few minutes off our waiting period in a line for our driver’s license or passport. With those 100 or 200 rupees don’t we also give up our right to criticize corruption and the corrupt? How many drivers do you see who willingly abide by the laws of traffic? Not just the laws laid down, but also the laws of common sense and convenience. Traffic is a very accurate depiction of a nation’s temperament and behavior and our traffic depicts an impatient, inconsiderate and selfish nation. Yet when it comes to ascertaining the cause of our country’s pathetic state of affairs, none of us would hold ourselves responsible for any part in it.

If everyone chooses to worry about his or own self, shun all vices and become a good citizen and human being, there won’t be any problems left. Our beards, prayers, Umrahs and Hajj are not much use if they haven’t even taught us that we are responsible for our actions alone and our effort is what we will be held accountable for. I will not talk my way out of hell by proving that my neighbor was even worse. Similarly I can’t make Pakistan a better place for my children and their children’s children by finding the best place to put blame.

We see our politicians, our elected representatives answering questions raised at their corruption and poor performance with statements like: “previous regime was even worse”. That is the most idiotic reply to allegations on one’s person or political party. But it provides a temporary, superficial riddance and that is all we are after, aren’t we?

Lately I have heard these loud cries for change from many people who haven’t changed anything about themselves. How ridiculous is it to cry for change as if it is your most desired trait and then not change? If I want a corruption free Pakistan I ought to quit being a part of it at any level and in any form. If I want to see honest people representing us in the Assemblies I ought to first be honest myself. I can’t sit and wait for ‘change’ to be thrust upon me from outside, I need to emanate it from within.

For us to begin our journey to progress and prosperity – and NO! we haven’t begun it yet – we need to become a nation, think selflessly, eradicate corruption and the corrupt, educate our children and our selves and, most important of all, we need do concentrate on ourselves and find and apply ways to make ourselves better persons and citizens. It can’t guarantee national prosperity, but it will definitely go a long way in our individual personal growth. Pakistan’s progress might just be a bonus.

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