Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An analysis

Writing in the Guardian Pankaj Mishra provides a sensible analysis of the situation in Pakistan. In particular his response to the view of many western pundits is refreshingly sane. He comments on this statement from Joe Klein in Time about a meeting Holbrooke had with students in Peshawar:

But the most telling meeting was with young adults, many of them students, from the northwest tribal areas. A young man said he had known one of those killed in a Predator drone strike. "You killed 10 members of his family," he said. Another said the refugees created by the Predator strikes had destabilized his village. "Are many of them Taliban?" Holbrooke asked.

"We are all Taliban," the young man replied. It seemed a statement of solidarity, not affiliation, but as a way of revealing how mixed loyalties and deep resentments make Pakistan so difficult to handle, it was shocking all the same.

To which Mishra says:

One wishes Klein had paused to wonder if people anywhere else would wholeheartedly support a foreign power that "collaterally" murders 50 relatives and friends from the air for every militant killed.

And in reference to a comment by India's answer to Thomas Friedman:

But this does not amount to popular endorsement of drone attacks. Last month Fareed Zakaria informed Jon Stewart on the Daily Show that Pakistan is emerging from its state of denial since his Pakistani friends, who previously opposed the drone attacks, now tell him: "You know what? If that's the only thing that will work, kill those guys." Some members of Pakistan's tiny elite, where Zakaria's native informants come from, may long to exterminate the brutes: they fear, often correctly, Islamic extremists as embodying the rage and frustration of the country's underprivileged majority. But as the suffering of civilians in Swat becomes known, the highly qualified public support for military action will wane quickly.

It is an interesting article and well worth a read.

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