Why can’t we learn from this man?
It continues to amaze me how very often it is the least educated people in society who make the most sense. Fazal, who is a driver, picked me up from Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad on Wednesday evening. On the way to the Guest House we had a very intense conversation on everything from politics to education to healthcare and, believe it or not, street protests.
Amongst other things, Fazal asked me why it was that:
1. Other countries have at least some sincere political leaders who have led their nations to great heights when we have not had a single leader, since 1948 to date, who has come to office without a personal agenda, someone who simply wanted to help this country reach it’s true potential. Did we really deserve this fate, he wanted to know. We are good people who work hard to make an honest living. We love this country and continue to have high hopes for it, he said. When will those hopes be realized?
2. Protests take place in every country, said Fazal, and people should have the right to voice their opinion. However, he had seen that when people protested in most other countries, most of them did so in a disciplined way. Even when there were hundreds of thousands of them they stuck to the route that was assigned to them, they didn’t destroy property or resort to violence or intimidation. Why was it, he asked, that 9 times out of 10, when we went out onto the streets especially under the auspices of political parties, we ended up causing chaos and damaging public property? When will we learn, he asked, that we only hurt ourselves when we burnt vehicles and shops.
3. A good education, sufficient food to sustain oneself and healthcare when it was needed, was the right of the citizens of every State, said this amazing man. He said that he knew that not all States were able to provide all these benefits to all their citizens but at least one could see that they were making an effort. Why, asked Fazal, did our leaders not even try to fulfill these needs for the average Pakistani? They were so busy scoring points off each other and filling their own pockets that they didn’t even see the hopes and aspirations with which their electorate looked toward them?
I was speechless – didn’t quite know what to say to him. Here was a man without the benefits of an education who had just voiced the thoughts that go through the minds of many of us often. I wanted to say something to reassure him but I couldn’t. All I could do was agree with him and wish that someone like Fazal could be voted to office and given all the support he needed. With his wisdom, his integrity and his sincerity, we could possibly embark on the right path. Despite all these questions that went through his mind, Fazal still managed to be optimistic and confident that one day things would improve. God keep you safe Fazal and may you see a change in your lifetime.
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Location:Benazir Bhutto International Airport
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