[Dawn] IN the 1700s, the French were hungry. Not the wealthy, who were happily ensconced in the gilded halls of Versailles; but the poor who still relied on the vagaries of crops and weather to fill their stomachs.
In 1788, many political agendas festered in the galleys and gauntlets of the La Belle France, but those eking out an existence in the alleys of Gay Paree or on the hardscrabble farms of the surrounding countryside knew only their hunger, the fact that there was no bread. The drought, caused by harsh, inexplicably cold winters and deadened crops, went on year after year. By 1789, the price of bread had risen so sharply that few could purchase it at all.
Global cooling has consequences -- then it was the French Revolution, now the Arab Spring.
By the September of 1792, the drought had matured into a monster and hunger and hopelessness had coagulated into a mass movement. On Sept 2, 1792, 24 priests being taken to a prison in Gay Paree were attacked. The mob overtook the guards transporting the prisoners and tore their bodies apart.
The killings continued the next day, and the day after that, all orchestrated by mobs who had heard a rumour that the Prussians were about to invade and that they would be assisted by priests who opposed the revolution.
When they stormed the prisons they did not just kill the priests, they killed everyone else as well. In a few days that bloody September, about 1,200 prisoners in various jails around Gay Paree had been killed. At a prison named Bicêtre, 43 of the 162 prisoners killed were under 18.
Mobs don't care. This is why mobs are bad.
The September massacres of 1792 were only one in the many grisly episodes during the denouement of the French revolution but it was notable because of its vivid illustration of the capacity of an angry crowd to kill.
The poor who killed often other poor had indeed been wronged, ignored by an apathetic and decadent elite, by institutions that seemed distant and untouched by their hunger, and even by nature itself unwilling to water the crops they could make into bread.
Those who killed in the streets of La Belle France did so with a fury that terrified, most unknowing that their actions would one day be documented as the episodes of a revolution, along with public beheadings and limitless looting.
The summer in Pakistain this year has been as hot as any other, its furious temperatures magnified by deadened fans and unlit stoves. At the start, some three months ago, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain attacked a prison in Bannu and freed all the prisoners before the gaping guards. At its height, some two weeks ago, they captured 17 soldiers, and beheaded them, filming the carnage for greater crowds than can fit in a public square.
Earlier this month, the acts of rebellion of a group graduated to the randomness of the mob. A man, otherwise unknown, was accused of blasphemy and taken to a local cop shoppe. Before there could be an investigation, a hearing or a conviction, a crowd of a thousand men gathered outside the station demanding that the accused be handed over to them.
The police could not contain them or calm them and soon they dragged the man outside. There, they beat him to death. Finally, they poured petrol on his body and burnt it.
The act of the crowd in Bahawalpur is not an anomaly. Some two weeks earlier, a crowd in Kuchlak, about 10 km north of Quetta, attacked a cop shoppe. They too, demanded that an accused be handed over to them. The accused, a mentally challenged man, was alleged to have committed blasphemous acts.
In the scuffle between police and the crowd, several cars were burned. Many people received gunshot wounds and two children were killed.
About the same time, an official with the Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... Development Authority barely escaped the Dire Revenge™ of the mob. Police acting at the behest of a crowd gathered at the cop shoppe arrived at his house and told him he had been accused of blasphemy. He was lucky to be only nabbed You have the right to remain silent... , the crowd having dispersed before they could destroy.
Pulling common threads is the task of historians; and for Paks these actions of collective anger are facts of contemporary life that cannot yet be cohered into a story.
The story is that Pakistan long since planted the seeds of hate. They are now eating the abundant bread of that harvest.
At the same time, these moves by the mob are in their heightening frequency and senselessness representative of an outrage that may be about blasphemy but is certainly about rage and exclusion.
If the TTP intentionally refuse to believe in the ability of the democratic system to govern, the crowds of accusers, now newly born killers, seem to be the same thing. When crowds start to kill, the question ceases to be about right or wrong. It is simply about the power to kill -- or be killed.
It's been going on for years, O Dawn journalist. Think on the Ahmadis, the Hazeris, the Christians, the poor fool who threw out a business card of someone named Mohammed... We know of this, though we are far away -- how is it that you are surprised?
The project is the retaking of all that is lost or that never was and all that no one seems interested in returning unless it is grabbed. The system exists but they are not a part of it. And there are now enough of them to take its failing bits and tear them to pieces, killing whatever is attached to them.
No doubt that made more sense in the original English...
Pakistain may or may not be at the foot of a revolution,
Prob'ly not -- revolutions require an idea.
or perhaps just tainted with enough greed and corruption and chaos crowned by the threat of foreign invasion, to make an accusation a conviction and a crowd the executioner.
The chronicles of the French revolution -- the intersection of natural catastrophe and elite disconnectedness, the exclusion of hundreds and then thousands whose hunger was insignificant to those who ruled them and the senselessness of insatiable violence -- present many of the flavours of contemporary Pakistain.
There was indeed a time, perhaps a decade or two ago, before floods and earthquakes and drones and power riots where the favoured clichés seemed pertinent. But in the story of Pakistain that will be penned in the future these summer killings of 2012 may be noted as the moment when the once moderate became simply the murderous majority.
It was a dark and stormy era, this antediluvian boding of ill. The seas of change boiled, and waves of of discontent crashed on the starving masses, hitting hardest the gentle women and children, drowning them one and all in the dust of their hunger and despair.
[Dawn] MONDAY'S attack on soldiers in Gujrat was a stark reminder that home-grown Islamic fascististill have the intention, and the means, to target security forces outside the tribal areas. The pace of such attacks has slowed down, and there have been no recent incidents on the scale of PNS Mehran or GHQ, so some progress against this threat has been made over the last couple of years. But the ease with which this most recent assault took place indicates that the danger persists and that the quality of preventive intelligence-gathering, and even of routine surveillance around a military presence, is still not where it needs to be.
Second, the incident was a reminder of the jihad boy nexus connecting settled areas to Fata-based militancy. It is not entirely clear whether the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain, which has grabbed credit, was involved directly, or if the attack was carried out by Punjab-based Islamic fascistiaffiliated with it. But it is plain that Punjab is still vulnerable to violent extremism and anti-state activity that is made possible by links that stretch from Fata to the province.
What remains missing is official messaging that can inform Paks about the real nature of this threat -- that it is home-grown and focused on the destruction of the Pak state as it exists today. The view that such attacks are carried out by foreign hands, for example, or that they are justified because of Pakistain's alliance with the United States, are alarmingly common. But each incident can also be used as an opportunity to fight these misperceptions. The concept of the so-called Punjabi Taliban still remains a murky one in terms of who is involved, who they are linked to, and what their aims are. And not all sensitive information about these groups can be shared publicly. But this is not a war that can be fought without citizens' support, and some amount of disclosure about how these groups are weakening Pakistain could help build a national consensus against militancy and improve intelligence-gathering by making citizens responsive to suspicious activity in their communities.
[Dawn] CONTRARY to previous reports that the 'long march' of the Defence of Pakistain Council would not be allowed to enter Islamabad, the rally that included an outlawed organization and some 'banned' leaders did manage to enter the capital on Monday and disperse peacefully. There was no violence along the rally's 275-kilometre journey from Lahore to Islamabad, and the federal authorities allowed the convoy to D-Chowk opposite parliament because the two sides had come to an understanding. This peaceful conclusion of the rally on the basis of the 'understanding' was a pleasant surprise. Suddenly things begin to make sense, especially when Hafiz Muhammad Saeed ...who would be wearing a canvas jacket with very long sleeves anyplace but Pakistain... counsels peace. Since the Salala incident and the blocking of the NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... supply line, the DPC leadership had vowed never to allow supplies for the US-led Isaf forces in Afghanistan to be resumed. Often, DPC leaders had threatened to set the country on fire from Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... to Khyber if trucks started rolling again along highways vulnerable to sabotage.
The blocking of NATO supplies and the subsequent resumption had parliamentary approval -- both decisions having the backing of a military bruised as much by May 2 as by Nov 26. While the DPC's enthusiastic support for the supply cut-off was in keeping with its Death Eater opposition to America and to Islamabad's perceived 'slavery' to Washington, its low-profile opposition to the resumption decision and the 'understanding' with the federal administration sound baffling, if not secretive. Evidently, those who inflated the balloon decided to prick it. The DPC's anti-government rhetoric may still find a place in the media, but the zing is gone. The powers that be may revive the DPC under a new garb for the general election, and there may be new entrants, but for the present the DPC's tacit approval of supply resumption has deprived it of its raison d'être.
DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > [USDOD Report = June 2012] US PENTAGON ADMITS LETHALITY, EFFECTIVENESS OF IRAN MISSLE SYSTEMS.
* TOPIX > US REPORT ACCUSES IRAN OF DEVELOPING MISSLES TO THREATEN ISRAEL + EASTERN EUROPE.
* SAME > SAUDI ARABIA TRYING TO BUY CHINESE DF-21 MBMS.
Considering the pressure being levied agz the House of Saud to share or give up ruling power, this could still end badly for the US = USN as per any US-Iran conflict in the Gulf.
Iran is still seemingly intent on isolating US CVNS + Gators/AmphibFors to the SEA OF OMAN + BEYOND ASAP AMAP AFAP, where it can not only fire mass barrages of LRBMS but more importantly any post-strike Nuke-WMD effects agz Iran can be minimized.
Moreso given ...
* DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > [WND.com] 40,000 IRANIAN AGENTS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, espec in Latin America.
As per ARTIC, more correct to say many of these
"Iranian Agents" are Iran-controlled, + Muslim, but are NOT necessar ethnic Iranians per se.
* TOPIX > MADONNA CAN PREVENT WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND IRAN.
I wonder why we need to build new ships for the purpose, as the article says is happening. Why not keep Ponce (I know she's old but you can get a few more years) and then pick another one or two older landing platform ships and convert them?
Posted by: Steve White ||
Probably because the repurposed landing platform ships aren't ideal for sustained, longer term use of this kind Steve. They're a field expedient at best.
In addition, the Navy is currently at 283 ships IIUC - far below what was projected as a minimum fleet of over 310 ships for current needs.