“We the people…”

By: Humayun Gauhar 

“Listen America: You are agog. You don’t understand what’s going on. Why China has you by the throat. Why your neatly crafted world is unravelling. Why, why, why… It’s time to wake up, time to learn lessons. Time to pull your head out of the sand.

Consider the first three words of your Declaration of Independence – “We the people…” They apply not just to your people; they apply to all humanity. We  too have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 
“Why do people hate us so?” you wonder in genuine bewilderment. “Why, after we have given more money to the world than any country ever has? Our hegemony  has been consensual, not coercive.” Consensus with our rapacious    ruling elite in thrall of you, cloned by the British colonizer to be his foreman, mentally chained to all things western, is the worst form of coercion.

“They envy our way of life and wish to destroy it.” Who is ‘they’?

‘They’ is the wretched of the earth, the teeming billions that you few lord over. ‘They’ is ‘people’, not just Muslims, though you have been brainwashed into believing that this is only a Muslim predilection. The awakenings amongst the Arabs are not about political Islam or political systems: they are about economics and suffocation, to loosen the stranglehold of your satraps and henchmen around their throats. Speak to ordinary people anywhere in the world and you will find that the majority, except perhaps their ruling elite and the Israelis, harbors some degree of dislike or mistrust of you. Ask yourself: “Is everyone mad, or are we alienated from reality?”

You retort: “Then why do they want to come to our country?” For precisely the same reason that you went to America and decimated the natives: for economic advantage. That is why colonizers got into our countries, not because they love us. We, on the other hand, come in peace. Let me help you recall the sonnet written by Emma Lazarus that is placed inside the pedestal of your Statue of Liberty.

‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 
With conquering limbs astride from land to land; 
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand 
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame 
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name 
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand 
Glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she 
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ 

How far you have have strayed from your ideals? Stop fooling yourself. Get certain things straight. No one envies your way of life. We actually wish we could also have some of the good things that you do. You prevent us from getting them by supporting unpopular rulers and inept governments to whom you give endless loans that you know will be stolen and misapplied and never repaid. We end up indebted to the gills, our future mortgaged forever. So wrong and thoughtless are you about debt that you have even mortgaged the future of your own children. Every newborn American is presented with a debt of over $43,500. Is that a good present to give your children?

Get another thing straight: we don’t hate you; we hate your governments’ policies that impact us adversely. We like and admire Americans. You are amongst the easiest people to get along with. We who have many American friends will vouch that they are good friends. You are open, welcoming, voluble and easy to break the ice with. 
There are many things about you that we admire. Your Declaration of Independence is one of the finest pieces of writing by Man. “We the people…” says it all, underlining the paramountcy of humanity. We admire your constitution and cherish its ideals more than you do, for you have started taking them for granted. When we are critical of you it is because we want those same values and ideals for ourselves, but your country’s policies won’t let us have them. You have no right to stop us from getting them.

We admire your exceptionalism, your huge knowledge bank, the strides you have made in all branches of science, particularly in surgery and genetics. Why, just the mapping of nearly the entire human genome is mind boggling, as are your plans to build colonies on moons and planets and tear the skies and make contact with intelligent life in other galaxies.

But don’t protect one country at the cost of the many. Stop meddling in our affairs. Don’t support rulers that are odious. Stop lecturing us and foisting your systems down our throats. Instead, encourage us to forge a democracy of our own that will work for us, just like you did,. You did not ape your former colonizers. Why must we?

Stop listening to fear mongers. Osama Bin Laden doesn’t represent either Islam or the Muslim world. He is your creation. The Middle East is not going fundamentalist. If you help craft an equitable solution to the Israeli and Kashmir disputes, not least because you and the British created them, you will find that most Muslim freedom struggles that you call ‘terrorism’ will go away. As the world’s premier power, it is not only for your own good, it is your duty that suffers no dereliction. If the Palestinians get a viable state the Arabs will ensure Israel’s security. If the Kashmiris get their UN sanctioned right of self determination, India will get  no problems from Pakistan. Once a viable Palestine comes into being, my advice to the Arabs would be: “Israel is there. Now get over it.” After the Kashmiris get their right of self-determination, my advice to India would be: “Pakistan is there. Move on.” It is unnatural for us to be enemies.

We are not so stupid not to know that peace brings incredible dividends: what we are concerned with is that those dividends must be equitably shared.

I hope you don’t think I am being patronising. We too need to learn lessons, even more than you do. My hope is that we will all learn our lessons together for the betterment of the only world we have, to share equitably for the sake of our future generations. That is the imperative.  Good luck to us all.

(The writer is a political analyst & columnist).

NOTE:This is a cross post.


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  • AM  On February 27, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Thanx Yasmeen. Exactly what my personal feelings are

  • Latif  On February 27, 2011 at 2:03 am

    A nice article. Very pertinent points have been raised by the author regarding American policies about third world countries in general and the Islamic World in particular.

    The author has very aptly provided straight, to the point and very realistic answers to the questions arising in the minds of the American people. However, in my opinion the fact of the matter is that answers to these questions may not be known to the people of America but they are very well known to their rulers. Considering the information technology systems and intelligence resources at their disposal and their think tanks busy round the clock in analysing every aspect of America’s foreign policy, it is hard to believe that they don’t know the answers to these questions. Only thing is that they don’t want to change themselves whereas they want the people of the world to change. However, the problem is that they can manage to make the corrupt rulers tow their line but not any more the people of the world.

    Needless to say that if America doesn’t pay heed to the people of the world, the things will take uglier turn for them now that the peoples’ movement is picking up against their friendly autocratic rulers in various countries, especially in the strategic region of Middle East.

    After elimination of Russian expansionism problem the world (America’s own) is left with only two problems, namely the Palestinian problem and the Kashmir problem, that can potentially threaten world peace. Key to both the problems is in American hands. If America and its allies do care about world peace and want an undisturbed world leadership role for themselves during 21st century, they have to seriously apply pressure on to Israel and India to sort out these issues.

    Putting the whole blame on Islamic terrorism is mere beating about the bush and an attempt to adopt a more circuitous route to a goal which can be easily reached through a straight forward approach based on sincerity of purpose.


  • Rumana Khan  On February 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I did not read the whole article, but’we the people’ caught my attention. These three words are not the start of Declaration of Independence, but they are from the Preamble of the the constitution of United States of America. Therefore it is only speaking about People of America.

    It states

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    I suggest when Pakistan is ready to establish Justice,promote the general welfare ,secure the Liberty and Posterity of people of Pakistan, maybe then we can have a dialog.
    “we the people” do not take these rights for granted and I for one resent such implication,we work hard to earn them.
    we love the people of Pakistan and understand their hardships, but they need to find the solution to their problems and we are ready to stand by then.

  • siddiquimy  On February 27, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Humayoun Gohar done proud to his late illustrious father
    This is one of the finest piece of prose highly articulate and could not be written any better
    My congratulations to Gohar sb

    He has said it all on behalf of ALL of US…God bless him


  • Saeed  On February 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Thnx Yasmeen for sharing this beautiful article. It is the inner voice of million and millions of people the world over. I wonder if anyone in US (those who matter) is listening.Best regards

  • kourtnie  On March 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

    yeah nice

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