Make every day a Mandela day

By Co founder: Syeda Aminah Gilani

“When people are determined they can overcome anything” – Nelson Mandela

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Leaders around the world condoled Nelson Mandela’s death, on the top of their lungs, to keep their political careers blooming, showcasing their allegiance to the great man’s perceptions, repeating his quotations, his inspiring sayings, did it cross even once in their minds if any of his beliefs they proudly utter hold any weight coming out of their mouths. Leaders as big as President Obama, who are leading a country that has vehemently shamed humanity for killing people sending unmanned machines to far off places, calling them a mere collateral damage. While Mr. Mandela forgave his endurance and pain when he stayed in jail for more than a decade, Mr. Obama had promised to close down Guantanamo bay as a bid to win election, while that shadowed cold place exists, where human lives suffer.

While people in Pakistan, alongside the political leaders displayed their regard and condolences for Nelson Mandela, the path to prosperity seems darker midst people dying of sectarian violence, political rivalries, and many for shortage of bare necessities. Problem with Pakistan is that it never gives a chance to philanthropic figures in order to pave a way for them to lead its people in political realm, to create examples like Nelson Mandela. Pakistan’s political culture is as conventional and orthodox as its societal perceptions.

Criteria for selection of a political leader is not his determination, his academic credentials, public welfare and other relevant character traits that are essential for a prospective leader to acquire before he takes the charge to lead a country. Ironically , in Pakistan, a leader is meant to spew tempting words regardless of them being true or false, prospective leaders are self-assured while they make empty speeches and promises, talking public into voting them, whereas public responds to such ambitious individuals providing them a pedestal for their self-serving motives.

Moreover, as political culture present itself with loopholes and mounting corruption, it makes potential educated and determined political individuals barred from entering into politics.

Money is the yardstick by which a political leader’s potential is measured, bribery, and manipulation is a common practice during the election season.

In Pakistan there is denial of two essential democratic principles:

1. The equality of citizens and

2. The principle of one citizen, one vote.

As rightly said by French economist Frederic Bastiat:

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Pakistan is driven by misconceptions, superstitions, unrealistic beliefs, unproductive sympathies, nevertheless people in Pakistan are hell-bent against a threat to national security, they are united against a foreign enemy, while most of them are fixed at opting for old wive’s sayings over a progressive approach, most of them will select a self-created perception over an established fact, making road to prosperity highly complicated and rough.

Pakistan has produced individuals who are epitome of harmony and generosity, but do we ever let them take the front stage when it comes to politics? On the contrary, we always get charmed, inspired, exploited into handing over power to those whose ultimate goal is mere achievement of power, and not public welfare.

South Africa was deeply polarized, and highly infected with racial discrimination against non-white community,  where non-whites were forcibly relocated to isolated, poverty-stricken areas, made to obtain permission to travel, blocked from voting and participation in government, not allowed to marry whites, and were largely barred from owning land.

The anti-apartheid movement was a struggle that became a symbol of human equality, and to me it has made Nelson Mandela a symbol of immortality. He will live forever.

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