A thin red line

Revolutionary struggles demand of its proponents, leaders and supporters that if anyone assumes authority in the name of the people it also means that he or they are answerable to people and cannot act arbitrarily by making peoples’ will the excuse for the use or misuse of that authority.

No one can be allowed to use that authority on their whim and palm it off as action necessary for the struggle. They have to be accountable to the people, especially when those actions endanger or destroy lives; at such times the leader or the group tread a very thin line making just or destructive actions quite indistinguishable and makes it imperative that such actions are taken after enough consideration and caution.

There has been an increasing tendency to ignore this thin line between a just or anti-people action and has led to disastrous consequences for the moral authority of the struggle and has alienated genuine supporters and well wishers. The struggle cannot afford to either lose supporters or its moral authority which distinguishes it from the enemy. Therefore, before taking any action, they should consider the possible fallout of their actions.

thin lineIt is said that there is a ‘thin red line’ between sanity and insanity and I believe there is much truth in this assertion because there is no criteria to define sanity or insanity as humans actions overlap one another and it becomes difficult to discern which was sane and which wasn’t. Actions being termed sane or insane are also a matter of perception and what may seem wise to one may seem the ultimate foolishness to another. However, we can venture to define as insane an action which ignores or denies the on-ground reality. Actions ignoring the ground reality have monumental ill effects for individuals, groups or nations leaving them and the future generations to bear the cost of those actions.

This situation is further compounded and complicated by the denial to accept the ground reality. Seemingly denial is a common human failing and probably used to convince oneself that all is well and under control. I have seen numerous examples of people with frank Haemoptysis (blood in sputum) refuse to accept that they suffer from tuberculosis. People with psychological issues also refuse to accept that they are in need of treatment. This predilection for denial makes acquiring help and remedy for a situation very difficult; they refuse to understand that reality isn’t affected by their belief or their refusal to accept it. Reality lives and survives independently of our desires or wishes.

Incidentally, there is also a very ‘thin red line’ between revolution and terror and this has to be more conscientiously accepted and understood because contrary to the sanity-insanity situation this affects not only the self but has far-reaching fallout for many and have the equal power for construction as well as destruction. This ‘thin red line’ has to be tread very carefully to ensure that at no time revolution becomes terror. Those leading the revolution have to make doubly sure that this thin red line is not crossed either by mistake or willfully because revolution deals with people and crossing this line harms people and alienates them and is therefore fatal for revolution.

Revolution thrives on people because it is for the people and it has to remain distinct and different from terror if it is to, in anyway, succeed. Terror cannot be palmed off as revolution just because those perpetrating terror think it was essential.

Revolution is not a tactic, it is a strategy and has to be given its due respect by the actions that are taken in its name; you cannot make monumental blunders and try to get away with the excuse that it is revolution. Revolution has its own strict code and values which cannot be flouted. Otherwise, you cannot call it a revolution. The bar of revolution cannot be lowered for exigency and convenience; it is you who have raised your standards and if you cannot then part ways. Revolution is not about gaining power and pelf, it is about achieving goals for the benefit and welfare of people and serving them.

On May 15, 2016, five persons — three of them officials and two contractors — on some official inspection were taken away in Dasht area of Kech by a group. Among the abductees was Chakar Zamrani, the father of martyr Qambar Chakar. Needless to say that Qambar Chakar is an icon of Baloch struggle; he was a member of the BSO-Azad and had always been in the forefront of the struggle for Baloch and students rights. He was abducted by Pakistani agencies on 26th November, 2010, along with his cousin Irshad Baloch from his house in Shahi Tump, Turbat, and his tortured body was found in Pedark near Turbat on January 5, 2011, along with that of Ilyas Nazar.

The others Dasht abductees were Mehboob Rind (contractor), Fida Ahmad (SDO), Ebrahim Baloch (engineer) and Rahim Jan Baloch (engineer). Some ten days later their bodies were discovered in Saheeji, Dasht, and it appears they had died due to thirst, hunger and dehydration after being abandoned by their captors who themselves came under attack by Pakistani forces. The deceased, unable to find their way back in the difficult terrain, had perished.

The so called middle class National Party of Dr. Malik is making a hue and cry over these deaths while overlooking the fact the Baloch have suffered immensely because in their quest to be in power they have acted as Pakistani henchmen and done the dirty job of depriving Baloch of their rights while fattening themselves as the Mushtaq Raisani affair shows. This hue and cry is aimed at further facilitating exploitation of Balochistan by Pakistan and China. Incidents like one in Saheeji just give the enemies of the Baloch the opportunity to malign and undermine the Baloch struggle for rights.
This incident has raised a lot of questions and created doubts even in the minds of people who wholeheartedly support the Baloch struggle for rights. Qambar Chakar’s father was a contractor and here contracts are only for government projects so what else could he have done for providing a respectable life for his family; he had given his son Qambar, who could otherwise have provided for the family, to Balochistan.

This brings us to the question which requires soul searching and needs to be looked into very carefully and honestly. Is anyone who out of necessity for providing a respectable life for his or her family has to work where the government is somehow involved a traitor and anti-Baloch?

There are a lot of people who are definitely anti-Baloch in their deeds and words as they actively connive with the state to put up obstacles, physical like the death squads do and political like the so-called middle class politicians and elite that serves the oppressors and exploiters do, in the path of Baloch struggle for their rights but one cannot punish people for being anti-Baloch just because they eke out a living for their families. No one will disagree that some among us are wolves in sheep’s clothing and they subtly work against our interests but there is no reason to disbelieve that there are, out of sheer necessity to survive, many sheep in wolves’ clothing. People, who while serving the government, are supporters of the struggle for Baloch rights. Commitment of people to revolution and struggle apart, they also need to survive and provide for families because what else can they do till that dream that they will get what they want becomes a reality; they cannot just wait for that day on hungry stomachs.

Those who are upholding the banner of struggle for Baloch rights will have to be more discerning and judicious in their approach to matters which unfortunately would make their actions, though taken in earnest, akin to terror rather than revolution and people friendly. No one has the right to make blanket judgments on who is a patriot and who is a traitor and make people suffer for what they think is right or wrong. No one has a right to act god with the monopoly to mete out punishments or rewards according to what he or they think is right or wrong for this is exactly how those denying us our rights and opposing our struggle for rights act; we cannot afford to be like them and yet expect support of our people for they need a better option not just a change of masters.

I mentioned above there is a tendency of denial of reality in life whereby one refuses to see or acknowledge the reality in a false sense of complacency, probably hoping that if I try not to see or acknowledge it, it will disappear. Real life is, however, different from our perception or our acknowledgement of it and the consequences will be dire if our actions have invited them regardless of what we think. It is essential that all those who have authority to be brave and accept when mistakes are made because the struggle for Baloch rights isn’t about massaging our egos. It is about serving the people and achieving what they aspire and desire for themselves and their future generations.

It is at such junctures that the ‘the thin red line’ assumes profound meaning because of the implications that this crossing over means in practical terms and its consequences for the struggle and moral standing of the struggle. Errors of judgment can wipe out the benefit of the untold and immeasurable sacrifices that have gone into the struggle for Baloch Rights since 27th March 1948. It is very difficult to garner and gather valued support of people but it can be wiped out in a blink of an eye once the people feel that there is hardly any difference between those professing to be friends and the enemies.

People do not judge on the rhetoric we spew out. They judge us on our actions and the results of our actions. People have to have the priority in every decision and every action contemplated for, because without the support of people everything is doomed and that includes all the sacrifices given till now, including that of brave martyr Qambar Chakar and thousands of others.

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Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur is a regular commenter on Balochistan. He has been associated with Baloch politics since 1970s.

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