Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jinnah was no Ataturk.

A lot of Pakistan (and diaspora) "progressives" and/or champions of democracy and so on often invoke Ataturk. And say that Asif Zardari should not be President of Pakistan. So here's the summary of what I said in one such conversation:

Jinnah was no Ataturk. One was a man of legal means, democracy and the rule of law--to the extent of disagreeing with Gandhi on rabble-rousing and demagoguery. The other was a brutal autocrat.

The person I was conversing with said something to the effect of being in favour of everything Ataturk did, but without the brutality. Huh? Brutality IS what he did. Like a lot of the policies, effects, and blowback of the kind of imperialism practiced by the European powers in general and the British Empire in particular during the Age of Colonization, (and, to a large extent, still practiced as US and Western "foreign policy" in a post-colonial, some would say neo-colonial age) I see the Young Turks as one of those things that interrupted, delayed, and perverted the healthy evolution of the Turkish state and society. (The Armenian Genocide included, which was something carried out by the same team.) Giving us the Islamist government we have there today (which I really haven't made up my mind about) as surely as putting in place and propping up Mohammad Reza Pahlavi gave us the "Islamic Republic" in Iran.

This a quick summary of a discussion I had on Facebook. If you'd like to discuss something, or think I made a leap of logic you missed, please leave a comment below, or reach out on twitter or facebook. [And apologies for the earlier subject line that mentioned Asif Zardari and ZA Bhutto. More on them later.]
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