Long live free and united Balochistan

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COMMENT: Man is born free —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The question of resistance to laws and conventions imposed under threat of force is mostly sidelined by the judiciary, political parties and the present day media because they have deep rooted interests in the status quo

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck” — Frederick Douglass.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Of the Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762) says, “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.” And then adds, “As long as a people is compelled to obey, and obeys, it does well; as soon as it can shake off the yoke, and shakes it off, it does still better; for, regaining its liberty by the same right as took it away, either it is justified in resuming it, or there was no justification for those who took it away. But the social order is a sacred right which is the basis of all other rights. Nevertheless, this right does not come from nature, and must therefore be founded on conventions.”

It is conventions, the world over, that have been the real cause of the slavery of body and mind of people born free because conventions do not come from nature but are manmade and those who make these conventions are not paragons of justice but are servants of their own desires, greed and interests, which are essentially diametrically opposed to the interests and wishes of the majority. Conventions serve the narrow and limited interests of the convention makers who are always the ones who have a dominant role in societies and these conventions are made to serve them and their interests and to help continue the status quo to perpetuate their dominance. Rarely, if ever, will you find a convention that opposes those who already dominate society.

It is an established practice in this world that rights, liberty, honour, freedom and independence of persons, peoples, nations and weak countries mean nothing where the interests of more powerful and intransigent powers are concerned. All these grandiloquent precepts and ideas can go and jump into the nearest ocean as far as transgressors are concerned.

The question arises if conventions are made to suit those already enjoying power, pelf and privileges then is it an obligation for the majority whose interests, rights, liberties and freedoms are violated to acquiesce in the conventions, which are no more than instruments to perpetuate their slavery.

Rousseau rightly argues: “Obey the powers that be. If this means yield to force, it is a good precept, but superfluous: I can answer for its never being violated. All power comes from God, I admit; but so does all sickness: does that mean that we are forbidden to call in the doctor? A brigand surprises me at the edge of a wood: must I not merely surrender my purse on compulsion; but, even if I could withhold it, am I in conscience bound to give it up? For certainly the pistol he holds is also a power.”The laws that were made in South Africa by the apartheid regimes had a legal status and were made to punish those who opposed white rule and just because these laws were imposed under threat of force that did not make them truly legitimate. Had Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress submitted to their spurious legality there could never have been the South Africa that we see today.

Israel is building its wall in the West Bank to usurp more Palestinian land and to segregate the Palestinians. It has the legal sanction of the illegal Israeli state so should it or should it not be resisted by all those who value freedom and equality? But it seems the western governments have gone morally bankrupt and fail to raise a voice over it or the illegal settlements. It is only brute force that ensures compliance but should it be accepted without resistance?

Conventions and laws like the ‘Objectives Resolution’ and Urdu as mother tongue here, designed to perpetuate the overwhelming dominance of certain sections of the ruling elite, were legally sanctioned but did not in any way reflect the wishes of the people and did succeed to a large extent and are the real cause of the unending chaos and mayhem that has persisted since.

The question of resistance to laws and conventions imposed under threat of force is mostly sidelined by the judiciary, political parties and the present day media because they have deep rooted interests in the status quo: they abhor rocking the boat because they fear they will be the first to sink, but the oppressed people should and must approach the issue differently because they “have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win”.

However, these chains are not just dependent on the transgressor; they have a lot to do with the victims as well. If the people submit to the dictates of the oppressor, more oppression is bound to follow. Little wonder then that Frederick Douglass, a civil rights and abolition activist, said, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong, which will be imposed on them.”

Expecting justice from bullies is wishful thinking but that certainly does not mean that those being bullied and denied their rights give up just because the route to liberation is difficult or has hurdles. Recently Sardar Ataullah Mengal had expressed doubts about the Baloch being able to safeguard their independence if they were able to achieve that goal. Bridges are crossed when you come to them; to not to embark on a journey just because some parts of it may be hazardous is not a sane option.

I think this poem by James Russell Lowell clinches the argument in favour of those who resist conventions:

“Once to every man and nation,

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth and falsehood,

For the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,

Off’ring each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever,

Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,

Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;

Though her portion be the scaffold,

And upon the throne be wrong:

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above his own.”

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com


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