While it has stayed on top charts for quite sometime I failed to see the Dark Knight for a while. It was beyond my comprehension why a movie about Batman’s fight with the villain Joker could become so popular. There must be some hidden political message, I wondered. And sure enough there was. But before I discuss it I must also mention here just as background nugget that of late some moviemakers inHollywood have given in to the propaganda of the neocons and some reductionist Republicans. What was the message in this movie then? That democracy only brings to the fore nothing but mediocre outcome and therefore it is a bad choice. Proof? Aplenty. If you have seen the movie you’ll recall the scene where the Batman and the district attorney are discussing democracy in ancient Europe and how it was suspended during war. Not enough? Okay consider the scene where Joker installs bombs in several ferries loaded with people and the remote of each bomb is left in another with the clear message: If you want to survive push the button and destroy the other boat. Since there is confusion everywhere people on a boat decide to vote. What is the outcome? A huge majority votes for destroying the other boat and someone has to step in to stop the destruction per force. Since the neoconservatives everywhere are losing we are being told that democracy is mediocre and dictatorship or absolutism is good.

Fortunately reality is absolutely opposite to what was portrayed in the movie. It is absolutely cruel to underestimate the ethical strength of human spirit and the judgment of us mortals. It is true that we quite often commit mistakes but to dub us as an ignorant and selfish herd of sheep is absolutely unforgivable. When democracies commit mistakes, they pretty soon realise and mend them. It is in the very essence of the democratic process that people get a lot of chances to review their stumbles and tumbles. Luckily for us things have already started changing and the fear factor with which men like Osama bin Laden and the neocons were threatening us is now being dismantled. If I then liked any one thing in the movie it was that true heroism does not lie in seeking popularity but in making right choices in saving the day. I would justify it through the PPP’s decision to seek a deal with the establishment instead of fighting in the courts. You can consider me benighted if you wish, especially so if you are a typical PPP basher, but I have firm belief that if the party would have decided to pursue the time taking course of facing the trial in the courts, it would have emerged victorious and that all the charges would have proven motivated and trumped up. But doing so would have delayed the restoration of democracy which the country could ill afford. By reaching a self effacing deal and through the sacrifice of its leaders the party has proven how much it cares for the country.Coming back to the issue of democracy, I need to add a few points here. After eight years of destruction and degeneracy the world does not merely need a change but a tolerant and liberal one at that. Reason? The crises we see in the shape of worsening economies and the fear born out of rapid technological advances are just the transition points from where start a new era free of the past follies. Capitalism will become robust again and democracy would thrive even further for these are the best systems humanity has produced thus far. But that is not all. From environmental and population changes to the decline of the nation states there are factors which cannot be hidden by any robocall implicating Obama with Ayers. The world is at the threshold of a change which will leave us totally transformed. Only liberal and charismatic leaders free of the reductionist racial or religious straitjackets. On on then with the holistic humanitarianism.

When it comes to the United States I know my endorsement hardly counts but still it is the privilege of a writer to have an opinion and to share it with his readers. For a while I have been felt uncomfortable with the typical Pakistani apathy. Folks we are at the war front and hence entitled to express our opinion. I have listened to the presidential debates, speeches of both Obama and McCain and read Obama’s writings too. I deeply respect McCain’s stature but if truth be told his change is not the change the world deserves. Unfortunately for us instead of distancing himself and his party from the neoconservatives, his campaign in desperation has started sounding too much like Dick Cheney and his cohorts. Though there seems an inherent threat for Pakistan for Obama has been quite reckless in his statements regarding the war on terror, there is solace too in his possible or perhaps probable win. Pakistan does not exist in a vacuum. It is an inextricable part of the world. If the conditions in the world improve they will essentially impact us too. With power will come the care for our country too. Obama does not merely promise to change the direction but the methods of governance too. His win will then be the defeat of the conservatives the world over followed by some sensible changes in Britain in the shape of David Miliband’s rise and even in Europe too. Under Bush presidency the world had to endure the fast rewind to the pre Second World War order which given the level of destructive technology can only ensure destruction of the planet and hence human civilisation. We need a global leadership that can bring us back to the new millennium. Young charismatic and liberal leaders then are our best hope. The last eight years, including 9/11 and its aftermath, represent the last desperate coup of the conservatives the world over. The time to end it for good has finally come.

The author is a Pakistani television journalist, columnist and commentator on security, political and media affairs. He can be reached through his website www.pitafi.com. 

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