Thinking about the situation I’m trapped in, it occurs to me that possibly the most dangerous aspect of it is the message sent by the inactivity of the UK authorities on this matter.
The UK is renowned around the world for its law-abiding, Parliamentary democracy. If people like the Taseers are able to do what I suspect them of doing in a country like the UK, and get away with it, it sends the message that anyone, anywhere in the world, can do whatever they like and get away with it, as long as they have money and influence. This is an especially dangerous message to send to countries that are already wrestling with rampant corruption and lawlessness.
It also raises the issue of what is, and what could, or should be, the UK’s role in the world. Clearly, the UK is no longer an imperial power, and clearly, this is in many ways a very good thing. We need a world with power-structures based on cooperation, not unilateral coercion. However, like it or not, the UK still has an imperial legacy, and like it or not, the British Empire was a pretty good one as empires go.
I believe that the UK should be using this legacy to provide moral leadership within the world at what is possibly a pivotal moment in history, when moral leadership is desperately needed. This moral leadership shouldn’t involve interfering in other people’s affairs, or telling other people what to do. It should involve using the UK’s legitimate voice, as a country equal to other countries, to consistently promote peace, justice and compassion.
More importantly, the UK should lead by example in terms of what happens at home. It needs to set an example in respect for the environment, and in functional, progressive democracy.
If you had asked me a few years ago if the UK needed to set an example in terms of non-corruption, and basic protection from wrong-doing for its citizens, I would have said no. The UK is already setting an example in those areas.
My own situation however has led me to revise that view. What I strongly suspect the Taseers of doing is making a mockery of the UK in the eyes of the world, and a mockery of values that many foreigners do, or would have in the past, associated with the UK. This is bad for the UK and bad for the world. And ironically, the very values that the Taseers are mocking are values that Shehrbano herself has promoted through her journalism and activism.
This for me raises questions not only about Shehrbano’s moral right to speak on human rights issues, and to speak on them on behalf of Pakistan, it more importanly raises questions about the Pakistani liberal elite in general.
People tend to be products of their environment, and if this particular environment has produced people who would do the things that I think Shehrbano and other members of her family have done to me and my family, (as well as, I think likely, other people), it makes me wonder what the values and assumptions of that environment actually are.
This is an issue that the world as a whole should be concerned about, because Pakistani liberalism provides a counterweight to the Pakistani ‘extremism’ which has has been, and may be in the future, a source of so many of the world’s ills.
Also, on a much more personal level, the apparent greed and inhumanity of the Taseer children are destroying their father’s legacy, a legacy paid for by courage and self-sacrifice.
I am afraid that — (the elder) patient, is Shehryar in disguise, and that he is going to start raping me . And, as I think happened in — —, that some members of staff will be aware of what’s happening, and will do nothing to stop it. And furthermore that individual members of the police, who are ‘customers’ of this monstrosity, will possibly watch or listen and do nothing.
I’m also feeling lonely in a relationship sense, and going over in my mind the relative merits of Cheryl, Gabby and Maheen. Plus one or two other individuals.