Original Articles

Manufacturing Consent

The greatest factor in promoting and sustaining state-fascism is not any act of violence but simply this – the systematic and studied ignorance maintained by the mainstream intelligentsia on the state’s gravest atrocities.

In today’s world, it doesn’t take any kind of effort to be well-informed on any political issue that one can choose. You can, for example, go to news.google.com and enter in “Parachinar Blockade”. What will you see?

Not a lot of hits, but it’s a good start. Clicking on the first one, one can read a report about Colonel Tausif Akhtar’s announcement of the closure of the five border crossing points that previously served as the only exit points from Kurram Agency to the outside world. From a quote from a local inhabitant, one gets the opinion that this move by the security forces was an attempt to bring the Parachinari Shias “to their knees” and that for the last 4 years all local paths (within Pakistan) to Parachinar have been blocked and that the locals have had to use these border crossing to communicate with the outside world.

The second link provides a deeper analysis of the issue by Dr. Muhammad Taqi in the Daily Times. It is his view that this blockade is part of a strategic plan by the Pakistani military to safeguard it’s long-term assets, the Haqqanis and protect them from any possible military operation in North Waziristan that the Pakistani army may be forced into due to US pressure.

The third is a link from the BBC summarizing the facts in both the above articles.

One simple search, three links, and one is confronted with some extremely troubling information. For many, the information contained in these three links would shake the very foundations of their faith in the Pakistani army and its dedication to fighting terrorism within Pakistan. After all, an army that deliberately blockades its own citizens whose only crimes are that they a) belong to a minority religious sect and b) that they are unwilling to provide shelter to viciously sectarian and violent terrorists cannot be an army that is committed to ending terrorism within Pakistan’s boundaries, can it? So when confronted with this troubling and paradigm shaking bit of news, the average news-reading, mainstream intellectual Pakistan makes a very simple decision.

he chooses to ignore it

And so we have the collective decision to maintain a studied ignorance of the Pakistani state’s complicity in the persecution of its own citizens. And that is the way we perpetuate state tyranny from the comfort of our own computer desks. Not by taking up arms, or taking over someone’s house, or accusing someone of blasphemy, but by simply ignoring key events, shaping the public discourse of a national security state, and manufacturing consent for its greatest atrocities on its most helpless citizens.

About the author

Laila Ebadi

3 Comments

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  • strapping the suicide vest on the Kashmir Issue:
    http://majorlyprofound.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/strapping-the-suicide-vest-on-the-kashmir-issue/

    Let us take a look at the recent “outrage” over NATO attacks in Khurram. A basic question needs to be addressed first – if drone attacks are acceptable to the Army, approved by Musharraf and operated form the Shamsi airbase inside Pakistan, why the sudden anger about helicopter attacks? Anger evident in blocking the transit routes for NATO convoys, where “extremists” suddenly showed up to burn the trucks (The comedic ending being the “extremists” strangely deciding to stop burning the trucks as soon as a NATO apology was dished out).
    The reason ladies and gentlemen is that the attacks by NATO nearly gave Sirajuddin Haqqani his 72. Who (for the benefit of the uninformed) happens to be: Pakistan’s man in Afghanistan. Epitome of the “good taliban”. A great patriot who has served his country by bombing the Indian consulate and their employees in Kabul under ISI guidance, planning and funding.
    Thrice.
    Outrage about Khurram was parroted by the TV anchors. Regurgitated by the newspapers. Bandied about by our diplomats. Ultimately lapped up by the naive “intelligentia” who get busy in blogs, twitter, opinion pieces–raising so much ruckus about violation of sovereignty that in the ensuing confusion a dozen drones slipped in unnoticed and did their deed. A narrative was built up whereby every “thinking Pakistani” then speaks with a unified voice “Violation of Sovereignty strengthens the hands of extremists!!!” and NATO backed off.
    Congratulations!! You were used successfully by the Army and the ISI to impress upon NATO that killing Sirajuddin Haqqani is a red line for Pakistan.

  • Excellent post, Laila.

    Out of curiosity, I conducted a similar exercise, with the same key words “Parachinar Blockade”. However, I limited my search to blogs only.

    http://www.google.com/#q=Parachinar+Blockade&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=1&tbs=blg:1&source=og&sa=N&tab=wb&fp=e3c6a7bc217965d7

    I think the results are enough to expose the hypocrisy of our middle class chattering class.

    Results:
    ………………..

    Search Results
    Related blogs about Parachinar Blockade
    Support Parachinar
    It should immediately end the blockade of the Peshawar-Parachinar route. The government should set …
    supportparachinar.blogspot.com/
    Shahid Kazmi
    … Parachinar will not celebrate with family members, because of continuing “blockade” imposed by …
    http://www.shahidkazmi.blogspot.com/
    Ya Baqiyatullah. . .
    Parachinar is a town of 20000 individuals, with almost all being exclusively Shiites and belonging to the Turi and ….. such inhumane treatment as the harsh blockade, because surely, were it undeserved, it would not be happening. …
    yabaqiyatullah.blogspot.com/

    Informed Consent | Let Us Build Pakistan
    1 hour ago by Laila Ebadi
    You can, for example, go to news.google.com and enter in “Turi”, or “Parachinar Blockade”. What will you see? Not a lot of hits, but it’s a good start. Clicking on the first one, one can read a report about Colonel …
    http://criticalppp.com/ – More results from Let Us Build Pakistan

    …………………