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Shock and awe type fame in internet era – By B.R. Gowani


US born businessperson of Pakistani ancestry Mansoor Ijaz with President Bill Clinton at a DSCC Fundraiser in 1996. PHOTO/White House/Washington Post

Fame, glory, and wealth have been part and parcel of human history. The only difference between the present times and the yesteryears is that, in the not too distant past, a small segment of population was afflicted with these things. Rest of them were happy and stress free. Besides, on the part of those who craved and dreamt, the efforts were missing–or more appropriately, the opportunities were not available. But that problem has now been taken care of by the explosion of the social media and TVs reality shows. Now most of us wants all those things. All of the three things are not possible for all of us. Nevertheless, in the internet age, fame is one thing which is within reach of most of us.

Most of us who were nothing in the pre-internet era have, in the internet era, become something through Facebook, twitter, Youtube, etc. But then this easy access to fame has created a new problem for all those who are more ambitious and/or are owners of big egos. Their dilemma is how to break through this fame-gridlock and do something which draws attention of maximum number of people with the most effect.

Just one detour before proceeding to the main subject of this article. A new Indian film, Dirty Picture, is loosely based on the life of 1980s actress Silk Smitha (Vijayalakshmi). The movie’s topic is how the central character uses her sexuality to reach the top. It was released on December 2. Pakistan (the name means land of the pure or Puristan, although it’s a total Impuristan), of course, banned it. Co-incidentally, right around that time, Pakistani actress Veena Malik’s nude picture appeared on the cover of Indian magazine. She denied posing total nude, claimed that her photo was morphed, and sued the magazine. The magazine denied the charges and counter sued. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Censor Board cleared the film and it was released on December 9. The release was unconnected to Veena Malik’s picture; it was the pressure from the distributors and others involved with the film. On December 12, the news came that the nude photo and the sue and counter sue were a publicity stunt. She was just topless. Her TV program Swayamvara (selecting a groom) is to be aired soon and will benefit from this stunt.

US businessperson Mansoor Ijaz is one of those people who possesses a giant ego, is filthy rich, and is overambitious to project some influence he has, in some high circles, in an over amplified manner. (Anyone, irrespective of caste, creed, class, color, or gender, with big moolah in his or her pocket can reach the most powerful person in the world by providing funds for “campaign contribution.” In rest of the world, it is called “bribe”.)

It is not an easy task to attract world attention and to gain a shock and awe type fame in the internet age unless you do something which creates establishment-shaking tremors. Ijaz did that in the power corridors of Pakistan (which, after the United States, is, at present, the most famous–or to be truthful– most infamous country in the world).

He claimed in the Financial Times opinion piece and the subsequent interviews he gave that Pakistan’s US ambassador Husain Haqqani had asked him to deliver a confidential memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s assassination by the US Navy Seals on Pakistani territory, the Pakistani government felt insecure, and anticipating a military takeover by the humiliated Army, sought US help to pacify the Army. The scandal has come to be known as the Memogate (Pakistan)
Ijaz’s claim was initially rejected but then his “friend” Husain Haqqani resigned. President Asif Zardari, amid rumors of coup, left for the UAE for medical reasons (but has now returned back), the opposition got an opportunity to display its own patriotism and to declare Zardari and Haqqani as traitors, the Supreme Court got into action, and Pakistan’s Landlord, the Army (which rents out government to the elected but pliant civilians), got a golden opportunity to gain sympathy against the treacherous civilian government.

Mind you: Whether it’s the government, the opposition, or the army, each of them have at one or another time sought the US assistance. Just one example: A former CIA and White House official, Bruce Riedel, reminds us that in 1999, Shahbaz Sharif (Chief Minister of Punjab then and now) had indulged in a similar thing when he visited Washington.

“It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it.”

“That’s pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani.”

(Shahbaz’s brother Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister then. Currently, he is the main opposition leader.)

However, Omar Waraich of London’s Independent is skeptical about the “coup” thing.

Whatever the truth may be, the biggest winner of this Ijaz created scandal is, of course, Mansoor Ijaz himself–the biggest hypocrite. He is all over the new media. This wise-by-one and one-half suffers from publicity syndrome.

Ijaz said that he considers Haqqani a friend and was just being helpful. Actually, he screwed Haqqani up without using any lubricant.
But then he shows his true color:

“It is not congruent with the national interests of Pakistan to have a clever-by-half ambassador and a deficient-by-full president.”

Then this moral crusader preaches:

“OK, not everybody has to be a fucking rocket scientist in all of this but at least be honest to the people about what you’re doing and own up to your actions instead of covering them up.”

This coming from a US citizen whose ruling class is always buried under the tall pyramids of lies.

And what’s the purpose behind doing all these good things?

“God gave me so much in this world, but if all I left in the world was a jet on the runway, a yacht in the harbor, 10 homes around the world, and my wife’s 5,000 pairs of shoes, I will not have done my job.”

If he really wants to do something good, the first thing he should do is to go to Pakistan with 4,990 pairs of his wife’s shoes and distribute them to the poor barefooted Pakistani women–they wouldn’t mind the price, size, color, or the design of the shoes. This will surely make his God somewhat happy.

Basically, Ijaz is part of the US ruling clique who believes in US government’s right to change regimes, wage wars, and destroy countries.
“Let there be no illusions about the fact that the United States possesses technological advantages in executing its military options that would render every conceivable option available to Iran useless. America may not win or manage peace very well, it certainly has no difficulty waging the battle.”

Mansoor Ijaz is not going to talk about regime change in Israel; even the thought itself would make him pee in his pants.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com