Friday, February 22, 2008

As It Happens

Normally I find the CBC radio show "As It Happens" to be quite informative and entertaining, especially the traditional grandiose pun capping off their intros.

On yesterday's show, host Carol Off filed a report from Pakistan, fresh from the elections (look about 7 minutes into the podcast). She interviewed General Rashid Koreshi, a spokesman for President Musharraf, asking his opinion of the perceived hunger for Presidential change in Pakistan following the National Assembly elections.

I could not believe her gall. She perfectly represented the mind of the modern media: we are the opposition to the government. Her decadent post-Western sensibilities didn't wash well with General Koreshi, and he really ripped into her. I've transcribed my favourite part of the interview:

Carol Off: But surely the President reads the papers. Surely he watches the news. Every single day.

General Koreshi: Yes.

Carol Off: Every paper, every headline - except for some media, which is close to the government - every headline is about how he has to go; that it's time for him to leave. Is he enured to that? Does it mean nothing to him that he sees every single day the newspapers are saying, reporting on yet another group that says, 'President Musharraf, take a hint - there's the door.'?

General Koreshi: I would like to ask you, if media starts a campaign, in your country, against your President or Prime Minister, will he just get up and leave? No. No!

Carol Off: Well, sometimes you take into consideration that maybe they're telling...

General Koreshi: No, there are millions, there are 160 million people in Pakistan. There is a system in place. If for some reason the elected representatives do not want President Musharraf, there is a system in place, there is an impeachment, where two thirds of the elected assembly can impeach the President.

Carol Off: You see, really, do you want to wait until it comes to that? To be impeached, to be tossed out? Is that...

General Koreshi: What if it doesn't come to that? Would you want him to leave? Is that what you want, that he should leave when people don't want him to leave?

Carol Off: But is he aware of what people are saying? It's not just the headlines. You've got civil society, people marching in the streets...

General Koreshi: Now who are you calling civil society? 100 lawyers? That's civil society?

Carol Off: Well, it's more than 100 lawyers, but you're saying that's not civil society?

General Koreshi: No, the rest of the 55,000 lawyers in Pakistan are not civil society?

Carol Off: You're talking about human rights organizations, you're talking about...

General Koreshi: I think there's a lack of information and knowledge here, that you're saying such a thing, because yes, there are 60,000 lawyers in just Lahore and Islamabad.

Carol Off: Huge numbers are backing it; they've signed petitions. You have your own hired officers, the ones that you come from...

General Koreshi: How many? 50? There are 550,000 not stepping up and saying it.

Carol Off: I'm not trying to have an argument with you about that, I'm just wondering if he's...

General Koreshi: You're exactly doing that, you see? Why are you insisting on the President taking a decision when there's a system in place in Pakistan where that decision can be influenced? Let the right people ask for what you think he should do. If that be the case, then he can do it. What's the hurry? Why is everyone seeming to, in the media, or wherever, saying that it's time to leave? Are they the ones who decide? No. It is the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan who decide.

Now, I'm under no illusions about the angelic status of President Musharraf, nor am I proposing that Koreshi is a neutral third party in this debate. But by golly, hearing his British/Pakistani accented logic rip holes in Off's dry, monotonous dribble was the highlight of my day.

1 comment:

  1. Proud they aired it. Rare nowadays for the press to let one of their own get spanked unless it's live.

    As for the activist press, it's hardly a modern invention.


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