Tale of Two Countries

6 Jan

The sudden ascendance of Ukraine on the newspapers bewilders many of us. For one, it hardly matters what goes on in Ukraine for we have our hands full of problems in the land of pure. But if the historical tussle of pro-Russian Ukraine versus pro-West Ukraine is to be traced in the light of current events, then one would find striking similarities between the choices that Ukraine and Pakistan continue to face. The fates of the two countries seem intertwined in a complex manner where they resolve and voice the fulfillment of dreams, but are halted by actualities.

Ukraine, literally meaning “on the edge”, remains on the edge of choosing between two powers i.e. European Union and Russia. Historically, Ukraine has been under the influence of various European Powers and it has been nearly eighteen years that it has been independent, but not without foreign influence.

Since its independence, it has been directly under the Russian influence. After the Orange Revolution of 2004, when the pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich’s ascent to presidency was considered fraudulent, the Ukrainians took to streets to express their disgust. Through country-wide demonstrations, he was forced to resign. After 2010, Yanukovich current election as the president seems to be antithesis of Orange Revolution.

Ukraine, as a state, has little or no concept of sovereignty. Internally, its house stands divided over the question of which foreign power would dominate its foreign policy. Its youth and youthful business community seems to be aiming at fleeing Ukraine in the search of certain future somewhere else but their country. Rather than preparing themselves to be the masters of their fates, Ukrainians seem more content at the thought of being ruled by others. The cumbersome burden that the concept “sovereignty” imposes seems to be too much for the locals to bear.

Ukraine cannot be without, at least, some degree of Russian influence. Its geographical limitations cannot but compound Russian influence. Russian gas pipelines need to be safeguarded. Furthermore, for Russia, Ukraine presents a passage to the Black Sea and eventually to the Mediterranean. Odessa and Sevastopol are celebrated ports that offer Russia military and commercial movement of goods.

Meanwhile the possibility of joining EU seems incoherent and only devised to counter Russian influence in Ukrainian politics. EU union is tottering with one country understandably unwilling to help the other in saving it from drowning in its debt. With Ukraine added to belt, EU countries do not seem excited to have another country that has every chance to end up like Greece. Russia would not want Ukraine to enter EU merely because it will lose a significant partner upon which its influence mattered. Ukraine is dangerously close to Russia. Inclusion of Ukraine to EU would result in considerable closeness to Russia by the West. This is a possibility which Russia would want to avoid at the cost of breaking its bank.

Whatever may turn out for Ukraine, it would hardly affect Pakistan. But the profiled before analysis is a mirror image of Pakistan. Where Ukrainians are searching for a babysitter to take care of their affairs for them, Pakistanis continue to search for a messiah that would wave his, or her, magical staff and things will begin to fall in order. Ukrainians seem to be willing to be at the beck and call of any other country but their own, while most of us love to admonish our own country just because any foreign analyst has said or written so.

Similar to Ukrainians, Pakistanis are confused about what their future would be. The citizens of both states have lost ability to trust themselves. They would rather be someone else’s puppet instead of plough the land themselves where they live. This uncertainty to act hence leads to human inaction. Nation-wide lethargy coupled with stoic tolerance of injustice slowly rots away a nation and strips it off of all its glories. As a result, the nation becomes retrospective. They wish if they would have been born some decades earlier so that someone else will have to deal with tangle that they themselves are in. Ukrainians, now, wish to recreate Orange Revolution. Pakistanis continue to glance back at the Islamic golden era without taking into perspective the vicissitudes of Time.

What the young Ukrainian businessmen wanted is much identical to what many professionals in Pakistan seek. They pursue their career goals abroad without compassion for the country where they were born and raised. The locals of Ukraine and Pakistan preach patriotism while dreaming of absolute independence. Along with this, the locals show a desire to leave for a better country, for a far more secure lifestyle. There seems to be a conflict between personal hopes and national hopes. While it takes generations to build a nation, current generation of Ukraine and Pakistan wants to pass on the toil of becoming a nation, which earlier generations have to do, to later generations.

Situation would only improve if we are willing to put our house in order and are willing to toil and suffer, not for ourselves, but for our respective. The easy option of leaving the country in the hands of worse is always there. What should matter for Pakistanis is Pakistan. They would be known as long as there would be Pakistan. Without it, god forbid, we’d be nothing more than lost souls. The question that remains is between building Pakistan and building our own lives.

 

 

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