July 29, 2007

Today's Sith

Have you not heard the Story of Dr. Haneef? The poor soul who was traumatized and used by politicians in power to create an opinion wave that favored them; to invoke fear in THEIR OWN fellow citizens and use that to their advantage. All this to get back the power they think they might lose. Human rights, feelings and existence of an individual, doesn't matter to them! What matters is POWER! For them an individual is just a minnow that can be crushed on their overzealous greedy march to power.

All over the world anti-terrorist laws that are anti-democratic, and that goes against human-rights, seem to be the fad. Is curtailing democracy and human rights the solution to terrorism? Isn’t the lack of democracy and human rights the cause of terrorism; not the solution? P V Narasimharao - India's Former Prime Minister - once said: "The answer to the problems of democracy is more, not less, democracy". Aren’t the people aware of this fact? Perhaps some are. And yes, they are trying to “educate” the crowd about the impending danger. But their voices are not heard. They are lost in the cry for "more security". But why? Are people so deaf... or dumb? Are they so lost in their “phobia” of “world not being a safe place”.

The current affairs of anti-terrorist laws reminds me of “Star Wars: The revenge of the Sith”. I see the current affairs similar to the storyline of Star Wars. There are common threads between the Dark Sith Lod - Darth Sidious - and today’s supporters of anti-terror laws, who wield the power.

Let us go through the script of the movie and compare it with what is happening today. [ Note: I have used the term “Today's Sith” (T-Sith) to represent today’s power bearers who support "anti-terrorist" (read anti-democratic) laws ]

Scene1 - First move of T-Sith: In this move T-Sith attempts to gain more power by curtailing the human rights, claiming that that is for improving the "security" of the citizens, and that democracy will suffer "a bit" as they have "no other options"
ANAKIN stands with PALPATINE at his window overlooking the vastness of Coruscant. Several buildings have been destroyed. A brown haze hangs over the landscape.
PALPATINE: Anakin, this afternoon the Senate is going to call on me to take direct control of the Jedi Council.
ANAKIN: The Jedi will no longer report to the Senate?
PALPATINE: They will report to me . . . personally. The Senate is too unfocused to conduct a war. This will bring a quick end to things.
ANAKIN: I agree, but the Jedi Council may not see it that way.
PALPATINE: There are times when we must all endure adjustments to the constitution in the name of security.
ANAKIN: With all due respect, sir, the Council is in no mood for more constitutional amendments.
PALPATINE: Thank you, my friend, but in this case I have no choice . . . this war must be won.
ANAKIN: Everyone will agree on that.
PALPATINE: I need your help, son.
ANAKIN: What do you mean?
PALPATINE: I fear the Jedi. The Council keeps pushing for more control. They're shrouded in secrecy and obsessed with maintaining their autonomy . . . ideals. I find simply incomprehensible in a democracy.
ANAKIN: I can assure you that the Jedi are dedicated to the values of the Republic, sir.
PALPATINE: Nevertheless, their actions will speak more loudly than their words. I'm depending on you.
ANAKIN: For what? I don't understand.
PALPATINE: To be the eyes, ears, and voice of the Republic . . .
ANAKIN thinks about this.
PALPATINE: (continuing) Anakin . . . I'm appointing you to be my personal representative on the Jedi Council.
ANAKIN: Me? A Master? I am overwhelmed, sir, but the Council elects its own members. They will never accept this.
PALPATINE: I think they will . . . they need you more than you know.

Scene2 - T-Sith’s second move: Shut the mouth of those who argue for democracy. Assure the supporters of "democracy" that the anti-terror laws are "temporary". That the laws will not be misused. And that they got to "trust" the T-Sith so that he can quash the bigger threat - the terrorists.
PALPATINE listens to a delegation from the Senate, which includes PADME and five other Senators: NEE ALAVAR, FANG ZAR, MALEDEE, SWEITT CONCORKILL, and MON CALAMARI. ANAKIN stands to one side of PALPATINE.
PALPATINE: I understand your reservations completely, Senator, and I assure you the appointment of Governors will in no way compete with the duties of the Senate.
PADME: May I take it then, that there will be no further amendments to the Constitution?
PALPATINE: I want this terrible conflict to end as much as you do, My Lady, and when it does I guarantee an immediate return to democracy . .

Scene3 - T-Sith's third move: With threat and an iron hand crush those who still harp on democracy. Herman Goering, the old Nazi, once said, "People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
OBI-WAN: Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic... to democracy.
ANAKIN: If you're not with me, you're my enemy.
OBI-WAN: Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
Guess the same thing is happening now. The philosophy in vogue is: "If you speak against us, you are a terrorist and we will hunt you down". Remember what Bush said. He said exactly what the "dark force" in ANAKIN said.

Scene4 - T-Sith's fourth move, which I believe is yet to happen. This is most likely to happen if citizens of the world don't act now: The T-Sith will prolong the war on terror thus helping himself to play with power and gain more power by using the anti-democratic laws to his advantage. When he is confident that the power with him is absolute, make the anti-democratic laws the norm, claiming that those laws helped the "citizens" to “regain peace”
PALPATINE continues his speech at the podium.
PALPATINE: The war is over. (applause) The Separatists have been defeated, (applause) and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning.
There is a long period of APPLAUSE.
PADME: Well, this is the moment we discover if he intends to return the Republic to a democracy.
PALPATINE: In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.
There is a loud, sustained CHEER from the Senate. BAIL ORGANA and PADME sit, dumbfounded.
PALPATINE: (continuing) An empire that will continue to be ruled by this august body, and a sovereign ruler chosen for life . . .
The Senate CHEERS again. BAIL and PADME are devastated. PADME begins to cry.
PALPATINE: (continuing) An empire ruled by the majority . . . Ruled by a new constitution . . .
The Senate APPLAUDS.
PADME: So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause . . .
I hope the real world democracy will not come to an end like that - with THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE. The responsibility for that lies in our hands.

PS: Also read Arundhati Roy's NY lecture on freedom: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy

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