Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


The World Doesn’t Care About Democracy.

5 Apr 2010

Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute, writes a blog titled Informed Comment. A post from this Saturday is particularly interesting.

Cole writes about the new bill being tabled in Pakistan’s parliament, labelled ‘historic’, even called the ‘Bill of Hope’. More details about the bill can be found at this Dawn article that Cole links to.

In this particular post Cole provides some thoughtful comment on what changes in Pakistan’s public policy manage to make the mainstream media, or make the White House happy. He talks about how the new democratic bill (that he thinks will bring in a new wave of democratic process to the country) is receiving little hurrah outside of Pakistan because it has been developed and tabled entirely by Pakistanis. He compares this to the elections in Iraq, which is also an interesting comparison.

Evidence for this phenomenon is very easily found. Just open the Asia or South Asia page of any major international news website, and then follow that up with Dawn, The Nation, or The News. The Pakistani news websites will undoubtedly be flooded with news about the bill, and other such self created democratic movements, as compared to a single story with little or no comment on the international page. Compare that to news of bomb threats or attacks and the story is reversed.

This exact same analysis can apply to the Lawyers’ Movement to restore the Judiciary in March of last year. That too was another self-grown, largely democratic movement with nothing to do with the military, the President (which have often been the same thing) or any other figure but the people.

Perhaps Pakistan not being in the international news is a good thing after all, because the good news will often not make it.